Amazingly easy soft pretzels recipe with no complicated steps and no rising needed - they are ready to eat quickly, making them perfect for easy snacks and fun meals. And kids love helping to make these and then eat them!
For more easy recipes like this check out our other Best Bread Recipes.
These salty, chewy, and soft oven-baked pretzels turn out really good tasting, but better than that is the fact that they are the easiest homemade pretzel recipe you'll find. They were one of the most requested recipes from my kids when they were growing up - and all their friends.
Seriously, I was completely surprised over and over again how popular these were with kids, as both an activity and to eat. If you have kids, or ever babysit kids, grab this recipe for your activities list - you will all come to love it, I'm sure!
Are these really like the more complicated soft pretzels they sell in stores?
I'm not going to pretend like they are the best soft pretzels anywhere - you know, like the ones from the stores that have made thousands from selling them. They do not have that signature shiny-extra chewy crust that comes from boiling in water.
But they do have a more chewy and soft texture like all good pretzels should have - these aren't just a roll shaped like a pretzel - and straight out of the oven they taste amazing. There is an egg-wash that helps mimic the boiling stage, and what probably helps them taste so good warm.
It's because there aren't the traditional boiling or long-rise steps hat makes this recipe easy enough for snacks or even to go with dinner. And like I said, after many years of making them, I have realized that they are a GREAT recipe to make with kids.
In fact, they are so quick and yummy that making these with kids of all ages will make you their favorite mom, dad, babysitter, aunt, grandparent - or whatever you are to them. Your whole family will be pretty happy with the results, too. They are usually gone in a day at our house.
No Knead No Rise Soft Pretzels
Since there are only a few ingredients to mix up and no waiting for kneading or rising, the kids can move from helping to add ingredients right to shaping their own pieces of dough.
From there it's another few minutes to bake and cool a bit before tasting their creations.
I started making these when my kids were little as something fun to do when they had playdates. One of my friends and I organized bi-weekly play dates to give the other mom some time for errands and shopping and her girls surprised me by asking to make these every time they came over after making them the first time.
They always wanted to make the pretzels- not anything else, even when I offered. It was the same with my nieces and nephews a few years later.
What part can kids do?
The littlest people can help pour in the ingredients and just pat the dough if rolling is too hard - all shapes are allowed, not just traditional pretzel shapes (as you can see in the photo below).
At about four and up, rolling is easy and all kinds of shapes become within reach. The dough is pretty easy to shape and doesn't spring back like a lot of bread doughs can. Keep reading for ideas of different shapes to make.
The kids always love the "painting" part. They brush on an egg wash and sprinkle the tops with some kosher salt.
By the way, the egg wash is crucial to giving this simple bread dough the chewy mouth feel of a pretzel- so don't skip this step or use butter instead. While butter tastes good, it makes the pretzel more like a roll in texture.
Ideas for soft pretzel shapes:
This is a great crossover activity for preschoolers learning their letters!
I always help kids make the first letter of their name, if they need it, even the littlest children. Just one more way that they start to recognize "their" letter
Traditional pretzel shapes.
The "blob" is for those little ones who just can't grasp the rolling technique yet. It's fun to let them make whatever shape they want, helping only when they ask so that they have a feeling of accomplishment.
No matter what the shape, when anyone takes a first bite of one of these soft pretzels, the pretzel tastes that much sweeter from the hands that made it, don't you think?
Two extra notes:
- In my experience, the kids will be tired of this after making just 2-3 shapes, so be prepared to make the rest of the shapes yourself.
- The pretzels don't really taste as good the next day - they lose that fresh from the oven crisp that helps them resemble soft pretzels. I've had some luck using a toaster oven to heat them up again.
Both of these things are a reason to make only one batch. This isn't really the time to double the recipe, or you will find yourself rolling, and rolling, ha!
Easy No Knead, No Rise Soft Pretzels - a Kid Friendly Recipe
- 1 tablespoons instant yeast
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoons salt yep, a tablespoon- they're pretzels, after all!
- 4 cups flour*
- 1 egg for wash
- salt for sprinkling kosher is best for the familiar "pretzel salt," but sea salt will do fine
- Combine yeast, water, honey, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Stir in flour and mix until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl (a couple minutes). The dough should be smooth to the touch, and will stick only when pulling off pieces- as soon as you start rolling for the pretzel shape, it should not stick to your hands or surface (add just a touch more flour if you have sticking problems- I never have, though).
- Start preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
- Pull off pieces of dough (alternately, pat dough out and cut to get more even pieces), shape into letters, hearts, pretzels, animals, little bites, etc. and place on lined or greased cookie sheets.**
- Mix the egg with a bit of water and brush all over the dough shapes, then sprinkle with some salt.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
- Cool for a few minutes before taking the first fabulous bite! The leftovers (if you have any...) can be stored in an airtight container (or frozen) and reheated in an oven for few minutes before eating.
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This recipe has been updated - it was first published in 2011.