Kids Can Cook: Homemade Soft Pretzels

When I was a kid, my mom cooked with us all the time. She did daycare in our home and many of the now-grown kids have told me that my mom was the one who taught them how to crack an egg. Cooking was not something that only adults did – there was always something a small person could do to help!

One of my favorite recipes to make as a kid was soft pretzels. I loved turning the dough into shapes, letters, and words.

Here’s a super simple recipe to cook with your kids! Have kids help during each step. Even little kids can measure ingredients, stir, knead dough, shape the dough, “paint” with the egg, sprinkle salt – there are so many opportunities for fun in this recipe!

A Good Place to Start

This recipe calls for seven ingredients that you probably have in your pantry already! Flour, yeast, sugar, water, cheddar cheese, egg, salt – that’s it!

Ingredients homemade soft pretzels

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Then add the sugar and mix well.

mix yeast and water

Wait until foam forms, about 10 minutes. Have kids time how long it take for the foam to develop. Ask them what they see, smell, and hear. (If you want to take this to another level, here’s a great kid-friendly explanation of why yeast works and a fun experiment.)

foam forms in yeast

Meanwhile, mix cheese and flour in a medium mixing bowl. If you have a dairy allergy, you could easily omit the cheese. Kids love measuring flour! (Even a small kid like Jax “helps” mommy measure and pour flour. I put my hand over his and pretend he’s doing all the work.)

mix flour and cheese

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. An adult will probably want to mix the dough initially – it will be very dry and difficult to work with.

combine wet and dry ingredients

Knead the dough until it becomes smooth. This will take about 10  -15 minutes. If you have more that one kid, have them take turns kneading the dough. Practice counting while kneading. Ask them to think about what shapes they will make with the dough when it’s done. (The adult will probably have to finish kneading the dough once the kids are done – it takes a lot of arm power!)

Break off small pieces and roll into “snakes.” Smaller kids will need help with this.

roll dough into snakes

Bend into shapes and place on a greased cookie sheet.

form into shapes

Brush the shapes with a beaten egg and sprinkle with salt.

brush with beaten egg

homemade pretzels

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. We like honey mustard.

What’s your favorite recipe to make with your kids?

Kids Can Cook: Homemade Soft Pretzels

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy, great for kids
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  • 1 packet quick yeast
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 C warm water
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt


  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1 TBSP sugar and stir well. Wait until foam forms, about 10 minutes.
  • Mix 3 cups flour with cheddar cheese.
  • Stir in yeast mixture. Dough will be dry.
  • Knead dough until smooth, about 10 – 15 minutes. (Add up to 1 TBSP water if dough is too dry.)
  • Break off small pieces, roll into “snakes” and bend into shapes.
  • Place on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.