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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.)


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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. Olivia@ 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. Brittany@twosaucysisters 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 =)

  22. CJ says

    I have to ask since Auntie Anne’s was always my absolute favorite pretzel prior to going vegan (although the original w/ salt–not cinnamon and sugar). I’ve read in lots of places now that Auntie Anne’s is vegan if you ask them to hold the butter. However, anytime I’ve gone near an Auntie Anne’s in a mall (usually to get my boys one since they’re vegetarian and not vegan), there’s a sign posted that says that butter will be used in all (can’t remember exact wording); I was a little shocked when I saw that.

    When you get an Auntie Anne’s pretzel have you ever seen a sign like that? Do you just ignore it and ask them to hold the butter anyway? I guess I’m a very timid vegan; I tend to just do without rather than “impose” on any food workers. I would love to have real Auntie Anne’s again, though, rather than relying on homemade (which I’ve been doing for years, anyway).

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      I haven’t seen that sign… or maybe I haven’t noticed. Very odd, especially since their own website has a section written in specifically for vegans (which I thought was pretty cool). They’re constantly making fresh pretzels, so they never have had a problem taking one straight from the oven for me. The worst that’s ever happened is that sometimes you have to wait ten minutes for the new batch to come out of the oven.

  23. Jay says

    Can I make this gluten free? Ie. just use the same amount of gluten free flour or would it be too sticky to roll?

  24. Debbie says

    These look so yummy! Could these be made with GF flour? Also, how do you stay so thin? What’s your secret?:)

  25. Susan Stone says

    These pretzels sound wonderful.

    As to what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to be the concert mistress of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Strange that I quit the violin at age 17, but both my sisters became professional musicians, & music has remained just a hobby for me.

  26. Jennifer says

    I am most curious as to the reason for the baking soda water and how that could have an impact. Care to share? Also, have you tried it with spelt flour? or other GF flour combos?

  27. Moni Meals & Fitness says

    You are so smart to come up with this recipe Katie. I never would of thought this could be so easy. I have not had a pretzel in years and now look forward to giving this recipe a try.

    You are the best!

  28. Rhonda-T says

    Your recipes are always wonderful and I have tried nearly all of them, however as a vegan (and I know we are all different), I was shocked by your comment about processed sugar. Isn’t eating a small bit of an animal, eating an animal just the same? I understand it is not you prerogative to educate those about veganism by disclosing how our foods are processed, but by providing fabulous non threatening recipes. Nevertheless, foods containing animal products are not vegan, and should not be presented as such! As a vegan, (or vegetarian) how could you be “bogged down” by choosing not to eat animal bones?


    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Hi Rhonda,
      You are actually not eating any of an animal, as the bone char is not included in the sugar (only the processing step). Some vegans choose not to worry about sugar. My goal as a vegan is to keep the bigger picture in mind of trying to open more people to the lifestyle. If non-vegans see their vegan friends getting bogged down in minutiae, they are less likely to be open-minded to trying the lifestyle for themselves. So in the long run, more animals suffer as a result.

  29. Jennifer JCD says

    These look incredible, Katie! We will be making these tonight, guaranteed. I always wanted to be a teacher or an astronaut. Nurse and ballerina made the list in the very early years. Now, I work in the education department and make visits to US Space Camp now and again to get my space fix.

  30. Sharon says

    Katie I made the pretzel dough in my bread machine following the ingredient order for my machine. I let it rise in the bowl and then rolled and baked them according to your instructions. They turned out well.

  31. Lynn Yoder says

    Anyone see any reason you couldn’t use Almond Milk? Am diabetic, so will be using NewSweet instead of the sugars, but didn’t know about the milk issue.

  32. Claire @ green 'n' golden says

    WAIT AUNTIE ANNE’S ARE VEGAN?!?!? Chocolate Covered Katie, you just blew my mind and rocked my world. Get me to the nearest mall right this second. And while I wanted be a paleontologist when I grew up, my brother legitimately wanted to own a pretzel store back when he was about 8.

  33. Nicole D says

    YUM! I made this today and am so thrilled with the tasty result! And surprisingly easy… at first reading the instructions felt daunting, but it was a quickie.

