Pretzel Rolls

Pretzel rolls that are easy to make at home and are just like the real German deal—shiny, salty, perfectly burnished, densely bread-y, and reminiscent of a soft pretzel but in a more versatile shape. Smother with butter, stuff with your favorite sandwich fixings, or inhale straight off the baking sheet.

Three pretzel rolls on a piece of parchment.

These pretzel rolls are easy to make at home and are just like the real German deal—shiny, salty, perfectly burnished, densely bread-y, and reminiscent of a soft pretzel but in a more versatile shape. Smother with butter, stuff with your favorite sandwich fixings, or inhale straight off the baking sheet.–Angie Zoobkoff

Pretzel Rolls

  • Quick Glance
  • (15)
  • 30 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Makes 10
4.9/5 - 15 reviews
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Ingredients

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Directions

Make the pretzel rolls dough
In the bowl of your stand mixer fit with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1 1/4 cups warm water and butter. The mixture should be lukewarm.
Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and mix until well combined, about 2 minutes. The dough shouldn’t be sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and continue kneading and punching it down until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough, 2 to 3 minutes.
Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place (preferably in a 100°F (35°C) warm oven) until double in size, about 60 minutes.
Shape the pretzel rolls
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and knead it for about 30 seconds.
Divide the dough into 10 equal portions of roughly 3 ounces (85 grams) each.
Dust your hands with flour, place a portion of dough on the palm of one hand, and with the other hand forming a dome over the dough, roll the dough between your palms until the top is round and firm and you can feel the tension increasing against your hand, about 10 seconds. This creates surface tension and prevents the rolls from deflating and becoming flat. Place the roll on the parchment paper and repeat with the remaining dough.
Cover the rolls with a towel and let rise in a warm place until puffy, about 20 minutes.
Boil the pretzel rolls
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large pot wide enough to fit 2 rolls at once, bring the 4 1/4 cups cold water and the baking soda to a boil. Carefully watch the heat as the baking soda-water mixture will foam up and you don’t want it to spill over.
With a slotted ladle or spoon, gently slip 2 rolls into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Flip them and cook for another 30 seconds, being careful to not let them stick to the bottom of the pot. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack to dry and repeat with the remaining rolls.
Once dry, transfer them to the parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake the pretzel rolls
Use the tip of a sharp knife to score a cross on top of each roll and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake the pretzel rolls, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, about 16 minutes.
Transfer the rolls to a wire rack to cool slightly. Experience them while still warm, plain or with butter, although they’re also quite nice at room temperature. OrIginally published October 19, 2016.
Print RecipeBuy the Eat in My Kitchen cookbook

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Recipe Testers Reviews

These pretzel roll gems were salty, chewy, and doughy in every way you'd expect a soft pretzel to be. They were easy to make, the dough was extremely easy to work with, and the timing in the recipe was spot on. Easy enough for a weeknight and a winner with the whole family.

This my friends, is not your ordinary pretzel rolls recipe. In fact, I found this recipe to be EXTRAordinary. The pretzel roll dough is simple to put together and takes only 2 hours to mix the dough, let it rise, shape it, boil it, and, finally bake it to a shiny, rusty red perfection!

I've never used spelt dough but I assure you I’ll never choose another flour for pretzels of any design, be it rolls, big fat soft pretzels or, as I also did with this dough, a nice big loaf for sandwiches. I found the white spelt at Whole Foods. It’s a bit pricey at nearly 3 dollars a pound, but after using it, I find the cost worthwhile.

The recipe as written gave me 8 good size hamburger rolls or 10 nice dinner rolls or a perfect size sandwich loaf. (The loaf I made didn't have the usual oven spring associated with wheat dough but, it was a great sandwich loaf, that I DEMOLISHED in short order!)

I love that whatever I tried to make with this dough, all things pretzel worked to perfection without altering a thing other than the shape. If you use the dough hook, very little kneading will be necessary. This simple delicious recipe has already been given quite a workout in my home and will most certainly be added to the rotation for the rest of our natural lives!

These pretzel rolls are winners—soft on the inside, slightly chewy on the outside, yeasty, and salty. They taste exactly like soft pretzels, just in bun form.

My rolls were done after 16 minutes, as stated, but they weren’t quite as brown as the picture. Mine were also a little more mottled than those in the picture. I might try making larger rolls to have for sandwiches—these rolls were closer to slider size. Not sure how they would bake if they were bigger. Sounds like I need to do some experimenting.

We ate ours plain and with butter and we liked them both ways. I think they would be fabulous as a sandwich bun—soft but sturdy enough to stand up to just about any filling. My husband thought a BLT on a bun would be a little bit of heaven. We ate most of the batch, so any sandwiches will have to wait until I have time to make more. Maybe tomorrow.

Very tasty pretzel rolls that are good warm with butter or at room temperature with sandwiches—they will not disappoint! You get the familiar “pretzel whiff and chewiness” when you bite into one, and the interior texture has a perfect balance of softness and firmness.

