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Recipe: Pretzels Gluten-Free and Grain-Free

Gluten Free and Grain Free Pretzels

My oldest son Matthew, who turns 25 today, requested pretzels as part of his birthday meal.  It’s been a long, slow struggle to get him off gluten and grains and eating full GAPS.  If I had my way, when I started GAPS in December 2009, Matt would have also.  I managed to remove pasta and dairy from his diet at that time, but my husband has been reluctant to take all of Matt’s favorite foods from him so slowly I have been removing one more thing.  As I’ve been learning more about my own health issues I’ve realized how important it is for Matt to be completely off grains and gluten.  For one thing, he has had alopecia since the age of 2-1/2, and I’ve learned that alopecia is actually an autoimmune disorder.  This alone indicates that he needs to be eating gluten-free, and some authorities believe dairy products should be completely eliminated as well.  Finding the pizza crust to fit this criteria last weekend was wonderful because we have really missed having pizza.

On Saturday morning, I woke up to find my husband and youngest son trying to figure out what Matt was saying.  Matt was drawing the third pree-zoh when I walked out of my bedroom and I started guessing.  He said you eat these pree-zohs with butter and salt, and one of the drawings looked like an artichoke but that was wrong.  Finally after much guessing, I figured it out.  Go Mom!  PRETZELS!!

And then the search was one to find a way to make pretzels for his birthday.  I asked on Facebook and several of my fans gave me recipes and I checked them all out but didn’t find one that appealed, so I went searching on my own.  I found this recipe: Soft Cinnamon Pretzel.  Nowhere near what I was looking for, but this seemed to be the one.  I know it’s a little bit superstitious of me but you know when you get that feeling, “This is the one” then you gotta go with it.  Matt has never had a soft pretzel, only the smaller, crunchy ones, and I knew he would be disgusted with me if the pretzels were soft, sweet or tasted like cinnamon!   And so inspired by the recipe above, here is my recipe for pretzels.

Please note that I have listed and linked to the exact brand of almond flour and coconut flour that I used so I don’t know if your recipe will be exactly like mine if you use a different brand.

Beat 2 eggs, set aside.  Add the almond flour, salt and butter together and mix well.  Into this mixture, pour and mix the beaten eggs.  You should have a very wet dough.  Add in one tablespoon of coconut flour and mix in well. Allow to sit for about a minute as the coconut flour takes a bit of time to absorb.   You are looking for a dough that can be easily kneaded, yet will not stick to your hands.  Add a second tablespoon of coconut flour, looking for this play-doh like texture.  I had to add a third tablespoon to get the desired texture.

Let the dough rest for five minutes.  Preheat oven to 350°F.   Liberally grease a cookie sheet.

Take a hunk of dough about half the size of a golf ball, and use your mad childhood Play-Doh skills to roll the dough under your hands into a long skinny pencil about the length of a pencil.

Once you have a piece of dough this size, continue to roll it thinner and thinner until it is about twice as long.

Pretzel Dough About the Size of a Pen

You will need a piece of dough that is at least 11″ in length to make a small-sized pretzel which is 1-3/4″ tall and 2-1/2″ in width.

You will need a piece of dough that is at least 14″ in length to make a large sized pretzel which is 2-1/2″ tall and 3″ in width.

Pretzel Specifications

Carefully lift the long skinny piece of dough to the cookie sheet.  Twist it carefully into the shape of a pretzel – I learned this is easier said than done!

Place the pretzels in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Beat the remaining egg and add 1 teaspoon water.

Remove the pretzels from the oven. Turn the oven up to 400°F.

Turn all of the pretzels over and you will see the bottom is nicely browned.  This is actually the top of your pretzel!  Lightly brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Return to the oven for 5 minutes.

This recipe made 12 smaller sized pretzels and 4 larger sized pretzels. You should be able to yield 18 smaller pretzels from this recipe. The recipe in printable format is below.

This post was included at Fat Tuesday.


