By Wendy Stoltz and Florina Dobre / Last Modified On March 19, 2023
Watch our instructional video on how to make these gluten-free pretzels:
Gluten-Free Pretzels are soft and chewy, just like you'd expect from a fresh hot pretzel, and as good as or better than anything you'd get at a mall kiosk!
A simple gluten-free yeast pretzel dough is formed into twisty pretzel knots and baked to perfection.
For the full hot pretzel experience, top your gluten-free soft pretzels with coarse salt and dip them into an easy-to-make honey mustard sauce.
GF baking is a little different from gluten baking. Here's some tips and tricks to get you started. If you love masterclasses (like I do), try Roy Choi's Masterclass or Michael W Twitty Masterclass if you want to level up your cooking skills. If you are new to gluten-free, these gluten-free courses are so helpful.
These GF pretzels really hit the spot in terms of the best gluten-free appetizers! From dips to handheld gluten-free appetizers perfect for planning your menu. We love this super simple gluten-free chex mix and gluten-free cheese crackers. We also share our top 10 gluten-free dips.
GLUTEN-FREE PRETZELS RECIPE
Everyone loves hot pretzels! Whether you enjoy them at a baseball game, at the movies, or during a trip to the mall, a soft, warm, salty pretzel is a classic snack. If a gluten-free diet is keeping you from enjoying a hot pretzel, you are going to be SO glad you found this recipe for gluten-free pretzels.
Make sure to try our gluten-free cheesy breadsticks recipe too! It uses homemade gluten-free pizza dough to make the best cheesy snack.
Follow along carefully with these step-by-step instructions. Homemade gluten-free pretzel making might seem complicated, but I promise you'll find the steps worth it once you bite into one of these beauties!
WHY YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THESE GLUTEN-FREE PRETZELS
Great flavor and texture - These pretzels have the flavor and texture of traditional soft pretzels without any gluten-containing ingredients.
Great appetizer - These GF pretzels go down so well for game day or any family gathering. Double the batch, as everyone will ask for more!
Best comfort food - Enjoying these fresh from the oven with the suggested dipping sauce is so good.
INGREDIENTS IN GLUTEN-FREE PRETZELS
To Make Gluten-Free Pretzel Dough:
Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend - You can use one of our gluten-free flour blends, or your favorite all-purpose 1:1 style gluten-free flour. Bob's Red Mill is a brand we use often, if you're not sure which to pick up!
Brown Sugar - Sugar feeds the yeast in this pretzel recipe, making them more active and making the pretzels softer. Any type of sugar will do this, but brown sugar adds a bit of flavor too.
Instant Yeast - To make these homemade gluten-free pretzels rise and bake up with delicious pretzel bread texture, you'll need yeast. You can use packets or yeast in a jar, just be sure it says "Instant". Quick yeast or Active yeast won't work the same way.
Sea Salt - Salt gives these pretzels flavor! You can experiment with other flavorings if you like, like dried herbs or garlic powder.
Xanthan Gum - This gluten-free baking ingredient is key to giving baked goods a bready texture. Xanthan gum is a gluten replacement. If your all-purpose flour or flour blends already have this ingredient, you don't need to add more.
Baking Powder - Another necessary ingredient to giving this recipe its amazing chewy, airy texture.
Water - You want the water to be lukewarm, but not hot. If it's too hot it will kill the yeast before they do their job.
Egg - Be sure to let your egg come to room temperature before mixing it in.
Butter - Softened butter gives these pretzels richness and depth.
Oil - Use a small amount of any type of oil to coat the mixing bowl that you let the dough rise in. You don't want it to stick!
Baking soda bath - Before homemade gluten-free pretzels are baked they are quickly boiled in a bath of water, baking soda, and sugar. This treatment allows the pretzels to brown up nicely in the oven. Traditionally, soft pretzels are dipped in a lye bath, but since most of us don't have lye at home, baking soda is the next best thing.
Flaky Salt or Pretzel Salt - You can use any type of coarse salt to sprinkle on top of the pretzels before baking. You can choose to make them without salt on top if you prefer.
Honey Mustard Dip - This is totally optional, but very highly recommended as an accompaniment to homemade pretzels! The complete and easy recipe is in the recipe card, but you'll need mayo, Dijon mustard, honey, and salt to put it together.
No corn starch is used in this recipe.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR THESE GLUTEN-FREE PRETZELS
- Baking Sheets
- Paper - Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Sheets (Silpat)
- Stand Mixer - Pretzel dough is thick and requires a good amount of mixing. A stand mixer is the best tool for this job. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can mix the dough by hand, but it will take longer and likely tire your arms out!
