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Have you ever wanted to make irresistibly delicious vegan soft pretzels yourself? Good news: it CAN be done! This is a simple vegan pretzel recipe with many step-by-step pictures. You’ll be baking in no time!
DIY Vegan Soft Pretzels
Salty and crunchy on the outside, warm and soft like pillows on the inside, incredible aroma – what’s not to love about pretzels? They are simply irresistible, and perfect anytime!
Where do you usually find soft pretzels? Supermarkets, some bakers, at the mall, sports games, carnivals and other big events – everyone has grown up with them and they’re so easy to buy!
But they taste SO much better homemade. If you get the chance to try them fresh and warm out of the oven, you’ll never look back. There is simply no better way to enjoy vegan soft pretzels.
Let’s talk sprinkles! In a salty mood? The traditional corse salt is perfect. Nutty? Try some sesame or poppy seeds. Can’t decide? Everything bagel seasoning is just what you need!
Are Soft Pretzels Vegan?
Shop or stand bought pretzels are unfortunately often made with butter or lard. This is the number one reason I decided to home-bake my own. It is super easy to replace animal products with dairy-free alternatives.
For this vegan pretzel recipe, you will need a plant-based butter and a plant-based milk alternative. I think it tastes great with oat milk or soy milk, but it also would work with nut milk.
How To Make These Copycat Auntie Anne’s Pretzels Vegan
There is nothing like walking past our dear old Auntie Anne when you’re out for a quick mall trip. The freshly baked aroma fills the whole hallway…but we vegans can’t indulge in those.
In this vegan recipe, I’ll show you how to make your very own soft pretzels. These soft vegan pretzels are coated with melted vegan butter when they’re straight out of the oven. This is what makes them soft, not to mention irresistibly delicious.
Alternatively, you can skip the butter glaze, which will make them nice and crispy, like a German Pretzel.
Vegan Soft Pretzel Recipe
The recipe is pretty easy but will take some time. Well worthwhile! To make it a success the first time, I have created a visual guide with step-by-step pictures. This is a very easy way to see how the homemade pretzels are formed, especially for baking beginners.
The exact quantities and everything else you need to know for the recipe can be found in the recipe card below.
Here’s How To Make Vegan Soft Pretzels:
- Heat milk, butter, and sugar in a small pot or microwave (should be warm and not hot or boiling) and stir briefly until the butter is completely melted and the sugar is dissolved.
- Mix all-purpose flour, instant yeast, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.
- While running on slow speed with the dough hook attached, pour the milk-butter-sugar mixture slowly in. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes until you have a smooth dough.
- Let the dough rest: Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, put the dough in, cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for 1 hour to rise to double its size.
- Ta-daa! This is what the risen pretzel dough should look like!
Soda Bath & Baking
- Mix the baking soda with very hot water in a deep baking tin. It dissolves better if you stir it a little with a small whisk or fork.
How To Form A Pretzel Shape
- Press the dough with your fist once to allow the air to escape. Now place the dough on a NON-floured work surface and divide it into 6 equally sized pieces.
- Roll each piece into a thin and long (∼30inch | 75cm) rope. → Hold the ends and slap the middle onto your counter to make them even longer and thinner.
Tip: It is ok if the rope is a little thicker in the middle and thinner at the ends!
- Dip each rope into the soda bath for a few seconds (∼10sec).
- Drain briefly and form a pretzel directly on a with parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- The forming is done as follows: Form the rope into a circle and place the thin ends on top of each other.
- Now twist the ends one more time.
- Grab the ends with your hands and place them on the lower part of the pretzel.
- Slightly press the ends onto the dough.
- Sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Tip: These vegan pretzels are also delicious sprinkled with poppy or sesame seeds, or everything bagel seasoning.
- Bake the pretzels for 8 minutes until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan or microwave.
- As soon as the pretzels are ready and out of the oven, place them on a cooling rack and brush the warm pretzels with the melted butter. → This step is optional, see notes.
How To Freeze Pretzels?
After your baked pretzels have cooled, you can freeze them. Keep them in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to three months. To defrost them, place them directly frozen in the preheated oven at 395°F/200°C (fan-assisted) and bake for 5-10 minutes.
This is a great way to make sure you have easy, quick, tasty, crispy and above all homemade pretzels whenever you feel like having them! I always make a little extra dough and freeze some pretzels for later!
More Bread Recipes You Will Love:
- Swiss Braided Bread
- Turkish Pide Bread (No Knead)
- French Brioche Bread
- Homemade Pita Bread
- Braided Nutella Bread
Did You Try This Recipe?
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Vegan Soft Pretzels
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Vegan Pretzel Dough
- 1 cup (240 ml) plant-based milk I use oat or soy milk
- 2 tbsp vegan butter or margarine
- 2 tbsp brown sugar or caster sugar
- 3 cups (390 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp olive oil to grease the bowl
Soda Bath & Toppgins
- ¼ cup (70 g) baking soda
- 2 cups (480 ml) very hot water
- 2 tbsp vegan butter melted
- sea salt flakes or poppy seeds, sesame seeds
Prepare the Dough
- Heat the milk, butter, and sugar in a small saucepan or microwave until warm (not hot or boiling!). Stir until the butter is fully melted and the sugar dissolved.
- Mix all-purpose flour, instant yeast, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. While running on slow speed, pour the milk-butter-sugar mixture slowly in. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes until you have a smooth dough.
- Grease a large bowl with 1 tsp olive oil, place the dough in it, cover with a damp kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in size.
Soda Bath & Baking
- Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.
