Skip to Content

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.

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
Print Recipe
4.56 from 543 reviews

Sourdough Soft Pretzels

These big, soft-pretzels have an extra special flavor and texture because they’re made with sourdough starter.
Prep Time1 hour 30 minutes
Bake Time14 minutes
Rising Time12 hours
Total Time13 hours 44 minutes
12 Pretzels


  • 8 oz active sourdough starter (1 cup, 100% hydration)
  • 10 oz warm water (1 ¼ cups)
  • 17.5 oz all-purpose flour (3 ½ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2.5 oz baking soda (1/3 cup, for boiling)
  • 1 egg white (lightly whisked)
  • salt and seeds for garnish


  • Combine the starter and water in the bowl of a stand a mixer with the paddle attached (or mix by hand).
    8 oz active sourdough starter, 10 oz warm water
  • 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.
    17.5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 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.
    1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature.
  • 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.
  • 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)

  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and coat the parchment paper with vegetable oil.
  • 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"
  • 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.
  • Cover the tray with oiled plastic wrap and set aside to for 1 hour to bring the dough to room temperature.
  • Combine the 2 quarts of water and baking soda in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Preheat the oven to 475 °F.
  • 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).
  • 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.
    1 egg white, salt and seeds for garnish
  • They’re best eaten warm from the oven. They also freeze really well.


My Book
KA Stand Mixer
Half Sheet Pans
Parchment Sheets
Cooling Rack

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.



Serving: 1pretzel | Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 1916mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 2mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!
Recipe Rating


Thursday 2nd of November 2023

Why do the pretzels begin to sweat if you store them and don’t eat them all at once? For this much work I’d like to make more than one batch. Otherwise I really enjoy them!


Monday 6th of November 2023

@Elaine, The "sweating" is from the salt on top. Salt will draw moisture to (and out of) the bagel, so they'll get wet if they're inside a container or bag.

Eileen Gray

Thursday 2nd of November 2023

How are you storing them?


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Thanks so much for this recipe. Can I substitute barley malt for the sugar (same amount?) in the dough?


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

@Eileen Gray,

Wow! That was fast! And thank you! I was thinking the barley malt might add a nice flavor to the pretzels, every recipe I use of yours is so good, I can’t go wrong, right :)

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Yes, that should work. The dough might be slightly wetter with the syrup so just adjust the flour if you find the dough unworkable.


Friday 15th of September 2023

Hi I was just wondering if we really need the baking soda for the boiling part? I hope not because i really want to make some pretzels but we don't use any baking soda or baking powder. Thank you!

Eileen Gray

Saturday 16th of September 2023

The baking soda is what gives the exterior of the pretzel the characteristic slightly bitter flavor. You can make them without the baking soda, but they won't taste the same.


Sunday 21st of May 2023

The best pretzels ever! Made a couple of times already.

Not as successful with the jalapeño cheddar dip recipe no matter how carefully I follow the recipe though. Is runny hot and a hard glob cooled down. Help?

Thank you!

Eileen Gray

Monday 22nd of May 2023

The cheddar sauce will solidify as it cools down. It's meant to be eaten while warm. The brand of cheese you use can also make a difference in the exact texture of the sauce.


Thursday 27th of April 2023

Made as written…these are spectacular!!