These vegan pretzel buns are golden, chewy, and topped with coarse pretzel salt. They make any burger or sandwich taste better!
Pretzel buns are my absolute favorite type of bun. They’re soft but chewy, and have more flavor than a regular wheat bun. Unfortunately, the pretzel buns in restaurants (or even at the store) are usually not vegan. Most of the time they’ll have butter and/or eggs for that golden sheen. Fortunately, you can make them homemade, and it only requires one more step than your average bread or bun recipe.
This recipe is a modified version of my Soft Pretzel recipe. The ingredients and steps are the same with a different shape and baking time.
🍞 Making the dough
The dough will be like a typical white bread dough, soft and pillowy. It will only need to rise once for 50 minutes, and then you’ll be ready to make your buns.
Cut the dough into 8 even pieces and form them into circles.
Hot dog buns
If you’d rather make these pretzel buns for hot dogs or sausages, you can do so! Simply roll out each piece into a log. You’ll still get 8 buns if you’re making them for sausages, but if you’re making veggie dogs, you don’t need them to be huge and could get 9-10 buns out of the dough.
Baking soda bath
This is the step that will turn your buns from regular bread to pretzel. The baking soda bath coats the dough and the alkaline properties of the baking soda give it its signature flavor and a brown chewy crust. Sometimes pretzels will be boiled in a lye solution, but baking soda is a safer, less caustic method.
You’ll boil each side of the buns for 30 seconds, then let them dry off before baking. Don’t transfer the buns directly from the baking soda bath to the baking sheet. Excess baking soda will cause them to burn.
Aquafaba “egg” wash
Brushing the buns with aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) will give the buns extra sheen. The aquafaba works similar to egg whites when used as an “egg” wash on bread dough.
The buns will come out of the oven nice and golden. Make sure they don’t burn!
Here are some pretzel bun best practices.
Don’t transfer the buns from the baking soda bath directly to the baking sheet
Let your pretzel buns dry off on a cooling rack or different baking sheet so that they don’t saturate the parchment paper they’ll be baked on. This will cause the parchment to brown (like it does for your pretzel rolls) and burn.
Let the dough rise in a warm place
This is important for all yeast bread and pastry, but especially important for enriched doughs like pretzel dough. Enriched dough is any dough that includes ingredients like milk or butter (including vegan milks and butter) in addition to the basic flour, water, yeast, and salt. These doughs don’t rise as much as regular dough in most cases.
Create slits in the top of the bun
Scoring the top of each bun before baking with a serrated knife allows the bun to expand evenly in the oven. It can also be for aesthetic purposes if you slice it into an “X” or other design.
Check on your buns in the oven
The baking soda coating will make the buns brown very quickly, especially in the last few minutes of baking. Keep an eye on the buns so that they don’t burn.
🧊 Serving and storage
Toast your buns!
There’s nothing like a fresh pretzel bun straight outta the oven, but if you’re not serving them fresh, I’d recommend toasting them. Slice the buns and toast them in a regular ol’ toaster if they fit, or in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes. The outsides and sliced sides will be toasted and crispy, but the inside will be piping hot and soft when you bite into your burger.
What to use the pretzel buns for? Try my Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo or use your fave store bought veggie burger.
What to put on your pretzel buns
You can use any burger toppings you like, but these buns are especially good with German-inspired toppings like spicy mustard and sauerkraut.
Freezing the buns
If you somehow have buns left, you can absolutely freeze your leftover buns. To avoid freezer burn, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap, then place in a large freezer bag and freeze. If you slice them before freezing, you can toast them directly out of the freezer.
Vegan Pretzel Buns
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoons 1 packet active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup vegan margarine or coconut oil melted
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 3-4 tablespoons aquafaba liquid from a can of chickpeas
- Coarse sea salt or pretzel salt for topping
- Combine water, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl. Let sit until the yeast starts to bubble.
- Add half of the flour, and the melted margarine, and stir with the dough hook attachment or with a large spoon if mixing by hand.
- Gradually add the rest of the flour, mixing between each addition.
- Knead the dough with the dough hook for 4-5 minutes, or 8-9 minutes by hand, until the dough is smooth and easily forms into a ball.
- Oil your mixing bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 50 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Grease or line with parchment paper two baking sheets, then set aside.
- Combine the 10 cups of water and baking soda in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.
- On a floured surface, divide dough into 8-10 pieces, depending on what size buns you want.
- Shape each piece into a circle, then set on the prepared parchment.
- Place 1-2 buns at a time in the boiling water and let boil for 30 seconds on each side.
- Remove from pot and transfer to baking sheets or wire racks. Do not place them on the baking sheet you'll be using to bake them on (see note).
- Repeat until all buns are done.
- Transfer the buns to the greased or lined pans.
- Score the top of each bun with a serrated knife.
- Brush the top of each bun with aquafaba, then sprinkle coarse salt on top.
- Bake until golden brown, 13-15 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing.
- Don't transfer the pretzels from the water directly to the baking sheet. Excess liquid will burn your pretzels and the parchment paper.
- The buns will expand as they boil and bake.
- You can make them in hot dog/sausage shape too!