Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels: twisted bliss

One of my earliest food memories is the soft, chewy, hot pretzels my dad would buy us kids on our regular wintertime visits to Philadelphia, across the river from his hometown of Camden, New Jersey.

Tasting strongly of the charcoal fire keeping them hot, squirted with a squiggle of bright yellow mustard, they both warmed and kept us entertained as we trudged icy city streets in the wake of Mom and Dad, who were busy reliving old times and window shopping.

Window shopping? B-O-R-I-N-G, when you’re a kid. Thus the food bribes.

Eventually, our trips to Philadelphia ended; and with them, our access to street-vendor soft pretzels. I kind of forgot them for a couple of decades; the Boston area, where I grew up, isn’t Soft Pretzel Central, like Philly or New York.

And neither is Maine, or New Hampshire, or Vermont, where I lived for 35 years.

At one point several years ago, mentally rhapsodizing over those long-ago pretzels, I decided I’d best learn how to re-create them at home.

So I did. And here they are.

Sans the acrid charcoal flavor, it’s true; but with the added richness of a generous slather of melted butter.

And, no need to find a metro pretzel cart…

Enjoy these Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels; they’re one of the top-ranked recipes on our site. Trust your fellow bakers to pick out a winner!

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can blow them up to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our gridded photos.

Place the following ingredients into a bowl:

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup warm water*

*Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.

Beat everything until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough (so it doesn’t stick), place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the “dip.” Mix 1 cup boiling water with 2 tablespoons baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally (or almost totally) dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm (or cooler).

After 30 minutes, transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface.

Preheat your oven to 475°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each).

Shape each piece into a rough log, and let them rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28″ to 30 ” long), and twist each rope into a pretzel.

Pour the baking soda/water into a 9″ square pan.

Working with four pretzels at a time, place them in the pan with the baking soda/water, smooth side down, as pictured. Spoon the water over them; let them soak for 2 minutes before placing them on the baking sheet smooth side up. This baking soda “bath” will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color.

Sprinkle the pretzels lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt, if desired. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.

While the pretzels are baking, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Unsalted is best, if you’ve topped the pretzels with coarse salt.

Notice the writing on the parchment? I was doing an experiment here. I’d heard that baking/drying baking soda (and thus concentrating it) before using it for a pretzel dip resulted in browner pretzels.

I got just the opposite result: plain, out-of-the-can baking soda yielded golden brown pretzels (right), while the baking soda I baked made lighter pretzels (left).

My other experiment was whether rinsing the pretzels in plain water after dipping made a difference; it didn’t seem to.

An earlier experiment was interesting, though. I was wondering if it mattered how long the pretzel spent in its baking soda bath.

On the left, a pretzel that was dipped in its bath, then immediately transferred to a baking sheet. On the right, a pretzel that spent 2 minutes soaking in its bath.

Clearly, the 2-minute soak is the winner.

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 flavor.

Enjoy the pretzels warm – just as you would from a Philly street vendor.

Or reheat them briefly in an oven or microwave; equally good.

Memories are made of this…

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. lildauphin

    In your Baker’s Companion Cookbook (that I adore) there is also a slight variation to make these into bread sticks. Which I have done many, many, many times. I can no longer make spaghetti and meatballs without those bread sticks. They are simply to die for. And the best part about them is that they don’t take that long to make (the rise time is fairly short) making them an easy “after thought” to add to the dinner table. Thank you for this recipe. My family (and I) love you for it!

    Ah, I’d forgotten that – thanks for the reminder! Might need to make some bread sticks to go with my Sunday spaghetti… PJH

    1. Linda

      Is the slight variation breadstick recipe available on this web-sight? I would love to try them.

    2. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Linda,
      We don’t have any written version for making this into stick form, but you can use the dough and follow the shaping for any breadstick recipe to make un-curled sticks. ~ MJ

  2. sebastes

    How did you store the sodium carbonate after baking it? It will absorb moisture from the air and lose effectiveness if not kept in an airtight container. The other issue is that the full conversion requires higher temps than some sources have stated ~392F.

    I stored it in an airtight jar, but ended up just tossing it since it didn’t seem to make a difference – I wasn’t using it for leavening, anyway, just using the “base” in its chemistry for browning. Not sure I understand your “full conversion” question? PJH

    1. Linda C

      heating baking soda at 400 degrees for half an hour releases water and carbon dioxide turning it into a more alkaline “washing soda”, a more alkaline version of baking soda. I suggest you didn’t do it correctly as it should have made a difference. Old style pretzel bakers dipped their pretzels in lye water to get that lovely brown glaze.
      Wouldn’t it be easier to double the baking soda mix so you don’t have to spoon the water over the top?
      My pretzel rolls call for immersing the rolls into a boiling baking soda solution that is lots stronger than your suggestion….but you only immerse for 10 seconds. Amazing what it does for the flavor!

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      You’re so right, Linda – seems there are many variations of baking soda/water amounts for the “dip”. Choose the method or amounts that produce the pretzel of your dreams. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  3. anna mid-maine

    Why is putting the dough in a bag necessary? Can I flour the dough, cover it and leave it in the bowl for the 30 min rest? I only have sea salt. Can I use that sparingly on the tops of the pretzels?

