Homemade Pretzel Bread (Pretzel Rolls)

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The best Homemade Pretzel Bread (or Pretzel Rolls) recipe. Once you make this you will never be able to eat store-bought pretzel bread again! It’s dense, soft, chewy, buttery, salty and irresistibly delicious.

Front view of a full loaf of homemade pretzel bread


This Homemade Pretzel Bread is the best bread you will ever eat in your life. I am not exaggerating either. It is one of my most requested recipes and everyone who tries it asks for the recipe. It’s dense, soft, chewy, buttery, salty and unbelievably delicious. Serve it with a side of this homemade cheese sauce and you’ll be in heaven!

I know making homemade bread can seem intimidating, but don’t worry! We’ve created a video that shows you how to make this homemade pretzel bread step-by-step! And if there’s a recipe that’s worth conquering your kitchen fears for, this is definitely it.

I have also included instructions for how to make pretzel rolls as well! Pretzel rolls make a great smaller serving size option. They also make delicious hamburger buns for homemade burgers.

Overhead view of a loaf of homemade pretzel bread on a cutting board with three slices cut and lying down near it

 How to Make Homemade Pretzel Bread 

If making homemade bread sounds intimidating to you…your’e in luck! There are two ways to make the dough.

  1. The first is to simply toss all the ingredients in a bread machine and set it to the “dough cycle.” Even the most sheepish bread-makers can do that, right?
  2. The other method involves mixing and kneading the dough using a standing mixer or your hands!

I like to do the latter because I can be sure every step of the process is going exactly the way it should be! However, I have used my bread machine with the same delicious results!

overhead view of six photos showing how to make pretzel bread step by step

Rise once

If you are familiar to the process of making homemade bread, you will notice that there is one unique step to the dough-making process for this recipe.

Baking soda bath. 

Once the dough is degassed, form it in to the size and shape  you want. This recipe makes 2 large loaves, 4 small loaves, or 8-10 rolls/buns!

Once you’ve formed the dough, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda.

Boil the pretzel bread one portion a time in the soda bath for 60 seconds on each side. Use a slotted spoon to remove it from the bath and place it on the prepared baking sheet.

Immediately sprinkle with coarse sea salt and repeat with remaining dough..

(Note: I use a skimmer spoon like this to take the dough out of the boiling baking soda bath and remove excess water).

Overhead view of two loaves of homemade pretzel bread on a cutting board

Bake immediately. 

Once the dough is removed from the boiling baking soda bath and formed into loaves/buns, immediately place it on a greased baking sheet, cut an X in the top and sprinkle with Coarse Sea Salt (I use this).

Brush with melted butter. 

As soon as the loaves/buns/rolls come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool just enough to eat! This bread is best served warm and eaten the day it’s made! However, it does reheat well and makes a killer turkey sandwich. 

a loaf of pretzel bread with two slices cut out of it

How to make pretzel rolls

This recipe makes the best pretzel rolls. To make pretzel rolls, follow the recipe exactly, except make a few slight changes:

  1. Divide dough into eight equal pieces.
  2. Boil each dough ball for 30 seconds on each side, remove from the water, transfer to a baking sheet, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through.

That’s it! then brush each of the pretzel rolls with melted butter and enjoy as rolls or hamburger buns with the best burger recipe (YUM)!.

6 pretzel rolls

To make in advance

You can make the dough and store it in the refrigerator overnight or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

When you’re ready to bake the pretzel bread, remove the dough from the fridge or freezer to let it come to room temperature and rise. Then continue on with the recipe including the baking soda bath, baking, etc.

two loaves of pretzel bread on a cutting board

Serve

Serve warm as a side to your favorite main dish recipes. We love dipping it in this homemade cheese sauce or slathering it with honey butter.

Store

You can store homemade pretzel bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. I suggest reheating it before eating it to restore it’s fresh-from-the-oven texture.

Freeze

You can also freeze baked loaves of pretzel bread. Let them cool completely then wrap in plastic wrap and foil and put them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the oven set to warm covered in foil or in a dutch oven.

a loaf of pretzel bread on a cutting board

Homemade Pretzel Bread: Ingredient Substitutions

As always I recommend making this recipe exactly as written, however here are a few possible substitutions!

ingredients in this Homemade Pretzel Bread Recipe
  •  Whole Milk. 2% milk works well. I do this often with great results! Half & half or cream also work well!
  • All-purpose flour. Bread flour is the only other flour I have used to make this recipe and it produces an incredibly delicious final product!
  • Dark brown sugar. Light brown sugar works equally well in this recipe.

That’s it! I really don’t recommend tinkering with this recipe any more!

Overhead view of three slices of homemade pretzel bread on a cutting board

Recipe FAQs

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, I often double this recipe to make 4 loaves when we have company, or to make 16 pretzel rolls.

Do I have to use a baking soda bath?

Yes, the baking soda bath is necessary to create the outer pretzel crust.

How is a pretzel different from bread? 

A lot of people wonder how a soft pretzel is different from bread! The answer is that the dough is boiled before it is baked!  Boiling the dough in the baking soda & water bath is the step in this recipe that gives this Homemade Pretzel Bread it’s pretzel-y identity!

