Homemade Soft Pretzels

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My sisters know exactly where this is coming from.

It’s a bit of an obsession I have. An obsession I indulge in…. exactly never.

Not because I don’t want to, or I have killer willpower, but because I have no choice.

soft pretzels 1

We used to have a soft pretzel shop in the mall we usually shop in, and every time I was there I’d buy a salted pretzel with warm caramel sauce. The combination is one of the most incredible I’ve ever put in my mouth. Please tell me you’ve had a pretzel with caramel sauce.

But then the shop shut down, which was okay for a while, because there is a Wetzel’s Pretzels in the movie theatre just across the street from said mall.

Except 2 years and 2 months ago, we had a beautiful baby girl. And you can guess how many movies I’ve been to in the last 2 years.

Your guess is as good as mine, as I can’t even remember. One?

Would you believe I didn’t even order my pretzel.

So, when we were traveling to Florida on holidays this summer, we had a layover in the Chicago airport. There was a shop selling pretzels and caramel sauce.

soft pretzels 2

So I thought to myself, since we’d just had lunch, “I’ll swing by and pick one up just before we board.”

Except that they boarded the airport one whole hour before take-off, because it was overbooked and I guess they wanted to figure out how many people they could squeeze on.

“That’s fine,” I told myself, “I’ll get one on our flight back when we stop at Chicago again.”

The day before we left to come back my sisters revealed to me that our layover was actually in Toronto on the way back, and not Chicago. There were not soft pretzels in Toronto. They were a little worried about how I was going to take the news.

So I knew when I got home that I had to make soft pretzels. I’ve had recipes pinned to my Breads and Muffins board for a long time now, but I was always intimidated.

There was no stopping me this time.

soft pretzels 3

And you know what? They’re not actually hard! In fact, they’re totally easy, and they’re incredible, and they taste just like the soft pretzels from the mall. And my favourite part: the dough is made in the bread machine!

I’m sure you could easily make the dough in a stand mixer, as it’s only 4 simple ingredients, but the bread machine takes so much of the work and guessing out. The dough comes out soft and a little sticky, but you want it that way. If you add too much flour, the pretzels will be difficult to roll.

I divided the dough in half (the recipe was said to make 8 pretzels), and made 4 medium pretzels and 26 pretzel bites. They both baked in the same time and are both amazingly delicious.

And please serve them salted with caramel sauce. You won’t regret it.

*Stand Mixer/By Hand Instructions

Since making this bread machine recipe, I’ve also tried it in the stand mixer. To make in a stand mixer (or knead by hand): use warm water and combine with yeast and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit 5 minutes until slightly frothy. Add the flour and knead (with a stand mixer or by hand) until smooth, 3-5 minutes. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise 1-1.5 hours until doubled. Proceed with the recipe.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Buttery, salty, chewy pretzels just like at the mall! These are incredible fresh from the oven.
Serves: 8 medium pretzels or about 50 pretzel bites
  • 1¼ cups water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp instant yeast (original recipe uses active dry, so a swap would be fine)
  • 2 liters of water for boiling
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 2-3 tbsp melted butter
  • salt for sprinkling
  1. Add water, flour, sugar and yeast to bread machine in order listed. Turn on the dough cycle. Check dough after 5 minutes to see if an additional tbsp of water or flour is needed for dough to come together.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. When dough cycle is finished, remove from bread machine. Divide into 8 pieces to make medium-sized pretzels, or tear off and roll small pieces into balls for pretzel bites.
  4. In a large pot, bring water and baking soda to a boil. Boil pretzels and pretzel bites for 15-30 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towel.
  5. Place onto greased baking sheets and bake for 8-12 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm with caramel or other sauce, or enjoy plain!
If you are making the dough in your stand mixer, remember to leave about an hour for rise time before rolling the dough into shape. Cover and let rise in a warm place, just like you would with regular bread or bun dough.


Recipe slightly adapted from Dine and Dish. Original recipe from All Recipes.

You might also like these Chili Cheese Pretzel Bites!

Chili Cheese Pretzels: Buttery, salty pretzels stuffed with chili and cheese -- an unreal combination!

Or this Pretzel Crust Pizza!

Deep-Dish Pretzel Crust Pizza -- the combination of the chewy, salty pretzel dough, sweet tomato sauce, spicy pepperoni and melty cheese is out of this world! You need to try this! www.thereciperebel.com

More pretzel love from friends!

Chewy Toffee Pretzel Brownies from Sweet Peas and Saffron.

Chocolate Chip Brioche Pretzels (what?!?!) from Kristine’s Kitchen.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Twists from My Sequined Life.

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    • Ashley says

      Thanks Jocelyn! You know, I’m not into many savory dips, but fresh, hot bread brushed with melted butter is good with pretty much anything!

  1. says

    These look amazing! I’ll be featuring them on Pin Your Friday Favorite tomorrow (tshirtjeans. blogspot.com). Thanks for linking up!

  2. Sue says

    A flour question! The recipe asks for all-purpose flour. Is this the flour that one would use for cakes, pastry etc, or a ‘strong’ bread flour one would use for bread-making? (Sorry if it’s self-evident to US cooks but I’m a Brit in France.)

    • Ashley says

      If your options are bread flour or cake/pastry flour, I would go with bread flour because it will give the pretzels a chewier texture. Here, all-purpose is something in between. It’s the “everything” flour.

  3. says

    Oh man what a journey you have made to bring pretzels back into your life! I would’ve been so sad to be so close to them in that airport and yet so far away. But these look absolutely gorgeous and fluffy and I love that I can make them from the comfort of my own kitchen. 😀

    • Ashley says

      It was pretty sad! But I mean, there’s always the movie theatre — it would be a good reason to get out more! Lol.

  4. says

    I always have to get a big soft pretzel and that ooey gooey nacho cheese to dip in whenever I have the opportunity! That is comfort food at it’s best for me! I can’t wait to make these and enjoy them at home now :)

    • Ashley says

      It was easy enough to restrain myself before I tried making them…. but now I know how easy they are! Trouble!

    • Ashley says

      Of definitely! I had to freeze some, and I just reheated in the oven for 5 minutes at 400. Nearly as good as fresh :)

    • says

      Try the almond crunch at Annie Ann’s with the caramel dip, or cream cheese so good, I worked there for many years. Try using a Teflon sheet to bake on they won’t stick to it.

      • Ashley says

        Definitely no issues with sticking! And I’ve never even heard of Annie Ann’s — but almond crunch with caramel dip sounds out of this world!

  5. says

    Yum – I want one!. Sorry, make that 2 or 3 or 10. These pretzels look delicious. I can almost smell them from here. I’ve never had pretzels with caramel sauce. It sounds like a match made in heaven, though. I’ll have to give these a try soon :)

    • Ashley says

      Cinnamon and sugar would be amazing too! For me, it’s just got to be caramel sauce! That sweet and salty combination….so good!

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