Chewy Soft Pretzels

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting three of my favorite appetizers. Appetizers and party foods are some of my favorite ways to consume calories. Pretzels may not seem a likely option for appetizers, but they are a fantastic way to increase the spread.

These pretzels I’ve been making for years and they certainly don’t disappoint. Chewy, soft and slathered in butter and salt, these pretzels are a carb-lover’s dream. I make these often for after-school snacks or when the baking bug hits and I need simple ingredients. Seriously, they are absolutely heavenly.

Chewy Soft Pretzels

*Update 1/26/11: I’ve made a few slight changes to the instructions making it easier to form a soft, smooth dough. Changes are noted below and in the printable versions.

Chewy Soft Pretzels

Yield: Makes 8 pretzels

Chewy Soft Pretzels

Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.


  • 2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water
  • Topping:
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • Coarse salt (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn’t overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes (see pictures below).
  2. Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved; if it isn’t, it will make your pretzels splotchy. Sometimes I have a hard time getting the baking soda completely dissolved, so I just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.
  4. Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (anywhere from 14 to 22 inches long), and twist each rope into a pretzel. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  5. Bake the pretzels for 7 to 9 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time – it won’t hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.
  6. Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that’s what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour

In the picture below, the dough has just been placed in the bag to rise for 30 minutes. Notice how there is a lot of slack in the bag to allow for rising.

Below, the dough has risen for 30 minutes and has expanded quite a bit.

98 Responses to Chewy Soft Pretzels

  1. Lori says:

    Has anyone tried these with a gluten free flour ?

  2. Melissa Zupi says:

    Hey Mel!! I would like to make a bunch of these to have on hand. Can I freeze and reheat in the microwave or oven???

    • Mel says:

      Hey Melissa, these reheat really well after being frozen. I usually just reheat what we want in the microwave (on low power so they don’t get crunchy, hard spots from uneven microwave cooking) but you could probably reheat a whole batch in the oven on low heat, too.

  3. Meredith says:

    These are so delicious!!! My mouth has never been as happy and they’re super simple to make!

  4. Erin says:

    These are a go to in our house and what my mom requests as “payment” for watching my kids. My husband recently asked for a stuffed pretzel (cheese being his preference), though, and I’m stumped. Do you think these would translate well to be stuffed and, if so, how would you go about it? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      If it were me, I’d take the easy route and shape them like a small ball and squeeze a cube of sharp cheddar cheese in the middle, pinching the bottom to seal. Then follow the rest of the recipe. Good luck!

  5. YD says:

    Made these today with my son. They are delicious! So soft and chewy. I made them into cinnamon sugar pretzels instead.

  6. Nina says:

    Made these yesterday with my kids…AMAZING! They were gone in minutes. My only question: is it necessary to let the dough rise in a sealed ziploc? Just thinking for next time, it might be easier for me to let it rise in the mixing bowl.

    • Mel says:

      Nina – I think the ziploc bag helps keep a bit of humidity with the rising. I’ve let them rise in a mixing bowl before and maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks, but they didn’t seem quite as chewy as when left to rise in the bag. Worth experimenting, though. Good luck!

  7. Andrea says:

    I love your site and I use it often! I was going to try these pretzels today with my boys (I have 3 boys and today is a snowday) and I was wondering if this recipe does ok doubled? We might have some friends come over to help us and I want to make sure there’s enough for all the kiddos to play with.

  8. MDtripmom says:

    We made these for a snack today and they were downright delicious…a definite family favorite!

  9. Ali says:

    LOVED these. Omitted salt in both dough and sprinkling (the butter gave it plenty of saltiness).

  10. Liz says:

    These are amazing. I’m not really a bread lover, but thought my boyfriend would like them. I’m not so sure there will be any left by the time i see him!

  11. Mel says:

    Lauren – sure, you can make these smaller. Just bake them a minute or so less, perhaps.

  12. Lauren says:

    How big are these and can I make them
    Smaller in order to make more? Im going to try and make
    These for a Halloween party.

  13. Olympic Foods & Party Inspiration | Mrs. Fields Secrets says:

    […] Pretzel Rings: Make homemade pretzels in the shape of rings (this recipe is to die for) and serve with round bowls of Olympic-colored dips: ketchup (red), mustard (yellow), […]

  14. Bryan says:

    I added about a Tbsp of garlic powder to the dry mix, then while it was rising i finely shredded fresh parmesan. After the warm water/baking soda bath I COATED each (top and bottom) with the cheese. Baked them like normal and basted with garlic butter, topped with more cheese, then back in the warm oven for about a min just to melt the topping cheese a little. SO GOOD!!!