    Earth balance melted and spread on the pretzel with cinnamon and brown sugar was AMAZING. Can’t wait to try a different variation tomorrow 🙂

  34. Bek @ Crave says

    I loved your approach to Veganism! So realistic and flexible, yet still adhering to your beliefs. Maybe you could go into this more in a future post? Would be interesting to read 🙂

  35. AnotherKatie says

    This recipe looks so good! I’m going to make them later today 🙂

    Wanted to ask, simply out of curiosity, why is it that you have to dip the dough in baking soda water? Does it help them rise? or give them a particular flavor?

    Thanks for the post! Love your website too, follow it weekly! 🙂

  36. ruby costa says

    this is kind of crazy because i literally just bought the auntie anne’s at home pretzel baking kit last weekend. it was pretty good, but i’m so excited to try this out!

  37. T.N. says

    I always wanted to be an artist when I was little. A little broad, but I was happiest drawing, painting, and playing with play-doh. I realized some of the difficulties associated with it later, but I’m working my way back to it. Everything on your site looks so delicious!

  38. Emely says

    I just made these. They were perfect and delicious! Best part was that I already had all of the ingredients, so I didn’t need to leave home! Only problem is… I am afraid I will eat them all… in one sitting… :-/

  39. Tiffany says

    I’m excited to try these! However I don’t have much experience with yeast or letting things rise. What is a “bread proof” setting for the oven? My version will be gluten, dairy, and corn free. I’ll let you know how it comes out thanks!

  40. Anna @ Your Healthy Place says

    Can you believe I’ve never had a pretzel? Obviously the small crunchy ones in packets but never a big soft one like you get from Auntie Annie’s. I think it’s because in a mall I will always go for something like a Mrs Fields cookie before I’ll go for a pretzel lol. But I’ve always been curious about how they taste!

  41. Tiffany @circusofhumaniT says

    Yummy looking pretzels! Not sure I trust myself with dough making or yeast.
    But, the calorie count of yours is about 1/3 of the original recipe taken from the Auntie Anne’s website: 340 cal vs your 130 cal! Good work.

    I wanted to be a clown when I grew up. That was my first aspiration.

  42. Deb says

    Thank you! I just made these with my children & they came out great!!
    At my daughter’s Pre-K graduation, the teachers went child by child asking what they were going to be when they grew up. My daughter said “An Olive Garden worker”. I wanted to crawl under the chair!! :o) The other parents still remind me of that 5 years later!!

  43. Emi says

    I made them with a cup of whole wheat flour and the rest with bleached flour. Half of them were cinnamon sugar and the other were salt.
    Me and my sister decided the salt ones were boring so we ended up dipping them in melted butter and salt…. yup lol

  44. Melody says

    Can you please make a single serving cinnamon roll?!?! I haven’t had one in 7 years cause I can’t find a healthy recipe!! HELP!

  45. Abby says

    I just made these and they are absolutely incredible! I used whole wheat flour and coconut oil and they came out perfect! My favorite is just plain with a little sea salt :). Thanks so much for all your great recipes Katie! They have helped me so much through my transition to a vegan diet.

  46. Lizzie says

    Hi Katie! I just wanted to say, I really admire you for not getting ‘bogged down’ with particulars…it does turn people off, and I sense a change in you in this area. I really respect you for that=-D And I am about to go make some yummy pretzels! thanks to you!

  47. Michelle says

    I just made these with whole wheat flour & coconut oil, and they are delicious! I did not roll them very thin (and they are twisty, but not really well shaped as pretzels.)

    For those of you without a bread proof setting, you can also pre-heat your oven to about 100 or 150, then turn off the oven. Put your (oven-safe) bowl, topped with a clean tea towel, into the oven and let it rise. With the door closed to the oven there won’t be drafts, and it doesn’t take long to heat the oven to about 100.

  48. Vienna says

    Just so ya know, these make great pretzel rolls! How do I know? I was just too lazy to roll them really thin, lol. But that didn’t stop me from dipping them into sweet mustard, per Katie’s suggestion. So cool to have a dipping sauce not laden with chemicals. And tastier too. This recipe is good. I just found that the amount of baking soda water was excessive.

