These Gluten-Free Soft Pretzels have an amazing texture - very accurate to the full-gluten thing! - and taste like the real thing!
Originally posted Oct 4, 2021, updated April 20, 2022.
I’d been trying for so long to come up with gluten-free versions of traditional risen bread products for a while, and it was frustrating - I didn’t succeed with ANY to include in my first gluten-free cookbook, Beyond Flour.
I didn’t give up, though, and continued experimenting with different recipes, hoping to perfect a risen bread - bagels, pretzels, whatever - before releasing Beyond Flour 2.
When it finally happened - and I came up with a soft pretzel dough that WORKED - I basically lost my mind all over social media, including posting a barely-coherent video of me repeatedly squishing a piece to show how soft it was!
No, the homemade pretzel dough isn’t quite as easy to work with as regular dough - most gluten free doughs aren’t - but these definitely come close to replicating the real deal.
You can even do the recipe up as gluten free soft pretzel bites - more on that in a bit.
The only attribute these lack is that the texture of these homemade soft pretzels isn’t the best at room temperature - they really firm up.
These gluten free pretzels are at their best fresh out of the oven, but are also great reheated. You know, much like full-gluten soft pretzels. 🙂
Serve it up with my mustard-cheddar cheese dip - easy recipe below - as a special treat!
Gluten-Free Soft Pretzel Ingredients
Gluten Free Flour Blend
When it came to designing the gluten free flour blend to make these soft pretzels, the missing piece of the puzzle ended up being the protein.
High protein gluten-free flours weren’t giving me the flavour I wanted, while lower protein flours weren’t giving me the texture I wanted.
As I was mixing up a protein shake one morning, it hit me - protein powder might work.
A quick cruise on Amazon found me exactly what I wanted - unflavoured whey protein (Now Foods brand).
A few days later it was in my hands, and a few hours later... the aforementioned social media flip-out.
This “Eureka!” moment also helped with the development of my Gluten-Free Bagels!
Aside from the protein powder, these soft pretzels also use the following alternative flours:
... as well as Xanthan gum.
Aside from the flour blend, there are a few other ingredients you’ll need:
Light brown sugar
Active dry yeast
Vegetable oil or olive oil
Coarse sea salt
You can use corn starch for dusting your work surface, if you like. It’s a bit cheaper than potato starch!
How to Make Gluten-Free Soft Pretzels
Full recipe follows at the end of the post, but here’s a bit of a pictorial overview - to show what the dough stages look like - and some extra tips.
Make The Dough
1. Combine water (warm, not hot!) with brown sugar, stir until sugar is almost dissolved. Add yeast, stirring until incorporated.
Set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, protein powder, ¼ cup potato starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt.
Add oil and egg to the dry ingredients, stirring until well distributed. Pour in yeast mixture, stirring until well combined - it will be VERY wet.
Note: This is a very wet, loose dough. While I’ll usually make dough in the bowl of a stand mixer affixed with a dough hook attachment, it’s really not necessary for this recipe.
There’s not much flour to thicken it up in this first step, so the dough forms easily just stirring by hand
Proof the Dough
3. Generously spray a large, clean metal or glass bowl with nonstick spray.
Add dough to the bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap, set aside in a warm spot to rise for an hour or two, until doubled in size.
5. Using lightly greased hands, stir/knead until no longer *super* sticky - it'll be a little sticky. Use a little more potato starch if needed.
6. Return to bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
Assemble the Pretzels
7. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.
8. Lightly dust a clean surface with potato starch, roll out a dough portion into a longish "snake" on the prepared work surface.
9. Twist piece of dough into a pretzel shape, pinch cross points to secure.
Be gentle when working with the dough - the roll will break easier than full gluten dough does.
It doesn’t behave the same as regular dough - think gentle rolling/squeezing as you go.
Cook the Pretzels
11. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
12. Bring water to a gentle boil in a large pot. Add baking soda, stir water bath until combined.
Note: It’s important that the water is not at a rolling boil - think more along the lines of a good simmer, bordering on a boil. Vigorously boiling water can tear the dough apart before it cooks it!
14. Gently stir as they cook in the baking soda bath, to ensure that the entire surface of each is in contact with the water at some point.
15. Use a slotted spoon to transfer each pretzel to the prepared baking sheet.
16. Whisk together egg and water, use a pastry brush to brush this egg wash across the tops of the pretzels. Generously sprinkle the tops with coarse salt.
18. Allow to cool for a minute or two before eating, serve with Mustard-Cheddar Dip (recipe below), or a premade honey mustard dip.
