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5 from 13 votes

Homemade Pretzel Buns

These pretzel buns are soft, chewy, and easy to make! This pretzel bun recipe starts with an easy yeast dough that's made with just 6 ingredients, then get boiled sprinkled with coarse salt and baked giving them their signature pretzel crust.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: bread
Servings: 16 buns
Calories: 166kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water warmed to 105 to 110F
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 5 - 5/12 cups (625- 688 grams) all purpose flour *spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk warmed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup baking soda for boiling
  • coarse sea salt for topping
  • melted butter optional, for brushing on top once baked

Instructions

To Make The Pretzel Dough:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir together warm water, brown sugar, and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add 5 cups (625 grams) flour, milk, and salt, and beat at low speed until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium-high, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 6 minutes. Add remaining ½ cup (63 grams) flour if dough is too sticky.
  • Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

To Make The Pretzel Buns::

  • Prep oven and pans. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
  • Shape buns. Turn out dough, and divide into 16 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a round ball. I do this by bringing the ends up together and pinch together, then turn over and roll on the counter with hand in a claw position to form a ball. Place buns on parchment lined baking sheet and let buns rest while you prepare the boiling baking soda-water bath.
  • Prepare baking soda bath. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat, and add baking soda. (Make sure pot is deep enough. Once you add baking soda, the water will expand an additional 2 inches.)
  • Boil pretzel buns. Drop each pretzel roll into the boiling baking soda water bath, for about 30 seconds on each side (they should be in the water for about 1 minute total - if you leave them in too long they will become very chewy). Boil only 3-4 buns at a time. Remove the pretzel buns with a slotted spoon and let the excess water drain. Place buns on prepared baking sheets.
  • Cut slits into buns. Cut 2 slits into the top of each bun using a sharp knife. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  • Bake buns. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Brush with melted butter, before enjoying.

Notes

  • Storage: Your baked pretzel buns will be good at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. Just keep them covered so they don’t dry out. You can also freeze baked and cooled pretzel buns in a sealable plastic bag or airtight container and should keep for up to 3 months. You can reheat them in the microwave or in 350F oven for 15 minutes or until warmed through.
  • Make ahead: The pretzel dough can be made a day ahead of time and kept in the fridge covered with plastic wrap. You can then shape, boil, and bake the pretzel buns the next day.
  • Freezing: You can also freeze the pretzel dough for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Thaw the dough overnight in the fridge, then shape the next day. You will need to allow extra time (up to an hour) for the dough, especially if it's cold while shaping) for the dough to puff up before boiling and baking.
  • Larger Buns: This pretzel bun recipe makes 16 small rolls, but if you want to make these into more of a burger bun size, you can simply divide the dough into fewer buns (12 rolls) and make bigger rolls. You may need to increase the baking time slightly.
  • Boiling step: You can skip the boiling step. But be aware the boiling in baking soda step is what gives the pretzels their distinct flavor and chew.
  • Yeast: I used instant yeast, but you can also use active dry yeast but proof time may be longer.  
  • Room Temperature Is Key! - How cold or warm your kitchen will always play a role in how fast your dough rises. Ideally dough should rise in a warm environment, about 75-78oF. If your kitchen is cold like mine I like to move my dough to warmer spot. The top of your fridge is a good spot. Or in your oven with the light on but the oven is OFF. 
  • Don't Use Too Much Flour! - Too much flour will result in dry, tough pretzels. It's best to WEIGH your flour, rather than use cups. If you don't have a kitchen scale yet, then be sure to spoon and level your flour into your cup. You most likely won't use all of your flour. I like to err on the side of a slightly sticky than too dry and adding too much. Also be careful when dusting your countertops, a little goes a long way.
  • Set A Timer When Boiling - You don't want to boil each pretzel bun for too long. Each pretzel bun should boil for 30 seconds on each side. I set myself a timer so I know when to flip them and take them out of the water.
  • Boil Only A Few At A Time - You don't want to overcrowd the pot otherwise it can be hard to flip them over. I boiled 2 at a time. I would boil 3 pretzels at the most, no more.
  • Recipe adapted from Bakefromscratch.com

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 955mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 12IU | Vitamin C: 0.004mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 2mg