- Combine the baking soda with very hot (almost boiling) water in a shallow bowl (the water should be deep enough to dip the dough ropes in it) and stir until dissolved.
- Punch the dough to deflate, place on a surface (do NOT use flour), and divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each one into a thin long (30inch) rope. → Hold the ends and slap the middle onto your counter to make them even longer and thinner. If the dough seems tight, let it rest for a few minutes and continue with the other pieces.
- Dip each rope into the soda bath for a few seconds, transfer on a with parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and form into a pretzel shape (see blog post for step-by-step instruction with pictures). Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds.
- Bake the pretzels for 8 minutes until golden.
- Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tbsp vegan butter. As soon as the pretzels are coming out of the oven, transfer them on a cooling rack, and brush them with the melted butter.
- Keeps fresh: Those pretzels are best when fresh. Freeze leftovers.
- Freeze: Place the pretzels in a zip bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost for 5-10 minutes in the preheated oven (390°F/200°C).
- Butter Glaze: To make a copycat version of the famous Auntie Anne’s pretzels, the butter glaze is a must. This also makes the pretzels soft. If you prefer crispy ones, don’t brush them with butter after baking.
- Serving Suggestion: I love serving them with vegan cream cheese and garden cress. They do taste amazing with almost anything. Try serving them with this vegan queso.
These are fabulous! Everyone loves them. They’re big so I make 12 small ones, but then we eat two anyway! I found them too salty with the coarse salt but the margarine I brush them with is salty so that may be why. I topped mine with sesame seeds. They’re a winner! Thank you Aline.
Aline Cueni says
Thank you so much for your kind comment, Liz! I am thrilled to hear that you like those soft pretzels! 🙏💕 Others also suggested topping them with everything bagel seasoning if you don’t like the salty topping! 😉
Hi, I’m newer to baking. Beads still scare me sometimes… I’ve made this pretzel recipe a couple of times and keep running into the same problem that my dough breaks when I stretch it. Like it isn’t made to stretch. This makes it really hard to make ropes longer than about 24 inches let alone shaping them so they stay in a pretzel shape rather than breaking off after baking. Any insight?
It is really humid where I live and the temperature in my kitchen stays unfortunately hot often. In case that matters.
Aline Cueni says
Hi Gen, I am sorry you are running into trouble making pretzels. Your dough is very much likely over-proved. As you say your kitchen is very hot (and therefore the dough is proving much faster), cut the proving time in half, and see if this helps!
Hi I’m having a problem getting my pretzels to brown, they stay a white colour after baking. Am I doing the soda bath wrong? What could be the issue?
Aline Cueni says
Hi Grace, if I don’t know how exactly you followed the recipe, it’s difficult to tell what went wrong. A common mistake is to take them too early out of the oven. The pretzels become their brown color in the last 1-2 minutes of baking. Try to bake them just a little longer the next time. I am almost sure that this will do the trick.
Regarding the soda bath, make sure to follow the recipe, and it should work. Also, did you see the step-by-step visual recipe in the blog post? This is going to help you along with the recipe! Make sure to check it out! 😉
I wonder if your oven isn’t hot enough! Maybe go up 25 degrees or so and see what happens! Or invest in an oven thermometer
They were easy to make! My husband was shaping them. But one thing that bothered me is a taste of the soda. I used 1/4 cup of soda in my hot water to bathe before shaping and when they baked our pretzels tasted somehow bitter and soda-like taste… I’m not sure how to fix this issue in the future. Any suggestions?
And I would bake like 1-2 minutes longer to make them even more tastier. I used sesame seeds on the top and coarse salt. On few of them I sprinkled cinnamon sugar. I think next time I would just dip my pretzels before baking to get a stronger topping. Thank you for sharing you recipe!!
Aline Cueni says
Thank you for your honest comment, Anastasiia.
I am super happy that your soft pretzels turned out delicious. I never experienced the issue with the soda, but I suggest you a) try a different brand, b) use a little less, or c) reduce the soda bath time. You only need to dip them for 5-10 seconds. Please let me know if any of this helped!
All the best,
These are delicious!!! I had my kids help me shape the pretzels and they had such a fun time! Plus they practiced their counting when we placed the dough in the baking soda bath. This was my first time making pretzels and your recipe was easy to follow. And we had all the ingredients at home! It was such a treat because my kids love getting pretzels at the mall and since we are all stuck at home this was a highlight for their day! Thank you!
Aline Cueni says
Hi Tina, thank you so much for your kind comment! I am so happy that you had such a wonderful time making those pretzels with your kids! ❤️ I too love to make those and always have some stored in my freezer!
All the best,
I had been waiting until today to try this and I thought I had all ingredients on hand. I was sadly mistaken, and since it is quarantine time, I only had regular yeast, I tried that. Do you know approximately how long should I let the dough rise? Or just check it to see it if it has gotten bigger hatter a few hours? Thanks for your help and sharing your recipes in English and in German!
Aline Cueni says
Hi Wendy, thank you for your kind words! 🙂I do not exactly know what you mean by regular yeast, but I would roughly stick to the times in the recipes, and if it didn’t double, just give it half an hour to an hour more time! It doesn’t matter whether you use instant or active dry yeast if this is what you are using! I hope it works out!
These were absolutely delicious! Thanks so much for sharing. The only thing I did different was used 1/3 whole wheat and unbleached all purpose flour.
Aline Cueni says
thank you so much for letting me know! I am so happy to hear that you liked them!
Also, what a great twist using whole wheat, makes them somewhat healthier!:)