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Homemade Soft Pretzels are the BEST appetizers for parties of all kinds! Soft, salty pretzels are so easy to make and way better than anything you can reheat from frozen. Serve them with homemade beer cheese sauce for the ultimate dip!

overhead image of homemade soft pretzels on black wooden cutting board next to beer cheese dip
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If there’s one thing about me, it’s that I’ll be swinging by the concession stand at any stadium to grab a pretzel with cheese sauce! Or if I’m strolling the mall, I simply must grab a soft pretzel while I shop. You know, for required sustenance. It also is nostalgic for me to pick up a pretzel at the mall because when we were kids and my parents took us to the mall, we always got Auntie Ann’s pretzels and I always got the sour cream and onion powder on it. I can still taste it now, omg – sooo good!

ingredients for soft pretzels

Ingredients for Soft Pretzels

For the pretzels:

  • Milk – Make sure it’s warm.
  • Active Dry Yeast – Just 1 envelope package will do the trick.
  • Salt
  • Brown Sugar – It can be light or dark.
  • Butter – It needs to be salted and melted.
  • Flour – Use a butter knife to level the flour so your measurements are exact.
  • Baking Soda – This also needs to be measured with care!
  • Water
  • Sea Salt – Coarse salt is what needs to be used to top off your pretzels, of course! Iodized salt will simply not get the job done.

For the beer cheese sauce:

  • Butter – For the best flavor, use salted.
  • Flour – All purpose gives the best thickness.
  • Milk – Whole milk is preferred for both flavor and consistency.
  • Beer – Use a lager or ale that has no special flavors!
  • Dijon Mustard – This can’t be substituted with plain yellow mustard.
  • Seasonings – You’ll need a medley of garlic powder, salt, and paprika.
  • Cheddar Cheese – I recommend shredding it yourself.

How to Make Soft Pretzels Step by Step

For more detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post.

  • Create the dough. Mix the warm milk with yeast and let it sit. Whisk in the salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Add the flour one cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
  • Prepare. Let the dough rise for about 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, preheat the oven to 400°F, line baking sheets with parchment paper, and prepare the baking soda water by boiling water and baking soda.
  • Form the pretzels. Cut the dough into 10 pieces, then twist each piece into a rope. Shape the ropes into pretzels. This is the fun part!
  • Dip and bake. Dip each pretzel into the water, place them on the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle them with salt. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Make the dip. Melt the butter and flour together, whisk in the milk, followed by the beer, mustard, and seasonings.
fresh baked browned homemade soft pretzels with salt sprinkled on top

Soft Pretzel Variations and Tips

  • Make it sweet. When the pretzels come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar if you like!
  • Use different seasonings. Sprinkle different seasonings on the pretzel when they come out of the oven to create what flavors you’re craving. I particularly like ranch seasoning. You could use onion powder, garlic powder, or even a mixture of both.
  • Don’t skip the baking soda bath. This really makes a huge difference in the texture and taste of the pretzels and you pretty much never see this step skipped or missed.
  • Ensure your water is the right temperature. The best thing to do is get a kitchen thermometer to make sure your water is the right temperature so you’re not killing the yeast (or not activating it).

FAQ

I don’t have yeast in a packet – how much yeast should I use?

There is 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast in one packet.

Is it really necessary to give the pretzels a baking soda bath?

This makes a huge difference in the texture (chewier) and taste (more pretzelly) of the pretzels. It is worth the extra time and it is how all pretzel shops do it. You hardly see this step missed or skipped.

Could I use white sugar instead of brown sugar?

Yes, just substitute the same amount.

Storage Instructions

To store leftovers, it is best to wrap them individually with plastic wrap. Store them for up to 2 days at room temperature or freeze for up to 1 month. They are best reheated in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through.

dipping soft pretzel into beer cheese dip

Serving Suggestions

Homemade beer cheese dip (recipe below) is always the way to go with soft pretzels or a nacho cheese sauce, but you know what else I love using? I love a good, spicy brown mustard! Serve soft pretzels alongside various appetizers to create the ultimate snack board. My favorites include: Air Fryer Sweet Chili Chicken Wings, Slow Cooker Mini BBQ Pork Sliders, Bang Bang Shrimp, and Pizza Muffins.

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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Soft, salty pretzels are so easy to make and way better than anything you can reheat from frozen.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10 pretzels

Ingredients 

For the pretzels:

  • 1 ½ cups (355 ml) warm milk
  • 1 envelope packet of active dry yeast, (¼ ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter, melted
  • Up to 4 cups of flour, spoon in and then level
  • cup (40 g) baking soda
  • 8 cups (2 l) water
  • ¼ cup (73 g) coarse sea salt

For the beer cheese dip:

  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • cup (158 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (118 ml) beer
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 cups (339 g) shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional garnish: more shredded cheese, cayenne pepper if you’d like some heat

Instructions 

  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the warm milk, and yeast. Allow this to sit for a few minutes. Then whisk in the salt, brown sugar, and melted butter.
    a gold whisk in a milk mixture in the bowl of a metal stand mixer
  • Gradually add flour to this mixture, 1 cup at a time. I use my stand mixer with my dough hook, but you could use a wooden spoon until the dough is too thick, then use your hands. (It will be a workout.) Add flour until the dough is no longer sticky (you may not need to use all 4 cups). Then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it for 5 minutes.
    flour added to a metal bowl of a stand mixer
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes.
    covered dough in a clear bowl rising
  • While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400 °F (204 °C), line 2 baking sheets with lightly sprayed parchment paper, and prepare the baking soda water.
  • Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large pot.
    baking soda in a pot of water
  • Cut dough into 10 equal pieces and shape each piece into 18-inch-long ropes. Shape the ropes into pretzels. Press the ends in to make sure they are stuck down.
    a piece of dough twisted to form a shape of a pretzel
  • Use a slotted spoon to dip each pretzel in the baking soda water for about 30 seconds. Then allow the water to drip off of the pretzel and place it on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do this for each pretzel. Sprinkle with salt as desired.
    uncooked pretzel in the baking soda water in the pot
  • Bake at 400 °F (204 °C) for 15 minutes or until golden. While these are baking you could make the dip.
  • Make the dip by melting butter and flour together, gradually whisk in milk (stirring well to remove lumps). Once that is smooth, whisk in the beer, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and paprika. Allow this to bubble for 3 minutes. Then whisk in the cheese and serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pretzel, Calories: 401kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Sodium: 4558mg, Potassium: 172mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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