    Anna, not necessary – so long as you keep the dough covered to retain its moisture, a covered bowl is fine. And yes, sea salt should work – if it’s coarse enough it won’t melt. Enjoy – PJH

  4. gaa

    PJ- I too am making spaghetti sauce on Sunday! You must have been sending out vibes and I picked them up. Lildauphin, thank for the suggestion of making bread sticks with spaghetti. I was already planning to make a loaf of applesauce oatmeal bread (with my newly purchased boiled cider!) Quick bread and quick bread sticks while the sauce cooks in the crock pot??? Sounds like a plan for a (predicted) snowy Sunday in Pittsburgh!!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Converting a wheat based recipe to gluten free is tricky and making a soft gluten free dough that can be rolled and shaped is even trickier. There are recipes out there (a quick web search will yield some for you) but sadly we haven’t developed any to date. Best wishes in your quest. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    2. Suzi

      3 1/2 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour
      3 tablespoons brown sugar
      2 teaspoons instant yeast
      1 1/4 teaspoons salt
      1 teaspoon xanthan gum
      1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      1 1/4 cups warm water
      1 large egg, room temperature
      2 tablespoons soft butter
      water bath
      4 quarts water
      1/4 cup baking soda
      2 tablespoons granulated sugar
      coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt, optional
      tips from our bakers
      For extra-soft pretzels, brush warm pretzels with melted butter and serve immediately.
      For cinnamon-sugar pretzels, omit the salt topping. Brush the pretzels with melted butter and shake in cinnamon-sugar after they finish baking.
      For pretzel shaping techniques, see our blog, Flourish. It’s important that you use just a dusting of flour on your work surface. If there’s too much flour it will be hard to roll out the dough, and the dough won’t stick to itself when you form the pretzel.
      When baking two pans of pretzels at once, it’s a good idea to adjust your oven racks to the middle/upper and lower positions of your oven; rotate the pans halfway through the baking time.
      1) Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Add the water, egg, and butter and stir until a firm dough forms, about 4 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. If the dough seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water.

      2) Knead the dough until smooth, then transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, 45 to 90 minutes.

      3) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot.

      4) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate it, and divide it into 12 equal pieces.

      5) Cover the pieces and, one at a time, roll them into 12″ to 14″ ropes. Shape the ropes into pretzels and place them on the prepared pans.

      6) Add the baking soda and sugar to the boiling water and wait for the foam to subside.

      7) Drop the pretzels one at a time into the water, and boil them for about 5 seconds; they should initially sink, then float to the surface in that time.

      8) Return the pretzels to the pans and sprinkle them with the coarse salt of your choice, if desired.

      9) Bake the pretzels until golden brown and finished to your liking, about 18 to 20 minutes for soft pretzels, 25 minutes for chewier pretzels, and 35 minutes for hard pretzels.

      10) Allow the pretzels to cool on the pans for 10 minutes before serving.

      Yield: 12 pretzels.

  5. bobpetti

    Oh – I like this SO much better than the normal instructions of putting the pretzels in a still-boiling solution of water and baking soda (or – worse – lye). We’ll be making these soon, you can bet on that!

  6. cjmatto

    These look delicious. Two questions: can the recipe be doubled directly (no adjustments)? Any tips for freezing if we want to (try to) set some aside for later? (Par-bake, freeze, and finish later?) Thanks!

    To double. The amount of yeast remains the same as for a single batch. The salt is multiplied by 1.5. The remaining ingredients are doubled. Frank @ KAF.

  7. dmhouse

    I cannot wait to make these pretzels tomorrow. It has been very cold in Colorado and tomorrow, according to the weather forecast will be no exception. I have tried another KA soft pretzel recipe and they were great!! I cannot wait to try these. How yummy they look. You can never go wrong with KA products. I NEVER use anything else. With this recipe I bet you can make bread sticks. Before baking, brush a little olive oil on the shaped dough and generously sprinkle with the KA Pizza Seasoning. They are yummy!!


    PJ – I believe that when “sebastes” mentioned full conversion, she/he was referring to the fact that when you bake your baking soda it changes chemically. Sodium bicarbonate converts to sodium carbonate which is more basic (less acidic) and should provide better browning. The NYTImes had a great article about this: “For Old-Fashioned Flavor, Bake the Baking Soda”.

    Personally, I think the minor precautions needed to use lye are well worth it!

    Ah, I see; I was thrown by sebastes’ reference to temperature, taking it as baking temperature for the pretzels. Lye does work well, but I wouldn’t feel confident recommending it to a wide audience with various levels of culinary skills; baking soda works well and is a whole lot safer for big audiences! Thanks for your feedback here – PJH

  9. JuliaJ

    What happens if the pretzels “soak” too long in the baking soda/water (aside from possibly over-proofing)? Just curious if a 5-minute or 10-minute soak would be detrimental. Thanks!

    Over-soaking will begin to liquefy the outside skin of the pretzels. if this may be a danger in your kitchen, use a timer as a reminder. Frank @ KAF.