Pretzels Gluten-Free and Grain-Free
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6 – 3 Pretzels each

These gluten-free and grain-free pretzels are a pretty close substitute for real pretzels. Not quite as crunchy as wheat flour.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tablespoon room temperature butter
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour
  • 1 egg and 1 tsp. water for brushing onto the pretzels

  1. Beat 2 eggs, set aside.
  2. Add the almond flour, salt and butter together and mix well.
  3. Into this mixture, pour and mix the beaten eggs. You should have a very wet dough.
  4. Add in one tablespoon of coconut flour and mix in well. Allow to sit for about a minute as the coconut flour takes a bit of time to absorb. You are looking for a dough that can be easily kneaded, yet will not stick to your hands.
  5. Add a second tablespoon of coconut flour, looking for this play-doh like texture. I had to add a third tablespoon to get the desired texture.
  6. Let the dough rest for five minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  8. Liberally grease a cookie sheet.
  9. Take a small piece of dough and begin rolling into a long skinny pencil-shape.
  10. You will need a piece of dough that is at least 11″ in length to make a small-sized pretzel which is 1-3/4″ tall and 2-1/2″ in width.
  11. You will need a piece of dough that is at least 14″ in length to make a large sized pretzel which is 2-1/2″ tall and 3″ in width.
  12. Carefully remove the long thin piece of dough to the greased cookie sheet and twist into a pretzel shape.
  13. Press lightly on the twists and where the pretzel connects at the bottom.
  14. The dough is delicate but can be pressed back together easily.
  15. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven. The bottom of the pretzel should be nicely browned.
  16. Turn oven up to 400°F.
  17. Beat the remaining egg, adding 1 teaspoon water.
  18. Turn the pretzels upside down and brush the bottom (darker side which is actually the top side – the prettier looking side of the pretzel) with the beaten egg.
  19. Lightly sprinkle with coarse salt.
  20. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Please note the brands of almond flour and coconut flour that I have used. I have found that coconut flour behaves differently from one brand to the next so your results may vary if you use brands other than the ones I have. This batch made 12 smaller sized pretzels and 4 larger sized. If you made all smaller pretzel you should yield 18.


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23 comments to Recipe: Pretzels Gluten-Free and Grain-Free

  • Wow, Starlene…thank you!! My son is going to love this!


    Starlene Reply:

    :-) :-) I would love to know how they go over! :-) Starlene


  • Susan

    My daughter is now dairy-free SCD, so I tried to make these with coconut oil. I added 2 tbsp of coconut oil and a little water because the coconut oil alone did not make the batter wet enough (in my opinion). It was an experiment as I was not sure if coconut oil could really be substituted, but they came out okay. Not as nice looking as yours and a little chewy, but they have a sort of cheese taste to them, which I think my daughter will like. I’m going to keep experimenting to get closer to your outcome, but wanted to thank you for posting this!


    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Susan, thanks for reporting back with your experience. I am curious what brand of coconut flour did you use? I am pretty sure the coconut flour does the same thing that wheat flour does – it can be more moist or more dry. Was the dough of a play-doh consistency? Let me know if you try again and learn any more tips. :-)


  • Susan

    I used the Let’s Do Organic coconut flour because I think the Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour has a warning about being processed with peanuts/tree nuts (my daughter is allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts except almonds and given her past anaphylactic reactions, I don’t want to take any chances). I couldn’t find the Bob’s brand at the store to confirm, but vaguely remember seeing that warning in the past on the Bob’s products.

    I think I added too much water because the consistency wasn’t quite play-doh, but close. I was able to roll out the dough, but when I picked it up, it would break in one or two places. I was able to put them back together, but they didn’t look as nice as your photo.

    I’m going to try again this weekend and leave out the water. 1 Tbsp of coconut oil wasn’t enough. 2 Tbsp may have been sufficient, but then I added a Tbsp or two of water, which made the dough too moist.

    I used olive oil to grease the cookie sheet (sprayed with my oil mister).

    My daughter loved the one pretzel she ate this morning. She’s excited about being able to make pretzel shapes with the dough when I try again. This recipe is one of those that she will enjoy doing with me, so thank you for sharing it!

    On a side note – I noticed the printable recipe doesn’t mention the butter in the ingredients list.


