recipe: softest cinnamon sugar pretzels

This recipe is one of my favorites: it’s my attempt to replicate the famous Auntie Anne’s softest cinnamon sugar pretzels. It’s a pretty simple recipe too — and hopefully will satisfy your cinnamon sugar pretzel needs.

After all, one of my most vivid childhood memories was walking through the mall, window shopping at overpriced stores and passing the food court over and over. It was the only exciting thing to do in my small hometown in the middle of nowhere Texas), but for seven-year-old me, the smell of Auntie Anne’s pretzels forever enamored me.

The highlight? Actually convincing my mom to buy me a pretzel. (But now there’s no need, because I make my own, and my mom loves them the most!).

Caveat: the kind I make incorporates the sugar into the mixture itself (which means a slightly longer proving time). I prefer this method, since the sugar doesn’t fall off (LOL, plus less butter for brushing on) and it’s more of a sweet bread/pretzel combo. Onto the recipe!

Ok, you caught me. This one has sugar dusted on. But only for the ‘gram.


☐ all purpose flour (2 and 3/4 cups)
☐ instant/active dry yeast (2 tsp)
☐ butter (1 tbs)
☐ warm milk (1 and 1/4 cup)
☐ brown sugar (2 tbs)
☐ granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
☐ salt (1 tsp)


  1. Microwave milk for about 10 seconds; you want lukewarm milk without killing the yeast in the heat.
  2. Pour milk into a medium bowl. Add yeast and sugar to the milk, and let sit for five minutes before stirring until all has dissolved.
  3. Melt butter. Add the flour, salt and melted butter into the yeast mixture, mixing together to form a dough.
  4. The dough will be really sticky, and you’ll get an arm workout in (my Fitbit registered a 15 minute workout…). Knead until smooth; it will still be moist, but able to be handled.
  5. Oil another bowl, and place the dough inside to prove. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place (i.e. the Texas outside) to prove, until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 425F.
  7. Take the dough, and divide into 8 pieces.
  8. For each piece, you want to roll it until about 20-inches long, and the thickness is about the thickness of your index finger. Make sure there aren’t any tears in the rope.
  9. Now the fun part: form a pretzel by taking the two ends, twisting together the ends (with about five inches left on each end), and then wrapping down. No, there isn’t a correct way to do it; you’ll mess up a couple times, and then you’ll figure out what works best for you. (See photos below for reference.)
  10. Once your eight pretzels are placed onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover and leave to prove for another 10 minutes.
  11. Then, bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden.
  12. Cool on rack, and enjoy! Now if you want, yes, you can still add that extra coating of cinnamon sugar (use melted butter to make it stick). But if you want to enjoy as is, these are my favorite childhood snacks, recreated in a fun (and slightly healthier) way.

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