Soft Pretzel Recipe
Hot homemade pretzels are something special! This soft pretzel recipe is fun to make and the results are outstanding—chewy, buttery, and perfect to serve with your favourite dipping sauce.
There’s a unique sense of achievement that comes from creating your own soft pretzels at home—the same kind you get from making Vegan Japanese Milk Bread or Cinnamon Rolls. But I’d say pretzels are even more fun. Twisting them is oddly satisfying!
While this soft pretzel recipe is about the journey, let’s be real—it’s also about the end product. These soft pretzels are vegan (many traditional hot pretzel recipes are made with honey!) and they also taste divine, with that classic salty, buttery, ever-so-slightly sweet flavour.
Why You’ll Love This Soft Pretzel Recipe
- A fun weekend project. This isn’t a recipe that takes minutes to make, but for me, that’s the appeal! If cooking and baking is your form of escapism, you’ll appreciate the work that goes into this soft pretzel recipe.
- Versatile flavors. While traditional soft pretzels are typically topped with coarse salt, you can feel free to get creative with your toppings. I share some ideas below too!
- Better than store-bought. Let’s be honest, frozen store-bought soft pretzels just don’t compare to the homemade version. The texture and flavour of homemade pretzels are far superior, making them worth the extra effort.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Agave nectar – To make this soft pretzel recipe vegan, we use agave instead of honey.
- Active dry yeast
- Warm water – It should be neither too hot (which can kill the yeast) nor too cold (which will take too long to activate).
- Olive oil – You’ll need some for the dough, plus more to oil the bowl.
- Flour – A standard all-purpose flour is fine here.
- Baking soda – Traditional soft pretzels are made with lye, but I’m guessing you’re probably not up for busting out a pair of goggles to make a snack! Baking soda gives you a similar exterior texture, although not quite as dark brown.
- Melted vegan butter – Use homemade vegan butter or store-bought.
- Kosher salt
What Kind of Salt Should I Use for a Soft Pretzel Recipe?
Because most home cooks likely have it on hand, I’ve called for kosher salt in this recipe. That said, if you plan on making soft pretzels often, you may want to buy pretzel salt, which (as the name suggests!) is the type of salt used on pretzels. It has a size that gives it a good crunch and keeps it from melting into the pretzel, as smaller salt crystals would.
How to Make Soft Pretzels
- Activate the yeast. Whisk together the agave, yeast, and water in a bowl. Let the mixture to sit for 5 minutes, or until it gets foamy.
- Make the dough. Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the flour 1 cup at a time. Continue to add the flour until the dough is no longer sticky.
- Knead. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until it forms a smooth ball.
- Rise. Grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball inside. Cover it with plastic wrap, then let the dough rise for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until almost doubled.
- Prepare to boil and bake. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the baking soda.
- Shape into pretzels. Once the dough has almost doubled in size, divide it into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a long snake. Shape each snake in a U, then twist the two ends twice around each other. Fold the twisted ends toward the dip in the U and press the two “tails” into the dough where they meet it.
- Boil. Working in batches, carefully drop the pretzels into the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds on each side.
- Bake. Transfer the boiled pretzels to the prepared baking sheet and brush them with vegan butter. Sprinkle with the salt and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with additional melted vegan butter, if desired.
Tips for Success
- Adjust the amount of flour as needed. The amount of flour you’ll need for this soft pretzel recipe will vary depending on the humidity in your environment. In the winter, you’re likely to need less flour; in the humid summer months, you may need more.
- Don’t over-mix the dough. Over-mixing the dough can result in tough pretzels. Mix until the dough comes together and is no longer sticky. The dough is ready when it bounces back a bit when you poke it.
- Be patient with the rising time. If your kitchen is cold, it could take longer for the dough to rise. Give it the full 1 hour and 15 minutes, and if needed, you can let it rise even longer. Rather than focusing on the clock, use the visual cue of dough that has doubled in bulk.
- Replace the salt with everything bagel seasoning for a savoury twist.
- Brush the pretzels with the melted butter, then dip them in cinnamon sugar for sweet soft pretzels.
- Add shredded vegan cheese over the tops before baking for cheesy soft pretzels.
Make a batch of beer cheese sauce for dipping, or pair this soft pretzel recipe with your favourite mustard. Vegan cream cheese is another great (and under-rated!) topping or dip for soft pretzels. Vegan ranch is good too!
How to Store Leftovers
If you happen to have any leftovers after making this soft pretzel recipe, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
You can freeze soft pretzels for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply place them in a preheated oven or toaster oven until warmed through and crispy on the outside. (The microwave works too, but you won’t get quite the same texture.)
More Vegan Snack Recipes
Enjoy friends! If you make this soft pretzel recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
Soft Pretzel Recipe
- 2 tablespoons agave, 42 grams
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast, 7 grams
- 1 ¼ cups warm water, 296 ml
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to oil the bowl, 30 ml
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt, 9 grams
- 3-4 cups flour (more if needed), 360–480 grams
- ⅓ cup baking soda, 74 grams, for the boiling water
- ½ cup melted vegan butter, 113 grams
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt (you can use more if you’d like), 30 grams
- Whisk together the agave, yeast, and water in a bowl and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes or until it gets nice and foamy.
- Use a wooden spoon to mix the olive oil and salt into the activated yeast mixture followed by the flour, 1 cup (120 grams) at a time. The goal is to get the dough to the point where it is no longer sticky, but just barely. Start with 3 cups (360 grams) and then, if the dough is still sticky, stir in ¼ cup (30 grams) at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. Do not over-mix. You will know the dough is ready when it bounces back a bit when you poke it.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until it forms into a smooth ball (1-2 minutes).
- Grease a large glass mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball inside. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until almost doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the baking soda to the boiling water.
- Once the dough has almost doubled in size, divide it into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a long snake (about ¾ inch in diameter). Arrange each snake in a U-shape and then twist the two ends twice around each other. Fold the twisted ends toward the dip in the U and press the two “tails” into the dough where they meet it.
- Lower the pretzels into the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds. Flip and boil for an additional 30 seconds. Don’t crowd the water. Do this in batches if needed.
- Transfer the boiled pretzels to the baking sheet, brush with vegan butter, sprinkle with kosher salt, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with more melted vegan butter if desired.
- Serve warm with vegan beer cheese.
- To store: If you happen to have any leftovers after making this soft pretzel recipe, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- To freeze: You can freeze soft pretzels for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply place them in a preheated oven or toaster oven until warmed through and crispy on the outside. (The microwave works too, but you won’t get quite the same texture.)
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.