Easy Bread Machine Pretzel Dough for Buns or Rolls

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Sneak Preview: Make this easy Bread Machine Pretzel Dough for buns, rolls, or traditional ballpark pretzels in your bread machine. Use these rolls for a fun sandwich or eat them alone with mustard. Nobody will believe you made them from scratch–until they taste them!

pretzel buns shown as a sandwich on a plate.

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Have you been looking to add trendy soft, pretzel rolls or buns to your bread recipe collection? Perhaps you were thinking about making traditional ballpark pretzels. If so, these buns are much easier to shape than traditional pretzels but it can be done.

If you have made my pretzel recipe before, you may notice that I have tweaked it a bit. I removed the dried milk powder, replaced the butter with oil, and added a touch of sugar. I think it’s better and it’s dairy-free. Hope you agree. Enjoy sharing these with your friends.

You can also make this recipe by hand or with a stand mixer. See the notes in the recipe.

Ingredients and common substitutions:

Ingredients needed to make Bread Machine Pretzel Dough

WATER: I use “de-chlorinated” water in my bread recipes. Draw water from your faucet and let it sit uncovered on the counter for 24 hours so the chlorine will evaporate. Alternatively, use spring water. However, unless your water is very hard, you can probably get away with using plain old tap water. I did it for years.

The water does not need to be warmed. The friction of the bread machine paddles provides more than enough heat to bring all ingredients up to the right temperature. The preheat phase that many bread machines feature is also not necessary for this recipe.

VEGETABLE OIL: I like avocado oil, but vegetable oil works fine, too.

SALT: Use table salt or sea salt in the recipe. Sprinkle coarse salt (Kosher or otherwise) on top of the rolls before you bake them.

SUGAR: Brown sugar, granulated white sugar, or no sugar at all are acceptable options in this recipe.

UNBLEACHED FLOUR: I tested the recipe with unbleached all-purpose flour. Bleached all-purpose flour would also work. If you want a chewier product, use bread flour. If you want to make traditional ballpark pretzels with this recipe, bread flour would probably be my first choice.

YEAST: If you’ve baked with me before, you know I use instant yeast (AKA bread machine yeast, or rapid-rise yeast) in all of my bread machine recipes. See the recipe notes if you only have active dry yeast available.

BAKING SODA: So far, you can see that the ingredients listed are pretty standard for yeast bread dough. But if you want dark brown and chewy pretzels, you’ll need an “alkaline or high pH bath (that) fosters Maillard browning, thus producing the shiny dark brown surface. Additionally, it produces the unique flavor notes, characteristic of pretzels.” —Bakerpedia

Do this at home by adding baking soda and salt to hot water and giving each raw pretzel roll a little dip in a simmering baking soda bath.


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How to make Bread Machine Pretzel Dough:

DOUGH ingredients inside bread pan that is sitting on a digital scale

Combine all the dough ingredients. If possible, use a digital scale to measure, especially for the flour.

DOUGH ingredients inside bread pan that is sitting on a digital scale

Select the DOUGH setting and press START. Watch for the dough to start clumping into a mass in the first minute or two. If it looks like pancake batter or dry oatmeal, you may have made a mistake in measuring. Add more flour if too wet, or a little more water if the mixture is too dry until it starts to clump.

Recheck the consistency of the dough again 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle. If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time. The dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly. Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. Find out more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.

Dough at the end of the kneading phase should look smooth, shiny, and elastic.

At the end of the kneading phase, the dough should be smooth, shiny, and elastic.

Dough at the end of the DOUGH cycle.

Compare this picture to the previous one. Your dough should double in size during the first rise inside the DOUGH cycle.

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Transferring dough from the pan to the floured surface for shaping

Remove the dough at the end of the DOUGH cycle onto a floured surface for shaping.

Dividing the dough into eight portions.

Portion the dough into eight equal portions. If you want them to be equal in size, weigh them.


How to form Pretzel Rolls or Buns:

Forming balls with the dough portions.

