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Whole and halved pretzels on a wooden board.

Soft Pretzels Recipe (with beer cheese sauce)

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Making the best soft pretzels at home can be less intimidating if you follow the instructions in this post with step-by-step images. This classic bread has a fantastic chewy texture and golden color. Dip it in the cheese sauce and you have a great appetizer for game day and movie night. It uses basic ingredients, but you need time to let the dough rise and rest, so plan accordingly. 

  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings



For the pretzels:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups lukewarm water (110 -115° F)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup baking soda (for boiling)

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Coarse sea salt or kosher salt

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup beer (I used Stella Artois)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons minced pickled jalapeños
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (loosely packed)
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled and cut in half)
  • Salt and black pepper


For the homemade pretzels:

  1. Stir the water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top (if not using active dry, see Notes below). Let sit until the mixture begins to foam and turn creamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 4 cups of flour, salt, and melted butter and mix on low using the dough hook attachment. If the dough seems extremely sticky, add a little bit of the extra flour until it's slightly tacky but no longer sticky.
  3. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and cleans the sides of the bowl. This should take about 5 minutes. It will come together eventually. 
  4. Transfer the soft pretzel dough to the counter and form into a loose ball.  Place it in an oiled large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. The time will differ depending on the temperature of the room. If it shows very little activity after half an hour, cover the bowl with a blanket or take it to a warmer room in your house. 
  5. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, lightly brush it with vegetable oil, or use cooking spray. Set aside.
  6. When the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
  7. Divide into 8 to 12 portions using a bench scraper. Eyeball the size or use a scale if you want equal pieces that weigh the same. For large, fat pretzels like the ones in the images divide in 8. Divide in 12 pieces for thinner, regular-sized pretzels. 
  8. Roll each portion into a rope that is 18" to 24" long. For the classic pretzel shape: lift the ends of each piece of dough to form a sort of U-shape, and then twist the two sides around each other and bring them down to form a pretzel shape. 
  9. Place on the baking tray and repeat with all of the dough portions. Let sit uncovered while you prepare the water and preheat the oven.
  10. Preheat the oven to 450°F/220°C.
  11. Bring 10 cups of water to a boil in a large, wide pot with high sides (like a stew or soup pot). Once it boils, add the baking soda gradually to prevent overflow.
  12. When it returns to a boil, lower the pretzels one at a time into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds each (no more!), flipping over halfway. Use a wide, flat-slotted spoon or spatula to lift them from the water. Shake the spatula a little to let as much water as you can fall back into the pot, and place the pretzels back onto the prepared tray.

Egg wash:

  1. Once all pretzels are on the tray, beat the egg yolk with the water and brush the top of each one.
  2. Sprinkle with coarse or kosher salt (parmesan, poppy or sesame seeds).
  3. Slide into the preheated oven and bake until the pretzels turn a deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. You can do a test bake with one and adjust the oven if needed. The inside needs to be fully baked as the outside turns a wonderful golden brown. 
  4. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool until warm enough to eat.
  5. Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2 days or freeze for a month. Always reheat them before eating. 

For the sauce:

  1. Heat beer in a small saucepan.
  2. When it starts to bubble, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until well combined.
  3. Let boil for 1 minute and serve with warm baked pretzels.


  • When picking up the formed pretzel dough to boil, you can use two fingers to pick it up, one through each pretzel "loop." This allows the dough to sort of stretch in the right direction. Then lower it carefully (the water is boiling!) into the baking soda bath.
  • Yeast: I use active-dry yeast, which needs to be hydrated before. You can use instant yeast (¾ of the amount given for active dry) and add it directly to the flour, then add the liquid, no need to foam it first. If using fresh yeast (the ratio is 3:1 to dry), and is used in the same way as the active-dry, you need to hydrate it first and let it foam.
  • Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, utensils and equipment needed, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier. This is especially important when making yeast recipes that require rising times, so plan accordingly.
  • Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust. 
  • Reheating pretzels: bring back the freshness and warmth of pretzels by reheating them in a medium oven preheated to 350°F (175°C) for about 5 minutes, or just until they're warmed through. If they're frozen, you might need to add a few extra minutes. I don't recommend reheating in the microwave as it makes them a bit chewy, but you can.
  • Toppings: we love coarse or pretzel salt and seeds (poppy and sesame), but you can also sprinkle grated cheese, garlic powder or flakes, everything bagel topping or cinnamon sugar for sweeter pretzels.
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Rising times: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American