- Large Stockpot
- Kitchen tools - Whisk, Pastry Brush, Spider Strainer (or a large slotted spoon)
If you have any questions about making gluten-free pretzels, please leave a comment and we will get back to you as soon as possible!
HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE PRETZELS
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Whisking ensures that you don't end up with salty or powdery spots in your pretzels.
- Add the dry mixture to your stand mixer, and add the warm water, egg, and butter. Mix with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes, or until a firm dough forms.
- While the dough is in the mixer, you can make an easy honey mustard sauce!
- Whisk together mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, honey, and salt. Set aside for the flavors to meld while you finish the rest of the pretzel recipe.
- Remove the dough from the mixer and place it on a clean surface. Knead by hand until the dough is smooth, then transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise on the kitchen counter until almost doubled. This will take between 45 and 90 minutes, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. While you wait, preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and put a pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate it and divide it into 12 equal pieces. One at a time, roll each portion of dough into a rope about 12 or 14 inches long.
- Shape the ropes into pretzels and place them on the prepared baking pan.
- Add baking soda and sugar to the boiling water to make a baking soda bath. Wait until the mixture stops foaming. Drop one pretzel at a time into the water bath. They will sink and then pop back up to the surface. Each pretzel only needs about 5 seconds in the water.
- Return the pretzels to the baking sheets and sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Then bake in a preheated oven for 18 minutes, or longer, depending on how browned you'd like your gluten-free pretzels to be. Let the pretzels cool for at least 10 minutes before serving with homemade honey mustard dipping sauce.
These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions in gluten-free pretzels, please see the complete recipe below.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST GLUTEN-FREE PRETZELS
Follow the instructions for the best rise - It is important to follow the process for getting the yeast to rise correctly.
Don't miss the baking soda bath - This is what makes the pretzels the best texture.
Bake the GF pretzels according to your taste - You can bake the pretzels for a shorter or longer period depending on how crunchy you like them.
HOW DO YOU SHAPE A PRETZEL?
It seems like it should be easy, but you might need a quick tutorial on how to make the classic pretzel shape out of a log of dough, and that's ok!
- Start by forming the rolled dough into a U shape on the counter.
- Take the two ends and cross them over each other, creating a twist. Then bring the twisted ends down to the bottom of the U to connect.
- Press the ends down gently to ensure that they stick that way.
Don't stress about making your pretzel shapes perfect! You can also make pretzels into other shapes, like rings or sticks. Spiral the dough so that there aren't any holes if you'd like to make gluten-free pretzel bread rolls. You can also make mini pretzels by reducing the size.
HOW TO STORE HOMEMADE GLUTEN-FREE PRETZELS
These pretzels are best if eaten within a day or two. Really, I suggest eating them while they are still warm from the oven! If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container on the counter. I suggest doubling the recipe. It may feel like a pretzel bakery but once you enjoy one, you will want more and will be grateful you made so many!
HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE DAIRY-FREE SOFT PRETZELS
You can replace the butter in the pretzel dough recipe with vegan butter or your favorite oil. For the honey mustard dip, use vegan mayo.
ARE GLUTEN-FREE PRETZELS HEALTHIER THAN REGULAR PRETZELS?
Gluten-free pretzels have about the same nutritional profile as traditional soft pretzels. If you are following a gluten-free diet for any reason, this is the recipe that you need!
DO I HAVE TO BOIL MY PRETZELS BEFORE BAKING?
Boiling the pretzels before baking them is key to creating a crust. If you skipped this part, you'd have pretzel-shaped bread, but it wouldn't have the right taste or texture that you want from a great soft pretzel.
WHAT CAN I USE INSTEAD OF BAKING SODA FOR PRETZELS?
The traditional treatment for pretzels is a lye bath. Lye is a highly basic (alkaline) compound, and it gives pretzels their dark brown color and characteristic flavor.
Since Lye has such a high pH, it's not very safe to work with. Using it in your kitchen would require goggles, gloves, and a mask or a fume hood!
Baking soda is also an alkaline compound, so it has a similar effect and is perfect for making pretzels at home. You can make your baking soda more alkaline by heat treating it in the oven if you want to get technical, but it takes a while and really isn't necessary.
IS THIS DOUGH SUPPOSED TO BE STICKY?
