Quick and Easy Soft Pretzels —These taste just like the soft pretzels you can buy at the mall, but they take just 1 hour to make!
The Quickest Pretzel Recipe
You know those pretzels at the mall that are hot, soft, and buttery and their scent wafts through the entire mall?
As you’re in a dressing room trying to squeeze into some jeans that are a size too small, the luscious scent of the pretzels hits you and your New Year’s resolutions are out the window.
Yes, these are those.
You can make these buttery pretzels from start to finish in one hour. If you’re using a stand mixer, it’s five effortless minutes as the machine kneads the dough before it rises for a half hour. Then, it’s shaped and baked.
It’s dangerous that I can make these pretzels so quickly at home!
Ingredients for These Quick Pretzels
This is an incredible easy soft pretzel recipe. Not only is is finished in an hour, but the ingredients list is also minimal:
- Bread flour
- Instant dry yeast
- Granulated sugar
- Table salt
- Warm water
- Butter (or vegan butter)
- Kosher salt, for sprinkling
How to Make Soft Pretzels in 1 Hour
These quick butter pretzels come together in no time! Full instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
Here’s an overview of the recipe:
- Place bread flour, instant dry yeast, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and pour warm water over the top.
- Beat on medium-low speed until just combined. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl, and either spray down that mixing bowl or another bowl with cooking spray, and place the dough into it. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and place it in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, punch down the dough and remove it from the bowl.
- Place the dough on a floured work surface, and using a sharp knife or bench scraper, divide it into six equal pieces.
- Using your hands, roll each piece into a long rope, about 15 to 18-inches long.
- Shape the soft pretzels as desired. I just think of a heart and make that shape with draped ends laid loosely on the opposite side.
- Transfer your shaped pretzels to two Silpat-lined baking trays, three per tray. Melt the butter in the microwave and brush half of it onto the pretzels. Save the other half for when the come out of the oven.
- Bake them at 425F for about 10 minutes, rotating trays once if your oven bakes unevenly.
- After about 10 minutes, I turn the broiler on, and broil one tray at a time for about 90 seconds each.
- After they’re out of the oven, baste the pretzels with the remaining butter. Then, top with desired toppings (options given below).
Frequently Asked Questions
I used bread flour rather than all-purpose because it produces chewier bread and I love a good jaw workout. Pretzels made with all-purpose will still be chewy, just not quite as much. Also, they may rise slightly less, because bread flour is the absolute champion in the rising and puffing department.
Substituting with up to half the amount of whole wheat flour is possible, but know that in doing so your pretzels will not be nearly as fluffy and soft, and will be much more dense, since whole wheat flour has that effect.
I used Red Star Platinum yeast because I always have excellent results with it!
Make sure to select instant dry yeast rather than active dry yeast. Instant yeast, among other things, helps dough rise in a hurry and because this soft pretzel dough has only one 30-minute rise, you need to make it count.
Depending on the kind of yeast used, water temperatures will vary. Red Star Platinum Yeast necessitates a slightly warmer water temperature, about 120F to 130F.
If using other brands, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, but 100F to 110F is typical.
I know some people just dip their finger into water and if that’s the method you’re using, err on the side of warm bath water rather than hot because you don’t want to risk killing the yeast. In bread-making, I don’t like to guess and always use my candy thermometer. I just never use it for candy!
Soft Pretzel Topping Ideas
After baking, optional toppings for the quick pretzels include brushing them down with:
Or, try sprinkling the buttery pretzels with the following:
- Kosher salt
- Garlic and onion powder
- Chili and lime
- Very finely diced nuts
- Sesame and poppy seeds
- Everything bagel seasoning
- A fine dusting of cocoa powder.
Between the types of flavored butters you can brush on, the items you can sprinkle on top, and combined with what you can dip them into, there’s a flavor combination for everyone.
They can go either sweet or savory because the dough is a blank canvas.
Soft Pretzel Dipping Sauce Options
Serve these quick and easy pretzels with one or more of the following dippings sauces:
- Spicy Honey Mustard
- Homemade Peanut Butter,
- Homemade Cookie Butter Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Coconut Cashew Butter
- Dark Rum Caramel Sauce
- Balsamic Reduction and olive oil
Tips for Making Soft Pretzels Quickly
Sugar: Adding 1 teaspoon of sugar is non-negotiable because it feeds the yeast. It doesn’t make the pretzels taste sweet at all.
Salt: I used a scant 1/4 teaspoon of salt in the dough. I don’t like salting dough because it can inhibit rising, and also I am mindful with how much salt I use in cooking. You can sprinkle salt on after baking as generously as desired anyway.
