clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
A close up of a traditional German lye pretzel centered in the frame with a cutting board and a stick of butter in the background. A red cherry tomato sits to the lower left.

Homemade German Soft Lye Pretzels

  • Author: Nina-Kristin Isensee
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 10 pretzels 1x


In Germany, pretzels are an incredibly diverse treat that can be made to suit different tastes – from the salty soft pretzel with caraway seeds on top to the sweet Martinsbreze. Learn how to make your own lye German-style soft pretzels at home with this simple recipe.


  • 1 lb flour
  • 1/2 fresh yeast cube ((21 grams))
  • 9 fl oz warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 oz butter (at room temperature)
  • 2/3 oz baking soda
  • 12 tbsp coarse salt ((optional))
  • 12 tbsp caraway seed ((optional))


  1. Place the flour in a large bowl, make a well in the middle, and crumble the yeast into it.
  2. Add 3 ½ fl oz water (7 tbsp) and the sugar to the well, and mix it with the yeast and just a bit of the flour, so most of the flour is still dry with the wet mixture in the middle. Cover with a clean dish towel and set the bowl aside in a warm place for approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Pour the rest of the water into the bowl and add the salt and the butter. Knead everything together, incorporating all of the flour now, until a smooth dough is formed.
  4. Divide the dough into ten equally sized portions and form each of them into a small ball. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Dust your countertop with some flour and roll each ball into a long rope of approximately 8 inches. Cover and let rest for another ten minutes.
  6. Roll over the ropes until they are approximately 24 inches long. It is important that the ends are thinner than the middles – this is called the pretzel’s “tummy.”
  7. Now you have to wrap the dough into its pretzel shape. This is the most difficult part of the recipe, and your first batch of pretzels might not look the way you want them to. But that’s okay! Just remember to be careful that the dough doesn’t tear apart. Start by placing the rope in front of you horizontally, then take the ends and turn them into of each other once or twice. You can now place the remaining ends next to the pretzel’s tummy, the thicker part of the dough, and gently press down. Let your formed pretzels rest covered for another 30 minutes.
  8. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C (convection oven 360°F/180°C ).
  9. Bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot, and stir in the baking soda. Dunk each pretzel carefully into the boiling water one at a time, and let it cook for approximately 20 seconds. Take it out with a skimmer, let it drain, and place it on the baking tray.
  10. Sprinkle some of the coarse salt and/or caraway seeds on each pretzel. This is optional, but for the full batch you should use about 2 tablespoons total of either salt, caraway seed, or a combination of the two. If you like, cut a shallow slice with a sharp knife into the tummy of each pretzel so it will split and burst open as it bakes.
  11. Fill a baking dish with some hot water and place it on the bottom of your oven. Slide in the baking tray and bake your pretzels for 25 minutes, until they have a light brown crust. Serve hot out of the oven with butter, mustard, or cheese dip.
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: German

Keywords: German, Lye, Soft Pretzel, Bavarian,