Yes, most gluten-free bread doughs are a bit sticky. The pretzel dough might seem extra delicate, and that's because it is, at least compared to traditional gluten doughs. Our best advice is to handle the dough gently and work on a lightly floured surface to keep the dough from sticking. It's also a good idea to add flour to your hands when shaping the pretzels.
Avoid mixing the extra flour into the dough though, as that can make your gluten-free pretzels dry.
Did you make this recipe for gluten-free pretzels? Please leave us a comment and let us know what you thought of them!
Gluten-Free Pretzels are soft and chewy, just like you'd expect from a fresh hot pretzel, and as good as or better than anything you'd get at a mall kiosk!
For the Pretzels
- 3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- ½ tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (only add this if your GF flour blend doesn't include any)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup water, warm
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- Coarse sea salt or pretzel salt, optional, as a topping
For the Water Bath
- 1-gallon water
- ⅓ cup baking soda
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Add the water, egg, and butter, and using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix for 5 minutes until a firm dough forms. If the dough is too dry add 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm water.
- On a clean surface, knead the dough until smooth. Then transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let it rise on the kitchen counter until almost doubled (45 to 90 minutes)
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In the meantime, bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured clean surface. Gently deflate it and divide it into 12 equal pieces.
Cover the dough pieces. Then one at a time, roll them into 12” to 14” ropes. Shape the ropes into pretzels and place them onto the prepared baking pan.
- Add the baking soda and the sugar to the boiling water and wait for the foam to subside.
Drop the pretzels one ae in the water and wait for 5 seconds. They will initially sink but they will float back to the surface.
- Return the boiled pretzels to the baking pan and sprinkle with some coarse salt if you wish.
- Bake the pretzels in a preheated oven for 18 minutes, or until golden brown and baked to your liking (check recipe notes).
- Allow the pretzels to cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- To Prepare the Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce: Combine all the ingredients (mayo, Dijon mustard, honey, and salt) in a small serving bowl.
- For extra soft and savory pretzels, brush them with melted butter after they come out of the oven.
- If you'd like to make sweet pretzels, bake them without any salt on top. Brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar while they're still warm.
- Only add xanthan gum to the dough if your all-purpose flour doesn't include any.
- Bake the pretzels for 18 minutes if you want them soft, and up to 35 minutes if you want them to be crunchy.
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Hiware Solid Stainless Steel Spider Strainer Skimmer Ladle for Cooking and Frying, Kitchen Utensils Wire Strainer Pasta Strainer Spoon, 5.4 Inch
Farberware Enamel on Steel Stock Pot/Stockpot with Lid - 16 Quart, Aqua Blue
Cuisinart SM-50CRM Precision Master 5.5-Quart 12-Speed Stand Mixer with Mixing Bowl, Chef's Whisk, Flat Mixing Paddle, Dough Hook, and Splash Guard with Pour Spout, Coconut Cream
Silpat AE295205-01 Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, 11-¾-Inch x 8-¼-Inch (2 pack) by Silpat
Bobs Red Mill, Baking Flour 1 To 1 Gluten Free, 22 Ounce
Serving Size:1 pretzel and dip
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 2157mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 4g
This nutrition info is based on the exact ingredients and brands that I used a the time. It may not be 100% accurate. Please check your ingredients nutrition labels.
Hi. I’m looking through your GF pretzel recipe. Looks fantastic. I am also dairy free. Will dairy free butter work in this recipe?
Hi Lori!. Yes you can use dairy free butter. Enjoy!
Could I make these into pretzel nuggets?
Hi Caitlin - I think you totally could! The bake time might need to be reduced a bit, so just keep an eye on them in the oven.
Firstly, thank you so much for this recipe! I recently found out I’m gluten insensitive and was craving for pretzels. In fact I made 4 batches of these and they turned out wonderful! Some adjustments I made:
1. Instead of mixing the yeast in with all the other ingredients I bloomed the yeast in warm water and 1 tsp white sugar for 10 minutes to make sure it’s still active
2. I used Aldi’s gluten free plain flour which does not have xanthan gum so I added as per your recipe
3. Instead of 1 cup warm water I used 3/4 cup
The dough was quite sticky so I added a bit more flour when I was kneading.
It baked beautifully and the texture is the same as non gf pretzel’s I’ve had in the past. Definitely saving this! Thank you again 🙂
Hi Lishan, so glad you found us on the web so you can enjoy gluten-free recipes. Thanks for sharing.
Can u make in bread machine with glutenfree setting
I have not tried it myself, but give it a go and experiment.