Store any leftover pretzels in an airtight container for up to a few days, reheat before serving
This simple cheese dip is perfect for dipping your soft pretzels in!
1 cup Gluten-free beer, milk, or chicken stock
1-2 tablespoon Mustard of choice
12 oz Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoon Corn starch
Salt and pepper
Whisk beer and mustard together in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat.
In a separate bowl, toss cheese with corn starch.
Add about half of the cheese to the pot, stirring until melted in.
Add the rest, continue stirring until everything is melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Gluten Free Soft Pretzel Variations
There are two main ways that I vary how I make these pretzels:
Gluten Free Sweet Pretzels
After brushing the egg wash on, skip the salt.
Once the pretzels are baked, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.
Gluten Free Pretzel Bites
To make pretzel nuggets, roll the dough into snakes as directed. Rather than twisting into pretzel shapes, cut the ropes into bite sized portions.
Boil as directed. When baking, start checking for doneness at 20 minutes.
More Gluten-Free Bread Recipes!
Looking for more gluten-free bread products for the whole family? Here are some fantastic options!
Gluten-Free AIP / Paleo Flatbread
Gluten-Free Beaver Tail Recipe
Gluten-Free Hybrid Tortillas
Gluten-Free Paleo Cassava Flour Tortillas
Gluten-Free Paska [Easter Bread]
Gluten Free Pita Bread
Gluten-Free Sourdough Waffles
Gluten Free Flour Tortillas
Share the Love!
Also, be sure to subscribe to my free email newsletter, so you never miss out on any of my nonsense. Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
Finally, if you love this recipe, please consider leaving a star rating and a comment!
Gluten-Free Soft Pretzels
- 1 cup Warm water or Gluten-free beer
- 2 tablespoon Light brown sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoon Active dry yeast
- ¾ cup Light buckwheat flour
- ¾ cup White rice flour
- ½ cup Unflavoured whey protein powder
- ¼ cup Potato starch
- ¼ cup Sweet rice flour
- 1 teaspoon Xanthan gum
- ½ teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ cup Vegetable oil
- 1 Large egg
- Nonstick spray
- ⅓ cup Potato starch Have extra on hand
- 3 Quarts Water
- ¼ cup Baking soda
- 1 Large egg
- 1 tablespoon Cold water
- Coarse sea salt
- Combine warm water with brown sugar, stir until sugar is almost dissolved. Add yeast, stirring until incorporated.
- Set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
- In a large bowl, combine flours, protein powder, ¼ cup potato starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt.
- Add oil and egg, stirring until well distributed. Pour in yeast mixture, stirring until well combined - it will be VERY wet.
- Generously spray a large, clean metal or glass bowl with nonstick spray.
- Add dough to the bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap, set aside in a warm spot to rise for an hour or two, until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, stir remaining potato starch into the dough.
- Using lightly greased hands, stir/knead until no longer *super* sticky - it'll be a little sticky. Use a little more potato starch if needed.
- Return to bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Divide dough into 4 equal portions.
- Lightly dust a clean surface with potato starch, roll out dough ball into a longish "snake".
- Twist into a pretzel shape, pinch cross points to secure. Be gentle when working with the dough - the roll will break easier than full gluten dough does.
- Allow pretzels to rise for another 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- Bring water to a gentle boil in a large pot. Add baking soda, stir until combined.
- Gently transfer the pretzels - one or two at a time - to the pot of water; cook for about a minute on each side.
- Gently stir as they boil, to ensure that the entire surface of each is in contact with the water at some point.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer each pretzel to prepared baking sheet.
- Whisk together egg and water, brush this mixture across the tops of the pretzels.
- Generously sprinkle the tops with coarse sea salt.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
- Allow to cool for a minute or two before eating, serve with Mustard-Cheddar Dip
More Gluten-Free Snacks and Appetizer Recipes!
Looking for even more fantastic gluten-free munchies that *everyone* will love? Look no further!
Gluten-Free Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers
Gluten-Free Beaver Tail Recipe
Gluten-Free Chicken Pakora
Gluten-Free Chicken Satay
Gluten-Free Corn Dogs
Gluten-Free Doughnut Holes Recipe
Gluten-Free Fried Brie
Gluten-Free Mixed Vegetable Pakora
Gluten-Free Paneer Pakora
Gluten-Free Pizza Bites
Gluten-Free Samosa Recipe
Gluten-Free Sauerkraut Buns [Piroshki]
Gluten Free Tempura