  15. KAF says:

    I forgot to add, it may also help that I add brown sugar to my cinnamon sugar to give it a more molasses taste.

  16. KAF says:

    I made these last night and they were so good I am making some more right now;
    I also made another batch that instead of using sugar I added 2 tablespoons (to bring out the flavor) of cinnamon sugar and a 1/4 tsp. of salt instead of a half. They were delish!! Thank you for this recipie!!

  17. Jackie says:

    Just made these with my two little girls who are homebound with mono. These were by far the BEST pretzels we’ve ever made, and we’ve tried many recipes! Living in Europe it’s impossible to find this type of pretzel, THANK YOU for this wonderful recipe and blog which has kept us occupied and happy even when sick!

  18. Crysatl says:

    Thanks for the recipe! But how do I store these? In the fridge? I’m afraid to keep them outside because the weather here is really humid and kind of getting warmer and warmer as the days past. By the way I have the first batch in the oven and they’re smelling heavenly!!

    • Mel says:

      Crysatl – to be honest, I hardly ever have leftovers of these to keep but when I have, I’ve just kept them in a ziploc bag (once they have cooled completely) on the counter. If you are worried about the temperature, pop them in the fridge and give them a quick warm-through in the microwave before eating.

  19. vanisha says:

    Hi Mel
    do you need to use active yeast and do you have to place in bag for the dough to raise and many recipe add bread flour is this necessary.
    thanks for reading

    • Mel says:

      Vanisha – the recipe calls for instant yeast and I’d recommend using it as well as using the bag to help the dough rise. All of that contributes to the chewiness of the pretzels.

  20. Lynn says:

    This are amazing! I made 2 batches (since yesterday!) and soooo delicious! Thanks!

  21. Jess says:

    You are so right about these being absolutely heavenly! After slathering them in butter, the crispy outer layer reminded me of a croissant, and I felt like I was eating a decadent pastry. When they were ready to go into the oven I feared I was going to end up with dense hockey pucks, but they rose beautifully and perfectly met my expectations.

  22. Recipe: 5 Fan Favorite Finger Foods says:

    […] Pigs in Pretzel Blankets adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  23. Judy says:

    These have become our Sunday snack of choice. I made 2 batches today, one cinnamon and sugar and one whole wheat. Both were delicious!

  24. Kristina says:

    One word:A.MAZ.ING! Soft, yummy, buttery goodness! These may become a weekly treat!

  25. Oh. My. These are fabulous! I’ve been wanting to make pretzels forever, and finally did it today. My husband- who doesn’t really care for pretzels- LOVED them! I laid 3 out for pictures, and when we were done, he ate all of them! They have fabulous flavor. Thanks Mel!

  26. Judy says:

    My first attempt at baking with yeast and it was awesome! I only got to eat 1 1/2 (the 1/2 stolen from my little guy) cause my girls and husband gobbled them up. Will make again….OFTEN!

  27. May says:

    These turned out delicious. I made it on my silpat and there was this funny taste at the bottom of the pretzel. Any idea why? It was like a chemically burnt taste? I baked at 480 which is the max recommendation for siplat and I suspect mine might be at the end of it’s life because i use it to roast veggies

    • Mel says:

      May – I’m guessing it must be too high of heat for your silpat – and perhaps a residue of anything else you’ve baked on it. Even though the manufacturer says the silpat can be used at temps of 480 degrees, I never use mine above 425 for the same after-taste reason. Parchment is probably your best bet.

  28. Brynn says:

    This is my first time commenting, but, had to let you know these are equisite! I lived in Philadelphia for a while and these soft pretzels take me back in time! Thank you! I have been on your site nearly daily since January and have tried MANY recipes and I have not had a failure yet! Each one is delicious! Thank you for everything! It makes cooking for my family more fun when everybody eats the food! 🙂

  29. Kat says:

    I have now made these twice in the past week. Both times they have turned out fabulous! We also took some of the dough, wrapped it around hot dogs and made “pretzeldogs” like they have at Pretzel Maker. Yum!

  30. Birgitta says:

    Perfect! Perfect! Perfect! For me it was all about the amount of flour to get a nice dough! I will be making these on a regular basis. Thanks Mel for your tips!