  10. waikikirie

    PJ this looks great. If I mention this blog to DH he will be after me to make these tonight..LOL…I also have similar memories. My Mom would take me and my brother down to Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas show. Part of the treat was getting one of those vending cart pretzels…Mmmmm I can still smell them along with the roasting chestnuts. Thanks for bringing back such a special memory and a wonderful new recipe….xoxo

    Yes, I never remember eating these in warm weather – just winter. In both NYC, and Philly. VERY distinctive aroma, wasn’t it? Thanks for chiming in here – PJH

  11. milkwithknives

    What is the interior like in these? My husb and I recently shared a spectacular baked pretzel at Whole Foods that was absolutely blanketed in grated parmesan and now I’m dying to try to recreate it at home. It was soft and close grained, but not dense, if you know what I mean. Are these pretzels similar? Either way, they look wonderful and I’ll have to give them a spin. Thanks for the tip about the two-minute soak, too, which I have never heard of before but will be sure to try.

    With minimal rise time and no fat in the dough, these are close-grained and chewy, rather than soft; think bagel rather than soft dinner roll. But go ahead and give them a try – I’m sure you’ll enjoy them, especially hot out of the oven. PJH

  12. lynna

    Wow, are you sure you haven’t been reading my blog?? I know I read yours. 🙂 Maybe it’s a coincidence, but I just did my own pretzel research and posted in January, (, and got different results. I made a deeper bath, and soaked the pretzels submerged, rather than spooning over. I also wrote which was which on my KAF parchment paper LOL! I found that the sodium carbonate pretzels came out better, and I will never boil another pretzel. 🙂

    Great minds think alike, Lynna, right? Hadn’t seen your blog, but just looked at it – your results are really black and white (literally!) Thanks for the link here so others can enjoy your experimenting – PJH

  13. sweettoothduo

    Now, if only KAF would sell pretzel salt, I could find everything I need from you guys!! I can’t find it anywhere. I use the pearl sugar (that looks like pretzel salt). We roll them in Conf. sugar after putting on the butter or I make a dipping sauce with maple. This is a once/week breakfast over here. So easy. So yummy.

    I wish we still sold the pretzel salt… but you know what? Kosher salt or pickling salt are both good alternatives. And I love your sweet maple version – yummmm…. PJH

  14. JuliaJ

    Can this dough be used to make bialys?? Shape and soak top side down??

    Bialys are usually pale, not brown, so I wouldn’t use the soak. But sure, give it a try – should work just fine. Or just use our Bialy recipe, which is very similar only using a higher-gluten flour… PJH

  15. bevy

    My first pretzel (bretzle in German) memory is that of my daughter teething on a Bavarian pretzel in, Augsburg, Germany. She gummed more of those pretzels and grew her teeth with few tears. Teething baby wakes up crying, stick a pretzel in her mouth, she was one happy camper. She never used a pacifier, just sucked on a pretzel. Pretzels in America are too mushy. Can King Arthur recipes come close? Sort of. I have tried both recipes and they are only a start. The taste is right, but the texture isn’t. The pretzel needs to be more crunchy and less squishy (but will admit that after eating European bread any bread in USA is squishy). The pretzel needs to be firm enough to stand up to a sharp knife so it can be split in half to spread butter and hold a layer of cheese in between both halves (like a sandwich). Any suggestions?

    Bretzle mit kasse Bitte!!!

    Bevy, these pretzels can do that – they’re dense, like a bagel. Are you looking for something hard/dry, rather than just dense/close-grained? BTW, I just made pretzel rolls out of this same recipe – roll the dough in logs like you’re going to make a pretzel, but tie it in a square knot instead, tucking the ends into the center – pretzel roll! Yummy… PJH

  16. farmerac9509

    Recipe sounds great and will try today. I thought I saw a question related to how to freeze these but don’t see it now and was also wondering how to do that. At what point in the process would you freeze them, and then how to continue baking them? Thanks.
    You can just freeze them after they are baked and cooled. ~Amy

    You could also freeze them shaped, but unbaked (wrapped well, of course). When you want to finish, thaw overnight in the fridge; let rest on the counter until room temperature then bake and finish. Enjoy! PJH

  17. marshakmazz

    What did I do wrong? The dough was incredibly springy. Each time I rolled out a piece it sprang back into a short string. When I tried to twist them into shape, the openings closed up. Consequently, my pretzels looked a bit more like lumpy dinner rolls. Although they tasted very good, my husband commented that they resembled rolls called “weck” or “kummelweck” typically served in up-state New York for sandwiches with rare roast beef, horseradish, dill pickles and an au jus dipping sauce – yummmm!

    Oh, LOVE beef on weck! Marsha, when your dough springs back like that, WALK… AWAY. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then come back and gently roll again. Once all the pieces are rolled into logs, if they start springing back as you shape them into pretzels – WALK… AWAY. Come back in 10 or 15 minutes, and they’ll be ready to behave. It’s the gluten that’s causing this; the more you handle dough, the tighter the gluten gets. Think of a rubber bands snapping back. But if you give it time to relax, it behaves just fine…. PJH

  18. yfyu

    Hi Frank,
    I read your answer about doubling the recipe but the amount of yeast to remain the same. But would it offset the baker’s percentage–reducing the percentage of yeast by half ?

    Yes, the percentage of yeast to flour will be “off”. It’s not going to be a big deal at home. Now if you were working in bulk, think 20 loaves increased to 83 loaves, that is when Bakers Percentage is ideal. Frank @ KAF.

  19. cpason

    I was reading the article about yeast and then saw the recipe for the pretzels. What a fun recipe to do. Can’t wait to try it out with my
    four-year-old granddaughter. We’ll be graduating from thumbprint cookies to pretzels. I tried the original recipe on Saturday and on Sunday I doubled the recipe, using the same amount of yeast but less salt topping and butter with delicious results. I even tried your cinnamon sugar blend as an alternative topping with great results.

