Alton Brown’s Soft Pretzels

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There’s no need to go to a fair for a soft pretzel.  Bake up a batch of these easy to make golden brown and delicious soft pretzels by Alton Brown!

A plate with 3 large, golden brown pretzels on it.

I don’t know about you but we love soft pretzels in our house.  When we go to Sam’s Club we always grab a pretzel.  When we go to Target we always get a pretzel. It’s pretty much our go to snack.

The only thing I hate about soft pretzels is the price.  When I was a kid they used to cost a buck or less but now they are up to 2 or 3 dollars for one!

In fact, I would save up my extra lunch money and buy a soft pretzel every Friday for 50 cents in our cafeteria in high school because it was such a big treat.  We even buy the frozen kind that you can microwave.

I started making this recipe for Alton Brown’s soft pretzels about ten years ago.  While this is a yeast dough it’s a pretty uncomplicated recipe and they’ve turned out well every single time I’ve made them.


  • warm water (around 110 degrees)
  • sugar
  • kosher salt
  • yeast
  • flour (all purpose flour works best)
  • butter (I like to use salted but you can use unsalted)
  • vegetable oil
  • baking soda
  • egg

To Make the Dough:  Combine the warm water, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let sit 5 minutes.   After 5 minutes add in the flour and butter and mix until just combined.  Turn onto a lightly flour surface and knead for 5-6 minutes.  Place in a bowl, cover and let rise for one hour.

To Shape the Pretzels:  Once the dough has risen divide into 8 pieces.  Roll out a rope that is 18 inches in length.  If you can’t quite make 18 inches that’s fine.  Place the ends together so the dough rope makes a circle.  Twist the ends of the rope together one or two times (your preference). Bring the twisted ends down and press one on each side of the pretzel to complete.   Press to make sure it sticks.

A baking sheet with 5 unbaked soft pretzels on it.

The dough for these pretzels is really easy to make.  You basically put everything in a bowl and mix it until a dough forms and then let it rise.

The dough only needs to rise one time because it’s getting a boiling water bath before going into the oven.  You can make these pretzels as big or as small as you’d like.  The boil and cook times will still be the same.

Once the dough has risen it’s divided into pieces and rolled into long ropes.   At this point the pretzels are shaped and then put on a baking sheet.

Do I need to boil the pretzels?

Yes!   Make sure you boil them in the baking soda water.  This is what gives the pretzels their chewy interior.   If you skip this step they will not have the right texture.

Can I make pretzel bites?

To make pretzel bites roll the doll into long, 1 inch thick ropes.   Cut the ropes into 2 inch pieces.  Boil and bake as directed.  You may need to pull them out of the oven 2 or 3 minutes earlier but the timings will be very similar.

How do you store the pretzels?

Pretzels can be stored in an air tight container or zip top bag for up to 4 days.  Make sure the pretzels are completely cooled before placing them in the bag otherwise it will steam up and cause a moist environment and the pretzels won’t last as long.

How do I reheat the pretzels?

Pretzels can be placed in the oven at 300 degrees for 5 minutes or can be microwaved for 15-30 seconds to heat.

Pin Image:   A plate with 3 large, golden brown pretzels on it, text title, a cutting board with a cup of flour, a cup of flour, a packet of yeast, a bowl of baking soda, and a stick of butter on it.

Next the pretzels are boiled and placed back on the baking sheet.  Brush with the egg wash or melted butter.   Then sprinkle with kosher salt.   You can use regular salt but you won’t see it like you will see the kosher salt. Then you bake!

The pretzels smelled and looked amazing with a crispy golden brown exterior and a soft and tasty interior. They are so fresh tasting and are enjoyed best the first day they are made.

More Pretzel Recipes:

In a unique twist my husband decided he wanted to make crab melts on top of the pretzels.  I wasn’t sure about this idea but he made his Maryland Crab Cakes, put them on the pretzel, melted a little cheese on top, and we ate them as sandwiches.  The verdict?  Seriously delicious!

