There is nothing better to me than getting a giant soft pretzel at a county fair, so let's make some homemade cinnamon sugar soft pretzels! These soft and chewy pretzels are made from scratch and I've included a cream cheese dip.
This post was originally published in October 2020. It has since been updated with new photos.
I always thought making homemade soft pretzels would be tricky, but it turns out soft pretzels are pretty easy to make at home! Just like any other yeast based recipe, like my dinner rolls, you'll spend a bit of time waiting for the dough to rise but there isn't that much hands on time.
Want to learn how to get that signature pretzel color and taste? Let's get into it!
Why you'll love this recipe!
- Traditional Pretzel Taste - the secret to getting that pretzel taste and texture? Boiling the pretzels in a baking soda solution! Pretzels are usually dunked in a lye solution, but that can be a bit dangerous at home to do. You can still get the Maillard reaction by soaking the pretzels in a baking soda solution just before baking.
- Baked to perfection - once the shaped pretzels have been dunked in the baking soda solution, you'll bake the pretzels until they're golden brown. Then, brush the warm pretzels with melted butter and sprinkle over some cinnamon sugar.
- Want Savory Pretzels? Instead of putting these pretzels in cinnamon sugar, sprinkle over salt or garlic powder, or just stick with butter!
Flour: I tested these pretzels with all purpose flour, I haven't tried it with gluten free flour!
Baking Soda: this is for the baking soda bath, it won't be added to the dough.
Milk: make sure to use whole milk and not skimmed milk.
Yeast: always check the expiration date on your yeast! If you used expired yeast then the dough won't rise.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Whisk lukewarm milk with the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Leave for 5 minutes until it begins to foam.
Step 2: In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, place the rest of the sugar, flour, salt and butter. Mix on low speed until combined.
Step 3: Pour in the warm milk mixture and the water. Beat on low speed for 5 minutes, it should be soft and sticky.
Step 4: Take the dough out of the bowl and lightly oil the boil with a baking spray. Place the dough back in and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1 hour, it should double in size.
Step 5: Deflate the dough with your fist and then take the dough out. Divide it into 12 pieces, about 81 grams each.
Step 6: Roll each dough piece into a 20" rope. Shape into a U and twist the ends twice.
Step 7: Bring the ends down and pinch to the bottom of the pretzel. Repeat with the rest of the dough pieces.
Step 8: Place all the pretzels on 2 parchment lined baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap. Let them rise for 20-30 minutes. While those are having a second rise, take a large saucepan and fill with water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
Step 9: The pretzels should have risen more and be puffy. Add your baking soda to the boiling water. Carefully drop the pretzels in (my saucepan fit 2 pretzels at a time, you don't want too many in there!) for 40 seconds on each side. Place back on the parchment lined baking tray.
Step 10: Preheat the oven to 375°Fahrenheit/190°Celsius. Brush each pretzel with an egg wash (one egg whisked with a tablespoon of water) to help with browning and bake the trays one at a time for 12-14 minutes.
Once out of the oven, brush with melted butter. Toss in cinnamon sugar and serve.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Use a weighing scale – I highly recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It makes a huge difference to your baking and is the most accurate way to bake.
- Use the fluff and sprinkle method to measure your flour – if you aren’t using a scale to measure ingredients then make sure you are measuring your flour correctly! Go to this link here to find out how to do that.
- Temperature ingredients – Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you start making the dough.
- Check the expiration date - check the expiration date of the yeast before you start making this recipe!
- Wait before dipping in cinnamon sugar - if you aren't planning on eating or serving these straight away, then don't brush the melted butter and dip in cinnamon sugar. Wait until just before serving!
Frequently Asked Questions
The secret to getting that pretzel taste and brown colour? Something called the Maillard Reaction, which is a reaction between sugars and amino acids. To get this reaction, you'll want to soak your pretzel in a baking soda solution. Usually bakeries would use lye for this, but that is tricky and dangerous to use at home!
Each pretzel only needs about 40 seconds on each side in the baking soda bath! Then you can take them out and place them on a parchment lined baking tray and bake them.
These pretzels are best eaten on the day of making them. If you want to store them though, don't brush them with the melted butter or sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar. Do that just before serving. Store the baked pretzels in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzels
- 4 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
- ½ cup water lukewarm
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk lukewarm
- 1 egg yolk for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
Cream Cheese Dip
- ½ cup cream cheese room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Place the lukewarm milk, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and the yeast in a medium sized bowl, and stir to combine. Leave for 10-15 minutes, until it becomes foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, place the rest of the sugar, flour, salt, and butter, and mix briefly to combine.
- Add warm milk mixture and the warm water to flour mixture, and beat at medium speed until combined.
- Beat at low speed with dough hook attachment until you have a soft and sticky dough, about 5 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a smooth ball.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let it rise for 1 hour.
- Divide the dough into 12 portions (81 grams each). Roll each portion into a 20 inch rope. Shape each rope into a U shape, Twist the ends twice, fold down and pinch to seal. Place on a parchment lined tray and cover, letting it rise for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C. Line 2 trays with parchment paper
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add your baking soda.
- Carefully drop the pretzels in, one at a time, for 40 seconds on each side. Use a strainer or spatula to take them out and place on the tray.
- In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water together as your egg wash. Brush egg wash on dough.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool slightly, just 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine sugar and cinnamon
- Brush the melted butter on to pretzels. Place 1 pretzel at a time in cinnamon sugar bowl and toss.
Cream Cheese Dip
- Whip cream cheese and softened butter for 2 minutes with an electric whisk. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract, mixing until combined.