To the uninitiated, folding pretzels can look difficult. While it may seem like some complicated feat of origami mastery, shaping pretzels is actually quite easy (really).
Here, I’ll guide you through an easy, step-by-step process so that you can fold perfect pretzels every time. From there, you’ll get some great ideas for how to make creative folded pretzel variations!
How to fold pretzels
This is the shape that most people think of when they daydream about classic soft pretzels.
Using your hands, roll the dough into a long, slender and even (or as even as possible) log. About 14″ long is a good length to start with, though you can certainly use smaller or larger portions.
Align the dough into a U shape. It doesn’t matter which direction it’s going, but in this tutorial, I put it downward (as an upside down U).
Cross the two “tails” so that it looks like a ribbon symbol. Twist the tails over one another once or twice more if you want a little more twist in your pretzels.
Carefully gather the coiled ends, lift them up and fold them over the rounded portion.
Refine the shape. Right away, you’ll see where adjustments need to be made to form the pretzel shape; you may need to use your fingers to make larger openings in various portions, et cetera. Adjust as needed.
Easy pretzel twists
These pretzel twists are insanely easy, but come out decidedly pretty.
Roll out two short (about 7″) logs of dough. Place them side by side, and pinch together the ends on one side.
Gently twist the dough logs around each other a few times. Pinch the bottom, and gently press together to form a seal.
You’ll love these pretzels to infinity… and beyond!
Roll out the dough into a long log, again about 14″.
Form the log into a circular shape, and pinch together the ends.
Twist the dough in the center to form a figure-eight shape. Press the center seam to form a seal.
These mini-masterpieces have the flavor of a pretzel, but the shape of a fancy French pastry. Fusion food at its finest!
Roll out the dough into a log, about 14″ long.
Roll each end of the log inward, like a snail shape, and let both curlicues meet in the center. You’ve got a classic palmier shape with pretzel dough!
If folding a pretzel still seems too complicated, then really, there’s no need to stress yourself out. Simply form the dough into balls for pretzel rolls!
Divide the dough into roll-sized portions (about an ounce each) and roll into balls. Align the seam downward when you bake. For larger rolls, create a vent on top to allow moisture to escape (not as necessary for smaller rolls).
Filled pretzel balls
Consider these super-sized combos.
Start with a ball of dough, then flatten it gently in your hand. Place a filling (like a spoonful of peanut butter or a chunk of cheese) in the center.
Fold the dough around the filling, taking care to form a “seal” all around so that the filling doesn’t leak out when poached and then baked.
Looking for the perfect pretzel recipe?
Take your pick: you can use the dough from our pretzel roll recipe, our soft pretzel bites dough or use our pizza dough pretzels recipe! And for the absolute classic, check out Bake Your Own Bagels, Bialys & Pretzels — you can buy the class or watch for free with a Craftsy Unlimited trial.
What’s your favorite way to shape pretzels?