Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels: Plus 4 Bonus Recipes

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Last updated on November 22nd, 2020 at 05:17 am

If you’re missing your weekly Wawa pretzels right about now, you aren’t alone. All these weeks into the quarantine have us craving comfort food, and so it’s time to make some homemade soft pretzels. Luckily, our long-kept family recipe is pretty darn good. It’s not 100 percent a Wawa soft pretzel copycat recipe, but for us, it’s close enough.

This homemade pretzel recipe reminds me of the delicious Philadelphia soft pretzels, haphazardly wrapped in brown paper bags handed out by complete strangers. We always used to get these as we approached the Walt Whitman bridge going down the shore for the weekend.

Missing those Wawa Pretzels? Try this almost copycat recipe!

Making Homemade Soft Pretzels with Kids

Getting toddlers and young kids involved with cooking from a young age offers so many benefits! Pull off a piece of dough for each child and let your kids explore the texture, the density, and the pliability of the soft pretzel dough. It isn’t as soft and supple as my Stromboli dough but it offers a wonderfully therapeutic experience in cooking. Kids who cook with their parents have a great shot at loving cooking as adults. Not to mention being great cooks themselves!

Making soft pretzels is an absolutely perfect cooking and baking activity to enjoy with toddlers and kids of all ages. Heck, pretzels are even fun for adults to make to go along with your Saturday night plans. (Which these days, tends to be a group gathering on Zoom or WebEx.) At any rate, this recipe for homemade soft pretzels works well for a snack, an appetizer, or a dinner roll substitute. (Be sure to order a little food coloring for an extra-special twist!) Hope you and your family enjoy!

Homemade Rainbow Pretzel Dough

 

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels

If you love the original Philadelphia soft pretzels in the brown bags along the city streets, these homemade soft pretzels are for you. If you love Wawa pretzels, this recipe is for you. If you simply love your kids and enjoy delighting your family with delicious food, this homemade pretzel recipe is for you. Enjoy!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Party Food
Servings 8
Calories 286 kcal

Ingredients
  

Homemade Soft Pretzels

  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast or equivalent
  • 1 tsp White sugar
  • 1.25 cups Warm Water
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 4-5 cups Flour (I used 4 and found the dough very stiff)
  • Butter
  • Kosher Salt to taste

Boiling Water

  • 6 tbsp Baking Soda (1 tbsp per cup of water)
  • 6 cups Boiling Water (You can modify the amount according to pot size.)

Instructions
 

Making the Dough

  • Preheat oven to 475.
  • Dissolve yeast thoroughly in 1/4 cup of warm water. Mix in 1 tsp white sugar. Leave for 5-10 minutes or until yeast becomes foamy.
    Foamy Yeast in Mixing Bowl
  • Stir in the additional 1 cup of water.
  • Combine 4 cups of flour and salt.
  • Mix to combine flour and salt mixture with yeast and water mixture. The dough should be stiff and smooth, not sticky. If needed, add more flour to reach this consistency.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until it feels more elastic.
  • Round the dough into a ball and place it back in the mixing bowl. Cover and place it in a warm area, allowing it to rise for 45 minutes to an hour.

Working the Dough

  • After dough has doubled in size, pinch off a small amount. Make a long coil for large homemade soft pretzels or short coils for pretzel knots.
  • Make a heart shape for regular pretzels and simply tie in a knot for mini pretzel knots. Wet the ends and pinch the dough a bit to get it to stick if needed.
    Soft Pretzel Knots
  • Place completed pretzel shapes on a baking sheet and allow to rise.

Boiling the Pretzels

  • Dissolve the baking soda in water on the stove top and bring it to a boil. I find a wider pot or even a wok works well for this, as the pretzels will float.
  • Once the water comes to a boil, drop the pretzels in one at a time, one minute per side. (For the knots, you can put several in at a time.)
  • Turn over after one minute.
  • Remove and place on a cooling rack to dry off a bit.
    Homemade Soft Pretzels on Cooling Rack before Baking
  • Once the pretzels have cooled for a moment, you can sprinkle Kosher salt if you please. (Add the salt too soon and it will melt. Add the salt too late and the dough will be dry and it won't stick.)
  • Repeat for all remaining pretzels.

