This easy recipe for chewy, flavorful pretzel buns will wow the entire family. Serve them with dinner or use as a sandwich roll!

Ok, maybe my X slicing could be a bit more “perfect” on these buns. But clumsy knife skills aside, I tested this recipe multiple times, constantly tweaking it until I created exactly what I was seeking. These buns have a hard, chewy golden exterior coated in crunchy coarse sea salt and a dense and chewy but soft center. They are indeed perfect for serving as a dinner roll or slicing in half to use with burgers and sandwiches. 

This easy recipe for chewy, flavorful pretzel buns will wow the entire family. Serve them with dinner or use as a sandwich roll!

If you’ve never made pretzels before, the baking soda bath might seem like a weird step but don’t skip it. Baking soda causes something known as the Maillard reaction which gives the pretzels their traditional “skin” and flavor. Also, if you’re new to working with yeasted dough, Red Star Yeast has some excellent baking guides on their website with plenty of beginner tips.

This easy recipe for chewy, flavorful pretzel buns will wow the entire family. Serve them with dinner or use as a sandwich roll!

Perfect Chewy Pretzel Buns
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2½ teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 14 ounces (approximately 2¾ cups) bread flour
  • 1½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 quarts water
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • coarse sea salt
  1. Whisk together the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to proof for 6 minutes.
  2. While the yeast is proofing, whisk/sift together the flour and sea salt.
  3. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together and then turn the speed up to medium-low and mix for 3 minutes. Turn the speed up to medium and mix for another 2 minutes.
  4. Form the dough into a tight ball and place into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to double in size, approximately 40 minutes. Remove the towel and punch down the dough.
  5. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Using a kitchen scale, divide the dough into 8 3-ounce balls (one will be slightly under 3 ounces). Roll each ball tightly and pinch the bottoms. Place the balls pinched side down on the baking sheet, cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise for another 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring the 4 quarts of water to a boil with the baking soda. In batches, cook the rolls for 30 seconds per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a clean, greased baking sheet (do not use parchment paper or the rolls will stick).
  7. Whisk together the egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash on top of each roll and sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt.
  8. Using a sharp knife, slice an X in the top of each roll.
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown on top.



Tools I Used

(links go to my Amazon affiliate store)

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display
KitchenAid Classic 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer
Focus Foodservice 13 by 18 Inch Half Sheet Pan
OXO Good Grips Silicone Pastry Brush

More Yeast Recipes

Savory Simple – Sweet Potato Bagels
Savory Simple – Orange Cardamom Cinnamon Buns
Savory Simple – Whole Wheat English Muffins
Top With Cinnamon – Sourdough Crumpets
Adventures in Cooking – Croissants: Three Ways
My Name is Yeh – Pretzel Challah

Disclaimer: I was paid to develop a recipe for Red Star Yeast. As always, all opinions are my own.

  • Julie @ Lovely Little Kitchen

    These are very lovely, and I really want to give this recipe a try! Never knew there was a name for the baking soda bath reaction – very interesting!

  • Lily @ Life, Love, and Cupcakes

    Homemade pretzel rolls are the BEST! It has been far too long since I last made them!

  • Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg

    These rolls are lovely. I love good chewy bread. I will need to try this, I’m sure they’re delicious.

  • Rachel

    I’ve made pretzels and bagels before, but not pretzel rolls. Those are just begging for a nice juicy cheeseburger!

  • Caroline

    Those little guys are SO adorable! I love this idea! And really, your knife skills ARE perfect!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I haven’t made pretzel buns yet but these look incredible!

  • Debra

    I have always wanted to try making these! Thanks for what appears to be an excellent recipe. I’m not sure I understand how it works to cook the balls in the baking soda water for 30 seconds per side. Doesn’t the water cover them? Maybe they float! I’ll have fun figuring this part out. I always wondered what made the distinctive pretzel crust. :-)

    • Jennifer Farley

      They float :)

  • Tieghan

    I love pretzels buns and yours really do look perfect!