A cooling rack with 5 golden brown soft pretzels on it.

If you’ve tried my Alton Brown’s Soft Pretzel Recipe or any other recipe on Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:

A plate with 3 large, golden brown pretzels on it.

Alton Brown’s Soft Pretzels

There's no need to go to a fair for a soft pretzel.  Bake up a batch of these easy to make golden brown and delicious soft pretzels.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 8 pretzels
Author: Hezzi-D


  • 1 ½ c. warm water 110 degrees
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 ½ c. all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons butter melted
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 10 c. water
  • c. baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • Kosher salt


  • In a large bowl combine the warm water, sugar, and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
  • Add the flour and melted butter to the mixture and mix with a spoon until just combined.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes.
  • Coat a large metal bowl with vegetable oil and place the dough
    inside of it.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and all to sit in a warm place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  • In a large stockpot bring the water and baking soda to a rolling boil over high heat.
  • Meanwhile, turn the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and cut
    into 8 pieces.  Roll each piece of dough into an 18 inch rope.  Make a U-shape with the rope and then criss-cross them to make a pretzel shape.  Press the dough where it crosses and then place the pretzels on the parchment lined pans.
  • Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for 30
    seconds.  Remove the pretzel using a spatula.  Place back on the parchment lined pan.  Repeat with remaining pretzels.
  • In a small bowl beat the egg yolk and water together.  Brush the egg mixture onto a pretzel and then sprinkle with kosher salt.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown in color. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire cooling rack, and wait 5 minutes before serving.


Recipe from Food Network, Alton Brown

A plate with a golden brown soft pretzel on it.

Pretzel Perfection!

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  1. I just made pretzels today! Found you on one of the Sunday Supper Links and pretzels were on my bucket list, too. Although I’m not in the group. Yours turned out great!

  2. Alton Brown is one of my favorites! I kind of have a crush on him. We all have dishes we just never get a chance to make or just plain afraid to make. I am glad you finally made the pretzels because they look way too good.

  3. Mmmm- I love fresh *warm* pretzels!!! I need to make some of these soon. You have me craving them now 🙂

  4. I have never made actual pretzels only pretzel rolls, but just a regular pretzel is on my bucket list too. I want to make cinnamon sugar ones like Auntie Anne’s!

  5. OK, doesn’t look like my comment went through on my iPad. Grr! My hubby loves a sandwich at a restaurant near us on a pretzel roll. Yours look wonderful.

  6. A friend of mine tried this recipe a couple months ago – the pretzels are great! I’d completely add a bit of crab and melted cheese on it. It’s the ultimate game day snack!

  7. Soft pretzels were my weakness before finding out about my wheat issue. Made a ton of them back in the day! Yours look wonderful

  8. These pretzels are definitely going on my bucket list. I love eating pretzels. I mean, think of the possibilities! Covered in pizza sauce and cheese, or dipped in butter and covered with sugar and cinnamon… And tell me more about these crab cakes – good God I’m drooling!

  9. I loved your post for two reasons: 1. I make lists on my birthday rather than new years (it’s a full year of your life…your new year starts on your birthday. makes perfect sense! glad someone else gets it!) 2. I live in Philly where it’s pretzel-centric and I keep thinking that I need to try my hand at homemade ones.
    3. Who doesn’t love Alton? I mean, seriously. I’ve never had one of his recipes fail before. Genius, that man!

  10. Can I tell you, the first time I ever tried to make pretzels the dough ended up a big gloppy mess! It was also my last, seeing yours, I need to give Alton’s recipe a go one more time!

  11. I need to add pretzels to my bucket list, too! I’ve made a quick version, but I’d love to try yours!!! Beautifully done…and I love the sandwich idea 🙂

  12. Your pretzels look wonderful, Heather Lynne. And very much appreciate your step-by-step how-to…Makes pretzels look doable +) Love the idea of combining the pretzels with crab, too.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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