  31. April says:

    I can’t wait to make these, they look amazing! Did you really roll these out to 28-30″ long before shaping? Seems like that would make the pretzels too skinny when baked. What’s a good length? By the way, I made your Lion House rolls for Christmas. So delicious! Thanks for all the great recipes.

    • Mel says:

      April – that’s a good question. The 28-30 inches is from the original cookbook but now that you mention it, I probably roll them 18-20 inches long. You really do want to roll them longer than you think because the dough will rise and puff and shrink up on itself a bit but yes, the 28-30 is probably a bit long.

  32. Cristal says:

    Oh My!! I just made these!! They were delightful!! Now I just need a good recipe for a super easy cheese sauce to dip them into….. Thanks I have made several of your recipes they have been wonderful! I love how your blog is organized. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes.

  33. jackie says:

    we make these into pretzel dogs and my family love them!

  34. Leslie Chugg says:

    These are the best soft pretzels we have ever made!! They are sooo good! Thank you for all your great recipes! PS – I did have a hard time rolling them into 24″ strips…any suggestions?

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Leslie! I wouldn’t worry if you can’t quite get them to 24 inches. I usually try that length but sometimes end up much shorter, also.

  35. JACKIE says:

    Hey Mel –
    I am not familiar with buying yeast and I am wondering what the difference is between instant yeast and fast rising. I went to stop and shop and could not find anything called “instant yeast”. Can you also tell me the brand of the yeast that you usually purchase?

    • Mel says:

      Jackie – I usually buy the SAF Instant Yeast when I can find it (and mostly end up buying it online at King Arthur Flour); however, I have also found Sam’s Club carries the Fleischmann brand of instant yeast and I grab that when I need it. From what I understand, instant yeast and rapid rise yeast is the same thing so if you can only find rapid rise, you should be able to use that in recipes that call for instant yeast.

  36. Kimberly says:

    I made these last night and they were DELICIOUS! The browning was slightly uneven because I could not for the life of me get the baking soda to completely dissolve. I think the water probably wasn’t warm enough. Regardless, they were great!

    • Mel says:

      Kimberly – from the other comments, it sounds like you aren’t the only one to have issues dissolving the baking soda. I’ll have to watch that step more closely next time. Glad you liked them!

  37. kira says:

    Made these today for an after church snack to tide us over until our family dinner. I went ahead and rolled them into the long ropes and cut them into the “bites” so many others suggested trying. Then, after brushing them with the butter, tossed them in a ziploc bag with sugar and cinnamon! YUMMY! We planned on sharing them with my son when he woke up from his nap, but my husband and I ate almost all of themselves! Not real hungry for dinner now! Thank you for this one, we will make it often.

  38. Kim F. says:

    You mean no bake, then boil, then bake again? That was the recipe i had been making and i grew tired of it quickly. Another one saved… love your blog.

  39. Lisa says:

    Made these for a treat after school. They were great. I did find that only 5 minutes to cook was better. When I cooked the first batch for 8 minutes they were almost too crispy. I put salt and half before baking and plain for the other half. After dipping them in butter I dipped the half without salt into a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The sugar covered ones were our favorite. I am definitely making them in the future. Next time I might mix cinnamon into the dough.

  40. Stacy says:

    My husband went to a ballgame today with his dad, so I wanted something special to do with my 4 year old daughter today. We invited over the cousins (8 and 13 year olds) and made these pretzels. The two younger ones deserted us after awhile, but we had such a great time making these. They turned out absolutely delicious! They were also much easier to make than I thought they would be. I do have one question, though. I had a hard time getting the baking soda to dissolve in the warm water. I even tried it again with hotter water and still had no luck. They still turned out fine, but I was wondering what I did wrong. Thanks again for such a great recipe! I LOVE your blog!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Stacy – what a fun mom and aunt you are! I’m glad these pretzels turned out so well for your day alone with your daughter (and cousins). I’m not sure why the baking soda didn’t dissolve. I usually whisk it pretty good for a minute or so. There is a little bid of residual baking powder in the bottom of my dish but most of it gets dissolved. I guess if they worked out great, it doesn’t seem to be a major issue!

  41. Mel says:

    Kattie – thanks for your comment! Yes, I have used wheat flour. I usually use half white wheat flour. They turn out a bit more dense but still delicious!

