Sourdough Soft Pretzels Recipe

Sourdough soft pretzels

Sourdough is delicious and all, but have you ever tried Sourdough Soft Pretzels?

Take your tastebuds on a journey to Germany with these Bavarian-style sourdough pretzels. Each bite will transport you to a German beer hall, with their delicious buttery flavour, soft texture and coarse salt finish. 

Whether you’re a baking novice or a seasoned baker, this sourdough soft pretzel recipe is perfect for bakers of all experience levels. With only a handful of ingredients needed to make your first batch of 12, you won’t have to go further than your kitchen pantry to arm yourself with everything you need to make these moreish pretzels.

Just like our sourdough crumpets, this simple step-by-step recipe for soft sourdough pretzels comes together in minutes, rises overnight and bakes in under 30 minutes. 

Sourdough pretzels

Sourdough Pretzels baked by our amazing customer Chris!

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What you’ll need


  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (198g) filtered water
  • 1 cup (227g) sourdough starter discard (unfed)
  • 3 cups (360g) unbleached bread flour
  • 1/4 cup (28g) non-fat dry milk
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) granulated sugar or 2 tablespoons (18g) non-diastatic malt powder
  • 1 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (9g) salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

For topping

  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar or non-diastatic malt powder
  • 2 tbsp (28g) filtered water
  • Pretzel salt
  • 2 tbsp (28g) melted butter (optional)


  • Baking paper
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • Measuring cups 
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Mixing bowl
  • Non-stick oven tray

How to make Sourdough Pretzels: Step-by-step instructions

  1. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with baking paper.
  2. Weigh your flour using a digital kitchen scale or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. 
  3. Mix and knead the dough ingredients by hand to make a cohesive, smooth dough. It should be slightly sticky – if it seems dry, knead in an additional tablespoon or two of water.
  4. Cover the dough and let it rest for 45 minutes. It will rise slightly. At the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface, fold it over a few times to gently deflate it, then divide it into 12 pieces, each weighing about 64 grams to 70g (You can measure these using a digital kitchen scale).
  6. Roll each piece of dough into an 18" rope, before then shaping each rope into a pretzel.

  7. Dissolve the malt in the water. Brush the pretzels with the solution, and sprinkle lightly with coarse pretzel salt.

  8. Bake the pretzels for 25 to 30 minutes, until they're a light golden brown.

  9. Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush with melted butter.

How to shape soft pretzels

Shaping sourdough soft pretzels

If you’ve never made homemade pretzels, worry not, because you can shape your dough into the signature pretzel shape in three simple steps.

  1. Working one piece at a time, roll the dough into a long rope shape and set it on a clean surface in the shape of a "U".
  2. Lift the ends of the rope and twist two times.
  3. Fold the twist over and press the ends on the dough.

However, you can also watch this video to see for yourself how to master the perfect pretzel shape at home.

H3: Josh’s Baking Tips

  • Want to make your pretzels even chewier? Make sure you use You Knead Sourdough’s Bread Flour when making this recipe.
  • Don’t have any sourdough starter? Use our Dried Starter Flakes and use our Sourdough Starter Recipe to learn how to activate your sourdough starter to get started. Once your starter is strong and healthy, you can use some of the sourdough discard to make these pretzels after a regular feeding.
  • Make sure to feed your starter a day or two before you use the discard. Sluggish starter doesn't work well and will affect the puffiness of the pretzels.

Ways to eat sourdough pretzels

While one of the best ways to enjoy sourdough pretzels is warm, topped with some salt, there are several ways to make the most of your pretzels and bring a new flavour to them every time.

One way to enjoy soft pretzels is by dipping them into your favourite sauce, dip or soup, such as salted caramel sauce, hummus, broccoli and cheddar soup, or simply dipped into olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Meanwhile, you might want to try topping your homemade pretzels with garlic parmesan, jalapenos and cheddar or cream cheese for the perfect snack or appetiser. 

There are no rules when it comes to how you can enjoy your sourdough pretzels, so I always suggest giving different flavour combinations together and seeing what works. After all, the famous peanut butter and jelly combo would have never been discovered without someone trying them together.

Sourdough Pretzels Frequently Asked Questions

How to store and freeze sourdough pretzels

After baking, store cooked pretzels, covered, at room temperature for up to 1 week. Storing in the fridge is not recommended.

Alternatively, once they are completely cool, you can store them in a freezer bag and keep them frozen for months. 

How to reheat pretzels

If kept at room temperature, these sourdough pretzels will reheat nicely when warmed in a 175°C oven for 4-5 minutes, or until soft. 

If they are frozen, then they will require thawing in the oven. To thaw, place them in the refrigerator overnight and warm thoroughly at approx. 175°C in the oven for 30 minutes.

Microwaving pretzels is not recommended as they can become too chewy.

What is different about pretzel dough?

Pretzel dough typically has butter added, where most bread recipes do not. Additionally, pretzels are dipped in either dipped in lye or a baking soda solution before baking for increased browning and the signature pretzel flavour.

What else can you make with sourdough discard?

While there are hundreds of recipes you can make using sourdough discard, we have compiled 7 of our favourite sourdough discard recipes on our blog. Perfect for every palate, these sweet and savoury recipes include fluffy sourdough pancakes, fried chicken, baker’s banana bread, and golden sourdough waffles. 

Most of these sourdough discard recipes take under 20 minutes of hands-on work, so they’re perfect if you’re looking for a quick recipe on a lazy sunday or rainy day.

Did you make these Sourdough Pretzels? Share your sourdough creations with us on Instagram by tagging @YouKneadSourdough with the hashtag #youkneadsourdough.
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