Homemade Soft Pretzels

We love making this soft pretzel recipe on weekend afternoons! It's super fun to make, and the pretzels are always chewy, flavorful, and delicious.

Soft pretzels

If you love fall baking but need a break from pumpkin spice, make homemade soft pretzels! Way back in the early years of Love and Lemons, Jack and I shared a vegan soft pretzel recipe that continues to be one of the most popular recipes on the site. A few weeks ago, when we were in the mood for a fun weekend project, we decided to give the old recipe a go. Our homemade pretzels came out pretty well, but we thought we could make them even better.

This soft pretzel recipe is a new and improved version of the old one. It’s still vegan (no eggs or butter here!), and the pretzels are fantastic. They’re soft and chewy, with a classic sweet and salty pretzel flavor. I think you’ll love them, but almost more importantly, I think you’ll love making them. This is a great recipe for a cool, gray day, when nothing sounds better than holing up in a warm kitchen and making something that’s just as fun as it is delicious. Let’s bake!

Soft pretzel recipe ingredients

Soft Pretzel Recipe Ingredients

Good news! You only need a few ingredients to make this easy soft pretzel recipe:

  • All-purpose flour – This recipe calls for quite a bit of flour – 4 1/2 cups! – so measuring it accurately is important. Too much flour, and your dough will be dry. Too little, and it will be wet and sticky. I recommend using the spoon-and-level method for a precise flour measurement.
  • Active dry yeast – It helps the dough rise and makes the soft pretzels puff up as they bake.
  • Maple syrup – It activates the yeast and adds a subtle sweetness to the dough.
  • Water – To best activate the yeast, make sure your water is warm when you start making this soft pretzel recipe. We aim for 105°-115°F.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – It adds richness to the dough, helping create the soft pretzels’ addictive chewy texture. A neutral-flavored oil, such as sunflower oil or canola oil, will work here too.
  • And salt – A soft pretzel essential! You’ll add fine sea salt to the dough. Then, once you’ve shaped the pretzels, you’ll sprinkle them generously with coarse sea salt.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Hands shaping ball of dough

How to Make Pretzels

Making this homemade pretzel recipe is a blast! Here’s how it goes:

First, make the dough. Activate the yeast by mixing it with the water and maple syrup. When the mixture foams, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the flour, salt, and oil, and mix on medium-low speed until a cohesive dough forms around the hook.

Ball of dough in a large bowl

Then, let it rise. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form it into a ball. Brush a large bowl with oil and place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough has almost doubled in size.

8 pieces of soft pretzel dough on marble

Next, shape the pretzels! After the dough rises, turn it out onto a clean, unfloured work surface, and divide it into 8 pieces.

Hands rolling homemade pretzel dough rope

Roll one into an 18-inch rope.

Hands bending rope of pretzel dough into U-shape

Grab the ends of the dough rope, and bend it into a U-shape.

Hands twisting soft pretzel dough

Cross one of the ends of the rope over the other, leaving a wide loop of dough below them. Then, wrap the dough ends around each other again to create the pretzel’s twist.

How to make pretzels - hands shaping dough on marble

Finally, fold the twist towards you, into the center of the dough loop, to make a pretzel shape. That’s it! Repeat with the remaining dough.

Last but not least, boil and bake. Boil the pretzels one at a time in a baking soda bath. Use a slotted spoon to lift each one out of the pot and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle it generously with coarse salt, and use a sharp knife to create a 4-inch slit at the bottom of each pretzel.

When all the soft pretzels are boiled and salted, transfer them to a 450° oven and bake until they’re golden brown and puffy. Enjoy!

soft pretzels on a baking sheet

Homemade Soft Pretzel Recipe Tips

  • Add more water or flour if you need to. If the dough seems too dry or wet when you’re mixing it together, don’t worry! Before it rises, you have some wiggle room to adjust its consistency. If it’s super dry and not coming together in the stand mixer, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does. Conversely, if it’s wet and sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until it forms a cohesive, pliable dough.
  • Let the dough rise somewhere warm. Yeast responds to warmth, so, for an extra productive rise, stick the dough somewhere warm. We like to put ours on a sunny windowsill!
  • Boil and salt the pretzels one by one. In a traditional pretzel recipe, an egg wash or melted butter helps bind the coarse salt to the pretzels. We choose not to use eggs or butter in order to keep this recipe vegan, so it’s important that you sprinkle each pretzel with salt right after you boil it, while the dough is still wet. For the best results (and calmest salting process), I recommend boiling and salting each pretzel one by one.
  • Serve them with sauce. Not going to lie, these homemade soft pretzels are delicious on their own, especially when they’re still hot from the oven. But who doesn’t love soft pretzels with dipping sauce?? Make these guys even more fun and flavorful by dunking them in spicy mustard, vegan cheese, chipotle sauce, or vegan ranch dressing.

