When I was a kid watching my mom bake, I always wondered why you add vanilla last. She could never tell me the reason.
Auntie Anne's Pretzels
I have never been the kind of person who enjoys going to the mall. There is too much walking involved, too many people around, and I'm too picky to like most of the clothes in any store. The only consolation prize for a trip to the mall is a warm, buttery soft pretzel from my favorite place, Auntie Anne's. A trip to the mall is worth it if I can have a soft pretzel to munch on as I window shop.
These days, I only go to the mall once a year around the Christmas holidays. Because of this, I often find myself craving a mall pretzel and wishing I liked malls enough to visit so I can get a pretzel. I've tried the frozen brands you can buy at the grocery store, but none of them have that same fresh taste like those you get at the mall.
My longing for a good soft pretzel led me on a search for a recipe as close to Auntie Anne's as I could develop. After trying different recipes, I found the perfect blend of ingredients to get a similar mall pretzel taste. Below is my recipe and a video of me making the recipe for these soft pretzels. It is just as good, if not better, than Auntie Anne's pretzels.
Auntie Anne's CopyCat Recipe (Step-By-Step Instructional Video)
- 2 cups warm milk, warm to the touch but not hot enough to burn you
- 2 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons melted butter, for the dough
- 5 to 7 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fine salt
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- course salt, for the top of pretzels
- 4 tablespoons melted butter, to brush on top of pretzels
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 15 min
1 hour 23 min
12 to 14 pretzels
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Take 2 cups of milk and heat it in the microwave until warm. It should be warm enough that you can touch the milk without burning yourself. If it is over 110 degrees, it will kill the yeast and the dough won’t rise.
- Add the milk to a mixing bowl along with the yeast. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until the yeast looks fluffy.
- While letting the yeast mixture rest, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave then add it to the yeast mixture.
- Add 6 tablespoons of brown sugar (preferably light but dark brown sugar would work fine).
- Add 2 teaspoons fine salt and stir until all the ingredients are mixed.
- Begin adding flour 1/2 cup at a time. You will need between 5 to 7 cups of flour. In some cases you may need more and sometimes less. You can tell you’ve used enough flour when the dough no longer sticks to your fingers. If the dough is too wet it will stick like glue and you’ll need to add more flour. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes or until smooth.
- Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover for around 1 hour. Allow it to rise until it is doubled in size.
- Take the dough and knead it down so that it is deflated. Divide the dough into 12 to 14 pieces. Take the dough, cut it in half, and then cut the half in half to make 4 pieces. Keep cutting dough balls in half until you get 12 to 14 balls.
- Roll each piece out into thin logs. Logs as thick as an index figure or nickel are usually a good size. Shape each log into the shape of a pretzel.
- Dip each pretzel briefly into a bath made of water and baking soda then place them on a greased pan and top with course salt.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes, or until golden brown. As soon as you take them out of the oven brush your remaining butter over both sides of each pretzel. If you don’t do this your pretzels will harden once they cool. The butter makes them soft and shiny like mall pretzels. You can melt the butter first then brush it on them or you can leave it in stick form and wipe the stick over the pretzel.
- Enjoy! You can eat them plain, dip them in cheese sauce, or coat them in cinnamon/sugar. If you use cinnamon/sugar sprinkle it onto the pretzels immediately after coating them with butter during step 10.
The Best Cheese Sauce For Pretzels
These pretzels taste great with cheese sauce. The brand I prefer is called Gehl's, which is the kind they use at sports stadiums. You can find it at Walmart or on Amazon. At Walmart, it is in the aisle where they sell large-sized food items like super-sized mayonnaise, canned goods, etc., like a restaurant might buy.
Divide Dough Into 12 to 14 Balls Then Shape Into Pretzels
Pretzel Dough Can Be Frozen!
How to Freeze Pretzel Dough
Freezing pretzel dough is one of my favorite things to do. It only takes 8 to 10 minutes to bake a pretzel. Frozen dough allows me to bake fresh pretzels anytime I want. You have different options to freeze your dough.
