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Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe

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Homemade soft buttery Pretzels with an amazing Salsa Verde Cheese Dipping Sauce. They’re so easy to make you’ll wonder why you waited so long to make this delicious treat at home!

Have you ever had a craving that you just can’t shake? I’ve been craving Hot Buttery Soft Pretzels, the kind like you get at the mall, for months!

Easy Soft Homemade Pretzels

I’d wake up in the morning craving them, and go to bed at night sad that another day had passed… my cravings not met! Sniff, sniff!

I decided it was time to break down and make some! However, true confessions… I’d never made homemade pretzels, and to be honest, they intimidated me a bit. Years ago my daughter would make homemade pretzels from a boxed mix we’d purchase at the market. She took it upon herself to make them herself… I just enjoyed the benefits of her labors. So I was clueless! (Not the first or last time in my life! I assure you!)

Homemade soft pretzels with cheese sauce

I wanted a homemade pretzel that was chewy on the outside, but not so chewy they were tough! They also had to be fluffy and soft on the inside.  The perfect combo…for the perfect “pull” when you tug them apart for dipping.

Speaking of “dipping”…that requires an amazing cheese sauce to dunk those buttery sticks of delight into! Not your typical cheese sauce, but one with rich warm flavors! A Salsa Verde Cheese Sauce seemed like the perfect solution…and boy is it ever! The world of Pretzel dunking will never be the same!

I found an amazing Homemade Pretzel recipe from Alton Brown on the Food Network. It’s quick, easy, and in my ever so humble “carb expert” opinion, the BEST pretzel recipe out there!

I can’t believe how easy, and fun, these Home Soft Pretzels are to make! So let’s get baking! 

How To Make Homemade Chewy Soft Pretzels

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine hot water, sugar, and kosher salt.

TIP: Be sure the water temperature is 110 to 115 degrees. Water that is too hot can kill the yeast! You do not want to be a yeast killer! It makes rising to new heights difficult! (That was really bad! The puns are rolling off the fingertips today my friends!) 

Stand mixing bowl with hot water, sugar, salt,

Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. You can lightly mix the yeast into the warm water. I find it helps to activate the yeast.

Yeast sprinkled on to of warm water

Mixing the Pretzel Dough

Add 2 cups of flour and 1/4 cup melted butter, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed. Add another 2 ½ cups of flour. Continue mixing on low speed until all the ingredients are well combined. 

Adding flour and melted butter to the water and yeast mixture

Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

TIP: It’s important to increase the speed so that the dough will knead and cling to the dough hook. 

Dough pulling away from the sides of the bowl

Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, or use a new clean bowl… I’m all about saving on washing dishes, oil the bowl well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl. Turn dough over, so oil side is up.

dough placed in oil bowl

Cover dough with plastic wrap.

TIP: I love the reusable plastic covers that I purchase in the plastic wrap aisle. You can wash and dry them and reuse them. They’re super handy!

Covering the dough with dough.

Place the covered dough in a warm place for about 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.

Pretzel dough after it has risen

Preheat the oven to 450° degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Set the pans aside.

In a large pot, 8 quarts or larger, bring 10 cups of water and 2/3 cups of baking soda…YEP…2/3 cups baking soda, to a rolling boil.

How To Shape Pretzels

While the water is coming to a boil, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface. I used my counter top and sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.

dough divided into 8 pieces

Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope…just like making snakes with play dough! (I may or may not do that particular activity with the grandkids! It’s why I’m an expert!)

Rolling dough into 24 inch long ropes

Make a “U” shape with the rope…

U shape out of pretzel dough

Holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and twist…not your body…the dough. I know you were thinking about doing a little happy dancing!

Twist the dough into pretzels

Press the ends onto the bottom of the “U” in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place the formed pretzels onto the parchment-lined half sheet pans.

Pretzels on parchment paper

Hot Water Bath for Pretzels

Now for some FUN! Seriously this part is fun…but you need to be careful because that’s BOILING HOT water! This step is what makes the outside of the pretzels chewy! 

TIP: I ALWAYS place the pot on the BACK burner to prevent it from tipping over and spilling! Please always use caution when working with boiling fluids. 

