These Pumpkin Spice Soft Pretzels have that exterior bite and chew you’re searching for with a soft and fluffy center. And, let’s not forget that they’re brushed in butter and rolled in a pumpkin spiced cinnamon sugar blend.
I don’t know about you, but I can never resist an Auntie Anne’s pretzel when I stumble upon a stall. Mall, airport, rest stop…I just can’t pass it up. I ALWAYS get the cinnamon sugar version (because, duh), and I wanted to make a fun fall version of my favorite! Enter, Pumpkin Spice Soft Pretzels. These whip up quick in terms of yeasted doughs, and as long as your yeast is alive and well, you’ll be cruising through this like a pro!
How do you make a soft pretzel?
Soft pretzels are made with a yeast dough (just like bread dough), but a stand mixer and dough hook isn’t needed. You begin mixing your dough with a wooden spoon then transfer to a floured surface and begin kneading. After kneading for 5 minutes, place your dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes to one hour.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down then transfer to your counter. Section it out into 8 equal pieces using a bench scraper or a knife. Then, roll each section (one at a time) into 20-30 inch logs, make your pretzel shape, and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. I only put 4 pretzels per sheet.
Add the pretzels one at a time to the baking soda water bath and let them boil for 30 seconds. Carefully transfer back to your baking sheet using a slotted spoon or spider and repeat with the remaining pretzels. Bake the pretzels on the two middle racks at 450 F for 12 minutes, switching baking trays at half.
When the pretzels are cool enough to handle, brush them in butter and douse in the pumpkin spice sugar. BAM! Homemade soft pretzels!
What should the pretzel dough look like?
When you mix all of your ingredients together, the dough will look (and feel) wet and shaggy. Once you start kneading and incorporate a bit more flour, the dough will come together and feel smooth and soft. When you push your finger into the dough, the indent will slowly spring back. After letting the dough rise for 30 minutes to one hour, it will have doubled in size and will feel light and fluffy.
How to shape soft pretzels
Once you have your log rolled out to about 25 inches, make a “U” shape. Crisscross the top, then wrap them again the same way you originally crossed them. Lay the ends down just over the bottom.
Do you have to boil soft pretzels?
YES. You know that sort of bitter/tang that you get from the outside of a soft pretzel? That’s because they’re boiled in a baking soda water bath before they’re baked. It also gives them that crispy yet chewy exterior soft pretzels are known for, and a darker color.
To move the pretzels into the water bath, pick them up from the bottom. You’ll have the left and right bottom cross sections in between your middle and ring fingers of each hand. Carefully drop the pretzel into the water. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove from the water bath and transfer to the parchment prepared pan.
Can I make these into soft pretzel bites?
Definitely. Instead of making the standard pretzel formation after you roll your log, cut the dough into 1-2 inch pieces. Follow the same instructions for the water bath, but you may need to reduce baking time by a couple of minutes. Keep an eye on them, and make sure they get that nice brown color.
How to store soft pretzels
Store the Pumpkin Spice Soft Pretzels in a covered container for up to three days. These are best enjoyed the same day they’re made. If you don’t plan to eat them on the same day you make them, don’t add the sugar topping. Wait until the day you plan to eat them to butter and sugar them. For both sugar coated and non-sugar coated, reheat the pretzels at 325 F for 5 minutes.
For more pumpkin recipes, check out my:
Pumpkin Spice Soft Pretzels
- Large mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- 1 cup water 110 F (8oz)
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast 1 packet or 7g
- 2 T light brown sugar 25g
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup pumpkin puree 130g
- 4 cups all-purpose flour 480g
- 2 T unsalted butter softened (28g)
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 8 cups water
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted (113g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 1.5 T ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Add the yeast and 1 T of the brown sugar to the 110 F water and gently mix. Allow to stand for 5 minutes so the yeast can begin to feed. It will look frothy by this point. If it is not frothy after 5 minutes, your yeast is likely too old and you’ll need to start again with new yeast.
- After 5 minutes, add in the remaining brown sugar, salt, and pumpkin puree and mix. Add in about half of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Using your fingers, pinch off small bits of the softened butter and scatter on top of the dough. Lightly mix to incorporate (any extra chunks will blend in while kneading).
- Add in the remaining flour, reserving about ½ cup for the kneading portion, and mix with your spoon. Once it becomes difficult to stir and incorporate the flour, switch to your hands and incorporate the flour in the bottom of the bowl.
- Using some of your reserved flour, dust your work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Begin kneading, adding more flour as anything begins to stick, and continue kneading for about 5 minutes. The dough will become soft and pliable, but will slowly spring back when you push your finger into it.
- Grease a large mixing bowl with canola or olive oil, transfer your dough into the bowl, and roll it to fully cover in oil. Lightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise for 30 minutes to one hour. You want it to double in size.
- Once doubled in size, punch down the dough a few times, then turn out onto your surface and form it into a rectangle. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and separate them from each other.
- At this point, heat up your water so it’s boiling and ready when you have your pretzels shaped. You also need to preheat your oven to 450 F.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll on your work surface with the palms of both hands into a 20-30 inch log. I typically aim for 25 inches. Roll from the middle and move outwards. Lightly flour your hands if it feels difficult to roll and get traction.
- Form the dough into a “U” shape, crisscross the top, then wrap them again the same way you originally crossed them. Lay the ends down just over the bottom, then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet (you’ll need 2 sheets). To move the pretzels into the water bath, pick them up from the bottom. You'll have the left and right bottom cross sections in between your middle and ring fingers of each hand.
- Add the baking soda to the boiling water. Add the pretzels one at a time to the water bath and allow to boil for 30 seconds. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon or spider and transfer back to the parchment lined baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the pretzels.
- Bake the pans in the middle racks of the oven for 10-14 minutes, switching racks halfway through. The pretzels should be almost completely browned on top when done. While the pretzels are cooling, prepare the butter and sugar.
Coating the Pretzels
- Melt the butter in one bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and stir to combine.
- When the pretzels are cool enough to handle, brush them in butter, then coat them in the pumpkin spice sugar mixture.