Want to learn how to make pretzel buns? This chewy, flavorful pretzel bun recipe will wow your friends and family. Serve them alongside your next dinner, dip them into soups and stews, or use them as a base for your favorite sandwich!
Do you love soft pretzels as much as I do? I find the combination of flavors and textures to be addictive. They’re golden brown, chewy, and topped with coarse salt for a crunch that perfectly balances the softness. Best of all, they’re surprisingly easy to prepare at home.
And while I love an old-fashioned soft pretzel, I prefer making pretzel buns from scratch. They’re so functional! While soft pretzels are great on their own, dipped in some mustard or a cinnamon-sugar blend, these buns are a fantastic accompaniment alongside regular meals.
You can serve them with soups and stews, or slice them in half to use with sandwiches and burgers (I use these for sandwiches almost as much as my whole wheat english muffins).
The best part about making pretzel rolls from scratch? You control the size and shape, meaning they can be smaller or larger, or even shaped for hot dogs.
This pretzel bun recipe is easy to make at home. If you’re new to baking homemade soft pretzels, there’s one step that might seem a bit unfamiliar: the baking soda bath. This gives pretzels their unique flavor, texture and color.
Why do pretzels need a baking soda bath?
Baking soda causes something called the maillard reaction, which gives food a brown crust and distinct flavor. This is the same reaction that happens when you sear meat. Professional bakeries use lye, but baking soda is perfect for home cooks.
If you don’t plan on topping the pretzel buns with salt, double the amount of salt in the recipe (or at least increase it by half at a minimum). Because soft pretzels are usually topped with a healthy coating of crunchy, coarse salt, the dough by itself can taste slightly under-salted.
Learn how to make bread flour from all-purpose flour!
You can eyeball the dough while dividing it, but I recommend using a kitchen scale to divide it evenly. Start by weighing the dough, then divide that amount by 8 (or divide by the total amount of rolls you want if you’d prefer smaller or larger rolls). This will ensure uniform size and even baking.
The baking soda bath will make the buns a bit sticky, so it’s important to thoroughly grease the parchment paper (even though parchment is technically nonstick). I recommend using baking spray with flour.
If you want to get creative with the flavor, try topping the buns with everything bagel seasoning instead of coarse salt! It’s tasty.
I am loving sliders lately since they’re a lighter option for summer. These would be great for my cheeseburger sliders with quick picked onions or my chipotle bourbon barbecue pulled pork sliders! For dipping, try them with my Cincinnati chili, pappa al pomodoro, or creamy tomato bisque.
Baking With Yeast
This recipe uses active dry yeast. Yeast is an ingredient many novice bakers fear, and I’d like to change that! So what is yeast, and how does it work? Can you substitute one variety for another? Check out my article What is Yeast to learn more!
Looking For More Bread Recipes?
Pretzel Bun Recipe
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 14 ounces bread flour (approximately 2 3/4 cups)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 quarts water
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg
- coarse sea salt
- Whisk together the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to proof for 6 minutes.
- While the yeast is proofing, whisk/sift together the flour and sea salt.
- 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.
- 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 one hour. Remove the towel and gently punch down the dough.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet (I use baking spray with flour for this step, but vegetable oil will work). Using a kitchen scale, divide the dough into 8 even balls (each will be around or just slightly less than 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Using a sharp knife, slice an X in the top of each roll.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown on top. Enjoy warm with unsalted butter, dip into soups and stews, or use as a sandwich bun!
- Store pretzel buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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