Homemade German Pretzels

Homemade German Pretzel recipe from AmandasCookin.com @amandaformaro

I’ve made several German recipes for my kids’ high school German classes over the last few years. My daughter decided she wanted to try real homemade German pretzels when she was a Freshman. Previously I had made Bretzel Rolls , so luckily I was already prepared for this. The Bretzel rolls were amazing so I set out to find a genuine German pretzel recipe.

Homemade German Pretzel recipe from AmandasCookin.com @amandaformaro

I hit Foodgawker.com first where I found the delightfully amazing blog La Cerise. This blog is run by Astrid, she lives in Zurich and bakes up some true masterpieces. This German pretzel recipe was originally adapted by Astrid from a German website. I’ve calculated the adjustments from metric to standard, so I was very pleased that our homemade German pretzels came together so well.

Homemade German Pretzel recipe from AmandasCookin.com @amandaformaro

The first time I made them they were considerably smaller than I expected. Mine looked quite a bit fatter than Astrid’s, so when I made these again, I made sure to roll out my ropes longer.

Homemade German Pretzel recipe from AmandasCookin.com @amandaformaro

That was back in February of 2009. Fast forward a few years and I’ve made these homemade German pretzels several times.

Homemade German Pretzel recipe from AmandasCookin.com @amandaformaro

Authentic German pretzels are a little smaller and not as fat as the kind you get at the county fair or local food stand.

Homemade German Pretzel recipe from AmandasCookin.com @amandaformaro

They are delicious though and you should definitely try them!

Homemade German Pretzel recipe from AmandasCookin.com @amandaformaro

More Pretzel Recipes

Ham & Cheese Pretzel Roll Sandwiches
Bretzel Rolls (Pretzel Sandwich Rolls)
Homemade Pretzel Dogs – What Megan’s Making
Rosemary Sea Salt Pretzels – Two Peas and Their Pod

Homemade German Pretzels

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes

Homemade German Pretzels


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 pkgs active dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling
  • Soda Bath
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 2 quarts water


  1. Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water. Mix flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the flour mixture then add the sugar to the center of the well. Pour the yeast/water mixture into the well. Let it rest for 15 minutes before mixing.
  2. Add the softened butter to the mixing bowl and knead everything to a smooth dough. I used the dough hook on my Kitchenaid for about 6 minutes on speed #2, I did have to add about a tablespoon of additional water as it was not quite gathering all the dry ingredients. Remove the dough hook and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut the dough into twelve equal parts, then roll each piece on the table (don't flour the surface, you shouldn't need it) to about 20 inches, tapered toward the ends. Don't make it smaller than 20 inches as it's impossible to get a good shape with a short, thick rope of dough. The dough should not get too warm as you roll it out, or it might tear.
  4. Place the pretzels without covering them in the fridge for about an hour. This helps build a skin that will absorb the dipping solution better and make a beautiful shiny crust.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  6. Note: an authentic German recipe calls for a lye solution, but baking soda is a perfectly acceptable and widely used substitute.
  7. Fill large stock or pasta pot 3/4 full and bring the water to a boil. Carefully and slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. There will be a reaction when the baking soda hits the water and it will bubble furiously for a moment and then relax. Stand back a bit just to be safe. Using a slotted spoon, gently drop each pretzel into the bath for 10 seconds, then turn over for another 10. Astrid called for a total of 10 seconds only. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Score the dough once like for a baguette with a razor blade or sharp knife.
  9. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake the pretzels for about 15 to 20 minutes (mine took 20 minutes for a nice dark crust), depending on how dark you like them.


  1. Astrid says

    Your pretzels came out beautifully Amanda! Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. Nothing makes me happier than to see a recipe I post being tested with success by someone else.

  2. Amanda says

    Happy Cook – Thank you! I was hoping for an even darker crust, but didn’t want them to burn. Will try again soon :)

    Astrid – You are quite welcome, I love all the goodies on your blog! Thanks for the great recipe :)

    Debbie – It’s funny, my daughter took them to school, put them in the room with the other food items, and they were gone next time she came in LOL

    Cheri – Would love to see them if you do, you’re a great cook!

