This sourdough pretzel recipe makes a fun and delicious snack for your family! It’s not a difficult process and can be made in just one day. You’ll love the traditional soft pretzel texture with a hint of sourdough flavor.
Your sourdough starter isn’t just for making loaves of sourdough bread. There are so many other delicious recipes that you can use your starter for! I’m sure you’ve made pancakes, waffles, biscuits, cake, and other treats. But you might not have tried making sourdough soft pretzels yet!
When we lived in Germany several years ago, we always loved getting their big, soft pretzels from the bakeries and fests. I wanted to be able to make homemade pretzels for our family at home. And of course, include the health benefits of sourdough instead of using commercial yeast.
This is a fairly simple soft pretzel recipe that can be made in the morning and baked later in the day, making these pretzels a great afternoon snack. I make sure to feed my starter the night before so that it’s nice and bubbly and ready to go in the morning when I want to make these.
Ingredients for Sourdough Pretzel Recipe
- Active Sourdough Starter- Be sure to feed your starter the night before you want to make these pretzels so that it’s active. Check out these sourdough FAQs if you need any help.
- Water- Room temperature is best.
- Honey- We use honey from our own bees. Local honey is always best for your health! You can also substitute 100% pure maple syrup if you prefer.
- Flour- I use all-purpose flour for this recipe but feel free to use your favorite flour, including bread flour or freshly ground whole wheat flour.
- Baking Soda
- Butter– To melt and brush on after the pretzels are baked. Optional but too yummy to skip!
- Optional Toppings- Coarse sea salt or homemade cinnamon sugar are our favorites!
Tools You Will Need
- Stand mixer or large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Baking sheet lined with a baking mat or parchment paper
- Medium pot
- Slotted spoon
- Wire rack for cooling
- Pastry brush
How to Make Sourdough Pretzel Dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment or a large mixing bowl if mixing by hand, add the active sourdough starter, water, salt, and honey. Mix on low speed well until combined and milky-looking.
Mix in enough flour until you have a soft dough that isn’t too sticky. Knead in your stand mixer or by hand on a lightly floured surface for about 5-7 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
Cover the dough with a damp tea towel, beeswax wrap, plastic wrap, or a lid so that it doesn’t form a skin. Allow it to proof in a non-metal bowl for at least 2 hours in a warm place or longer if you prefer.
After the proofing time, shape your pretzels. This is the fun part! Follow these easy steps for the perfect pretzel shape:
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
- Roll a piece of dough into a long rope about 12 inches long.
- Bring up the ends of the dough rope to form a U.
- Cross the ends of the dough over once to form an X.
- Cross the ends of the rope over each other again.
- Bring the ends down to the bottom of the original U and press them into place.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
I have a baking mat or a piece of parchment paper on the counter next to my clean work surface to place each pretzel on after I shape it. I like to have all of the pretzels shaped and ready to go before I start the cooking process.
How To Bake Soft Sourdough Pretzels
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.
Fill a medium pot with 4 cups of water and 1/2 cup of baking soda. Bring the baking soda bath to a boil but be careful not to let it boil over or you’ll have a mess!
Carefully put one pretzel into the boiling water bath for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until it puffs up a bit and floats to the top.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the pretzel from the water. Place it on the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
Bake the pretzels for about 8 to 12 minutes or until they are golden brown.
While the pretzels are baking, melt butter in a small dish and get a pastry brush ready.
Remove baked pretzels from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Brush with melted butter.
Toppings and Dips for Homemade Sourdough Pretzels
There are so many options for tasty additions to your delicious sourdough pretzels! Here are a few to try:
- Salt- Of course, most of us love a good, salty pretzel! Try using coarse salt, kosher salt, or pretzel salt. Sprinkle on after the pretzels have been brushed with melted butter. Garlic salt is also a good option.
- Cinnamon Sugar- Cinnamon sugar is so easy to make! I always keep a small jar in our spice cabinet to sprinkle on buttered toast, pretzels, or other treats. Just mix up 6 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Sprinkle on freshly buttered pretzels or add a bit of brown sugar for extra sweetness.
- Cheese- A melted cheddar cheese dip is always popular with soft pretzels.
- Honey Mustard- Also easy to make at home by just mixing a little honey into your mustard to make a tasty dip!
Tips and Tricks
- These easy sourdough pretzels are definitely best when eaten fresh! However, if you somehow have any leftovers, be sure to store them in an airtight container and eat them within 1 to 2 days.
- This recipe is for 8 medium size pretzels. If you want to make giant pretzels like they have in Germany, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and follow the recipe. Bake them for a few extra minutes since they’re so large. Or, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces to make mini pretzels!
- Make pretzel bites! Once you have rolled the dough into ropes, cut into 1-inch-long dough pieces. Follow the instructions for boiling and baking but only bake for about 5 minutes. These make a great snack for a party!
- This is such a fun recipe to make with little ones! They will love helping you roll out the dough into long ropes and shape them into pretzels. And since these bake quickly, there’s not a lot of wait time for them to have a fun snack! They will also love adding their own toppings!
This soft sourdough pretzel recipe will become a favorite in your home! Not all sourdough recipes have to be technical or take all day. You can make these for your family quickly and easily and they’ll love them!
Sourdough Pretzel Recipe
- Stand mixer (or large mixing bowl)
- Glass bowl for proofing
- Large pot
- Slotted spoon
- Sheet pan
- Baking mat or parchment paper
- Pastry brush
- 1 cup Active sourdough starter
- 1 cup Warm water
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 2 1/2 cups Flour
- 1/2 cup Baking soda
- 1/4 cup Butter, melted
- Coarse salt or cinnamon sugar
- Feed sourdough starter the night before you want to make this recipe so that it's active and bubbly in the morning.
- Combine sourdough starter, room temperature water, salt, and honey in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or in a large mixing bowl to do by hand. Mix well until it's milky-looking.
- Add in enough flour to make a smooth dough that's not too sticky after kneading for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Cover the dough so it doesn't form a skin and proof in a non-metal bowl in a warm place for at least 2 hours or longer if you prefer.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Take each piece and roll it into a long rope, about 12 inches. Cross the ends and bring them down to form a pretzel shape. Set pretzels aside on a baking mat or parchment paper after forming each one.
- Bring 4 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil in a medium pot. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.
- Carefully place 1 pretzel at a time into the boiling water. Allow to boil for 1 to 2 minutes or until it gets puffy and floats. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the pot and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
- Bake pretzels for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and brush with melted butter. Add salt, cinnamon sugar, or your favorite topping.