Homemade Soft Pretzels {Auntie Anne’s Copycat}

February 17, 2019  ·  Published August 14, 2012

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

Perfect Homemade Soft Pretzels! This Copycat Auntie Anne’s Pretzels Recipe is a must try recipe! You get a chewy yet fluffy, deliciously tender, beautifully golden brown homemade pretzel that will have you savoring every last flavorful, salty little bite.

Overhead image of seven soft pretzels on a dark baking sheet.

Copycat Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Recipe

Mall pretzels that you can now enjoy in the comfort of your home for a fraction of the price with countless dipping sauce option! They are the perfect party food or snack to impress guests with and they really are easier to make than you’d think.

Making homemade pretzels is a similar process to making a bread or rolling dough, but instead you shape it into a pretzel versus a loaf or roll. The pretzel shaping is actually fun once you get the hang of it.

These homemade soft pretzels are one of those crave-worthy foods that may take a bit of time and some patience, but the end result is so worth it. It’s a great recipe for a weekend “learn how to” baking project then from there it may become a monthly tradition!

Photography credit: Jenn Davis from Two Cups Flour.

Image showing how to make soft pretzels. Shaping dough into pretzel shapes and they're placed on a parchment paper lined baking sheet to bake.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Ingredients

For this homemade pretzel dough recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Milk (I like to use 2% here)
  • Active dry yeast
  • Brown sugar
  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Fine salt and coarse salt
  • Baking soda

Why is There so Much Baking Soda?

The seemingly excessive amount of baking soda here actually isn’t used as rising agent, rather it gives the homemade pretzels a crisp, nicely browned exterior.

Two pretzels on parchment paper lined baking sheet showing what they should look like after baking with a golden brown color.

How to Make Soft Pretzels at Home

  • Warm milk and stir in yeast, let rest pour into stand mixer. Mix in brown sugar, butter, 1 cup flour, fine salt.
  • Add remaining flour and knead using hook attachment on stand mixer. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  • Preheat oven and prepare baking sheets.
  • Punch dough down and divide into 12 pieces. Cover.
  • Working with one piece at a time roll into a thin rope about 32 – 36 inches then form into a pretzel shape.
  • In a shallow bowl whisk together baking soda and water then immerse pretzel into water mixture then transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle with coarse salt to taste and repeat process with remaining dough.
  • Bake in oven until golden brown then brush with melted butter.

Image of a pile of soft pretzels.

Can I Make Them into Pretzel Bites?

Yes! If you’d rather make them bite-sized, follow the same prep method but rather roll into ropes then cut into 1-inch pieces instead of shaping into pretzels.

What Are the Best Pretzel Dipping Sauces?

Pretzels on cooling rack.

Tips for the Best Homemade Soft Pretzels

  • The easiest way to divide into 12 pieces is to divide the dough in half, then divide the halves into halves then those and into thirds.
  • I found working on a non-floured to very lightly floured surface worked best. I began with a lightly floured surface and realized it was much harder to get more stretch, plus it was much faster to roll them out when working on a less-no flour surface.
  • Serve these homemade pretzels warm. I’ve included instructions on how to reheat pretzels below!

How to Reheat Pretzels

How ever you dunk your homemade pretzels, I recommend you eat them warm — they just aren’t the same cold. Can’t you just see that moment now, where you pull your own batch from the oven and tear off piece by piece and dip it into a rich sauce and you savor every last crumb of it? Heaven!

Here’s how to reheat pretzels:

  • Microwave: The quickest method is to reheat on a plate in a microwave for 10 – 15 seconds.
  • Oven or Toaster Oven: preheat to 400 degrees F. Wrap pretzel in foil and heat until warmed through, about 3 minutes.

Dipping pretzel into mustard dipping sauce.

Other Delicious Pretzel Recipes to Try:

Homemade Soft Pretzels (Copycat Auntie Anne's Pretzel Recipe)

4.89 from 18 votes
This Auntie Anne's Pretzels copycat recipe is one you are going to want to try. You get a chewy yet fluffy, perfectly tender, beautifully golden brown pretzel that will have you savoring every last flavorful, salty little bite.
Servings: 12 Servings
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rising time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (470ml) milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast (2 packets)
  • 6 Tbsp (75g) packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp (56g) butter, at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups (635g) all-purpose flour, plus an up to an additional 1/2 cup as needed
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 3 cups (710ml) warm water
  • coarse salt , to taste
  • 6 Tbsp (56g) butter , melted
  • Dipping sauce for serving , optional*

Instructions

  1. Warm milk in a microwave safe bowl in microwave (or alternately over stove top in a small saucepan) until temperature of milk reaches 110 degrees, about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on HIGH power.
  2. Pour milk along with yeast into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and whisk together until yeast has dissolved, let rest 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, 4 tbsp softened butter, 1 cup flour and 2 tsp fine sea salt to milk mixture and using the whisk attachment, stir until blended.
  3. Switch attachment to a dough hook, add remaining 3 1/2 cups flour and kneaded mixture on medium low speed until elastic.
  4. Mix in up to an additional 1/2 cup flour, as needed, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper (alternately you could grease them). Punch dough down several times to release any air pockets.
  6. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces* and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  7. Roll each piece out into a long, thin rope about 32 - 36 inches long**. Form dough rope into a pretzel shape.