Make smooth and tight balls by pulling each piece of dough from the bottom to the top and pinching it closed. (See the video.) Cover the balls and let them rest for 15 minutes while you prepare the water bath.

Adding baking soda and salt to a pot of water

Fill a large pot or saucepan with water, baking soda, and salt. Bring the water to a boil.

Using a meat flattener to flatten rolls.

After the 15-minute rest, flatten each ball. Use a meat flattener (above) or a clear bowl or flat plate (below) and a piece of plastic wrap (so the dough won’t stick). You can also use your fingers.

Using a clear bowl and plastic wrap to flatten rolls.

Now that you know how to shape burger buns, take a look at some of my other recipes for buns: Bread Machine Whole Wheat Rolls: Good for Slider Buns, Too, Perfected Potato Hamburger Buns (Mixed in a Bread Machine), and Impressive 7-Grain Bread Recipe for Burger Buns (Bread Machine).

Cooking the rolls in baking soda water.
Excuse the blur. It’s hard to get clear pictures through steam.

Use a slotted spoon to drop the pretzel rolls into the simmering baking soda water. After 30 seconds, flip the rolls to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove the rolls to a prepared baking sheet (covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat). They will look wrinkled.

Slashing the pretzel rolls on top

Slash an ‘X’ into the top of each roll with a lame, sharp serrated knife, or straight edge razor blade.

Sprinkle boiled but unbaked rolls with coarse salt.

Sprinkle coarse or Kosher salt on top of each roll.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400˚F (200˚C). The internal temperature should reach 195-200˚F (88-90˚C).

baked rolls with sweet mustard

Serve with melted butter or mustard (above) or slice horizontally to use as sandwich buns. (below)

Sausage and cheese sandwich made with pretzel buns.
These pretzel rolls are used as a bun with jalapeño sausage, barbecue sauce, and cheese.

In case you need a tutorial on how to make nice round balls, check out the video.

FAQ about Bread Machine Pretzel Dough

How do I make flatter rolls I can use as buns?

Before placing the buns in boiling water, flatten each bun with your hand, a meat flattener, or a small clear glass plate or bowl. Throw a piece of plastic wrap over the ball of dough so it won’t stick. Use some muscle for this process. These rolls have amazing bounce-back capabilities.

Can I make regular twisted pretzels with this dough?

Yes. Twisted pretzels have more surface area with the trademark salty and dark golden brown surface if you enjoy that. Check YouTube for a demonstration of how to make the pretzel shape. Twisted pretzels are not my favorite, so I haven’t perfected the technique yet.

Can pretzel dough be used as pizza dough?

Yes. This particular recipe can be used for pizza although I’m partial to my tried-and-true pizza dough recipe made with a bread machine.

What is special about pretzel dough?

Nothing really. It’s a basic bread dough. What makes pretzel dough unique is the baking soda and salt bath after the balls of dough are shaped.

Can I make the dough the day before?

Yes. When you pull it out of your bread machine after the DOUGH cycle is finished, put the dough into a large bowl or storage container, cover, and refrigerate. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and allow it to warm for about an hour. Portion the dough and follow the directions for shaping.

How long does pretzel dough need to rise?

Pretzel dough only needs one rise and that happens in the bread machine as part of the DOUGH cycle. They will need a relaxation period of about 15 minutes after you shape the dough into balls and before flattening them.

If you are having trouble shaping because the dough is too bouncy, cover the dough with a towel and walk away for a few minutes while the dough relaxes. (This is a general principle when handling dough for any yeast bread.)

How long do these pretzels stay fresh?

In general, homemade bread never lasts as long as commercially-made bread because no preservatives are added. Think of these pretzels the same way as donuts–best when hot out of the oven, good the same day they are baked, but the next day, they are better toasted.

If you are looking for a fun project to do with your kids or grandkids, try shaping this dough into traditional ballpark pretzels. I have not included tutorials about shaping ballpark pretzels because there are plenty on YouTube. Watching somebody do it is probably the easiest way to learn. They are too much trouble in my book, but I would do it with my grandkids.


