Copycat Auntie Anne's Pretzel Recipe

Walking through the mall on a Saturday afternoon, you're bound to be met with a variety of smells. Orange Julius is whirling up smoothies, and Cinnabon's sweet scent wafts through the air. And while those mall staples are certainly appealing, there's one mall favorite that is truly making your mouth water: Auntie Anne's pretzels.

Auntie Anne's has been slinging freshly baked soft pretzels since 1988, but they aren't your average soft pretzel. They're a bit sweeter than other doughy counterparts. They're chewy, buttery, and totally delicious. And now, you can replicate that same taste and texture by making this copycat Auntie Anne's pretzel recipe at home.

Soft pretzels baked from scratch come together in just a few steps, and with a handful of simple adjustments to a traditional soft pretzel recipe, you'll have delicious copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels in hand in no time. Just be sure not to forget your favorite dipping sauce to go along with it for the full Auntie Anne's experience.

Gather the ingredients for this copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels recipe

Auntie Anne's keeps the list of ingredients for their pretzels pretty close to their chest, but it's still possible to replicate these delicious pretzels. Knowing that Auntie Anne's soft pretzels are a hint sweeter than your average soft pretzel helps to direct this copycat recipe.

To get started on making your own copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels, be sure to gather all of your ingredients before you dive in on the process. For this recipe, you'll need a cup and a half of warm water, a package active dry yeast, a teaspoon and a half of salt, three tablespoons of brown sugar, two tablespoons powdered sugar, two tablespoons of vegetable oil, and five cups of flour.

You'll also need an additional three cups warm of water and three tablespoons of baking soda to bathe the dough in before baking. And, of course, if you want your pretzels topped with butter, you'll need two tablespoons of butter, melted, along with coarse salt or pretzel salt to finish them off.

Activate the yeast for this copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels recipe

To get the dough started for these copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels, you'll first need to activate the yeast for this recipe. The yeast is what makes that beautifully fluffy texture in bread recipes like soft pretzels, buns, or a loaf of bread.

Begin by adding the cup and a half of warm water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. You'll want the water to be warm, but be sure it's not boiling hot to the touch, or it will kill the yeast. Add in the brown sugar, powdered sugar, and salt, and give the mixture a stir. Then, sprinkle the entire package of yeast on top of the water.

As the yeast begins to activate, it will start to develop a light foam on top of the mixture. That's how you know it's alive and well. If your yeast doesn't activate after introducing it to the warm water mixture, you may want to scrap the batch and start over. If you don't have activated yeast, your dough will never proof correctly, and you'll end up with flat, hard pretzels.

Make the dough for this copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels recipe

Once your yeast is fully activated, after allowing the warm water mixture to sit for about five minutes, it's time to continue making the dough for this copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels recipe.

Turn the mixer on to medium-low speed. With the mixer running, add in two cups of flour. Continue mixing, and then add in the two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Continue mixing the flour and water mixture, gradually adding more flour throughout the process. As you add additional flour to the mixing bowl, it will start to come together to form the dough. Be sure the dough isn't too sticky and that it completely pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Once all of the flour has been added and the dough has formed, turn the mixer up to medium speed. Knead the dough with the dough hook for about three minutes before moving onto the next step.

Proof the dough for this copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels recipe

As with any bread recipe, it's important to allow time for the dough for these copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels to rise. This allows time for the yeast in the dough to eat the sugars, releasing carbon dioxide throughout the process. However, pretzel dough doesn't require quite as much time.

Once the dough is kneaded and ready, remove it from the mixing bowl and spray the bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough back into the bowl. The spray will prevent any possibility of the dough sticking to the bowl while rising. If you prefer, you can also transfer the dough into a new, clean bowl for this step.

Cover the dough with a towel and set the bowl aside. A warm spot in the kitchen is best, but it will otherwise rise just fine on the counter. Allow to dough to rise for 30 minutes until it has just about doubled in size.

Roll the dough and form the pretzels for this copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels recipe

Once the pretzel dough has fully risen, it's time to form your copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels. Start by prepping a well-floured surface for the dough to prevent the dough from sticking. A kitchen countertop works great for this step.

Place the dough on the countertop, and then cut it in half. Divide each half into four sections. This will allow you to get eight pretzels out of the dough.