  20. kedwards71

    PJ, you are such a mind reader! 🙂 Hubby and I were just saying to each other we needed to make soft pretzels and then your blog post shows up a couple of days later. That has happened more frequently than not!! LOVE the KAF blog.

    I made these Friday night, and what a treat!! So easy and SO tasty. All eight of them were gone within an hour. This recipe is a sure fire winner with us. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    This is a real “go to” recipe, isn’t it? You can really whip them up pretty quickly, and as you say – SO tasty! Thanks for sharing here – PJH

  21. Jess

    Just made these tonight and they were TO DIE FOR. Seriously thank you! They didn’t last even half an hour out of the oven, and they were so easy to make. And I love the helpful pictures you posted!

    Glad to hear it, Jess – try sprinkling with cinnamon sugar for a yummy variation… PJH

  22. Danielle

    My kids were ecstatic with the snack that was waiting for them when they got home from school — hot pretzels! I used 50% white whole wheat and 50% AP flour. I lightly sprinkled the pretzels with kosher salt and baked for 8 minutes. They were just the right balance of buttery and salty. I personally would have like them with a bit chewier crust. Would I need to use all AP flour? Bake for 9 minutes? I have some non-diastatic malt powder — could I use that in this recipe? Thanks KAF!

    There are a couple of ways to get a little more “chew”. You could use a little less water for a firmer dough. You could use a little more AP than WWW. Or you could replace the AP with an equal amount of Bread flour. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

  23. "Dawn DeMeo"

    I already rated these, but they’re that good I wanted to come say so on your blog too! My daughter (22 months) can’t get enough. A couple of days after making the first batch, she requested more. Of course I couldn’t turn her down. I’m not a big fan of pretzel salt, so I did half with a tiny bit of sea salt, which my husband had with honey mustard. The other half I waited till after the buttering, then sprinkled on cinnamon-sugar. Sooo good!!

    Dawn, it’s so much fun when you can get little kids (who can be so picky) to eat and enjoy, isn’t it? Thanks for letting us know the pretzels are a hit in your house! PJH

  24. Valerie

    Today was my day off and I felt like baking instead of cleaning house so I made a batch of Hot Buttered Pretzels. Then I gave one to my husband and he loved them so I decided to make another double batch for supper to go along with the homemade chicken soup I was making (we all have colds this week). Well needless to say they were a hit. All of the recipes I have tried from your website have turned out perfect so I am always looking to check out the new recipes you post.
    Thanks King Arthur for making me look like a fabulous cook. I was a good cook before I discovered you but now I am great!!!

    Valerie, you’re warming my heart on this cold evening. I’m so happy we can help you bake your very best! PJH

  25. Stephanie

    I made these this past weekend. Always wanted to try making my own, never have before but this recipe and this how-to post encouraged me to finally give it a try. I had trouble shaping the dough into pretzel shapes but they baked up great and tasted delicious! Thank you for the instructions detailing the different ways (by hand, food processor) this dough could be made. That helped. (I’m new to bread/dough making, and very wary.) I’ll have to make them again sometime to work on my pretzel shaping ability but knowing how yummy they taste, it won’t be a hardship.

    Kudos to you on your initial foray into the world of home baked breads – We’re glad the blog worked as your guide on the side! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  26. julie

    How can I make these pretzels ahead of time? If it’s just a few hours ahead of time, can I just refrigerate them on the pan and then pop the pretzels into the oven when ready?

    Yes, Julie, that would be a good solution. You could also bake them, DON’T butter, and cool to room temperature. Right before serving, reheat (5 minutes or so in a 350°F oven, tented with foil); then butter when they come out of the oven, and serve. PJH

  27. Lisa P

    All I can say is dear lord, you KAF folks are simply THE BEST!!!!!!!!!! Your attention to the comments and always posting a response is simply wonderful. You have changed my life!!!

    Wow, Lisa, that’s high praise indeed! Thanks so much for taking the time to post your kind words here – we really appreciate your enthusiasm! PJH

  28. Jessica

    I made these pretzels this afternoon and they’re awesome!! I also grew up in the South Jersey area and I remember going with my mom into the city and getting street vendor pretzels and frozen Superpretzel’s or Auntie Anne’s could never compare. I was surprised at how authentic they taste right out of my oven! Thank you for posting this great entry!!

  29. pcstirn

    Yummy! 😉
    I’ve been thinking of using a dough like this to create Hot Pockets (since my hubby brought home a box of the horrid store-bought ones). Would this dough stand up to filling and freezing, you think?
    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas and technique you provide!

    It sure would – it’s sturdier than most. Good idea – let us know how they come out, OK? PJH

    1. anna tran le

      Hello all,
      I made hot pockets and pizza with this pretzel recipe , they turned out delicious.
      Thank you!

  30. CHRay

    I only have active dry yeast – do I need to run out and get instant yeast, or is there a way to work with what I have? thanks!
    You may use the same amount of active dry yeast in your recipe. ~Amy

  31. Jamie B

    I am making these now and I had to add a lot of extra flour before the dough wasn’t really sticky….why?! I followed the measurements given.

