Bread How-To

New York-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe

December 31, 2010 | 43 Comments

An easy homemade New York-style soft pretzels recipe. Each soft pretzel is perfect served warm with a side of yellow mustard or a cheese sauce.

New York-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

Before I open up a new planner book with “2011” marked across its pages, I’d like to squeeze one last post into 2010- A New York-Style Soft Pretzel Recipe. It’s the kind of soft pretzel that many people crave after visiting the busy streets of New York. It’s what a native New Yorker would crave after moving into middle-of-nowhere New Jersey (at least in my case). It’s the pretzel that I remember my parents buying me and my sister when we were younger.

New York-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com
During the summer months, my sister and I would ask our parents for the full-of-sugar snow cones sold by elderly men scraping at huge blocks of ice at carts bombarded with lines of sweating people holding dollar bills in their hands. During the winter months, my sister and I would ask our parents for the warm, butter, soft pretzels sold on every corner between Penn Station and Times Square (onto this soft pretzel recipe in a minute).

New York-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

Have you ever bought something from a pretzel vendor? It’s as if a drug deal is going down, but with pretzels. “I’d like some of your finest crack a pretzel please.” And then, you take a couple bucks out of your pocket, hand it to the pretzel dealer vendor, and he hands you a nice warm soft pretzel. You pick up the yellow bottle placed in front of you, squeeze a generous amount of fluorescent yellow mustard around the entire pretzel, and make your merry way around New York City, while the pretzel kindly (because pretzels can be kind, just like humans and cats) warms your fingers, as your other hand hides in your coat pocket from the gelid winter breeze.

New York-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

New York-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

New York-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

New York-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

After craving New York soft pretzels, I decided that it was time to re-create this soft pretzels recipe at home, but with less salt. And I was quite pleased with the results. The color and the taste were spot-on.

New York-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

Yield: Makes 12 Pretzels

New York-Style Soft Pretzels

New York-Style Soft Pretzels Recipe | sophisticatedgourmet.com

Adapted from Martha Stewart

When it comes to making any bread dough, I do everything by hand. No machinery is needed for this New York-style soft pretzel recipe as its very easy to work with. However, I've included instructions in the notes of this recipe if you'd prefer using a stand mixer.

When measuring the flour for the dough, I used a scale (if you don’t have one, it’s time to make the best $25 investment you will ever make). If you do not own a scale, when measuring the flour, be sure not to compact the flour into the measuring cup; fluff the flour in its container and spoon it [lightly] into the measuring cup, and use the back of a knife (or a spatula) to level the flour. Do not tap the sides of the measuring cup, as this will also compact the flour.

For shaping the pretzels, refer to the four photos in the blog post.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the Soft Pretzel Dough

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) / 7 g dry active yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons / 8 g granulated sugar
  • 1 cup / 240 ml warm water (100ºF - 110ºF / 37ºC - 43 ºC )
  • 1 cup / 128 g bread Flour
  • 2 cups / 256 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons / 28 g unsalted butter, softened
  • Neutral-tasting oil, for bowl and baking sheets (sunflower, vegetable, etc.)

For Boiling:

  • 1/4 cup / 72 g baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons / 19 g granulated sugar

For Glazing & Topping:

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon pretzel salt / course grain sea salt

Instructions

  1. For the Dough: Mix yeast, sea salt, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Place flour into a large bowl. Using two butter knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Slowly pour yeast mixture over flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon or your hands to combine. Using your hands, gather dough together. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes.
  4. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size. About 1 hour. (Kamran note: If you want, you can place the covered bowl of dough in the refrigerator over night)
  5. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces, and roll each into an 18-inch rope. Form a U shape with 1 rope, and twist ends together twice. Fold twisted portions backward along center of U shape to form a circle, then gently press ends of rope onto dough to seal. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet, and repeat. Let rise for 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 475ºF.
  7. Boil the Dough: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add baking soda and the 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, about 30 seconds a side. Transfer to wire racks to drain. Place pretzels on an oiled baking sheet.
  8. Glaze and Bake: Mix the 1 teaspoon water and egg in a small bowl. Brush each pretzel with the egg wash. Sprinkle the with the pretzel salt or course grain sea salt (I used the latter).
  9. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  10. Pretzels will keep, uncovered, at room temperature for up to 12 hours. Re-warm in a 250ºF / 130ºC oven if desired, and served with mustard.

Notes

Stand Mixer Instructions: Simply use the paddle attachment to break the butter into the dough and switch to the hook attachment to knead the dough on low (any higher may ruin the motor– please refer to your manufacturer’s instructions) until smooth and supple.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 Soft Pretzel

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 144Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 44mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

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43 Comments

1
  • Reply Megan Gordon December 31, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Brilliant photos! Perfect end-of-the-year recipe. Happy New Year, Kam. I’ve so enjoyed reading all your posts this year and look forward to a full (and delicious) 2011!

