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Sourdough Soft Pretzels

Sourdough Soft Pretzels have a wonderful flavor and chewy bite. Just when you thought homemade soft pretzels couldn’t get any better, they do! 

sourdough soft pretzelsI’ve made soft pretzels several times over the last year or so and didn’t really plan on posting another pretzel recipe just yet. But I recently made some terrific Sourdough Soft Pretzels which I baked in a 185 year old wood-fired oven and wanted to share it with you.

Don’t worry, you don’t need a wood-fired oven to make these pretzels!

sourdough soft pretzelsMy sourdough starter has been wonderfully active lately and I’ve been making all sorts of new recipes that go well beyond a loaf of bread, including Sourdough Donuts & Sourdough Bagels. So I thought, why not use the starter to make the pretzel dough?

If you don’t have one, check out my post to learn How to Make a Sourdough Starter. Then check out my system to Feed and Maintain Sourdough Starter or you can learn How to Keep a Small Sourdough Starter

This is a 2 day recipe because I don’t use any commercial yeast in the dough, just the starter. But the vast majority of the time is hands-off.

I like to start the dough in the afternoon/evening of day 1 and then roll the pretzels the next morning. Because it is a soft dough, it’s easiest to roll while it’s still cold.

Watch the video in my Sourdough Focaccia post to see how to turn the dough on the first day. It’s exactly the same process with the pretzel dough.

If you work on this schedule you’ll have fresh hot pretzels by early afternoon. The baked pretzels freeze really well. Just pop them in the oven to re-warm before eating.

We ate these Sourdough Soft Pretzels with my Jalapeño Cheddar Dip, only this time instead of a fresh jalapeño I made the sauce with chopped up Pickled Jalapeños. YUMMMMMY!

So here you go, my favorite new pretzel recipe!

sourdough soft pretzels

Sourdough Pretzel dipped in picked jalapeno cheese sauce.

Watch the recipe video to see how to make Sourdough Soft Pretzels.

Since you’ve got your starter fed, check out the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

sourdough soft pretzels

Sourdough Soft Pretzels

Yield: 12 Pretzels
Prep Time: 1 hour
Rising Time: 12 hours
Bake Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours 14 minutes

These big, soft-pretzels have an extra special flavor and texture because they're made with sourdough starter.


  • 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) active sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 oz, 300 ml) warm water
  • 3 1/2 cups (17.5 oz, 490g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 quarts (2 liters) water
  • 1/3 cup (2.5 oz, 70 g) baking soda
  • 1 egg white, lightly whisked
  • salt and seeds for garnish


  1. Combine the starter and water in the bowl of a stand a mixer with the paddle attached (or mix by hand).
  2. With the mixer running on low add 2 cups of the flour and mix to form a smooth batter. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30-60 minutes.
  3. Switch to the dough hook and add the sugar, salt and remaining flour. Knead on medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough will clear the bowl and cling to the hook after kneading. If mixing by hand knead the dough hand for 5 minutes, sprinkle with extra flour as you knead if required.
  4. Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature.
  5. After 30 minutes uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough and fold it into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. You're basically turning the dough inside-out to redistribute the yeast. Cover the bowl and after 30 minutes repeat the procedure. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes repeat the procedure again.
  6. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes turn the dough one more time. By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Make the Pretzels (Day 2)

  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and coat the parchment paper with vegetable oil.
  2. Turn the cold dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rope. Using flat hands, roll the dough back and forth moving your hands in opposite directions from the middle of the rope towards either end. If the dough gets sticky dip your hands in flour and continue. The dough should stick to the surface just a little so that the friction will allow you to pull the dough into a long rope. The longer and thinner the rope the more open the pretzel shape will be. Try to get the rope to about 20"-24"
  3. To form a pretzel lift the dough rope on either end and allow the middle to sit on the surface, forming a "U" shape. Twist the ends of the rope together 2x and fold the twist over and rest on the center of the "U". Lift the pretzel by the two top loops and place on the oiled parchment paper.
  4. Cover the tray with oiled plastic wrap and set aside to for 1 hour to bring the dough to room temperature.
  5. Combine the 2 quarts of water and baking soda in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Preheat the oven to 450°F convection or 475°F regular.
  6. Drop the pretzels into the boiling water for 10 seconds, flip and boil another 10 seconds. (I can fit about 3 at a time in my pot, don't overcrowd the pan). Set the boiled pretzels back onto the baking sheets (lined with oiled parchment).
  7. Brush each pretzel with egg white and sprinkle with coarse salt and/or seeds of your choice. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Turn the sheets halfway through baking so they brown evenly.
  8. They're best eaten warm from the oven. They also freeze really well.


This is a 2 day recipe because there is no commercial yeast in the dough, but most of the time is hands-off.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

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Monday 1st of March 2021

I made these today and they turned out so good! I'm vegan so i skipped the egg wash (and also skipped the salt for personal health reasons) and they still came out so nice snd golden brown. I'm so happy with them!


Sunday 7th of February 2021

I also struggled with moving mine to the water. I just cut the parchment under them into squares and picked each one up by the parchment. The dough separates from the parchment in a few seconds and can be fished out.


Wednesday 3rd of February 2021

How would you adjust this recipe to make pretzel bites?

Eileen Gray

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Instead of twisting the ropes into the pretzel shape, cut the ropes into segments. Then rise, boil and bake as directed.


Monday 11th of January 2021

I absolutely love this recipe - I use it all the time! The regular pretzels turn out amazing! My friends and family are constantly asking me to make these.

I wanted to ask about adding parmesan and garlic toppings. I've tried adding shredded parmesan, garlic, and parsley a few times and it always comes out a big soggy for me. Do you think there's a different bake time / temp that you'd use to be prevent it from coming out soggy?

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 12th of January 2021

Do you add the toppings as you would the salt? Are you using the egg white to brush the pretzels? What is soggy, the pretzels itself or the topping?


Thursday 17th of December 2020

Done googling the best pretzel recipe. This is a recipe for keeps.


Thursday 31st of December 2020

help, mine don't seem to be turning out. after following the directions everything looked good until it was time to boil. the pretzel dough seems so soft now that its hard to pick up. not sure what happened. they did sit a little longer than an hour.....could that be it. so sad