  42. Kattie says:

    Thank you so much for the time you put into this blog, i have been ooohhhing and ahhing over it for a couple months now. I absolutely love everything I have made from it! on another note, when you find time of course:) could you comment back telling me if you have ever wheat flour for these, if so how did they taste???? thanks again, you are a brilliant cook:)

  43. Bonny Smith says:

    I’ve made these twice this week and love them. My mom even said “wow Bonny, these are great” and she and I ate the whole batch. With lots of butter.

    One thing I noticed though, I live in Arizona and the 7/8 cup of water just doesn’t do it – I had to add about 1 1/8 cup water to get the dough to look and feel right. But that’s Arizona for you – lower elevation and super dry.

    Making more tonight and doing that “bites” idea. Seriously love these.

    • Mel says:

      Bonny – I appreciate your comment about the water change. That will help if others look at the recipe comments and they live in a really dry climate. I’m glad you (and your mom!) love this recipe. I can basically eat the whole batch, too. And lots of butter is like icing on the cake.

  44. Sonya says:

    I made these last night for dinner, but I made them calzone style. I divided the dough into 4 pieces, flattened it, filled it with cheese, meat and veggies. Folded the dough over and placed it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then I brushed the water/baking soda on the top and baked them for 10 minutes. The family loved them. We used grilled peppers, onions, and mushrooms, diced chicken and provolone cheese. Chicken Philly inside pretzel bread. Very yummy and portable.

    • Mel says:

      Sonya – I’ve never thought to turn the pretzels into calzones – great idea! You don’t have to convince me to try it because the thought of chicken philly inside of pretzel bread has me dying to make it already!

  45. Katy R says:

    These came out so delicious! Add a little more sugar and you definitely have a Mr. Pretzel in the making! Thank you for satisfying my craving 🙂

  46. […] from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, who originally got it from King Arthur […]

  47. Mel says:

    Kristina – I’m so glad these pretzels were a hit! It sounds like you don’t have much to be worried about with yeast. I’m excited they worked out.

  48. Kristina says:

    I am fairly new to your blog, but have already made quite a few of your dishes…which my family has LOVED. Your breads make me nervous bc i’ve never worked with yeast before, but i was determined to try it…and these pretzels looked too good to not give it a try! I made them with my 3yr old yesterday and honestly we could have eaten all 8 of them. It was so easy, and so delicious. Thank you for the great tutorial, and all the fantastic recipes! 🙂

  49. Melanie says:

    Sonya – glad this has become a keeper recipe for you! I’m heading over to check out your blog…

  50. ~~louise~~ says:

    Hi Melanie, “Borrowed” this post link for a post I did today. Hope you don’t mind. They still look so delicious!!! Thank you for sharing…

  51. Sonya says:

    We made these again today and again they were WONDERFUL. We made 4 pretzels and the other 4 we made into bites. They were just like the ones at the mall. We even made toppings for them. Huge hit and I printed the recipe and added it to my box. It’s a Keeper. I put pictures on my blog if you want to see the bites. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes!!!

  52. Melanie says:

    livin local – I’m not entirely sure what gives pretzels the distinct taste but I think it has something to do with the ingredients in the dough, high baking temperature and dip in the water (or in some recipes, a boil).

  53. Melanie says:

    SJF – that is the main reason I make these: after school snacks! I’m glad your girls loved them just like my boys do!

    Susan – glad the massage worked for the dough that had been waiting to be rolled out. Mostly, though, I’m glad these were such a hit!

    Sonya – thanks for letting me know these worked out great for you. Let me know how the pretzel bites turn out!

  54. Sonya says:

    I just pulled the first pan of these out of the oven and they are gone before the second pan is done cooking. They are so yummy and easy to make. I made these with my girls and we had fun shaping them into pretzels. We are going to make another batch and make into pretzel bites. “These are AMAZING” to quote my 9 year old.

  55. ♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ says:

    I always love the aroma coming from Auntie Ann’s. I always stop and look at the way they make it too. Now maybe I could wow myself (hihihi) if I could make my own pretzels… thanks for sharing!

  56. Susan Wilhelm says:

    Made the pretzels for our Superbowl party – what a hit! I tripled the recipe and the only ‘problem’ I had was getting them rolled out fast enough (they got just a little dried out, but a good ‘massage’ fixed it)


  57. SFJ says:

    I made these yesterday for my girls to have after school. THEY LOVED THEM. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful recipes.

  58. Livin Local says:

    These look beautiful! The pictures of the dough before and after rising are quite helpful. But I still cannot figure out what gives pretzels that distinctive “pretzel” taste. Do you happen to know that secret?