Rise time: I’ve let my dough rise for as long as 75 to 90 minutes due to distractions, poor planning, and timing issues, and nothing bad happens.
Actually, the pretzels turn out fluffier. If you want to allow it to rise for up to about 90 minutes, or doubled in size, go for it. But the recipe does and will work with just a 30-minute rise.
Shaping the pretzels: The skinnier you roll your dough ropes prior to shaping the pretzels, the less chubby the finished pretzels will be, but they don’t have to be perfect.
Some sections of my ropes are thinner, and some are thicker. It all tastes good.
Because this dough hasn’t been rested after the rise, it’s springy and resilient and your ropes may want to recoil and shrink back down.
Just keep finessing them back into an elongated state. Or wait 10 minutes before rolling and shaping the ropes if you have time to spare.
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- 2 1/2 cups bread flour (all-purpose may be substituted, pretzels won't be as chewy)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (one one-quarter ounce packet) instant dry yeast - I use Red Star Platinum
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- scant 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
- 1 cup warm water (120-130F for Red Star Platinum, 95 to 105 for other yeast)
- 1/4 cup butter or vegan butter, melted and divided use
- Kosher or coarse salt, for sprinkling
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, yeast, sugar, optional 1/4 teaspoon salt and turn mixer on and beat for couple sends to mix dry ingredients. Pour the water over the top (Based on the type of yeast used, temperatures will vary. Red Star Platinum yeast calls for warmer temperatures than most, 120 to 130F; other brands and yeast call for much lower temperatures, about 95 to 105F. Warm water according to the yeast manufacturer's recommendations on the packaging. Taking the temperature with a digital thermometer is recommended, but if you're not, make sure the water is warm, not hot. Err on the cooler rather than hotter side so you don't kill the yeast.) Beat the mixture on medium-low speed for about 1 minute, or until combined.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead dough for about 5 minutes. It will be firm, smooth, not sticky, and elastic. (If making bread by hand, mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl by hand, then turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes)
- After five minutes, remove the dough from the mixing bowl, spray mixing bowl or another bowl with cooking spray, and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a piece of plasticwrap and place it in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 30 minutes. (I’ve let this dough rise for as long as 90 minutes due to distractions, poor planning, and timing issues, and nothing bad happens. Actually, the pretzels turn out fluffier. If you want to allow it to rise for up to about 90 minutes, or doubled in size, that's fine. But the recipe does and will work with just a 30 minute rise) In the final moments of rising, preheat oven to 425F and line two baking trays with Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats or parchment paper; set aside.
- After 30 minutes (or longer), punch dough down and place it on a floured work surface. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, divide it into six equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into a long rope, about 15 to 18-inches long. The skinnier you roll the ropes, the less chubby the finished pretzels will be. Make a pretzel shape with the rope. Grab the ends and pretend you’re making a heart-shape with it. Lay ends on the opposite side and allow them to drape loosely; optionally twist the center of the pretzel like a twist-tie so there's a twist in the pretzel or shape them as desired. Transfer pretzels to two Silpat-lined baking trays, three per tray.
- Melt the butter in the microwave, about 1 minute (use unsalted or salted, regular or vegan, based on preference) and brush half of it onto the pretzels. Save the other half for after baking. Bake at 425F for about ten minutes, rotating trays once if your oven bakes unevenly (This is buttery, soft, white, fluffy dough and it burns easily so keep an eye on it and I don’t even leave the kitchen). For golden brown tops, turn the broiler on and broil one tray at a time for about 90 seconds each, or as desired. A matter of seconds can make the difference in golden and burnt, so broil at your own risk and with a very watchful eye. I bake for 10 minutes and broil for just shy of 2 minutes based on my oven and preferences.
- Baste pretzels with the remaining butter. Sprinkle with Kosher or coarse salt (or any of the basting, sprinkling or dipping options above) and serve immediately. Pretzels are best eaten fresh and warm, but will keep for up to 2 days in a ziptop plastic bag or airtight container.
- Optional suggestions after baking - Get creative with what you brush on them, sprinkle on top, or dip them into:
- Brush pretzels with Honey Butter, Cinnamon-Sugar Butter, garlic butter, seasoned or herbed butter
- Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, a fine dusting of cocoa powder, toffee bits, garlic and onion powder, chili and lime, very finely diced nuts, sesame and poppy seeds like an everything-bagel
- Dip them in Spicy Honey Mustard, Homemade Peanut Butter, Homemade Cookie Butter Peanut Butter, Chocolate Coconut Cashew Butter, Nutella, Dark Rum Caramel Sauce, Balsamic Reduction and olive oil
- Dough ingredient ratios adapted from King Arthur Flour
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 298Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 265mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g
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