Tailgating: Homemade Soft Pretzels

Tailgating season is well under way … and I have a confession: I’ve never tailgated. I grew up racing in the pool and let me just say: people don’t tailgate swimming meets. I know what you’re thinking: what about college? I went to a small private university that had no football team. So, in my mind this is what tailgating looks and sounds like:

If your tailgating experience isn’t filled with straw hats and glee clubs (and if it is – where is my invitation?!), but rather with (and I’m totally guessing here) beer, chili, nachos and other standard grub found around the stadium, then I have the perfect recipe for you: homemade soft pretzels! These are the perfect with mustard, hot cheese or Nutella; not to mention almost everyone likes pretzels. And though I haven’t tried it with this recipe, I’m thinking you might be able to make pretzel buns with this recipe as well (uh, pretzel bun sliders anyone?).

What’s your favorite thing to nosh on before/during the game?

Pretzels 620 edited

Soft Pretzels
Originally from Cooking Light


1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (about 14 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
6 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornmeal
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 3 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).
  3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°.
  5. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion into an 18-inch-long rope with tapered ends. Cross one end of rope over the other to form a circle, leaving about 4 inches at end of each rope. Twist the rope at the base of the circle. Fold the ends over the circle and into a traditional pretzel shape, pinching gently to seal. Place pretzels on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 10 minutes (pretzels will rise only slightly).
  6. Combine 6 cups water and baking soda in a non-aluminum Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer. Gently lower 1 pretzel into simmering water mixture; cook 15 seconds. Turn pretzel with a slotted spatula; cook an additional 15 seconds. Transfer pretzel to a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining pretzels.
  7. Place pretzels on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Combine 1 teaspoon water and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until smooth. Brush a thin layer of egg mixture over pretzels; sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until pretzels are deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


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  • Reply November 8, 2013

    Oh wow! This recipe looks amazing. While I never tailgated, I did spend most Friday nights during my teen years watching my hometown hockey team play at the local rink. They had soft pretzels at the concession stand, so this recipe will definitely make me nostalgic!

  • Reply November 15, 2013

    Katrina Manning

    A soft pretzel, dipped in mustard, is so comforting.