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Healthy Auntie Anne’s Pretzels

These soft, sweet, and secretly healthy Auntie Anne’s pretzels are just as delicious as the ones you can get at the mall!

I still remember my first Auntie Anne’s pretzel.

It was in West Chester, Pennsylvania, when I was eight years old. The little shop smelled like cinnamon sugar as soon as you walked in, and a friendly lady in a striped apron smiled across the counter as she quickly and skillfully twisted long strips of dough into perfect pretzel shapes. For a while, I thought she was the actual Auntie Anne, and I dreamed about growing up and working in that shop, smelling cinnamon all day, as I learned to roll perfect pretzels.

Last weekend, Auntie Anne’s came to my own kitchen. This was my first time making soft pretzels, but I adapted a base recipe I already knew would yield a successful dough: my recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.

All in all, these homemade Auntie Anne’s pretzels were much easier to make than I’d anticipated.

Healthy Auntie Anne’s Pretzels

(Auntie Katie’s soft pretzels)

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 tsp agave or honey or sugar
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups ww or white flour, or a combination of the two
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter spread, such as Earth Balance OR firm coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • Extra flour as needed

In a measuring cup, heat the first two ingredients to around 110 degrees F. (Mine reached this point after 1 minute in the microwave.) Sprinkle the yeast on top, then let it sit 5 minutes. If your yeast is good, it will bubble up. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and the 2 tbsp sugar. (Do not use xylitol here.) Cut in the butter spread (or oil), using a fork or stand mixer. Combine with the yeast mixture, using your hands or stand mixer, until well-combined, then knead on a floured surface or in the bowl for 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed to keep it from being too sticky to knead. (I mixed the dough in the bowl and added a total of 6 extra tbsp flour by the end of the 5 minutes.)

Lightly grease the mixing bowl, then set the dough in the bowl, cover the bowl with a towel, and put in a warm place (such as an oven on “bread proof”) for 50-60 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a baking tray. In a long and shallow dish or container, dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water. Set aside. Now get out your risen dough: punch dough to deflate, then form evenly-sized pieces (6 for large pretzels, 12 for smaller ones). Roll each section as thinly as you possibly can (seriously, the thinner the better), then twist into a pretzel shape. Dip into the baking soda, shake to dry, then arrange pretzels on the baking tray. Baking time will vary, depending on whether you’re using whole-wheat flour or all-purpose, but homemade Auntie Anne’s pretzels are done when they have turned golden-brown and you can smell them (15-18 minutes). Scroll down for flavors.

View Nutrition Facts



Homemade Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzel Flavors:

  • Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels: melt some of your favorite butter-type spread or coconut oil in a shallow dish, then dip the hot pretzels into the spread. (For a fat-free version, you can spray them with oil spray instead. They just won’t be anywhere near as rich and buttery!) Immediately dip into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar (or xylitol).
  • Salted Soft Pretzels: sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt before baking
  • Coconut Pretzels: dip each pretzel in melted coconut butter. Sprinkle shredded coconut over top.
  • Homemade Soft Pretzel Dip Ideas: dip pretzels in ranch dressing, maple-mustard dressing (combine mustard with pure maple syrup), or even peanut sauce or a nutritional-yeast cheese sauce.


That’s not to say I have anything against the real Auntie Anne’s. Their soft pretzels are certainly not the worst snack you can get at a mall food court! And if you ask them to hold the butter, the following Auntie Anne’s pretzels are actually vegan: Original, Cinnamon Sugar, Almond, Garlic, Jalapeño, and Raisin. If you are a super-strict vegan, you’ll want to skip the pretzels due to the processed sugar. (It’s a personal choice; my goal with my veganism is to present the lifestyle as do-able, fun, and easy, not to show that I’m getting bogged down with tiny details like processed sugar. I feel that would just turn more people off to the lifestyle, which is opposite of my goal. So when I’m out with friends, I jump at the chance to eat “normal” food when we all stop at the mall food court.)


