Pretzel Bagels

Pretzel bagels are here for all your soft pretzel breakfast dreams. You’re welcome.

When I was a kid we lived in rural Virginia. I’m not talking about oh like a small town with some chain restaurants population 20,000. I’m talking one stoplight. One old family run gas station, a bank, and a building that consisted of a video store (Mr. Bill’s Video), a very small pharmacy and then what I think was an urgent care and dentist office? Both of which probably only had 1 room? No grocery store. My point is we didn’t have access to a lot locally. But every Christmas, my uncle would send us fresh H&H bagels from NYC and we would have them Christmas morning. This is where I discovered my love of salt bagels.

For a long time that was the only place I ever had them. When we moved to Phoenix we would go to Einstein’s but still.. no salt bagels. Then when I moved to Whidbey Island, there was a little bagel shop downtown and THEY HAD SALT BAGELS! I was so excited.

Now, you’re thinking why are you telling this story about salt bagels this recipe is for pretzel bagels. And you would be right, it is. But I often thought when salt bagels were toasted and I ate them with butter they were pretty similar to a soft pretzel. So yes, I could share a salt bagel recipe but honestly a pretzel bagel recipe sounded more fun. If you have the choice between a salt or pretzel bagel.. you’re probably choosing pretzel. However, if you also love salt bagels and want to chat about them feel free to email me.

If you have made either bagels or soft pretzels before you know they have to get boiled. Bagels are normally boiled in water with either non-diastatic malt, honey or brown sugar to help them brown. Pretzels are boiled in baking soda or lye to give them both the color and that pretzel flavor. These bagels are very similar to a plain bagel but boiled in baking soda and sprinkled with pretzel salt. The result is a beautiful dark brown bagel, just like a soft pretzel! I’d also recommend my Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Buns or Everything Pretzel Knots.

Pretzel Bagels Key Ingredients

  • Bread Flour – Bread flour gives bakes more of a chew than traditional AP. Pretzels definitely fall in the category where I deem it necessary.
  • Baking soda – Pretzels traditionally are dipped in lye. I haven’t ever used this, and baking soda is an easier solution as it doesn’t have the same safety precautions necessary.
  • Pretzel salt – You can use coarse salt or kosher salt, but I love using pretzel salt on these pretzel bagels as I really feel it takes them much closer to that elusive mall pretzel status.

Pretzel Bagels

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Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Proofing: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8 bagels



  • 480 g Bread Flour 4 cups
  • tsp Instant yeast
  • cup Warm water
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Non-diastatic malt powder or brown sugar

Water Bath

  • ¼ cup Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Salt


  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter melted
  • Pretzel or coarse salt for sprinkling


  • Combine flour, yeast, 2 tsp salt, non-diastatic malt powder or brown sugar, and warm water in bowl of stand mixer with dough hook.
  • Mix on low until dough comes together and on medium for an additional 15-20 minutes until dough is firm, elastic and smooth.
  • Grease bowl, cover and let dough rise for 60-90 min or until dough has doubled in size.
  • Gently punch down the dough. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
  • Take each piece, and bring the sides of the dough together, pinching them together and creating tension. Cupping your hand lightly over the doughand roll into a ball using circular motion. Repeat with each piece.
  • Flour your finger and poke through the center of the dough ball, and stretch to create center ring of about 1-2 inches. Place on a lightly greased or silicone/parchment lined baking sheet. Cover baking sheet and allow rounds to rest for 15 minutes.
  • While resting, preheat oven to 425F and bring a large pot with 2 quarts of water to a boil. Once water is boiling and bagels are ready to go in, add ¼ cup baking soda and 1 tsp salt.
  • Drop bagels in water, doing 2-4 at a time but allowing space around each bagel. Let bagels float for 60 seconds on each side, then remove back to baking sheet.
  • Brush each bagel after the water bath with melted butter and sprinkle with pretzel or coarse salt.
  • Bake bagels for 22-25 minutes or until rich brown. Remove and let cool on wire rack for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!


  • If wanting to keep this recipe vegan, the butter brushed on before baking can be skipped and bagels can just be salted.
  • When storing bagels, if kept in an airtight container, salt will dissolve on the bagel tops. 
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