Quick Bread Machine Pretzel Dough for Perfect Buns or Rolls

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Sneak Preview: Make this quick 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 incredible freshness!

pretzel buns shown as a sandwich on a plate.Pin

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Have you wanted 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.

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 sugar. I think it’s better and it’s dairy-free. I 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.

Happy Cooks Speak Up:

These rolls were so good! I followed the directions as instructed, except substituting whey from straining yogurt for the water. Fresh out the oven, it was delicious eating it plain with its crispy crust. They were also good after they’d cooled with some bread. I will definitely be making these again and trying some of your other bread recipes! —Allison

Ingredients and common substitutions:

Ingredients needed to make Bread Machine Pretzel DoughPin
  • 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 many bread machines feature is also unnecessary 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 the rolls before you bake them.
  • SUGAR: Brown sugar, granulated white sugar, or no sugar 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. With this recipe, bread flour would probably be my first choice if you want to make traditional ballpark pretzels.
  • 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.

How to make Bread Machine Pretzel Dough:

DOUGH ingredients inside bread pan that is sitting on a digital scalePin
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 scalePin
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, there may have been a mistake in measuring. Add more flour if it is too wet or more water if the mixture is too dry until the dough clumps.

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. Learn 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.Pin
The dough should be smooth, shiny, and elastic at the end of the kneading phase.
Dough at the end of the DOUGH cycle.Pin
Compare this picture to the previous one. Your dough should double in size during the first rise inside the DOUGH cycle.
Transferring dough from the pan to the floured surface for shapingPin
Remove the dough at the end of the DOUGH cycle onto a floured surface for shaping.
Dividing the dough into eight portions.Pin
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.Pin
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 waterPin
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.Pin
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.Pin

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.Pin
Excuse the blur. It’s hard to get clear pictures when peering through steam.

Drop the pretzel rolls into the simmering baking soda water with a slotted spoon. 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 topPin
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.Pin
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 mustardPin
Serve with melted butter or mustard (above) or slice horizontally to use as sandwich buns. (below)
Sausage and cheese sandwich made with pretzel buns.Pin
These pretzel rolls are shown as a sandwich bun with jalapeño sausage, barbecue sauce, and cheese.

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 plastic wrap over the dough ball 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. Use it for pizza if you like, 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 basic bread dough. What makes pretzel dough unique is the baking soda and salt bath after shaping the dough into balls.

Can I make the dough the day before?

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

How long do these pretzels stay fresh?

Homemade bread never lasts as long as commercially made bread because there are no preservatives. Think of these pretzels the same way as donuts—best when hot out of the oven and the day you bake them, but better toasted the next day.

How long does pretzel dough need to rise?

Pretzel dough only needs one (or two) rises 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.)

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Parting thoughts: If you want a fun project 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.

Recipe Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

pretzel buns shown as a sandwich on a plate.Pin

Quick Bread Machine Pretzel Dough for Perfect Buns or Rolls

Paula Rhodes
Make your own pretzel buns for a fun sandwich or eat them alone with a little mustard.

Tried this recipe? ⬇ Rate it here.

4.55 from 24 votes
Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 55 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 8 buns
Calories 197 kcal




  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (241 g) water
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salttable or sea salt
  • 3 cups (360 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon instant yeast

Water Bath

  • 2 quarts (1892 ml) water
  • ¼ cup (30 g) baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • coarse salt for sprinkling on top



  • Add 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (241 g) water, 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, ½ teaspoon salt, 3 cups (360 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, and 1¼ teaspoon instant yeast 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.)


  • 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.)


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.


Serving: 1roll | Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1623mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword bread machine pretzel dough, pretzel rolls, pretzel buns, yeast, bread maker recipe
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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi Paula, I am going to make these definitely. However, I wanted to watch your video. I clicked on “video” and it went down to it but there was nothing there. Is there a way I can watch this? It would be easier than printing off all of your steps. If not, I can print off all the pictures. Thanks for this great and simple recipe. I love pretzel rolls!!!! I always get them at the German bakery.

    1. Hi Lynda,
      Is there any chance you have an ad blocker on your computer? I have sent an inquiry to the company that stores my videos to see if they have any advice. Meanwhile, the video works fine on my computer. Have you tried to look at it on your phone? I’ll get back to you.

      Reporting back: Lynda, I was told there is probably an ad blocker causing the problem. You might try using a different browser that, hopefully, would not have an ad blocker installed. My tech people suggested another option–you could tell the ad blocker app to allow my website. I don’t know how to do that, but hopefully, you do.

  2. 5 stars
    Since having a school aged grandson living with us, lunches have been a problem – how to spice up a lowly sandwich? This recipe did it! We did ham and cheese and roasted red pepper and spinach. Now need at least two more fillings. But we got rave reviews – so thanks for the recipe. And very easy to make. Grandson is currently using this recipe to make pretzels too!

  3. 5 stars
    These rolls were so good! I followed the directions as instructed, except substituting whey from straining yogurt for the water. Fresh out the oven, it was delicious eating it plain with its crispy crust. They were also good after they’d cooled with some bread. I will definitely be making these again and trying some of your other bread recipes!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write, Allison. I’m so glad you enjoyed these rolls.

  4. Will try this because there simply is no better sandwich bread. Thanks.
    Love your website.

    1. Thanks Dagmar. Hope these turned out well for you.

  5. The information regarding the amount of salt is confusing.
    The Ingredients list has 1 T salt (3g), yet step 1 in the Dough instructions says 1/2 t (3g).
    Also, for the water bath, the ingredient list has 1/2 T (9g), yet step 3 in the Shaping the Dough instructions says 1T salt for the water bath.

    1. Hi Lawrence,

      My apologies for not catching this. I’m so grateful you took the time to write. I recently updated this post and somehow got these switched. They are corrected now.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  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. Rich Rice says:

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

  20. Rich Rice says:

    Looks like it worked! Delicious! Thanks for posting!

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

  21. 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..

  22. 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.

  23. ann marie says:

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

  24. 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.

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

  26. Pretzel Bun – Breadmaker Recipe

  27. 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. 🙂

  28. Sharon Meyers says:

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

  29. 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!

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

  31. I made these this afternoon — delicious!

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

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