  • Ellen

    Wow, looks perfect to me;)

  • Kathryn

    I think these look great Jennifer! I love that gorgeous brown crust and I bet they are so light and fluffy inside.

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    I love both pretzels and pretzel buns. I used to be addicted to pretzels when I moved to Berlin 1.5 ago. Thankfully I don’t buy it anymore, but bake from time to time.

  • Ali @ Inspiralized

    I must have these – definitely giving them a try!!

  • Liz@Virtually Homemade

    Wow! These look amazing. Didn’t know about the baking soda bath – so cool!

  • Julia @Vikalinka

    Gorgeous buns, gorgeous light!

  • Gina

    This is flat out dangerous for me. I have a slight obsession with soft pretzels in general. Being able to make my own in bun form could be really bad. :)

  • Happy Valley Chow

    Dang those look awesome! Definitely bookmarking and trying these :)

  • Deanna Segrave-Daly

    BEYOND excited to make these (yes, I’m a baking nerd.)

  • Tasha @thatssoyummy

    These guys look like perfection… YUM!

  • Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    I could probably eat ever sandwich ever on a pretzel bun. I just love them!!

  • Donalyn@The Creekside Cook

    I’ve been experimenting with pretzel rolls too – they are SO good and yours look really nice.

  • fabiola@notjustbaked

    You cannot be seriously putting your X knife skills down, these are perfect and beautiful! I love burgers in the winter for some reason. I’ll totally go outside and grill just to change up the cooking repertoire. These would go great with my burgers!

  • Eva Courtney

    I can’t find bread flour. Has anyone tried making this with AP Flour? white whole wheat flour?

    • Jennifer Farley

      You can use all purpose flour (I used it for one of my tests) and the buns will taste fine but they will have more of a traditional bread texture as opposed to a chewy pretzel texture.

    • Jessica

      This is an old post, but you can buy vital wheat gluten at the store that you mix with your AP flour to make it a bread flour. :)

  • Sophia @ NY Foodgasm

    Now that I have gotten over my fear of making bread (it seemed so intimidating) I will have to try these out!

  • Kankana

    I got to try this out! Will it work if I use APF instead of bread flour?

    • Jennifer Farley

      Hey Kankana! You can use AP flour and the buns will still taste good but they will have a bit more of a traditional bread texture as opposed to a chewy pretzel texture.

  • Kitchen Belleicious

    pretzel buns are the new thing here lately and I have been meaning to make some and haven’t but so glad you went ahead because now I have a perfect recipe to try! Yours looks delicious

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    They look pretty perfect to me! I kinda want one right now…

  • natalie @ wee eats

    soft pretzels are like my favorite thing ever, and even though I have a “go to” soft pretzel recipe, I was worried it wouldn’t necessarily translate into buns (maybe too dense?) – I’m going to give this one a try and probably have to buy a couple pairs of larger pants after I see how much I love it.

  • Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life

    I just made bagels, but now I am craving some soft pretzels! I have always wanted to have a sandwich on a pretzel bun … since I’m on a yeast roll, I think I’m going to have to make these! That salt on top – *swoon* They look amazing! Soft pretzels are definitely one of my weaknesses ;)

  • Red Star Yeast

    These are definitely ‘perfect’ rolls. And the X’s are perfect too! :)

  • Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction

    These are just lovely! There is a local restaurant near our house that serves a ham and swiss sandwich on a pretzel roll with a spicy mustard. It is one of my favorites. Somehow, I have never made pretzel rolls at home, but I will have to change that soon… Then, I can make the sandwich myself!

  • Libby Bouma

    A restaurant in town has these for their burgers and they are so delicious. I am too chicken to attempt baking with yeast as it seems every time I attempt it is a big flop! Maybe I’ll get up the courage again.

