Gluten Free Soft Pretzel Balls

Soft Pretzels

So, here’s the deal. I miss soft pretzels. On some days I would do just about anything for some fresh Auntie Anne’s goodness. I’d say it borders on the realm of desperation.

Having said that, I set out to make my own, gluten free pretzel creations. For those of you new to the gluten free lifestyle, it can be difficult – for me impossible – to roll out dough that’s made with gluten free flour (think Stromboli’s, pretzels, etc). Because of this, I went with pretzel balls. To me shape wasn’t an issue. I wanted the smell and the taste. To cut down on unhealthy factors, i did not coat with melted butter and I did not add additional salt, but those are viable options if anyone is interested.

Here we go.


  •  2.5 cups warm water (aim for 105 degrees)
  • 4 TB light brown sugar
  • 1 pkg (2.25 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1 stick melted unsalted butter (or 1/2 a stick and 1/4 cup applesauce)
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 4.5 cups gluten free flour (I mix white rice flour with Pamela’s all purpose gluten free flour)
  • 2 TB honey
  • Greased bowl (use canola oil)
  • 12 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 TB milk


  • Combine water, brown sugar, yeast and butter. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Add the salt, flour and honey, knead with a mixer’s dough hook or your hands until it’s smooth. If consistency is an issue, add more water or flour.
  • Form a ball with the dough and place it in the greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to allow the dough to rise. It should double in size. Hint: heat the oven to 200 degrees. Turn it off and place the dish inside. Gluten free doughs take longer to rise, mine took about 2 hours.
  • Preheat your oven after the dough has risen: 425 degrees.
  • Pull pieces of the dough apart to form balls, and flatten them slightly with your hands.
  • Bring the water to a boil. Add the baking soda SLOWLY: it will fizz. I had a mess with round one.
  • Once the water is boiling, drop in your pretzel balls, allowing them to simmer for 30 seconds, pushing down to make sure they’re completely immersed, I did about 5 at a time.
  • Pull each pretzel out of the water with a flat spoon and drop onto a greased baking sheet. They can be close together since they will not rise after this point.
  • Combine your egg and milk to make an egg-wash and coat each pretzel.
  • Bake for 18 minutes.

A few notes: this was my first attempt. We had company and they were impressed, not knowing they were gluten free. Were they Auntie Anne’s quality? No. But, would I recommend them as an acceptable substitute? Yes!

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