Link Of The Day:

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Published on April 15, 2013

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  1. Mandy says

    This is perfect! I’ve been craving Auntie Anne’s lately, but so far my willpower has won out. Good thing now! The yeast does make me a little nervous though. I’ve been less than successful in the past. Did you use Active Dry Yeast or Rapid-Rise Yeast?

    As to your question, for much of my childhood, I wanted to be a cow-milker. At the time, I didn’t know that they use machines to do most of that stuff. I think that the idea of a farm life just sounded appealing. Little House on the Prairie books may have played a role in that obsession.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Regular active dry yeast. The important thing is for it to bubble. If it bubbles, you should be fine. If it doesn’t bubble, don’t even bother proceeding with the rest of the recipe because it means your yeast has gone bad.

      • Eva says

        I live in Spain and the only yeast we can get is dry yeast (which comes in powdered form). According to the instructions, I just have to add it to the flour mixture and it doesn’t have to be mixed directly with hot milk.
        Do you think it would work as well? Should I just mix it with the dry ingredients? Or should I add it to the milk anyway?
        It will be my first experiment with yeast so I’m a bit worried!

        • Anonymous says

          I have used this kind of yest for making pizza(I usually used the fresh kind of yest), I did it like the instructions said and it worked well! I live in Spain to,Barcelona 😀

      • Suzanne says

        These look delicious! I used to love auntie annies when they had whole wheat – would order with no butter or salt and it was amazing …warm and soft!!! I have another recipe for vegan pumpkin pretzels too – very good with all whole wheat flour, applesauce etc – very subtle pumpkin taste so does not need to be Fall for these 😉
        As far as yeast – it can also not bubble if your water is not the right temp – needs to be lukewarm – not hot (can get it out of tap this way and avoid the microwave).
        Thanks for another great recipe Katie – tomorrow is my boys’ birthday and I am making your cookie ice cream cups with homemade ice cream – Yummmm!

  2. Kate F. says

    I want to be an author (but not necessarily when I grow up! I’m starting now, at the age of 13). I thought maybe a veterinarian would be a cool job to do, too. That was before our homeschool group took a behind-the-scenes field trip and watched a dog get neutered. My friend fainted that day!

  3. Kate F. says

    (Not sure if this comment got posted the first time).
    I want to be an author (but not necessarily when I grow up! I’m starting now, at the age of 13). I thought maybe a veterinarian would be a cool job to do, too. That was before our homeschool group took a behind-the-scenes field trip and watched a dog get neutered. My friend fainted that day!

  4. [email protected] OmNom Love says

    I always wanted to be an author when I was growing up. The funny thing is, my aspiration still hasn’t changed! But when I was really young, I wanted to be a dog trainer or veterinarian.
    The pretzels look amazing! I haven’t been to Auntie Anne’s in forever. My favorite pretzel was the cinnamon and sugar. 🙂

  5. Carolyn says

    These look delicious but I thought that yeast wasn’t vegan???
    I’m still in the process of growing up but I either want to be a writer or some sort of visual artist. Or a chef!

  6. Katelyn says

    These look so yummy! I love soft pretzels!
    But I was wondering, do you think it could be gluten-free? maybe with an all purpose gluten-free flour mix?
    just wondering!

    I wanted to be a singer!

  7. mrsluckypants says

    I am not vegan, but am dairy free and try to reduce our consumption of animal products. I am wondering if you could make a “pizza” version of this pretzel? I know that they make no meat pepperoni and nutritional yeast, although I’ve never tried it, is supposed to taste a bit like cheese. Do you think I could add cut up pepperoni, real or fake, and some nutritional yeast to the dough or do you think it would be best to stick the “pepperoni” to the top of the pretzel before you bake it? I know you mentioned a nutritional yeast cheese sauce to dip in. I was just trying to come up with an idea to make it less messy and all in one because I’d like to make these to send with my kids in their lunch. Just thought I’d throw the idea out there and get your opinion since you have more experience with this type of thing than I do. Thanks in advance for any help you can lend.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      I really can’t say if something will work if I haven’t tried. But I don’t see why that wouldn’t work… I’ve been wanting to try adding ingredients into the dough, so if I get to it before you do, I will let you know. And if you get to it first, let me know.