Baking the Pretzels

  • Place all pretzels of the same size on a baking sheet.
  • Place in oven and bake for 12 minutes for full-sized pretzels. Watch closely for soft pretzel knots as they are smaller and will likely take only 5 - 8 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven when color matches a traditional soft pretzel.
  • Cool and enjoy!

Notes

Homemade Soft Pretzel Knots

Just like making regular pretzels, but the recipe stretches further for little ones. Let’s be honest, everyone loves the twist best. This recipe is essentially for making just the twist of the pretzel.
  • Instead of rolling long coils of dough, pinch off small pieces.
  • Stretch and roll the dough a bit, just until you can tie a knot.
  • Place each knot on the cookie sheet to rise a little and repeat.
  • Boil knots one minute per side and allow to drip dry on rack.
  • Add kosher salt if desired.
  • Bake at 475 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on size.
Super Fun Tip: Dye your dough! Let your kids make fun homemade soft pretzels in any color of the rainbow! You can dye the dough easily in plastic baggies to avoid messy skin. Make unicorn themed or mermaid themed pretzels or any color scheme you can imagine. Your kids will love it!
Homemade Pretzel Knots

Pretzel-wich Melted Sandwiches

My second-grader fell in love with ham and cheese pretzelwich that’s served at school lunches. This is my cheese-phobe, mind you. And she’s all about it, so we made this delicious melted sandwich yesterday for quarantine lunch. Here’s my very simple set of instructions to make your own pretzelwich.
  • Using the dough recipe above, make larger pretzels.
  • Allow them to rise a little longer on a cookie sheet before the boiling phase.
  • Bake for 11-12 minutes or until desired doneness.
  • Slice open the homemade pretzel to make it a pretzel roll.
  • Stuff with your favorite meat and cheese combination. We like ham and cheese or turkey and cheese, but the possibilities are endless!
  • Return sandwiches to the oven to melt for 5 to 8 minutes at 350 degrees.
Homemade Ham & Cheese Pretzelwich

Pretzel Dogs

A tailgate favorite, there’s nothing quite like a lil smokey wrapped in pretzel to complement your favorite beer. Even if you’re still in quarantine watching Super Bowl LII on DVR since there’s no sports on TV right now. (Genius, I know.) Philly Pretzel Factory's pretzel dogs and mini pretzel dogs are hard to beat, but these snack bites definitely come close. This homemade pretzel dog recipe works great with full-sized hotdogs when you can’t get buns from the store, or mini hotdogs like lil smokies if you happen to have a pack hiding in your freezer or managed to get them fresh. This recipe is so easy and fun!
  • After the pretzel dough is done rising, pinch off a small amount.
  • Roll the dough into a coil and wrap your hotdog or little weiners in the homemade pretzel dough.
  • Pinch the ends of the dough together tightly to secure it.
  • Place the pretzel dogs on a cookie sheet to rise a bit more.
  • Drop into boiling water just as you would with the traditional homemade soft pretzels.
  • Turn over after one minute.
  • Place on rack to drip dry before baking in oven.
  • Place in 475-degree oven for 7-12 minutes, depending on size. Set a timer and check until you get the hang of the pretzels’ darkness.
Philly Pretzel Factory Pretzel Dogs

Homemade Crab Dip with Soft Pretzel Points

I wish I could 100% remember this recipe but I’m going to have to wing it. This was one of those situations where I listened to my inner Italian grandmother until I knew the recipe was done. Here’s what I remember. (Once I can justify going to the store for crab again, I’ll give this recipe another go. It was SO good though.)
  • Soften one brick of Philadelphia cream cheese inside a shallow casserole dish.
  • Mix in pecorino romano cheese and shredded parmesan cheese to taste. Feel free to experiment with other cheeses by mixing a separate, small dollop of the dip in a different bowl to try other flavors.
  • Add garlic powder and garlic salt to taste.
  • Consider parsley for color.
  • Fold in fresh crabmeat, preferably large chunks of lump, jumbo lump, or even meat from snow crab legs.
  • Sprinkle a little more cheese on top.
  • Bake in the oven at 375 for 10 to 15 minutes.
For this recipe, use the pretzel knots above and simple cut them on a diagonal angle. These soft pretzel slices work out great for dipping. You can even use them with buffalo chicken dip!
If you try any of these recipes, please share your thoughts in our comments below. Do you have other ideas for homemade soft pretzels? Share those here too!
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If you like this recipe, you will LOVE our Auntie Anne’s Copycat Pretzel Dogs Recipe!

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