    What flour are you using, Jamie? the recipe’s flour/water balance is written for our King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. If you’re using that – did it weigh 10 1/2 ounces? I think we can figure this out together… PJH

  32. glenn123

    I have been making these wonderful authentic German soft pretzels for quite some time using lye wash and clearly prefer it to baking soda wash.
    My question is; since I bake a lot of bread using King Arthur bread flower, what would be problematic using it for pretzels as well?
    Also, at the advice of a baker (on YOUTUBE), I just ordered diastatic barley malt flour from King Arthur. Is this product as beneficial as it is made out to be?? I’m really anxious to give it a try.
    Thanks in advance. glenn123

    Glenn, you can certainly use KA bread flour for pretzels; if your recipe calls for all-purpose flour, simply increase the water a bit, to account for bread flour’s higher protein. I think perhaps a couple of teaspoons of extra water per cup of flour should do it. As for diastatic malt, its effect will be subtle; it you’re a seasoned bread baker, you’ll notice that it helps the yeast (and thus your bread’s rise); and also converts starch to sugar, helping the loaf brown better. Have fun with it – PJH

  33. artsyma

    Was going to make these this afternoon, but I only have bread flour and white wheat flour at the moment. I do not have any of the barley malt necessary for the alternate white wheat only recipe. I do happen to have vital wheat gluten on hand, would adding that to the white wheat help at all? Or should I just go the bread flour route (2cups) and white wheat (1 cup)? I think the recipe calls for 3 cups flour total? I’m willing to experiment. 🙂

    I suggest replacing the all-purpose with an equal amount of bread flour. Frank @ KAF.

  34. Lzimme9272

    for years I have been using a weird recipe with all kinds of things in it, when I come across your recipe (which is so simple) cooked up some pretzels and they are the best I have ever had!!!! Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmy! You rock King Arthur flour!
    sometimes, simple is really the way to go, isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed them so much. 🙂 ~ MaryJane

  35. MAGGIE

    I’m thinking about how I like “browned” butter – could I use it instead of the “melted” butter in this pretzel recipe or would they get ruined when they’re baking? Thanks a bunch.

    No telling, Maggie – not sure how browned your butter is, and how much more it would brown in the oven. Give it a try, though, and let us know how they turn out, OK? Good luck – PJH

  36. Amazing!

    I made these last night for dinner and the whole family was begging for them again this morning, so I will make them for Sunday football dinner. They are excellent! I forgot the second rising putting them into little logs and resting for 5, so I will do it the proper way tonight, thank you so much, they are perfect!

  37. peaceland

    I’m excited – my Grand-daughter (4-3/4 yrs) and I plan to make pretzels tomorrow. She’s an “experienced” bread maker – so this will be fun! Lots of easy steps that she can help with. The pictures will help, too! Thanks for all KAF does for the baking world!

  38. knudten

    Hello KAF, I just made some of these and I was wondering if I could freeze them?

    Sure – wrap well, and try to use within 3 to 4 weeks; they tend to dry out over time in the freezer. Reheat before serving. Enjoy – PJH

  39. chalolo68

    Just wondering using a bread machine to mix and knead the dough
    and following the directions for the recipe i’m curious if the finished pretzel is more like a bread as mine was or should it have been more like a true soft pretzel which was what I was reaching for, what could I have done wrong?

    Please call our baker’s hotline, 802-649-3717; there are a lot of variables here, and a dialogue is the best way to get to the bottom of this. We look forward to hearing from you – PJH

  40. Sally

    I wanted to make a special treat for the kids on this very cold and snowy day. I found your recipe through a google search. It appealed to me because of it’s simplicity and minimal time investment. (The recipe I’ve used before is more labor intensive and just takes too long when hungry kids are involved!) These were so easy and baked up beautifully! The kids and I both LOVED them. This is a definite keeper. Thanks!

    Great to hear that this recipe worked so well for you!-Jon

  41. JKStL

    I made these last night for the first time, based mainly on the high rating and the detailed blog entry. They were amazing! I topped most with salt, I couldn’t find any pretzel salt so I used unground coarse sea salt from a prefilled grinder that worked really well. On two I used garlic powder, salt, and parmesan, those were really excellent. I had left over Velveeta that made a perfect cheese sauce with a little milk. I kneaded by hand and the dough was easy to work with and rose very quickly. The butter was an excellent touch. Thank you PJH for another excellent blog post and recipe
    It sounds like you had just a wonderful time, your enthusiasm just shines through. Thanks so much for sharing it here! ~ MaryJane

  42. Ashley

    I just read this after reading one requiring lye a few days ago. I’ve worked with worse in the lab, but the idea of going finding/buying lye made me think ‘maybe someday’. If I can use baking soda, that turns into ‘definitely next weekend!’. I’m very excited to try this recipe. I would also be interested if I could make sourdough pretzels with my KAF live sourdough instead of the yeast. I love that stuff, it’s like my precious fridge-pet.

    You certainly can make sourdough pretzels! We even have a blog entry about them: I hope you get inspired and concoct some great pretzels! Kim@KAF

  43. jtirmscher

    Are there any special instructions for using a bread machine when making these pretzels? Love your recipes!
    You should be just fine with the dough cycle of the machine for these. Enjoy! ~ MaryJane

  44. sylvia leal

    Try baking the pretzels on a greased silpat mat and they easy come off with ease. On my first attempt at the recipe, I ate paper because they stuck to the parchment paper. I shape them into twists and my kids love twisting them for me

    Sorry for the stuck pretzels, but glad you found the best way for baking success in your kitchen. Thanks for sharing your solution – Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  45. cakestand

    I want to send a batch of these with my husband to a pot luck. What kind of go-withs (mustards or spreads) would you suggest? Thanks.