    Starlene Reply:

    Susan, thank you for telling me about the missing butter in the printable recipe! I have corrected that. Just wondering again… when you mixed the almond flour and 2 eggs, was the dough really wet? And yes, you are right it does say on the Bob’s Red Mill “Manufactured in a facility that also uses tree nuts and soy.”


    Susan Reply:

    Hi Starlene – with just the almond flour and two eggs, the dough was not wet at all. It was powdery. I was going to add the coconut oil without melting it, but then it was a mess, so I melted the 2nd tbsp and mixed it again and added a little (too much) water. It was thicker than pancake or muffin batter, but it wasn’t a play-doh consistency either. Somewhere in-between. Thanks for confirming the Bob’s label.


    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Susan, wow, isn’t it interesting how our ingredients can be so different? With my almond flour and two eggs my dough was very wet and mushy, that’s why I added in the coconut flour to dry it out. Thanks for the feedback, this will surely help someone else. Oh, I was thinking I should have taken photos of all the pretzels. There were mostly lopsided ones, lol. Those that I photographed were of course the prettiest ones. :-) I’m glad you were able to make pretzels though, we sure do have to experiment in our kitchens a lot, don’t we!?

  • Starlene, I love how you looked high and low to figure out how to give your son his favorite foods for his birthday meal. I do the same thing for my kids because it is a long standing tradition that the birthday girl or boy gets to choose dinner and dessert. I am saving this recipe because I’m sure it will come in handy. Thanks again. Did your son love seeing this post?


    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Kristy, how are you doing?! I haven’t heard from you in such a long time. Like your family it’s a tradition here also to serve the favorite foods. He loved the video and had fun helping me make it. :-) Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope you and your family are well. Best, Starlene


  • Jennifer

    I have made these twice. I just ground up my own almonds in my Vitamix and it worked perfectly-recipe was spot on and the kids love them. Thank you for being so wonderfully creative. There is a local GAPS meeting in my area tonight and I am bringing the group a bunch to try! Thanks again and that video of your son is the best!!!! Pree-sohs!!!!


    Starlene Reply:

    Jennifer, I have the biggest grin on my face right now. I am so delighted that these were a hit for your family and I hope your GAPS group likes them too!! Oh, you have a GAPS group in your area to meet with, how neat!! *grin*


  • Emily

    Any suggestions for making these without any treenut flours? I can’t do almond or other tree nuts. I can do peanuts, so maybe pb?


    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Emily, ooooooh… I’m not sure if peanut butter would work… is coconut considered a tree nut?


    Melissa Reply:

    I’m so excited to try this! I’ve heard you can make your own sunflower flour to sub for almond flour and that’s what I plan to try. Empowered Systems has instructions on her blog.


  • Jessica

    I just made these glutenfree pretzels and while they came out just fine, looked like yours, texture of dough was fine, the taste was NOTHING like a regular pretzel. I couldn’t stand the mix of coconut/nutty flour with the salt on top. I’m from Philadelphia, home of soft pretzels and these didn’t taste anything like the real thing. I’m not meaning to be harsh or negative but wanted to mention the taste because of the expensive flours that are used and to note these have a very unique flavor and texture– but not a pretzel flavor. :-)


    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Jessica, thank you for your honest review of my pretzels. I do agree with you that they are not the “real” thing… kind of like zucchini spaghetti isn’t like the “real” thing. Plus, I think coming from the home of soft pretzels you are accustomed to something fantastic in comparison which I really don’t think we can reproduce without the right ingredients. Thank you again for your input and if you find a way to tweak the recipe so that it tastes more like the real thing, please let us know! ~Starlene


  • My son requested pretzels today (we follow the SCD diet) and I am so excited to try this recipe for him!!! I wonder if they were put in a dehydrator for awhile after they baked, if they would “crunch up”? I’ll let you know!!! Thanks for what looks like an amazing recipe!


  • Susan

    I am going to try this recipe for my daughters I would love to eat them myself but I’m allergic to almonds. Would it work if I used just the coconut flour? what about flaxseed meal flour instead of the almond flour?


    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Susan, I’m sorry but you cannot substitute coconut flour and almond flour. I would be more inclined to think flaxseed meal would work, but I really couldn’t say without doing some testing. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help. :-(


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