Up close front view of a slice of homemade pretzel bread

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Homemade Pretzel Bread (Pretzel Rolls)

Laura
The best Homemade Pretzel Bread (or Pretzel Rolls) recipe. Once you make this you will never be able to eat store-bought pretzel bread again! It's dense, soft, chewy, buttery, salty and irresistibly delicious.
4.99 from 158 votes
Course bread, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 2 loaves (or 8 buns)
Calories 149
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Rising time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Pretzel Bread Dough

Baking Soda Bath

Topping

Instructions 

  • Combine yeast, water, and brown sugar in the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let stand for 5 minutes (until foamy).
  • While yeast is proofing…melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix in milk and set aside.
  • Once yeast is proofed, add milk/butter to yeast mixture and mix on low speed with dough hook until just combined.
  • Add salt and flour and mix with dough hook until flour is fully incorporated.
  • Knead in a mixer until the dough forms a slightly tacky, but firm ball, you may need to add a little more flour 1 TBS at a time, but be careful, you want your dough a little tacky but not too sticky to handle.
  • Oil a large bowl, place the dough ball in the bowl, and cover with a damp towel in a warm place to let rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda a little bit at a time (Be careful not to add too much at once or you will have a baking soda/water explosion)!
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and gently press out the air bubbles.
  • Make two balls of dough the same size (NOTE: The total weight of the dough comes out to be about 800 g, so each loaf should weigh about 400 g), forming them into the shape you want (Do not let it rise at all here! Straight from forming the ball into the water).
  • Drop one of the balls into the boiling baking soda water. Boil for 60-90 seconds on each side, turning it once to guarantee both sides covered. Drain the excess water from the dough and place it on an oiled baking sheet.
  • Immediately sprinkle coarse sea salt over the bread to your specific tastes, and use a knife to cut a small "X" on the top of the bread.
  • Repeat with second ball of dough. (Do not let it rise at all here! Straight from boiling into the oven).
  • Bake the bread for 22-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once.
  • Once removed from the oven, immediately brush the melted butter over the loaves to guarantee a soft crust. Transfer to a wire rack to cool just enough to enjoy!
  • *You can reheat it on a low temp covered in foil if you decide to make it a bit ahead of time. I cover it with a tea towel or something if I’m not going to serve it right away.

Video

Notes

If you have a bread maker…just add all ingredients to the pan in the order listed and set it to dough cycle, then proceed to Step 8! You can reheat the bread on a low temp covered in foil if you decide to make it a bit ahead of time. I cover it with a tea towel or something if I’m not going to serve it right away.
**Nutrition information calculated based on this recipe serving 12 people. 

How to make Pretzel Rolls

This recipe makes the best pretzel rolls. To make pretzel rolls, follow the recipe exactly, except make a few slight changes: 
  1. Divide dough into eight equal pieces. 
  2. Boil each dough ball for 30 seconds on each side, remove from the water, transfer to a baking sheet, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. 
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through. 
That’s it! then brush each of the pretzel rolls with melted butter and enjoy as rolls or hamburger buns with homemade burgers.

To make in advance

You can make the dough and store it in the refrigerator overnight or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
When you’re ready to bake the pretzel bread, remove the dough from the fridge or freezer to let it come to room temperature and rise. Then continue on with the recipe including the baking soda bath, baking, etc.

Ingredient Substitutions

  •  Whole Milk. 2% milk works well! I do this often with great results! Half & half or cream also work well!
  • All-purpose flour. Bread flour is the only other flour I have used to make this recipe and it produces an incredibly delicious final product!
  • Dark brown sugar. Light brown sugar works equally well in this recipe.

Store

You can store homemade pretzel bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. I suggest reheating it before eating it to restore it’s fresh-from-the-oven texture.

Freeze

You can also freeze baked loaves of pretzel bread. Let them cool completely then wrap in plastic wrap and foil and put them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the oven set to warm covered in foil or in a dutch oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3.5g | Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 10.7mg | Sodium: 224.7mg | Potassium: 77.4mg | Fiber: 1.4g | Sugar: 2.3g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Iron: 1.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

Ritch absolutely adores this bread, and since it’s one of his favorite recipes of all time I thought I’d let him share his thoughts about it with you:

“My wife’s pretzel bread is one of the most amazing things that I have ever eaten. The only thing better than a loaf of this homemade pretzel bread is MORE loaves of pretzel bread! Sometimes when we have friends over to dinner— and Laura asks for meal ideas—I am torn as to whether or not to suggest this bread, simply because I can’t handle watching other people eat MY FAVORITE BREAD. (I smile, and politely pass the bowl, but secretly…I’m watching every movement…praying that they leave more for ME!) Fresh out of the oven, this bread beats any other meal that comes out of my home (IMHO), and a loaf of this stuff literally makes the “top 3 list” of things I would want with me on a deserted island. So basically, I HIGHLY recommend this recipe. -Husband”

(<-he signed it that way, not me! LOL!)There you have it folks, this Pretzel Bread is definitely husband approved! And I can attest to the fact that he will eat an entire loaf by himself if he doesn’t have to share.

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388 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times and love the recipe. However, I was wondering if you have ever baked this in a Dutch oven, similar to how a sourdough loaf would be baked?

  2. I love pretzel bread and want to try your recipe, but I’d like to boost the protein and/or fiber content. Here are some ideas I’m considering: A mix of whole wheat and regular flour… A mix of oat and regular flour… Adding flaxseed meal… Adding an egg. Thoughts? (P.S. I have not yet read the comments already posted, so please forgive me if my questions have already been answered). Thanks for your time.

    1. Hey Jim – my recommendation is to make the recipe as it’s written first. I see this as more of a “treat” recipe than a healthy one 😉 So, try making it as-is first then tweak it if you think you want do in your next tries. But I would not use oat flour.

  3. I love this bread. Have you ever used it to make into pretzel shapes for soft pretzels? Does it work well for that or better as a loaf?