Healthy Mini Soft Pretzels
Yields: 18 mini soft pretzels
This recipe yields a much healthier version of my favorite baseball and shopping mall snacks… But they’re still just as delicious! Soft on the inside, that lovely brown crust on the outside, and a bright pop from the coarse sea salt. Truly irresistible! The pretzels are best if eaten the same day because the salt begins to dissolve once they’re stored. However, leftover pretzels will keep for at least three days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature, or at least one week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • for the dough
  • ¾ cup (180mL) warm water (100-110°F)
  • 4 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp olive oil or unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp salt (just regular table salt!)
  • 2 ¼ tsp (7g or one ¼-oz package) Red Star® Quick Rise Yeast
  • 2 – 2 ½ cups (240-300g) whole wheat flour
  • coarse sea salt
  • for the baking soda bath
  • 3 cups (720mL) water
  • 3 tbsp (42g) baking soda
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the water, maple syrup, olive oil or butter, and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top, and wait 10-15 minutes or until the mixture turns frothy. Mix in 1 ½ cups of flour. If the dough is still wet, continue stirring in flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead for 3-5 minutes or until the dough springs back most of the way when you gently press your index finger into it. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Cut 3 rectangles of foil about 4” to 5” wide, and generously rub with olive oil. Place the foil onto a large baking sheet.
  4. Cut the dough half with a sharp knife. Working with 1 half at a time, cut into 3 small pieces. Cut each small piece into 3 pieces again, for a total of 18 pieces. Cover the pieces with a clean dry towel.
  5. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll it into a skinny rope at least 12” long. Twist the rope into a pretzel shape. (See details on how in the blog post above!) Put it on the prepared foil, and continue with the remaining dough.
  6. Lay the clean dry towel over the top of the shaped pretzels, and place the baking sheet in a warm draft-free spot to rise for 20 minutes or until about double in size.
  7. To prepare the baking soda bath, add the water and baking soda to a small pot. Bring the water to a boil. Place a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  8. Working with one foil sheet at a time, carefully and very gently peel the risen pretzels off, and place them top-side down in the boiling water. Boil for 10-15 seconds. Carefully flip using a slotted spatula. Boil for 10-15 seconds on the second side. Carefully transfer to the wire rack using the slotted spatula. Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Repeat with the remaining foil sheets and risen pretzels.
  9. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Carefully transfer the boiled pretzels from the wire rack to the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 7-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a dry wire rack to cool completely.
Notes: To make it easier, measure the olive oil first, before measuring the maple syrup! If you use the same measuring spoon, the maple syrup will slide right out.

Honey or agave may be substituted for the pure maple syrup.

For the whole wheat flour, I highly recommend this kind. In my kitchen, is has performed the best out of any brand I’ve tried, and it ensures your mini pretzels fully double in size while rising in Step 6. (Other brands of whole wheat flour, as well as white whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour, haven’t risen nearly as high for me!) All-purpose flour may be substituted in place of the whole wheat flour.

For the yeast, both Red Star Yeast’s® Quick Rise Yeast and Active Dry Yeast will work. Use their store locator here to find their yeast near you!

Any oil may be substituted for the olive oil. However, if using coconut oil, your yeast will not turn frothy in Step 2.

The generous amount of oil on the foil sheets prevents the pretzels from sticking when it’s time for the next step! If you forgot to oil the foil, then you’d have to tug to get the pretzels off… And that tugging would cause them to deflate and turn out flat. Once the pretzels have been boiled, they won’t rise or change their shape at all… So be very careful and gentle when peeling them off of the foil and putting them into the water!

To get that classic deep brown pretzel crust, you briefly boil the pretzels in the baking soda bath before baking. If you skipped the boiling step, your pretzels would turn out more like regular bread rolls—just in a pretzel shape!

I haven’t had good luck substituting gluten-free flours in this recipe. The pretzels don’t rise or have the right soft and tender texture the way they do with wheat-based flour due to the lack of gluten.

{vegan, clean eating, low fat, lower sugar}
Recipe by Amy's Healthy Baking at