Carefully place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. I used a large flat spatula to place the pretzels into the boiling water and to gently splash water over the top of each pretzel. Slide the spatula under the pretzel and remove from the boiling water.

Note: They’ll rise slightly in the boiling water. 

Pretzel in boiling water

Return the pretzels to the half sheet pan. Brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, or “egg wash” and sprinkle with pretzel salt. (This step adds the final “chewy” factor and allows the salt to stick!) 

Pretzels after placed in the boiling water and brushed with egg wash and salt.

Bake until golden brown, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving!

You can bake them longer, until they are darker than mine…but I felt this was perfect!

Pretzels on baking sheet after baking

If you’re going to eat them immediately…and I double dog dare ya not to…brush them with melted butter!

If you want to store the pretzels then I recommend waiting to brush them butter until ready to serve. Overnight the melted butter can dissolve the salt and make your pretzels look like they have a serious medical condition. They still taste amazing…they just don’t look at pretty!

Look how YUMMY!! Are ya drooling yet? Well hold on…we still need to make that EPIC Salsa Verde Cheese Sauce. I made mine while the pretzels were baking.

Soft Buttery Pretzels fresh out of the oven

How To Make Epic Pretzel Cheese Dip

In a small sauce pan melt 2 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat.

melted butter in sauce pan

Whisk in 2 Tablespoons Flour until smooth, whisk in 1 cup of milk and stir until slightly thickened. Add 1 Cup grated cheese, continuing to stir.

Making cheese sauce in small sauce pan

Add in one pouch of Velveeta Cheese Sauce. Stir until smooth and creamy over low heat.

Cheese sauce after Velveeta Cheese has been added

Now to “Kick up” this cheese sauce! Add in 1/3 cup Salsa Verde and salt to taste.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. If the sauce thickens too much, add more milk until you reach the desired consistency. 

Cheese sauce with Chili Verde

This one simple addition makes the most incredible cheese sauce! It does not make it “spicy hot”…it just adds an incredible depth of flavor that pairs beautifully with these perfect chewy soft homemade pretzels!

Salsa Verde Cheese Sauce

It was love at first “dunk”…by my fourth dunk we were in an official relationship!

dunking the pretzels in the cheese sauce!

These big soft buttery pretzels are the PERFECT Game Day snack…or they’re a great “Save the Crazed Mom” with Carbs treat!! Either way it’s a WIN!!

I can’t lie…after the photo shoot of these delectable gluten laden delights…I just sat there…eating! I couldn’t stop myself. They’re AMAZING!!! If you can stop after one bite…you’re a better person than I am!

If you liked these delicious treats….you’ll love these other Game Day Recipes!

Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting today! I’d love to have you follow Norine’s Nest on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest where I share my favorite recipes every day!

Happy Nesting Friends!

Norine's Signature and photo
Yield: 8 pretzels

Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe

Soft Pretzels and Salsa Verde Cheese Sauce

Homemade soft buttery Pretzels with an amazing Salsa Verde Cheese Dipping Sauce. They're so easy to make you'll wonder why you waited so long to make this delicious treat at home!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cups baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon water
  • Pretzel Salt
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Salsa Verde Cheese Sauce

  • 2 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 - 4 oz packet velveeta cheese sauce
  • 1/3 cup Salsa Verde
  • Salt to Taste

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and melted butter using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, or use a new bowl, and then oil the bowl well with non-stick cooking spray. Return the dough to the bowl, turn dough over to oiled side up, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Set aside.
  3. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan.
  4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other, twist, and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
  5. Place the pretzels, carefully, into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. Brush with melted butter if serving immediately.


How To Make Salsa Verde Cheese Sauce for Dipping

1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour to form a paste. Add in milk while whisking continually until mixture thickens creating a roux.

2. Add in grated cheese and the pouch of velveeta sauce. Mix until smooth and creamy. Add in 1/3 cup Salsa Verde and stir. Allow mixture to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.