Using your hands, roll each section of dough into a long, thin rope. You'll want the dough less than half an inch thick, especially since it still has another rise to go. After a water bath, another rise, and after baking, the dough will certainly grow, so forming the pretzels on the thinner, smaller side is your best bet. Once each thin, long rope is rolled out, twist the rope to form your pretzels.

Bathe and then bake these copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels

The next step for these copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels before baking is to give them a nice water bath. But this isn't a plain water bath, and it certainly serves a purpose. Baking soda is what gives a soft pretzel its chewy, soft outer texture, and this is a simple way to introducing baking soda to the exterior of the dough.

Prep the bath by adding three cups of very warm water to a large pot or bowl. Stir in three tablespoons of baking soda. Dunk each formed pretzel into the water bath, just long enough to submerge it. You don't want the pretzels to sit in the water too long. After submerging, pull the pretzel out of the water, and allow the excess water to drip off into the pot. Once the pretzel has been bathed, place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or greased with cooking spray.

Allow the pretzels to rise for another ten minutes on the baking sheet before putting them in the oven. Bake the pretzels at 425 degrees for seven to nine minutes until the tops are golden brown. Once baked, pull the pretzels out of the oven, brush them with melted butter, and then sprinkle the pretzels with salt to finish them off.

These pretzels can be vegan just like Auntie Anne's pretzels

For those who opt for a vegan lifestyle, finding items to eat at chain restaurants can be tough. But Auntie Anne's prides itself on offering a vegan option. According to the allergen information on the Auntie Anne's website, the original pretzel doesn't contain milk, egg, or butter. Butter only comes into the picture when the pretzel is baked and then brushed with butter. You can order a vegan pretzel at Auntie Anne's by simply asking for an original without the butter topping.

Knowing that information made an important distinction for this copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels recipe. Making a traditional soft pretzel dough typically calls for milk when activating the yeast. Then, melted butter is typically mixed into the dough rather than oil. But that's certainly not the case for Auntie Anne's pretzel dough, and it's not the case for this copycat recipe.

If you choose to enjoy these pretzels straight out of the oven, without adding the melted butter, they will be a great vegan option as well, just like Auntie Anne's.

Copycat Auntie Anne's Pretzel Recipe
4.8 from 17 ratings
With a handful of simple adjustments to a traditional soft pretzel recipe, you'll have delicious copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels in hand in no time.
Prep Time
40
minutes
Cook Time
9
minutes
Servings
8
pretzels
Copycat Auntie Anne's pretzels recipe on display
Total time: 49 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1-½ cups warm water (plus 3 more cups for water bath)
  • 1 (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1-½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda (for water bath)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (for topping)
  • Coarse salt or pretzel salt (for topping)
Directions
  1. Pour 1-½ cups warm water into the bowl of stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Add in brown sugar, powdered sugar, and salt. Stir well.
  2. Sprinkle the package of yeast on top of the water mixture. Allow the yeast to activate for about 5 minutes until foaming.
  3. Turn the mixer on medium-low speed, and gradually begin adding in the flour. Add in two cups of flour, and then add in the vegetable oil with the mixer running.
  4. Continue adding the remaining three cups of flour and mix until a dough forms. Be sure the dough isn't too sticky and that it completely pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  5. Once the dough has formed, turn the mixer up to medium speed and knead the dough for three minutes.
  6. Remove the finished dough from the mixing bowl, spray the bowl with cooking spray, and then place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with a towel and set aside to proof for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Prepare a well-floured surface. Cut the dough in half, and then divide each half into four sections. Roll each section of dough into a long, thin rope less than half an inch thick. Twist and form the pretzels.
  9. Combine 3 cups warm water and 3 tablespoons baking soda in a large pot or bowl. Dunk each formed pretzel into the water bath, allow excess water to drip off, and then place the pretzel on a baking sheet lined with parchment or greased with cooking spray.
  10. Allow pretzels to rise for another 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
  11. Bake pretzels for 7 to 9 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
  12. Once baked, remove the pretzels from the oven. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with salt.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 364
Total Fat 7.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 7.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 65.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Total Sugars 5.5 g
Sodium 1,421.1 mg
Protein 8.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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