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How to Make Pretzels

Our easy, kitchen-approved method for making soft pretzels at home is easier than you think. Don’t believe us? Read on for the easiest homemade pretzel recipes plus some surprising twists that’ll turn you into a pretzel pro almost instantly. MORE+ LESS-
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How to Make Pretzels

From game days to Oktoberfest, pretzels are a popular treat worldwide. Thanks to just a few simple ingredients, making soft pretzels at home is not as intimidating as you may think. Whether you are a pretzel-twisting professional or a first-time baker, our easy recipe for how to make pretzels will have you sampling a taste in less than an hour. Spoiler alert: You don’t have to make the dough from scratch—we have a brilliant shortcut using Pillsbury™ refrigerated classic pizza crust.

What You Need:

  • Cutting board/ clean surface 
  • Cooling rack 
  • Wax paper 
  • Small microwave-safe bowl 
  • Cooking spray 
  • Large cooking sheet 
  • Brush 
  • Oven

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (13.8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated classic pizza crust 
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda 
  • 1 egg, beaten 
  • ½ cup water 
  • Coarse salt, as desired

Step 1: Heat oven to 375°F. Spray large cooking sheet with cooking spray. Unroll dough; reroll into long rope, stretching carefully to about 55 inches long.

Roll the dough into a long rope.

Step 2: To make pretzel shape, form dough into U shape. Twist ends together twice. Press down dough where dough overlaps in an X. Pick ends up and fold over so they rest over bottom on U shape, pressing ends to stick. Place pretzel on cooling rack placed over waxed paper.

Form dough into U shape. Twist ends together twice.
Press down dough where dough overlaps in an X. Pick ends up and fold over so they rest over bottom on U shape.

Step 3: In small microwavable bowl, heat 1/2 cup water uncovered on High about 30 seconds or until hot. Add baking soda; stir until dissolved. Brush pretzel with soda mixture. Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes.

Step 4: Brush pretzel with beaten egg; sprinkle with salt. Transfer to cookie sheet. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sprinkle with salt.

Need a little extra help? Watch the video for how to make this recipe.

Difference Between Pretzel and Bread

Let’s talk about dough for a moment. Ever wonder what makes pretzel dough different from regular bread dough? The secret is the baking soda bath that each pretzel takes before it goes into the oven.

When combined with hot water, the starches on the surface of the pretzel dough gelatinize, forming a protective crust. This way, the inside of the pretzel is still warm and chewy, while the outside has the crunch we know and love.

The baking soda bath also gives pretzels their distinctive brown color. If you choose to skip the baking soda solution, the resulting pretzels will be flat and pale.

Types of Pretzels

Do you remember the first pretzel you ever had? Pretzels come in a variety of shapes, sizes and types. Depending on who you’re making them for, there’s a pretzel option for every occasion.

What to Serve with Pretzels

Depending on size and type, pretzels can be an appetizer, side, an entrée or even a dessert (see our chocolate-filled pretzel—yum). 

When choosing what to serve with pretzels, it’s important to keep balance in mind. Since you’ve got the carbs covered, a bowl of delicious soup or a leafy green salad can help round out your meal. We’ve got tons of dinner recipes to serve with your pretzels.

Don’t forget the dip! Perhaps the most common way to serve pretzels is as an appetizer alongside your favorite dip. Here are some recipes to get you started.

Freezing Pretzels

While pretzels are best when eaten fresh and hot, you can still freeze your leftovers! Simply freeze your baked pretzels until you are ready to eat them. Allow the baked pretzels to cool completely, then place them into airtight containers in the freezer. To reheat, preheat your oven to 350°F. Move your pretzels to a cookie sheet, and bake for 4 to 6 minutes.

The best way to store pretzels, however, is without freezing. Store them in a paper bag at room temperature for up to one day after baking.

Luckily, since you don’t need to make your pretzels from scratch, you don’t need to worry about freezing your dough. Simply grab a can of Pillsbury™ refrigerated classic pizza crust and pop it open whenever the craving for pretzels strikes.

History of Pretzels

Various historians believe the pretzel is the oldest known snack food, dating back to its origin in 610 A.D. According to a History.com article, an Italian monk invented pretzels as a reward to children who learn their prayers. The shape of the pretzel is made to resemble a child crossing its arms in prayer.

Moving west from Italy, pretzels are also a common snack in Germany, particularly during the country’s Oktoberfest celebration, which happens every September. Traditional German pretzels, often called Bavarian pretzels, differ from the American pretzels in how they are made. While American pretzels commonly use baking soda to boil the pretzels before baking, Bavarian pretzels are dipped in a lye solution before they are baked.

What is lye? Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is used to make soap and clean drains (it can even dissolve glass!). National Public Radio reported most bakers use food-grade lye, which is the chemical equivalent of drain cleaner, but is produced and packaged in a clean, regulated way. The lye, much like the less-risky baking soda option, adds to the deep brown crust color, pretzel crunch and distinctive taste. When you’re making pretzels at home, we’d recommend leaving lye to the experts and going the baking soda route—it’s a more accessible ingredient (that might already be sitting in your pantry!).

Victory Pretzels

More Pretzel Recipes

Having fun yet? Now that you’ve mastered the twists and turns of pretzel-making, we have even more recipes for you to check out. From desserts and sides to main courses, there’s a pretzel recipe for every occasion.

We’ve got even more appetizers for you to try at your next party.


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