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Brezeln – German Pretzel Recipe

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

4.96 from 21 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time yeast dough 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
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!

  7. Hello—-PLEASE, how would you suggest transforming this to kase laugenstange?? We lived in Deutschland for many years and I miss the cheesy pretzel sticks more than anything ! Type of cheese, how much, any details? thank you so much!

    1. For Käselaugenstangen I would shape the dough into logs and before they go into the oven, I’d put some grated Edammer or Gouda on top instead of the salt. Everything else I would do like in the recipe here.

  8. Hello Barbara,

    The video says 3.5 C. Of flour. Your written recipe here on your site says 4 C. Of flour when converted to customary measurements. I tried with 4 C and there was way too much flour.

    Just thought you should know.


    PS I’ll let you know how 3.5 C works.

    1. The recipe plugin that I am using is converting the measurements automatically. It might be that the quantity in grams doesn’t match a whole or half cup and has been rounded up? Yes, please let me know how 3.5 worked for you.

      1. If one wants to be precise when using flour, use weight, not volume, which you do. 1 cup of freshly sifted AP flour is generally 4 ounces while 1 cup unsifted is 5 ounces. My kitchen scale reads both ounces and grams so your recipe is easy to use. Metric it is SO much easier to adjust the quantity if need be. I just discovered your web page this morning so have not tried anything yet. I was looking for a brotchen recipe and found this site. I have to agree about the use of malt in that recipe. I am surprised to not find it in the pretzel recipe.

  9. I have made those bretzeln so many times. Especially for my brother. He is love with this recipe. Thank you very much for sharing it with us!

  10. 5 stars
    Hello Barbara,
    Thank you for the terrific pretzel recipe and video. I’m so happy to have discovered your You Tube channel. My husband loves his Brezel and we have been missing Germany.
    We made the pretzels yesterday and really enjoyed. We need to work a bit to perfect the pretzel shapes. Next time we might leave the dough in the water/soda bath a few seconds longer for a bit darker crust. There will be a next time – this recipe is a keeper!

  11. 5 stars
    Hallo Barbara

    Grüße aus England. Thank you so much for the recipe and video, I made a batch which tasted just like my favourite ones from Germany! My shaping needs improving as they looked more like Laugenbrötchen than Brezeln ?, but they tasted amazing.

    Danke schön

  12. 5 stars
    First time making bretzels at home and it turned out delicious, especially with cheese, sausage and beer! Thank you so much for sharing your steps and also the video :) Will definitely make these again.

  13. 5 stars
    I made these yesterday morning…. Served along with Weisswürste and sweet mustard… Delicious and easy to make.. And my wife really enjoyed… Love your website! We have been missing Europe and our European friends because of current events and this made us feel a lot closer to some normalcy. I,ve been spending the afternoon watching your recipe videos.. Keep up your good work…. Thank you…

  14. 5 stars
    I am amazed by how good these Pretzels are. I made them several times and everyone loves them.
    Thank you for taking your time to post these wonderful recipes. it is hard to find quality bread and pastries here in Ohio. I am from Germany and I am spoiled by the quality and taste of German bread.

    1. Can I use this same recipe for kase brezel? I used to frequent a German bakery in Texas, and got them for breakfast, but there is nothing in pennsylvania and I’m missing them horribly.

      1. I’m assuming that käse brezeln was a pretzel with some cheese sprinkled on top? I guess you can use the same recipe then and sprinkle the cheese on top towards the end of the baking time.

  15. I’d love to make these for our Oktoberfest celebration! Can you shape the pretzels and then freeze them and bake them later? I’m trying to avoid spending all day in the kitchen before my guests arrive!

  16. I am so happy I found your site & videos! Thank you for such amazing work.

    I was wondering if you could help me with my pretzel dough. It is very difficult to stretch it to an appropriate length and sometimes breaks – even after letting it rise for over 50 minutes. I’m cutting the dough into 8 sections. Any insight is great appreciated.

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Tim,
      I’m happy to help. I am assuming that your dough doesn’t have enough elasticity. This is due to not enough kneading. During the kneading, the gluten is released and that makes a dough elastic. You should knead your dough between 8 and 10 minutes if you are working with wheat flour. Check your dough’s elasticity by taking a little piece of it and pulling it apart. If it rips immediately, keep kneading. If you can pull it and it just becomes thinner and thinner before it rips, then it is ready.
      Don’t over-knead though! If the dough becomes thinner in consistency and also shiny, it’s over kneaded.


      1. Hi Barbara,

        Thank you very much for your insight on this. I’ve been putting the dough in the stand mixer for 50-60 minutes. Should I then knead it for the 8-10 minutes that you mentioned? Thanks for helping me!


        1. Hi Tim,
          When you first mix the dough, that is when you mix it 8 to 10 minutes. Then you let it rise. After that, you basically create tension in the dough but don’t knead it for another 10 minutes! After working on the dough and deviding it, always let it rest for some minutes before shaping the pretzels. This makes it easier to work with the dough.

    2. 5 stars
      OMG!! this recipe is amazing. I tried other recipes but all of them failed. So I found this recipe that I made yesterday. My family love it and I love it too. it was so yummy!!Thank you so much!!! 

  17. 5 stars
    I just made these today, and they turned out delicious! I’ve worked and traveled in Southern Germany, and miss the food. Thank you for the easy to follow instruction.

