Grandpa’s Soft Pretzels

My family grew up making soft pretzels on Sunday nights with this old recipe from my grandpa. They are the perfect social comfort food! Making them is half the fun, and then you can gather round a board game and watch them disappear. Homemade pretzels might sound intimidating, but they’re actually pretty forgiving and deceptively simple to mix up. Just make sure to thoroughly dunk in the soda solution for maximum color development and that wonderful lye flavor.

You can use a wide range of flour for these, but a high-gluten flour like hard white is recommended for the best texture. Pretzels made with sprouted flour may be less heavy, but a bit more fragile and perhaps better suited for pretzel sticks.


  • 5-6 cups sprouted or natural hard white wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. yeast
  • 2 cups warm water

Mix at medium speed until dough starts to bind. Turn mixer on high speed until dough is firm and smooth. If mixing by hand, knead until it is as firm as playdough. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

Prepare soda solution by dissolving 2 large tbsp baking soda into 1.5 cups warm water. Brown 1/2 cup butter on stovetop and keep warm.

After dough has risen, roll into ropes and form into pretzels or sticks. Dip in soda solution, place on greased baking sheets, and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 500 degrees for 7-8 minutes until medium brown. Dip pretzels in brown butter and place in cake pan to cool slightly. Serve warm with cheese sauce, marinara, honey mustard, or enjoy plain!

Variations: Substitute 1-2 cups hard white flour for red fife or hard red flour for added flavor. For sweet pretzels, omit coarse salt from tops and coat with cinnamon sugar after dipping in the brown butter.

Soft Pretzel Lore

Did you know that soft pretzels actually predate hard pretzels by many centuries? According to legend, hard pretzels came to be rather recently, when a Pennsylvania baker accidentally left a pan of soft pretzels in his warm oven too long!