They say that you can’t eat just one potato chip, but the same can be said about pretzels. The salty, crunchy, and bite-size convenience of pretzels easily makes them a favorite snack among kids and adults.
At the same time, the warm, soft-baked pretzels that you can smell while walking through a mall or standing at a ballpark concession stand are just as irresistible.
Unfortunately, pretzels may not always be vegan. It’s important to know what ingredients you need to look for to determine if the pretzels you’re eating are vegan or not.
How Are Pretzels Made?
Store-bought pretzels are made from a combination of flour, water, sugar, salt, yeast, and shortening, all of which are plant-based ingredients. Shortening is mixed with sugar and salt in a large industrial mixer.
Once combined, a machine adds the remaining ingredients (flour, yeast, and water) and combines them until they are smooth. The combination of water and flour creates gluten. This is what makes the dough pliable to be shaped into different sizes and designs.
The shaped dough will then bake in an oven for a set time and temperature depending on the type of pretzels that are being made, which brings us to the next question: what are the different types of pretzels?
Types of Pretzels
Pretzels will fall into one of two categories: hard pretzels or soft pretzels.
Hard pretzels are found in bags on the chip aisle of your local grocery store, and they often come in a variety of flavors aside from the traditional sprinkle of salt.
Hard pretzels are made with more water than soft pretzels. This, combined with the longer cooking time, is what makes the dough become hard after it is baked.
Soft-pretzels use three basic ingredients (flour, water, and yeast); however, they are cooked in a slightly different manner.
Once the dough has been made, and the pretzel has taken its shape, it will be sprayed with liquid sodium hydroxide that has been heated to 180°F. This liquid coating keeps the dough soft on the inside of the pretzel while baking the outside of the pretzel to a crispy golden-brown.
We have included a helpful nutritional chart to show the nutritional content of soft pretzels and hard pretzels.
|1 medium soft pretzel (115 grams)||1 ounce (28.35 grams) of hard pretzels|
|Fat||3.6 grams||0.8 grams|
|Protein||9.4 grams||2.9 grams|
|Carbs||79.8 grams||22.8 grams|
|Fiber||2.0 grams||1.0 gram|
|Sodium||15.5% of the recommended dietary intake||23.4% of the recommended dietary intake|
|Thiamine (vitamin B1)||31.4% of the recommended dietary intake||8% of the recommended dietary intake|
|Riboflavin (vitamin B2)||19.5% of the recommended dietary intake||5% of the recommended dietary intake|
|Niacin (vitamin B3)||24.5% of the recommended dietary intake||7.4% of the recommended dietary intake|
Are Pretzels Vegan?
They can be. It depends on the ingredients that are used in the dough that made the pretzels.
The good news is that this typically only applies to homemade pretzels or those that are made in bakeries or other from-scratch bakers. The bad news is that you will likely have to ask the baker if they used any animal-based ingredients in the dough of their pretzels.
For pretzels to be vegan, they will need to be made from only plant-based ingredients. If pretzels use eggs, butter, butterfat, or honey, they will not be vegan, and they should be avoided. This is especially important when considering pretzels that are flavored, such as honey mustard or cheddar, as these will contain honey and dairy.
It never hurts to learn how to bake with alternative ingredients if you want to eliminate something from your diet.
Vegan Pretzel Recipes
Now that we’ve spent this time talking about pretzels, it’s time to put some tried-and-true recipes to the test.
This is one of our favorite ones. It’s simple, easy, and works every time.
Vegan Soft-Baked Pretzels
Vegan Pretzel Brands
If you don’t want to make your own, here are some of our favorite vegan pretzel brands:
- All of the original Rose Gold varieties are vegan-friendly
- Non vegan-friendly varieites include the Rose Gold Cheddar and Rose Gold honey Wheat
- The Snyder’s traditional varieties that are vegan include: Mini, Sticks, Snaps, Sourdough Nibblers, Rods, Sourdough Hard Pretzels, Old Tyme, Thins, Dipping Sticks, Pretzel Rings, Unsalted Minis, and Itty Bitty Minis
- The chocolate covered varieties are not vegan-friendly so stay away from those
- The majority of UTZ brand pretzels are vegan, including: Old Fashioned Pretzel Rods, Classic Pretzel Sticks, Extra Thins, Classic Wheels, Mini Twists, Country Store Stix, Sourdough Daisies, Old Fashioned Sourdough, and Sourdough Nuggets
- Snack Factory offers a variety of vegan-friendly options, including all of their deli-style varieties: Original, Organic, Minis, Garden Vegetable, Sourdough, Everything, and Sesame
- Their Gluten-free varieties are also vegan-friendly
Things to Remember
When purchasing store-bought pretzels, make sure you check the ingredients listed on the label of the product. This will tell you if the pretzels you are choosing are vegan or not. If ingredients include honey, butter, eggs, or dairy, the pretzels are not vegan and should be avoided. This especially pertains to pretzels that are flavored, rather than the traditional pretzels that are sprinkled with salt.
If you visit a bakery that offers soft-baked pretzels, you can ask the baker if any animal products are used in the pretzel recipe. The good news is that traditional German soft-baked pretzels only use three ingredients: water, flour, and yeast, and these three ingredients are completely plant-based.
More often than not, the pretzels you are buying are more likely to be vegan than contain animal products. Just to be sure, we recommend that you always check the labels on the packaging to ensure there are no hidden animal ingredients, like dairy, eggs, or honey.