  8. Erin says

    I’m just curious, what does avoiding processed sugar have to do with being “super-strict vegan”? Being vegan doesn’t necessarily imply limiting sugar in any way. Is there some part of sugar-processing that harms animals?

  9. Lisa says

    I’m always so intimidated by yeast, and may be a little intimidated with mine ending up looking like an actual pretzel;)
    This looks really tasty though! I haven’t had a pretzel in probably 10 years.
    When I grew up I always wanted to be an orthodontist haha, most random thing for a 10 year old to want.

    • Stephanie says

      ..hehe I wanted to be an orthodontist for the longest time ever too!( if you don’t mind me asking.. what’s your occupation currently or do you mainly do things related to your blog?)…. now, I’m not too sure (graduating high school student)…

      -question: can I halve this recipe?

  10. Sarah the official CCK drooler says

    As I haven’t quite “grown up” yet, I keep switching between President and working as an anchor for Fox news! And that last one has NOTHING to do with getting to wear cute outfits and heels and makeup all day. Nothing. okay…maybe a little!
    I’d just love to work on Capitol Hill in some capacity, even as a staffer!

  11. Steph says

    I’m sure this is just me being my sleep-deprived self, but I didn’t quite understand what you mean by rolling the dough as thinly as possible. Wouldn’t that yield giant, skinny pretzels? Or do they really expand that much in the oven? Your pretzels look deliciously fat!

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Yes, they would be skinny. The ones from Annie’s are very skinny, and I actually wish I’d made mine even thinner than in the photos. But if you want fat pretzels then you are in luck! It’s much easier to not roll them super-skinny :).

  12. Katy @ Katy's Kitchen says

    LOVE this pretzel. It looks so soft and ready to be pulled apart. I wanted to be a fireman when I was little. Ironic, seeing as I am not a man!!

  13. Bianca says

    I can’t wait to try these! I always drool at my sisters cinnamon pretzel that she always gets when we go to the mall, so now I finally have a vegan recipe for one *does happy dance*!:)
    Wow, I didn’t know that the pretzels were vegan without butter! Everyday, it surprises me to learn that a crazy number of things are actually vegan 😀
    When i was little, i wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up….but then I realized a teeny weeny problem: I couldn’t tell my right from my leftXD

  14. Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen says

    These pretzels are so cute! I also wanted to work in the medical field at one point but the sciences drove me away. 🙂

  15. Rita Cruz says

    1/3 cup of baking soda? Is that alright? What brand do you use? I’m a little confused with this, in Portugal baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, if I used that much it wouldn’t taste of anything other than the baking soda…

  16. Alix says

    Could you please give more detail about the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in this recipe? It seems unusual- what is the purpose and how does it affect the flavour?

    • Court R. says

      The baking soda makes a crust on the pretzels. You mix it with water and dip them in it before you bake them.

  17. Evelyn says

    Made these today with a yummy sugar cinnamon spread to go on top. They were delicious and just what i needed to satisfy my pesky craving. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe

  18. [email protected] says

    I was the classic “want-to-be-like-mommy” kid. She was a teacher, so obviously that’s what I was going to be, too! Not that being a teacher wouldn’t be a rewarding career, but my plans have changed a bit since then 🙂

  19. Amanda says

    I want to try this recipe out, as pretzels are my favorite food, but my oven does not have a “bread-proof” alternative. Any suggestions?

  20. Sarah S. says

    Wow, these look so delicious!
    BTW I’m the same type of vegan 😀 It’s nice to know other non-militant vegans are out there!

  21. Mallory says

    I’ve often wondered if you took requests. Well, you don’t have to because you read my mind!! I was in the mall the other day and how I wanted one of those buttery pretzels!! I didn’t think about the possibility of asking them to hold the butter… I’m way less trusting of outside sources, I guess =) You are SO right about veganism being fun and not getting bogged down in the details… I needed that today!
    I went through phases- first lawyer, then veterinarian, then social worker… I changed my mind more times than I can count when I was in undergrad but now I’m in grad school studying to be a linguist and LOVING it =)

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