    Maria – Time to fire up the oven and baking soda bath again :)

    Tami – I thought it was pretty cool. So many recipes to choose from but we needed something that would keep from the night before. So making something like Schnitzel was out :-P

    thecleanveggie – They were! Thanks for the comment ;)

  3. Grace says

    of all the things you could’ve possibly made for a german class, i wouldn’t have expected this…but i love it! gimme a little mustard and i’m set to go. :)

  4. Michele says

    Hi Amanda,

    I made the pretzels and they turned out pretty good over all. I did have trouble with the dough, though. I was confused about the water amount. Was there supposed to be additional water from the yeast? It said 1 cup luke warm water but then it said use warm water for the yeast. I'm thinking there was supposed to be a separate measurement for that. I reworked the dough a few times adding more and more water. Probably about a 1/4 cup. Anyway, I finally managed to get the dough feeling right. Because the dough was so tight it was hard to roll it out long enough to make the nice big pretzel shapes so mine look a lot like yours.

    Just a word of warning about the baking soda bath. I don't recommend adding the baking soda to boiling water. I've never done this before so I just followed your directions. And after dumping in the baking soda in to the boiling water it immediately boiled up like volcanic eruption and overflowed and dumped about a liter of soda water all over my stove and floor in a matter of seconds. BIG MESS and a pain to mop up. So, might I suggest adding it to warm water and then bring it to the boil.

    After all that I also brushed the tops with egg whites which gave it a nice shiny crust and also helped the salt to stick. Anyway, I'm going to try this again and adjust the water amount. Hopefully they'll turn out the way they should. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Amanda says

    Hi Michele! I'll adjust the recipe so that it's less confusing. There's not a separate measurement for the water, the lukewarm water in the ingredient list, and the warm water in the instructions are one in the same. Sorry for the confusion. As for the dough be overly tight, did you use the scoop and sweep method for measuring the flour? Just wondering if you may have had too much. Another thing I have discovered with yeast recipes is the climate and barametric pressure indeed play a role in the end result. I live in the midwest, so it tends to be more humid here than say, southern California. Just thinking about some possible reasons for your dough results :)

    As for the baking soda, I'm so sorry that happened to you! I will add a note about that in the instructions as well. I did have an "eruption" so to speak, but I didn't have it boil over. I'm thinking your pot may have been filled higher than mine? I filled mine about 3/4 full.

    At any rate, so glad you enjoyed them and thanks so much for this helpful feedback!

  6. Anonymous says

    I visited Germany for the first time in September and fell in love with their pretzels. I tried you recipe and it is GREAT! I am going to make them for Thanksgiving. I want to surprise my mother-in-law who is from Germany.

  7. Julie says

    Hi Amanda! I made these for my son’s cultural feast at school yesterday and they were a huge hit! I’m not really sure how to store them though. I stored them in sealed Tupperware containers, and they got “moist” and kind of tough to eat. How do you store them? I apologize if this has already been answered, I read most comments, but not all.

    Thanks for your help, and the wonderful recipe!!!!

    • says

      Well they actually didn’t hang around long enough to be stored, but I can certainly see how a closed container would cause moisture. I think a safer bet would be to store them in paper lunch or grocery bags, just like when you buy bagels from a bagel shop :) Yum, now i want a fresh bagel!

  8. Alyson Kenny says

    Hi Amanda! I just made this recipe today and they are finishing up in the oven as I type. I substituted half whole wheat flour (purely because I was too lazy to go to the store and get more regular flour, even if it is only 2 blocks away!) I ended up going to the store anyways because I only had German Backpulver (I live in Germany, btw) and no actually baking soda (called Natron in German). They still look wonderful and I think they will taste great as well! I will be making them again in the US for my german themed graduation party in August (I am graduating from University here in Germany in a few weeks) and I hope my American family will love them as well. Thanks for the great recipe!

  9. Dawn says

    Hi Amanda,
    I came across your website when I typed German Pretzel Recipes in the search box.
    My aunt and I went to Germany to visit my brother and we went every morning to the bakery to eat their pretzels that they split and spread them with Irish butter.
    I have been looking for a recipe as the soft pretzels that are made here in America are nothing compared the an authentic German pretzel.
    I will be trying your recipe soon when the weather starts to cool down.
    Kind regards.

  10. Astrid from Boston says

    Hi there,
    I am of german descent living in the US and my fave food is pretzels, any kind, any way!
    But I especially love the hot pretzels served in Germany.
    Authentic ones are hard to find in the US. Most are just bagel recipes made into the shape of pretzels. Still yummy but not exactly what I am craving.