  49. Lena says

    I made this using a bread machine on the dough setting (I only mixed the dry ingredients with the butter, and then poured that and the yeast mixture into the machine and started it) and I was kind of worried, because there was a lot of kneading and then a break and then kneading again, but it turned out great! Although I’d say it’s important to add enough toppings (I put salt and sesame seeds) because it makes a huge difference in the taste. Thank you for a great recipe Katie!

  50. Holly says

    I actually just started working at Auntie Anne’s about a month ago! It’s at a mall, so it’s usually way too busy for me to have time to eat any pretzels, so I look forward to trying this recipe :). Maybe I can finally practice my pretzel twisting at home when I have a little more breathing room, haha.

    And….I always wanted to be an actress/singer/dancer as a lot of young girls do, but I’m actually about to start college at a dance conservatory, and I’m currently rehearsing for my state’s premier of “In the Heights” off Broadway….so I feel really blessed to actually be living the dream!

  51. hannah says

    The were delicious! I made them with white whole wheat flour and they were great and fluffy! I used sky milk and actually added a bit more milk as opposed to flour after kneading the dough.
    Chocolate covered Katie strikes again!

  52. Chenoa says

    Just an FYI.. Aunti Anne’s pretzels are not vegan simply because the sugar used in the pretzel mix is bleached using animal bone fragments. Sorry!

  53. Barbara Gabbe-Harris says

    well…I spent a good part of the day baking these pretzels ..first batch was not done right – I rolled them out with a rolling pin and then after looking at the photo realized that was wrong ..I rolled the next batch out with my hands into rolls like the picture and that worked out better. Also I mixed Truvia baking blend with cinnamon and rolled the hot pretzels first in coconut oil, melted and then in the sugar cinnamon mixture – not sure I liked the Truvia blend – very sweet …think I’ll try xylitol next time. … I used whole wheat flour and the texture of the pretzel is very good. the true test will be if my husband likes them …. I’ll probably have one for breakfast tomorrow morning. barbara

  54. Megan Small says

    WOW!!! So delicious! Put chopped garlic on a few, and they were perfect! Will definitely make again xoxoxxxx

  55. gabby says

    Due to all of the cross-contamination at Auntie Anne’s (EVERYTHING is cooked together/on the same baking sheets) so none of it is vegan, sadly.

  56. emaliah82 says

    OMG! Made this recipe for this first time today and talk about Yummylicous!!! I simply adore Aunt Annie’s pretzels but haven’t had one in years. I am in my happy place!!! Side note: I used whole wheat PASTRY flour as I didn’t have anything else on hand and it worked out GREAT!!! THANKS KATIE for making my day!!! 🙂 Now I can’t wait for my 2 year old to wake up from her nap so she can try them. 🙂

  57. Lot says

    In Holland well known as Zeeuwse Bolus. Zeeland a department of the country, bolus refers tot the form of it, – pile of poo -, I am Dutch, and live in that region.

  58. Bob says

    I found your site via Pinterest looking for Soft Pretzels, and I am glad I stopped by. I have your rss feed in outlook. Thanks again…

  59. denise brewer says

    I just made these today and my son, who is an AVID Auntie Ann fan since toddlerhood told me they were THE BEST pretzels EVER . I made cinnamon sugar and some with just salt. He told me the salted ones tasted just like Auntie Anne’s ! Thank you so much, Katie! I have made TONS of your recipes. This blog is the Bible for my sweet tooth! You are the best!

  60. Cecilia says

    I made this recipe and my dough did not rise at all while proofing. I’m not sure what I did wrong because I followed the entire recipe correctly with the right measurement of ingredients. I was really excited for this recipe because I love Auntie Anne’s and Katie’s recipes. I want to try this again, but I’m not sure what to do differently. If anyone could help that would be great. Thank you!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Hmm sounds like maybe bad yeast? Or the yeast was killed lol. Did the yeast bubble up in the beginning? Also what flour and sugar did you use?

  61. Dominique says

    Hi Katie!.

    These pretzels look delicious. Would it be possible to substitute canola oil or applesauce for the firm coconut oil? Thank you for you valuable time and for all your fabulous recipes!

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