Homemade soft pretzel recipe

More Favorite Baking Recipes

If you love this soft pretzel recipe, try one of these fun baking projects next:

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Homemade Soft Pretzels

rate this recipe:
4.97 from 26 votes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour
Serves 8
This homemade soft pretzel recipe is such a fun baking project! Enjoy them on their own, hot from the oven, or serve them with spicy mustard or vegan cheese for dipping.


For the pretzel dough

For the poaching water

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda


  • Prepare the pretzel dough: In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, yeast, and water and proof for 5 minutes or until foamy.
  • In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, place the flour, salt, olive oil, and the yeast mixture. Mix on medium-low speed for 5 to 6 minutes, until the dough is well-formed around the hook. If the dough is very dry after 3 minutes, add 1 tablespoon of water.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean lightly floured work surface and gently knead to form into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. Brush a large bowl with ½ teaspoon of olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough is almost doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean (not floured) work surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll one piece of dough into an 18-inch rope. Grab the ends of the dough rope to make a U shape. Cross one of the ends of the rope over the other, leaving a wide loop of dough below them. Then, wrap the dough ends around each other again to create the pretzel's twist. Fold the twist towards you, into the center of the dough loop, to make a pretzel shape. (See step-by-step photos above). Place it onto the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Prepare the poaching water: In a large pot, combine the 6 cups of water and the baking soda and bring to a boil. Drop pretzels, one at a time, into the pot. Boil for 30 seconds, then lift out using a slotted spoon and place onto the baking sheet. While the dough is still wet, sprinkle with coarse salt. Use a sharp knife to cut a 4-inch slit along the bottom of each pretzel.
  • Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown.

adapted from Alton Brown.


4.97 from 26 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Diane from dianeschuller.com

    I don’t understand where the “4-inch slit at the bottom of each pretzel” … do you mean pick it up and cut the other flat side? do you mean somewhere near where the two ends come? There is no photo to show this.

  2. Win

    Hi, is there a way to store these after baking so they retain their initial crunchy exterior? Thank you

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Win, I would probably freeze them and then reheat them in the oven (or a toaster oven).

  3. Keilidh Muise

    Can you use gluten free flour in this recipe? Thinking of making them for a family dinner!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi, we haven’t tested gf flour here, so I’m not sure how it would work. Because the flour is the main ingredient here, you might want to look for a recipe that was specifically developed to be gluten-free.

  4. Vanessa

    Why do you cut a slit in the bottom?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi, the slit gives the pretzels a place to expand and vent air as they bake.

  5. Ashley

    5 stars
    The BEST recipe for homemade soft pretzels!!! I never look to another recipe for soft pretzels because nothing ever tops this one. Not only delicious but so easy to make, fool proof. I end up making them weekly sometimes because they never last long enough in the house. I freeze any extras and they warm up perfectly in the microwave.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  6. Mara

    4 stars
    Just made them, they were very easy. Half the batch with salt and the other half with cinnamon sugar. Thank you for the recipe.😊

  7. Susy Von der Ohe

    If I want to use the barley syrup instead do you know how much I should use? Also I’ve read that east coast bagels also have the barley syrup in the boiling water…

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Suzy, you should be able to replace the maple syrup with the barley syrup just fine.

  8. Sharon

    5 stars
    I made these pretzels for our holiday gathering, and they turned out great! I got my grandkids involved in with putting the ingredients in the bowl and my 6 year old granddaughter helped rolling the dough.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Sharon, I’m so glad they were a hit!

  9. Katie

    5 stars
    I’m obsessed, these are so good, thank you! I tried the regular recipe, and today I’m experimenting with rye flour 🤞

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved them! Let me know how the rye flour goes 🙂

  10. Rene

    Could I make these into little bites?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      you could! I might watch the baking time, depending how small you make them.

  11. Kym

    5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! Dough is silky smooth and so easy to roll. Delicious. We made regular and common sugar. I would highly recommend!
    Wish I could leave a picture of how beautiful they turn out!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved them! Tag me on instagram with your photo, I’d love to see! @loveandlemons

  12. Oona

    5 stars
    These soft pretzels are PHENOMENAL!!!!! They taste exactly like east-coast pretzels, but way better at the same time. I halved the recipe, and it worked well, I’m just sad that I didn’t make 8, because they are already half gone-haha!! I HIGHLY recommend this recipe, you will NOT be dissapointed!!!!!!!!

    • Mel

      Hi, could you make this recipe into pretzel buns/rolls? If so, any suggestions

  13. Laurie

    5 stars
    I made these today as a surprise for my son who rode the school bus for the first time and we both loved them. They were perfect!

    The only thing is, I found the ends lifted up. so, please provide advice for how to keep the ends of the pretzels stuck down, and what to do if they lift up after boiling.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.