Knots, so easy. I'll show you how to shape pretzels into classic knots as well as braids, loops, and pretzel bites.
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pretzel knots, braids, loops, and bites
Credit: Meredith

First, you'll want to make the pretzel dough. Here's a step-by-step how-to for making homemade pretzels. Follow the directions, and when it's time to start shaping, c'mon back here and I'll take you through some of our favorite pretzel shapes.

Four Fun Pretzel Shapes

We'll start with a classic twist and move on to braids, loops, and bites.

1. Classic Pretzel Twists

Make a U with each rope. Twist ends together about 3 inches from ends. Press ends into bottom of U.

twisting the pretzel
Credit: Kim Cornelison
pressing the pretzel twist into a knot
Credit: Kim Cornelison

2. Pretzel Braids

Cut rope into thirds. Press the 3 strands together at the top, then braid and tuck the ends under.

making pretzel braids - cutting pretzel rope into three pieces
Credit: Kim Cornelison
making pretzel braids - braiding pretzel rope
Credit: Kim Cornelison
making pretzel braids
Credit: Kim Cornelison

3. Pretzel Loops

Cut rope into fourths. Twist 2 strands together, shape them into a ring, and press ends together. Repeat with other strands.

making pretzel loops - three short pretzel ropes
Credit: Kim Cornelison
making pretzel loops - twisting three short pretzel ropes together
Credit: Kim Cornelison
making pretzel loops
Credit: Kim Cornelison

4. Pretzel Bites

Fold the rope in half and twist tightly, pressing ends together to seal. Then cut into 1-inch pieces.

making pretzel bites - pretzel ropes twisted together
Credit: Kim Cornelison
making pretzel bites - cutting twisted pretzel rope into bite-size pieces
Credit: Kim Cornelison
making pretzel bites
Credit: Kim Cornelison

Shaping Tip

Use only a tiny sprinkle of flour on the work surface. This dough is actually easier to shape if it clings to the counter a bit. If the dough shrinks upon you as you roll into a rope, just let it relax for a few minutes before continuing.

pretzel dough rising
Credit: Kim Cornelison

Baking Pretzels

In an 8-inch square baking pan, stir 2 tablespoons baking soda into 2 cups warm water (110°F). Line 3 baking sheets with foil and lightly grease the foil. Dip each shaped pretzel into the water mixture. Set on prepared sheets and let rise for 15 to 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Bake pretzels until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Drip Tip

Let excess water mixture drip off or blot on a paper towel.

drying pretzel dough on a paper towel
Credit: Kim Cornelison

Brush & Sprinkle

While they're still warm, brush pretzels with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with pretzel salt or other seasonings, such as coarse kosher salt, garlic salt, white and black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced fresh or dried herbs, or cinnamon sugar.

brushing butter onto pretzel dough after baking
Credit: Kim Cornelison
sprinkling baked pretzel with chopped herbs
Credit: Kim Cornelison

Give 'Em a Pat

If you're using large salt crystals or seeds as seasoning, pat them gently into the buttered dough to help them adhere.

pretzels with salt, seeds, sugar, herbs, and bacon bits sprinkled on them
Credit: Kim Cornelison

You made pretzels. Yay! Now what?

Dunk 'em in...

Something Sweet

Something Savory

How to Store Pretzels

Cooled pretzels can be kept in an airtight container for 1 day. To reheat and re-crisp, wrap pretzels individually in foil and bake for 5 minutes in a 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) oven.

Check out our collection of Pretzel Recipes.

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2017 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.