    Well, they’re pretty buttery already. You might consider omitting most of the butter, substituting just a thin brushing; then serving with sweet/hot mustard (like a good honey mustard); or another “fancy” mustard; I like some of the fruity mustards (e.g., cranberry). they’d also be good with any kind of cream cheese based dip – our Creamy Artichoke Dip, for instance. Enjoy – PJH

  46. Annie

    I’ve made these and they are amazing! I’ve been asked to make 100 of them for a family party and am wondering about a couple of things:

    Can I triple the recipe? I saw the directions for doubling but was wondering if I could up that by one. I plan to experiment before hand with putting some of the doubled (maybe tripled) dough in the fridge while I work with the rest of the dough. Are there any suggestions for that?

    The plan is to freeze them and then re-heat in a microwave or oven. Should they be buttered prior to freezing?

    The party is a standing party and we will hand these out in wax paper “pockets” (wax paper bags cut on the diagonal). Has anyone tried using an egg wash instead so they are less messy? If so, would add some butter to the dough?

    I would give our Baker’s Hotline a call so we can help troubleshoot your questions!-Jon 855-371-2253

  47. Bella

    Hello..I am so excited about making pretzels at home, never done it before..I have one question though, is it possible to substitute the baking soda with baking powder, if yes, how much should I use? and for the baking powder should I also use hot boiling water..(I have just started recently with the baking 🙂 …Thank you so much..

    For this recipe the two are not interchangeable. You will need to use baking soda, as it will give the pretzels a salty flavor and a shinny look. Betsy@KAF

  48. venus smurf

    I’d like to try this with a sourdough natural yeast starter. Anyone have any suggestions for adapting this recipe?

    Try using 1 cup starter, 3/8 to 1/2 cup water, and 1 1/2 cups flour. Your rising times will obviously be much longer, but you should end up with a good pretzel. You could also try our Sourdough Pretzels recipe, leaving out the yeast. Again, rising times will be extended. Good luck – PJH

  49. Rachel

    I’d love to make these as one of the snacks I’ll be serving after my daughter’s christening on Sunday. Would I be better off making them on Saturday and just reheating on Sunday when we get back home? Or can I do the baking soda bath on Saturday, and hold off on baking them until Sunday? Not sure the best way to serve them warm!! Thank you!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Rachel, just to be safe, I’d bake them Saturday; then reheat and brush with butter Sunday. About 10 minutes in a 350°F oven, tented with foil, should do it. Enjoy – PJH

  50. Jenna Elam

    Thank you for this wonderful looking recipe and all the comments following. I too remember these large soft pretzels from Philadelphia. I lived in NJ, but worked in Philly. I can’t wait to try them. I also remember another item we used to get every morning from a small shop close to work. They were called Tea Cakes, a small sweet biscuit or cake which of course we drank with hot tea. Hope to someday find a recipe for them too. Love KA products and the helpful tips. Thanks again, you have made my day.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This is one if my favorite recipes on our site. Another one is called Sourdough Pretzels. Try it sometime if you have a starter! More information on those tea cakes would be great. Maybe you will see a blog on them, too! Elisabeth@KAF

  51. Geeta

    Hi, Many of your recipes call for Instant Yeast and all I have on hand is dry Active yeast. How do I adjust the recipe to use the Dry Active instead?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The amounts are interchangeable – and the technique is as well. Today you can add active dry yeast to a recipe along with the dry ingredients as you would instant yeast. If you like the process of proofing or softening active dry yeast, stick with using 1/2 cup of the water from the recipe and a pinch of sugar to make the sponge, then continue with the recipe after 10 minutes. Some bakers proof or soften the active dry yeast because they’ve been successful using this method before, or it honors the age old tradition of yeast bread baking. Either way – it’s all happy baking! Irene@KAF

  52. alschultz54

    I made these pretzels today, and they turned out great! I would like to make them a little denser than they came out of the oven, because the Philadelphia pretzels I remember were very dense and heavy. I swear they must weigh a pound each! I remember that they would be sold by vendors who worked the busy intersections. When the light was red, they would come around with brown paper bags with 4 pretzels for a buck. If you wanted one, you handed the guy a dollar, and you got a bag of pretzels. These pretzels were never warm, but they were great tasting, almost a meal in themselves. I now live in Florida, so I am going to try to adjust the recipe to get those Philadelphia pretzels!

  53. Joey

    I like to add KAF’s wheat flour in the recipe… I used 2cups bread and 1/2cup wheat flour.
    Also, try baking the baking soda in a muffin tin at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, before adding in boiling water. This creates a deeper brown crust, which is similar to a Philadelphia/Bavarian style pretzel.
    I have lots of similar recipes using King Arthur Flours at
    Love you KAF!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sure, Sharon – add a couple of extra tablespoons of water, they should be fine. Enjoy – PJH

  54. Elizabeth

    Is King Arthur GMO free? before we start baking, could you please put that on your flour sold in stores so we can feel Good about what were baking with. Thank you We love the King Arthur store. Vermont grows some of the healthiest foods here in the states thank goodness.. Keep up the good work.