  8. In a shallow bowl, whisk together baking soda and warm water then fully immerse pretzel into water mixture, lift and allow excess water to drip off***.

  9. Place on prepared baking sheet, reshape as needed and sprinkle to taste with coarse salt. Repeat this process with remaining dough.
  10. Bake pretzels in preheated oven 7 - 11 minutes until golden brown (note that you will likely only be able to cook 6 at a time among the two baking sheets) Remove from oven and brush top and bottom of pretzels with melted butter.
  11. Serve warm with optional dipping sauce. Reheat in microwave or in a warm oven once they've cooled, if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • *The easiest way to divide into 12 pieces is to divide the dough in half, then divide the halves into halves then those and into thirds.
  • ** I found working on a non-floured to very very lightly floured surface worked best, I began with a lightly floured surface and realized it was much harder to get more stretch, plus it was much faster to roll them out when working on a less-no flour surface.
  • ***I ended up shaping most of them into the pretzel shape once placing on the cookie sheet rather then doing it twice, I would just fold the rope into halves several times then immerse in water mixture then shape them on cookie sheet.
  • Recipe source: adapted from Food Network 
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Soft Pretzels (Copycat Auntie Anne's Pretzel Recipe)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 302 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 28mg9%
Sodium 1409mg61%
Potassium 127mg4%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 335IU7%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 64mg6%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Snack
Cuisine: German
Keyword: Pretzel
Author: Jaclyn
Recipe originally shared Aug. 2012. Photos updated Feb. 2019.

Leave a Comment






This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

242 Comments

  • Jordanne

    This is our favorite pretzel recipe! I’m pretty sure we have made this at least 4 times in the last couple months, sometimes making beer cheese dip, sprinkling them with cinnamon sugar, or making them into sandwich buns. These go great with anything! I’m not sure if it is because we live in a pretty humid area in Ohio, but we always end up adding another 1/4-1/2 cup of flour on top of the extra 1/2 cup the recipe calls for. The dough is a sticky, unworkable mess otherwise, but we learned pretty quickly 😂

  • Emilio Musacchio

    We are in the process of making the pretzel and wondering, #5 to preheat, what’s with #6 why are we putting a plastic wrap on them.

    Thanks

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Just so the dough doesn’t dry while you are assembling the others. In humid climates it’s not as crucial.

      • Emilio Musacchio

        Great me and my daughter Emma 11 years old, have been baking and cooking all sorts of new foods during these trouble times.

        Thank you

  • Jen

    I just finished making these! These are the best homemade pretzel that I’ve made! They are simply AMAZING!

  • andie

    I just made these, the best part is not having to boil the dipping water/baking soda mixture! I don’t recommend dividing the dough into 12, it will stick to plastic wrap so please don’t use that for anything but to cover the bowl its rising in. It would have saved me a lot of mess just to pinch off the dough as i formed each pretzel. This made about 20 for me. I was always taught to roll it into something as thin as a pencil, but these didn’t get as fluffy for me when baking (i used instant yeast? not sure if that’s why or if just the recipe) but rolling it a little thicker, like a chapstick or sharpie width is probably better. Otherwise came out great! I made some sweet almond ones by combining a tbs. butter, tbs brown sugar, and 1/3 cup minced raw almonds and applying that in place of salt before baking. honey or corn syrup would help it stick better if you want a more authentic auntie annes coating of almond.

  • KA

    Oh no! I didn’t see in the recipe when to add the baking soda and forgot it! Was it supposed to be with the flour?!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      No, the baking soda is not to be mixed with the flour. It’s mixed with the water there in step 8. It encourages browning and adds flavor to the exterior of the pretzels.

  • Colleen

    Do you think I could use a milk alternative? I’ve made these before and there delicious! My son has a dairy allergy…

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes a dairy free milk substitute should work just fine here as well. Glad you like the recipe!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes and there will be no need to let it rest for the 5 minutes if using instant dry.

      • Bernadette

        So if i will be using instant dry yeast i will just put it all together the milk, instant dry yeast,brown sugar, butter and flour? How about the proofing time, do i need to wait longer than 1 hr? Thank you

        • Jaclyn

          Jaclyn Bell

          Yes. Instant yeast can be mixed in right along with the flour and other ingredients. And the resting period to rise will be the same.

  • Marlana Farina

    What if I don’t have a dough hook mixer can I do this by hand?