  • 2
  • Reply Jennifer @ Licious Food December 31, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Those pretzels look tasty!

    You could have a job at Auntie Anne’s in your future, LOL!

    I have made pretzels only once and after viewing your post it makes me want to revisit it.

  • 3
  • Reply Ria December 31, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Love your pictures, K! Wishing you a Very Happy & Peaceful New Year!

  • 4
  • Reply skip to malou January 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    OH NY won’t be the same without the scent of pretzels emanating from the street vendors… and yeah you’re so right,as I feel that way whenever I buy those pretzels, I feel like I’m buying some illegal stuff hahah coz they are so good and you have a certain “high” eating and holding the warm pretzels…haha!

    I miss NYC (live there six years ago) but Im glad I coould re-create NY here in SD by trying your recipe. Im sure it’s going to wake my kids up! YUM!

  • 5
  • Reply Courtney January 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Whenever I’m in NY I have to get a pretzel, but the only problem is I haven’t been to NY in a little while. Thanks for sharing :)

  • 6
  • Reply Brian @ A Thought For Food January 1, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    I spent a great deal of my childhood making trips into The City… to see my father at work, to go to a show, to eat an amazing meal. But the memory that sticks with me the most is the time I was given my first soft pretzel.

    Now, I must admit that I’m not a huge fan of mustard, so I usually eat it naked (with salt of course).

  • 7
  • Reply Winnie January 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Oh I think these look way better than the pretzels on the street! And I love mustard…
    Absolutely gorgeous post and photos…I am new to your blog but will be back for sure :)

  • 8
  • Reply Stefania January 2, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Happy New Year ♥
    Moltissimi Auguri
    per uno splendido 2011

  • 9
  • Reply kamran January 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    New Year Wishes- Thank you!

    Jennifer- No thank you to the job at Aunt Annie’s, but I do encourage you to make these. The dough is very easy to handle and is very forgiving.

    Brian- plain pretzels are good, too :)

    Winnie- why thank you!

  • 10
  • Reply Lily January 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Beautiful!! Happy New Year!

  • 11
  • Reply Nadia January 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    gorgeous! Who would have thought anyone would use the word gorgeous to describe pretzels, but they really are. :)

    Being a desi, I love spice- do you think adding some green chilies into the dough would work?

  • 12
  • Reply Your Dad January 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    My son, your site looks more wonderful each time I look at it.

    I remember when your mom and I would buy you and your sister those warm pretzels. And this recipe: I want you to make these pretzels when you come over. The last time I made one of your recipes, I made the bagel one for you and your sister. I forgot to boil the bagels, and you know what happened. They looked ok but, were hard as bricks.

    This time, I’ll let the master baker in the family handle all of the baking.

  • 13
  • Reply kamran January 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Lilly- Same to you!

    Nadia- I don’t see why not. I love a little kick! But chili powder might work just as well… If you do add the chilies, I would suggest dicing them up finely.

    Dad- Oh, now you’ve finally figured out how to comment on here? Kidding. Thanks so much for being so nice! What do you want, now? I’m kidding again. Sort of. Well, I’ll bring some stuff over to make these for the family . . . I’ll make a huge batch!

  • 14
  • Reply Shaheen January 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Love the father-son banter.:)

    I wish I could have one of those right now. I miss them so dearly. NYC is one of my fave food cities.

  • 15
  • Reply rebecca subbiah January 8, 2011 at 12:51 am

    oh wow they look perfect happy new year Kamran

  • 16
  • Reply Jess January 9, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I’m digging these pictures! Very cool! When I was in third grade my brother and I would always make cinnamon and sugar pretzels.
    Jess : )

  • 17
  • Reply Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) January 13, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Ahh those pretzels look gorgeous :)
    I’ve never even eaten one! I feel like I’m missing out though, especially reading the sweet story you just wrote!

  • 18
  • Reply christinaalison February 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    i’ve tried a few different pretzel recipes. these are most definitely my favorite! delish! i tried your bagel recipe as well…. sadly, those were a swing and a miss. :~/ not sure what happened, but i am going to try again for sure. i’m new to your site, but i’m enjoying it.

    • Reply kamran February 2, 2011 at 3:04 am

      Hi there! I am so glad that these turned out well!

      As for the bagels, I am surprised that they didn’t turn out well- my father (a non-baker) even managed to make the bagel recipe without my help or advice and they turned out beautifully. Maybe I can help you figure out what went wrong?