- Mix up your dough using steps 1 through 7 of the recipe. You can take the entire mound of dough and freeze it at this point if you plan on making a batch at another date.
- Another option would be to cut out your individual dough balls as you would in step 8 of the recipe. You can bag the balls and freeze them. If you put a lot of the balls in one bag, they might stick together. It sometimes helps to put the balls on a pan and freeze them for a bit and then bag them. Getting them slightly frozen prevents sticking and helps the balls keep their shape so you can take one ball out at a time if you plan on making only one or two pretzels and not a whole batch.
- To bake a pretzel using frozen dough, thaw the dough completely, then follow steps 9 through 12 of the recipe.
- If for some reason your dough feels wet after thawing pat it with flour as you roll your pretzels out.
- You don't have to let the dough rise again after thawing. The dough is ready to bake as soon as it is thawed.
Bake 8 to 10 Minutes Until Golden Brown
Melted Butter Is Very Important for Pretzel Making
The End Result Is a Shiny, Warm, Buttery Pretzel
Questions & Answers
Question: Can you use white sugar instead of brown sugar to make this pretzel recipe?
Answer: I would think you could try to use white sugar instead of brown. Brown sugar gives baked goods more moisture and it has a higher melting point than white so you might want to watch them closely to make sure they don't cook faster or burn quickly if you use white.
© 2015 Casey White
Robert Sacchi on July 30, 2020:
Thank you for posting.
Casey White (author) on June 04, 2020:
That is the biggest flaw of this site I'm sorry to say. I don't think they have a print feature. Either you have to copy/paste into a document what you need then print or you could take screencaps with your device of the recipe and then print those.
Cat on May 25, 2020:
Is there no print button or am I just missing it? I don’t want all this extra stuff if I tried to print something off. Thanks!
Casey White (author) on January 02, 2020:
Yes Frank. 2 1/4 tablespoons is correct. This recipe is for a big batch of up to 14 pretzels which is why so much yeast. I like to freeze a bit of extra dough for rainy days when I feel like a pretzel with little work. You can always cut the entire recipe in half for a smaller batch if you don't want to use so much yeast.
Frank on December 10, 2019:
Is it really 2 1/4 TABLESPOONS?
Liza from USA on November 03, 2019:
Your pretzel look so authentically delicious! I have tried made pretzel but, it was not as good-looking as yours. It was my first time making it. I have to try yours next time. Thanks for sharing!
Nathalie on March 21, 2017:
I already posted on your youtube yesterday but I gotta say it again, this recipe is amazing. Perfect pretzels on the first try! I live in the Netherlands and miss US mall pretzels from when I used to live there, so this is really the only way I can soothe this craving! My boyfriend had never had an American style soft pretzel and he loved them too. Thank you for putting this recipe together and sharing it with the pretzel lovers of the world!
Fay on March 07, 2017:
Wow, we killed the yeast and it still came out great!!!
joe on October 26, 2016:
Does the oven really need to preheat for an hour? seems excessive, shouldn't that step go closer towards the middle?
Angela Mobley from Bowling Green, KY on August 09, 2015:
You did a really great of simplifying this process and offered great tips for being able to produce these successfully. Thanks for all of the great pictures, too!
Casey White (author) on August 09, 2015:
petryman6969 They are really easy to make. I was surprised at how easy it was. Thanks for checking out my recipe!
poetryman6969 on August 09, 2015:
I am not a pretzel guy but I was curious about the process. Thanks.
Casey White (author) on August 09, 2015:
Thank you both! It really is a good recipe. My pretzels turn out great each time. I hope you enjoy.
Robin Grosswirth from New York on August 09, 2015:
Have to try this at some point. Thanks for the recipe.
Jasmeet Kaur from India on August 09, 2015:
looks yummiee.... will try... voted up!!