Sourdough Pretzel Recipe – Homemade & Healthy

If you’ve ever made authentic sourdough products at home, you know that eventually taking care of your starter becomes a job in and of itself and that you are constantly looking for new ways to use it.

I refuse to simply “discard” any starter and am determined to make something with it (or give it away) each week.  Luckily my family and I are pretty addicted to the sourdough english muffins that I make but still…. I’m always looking for something new.

Enter this sourdough pretzel recipe.  So soft… so fresh… so delicious and thankfully, so easy.  They do take a while to make but are really pretty simple (just some waiting around for stuff to rise and such).  Give ’em a try and let me know what you think.

Sourdough Pretzel Recipe :: Five Little Homesteaders

Sourdough Pretzel Recipe


2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar (divided)
1 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups starter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg
Sea or kosher salt, for sprinkling


1.  In a large bowl, dissolve butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar in the hot water.
2.  Mix in the starter.
3.  Add in the flour and mix well.

Sourdough Pretzel Recipe :: Five Little Homesteaders

4.  Your dough will be pretty stiff at this point.  Scoop it onto a well floured surface and begin to knead. Add in a little of the bread flour at a time, kneading well after each addition.
5.  Once all of the bread flour has been added, knead well for several minutes until you get a good smooth, stiff dough.

Sourdough Pretzel Recipe :: Five Little Homesteaders

6.  Place in a well-oiled bowl, in a warm location and allow to rise for two hours.
7.  Punch dough down and place on a well-floured surface.  Knead a few times.
8.  Roll dough into a log and cut into 16 pieces (for large pretzels) or 32 pieces (for mini-pretzels – this is what I did).

Sourdough Pretzel Recipe :: Five Little Homesteaders

9.  Roll each piece out into a long strip and form into a pretzel shape.
10.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the baking soda.  Stir carefully.
11.  Poach each pretzel in the water for about a minute.  Remove from water and allow to drain on cooling rack.

Sourdough Pretzel Recipe :: Five Little Homesteaders
Sourdough Pretzel Recipe :: Five Little Homesteaders

12.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Beat egg lightly and brush each pretzel with the egg.  Sprinkle with salt.
13.  Transfer pretzels to a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Sourdough Pretzel Recipe :: Five Little Homesteaders

These are delicious right out of the oven but will keep for about a week.  The can also be frozen and reheated.  For a sweet twist, skip the salt and brush with butter after they are baked and dust with cinnamon and sugar.

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  1. How much will the dough rise in 2 hours? Mine is almost at 2 and hasn’t really risen much at all. Will it be “fluffy”. I know my starter is fine because I male bread from it multiple times a week.

    • Sorry Mary! I hope you got this figured out :( I’m just now sitting down to my computer now. How did they turn out?

      Honestly? I’ve never had a “great” rise from anything I’ve made with sourdough….they just get a little “puffy.” Is that what happened with yours?

  2. They turned out great! I think i was just expecting it to be as fluffy as my bread. Which in hind site is ridiculous because my bread rises overnight, while this only 2 hours. Anyway, thanks for the recipe! I’ m doubling today because my family of 9 gobbled them up last time! :)

  3. Glenn Taylor says:

    Sourdough starter is slower acting that traditional yeast. It will be just as “fluffy” and light if you are patient and use the doubling method instead of relying on time. I make a sourdough focaccia that I let rise twice, first is 2 hours, second is 4-6 depending on the temperature and humidity in the room. If you follow the base recipe above, use a little more butter (3-4 TBS.) and let it rise under refrigeration overnight, shape the pretzels then give them another 2-3 hours before you boil them they come out fantastic. Also be sure the boil is light and not a rolling boil, it mangles the pretzel or bagel when you boil them on too high of a temperature. I also recommend using a lye dip before you boil the pretzels a 2-3% solution is fine, a little less than 2 TBS. dissolved in a quart of water. It reacts with the surface of the pretzel and gives it that incredible crispy crust, Just be cautious , it is very caustic and if you use too much you could get very very ill. It can also burn your skin so use gloves and don’t let the kids near it if you are using lye. Be sure to use food grade lye and you can make a perfect soft pretzel.

    • An alternative to lye is baked baking soda, sodium carbonate. Place baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) on a cookie sheet and bake at 250F (120C) for one hour. It will now be a slightly lesser amount of sodium carbonate. Its still caustic, but much less so than lye. I also use it in place of kansui in ramen noodles.

  4. I’m thinking of trying to freeze after the boil. That way we can pull out a couple to bake at a time. Any suggestions?

    • Hmm…. that would probably work great! We just freeze them after they bake, let them mostly defrost and them pop them in the oven for a little extra “crisping.” But I suspect your method would work too!

      Let me know how it goes. :)

  5. When did you add the 2 teaspoons of kosher salt? do you mix it with the flour? the baking soda is just to add in the water, right? I really want to try this recipe. Thanks !

    • Yes! Sorry! The 2 tsp of kosher salt goes in with the flour and the baking soda is just for the water! Let me know if you make them :) They’re one of our favorites.

  6. These sound fabulous and i will be making them either today or tomorrow. Just wanted to state that it would probably be easier to freeze them after you cut them into shapes rather than after the baking soda boil. :)

    • My thoughts were that they are then just ready to bake. You only have to pop a few in the oven whenever you want one. It actually worked beautifully. We can have a couple of hot toasty pretzels whenever we need a snack!

  7. I stumbled upon this recipe when I was looking for something to do with my extra sourdough starter. The pretzels were so delicious that I’ve made them two more times in the two weeks since I discovered your recipe. The last time, I formed them into pretzel buns that we used for hamburger night. Delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Made a batch of these for our afternoon snack. SO GOOD! I had to share your link on my blog’s FB page :)

  9. Can I just use all purpose flour instead of it and bread flour? Don’t have any bread flour :-)

  10. AMAZING! My first batch I could have baked a little longer. I experimented with different sizes and they all came out great. The fatter ones were a little doughy, but even the little ones I made were crunchy and chewey. Just amazing. Thank you! I will be using this recipe for rolls and pretzels for my kids.

  11. Michelle Griffin says:

    Hi….just wanted to say THANK YOU for posting such a great recipe! I just got a sourdough starter (27 years old) from a friend and I was struggling with what to do with it when we weren’t ready to make bread. I hate to throw anything away!! We are going to try your English Muffins next!

  12. I’m fairly new to sourdough so this question may be a no brainer to some. For this recipe, do you use sourdough starter that has recently been fed and is active, I guess, and has doubled, or just use the starter you would be “discarding” that has not been fed? How do you know when to use fed and when its ok to use starter that hasn’t been fed in recipes?

    • Well…. you are actually talking about the same starter. What you are discarding should have been recently fed. So, as long as you’re not talking about what you’re discarding after taking a starter out of dormancy, you can use either. You can take the starter from what you’ve recently fed and then refeed your starter or if you’re just keeping your starter active and discarding some to do that, you can use what you’re discarding. Does that make sense?

      • Thank you for the quick response! I read it before but didn’t have time to reply. I’m making the pretzels again so wanted to say thanks and that did make sense. I guess I was referring to starter that comes out of dormancy when I said unfed. I will keep mine in the fridge sometimes when. I’m not baking a lot. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. I know this is a dumb question lol but where can you buy starter for sourdough bread/pretzels? And how expensive is it??

    • Not dumb! I get mine from cultures for health ( - ) but if you have a friend or neighbor who does sourdough, you can get starter from them. And no, it’s not too expensive.


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