  55. lisathomps

    Born and raised in Philadelphia (now living on the Gulf Coast of FL) I miss my pretzels. So while enjoying the sunshine of FL I decided to make these pretzels using a different yet extremely similar popular recipe that I found on the net. For those who are wondering about substituting different KA flours (I use organic) I substitute 1/2 KA all purpose + 1/2 KA white wheat and it is AMAZING! My kids get the fiber and no one can taste the difference. Additionally, after cooling completely, with salt on top, I lightly wrap each pretzel in foil then place in a plastic freezer ziplock bag. To warm them I put the foiled wrapped pretzel directly from the freezer into a 350 degree oven for 3-5 mins depending on the size. They come out tasting exactly as the day I baked them. They haven’t lasted beyond a week in our house so I can’t speak on freezer burn or length for freezing. Hope that helps those wondering about substitution & storage.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for sharing your tips – helpful to customer/bakers and our employee/owners alike! Happy Baking – Irene@KAF

  56. Susanne Bell

    I’m going to try these when my granddaughters come visit this summer! They look fabulous but there’s nothing like buying them in Philly from the street vendors especially the ones around Franklin Institute!

  57. fd91354

    Curious how I could incorporate some sour dough starter into this recipe. Suggestions? Perhaps using unfed starter?

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Nora,
      Bread flour give you a much chewier pretzel, which kind of defeats the “soft” pretzelness. Your pretzels will be denser and firmer, like bagels. If that’s something you’re shooting for, give the bread flour a try. ~ MJ

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Leigh, use the bread machine to make the dough, then shape by hand and bake in your regular oven. I often use my bread machine just to knead dough – it does a fabulous job! Good luck – PJH

  58. BigDave

    For those afraid to use lye, don’t be. I’ve been making pretzels with a lye bath for years. Just do a search for “food grade lye” and you’ll find many vendors (mostly advertising it for handmade soaps). Simmer the pretzels in 2 quarts of water with 2 Tbs lye for about 30 seconds each (don’t use an aluminum pot as this can react with the lye), drain then place on the baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Sprinkle with real pretzel salt and bake for about 8-10 minutes. You’ll be amazed how dark the exteriors get while the inside stays moist and white, and they will have the real pretzel taste (no butter needed at all). Enjoy—

  59. Mhachen

    I made these pretzels yesterday and they were delish! Gone in a flash. The recipe in the KAF cookbook says to use sugar for the bath, not baking soda. I followed your blog and used the baking soda. Is there a mistake in the cookbook?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Mhachen–we’re happy to hear you are busy making pretzels! The Hot Buttered Pretzel recipe in The Baker’s Companion calls for a sugar-water topping, which gives the pretzel a subtle sweetness to compliment the tender, buttery dough. We’ve found that most pretzel-eaters are in the salty rather than sweet camp, so on our blog and website we have adjusted the topping to use baking soda instead. This gives the pretzels a deep golden brown color and a sheen without any added sweetness. So to answer your question, no, no error–just two methods to please all the pretzel-eaters and makers out there. Happy baking! –Kye@KAF

  60. Erika

    Just realized I’m out of parchment paper, is there a substitute I can use in it’s place (foil?) or just grease the pan itself? I’ve made thewe pretzels close to 10 times in the last 6 months and I need them today!!

  61. Dianne

    I made these over the weekend with my 3 year old granddaughter, what fun. Now I would like to make some for a retreat. What is the best way to store them? I put them in Ziploc bags this weekend and they didn’t look as good the next morning. I never knew making pretzels was so easy!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Pretzels are best eaten shortly after baking–they have a high crust ratio, which makes them prime candidates for drying out quickly. We’ve found that brushing them with melted butter and sprinkling the salt on right before serving is one way to help preserve the freshness. As for storage, try wrapping the pretzels in something semi-porous like a dish towel or parchment paper before putting them in a plastic container. Some bakers swear by storing soft pretzels in a paper bag. To get them back to that fresh, just-out of the oven state, reheat them for 5-10 minutes at 300 degrees just before serving. We hope your retreat-mates enjoy this recipe! Happy pretzel making! –Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We hope you’ve seen the from our website. You can always call us for more guidance at 855-371-2253. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  62. Jim

    This is a very good, very easy recipe. I have a cramped kitchen, but did fine, thank to having an out-of-the-way place to rest the dough while prepping the baking trays and making the soda bath. A good set-up also helps in the shaping-dipping-tray phase, so plan your space accordingly.

    An easy tip on cooling the soda bath: boil 1/2 cup water in a heat-proof glass measure, dissolve the soda, let cool slightly, then fill with another 1/2 cup of cold water. The idea here is to fill a pan to a shallow depth, so the amount of soda bath you make has no proportion to the recipe itself; it has more to do with the size of your water bath pan. If you have a pan larger than 9″ square (81 sq in), then multiply the 1 cup/2 tbs ratio upward to fill your pan one to two inches deep, if you need to dip more pretzels at one go.

    The biggest thing I learned was that parchment paper alone does NOT work! The pretzels stuck to it like glue. Still, except for the bottom crust that was left behind on the paper, the pretzels came out great. When I cooked the second bunch, I skipped the parchment paper and used a very generous coating of vegetable oil spray with much better success.

    Instead of brushing on the butter, you can also serve pretzels as a small plate and let guests drizzle the liquid butter on themselves (I mean, on their pretzels) :).

