If you’re missing your weekly Wawa pretzel right about now, you aren’t alone. We’re craving comfort food, and so it’s time to make some homemade soft pretzels. The Wawa pretzel is a family favorite and 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.
Now we bring you a copycat Wawa pretzel recipe to try to imitate the delicious soft pretzels reminiscent of simpler times.
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, sometimes 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. In my humble opinion, they taste just as good as Wawa pretzels!
(Be sure to order a little food coloring for an extra-special twist!) Hope you and your family enjoy!
Philly-Style Soft Pretzels at Home
I will never forget the taste of summer.
Driving down the Walt Whitman bridge in my dad’s Toyota Tercel, windows down, tape deck blasting the Beach Boys.
Chowing down on legit Philly-style soft pretzels in the classic figure-8 shape that we picked up in a brown bag off a street corner for about 5 bucks.
Does the next-best thing ever taste as good as the memory? I have come close. So here you have it – my Wawa copycat Philadelphia soft pretzels recipe.
Note – I generally make mine in whatever shape I want as opposed to the classic Philly-style soft pretzel figure-8 shape.
Sometimes I make them as fat, smooshed pretzels so they work perfectly as pretzel melts.
Other times I make them into pretzel knots (the twist is the best part, after all), or simply wrap them around mini hotdogs.
This is an easy pretzel recipe for preschoolers to make with Mom or Dad.
Let’s get started!
Homemade Soft Pretzels
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)
- Kosher Salt to taste
- 6 tbsp Baking Soda (1 tbsp per cup of water)
- 6 cups Boiling Water (You can modify the amount according to pot size.)
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.
- 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 or a figure 8 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Homemade Soft Pretzel KnotsJust 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.
Pretzel-wich Melted SandwichesMy 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.
Pretzel DogsA tailgate favorite, there’s nothing quite like a lil smokey wrapped in pretzel to complement your favorite beer. 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.
Homemade Crab Dip with Soft Pretzel PointsI 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.
If you like this recipe, you will LOVE our Auntie Anne’s Copycat Pretzel Dogs Recipe!