german pretzel recipe

Homemade Pretzels, fresh from the oven? Yes, please! It’s not difficult at all but requires an additional step before baking: putting the Pretzels in hot soda water. Here is how to do it and if you follow all steps, you will have fresh, warm German Pretzels like in Munich in no time! This is the one German Pretzel recipe that you will need!


Pretzels in form of small nuggets are almost the first solid food we give to our babies – or to be more precise, we start with milk rolls and then next feed them pretzel nuggets. The only exemption from that would be with parents from Hamburg, they will very likely introduce their babies to so-called “Franzbrötchen” (French Rolls) at the same time as pretzels.

How to bake a German Pretzel Recipe Video:

Moving to the US, I was very relieved when I found out that I can still buy pretzels and that there are even little stores in the malls that basically don’t sell much else than that. Well, but you should have seen my surprised face when I took my first bite: They were sweet! Like most bread products here in Texas, even the Pretzels have a lot of sugar in the dough and that is something I will probably never get used to. Also, people here pour oil over their pretzels … seriously?


Sorry for my bluntness, Americans, but you are doing the pretzel thing wrong.

There are a few rules about pretzels:

  1. Use just as much sugar in the dough as you need to make the yeast work.
  2. Put the salt on the pretzels before you bake them.
  3. Eat pretzels with cold butter.
  4. You better eat them within an hour after baking, otherwise, they will become dry.
  5. Chew before you swallow, no matter how delicious your pretzel is.


Oh this is so typical for us Germans: Having rules for everything!

Baking pretzels was not a success for me in the first place. It took me a few attempts to get the right result. You should have delicious pretzels if you stick to my measurements and instructions. Make sure that you use only 3 tablespoons of soda with each 1 liter of water. Put the pretzels in it only for 5 seconds, 10 at the maximum to get a darker result.

I also was a little skeptical about baking powder in a yeast dough. It seems odd but it works and I think it gives the pretzels some extra fluff.



How to eat Pretzels

Most of the time we just cut our pretzel open and put some cold butter into it. But we also like to spread some Obatzda in it or some cream cheese with chives. One can also put a slice of Liver Cheese in between the slices – very Bavarian! But pretzels also taste fantastic without anything at all while they are fresh! Also, check out the Pretzel-Muffins on this blog!

german pretzel recipe

Brezeln - Pretzels

4.95 from 18 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Resting time yeast dough 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Lunch (or Dinner), Party Food, Sides, Snack
Cuisine Bavaria, German, Swabia
Servings 8 pretzels


For the dough

  • 250 ml warm Water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 pouch yeast
  • 500 g flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g Butter (almost 1/2 stick)
  • 1 tsp salt

For the lye alternative & finishing

  • 2 l water
  • 6 tbsp soda
  • some coarse salt


  • Pour about half a cup of the lukewarm WATER into a small bowl and add the SUGAR.
  • Sprinkle the YEAST on top and stir, then set aside.
  • In the meantime put the FLOUR into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the soft BUTTER and the BAKING POWDER.
  • Also add the remaining lukewarm WATER and then the yeast mix that you had set aside.
  • Give it a short mix, then add the SALT.
  • Now mix for 15 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
  • Let rise at a warm place until it has doubled in size (probably about 50 minutes to 1 hour).
  • Knead the dough shortly with your hands, then divide it into 6 to 8 portions.
  • Let rest for a couple of minutes, so you can shape the pretzels more easy.
  • Take a dough portion and shape it into a string, where the center is significly thicker than the ends.
  • Take the ends of the string in each hand and lift it up.
  • Quickly cross your hands and move them back, while the string twists.
  • Put the string down and secure the ends in place to finish the pretzel shape.
  • Bring a pot with 2 liters of water to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and add 6 tbsp. of BAKING SODA.
  • One after another, put the pretzels into the simmering soda water for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Remove the pretzels from the water and put them onto a baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt and let rest and rise for another 15 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C / 395°F.
  • Bake the pretzels for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on your oven) until they have the right color.
  • Enjoy fresh and with some cold butter or Obatzda (recipe on the blog)


Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About The Author

55 thoughts on “Brezeln – German Pretzel Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    My husband is German, and he will marry me again for making German bread. He feels like he never left Germany. My daughter was delighted to find real pretzel in Seattle. Thank you for sharing your advice, research, time, and passion for these recipes! Looking forward for more recipes.

  2. 5 stars
    Guten Morgen Barbara,

    Kannst du mir bitte sagen, wieviel trockenhefe „yeast“ ist in dem Päckchen das du im video benützt hast! Ich habe die trockenhefe in einem 1 Pfund Beutel.
    Vielen Dank

  3. 5 stars
    Let me say that these are some of the best pretzels we’ve made. We live in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, which is very German. Pretzels were once sold on the street corners, and they were warm and delicious. These are pretty close to my boyhood favorites! Thanks….

  4. 5 stars
    I will be making these for a second breakfast Friday. Is it possible to make the dough the night before and put it in the refrigerator overnight to make in the morning? Thanks so much for this recipe. Third time making it…

  5. Hi Barbara, I would love to try your recipe to bring to a gathering, but is there any way these could be partially done in advance, and maybe just finished or even warmed once there? How would you go about that? Thank you!

    1. Hi Karin,
      it is really very difficult to make these in advance. While there are storebought frozen versions that you can sometimes buy at Aldi, they shock-freeze the dough after it has rised. Unformtunately we can’t do that at home so that plan doesn’t work perfectly. Since they have little moisture in the dough and the process of using the soda or lye is additionally helping to dry the baked pretzels faster, I cannot recommend making them ahead if you don’t want to compromise on the quality/result. My advice is to make the recipe for Pretzel Braids from my blog. They stay fresh for a little longer (I’m talking hours, not days) and if you keep them in a plastic bag, you can later put them in the hot oven for a few minutes to get them crisp again. Still not as good as fresh but much better than a reheated pretzel.

  6. Barbara,
    thanks for a great recipe and tips on shaping the bretzen.
    I have a Bayerische Frauline and she was very impressed with how they turned out. I’m baking them for my daughters birthday tomorrow and her 5 German friends, so fingers crossed!

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