If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula


Pretzel Roll Recipe Bread Machine

Make your own pretzel buns for a fun sandwich or eat them alone with a little mustard.
4 from 17 votes
Prep Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 55 mins
Course Bread
Servings 8 buns

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon water - (241 gr)
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar - 13 gr
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil - (12 g)
  • 1 tablespoon salt - table or sea salt (3 gr)
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour - (360 gr)
  • teaspoon instant yeast - (4 gr)

Water Bath

  • 2 quarts water
  • ¼ cup baking soda - (58 gr)
  • ½ tablespoon salt - (9 gr)
  • coarse salt for sprinkling on top

Instructions
 

DOUGH

  • Add 1 C + 1 T water (241 gr), 1 T packed brown sugar (13 g), 1 T vegetable oil (12 g), ½ t salt table or sea salt (3 gr), 3 C unbleached all-purpose flour (360 gr), 1¼ t instant yeast, (4 gr) to the bread machine pan in the order given. Select the DOUGH cycle, then press START.
  • Check the dough at least twice by lifting the lid to take a peek. Do this right after the machine starts to see if the paddles are correctly engaged and the dough is starting to form a ball.
    Recheck the consistency of the dough again 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle.
    If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time. The dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.
    Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. Find out more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.
  • When the dough cycle completes (bread dough will rise and double in size inside your machine during this cycle), remove the dough from your bread machine pan to a floured surface. (I like to use a silicone mat. Throw it in the dishwasher when you're finished with the floury mess.)

SHAPING THE DOUGH:

  • Preheat your conventional oven to 400˚F (200˚C).
  • Divide dough into 8 portions and make each portion into balls. (see video) Allow them to rest for 15 minutes while you prepare and heat the water bath.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a water bath in a large pot. Add ¼ C soda and 1 T salt to the water and bring to a boil.
  • Gently smash each ball into a flat bun-like shape. Drop each bun into your boiling water bath. Cook 30 seconds, then flip and cook another 30 seconds. They will be wrinkly as a raisin.
  • Remove each bun to a well-greased cookie sheet or a tray covered with a silicone mat. These buns are prone to major “stickage.”
  • Use a sharp serrated knife, a new single-edge razor blade, or a lame to slice an X into each bun about 1/2 inch deep. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
  • Bake 20-24 minutes or until the interior temperature reaches 195-200˚F (88-90˚C) on a quick-read thermometer.
  • Remove buns ASAP to a cooling rack. Eat immediately or allow the rolls to cool. Slice horizontally to make buns.
  • Best eaten the day you make them. (See post for details on making the day before.)

Video

Notes

Alternate Mixing Instructions:

Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand: 

  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using a dough hook, turn up the speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until the dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: You can substitute active dry yeast for instant or bread machine yeast. With the modern formulation of active dry yeast, there is no need to dissolve it first. Be aware that it may be a little slower acting than instant yeast, but it’ll get there.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Pretzel Roll Recipe Bread Machine
Serving Size
 
1 roll
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
197
Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
2
g
3
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Sodium
 
1623
mg
71
%
Carbohydrates
 
38
g
13
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keywords: bread machine recipes, pretzel buns, pretzels, sandwiches
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50 Comments

  1. Mmmmm, I have GOT to try this! I have been eating low carb but will make an exception for these.

  2. In step 8, do you bake them on a Silpat-lined tray? Thanks!

    1. Phyllis,
      Yes. Or a very well greased cookie sheet. I always use the Silpat myself.

  3. Do you think I could shape and use this for pretzels also? This would be a perfect recipe if so. Thank you. By the way the buns look fabulous!

    1. Hi Cindy,
      You bet! A little more trouble to shape them but also delicious.

  4. Hi Paula, thanks for another yummy recipe. I made your yogurt last night and it is getting so much easier. I can not bring myself to buy yogurt now. Thanks so much and I hope you have a great week. Try to stay cool.