  • Heather Hayes Panjon

    Oh These Pretzel Buns Looks Amazingly Delicious.

  • Valerie

    Love your rustic ‘X’s! I think I’d eat these plain…maybe with a little sweet butter. :)

  • Jennifer C.

    Can’t wait to try these; I love Whole Foods’ pretzel bread so I’m sure these are delicious!

  • Starla Bates

    These look amazing, and my, my your photography skills are amaze! These look delicious, and I can come up with about 8 things on the top of my head I would love to eat on these! Wonderful post, as per usual! Xo

  • adriana

    These make me want to take another stab at making bread! :-)

  • Lauren

    My Oma used to make these!! Yummmmmy!

  • Rachel

    I’ve been starting to think through the menu for our annual Super Bowl party, and this definitely makes the cut! Cold cuts + pretzel buns = heavenly.

  • Micky

    Wow – these look great! I pinned them and will try to make soon. Maybe for Super Bowl!

  • Mutsa

    I’ve just made these and they’re seriously good! I didnt have the coarse salt to put on top to get the proper pretzel-like effect but it’s not such a big deal. Thank you for the recipe. :D x

  • Jenny @ BAKE

    I love pretzels and have been completely unimpressed by the ones I have found in the UK – I need to try this recipe!

  • Eva

    Will a 1/4 oz packet of yeast be enough for this recipe?

  • Lisa @ Je suis alimentageuse

    Hey Jen!! I tried this recipe, and they’re so so so tasty. Super chewy, actually maybe I made them a little too chewy or something because they have a hearty bite to them. My only problem was that I couldn’t shape them into the pretty puffy buns that you did. Any tips?

    • Jennifer Farley

      I’m glad you liked them! Hmmm as far as chewy maybe you used a brand of bread flour that has a higher gluten content than mine. As far as the shape, it’s a weird technique. I hold the ball of dough in my right hand and squeeze it through my thumb and index finger of my left hand. Then I kind of pull the sides toward the bottom of the bun and pinch it underneath. Does that make sense?

      • Lisa @ Je suis alimentageuse

        Haha yeah that totally makes sense, I did that too. Maybe I didn’t knead them enough because when they rose, they got a little too airy and deflated a bit. They were really tasty but they were more disc-like instead of the round buns you have =P

  • Tonya Boyce

    These look mouth watering!!! I’ll have to try for sure!

  • Cinda Brown

    looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it.

  • April Crisafulli

    I buy these from my local pizza shop, sooo good!

  • Marie Hopwood

    I just made a batch of these rolls and they are delicious! My bread flour is whole wheat, but the rolls are fluffy on the inside with a delicious chew on the outside. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! Have you tried to freeze them before baking? I was thinking of prepping some in advance for a party, but don’t want to end up with funky, shriveled rolls. Thanks!

    • Jennifer Farley

      I haven’t tried that yet so I can’t say for sure how it would work. But what a great time saver that would be!

  • Jo

    Is it possible to do this with six seed bread flour/ will i get the same results?
    Also how much is 4 quarts of water?

    • Jennifer Farley

      As I tell everyone, I can never promise the same results when substitutions are made since I didn’t personally test it this way. For future reference, 1 quart of water = 4 cups :)

  • Kimberley B

    Good to know about the parchment paper! (As I’ve been using that stuff for practically everything!) For a second, I was thinking “well, I can one up this recipe, and use that, instead of having to grease my pans”, lol! ;)

  • Victoria Major

    I featured these on my blog this week (with proper link back to your post)! Thank you for such an awesome recipe! Keep them coming!

  • Carly K.

    I just made these, turned out awesome and look like yours! So im excited! :) I did have a question as to how to store them and how long they last for?

    • Savory Simple

      I would store them at room temperature or in the refrigerator for several days. You could also freeze them so they last longer. Fresh bread doesn’t have the same shelf life as the store bought variety so it will start toughening up after a few days.