This recipe makes easy-to-handle dough, making it friendly to novice bread bakers. I used unbleached all-purpose flour (Gold Medal brand). Once you get going, the dough becomes smooth and bouncy in no time. When you turn over the rolls in the baking soda water, using a slotted ladle and a wooden spoon makes gentle handling easier.

I typically hand-knead bread dough for about 10 minutes, but this one “felt good” (held its tight round shape, was very smooth, and bounced right back after poking with a finger) after 5 minutes. I put the shaped dough back in the oven the second rise (what I usually do). It increased only slightly in volume after 20 minutes. My pretzel rolls didn’t look as uniformly brown as shown in the photo but they looked as expected—no mistake that they were pretzel rolls!

These pretzel rolls came together quickly, the measurements in the recipe were accurate, and the dough was very pliable. The dough wasn’t sticky. Rise times indicated in the recipe were accurate. My oven time was 30 minutes to produce a golden crust.

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Comments

  1. These tasted great, but step 9, was awful. My buns stuck to the tea towel and when I pulled off the towel 20 min later, the tops of each bun pulled off. Is using a towel a necessary step?

    1. LandscapeGuru, we’re sorry to hear that you had issues with the buns sticking (though we’re happy you carried on and like the finished product!). You do need to cover the rolls to prevent the dough from drying out, but perhaps you could try covering them in a way that keeps the towel from touching the rolls. If you have a deep roasting pan or baking dish, you could place the rolls on parchment inside, and then drape a towel over the top so that they’re covered but not touching the towel. I hope that helps!

  2. INCREDIBLE. very delicious rolls. personally, i divide the dough into eighths instead of tenths as the portions are bigger and its easier to evenly divide but still, this is a great recipe!

    1. Nicholas s., I like the way you’re thinking! Appreciate you taking the time to let us know and so pleased to hear you find these rolls to be so incredible that you want more in each serving!

  3. These look fabulous! I’m planning on trying them this weekend, but was hoping to modify to make buns for sausages. Any advice?

    1. Hi Craig, as you shape the rolls you could try elongating them a bit. Or you could just cut your sausages in helf and serve them side by side on the roll.

  4. Got mine proofing right now, but I was wondering if anyone has tried to freeze some after 1st rise? THis way I’d only need to cook as many as I need, and they’d always have that fresh baked taste and feel.

    1. Roberto, we haven’t tried this so we can’t say for certain, but it should work. You should be able to freeze the rolls for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before proceeding with the boiling and baking. Alternatively you may also be able to freeze the rolls after the boiling step, and simply salt and bake the rolls as you need them. Let us know how it turns out!

  5. Hi, I intend on making these very soon. I had purchased food grade lye for another baking project, and I am wondering your opinion on proportions of lye to water, and do they need to boiled in the mix, or simply dipped. There are so many opinions out there as to the correct method and I am curious about yours.

  6. I was so intrigued by this recipe that I just had to give it a try. My rolls turned out nice and plump, with a beautiful outer crust and tasted great on the inside as well. I used bread flour for this recipe. We finished a couple fresh hot out of the oven along with some butter… Heaven! However when I left these rolls to cool overnight, they became very dense and hard on the following day. I wonder what I did wrong? Should I not have left them out in the open overnight? We did anyway make some Lamb and Cheese burgers with Caramelized Onions as planned! Please let me know if you can guide me with the texture, would really appreciate it! Thank you so much for the recipe :)

    1. Ashrrita, those are utterly gorgeous!! As the recipe says, it’s best to experience them warm from the oven, as you did. They’re irresistible that way. Leaving them out uncovered overnight definitely contributed to their texture the next day. My suggestion is to wrap them in foil and gently reheat them in the oven. If you’re not microwave averse, you can zap them a bit. They won’t be oven-fresh, but they should be better than what you experienced.

  7. Amazing rolls! I don’t usually leave reviews but these were simply amazing, so quick and easy and came out perfectly that I had to. Highly recommended

  8. I remember when this recipe was first posted on this blog. Have made this twice in the last 3 weeks. The recipe is easy to follow.
    The rolls are moist and tender in the inside and have a lovely lacquered shell. Completely addictive – I am going to make another batch tonite!

    We cut the tops with scissors – hence the large “alien-like” pod opening. But still delicious! Will follow the recipe and score them with a knife ;)

    Love this blog :)

  9. I made these a couple of weeks ago, following the recipe exactly. Very, very nice indeed. They weren’t however as shiny as the ones in the photos ( food stylist touch up perhaps?) or ones I have eaten cooked in lye, so wondering if there is a final wash that could be brushed on. Definitely a recipe to keep.

    1. Johnnie, yours look magnificent! (As for the shininess, we were given this photo from the publisher, so we weren’t part of the shoot, but having taken part in shoots in the past, I’m suspecting you’re right.)