    19
  • Reply Billa February 12, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I also started learning to write some recipes .. but when I saw your blog, I was very impressed … his writing is very detailed … I can learn from here, thank you.

  • 20
  • Reply Lynette October 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    They sure look pretty on your screen, but mine turned out a total disaster. As soon as they hit the water they just uncoiled and turned into a slimy mess. Is there a trick to preventing them from uncoiling?

    • Reply kamran October 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Lynette- there really isn’t a secret or trick to prevent them from uncoiling other than pressing the ends of the dough together well (there’s no need to be overly-gentle with this step); the dough should stick together.

      If you’re using flour when you’re taking the dough out of the bowl after it’s rested, while cutting the dough, or while forming the pretzels- that’s the cause of your pretzels uncoiling (it’s preventing the dough from sticking to itself); you don’t need any more flour other than what’s called for in the recipe.

      I hope that helps!

    21
  • Reply Melanie April 25, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    These were (are) great! My hubby and I made them tonight. I brushed them with melted butter instead of the egg – otherwise following it exact, and they are ssooo yummy!

  • 22
  • Reply Capricila October 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Soooo… i tried this recipe…. total failure. ._. After i boiled them, total disaster, fell apart in pieces. Then I baked those pieces, trying to save something, still failure. They taste… well… I’ll keep doing cupcakes.

    • Reply Kamran October 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Capricila- I apologize that this recipe didn’t turn out well for you. I did receive a couple emails from folks saying that after boiling, their pretzels fell apart. I adjusted the recipe; it now calls for a much shorter boiling time (30seconds per side).

    23
  • Reply theresa April 28, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Did I miss the directions for doing the pretzels in a standing mixer? I don’t have the strength in my hands to kneed. Thank you so much I can’t wait to try this.

  • 24
  • Reply Sandy June 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    These look really good! I have to add them to my “To Make List”!!

  • 25
  • Reply Joanne February 16, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Just as I thought. I made your bagels yesterday, and they were delicious. And today. I made these. After they were done, I brushed a couple with butter and sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on top. And the rest with salt. They tasted just like a pretzel. I love your site. I found you while searching for something else. And now I’m hooked. I was very surprised to see a young man behind the recipes. Bravo!

  • 26
  • Reply Millie May 12, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Can’t believe I only just found your blog – everything looks so delicious!! I’m also in love with pretzels so will definitely try these out!!

  • 27
  • Reply Eileen July 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Okay, so the bagels never sore but they did boil and float to the top. So I now have heavy chewy bagels. I think maybe I should add another 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to get the yeast excited since I had to add 1/3 more water? I just need to get them to rise and then I know they will be winners for sure, I am so close

  • 28
  • Reply Rebecca July 15, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Has anyone tried this recipe but taking out the sugar?

  • 29
  • Reply May May 13, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Made these as a little rainy day snack for dinner! So good. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • 30
  • Reply Crystal Bahr January 1, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Just got a stand mixer and wanted to use it for the pretzels. You mentioned that you had instructions, but I am not finding them. Can you direct me to them? Thanks so much!

  • 31
  • Reply Natalija January 1, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Made them today. Tasted delicious and looked great!! Happy New Year!

  • 32
  • Reply Judy Dewolfe February 9, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    These look amazing! I would love to have the directions for using a stand mixer. Thanks!

  • 33
  • Reply laGonda June 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Hi I stumbled across this recipe after searching for Bagel recipes. I’m going to try both. Just two questions. As someone else asked, is there a place with stand mixer directions? And you stated that these will last 12 hours at room temperature. Is there a way to store them longer? If so, how?
    Ok that was three questions.

  • 34
  • Reply nmharleyrider October 18, 2017 at 12:13 am

    What I don’t seem to find are the instructions to make these in a stand mixer which you said you included. Did I miss something

  • 35
  • Reply Kelly Bartolo May 16, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    These turned out amazing! I did some of the cinnamon sugar ones too! Loving all these recipes!

  • 36
  • Reply Julie Bruenin May 20, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    OMG, something fun to try with all my quarantine time. Any insight on making these with gluten-free flour?
    Thank you so much!

    • Reply Kamran Siddiqi May 21, 2020 at 5:05 am

      Hi Julie- I do not, but if you do find that these work well using gluten-free flour, do let me know! I’d love to hear your feedback!

    37
  • Reply Mineshree Munien June 29, 2020 at 7:10 am

    Hi Kamran

    We don’t get all purpose flour in South Africa. Just cake flour and self raising flour unless you go to a specialty store and then they can be really expensive.

    Have you tried this using 00 flour? Made your bagel recipe with that and it was chewy and divine just the way I like it. Thinly sliced butter and chives inside was the perfect lunch 😊
    .

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