When I say I love homemade pretzels, I LOVEEE homemade pretzels and these Pumpkin Sage Soft Pretzels are no different. Arguably, there are a few friends who if asked what food they think of when they think of me, it would be soft pretzels. And I'm not mad about it!
As we welcome the first few weeks of fall, I combined the quintessential fall flavors of pumpkin, sage, and browned butter to create Pumpkin Sage Soft Pretzels. They're a delicious snack or side for any fall gathering!
As always, I do include a few affiliate links in this post for products I truly use and love. This just means that if you make a purchase after clicking one of those links, I'll earn a little money (at no cost to you) to keep the kitchen up and running, which I promise to use to create more fun content like this! One of those affiliates is with Amazon, which requires a very clear disclosure: as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you have any questions about affiliates, please reach out!
What you need to make Pumpkin Sage Soft Pretzels
One of the best things about soft pretzels is you can make them with very normal pantry ingredients, and no special equipment. To get started, you will need the following ingredients:
- Active dry yeast: active dry yeast is not the same as instant yeast, so make sure you're working with the right ingredients! If you need a quick rundown on the difference between the two types of yeast, check out this post from The Kitchn
- Pumpkin purée: you can use a grocery store staple brand (like Libby's), or you can make your own pumpkin purée for an extra flavor punch!
- Fresh sage: you are going to add the fresh sage to the browned butter to let it get a bit crispy, and to add more flavor to the butter, so it's important you're using the fresh herb rather than dried sage.
- Flaky sea salt: I love to sprinkle flaky sea salt (like Maldon sea salt or Jacobsen sea salt) on top of the pretzels, but you could also use a coarse pretzel salt
- Baking soda: you will boil the pretzels in water with baking soda to start the cooking process and create the crisp outer shell that we all know and love!
- And you'lll need a few kitcen staples: butter, flour, warm water, sugar, kosher salt
How to make browned butter
Browning butter goes quickly, so don't walk away!
Add your butter to a small saucepan at medium heat. As the butter melts, continually stir or swirl the pan to make sure everything is cooking evenly and doesn't burn. After the butter is consistently bubbling, small brown flecks will begin to appear -- this is the butter beginning to brown. Once this starts, add the minced sage and continue stirring or swirling the pan. This allows the sage to crisp while releasing flavor into the butter as it continues browning.
Once the butter has browned (there are brown flecks consistently throughout the bottom of the saucepan), remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. If you leave the butter in the hot pan, it will continue cooking and may burn.
Set aside to let cool before you add to the dough mixture.
Pumpkin Sage Soft Pretzels FAQ
Can you make your pretzels in different shapes?
Yes, definitely! For this recipe, I made them in a traditional pretzel shape, but you could also cut these into pretzel bites, or leave the middle of your pretzel rope thicker than the ends, to make more of a "full belly" type of pretzel. You could also make them tighter (with less open space), to be more of a bun!
How should you store soft pretzels?
Like most things, they are best fresh. If you're going to eat them right away -- within 24 hours -- you can keep them at room temperature. You can add them to the microwave for ~20 seconds to make them soft and warm again.
If you want to keep them for longer, you can put them in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Before eating, let them thaw for a few minutes at room temperature, or you can add them to the microwave for a quick heat and thaw.
What is the purpose of boiling the pretzels with baking soda?
This step is what starts the cooking process, allowing the dough to puff, while also giving the pretzels that traditional hard exterior. If you boil them longer, the crust will be crispier.
Below is my recipe for Pumpkin Sage Soft Pretzels -- I hope you love them! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
Pumpkin Sage Soft Pretzels
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons fresh sage minced
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour approx. 4 cups
- ½ cup pumpkin purée
- 1 egg yolk
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- flaky sea salt for topping
- To make the browned butter, add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir or swirl constantly until it begins to brown. Add the minced sage and continue to stir until butter is fully browned. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Set aside to cool.
- Combine warm water, sugar and salt in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Stir until dissolved. Sprinkle with yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
- Add flour, pumpkin purée and browned butter mixture to the bowl and stir until combined and a smooth dough forms, approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean and grease the bowl, and replace the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 50-60 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Bring 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil.
- As the water heats, transfer your dough to a clean surface. No need to flour or grease the surface -- you will need a bit of traction to form the dough. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces; roll each piece out to a 12-inch rope. Form a U-shape with the rope, cross the ends over each other and push into the base of the U to create your pretzel shape. Place on the prepared pan.
- Add each pretzel to the boiling water, makgin sure to dunk it under the surface, for 30 seconds each. Remove from the water with a large, slotted spatula and return to the prepared pan. Brush each boiled pretzel with egg wash - 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 Tbsp. water - and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
- Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.