  10. Excellent buns! Really easy recipe to follow and makes a great dough. I upped the baking soda a little and kept them in the bath just a tad longer and had the tastiest buns for supper and breakfast. Thanks so much!

  11. Wow! It looked like a lot of steps, but OMG! They were worth it. These were fantastic. I was making burger buns, so only divided into 8ths. And we are already talking the next batch.

  12. I love the end result even though my buns look terrible on the outside. They were crispy and soft and so delicious. I did everything well until shaping the buns. And boiling the buns apparently make the buns a bit slummy. Then finally, baking. It didn’t turn nice and evenly brown like yours at all.

    1. Fenny, I’m glad you liked the end results. The color is most likely due to your oven possibly running a bit cold. Do you have an oven thermometer? And, I’ll admit, shaping bread and rolls does take some practice. Last, did you use the baking soda in the boiling water?

  13. Why doesn’t this recipe call to proof the yeast? The dough isn’t going to rise much, or at all, without proofing the yeast first. Maybe there’s something I’m missing, I’d love to know if I am!

    1. randy, you’re not missing anything at all. It’s a very common technique to add the fast-acting yeast right to the dry ingredients and add liquid. It’s the basis of all no need breads. I can assure you, it will rise. As you see in the directions it says that it will double in size.

  14. Delicious! Made it for grandchildren and adult children. Everybody loved it! A great after school snack. The grandkids eat the rolls plain or with their favorite cheese melted within.

  15. I’ve been grinding my own wheat lately, so used that flour instead of running to the store for some spelt flour. Ended up using 2 pkgs of yeast since my flour is so heavy. But they turned out super yummy! One batch was NOT enough! Maybe next time I’ll splurge on some spelt flour & go half & half to get that usual pretzel lightness, but this worked out fantastic! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  16. Wow… is all i have to say. Made these for the first time last night… soo good!! Only thing i was missing was sea salt so i used kosher salt and these turned out perfect!!! I ate 4 out of the 10 rolls before second batch was done!! I agree that upping the bath from 30 sec to 40 on each side( tryed on second batch) made the rolls just a little darker! Definately suggest to make these. I havent had a true pretzel since i was in nyc over 10 years ago.. these filled that craving I’ve been looking for!!! Think next time i make these, one of the two batches im going to try and stuff with cheddar cheese.. like a little hidden surprise :) and or mixing a cinnamon/ brown sugar mix like 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp cinn. ( instead of salt) dipping top and then baking … all in all a great recipe!!!

    1. Right, Jon?! Love your enthusiasm for these pretzel rolls and love your suggested tweaks—they sound magnificent! Kindly let us know how they go! And we’re relieved we’re not the only ones who can’t help but inhale a couple rolls right away.

  17. I have made this recipe twice, they have come out perfect every time. I use my bread machine on the dough cycle when it is done I then punch it down and turn out, then knead for the 30 seconds and weigh 4 oz of dough, shape, let rise again 20 min. then put into simmering baking soda wash and cook 400 degrees 16 min. My Son loves them. I was buying a 4 pack at the local grocery every other day and have been hooked since. What I like is that I cook my own buns and I control what the ingredients are I added 1/4 cup dry milk the second time to the flour mix. You can bake your baking soda to make it more caustic it will irritate your skin so handle with caution spread out on foil on a cookie sheet, 250 degree oven for an hour 1/2 then keep in air tight jar. I doubled up on the baking soda 2nd time around. I did get a better pretzel smell. Not like the groceries but good enough to keep me from going to the store. They did come out beautiful and brown. I also put two parallel slits on top instead of the cross like my grocers. When done, I rub butter on top of the bun in place of the egg wash. I made me a delicious turkey sandwich. Even better toasted and buttered then pinch and eat. Yummy. Try it, take your time and get hooked on making your own, it feels good to have accomplished making these pretzel buns. Thank you Renee. I do love this recipe!

    1. R., magnificent to hear all this! Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know how well the recipe has worked for you and for sharing your bread machine tricks. Love to hear when things work out like this! And yes, toasted sounds LOVELY! Again, thank you! Looking forward to hearing what other recipes on the site you try…

  18. I literally just pulled these out of the oven and OH MY GAH!!!! So I will start with the critiques. First, I do not think thirty seconds in the NaHCO3- bath was enough time. I did 45 seconds and the colour was exceptional. Lastly, for the oven in my house, I lower the temp to 450 and raised my time to 18 minutes. The insides were fully cooked.

    This roles are sensational! My family ate five of them immediately. Thank you very much. I have “favorited” this page so that I can always come back to it.

    1. I thought the taste was exceptional too. However, I did not get the nice dark color associated with these type of pretzels. Maybe next time I will leave them in the bath longer.

      1. Hi Francine, so happy that you were pleased with the taste of these lovely pretzel rolls. And yes, you might try increasing the bath time by 10 or so seconds per side to amp up the color. Please let us know!

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