  5. I made these this afternoon — delicious!

  6. What a lovely sandwich these pretzel buns make! I bet they are delicious just by themselves though too.

  7. These look fabulous! They are on the menu for tomorrow night only I’m going to make hot dog buns out of them. Can’t wait!

  8. Sharon Meyers says:

    Does your recipe for Bread Machine Pretzel Buns, not require sugar???

  9. Do you know if they freeze well?

    1. I have not tried freezing them. They go fast when I make them and my husband likes to eat them as a snack dipped in mustard so there’s no opportunity. 🙂

  10. Pretzel Bun – Breadmaker Recipe

  11. Love this recipe. Make it once a week it seems. Kids no longer like the pretzel rolls from the store. Only these. Thanks!!

  12. do yo think whole wheat four will work?

    1. Daria,
      I have not experimented with whole wheat in this recipe. However, I would recommend that you start by only substituting one cup of whole wheat for white and see what happens. Don’t expect your buns to be as light as they would be with the original recipe. Whole wheat requires some different handling and I recommend it only for the more advanced bread baker. I would also recommend you look for a recipe specifically designed for whole wheat flour. Good luck and thanks for asking.

  13. ann marie says:

    After you make these how should they be stored and how long will they stay fresh. Thank you.

  14. Working on these now. Hope they come out well. I only need 4 so gonna use the remainder of dough to make regular pretzels and see how that comes out.

  15. Rich Rice says:

    Hi Paula

    Trying this right now. I went to buy nonfat dry milk, and has a choice between instant and non-instant. I chose the instant.. Hope it was the right choice.. I haven’t used this ingredient before..

  16. Rich Rice says:

    Looks like it worked! Delicious! Thanks for posting!
    [IMG]http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y168/dabluzeguy/00000%20sale%20stuff/20140831_1418321.jpg[/IMG]

    1. Hi Rich,
      I can’t see the picture but I’m so glad you liked them.

  17. Rich Rice says:

    I baked them on a cookie sheet, covered with sprayed parchment. Didn’t stick at all.

  18. I made these last night to go with beer cheese soup, they were so good!. I think next time I’ll make 4 or 5 and use them as bread bowls. My kids enjoyed them so much that we didn’t have any leftover.

    1. I just wanted to add that I’ve been making these on my stoneware (which I use for most rolls), and have had no issue with them sticking if I spray them stoneware lightly with olive oil before baking. I’ve made these 5 or 6 times in the last couple of weeks and they’ve been a HUGE hit with everyone. I’ve been asked to bring yeast rolls for Thanksgiving, but I’ll be making a few batches of pretzel rolls as well this year 🙂

  19. Oddgothgirl says:

    Paula…omg thank you thank you thank you. These were awesome. I didn’t have any dry milk so I used 2 T of original coffee creamer instead and they turned out wonderfully. I sprayed the hades out of my cookie sheet with pam and I took them off immediately and they just came right off. They were perfect. My family loved them. I have been trying to wean them off of HFCS and now I have eliminated three more things out of my fams menu with this recipe. I am going to use this recipe for individual pretzel pizzas! omg so good.

    1. Love hearing the success stories. Thanks for writing.

  20. I just made those. I have to say they have no taste. Very plain. Nice and crispy but no flavour. Next time I have to add sugar and salt in the dough.

  21. I’ve made these and they are wonderful!

  22. Hello
    I am going to try this recipe tonight. About how big is the diameter after cooked? I want to use them for burger buns.
    Thanks!

  23. jacqueline dalton says:

    i have a 1.5 lb bread machine, could someone please tell me the amounts to make this recipe?? it sounds wonderful and I am so excited to try it. PLEASE Help

    1. Hi Jacqueline,
      Thanks for writing. You can use the amounts specified in your machine. No worries. These buns are delicious. Hope you like them.