  18. Monika Piazzesi

    Herzlichen Dank für das Brezel-Rezept!!!  Der Teig geht gerade, und wir freuen uns schon sehr auf die Brezeln nachher. Wir wohnen in Kalifornien und können diesen Sommer wegen Corona nicht zurück zur Familie nach Deutschland, da helfen die Brezeln über das Heimweh hinweg!
    Liebe Grüße

  19. Philly Pretzel

    What type of flour do you use, all purpose or bread flour?
    Do you use active dry yeast or instant yeast? Is the rising time different depending on the yeast used?
    Thanking you for sharing your recipe!

    1. Hi Philly,
      I am using the flour that I have on hand, which is AP flour most of the time. The difference between the two flours isn’t all that big and the pretzels – other than a loaf of bread – don’t really need a gluten boost from bread flour. As of the yeast, it’s the same. In Germany, we don’t have different kinds of fry yeast and from my research, it seems that they are all the same here, too. So I use what I get but prefer the fast-rising yeast if I can find it.

  20. 5 stars
    Hallo Barbara,
    I’m from Venezuela and i’ve always being so in love with German Culture, specially with the food, it is so delicious. My husband is a German descendent on the 4th line of generation in his family, so i’m always looking for new german traditional recipes to make for my husband and son, in perder to they can taste their origins in a way, and well, for me too haha…
    Anyways, when i Saw this recipe on YouTube i just litterally jumped of Joy! It was amazing for me to know that i could make my very own REAL brezeln, i just couldn’t believe It.!
    So i wanted to thank you so much for sharing them because, at least in this case, my family can taste a bit of his history.
    I also wanted to know, is there a way in Germany of making brezeln that can last for days, like hard pretzels? Is there a hard pretzels recipe you know? If so, please can you tell me how to make hard pretzels at home? Thank you again so so much!

    1. Hi,

      I don’t know any hard pretzels or recipes, we like our pretzels fresh and fluffy in Germany. Sorry I can’t help with that.

      Best, Barbara

      1. Thank you very much!
        I made your recipe a few days ago and my family just loved It, thank you very much for posting It and teach us how to do it. When they were recently baked, we just remember an Oktoberfest we visit years ago, but better because this time we ate them with butter right from the oven… It’s the perfect récipe of brezln, so fluffy and tasty!
        Oh ok! I thought that maybe there were the recipe because of the pretzel snacks we see commercialy selling, in a way of making home pretzel snacks. But i guess that is merely an american way of making them. Thanks again.

  21. sabina lautensach

    Gruess Dich, Barbara – greetings from northwest British Columbia!
    We do have a bakery and German baker about 160 km away from our town, but of course during lockdown they were closed and we were not allowed to drive there anyway. So was macht man da? Selbst ist die Frau! Jetzt grad sitzt der Teig im warmen dryer und geht so langsam vor sich hin…dieses Jahr kein Urlaub in Europa, so Brez’n helfen mit Heimweh!!
    Vielen Dank fuers gute Rezept, an guad’n, vor allem mit Obatzdm…Sabina

    1. Hallo Sabine,
      ich hoffe die Brezn sind so geworden wie Du sie magst! 160 km ist ja auch keine Kleinigkeit um zum Bäcker zu fahren aber ich verstehe die Notwendigkeit. Immerhin, vielleicht können meine Rezepte hier Dir ja den einen oder anderen Weg sparen.
      Viele Grüße aus Texas,

  22. Luca Cotta Ramusino

    Ein und Zwanzig, Zwei und Zwanzig… love it :-D

    Looks like Oktoberfest is cancelled this year and we’ll have to roll our own.
    * Zelt. Check.
    * Beer. Of course…
    * Maßkrug… hmm, I think I can find some
    * grenade-sized Gurken… better start pickling!
    …and I just got a recipe for traditional Brezeln!

    Ok, I guess we’re all set. Mia San Mia .. “Ein prosit, ein prosit…” usw :-D

    Luca from Italy

    1. You really seem to know the drill :-)
      Yeah, let’s all make our own Oktoberfest this Fall!

  23. William H Feeser

    5 stars
    Guten Tag,
    I found your youtubes a few weeks ago and am thrilled. I ordered a Kitchenaid mixer which arrived last night. Today I’m going to make Pretzels. Just wondering, I found some conversion charts but find it confusing to see both grams and cups and tsps in the same recipe. Is it possible with new ones to list in cups, tbls, tsps consistently? It would be a great help for this novice. BTW, loved your Rouladen recipe, so very close to ours and I can’t wait to make it again. Thank you so much for your channel. Bless you for helping us preserve our traditions. Ancestry says I am 85%+ German and this helps me to express my roots! I subscribed today as well.
    Bill in far Northern California

    1. Hi William,
      there is now a conversion function right underneath the ingredient list. I should have been there already since I implemented it during the week but apparently there was an error and I had to tinker with the technical stuff a little bit.
      Let me know if that works for you.

    2. Barbara, I love my first two batches of pretzels, however wanted you to know your video adds 1 tsp salt, the print out has 2 tsp. My batch with 2 did not rise due to hurting the yeast. Small thing but wanted you to know about the discrepancy. Thanks so much wish I could add a picture!

  24. Thank you Barbara !
    we did the Brezen yesterday here in London and almost felt being back dahoam !
    Liebe Gruesse,


  25. Hello,
    How many grams would a pouch of Yeast contain? Could I also use fresh yeast instead? And if, how much?

    Thank you, Danke !

    1. Hi Franca,
      a pouch of yeast contains 7g of yeast. If you have access to fresh yeast (lucky you!!!), then 1 pouch would equal 20g of fresh yeast. In most other countries, fresh yeast is not available, so I mostly call for dry yeast but if you can get fresh yeast, always prefer it over the other, it is simply better.
      Have fun baking!

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