    Have you been to Germany and had them there? I heard they use some kind of malt flour to get that brown on the outside and that unique flavor. What are your thoughts? Suggestions?


    • says

      I have not been to Germany, though I wish! I have a niece in Germany, but she’s still in her early twenties and isn’t really a seasoned cook, otherwise I would ask her. Sorry!

  11. Dawn from Ohio says

    I visited Germany in 1982 as a class trip. I had my German pretzel experience in Munich. It made an impression on me that lasts til today. Just this week my father and I made our first pretzels. We used barley malt syrup. They were tasty but I wanted to umprove texture so I started searching for more information. I will be making some adjustments to my techniques based on what I have been reading from others like yourself. Thanks for sharing.

  12. says

    These look so good Amanda – pretzels or pretzel roll are on my try list for this winter, and you might have inspired me to get to them sooner rather than later!

  13. Kelly says

    I am soooo excited to find this recipe. Being German and the fact that I LOVE soft pretzels makes this a win-win :) Thanks for sharing!

  14. Sue McEndree says

    These look so good!!! I love those hot pretzels that we get at the mall. I’ve never made them before but I’m going to try to make these. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  15. Matt says

    We spent ten years in Bavaria, so we are never satisfied when we try to find an authentic pretzel stateside. I am eager to try your recipe. A question – is the baking soda bath supposed to be boiling at the time you dip the pretzels in it? Or do you bring it to a boil, turn it off, then dip the pretzels? If I recall correctly it’s the lye (in this case the baking soda) that yields the dark color, but I could be wrong about that. I remember seeing the clerks in the bakery just brushing it on before baking.

    • says

      Hi Matt :) The baking soda bath should be boiling when you drop the pretzels in. Keep it going the whole time, until you are done dropping in and removing pretzels to the baking sheet. I hope you like them!

  16. Alexandra mason says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I have one question, can I freeze them
    After shaping them into pretzels ? If ‘yes’ then do I freeze them before
    Or after the soda bath?? Thank you

    • says

      I don’t think that’s possible unfortunately. Yeast doughs only freeze well if they have been par-baked. You wouldn’t be able to par-bake them without doing the soda bath first, so that would kind of defeat the purpose. However, and remember I haven’t tested this, you should be able to do the soda bath and then bake them partially, until the dough just starts to firm up and get a crust, but not brown. Very, very light brown is okay though. Then you would cool and freeze them, then bake at the called for temperature from a frozen state for the full time (give or take a few minutes).

  17. Matt says

    I made these this past weekend and they were delicious…well the tops of them. lol. I used parchment paper and they got stuck to the paper in the baking process. Is the parchment necessary?

  18. Philip says

    Thank you for this recipe! I made them last week and the whole family loved them. I’m making them again today and plan on melting milk chocolate and drizzling it on after they come out of the oven.

      • Tracy Paul says

        Hi Amanda, I was planning on writing you after reading most of the other comments. This one sort of is in the line of my question. Many yrs ago when I lived in Pennsylvania, I used to go to a Farmers Market. There were a lot of Amish venders with tables. One of them made Pennsylania Dutch/Amish pretzels, besides their standard ones they also sold chocolate chip. From what I remember, the dough had chocolate chips in it + was slightly sweeter. Would you hazard a guess how I can change your recipe to try to duplicate that different pretzel?

  19. Valerie says

    These were amaaazing! Made the recipe exactly as written above with mustard and homemade cheese sauce on the side. Super easy and actually fun to make. I just made sure I had the time to spare and did not rush. I had to watch the pretzels after about twelve minutes just to be sure they did not burn. They were a hit! Definitely making them again. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe.

  20. Danielle says

    Thanks Amanda! I was nervous at first because I have never baked anything with yeast before, but these turned out really well! Definitely one to make again.

  21. says

    These turned out great, but I think you need to double-check the recipe. I added almost twice as much water as was called for (which was on par with other similar recipes) just to get it to come together at all, and it was still much tougher than any bread dough I’m used to. But once modified (and with garlic powder, sea salt and cracked pepper), they were delicious!

    • says

      Hi Krista :) The recipe is correct. The dough is very stiff. Keep in mind this is an authentic German recipe, not the soft pliable dough consistency we are used to here in the states. I’m glad they still worked for you!

