Pretzel Buns (or Rolls)

Side Dishes

Pretzel Buns (or Rolls)

Pretzel bread (buns, rolls, or bites) is the best of all worlds — a little salty and buttery, dense and hearty on the outside, yet soft, chewy, and tender on the inside. It's just in time for Oktoberfest, and perfect for brats, sandwiches, soups, or dipping into fondue. Simply read through the recipes and steps, then basically make and shape the base dough into long buns or round rolls (the easiest) or follow the variation for poppable pretzel bites.

A couple of things to note: Using bread flour helps create a chewy texture, and using a lower water ratio than other typical bread doughs produces a stiffer dough that helps it hold up to the boiling water bath (which helps set the crust before baking). Time to get your bread on!


6 buns or 8 rolls

Total Time

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Test Kitchen Tip

After mixing, the dough can be refrigerated overnight. The next day, it might take longer than an hour to rise, depending on your kitchen's temperature.


Coat a bowl with nonstick spray.

Whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, and 1 tsp. kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; add 1⅓ cups water and butter. Fit mixer with dough hook.

Mix dough on medium speed until combined and dough pulls away from sides of bowl, 34 minutes. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and slightly sticky.

Place dough into prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Line a baking sheet with parchment; lightly coat with nonstick spray.

Punch down dough, divide into six (for buns) or eight (for rolls) even pieces, shape into smooth balls, pinch seams, then roll to seal; transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.

For buns, flatten six dough balls into 6-inch disks and roll each into logs, pinching the ends and seams to seal. On a clean, dry work surface (no flour or oil), use two hands to drag each log toward you to seal the seam and smooth the surface. The buns should be about 6 inches long. Place buns on same baking sheet, cover, and let rest 15 minutes. (For rolls, no additional shaping is needed after dough pieces are shaped into smooth balls, pinched closed, rolled to seal, and covered with plastic wrap; let rest 15 minutes, then follow procedures, below.)

Preheat oven to 400°.

Boil 8 cups water in a pot; stir in baking soda and 1 Tbsp. kosher salt. Drop 2–3 buns or rolls into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then flip and boil 30 seconds more; transfer to same baking sheet. With scissors or a sharp knife, cut ½-inch-deep slashes diagonally or lengthwise in each bun or roll. Repeat boiling and cutting with remaining portions of dough.

Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water, then brush on buns or rolls; sprinkle with pretzel salt.

Bake buns or rolls until dark brown, 1820 minutes; transfer to a rack to cool.


Portion the dough (6 pieces for buns; 8 pieces for rolls), shape into balls, then bring the “ends” of the dough pieces to the bottom of each ball, to form a smooth top and sides, then gently rotate the dough ball on a clean, flat surface to smooth the bottom.


For (longer) buns, once the dough has been shaped into balls (Step 1), flatten the dough balls into 6-inch disks.


Roll each disk into a 6-inch log on a clean, flat surface. Carefully pinch the seam and ends together to seal them.


Drag each log, using both hands, towards you. The friction from the surface should help seal the seams and smooth the surface of the buns. The shaped buns should be 6 inches long.


Boiling the pretzel rolls or buns (or bites) in water with baking soda helps set their shape, aids with browning, and helps create a chewy texture.


Slashing the buns or rolls allows steam to escape. It also creates visual contrast between the white interior, which hasn’t been exposed to the baking soda bath, and the mahogany exterior.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per bun

Calories: 348

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 5g 7%

Saturated Fat 3g 15%

Cholesterol 18mg 6%

Sodium 327mg 13%

Carbs 63g 21%

Protein 11g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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