3. Serve Warm.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8 servings

Serving Size:

1 pretzel

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 504Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 6321mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 16g

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Joy potestio

Friday 2nd of February 2024

Hello! I want to thank you for sharing this recipe! Yeast and I are not friends, I’ve never actually had dough make it to the oven! Your recipe was easy to follow and I can’t believe that they actually turned out great! I need to work on my twisting skills though! I’m going to end with two things… first a funny story, I started boiling the water with what I thought was baking soda, I asked my husband to make sure it didn’t boil over while I continued shaping the dough, I couldn’t figure out why my water was so white, that’s when I realized I used powder instead of soda! Thank god I figure it out before placing the pretzels in the pot!

And the second, my dough was kind of elasticky, like I would roll it out but it didn’t want to stay rolled.. can you offer me some advice on that? Thanks! Wish I could share a pic!!

[email protected]

Monday 5th of February 2024

Hi Joy! First this made me SO happy!! I love when someone is willing to keep trying even when in the past they may not have had success. It's how we learn, and cooking is no exception! Second...WHEW...glad you caught the baking soda mistake! Yikes!!! My entire reputation was at stake! Lol Third...the reason why your dough was kind of elastic, was because the dough was probably slightly overworked causing the strands of gluten to become stronger. My suggestion is to not over knead the dough. It's easy to do, and we've all done it. Every bread maker on the planet has overworked their bread dough at one time or another. Lastly...you can ALWAYS share a picture with me. Just email it to me at [email protected]! I love seeing photos of your successes! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with me today! You made my day! Happy Nesting and continued bread making! Norine

Amy

Saturday 20th of January 2024

These were sooo good! I live in an area where we can’t get good soft pretzels. It was a first for me to make and found it pretty easy except for the twisting part. They got better as I went along. Thank you!

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Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

Hi Amy! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe. It is hands-down one of my very favorite recipes. Little secret...I struggled with that twisting in the beginning too! It's a lot trickier than one would think. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll visit again soon. Norine

Kathy

Monday 15th of January 2024

My daughter and I made these on a very cold Colorado day.

They are excellent. The bread is so good.

Next time I will make them smaller. 16 instead of 8.

Thank you for the great instructions too. So easy to follow. 😀

[email protected]

Tuesday 16th of January 2024

Hi Kathy! A perfect cold day activity with a warm treat at the end! Love your idea of making them smaller...I got bigger so I feel less guilty eating only one! Lol Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Have a great New Year! Norine

Hannah

Tuesday 26th of December 2023

Can they be left out on the counter in an airtight container or do they need to be refrigerated? Also do they freeze well?

[email protected]

Thursday 28th of December 2023

Hi Hannah! Sorry for the delay in responding. I was out of the office last week for Christmas. They can be left out on the counter in an airtight container. The salt can get a little "funky" but, they still taste wonderful. You can also wait to add the salt later, just the like the frozen pretzels you buy at the markets and then you won't have funky salt on top of your pretzels if they sit out on the counter. Enjoy! Norine

Christine

Tuesday 28th of November 2023

Hi there! First time trying this, and the dough never came together away from the sides of the ball. It stayed very wet. Any suggestions? I followed directions to a T!

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Wednesday 29th of November 2023

Hi Christine! Okay, let's put our thinking caps on together and see if we can figure this out. I've never run across this issue before with this recipe. So many factors can come into play from altitude to differing quality of ingredients. My first though is did you use only ¼ cup of melted "real butter" or "margarine"? Not an entire stick, that would be double what you need? That would also change the outcome of the dough. Did you only use 1½ cups of warm water? The ¼ cup of melted butter and the 1½ cups of water are the only two wet ingredients in the dough. When combined with 4½ cups flour should not produce a wet dough? When it comes to bread dough never be afraid to add a little extra flour. Make sure it was all-purpose flour and not cake flour. Different flours can result in a different outcome. Generally speaking tough you can add up to a 1/2 a cup of extra flour without it having any ill effects on your dough. It's always better to have a dough that is a bit "wetter" than dry. My suggestion would be to make the recipe again. If the dough does not pull away from the sides of the bowl, slowly add a few Tablespoons of flour, up to a half a cup, until it begins to pull away and form a ball around your dough hook. I hope some of this helped? It's hard when I'm not in the kitchen with you, that would be fun though, to pinpoint exactly why a recipe isn't working...but I hope some of this helped. I'm so sorry it didn't work for you the first time. This is a really popular recipe and one of my favorites. Norine

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