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Jim. Oooops, now I have butter on my shirt! 😉 ~ MJ

  63. Debbie

    I have been baking your soft pretzels (among other things) to sell at my local farmers market for three seasons now. I’m in the midst of baking several batches right now for market this afternoon, in fact! I just had to stop and say “thank you” for the changes to the original Baker’s Companion recipe that are reflected in this blog post – the extra salt, slightly lower temperature, and most of all, the baking soda soak. My only complaint about the recipe before was that I had trouble getting the pretzels to brown the way I wanted without over-baking them; the soda soak completely fixes that. My pretzels now look amazing! Thanks so much for all the experimenting you do, and for sharing the tips you glean from that with the rest of us.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You are very welcome, Debbie! We would not be able to do it without bakers like you passing on your feedback. The baking soda bath does a super job at browning. I have always loved that method and have stuck to it. Good luck at all your farmer’s markets this season. Bake, bake, bake and sell, sell, sell! Elisabeth@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Freeze tightly wrapped. Remove from freezer and thaw on counter for a few hours, then reheat for 3-5 minutes in a 350 oven. Laurie@KAF

  64. Rosa DeBraun

    Hi. I’m just new reading your post. But, I sincerely want to complement you for the easy recipe for the pretzels and for the great pictures you included they were a wonderful help. In addition, I will complement you and thank you for the kindness and so well explained answers to all of the people’s replies. I’m so impress. And happy that Benjamin, a friend, sent me your blog. I Loved it. Thank you very much.

  65. Melissa @ Bless this Mess

    These turned out FABULOUS!!! Made it exactly as directed and my only mistake was not making a second batch right away. Perfection in a pretzel without the boiling!

  66. Stacy

    These were the best hot pretzels we’eve ever made. They were SO soft. They were easy to make and didn’t take a long time. I kneaded them by hand and they came out great. We did half salt and half cinnamon sugar. They were gone immediately!!

  67. Tara

    These tasted exactly like the soft mall pretzels that I was hoping for! So soft and fluffy with the right amount of sweet and saltiness. The brushed on butter really adds the soft texture of frying the pretzels without having to fry them, great recipe!

    1. Susan Reid

      Tara, if you’re measuring water or milk, the weight of 1 cup by volume equals 8 ounces. If you’re measuring flour, which is much lighter, the weight per cup is between 4 and 4 1/4 ounces. Your measuring cup wouldn’t weigh 8 ounces if filled with feathers, right? Susan

  68. Andrew

    Phenomenal! My wife who is a pretzel aficionado loved it. But one very important note, go very light on the salt, a little goes a very long ways, you do not have to cover every square inch of the pretzels

  69. Dianna

    Hello I know this blog is old but hoping someone will see my comment! I just made this and wow they are sooo yummy but mine completely stuck to the bottom of my parchment paper!! So bad it was like they were glued to it and I had to cut the backs of the pretzles off to eat them lol so we had backless pretzles! Still, they were sooo yummy just wondering why that might have happened? Thanks!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Dianna, It may be helpful to spray your parchment paper with vegetable spray and to allow the pretzels to drain a bit after dipping them and before placing them on the parchment. Just place them briefly on a cooling rack or hold them over a plate with a slotted spatula for 15 seconds or so. Barb@KAF

  70. Amy

    I just made pretzel dogs for supper with your recipe. They were the bomb! We used Conecuh sausage. If you’re from Alabama you know what that is. I just took the long strips of pizza dough and wrapped my sausage like a mummy before I dropped them in the boiling baking soda water. Sooooo good!!!!

  71. Rhonda

    I have the KA Baker’s Companion Cookbook, and was comparing a printed copy of this recipe to the one in the cookbook. There is a variance of 1/2 tsp from this recipe to the cookbook. There is also a topping variance, but that is relatively unimportant. Which is the better salt portion, and why the change? Usually, salt inhibits (and thus controls) the yeast production and, therefore, the rise. I would guess the greater salt quantity would mean slightly more dense pretzels. Any input is appreciated.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Now that’s sharp attention to detail, comparing the recipes. The salt helps tighten the dough, while also being a flavor carrier. It may be best to make both versions of the recipe and see which one your family prefers. Enjoy the pretzel journey! Irene@KAF

  72. Erin

    I just discovered that my big tub of baking soda is no longer active. I tested it out with warm water and vinegar, and got no bubbles. The answer to why all my cakes were starting to dip in the center.

    My question is, although I cannot use the baking soda for baking, would it still be effective for the water bath for pretzels?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      What a bummer, Erin! To have its full alkalizing effect, the baking soda does need to be active, so we wouldn’t recommend it for your water bath. Perhaps its time to mix it with vinegar to help clean out the drain? Mollie@KAF

  73. Steve Fox

    I just made these and have to say a bit disappointed. Taste more like salted buttery rolls then a soft pretzel. I think I’ll go back to making soft pretzels with bread flour or higher gluten bagel flour, malt powder and then boiling in baking soda infused water before baking.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sorry to hear these Hot Buttered Pretzels didn’t curb your pretzel craving, Steve. It sounds like you have another recipe that imparts the chew and flavor you’re looking for, which is good news. (It sounds similar to our Everything Pretzel recipe.) We hope you continue to enjoy soft pretzels at home! Kye@KAF

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