How to Freeze Soft Pretzels

Soft-Prezel-Week.jpg

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve developed a bit of a love for homemade soft pretzels.

Problem is, they’re best fresh out of the oven.

Which means we either need to eat four pretzels within hours of baking, or deal with the more-chewy-inside-and-less-crispy-outside-day-old pretzels. And while I’d gladly eat four pretzels in a matter of hours, my waistline isn’t going to thank me for that.

So I set out to find the best way to freeze them. Which naturally called for another experiment!

The Set-Up:

Frozen-Pretzel-1.jpg Frozen-Pretzel-2.jpg Frozen-Pretzel-3.jpg Frozen-Pretzel-4.jpg

I froze four (4) soft pretzels, all made from the same batch of dough and each in their own individual Ziploc bag. I used my homemade soft pretzel recipe.

Pretzel 1 was the raw, unboiled pretzel.

Pretzel 2 was baked for 5 minutes at 450F and completely cooled before freezing.

Pretzel 3 was baked for 10 minutes at 450F and completely cooled before freezing.

Pretzel 4 was baked completely (according to the recipe) and cooled before freezing.

I pulled them all out of the freezer today to bake.

Reheating:

To reheat the pretzels, I preheated our toaster oven to 450F. I know that in the future, when I want to bake up just one or two pretzels, I’m not going to want to heat up the whole oven…so toaster oven it is!

Each pretzel was baked on the cooking sheet that came with our toaster oven.

Pretzel 1 was baked at 450F for 15 minutes.

Pretzel 2 was baked for 10 minutes at 450F.

Pretzel 3 was baked for 5 minutes at 450F.

Pretzel 4 was baked for 5 minutes at 450F.

Results:

I originally planned to boil Pretzel 1 before I put it in the toaster oven. However, after seeing how smushed the pretzel was when I pulled it out of the freezer, I realized that freezing raw dough would not be the winning method, so I didn’t take the time to do the boiling.

Pretzel 1 was cooked all the way through and started to brown, but on the inside? It was more like a roll than a pretzel. Plus, the smashed shape just isn’t attractive, and there are spots on the surface where a crust didn’t form.

Baked-Pretzel-1.jpg

Pretzel 2 looked good when it came out of the toaster oven. Brown and crackled, just like it should be. But upon closer inspection, I realized that it was still very raw on the inside.

 

Baked-Pretzel-2.jpgRaw-Inside-2.jpg

Pretzel 3 also looked good after baking. Just as brown and crackled as Pretzel 2, and mostly cooked through. The problem? It was still completely frozen in the center at its thickest point.

 

Baked-Pretzel-3.jpgFrozen-Inside-3.jpg

Pretzel 4 not only looked good on the outside, but cooked all the way through. I also noticed that it seemed to hold the salt the best.

 

Baked-Pretzel-4.jpg

The Verdict:

The winner? Pretzel 4, hands down. This kind of surprises me, as I expected the pretzels to be a lot like bread which does best when cooked about 80% of the way before freezing. But I guess pretzels are different enough that this doesn’t apply here!

So the next time you want to freeze some of your pretzels for future enjoyment, try this:

Follow the recipe as it is written. Allow to cool completely, then move them to airtight containers in the freezer.

When you’re ready to enjoy yet another soft pretzel, bake them at 450F for 5 minutes. Voila!

Here are some more posts on soft pretzel food science + some of my favorite soft pretzel recipes:

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Comments

  1. says

    Hey Julie! Dave and I froze half of the dough when we made them. Unboiled and all.. just the dough. A week later, we pulled it out for the day, then rolled them into pretzels, boiled and baked them as your recipe instructs and they were perfect! Just as good as the fresh dough!! Delicious!!!!! definitely one of our favorite snacks!!

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      Good to know that works too! I did it this way mostly so I can have a pretzel within 10 minutes, including preheating. But your way definitely saves some time on baking day!

  2. Nancy says

    Hi Julie, just wanted to thank you for doing the work for this experiment, now I know what to do if any left LOL !!!

  3. Teresa says

    Hi,

    Thanks for the tips. I made pretzels for the first time yesterday in my brand new KitchenAid and they turned out great. I used Alton Brown’s recipe. As I live alone, now the question was what to do with all these pretzels? Thank you for answering that!
    I may have missed this in the article, but do they go straight from freezer to oven or do they need to defrost first? If so, how long beforehand do they usually take to defrost?
    Thank you again!

  4. Bronwyn says

    Love your scientific approach. Everytime I make soft pretzels, I have wanted to know the answer to the same question. Nothing like that fresh from the oven taste.
    Thanks so much for sharing your research! :-)

  5. Soo says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I really want to make pretzels for my husbands birthday party (beer party) but I really needed a make ahead method. This will be huge time saver! Thank you!!!

  6. Jodi says

    when I work at the concession stand at the hockey rink, we usually take the premade (food service bought) pretzels out of the freezer and keep them refrigerated, once thawed in the refrigerator we actually spritz them with water, dab the top in course salt, then microwave them for 45 seconds…. just a thought. We make them all individually when ordered…. We learned to never Pre-do any to put in the hanging warmer…. They get hard and dry when we do that. 😀

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