  59. Katy ~ says:

    Beautiful! I’ve always been a little intimated at trying to make pretzels, they look as if they’re outside my skill set, but these are so tempting and gorgeous that I am greatly encouraged. Thank you for this post! Very well done!

  60. Evelyn says:

    I think I will be doing some baking this weekend! Between this and the chocolate chip bars…yummmm!! Thanks for the great recipes, as always!

  61. Melanie says:

    Mary Karlee – these are definitely a fantastic treat to make when rained (or snowed) in! Thanks for letting me know you and your 3-year old liked them!

  62. Melanie says:

    Ane – congrats on your pregnancy and I’m glad that these pretzels satisfied a pregnancy craving! Thanks for letting me know.

  63. Mary Karlee says:

    I made these today with my three year old since we were rained in. They were fun to make and delicious! Thanks for the post!

  64. Melanie says:

    Sarah and Alex – I’m sorry that you’ve been having frustrations with bread making. You definitely aren’t alone! Working with yeast can be a challenge sometimes. The first thing that comes to mind when reading your recipe and description of the problem is that the dough may need to be kneaded longer. When working with whole wheat flour, you really have to knead the living daylights out of it to obtain a light and tender loaf. Are you working by hand or with a mixer? Either way, you should knead the dough at least 10-12 minutes (by hand) or 5-7 minutes with the mixer. That may help. Please shoot me an email if you have other questions…I’d love to help (mykitchencafe at gmail dot com).

  65. Ane says:

    Oh my goodness, I am 24 weeks preggers and I have been craving the kind you get from the mall..these are so close and very delicious! I made some last night and I am making some more tonight! I also am making some cheese dip to go along with this! Thanks for sharing!

  66. Angela says:

    I had a turkey sandwich at a pub a few months ago that was served on a pretzel roll. These look like these would be perfect to replicate that sammy!

  67. ~~louise~~ says:

    I just want to “pluck” one of those adorable pretzels right through the screen.

    I’ve never attempted baking pretzels. Thank goodness, there’s an Amish pretzel stand right down the block. Can’t wait till they open for the season:)

    I need to save this post for Pretzel Sunday. That reminds me, I have to find out when it is this year. Thanks for sharing, Melanie…

  68. Memória says:

    Your pretzels look amazingly soft! I made the KAF bread a few days ago (and blogged about it), so these pretzels are next in line.

  69. Sarah and Alex says:

    I recently came upon your blog and really love it! I have tried a couple recipes and while I’m no expert, they still turned out pretty good. I was wondering if you could give me a few pointers on making homemade bread though. I have read a couple things from you on bread and yeast, but everytime I try making bread it is too dense or crumbly, or most the time, it will sink in when it bakes. How do I make my bread better? Just so you know what I’m doing I do:
    2 cups warm water
    1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
    1/4 cup oil
    1/4 cup honey
    1 Tbsp. gluten
    2 tsp. salt
    2 cups wheat flour
    2-3 cups white flour
    When it’s done mixing it looks exactly the way it does in your yeast tutorial, but once it’s done rising in the pans, it always sinks down and becomes too dense. What can I do?

  70. Sarah says:

    Those look so good, and fun too! Adding them to my list of recipes to try 🙂

  71. grace says:

    i looooove soft pretzels! i like ’em a) salty and doused in mustard, or b) sweet and smothered in cinnamon-sugar. your recipe looks wonderful!

  72. Sook says:

    I love soft pretzels! I was craving it just the other day. These look amazing, Melanie.

  73. Denise says:

    I was just thinking i have to look up a pretzel recipe. Thanks! They look yummy!

  74. Your Homebased Mom says:

    I drool every time I walk by those pretzel places in the mall – excited to try it myself at home!! YUM!!!

  75. Sara says:

    This looks so yummy! I love how big and chewy they look…unlike the ones at the mall that are skinny. 🙂

  76. SnoWhite {Finding Joy in My Kitchen} says:

    my office mate just made these a few days ago… my oh my! They are delicious.

  77. Minharos says:

    It’s like you read my mind! My husband’s birthday is this weekend, and I’ve been needing to gather appetizer recipes for a little b-day party. Thanks for saving me a step, and bringing the recipes to me!

    P.S. I love these pretzels! My friend makes them and they’re delicious.

  78. renee says:

    these.look.amazing.!!!! i’m so trying them this weekend!

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