  24. 3 stars
    We made these yesterday to have with burgers. I had to add some extra water. My shapes were awful but I can’t blame that on the recipe. They tasted very good but were a little tough. I wonder if it was the extra water that caused that.

  25. Jay Prill says:

    Ingredient list is confusing I added the baking soda to the dough. They tasted like soup.

    1. Pretzel soup, eh? I fixed the recipe to be clearer. Thanks for alerting me.

  26. I was hoping to my rolls more like logs. Suggestions on any changes I’d need to make to do this?

    1. Are you wanting crunchy crispy logs or soft pretzels?

      1. Soft pretzels to have with soup. I’m trying to emulate the pretzel bread they have at Hyde Park Grille for my husband’s birthday

        1. I’m not familiar with that restaurant. Sounds delicious. Did you try rolling the dough in a log shape? I have not experimented with that so I can’t give you advice from my own experience. Happy Birthday to your husband.

  27. Hello! I’ve not made this recipe but have made Pretzel Buns before using dough from my machine. One thing I’ve learned along the way is that baker’s lye used to be used in the old days in the water bath for a richer color and flavor. It’s no longer available but I’ve been told that you can approximate the effect by baking the baking soda to drive water out and thus concentrate it. Anyone heard of this? I’ll make a batch from the original recipe and one with the altered baking soda and report back.

    So glad to have this. The only store around here that carries pretzel buns calls them seasonal so they are only available June to September. Guess I should tell them how awesome they make breakfast egg “McMuffin” sandwiches any time of year! Thanks, Paula, for all you do in bringing us new challenges!

    1. Can’t wait to hear the results of your experiment.

    2. I DID try the baked lye and I think it made the buns a little darker but the work and time involved didn’t seem worth it. I now have heard that adding malt powder to the mix gives the buns a more authentic, perhaps robust flavor, like Oktoberfest!? I ordered the powder so will give it a try and report back.

      1. Hi Vivian,

        Please let me know what you think about the powder. I’ve considered ordering that myself.

      2. @Paula,

        I now have the diastatic malt powder but haven’t tried it with the bagel recipe. Before I do, I want to use it to make a malted loaf of bread. I buy one here that is called “Manchester Malted” and it is terrific. King Arthur has a recipe but it looks like I need black treacle as well. I wonder if dark molasses will work. Anyway, on with the baking!

        1. Sounds like you are on the right track about black treacle. I got the following from the Spruce: Black Treacle vs. Molasses
          Black treacle is often the British counterpart to North America’s molasses. The two are similar in color and viscosity and used in the same way. Black treacle is a blend of cane molasses and invert sugar syrup. Though it’s similar to pure molasses, black treacle is generally described as a slightly burnt, bitter version of molasses. Interestingly, many dictionary entries for black treacle simply list “molasses” as one of the entries.

  28. I have now made these four times in the last week. My family eats them as fast as I can make them!! We all love them. The first time I made them I did not have unsalted butter so I used to salted. I also used whole milk because I didn’t have any dry milk. They came out fantastic and I’ve made them that way since.
    I’m currently making them now and seriously considering hiding a few of them to enjoy later before my family eats them up!

    1. Hi Marla,
      This is great news. Sounds like you are now a superstar!! You made good substitutions. I can relate to the hiding idea. I have to do it with my husband occasionally. Thanks so much for writing.

  29. Mike McDonough says:

    As a full-time RVer, it is often difficult to find recipes that work well in these tiny little ovens. We have a bread machine and an oven that simply doesn’t have much room in it. This recipe was perfect! Thank you so very much!

    1. Hi Mike,

      Glad the pretzel recipe turned out for you. It has been a popular recipe this past year. Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

  30. 5 stars
    I made these and had them for lunch with cheese and ham on the weekend. My grandchildren especially loved. Fabulous. Thanks Paula.

    1. Hi Stephen,
      I’m thrilled to hear these were a hit with your grandchildren. A ham and cheese sandwich sounds yummy. Thanks for writing.