  22. Dino says

    Thanks Amanda. :) This is the best and easiest recipe for the authentic Bavarian style pretzel. I have tried many recipes before but they never turned out so deliciously soft. Just perfect. Feels like getting a fresh pretzel from Muller Brot Bakery in Munich back in the days :)

    • says

      I’m sorry Bathany, I don’t remember and it’s been a while since I made these. I am more careful now about recording serving numbers, but I do apologize for not having that info on this one. Next time I make these I will be sure to update the post!

  23. Candace says

    To the previous posters asking- it makes 12 (“cut dough into 12 equal parts”)
    I’m making them as I type, doing a double batch for my son’s heritage feast at school. They smell amazing but the first batch is completely stuck to the parchment paper :( Going to cut off the bottoms, I guess to salvage them, but trying next batch with greased cookie sheet … :(

    • says

      Candace, I’m sorry about them sticking. That could happen if it was too warm in the kitchen, or if the cookie sheet was sitting on top of the stove with the oven preheated. Thanks for answering that question. Made me blush that I rushed to answer it and didn’t even see that. Guess I need to make them again to refresh my memory cells!

  24. Tawana says

    My husband, daughter, and myself made these tonight and they were perfect! My husband is half German and he was super excited they turned out great! So much, in fact he called his mother (who is German) to brag! She insists that we make them for Christmas!! I’m excited about making another batch!! The recipe was easy! I did add an extra tablespoon of water to the dough as it was mixing and it was perfect! It he baking soda bath did “erupt” on me and all over my stove…no biggie…it wiped right up!! I though it was kind of cool and my 7 year old daughter got a kick out of it!! I baked the first batch at 400 degrees but I think the bottom got brown too quickly! The second batch I cooked on 350 and I used the “speed bake” on my oven and it browned evenly a over!! Great recipe!! I’m excited to have found it!! Thank you!!

  25. Ashleigh says

    This sounds great! You’ve recieved so much positive feedback that i decided to try this for myself. when you say 2 packages of active dry yeast, how much yeast exactly is in each package?

  26. Elizabeth Jordan says

    These were seriously the best thing I’ve ever baked…perfect texture, crust, pretzel taste, light yet chewy.I’ve had mediocre results with several bagel recipes and was so hoping these wouldn’t just taste like my usual bread in a pretzel shape. Fun to make, delicious. Triple batch next time!

  27. Liz says

    Two of my siblings and I, along with our Dad went to Romania in October to visit our grandparents. My brother is a bit of a picky eater, so my grandpa would walk to the pretzel shops on the street and buy him a ton of pretzels. He loved them like crazy! He practically lived off of them. I’m going to try to make these tomorrow and see how he likes them. When you scour them, do you do it when you’ve already shaped them, or do you do it while they’re still unshaped?

  28. says

    Hello Amanda,

    First & foremost, I wish to thank you for the Pretzel recipe. I have tried and it turned out beautiful. I wish I could share some of the pics here with you all. I have made out 10 pretzels from 62g each. I used natron from Germany. Will try experiment with baking soda locally in Malaysia. They came out beautiful without sticking. I did egg washed them to get the beautiful colour. Texture is soft indeed. Overall perfect, will stick to your recipe for future bakes.

    I have kept in the fridge before bathing for more than 2 hours. Question is, can I keep for 24 hours before soda bathing? Thinking of baking the next morning for freshness.

    Thank you once again for the awesome recipe.

    • says

      Hi Angeline. I have never tried to keep them in the fridge for 24 hours. However, I would think it would work as the cold temperature stops any rising. Let me know if you try it!

  29. prairehell says

    hai Amanda
    I have been craving soft pretzel for a while now. As i was searching for the recipe i came upon your blog and since you have been receiving lots of +ve responses, i’ve decided to try your recipe words by words. but the dough turn out a little bit dry. any idea why? how can i improve it for the next time?

    • says

      Hi prairehell, you said the dough came out a little dry but you didn’t say how they were after making them? I hope you didn’t just toss the dough and call it quits! This dough is actually pretty stiff, but if it was dry it could have something to do with your environment (temperature in the kitchen, humidity or lack thereof, etc). Without knowing exactly the steps you took, it would be really hard for me to troubleshoot. Did you end up baking them?

  30. Molly says

    Hi I m making these pretzels right now and made them a little small then I think yours are(mine are about 2.5 to 3 inches) How long do you think I should bake them for and when I soak them in the boiling water- should I still do the ten seconds on each side or also reduce that. And should they stay in the fridge for an hour or would that be too long since they are smaller. Sorry for all of the questions- thanks.


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