When it comes to snacking, pretzels remain a popular choice. These little goodies are made from dough shaped into a knot or a stick, then baked until crisp and seasoned with salt or other flavors like cheese, chocolate, honey, or cinnamon.
Where did pretzels come from in the first place? Historians aren’t sure, as there are conflicting accounts. Some say European monks invented them to reward children who learned their prayers, with the shape said to represent arms crossed in prayer. Others say bakers in Germany created them while held hostage by dignitaries. Indeed, the pretzel has been an emblem of German bakers for hundreds of years.
Wherever they came from, they made their way to the United States in the late 18th century, brought over most likely by German and Swiss German immigrants. Today, you can enjoy crisp or soft pretzels pretty much anywhere you go, even when taking a flight on the airlines.
As to whether pretzels make a healthy snack, that probably depends on what you’re looking for. Certainly, they don’t compare nutritionally to a handful of cut-up carrots, apple slices, or almonds, but in most cases, they’re probably better than potato chips or French fries.
If you’re looking for a low-fat snack, most pretzels qualify, and many plain types are also lower in calories than other salty snacks as long as you watch your serving size. Some may have more sodium than you’d like, particularly if you’re dealing with cardiovascular disease or edema, so it may be wise to check the nutrition facts on that.
You can find gluten-free pretzels on today’s market, which is helpful, as originally all of them were made mostly from wheat flour. As customers began to demand more gluten-free items, however, manufacturers responded and there are now a variety of gluten-free options to choose from.
We recently reviewed dozens of different pretzels, looking at a variety of factors like taste, amount of added sugar, ingredients, flavorings, coatings, and cost. All of these top-rated pretzels can be purchased online at Amazon.
We’ve identified Dot’s Homemade Pretzels as our top pick. Reviewers love the flavor and say it’s impossible to eat just one.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Pretzels
|Best Pretzels Overall
|Dot’s Homemade Pretzel
|Best Sweet Pretzels
|Utz Honey Wheat Braided Pretzel Twists
|Best Budget Pretzels
|Rold Gold Pretzels
|Best Gluten-Free Pretzels
|FitJoy Gluten-Free Pretzels"]
|Best Organic Pretzels
|Hanover Organic Spelt Pretzels
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change.
Best Pretzels Overall: Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels
For our overall top pick, we went with Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels because you just can’t deny the taste. Made of enriched wheat flour, they’re dusted with a unique seasoning blend that combines a buttery flavor with a little bit of sugar and spice. It seems all ages love these, from the kids to the grandparents, and they’re perfect for pretty much any occasion. Tuck them into school lunches, use them in a snack bowl at home, pull them out during the big game, or add them to one of your favorite recipes.
One serving provides about 130 calories of low-fat goodness, with no artery-clogging saturated fat at all. These are even low on the carbohydrate scale, weighing in at only 16 grams or 5 percent of your daily recommended intake.
Dot’s is a family-owned business with bakers in North Dakota, Arizona, and Kansas. Every pretzel is made in small batches, they say, then hand-packed “with love.” Reviewers rave about the taste—even people who don’t like pretzels will love these!
Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels Key Features:
- Addictive taste—people love them
- Low in fat and carbohydrates
- Perfect for all snacking occasions
- Made by a family-owned business in the USA
Best Sweet Pretzels: Utz Honey Wheat Braided Pretzel Twists
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, try the Utz Honey Wheat Braided Pretzel Twists. They are baked with a combination of sweet honey and whole wheat in a sturdy braided twist shape. A special two-part baking process ensures they’re fresh and crisp, giving you that hearty, satisfying crunch you’re looking for.
Don’t worry—you can indulge your sweet tooth without the guilt. One serving of these pretzels has only 120 calories, no saturated fat at all, and only 2 grams (3 percent) total fat. They’re also low in carbohydrates and even sodium, containing only 7 percent of your daily recommended intake. Utz adds no preservatives, choosing only a few ingredients like whole wheat, sugar, honey, and oil, along with a little salt.
Utz started as a family-owned business and prides itself on making snacks from clean, simple ingredients that are minimally processed. Reviewers love the taste and note that these are unique in that they have less salt than other brands.
Utz Honey Wheat Braided Pretzel Twists Key Features:
- Sweet honey flavor
- Less salt than other types of pretzels
- Terrific “crunch factor”
- Made with simple ingredients and no preservatives
- Made in Pennsylvania
Best Budget Pretzels: Rold Gold Pretzels
If you and your family go through pretzels like there’s no tomorrow, choose Rold Gold Pretzels as you can use a lot without breaking the budget. Coming in at only about 20 cents per ounce, they’re economical but they taste great too. Keep the kids satisfied until dinner time, or help yourself get through the workday without succumbing to unhealthy cravings.
One serving contains only 110 calories as well as only 1 gram of total fat (2 percent), 23 grams carbohydrates (8 percent), and less than one gram of added sugar. There is a bit of sodium—about 19 percent of the standard daily intake—so if you’re on a low-salt diet, go easy on these.
Made from enriched wheat flour, these won’t work on your gluten-free diet, but they make a great staple snack to have in your house. If you want a little variety, try them with peanut butter, hummus, or even a little melted chocolate. Reviewers say they taste great and remain crispy to the bottom of the bag.
Rold Gold Pretzels Key Features:
- Satisfying salty taste
- Stay crisp to the bottom of the bag
- Low in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates
- Great for the whole family
Best Gluten-Free Pretzels: FitJoy Gluten-Free Pretzels
On a gluten-free diet? Don’t worry—you can still enjoy your pretzels! FitJoy Gluten-Free Pretzels are completely grain-free, so you won’t have to worry about digestive upset. These are made with cassava and chickpea flour—two main ingredients that are completely gluten-free. (Cassava is a root vegetable that looks sort of like a yam.)
The manufacturers use only a few simple ingredients to make these tasty snacks, then flavors them with a hint of Himalayan sea salt and a twist of organic honey. They have no artificial flavors or genetically-modified ingredients (GMOs), and they’re certified gluten-free.
One serving provides about 130 calories, with only 3.5 grams of fat (4 percent), no saturated fat, 23 grams of carbohydrates (8 percent), and only 1 gram of sugar. The sodium is reasonable as well—only 12 percent of the recommended daily limit. Reviewers with food allergies and sensitivities say they’re happy to find a pretzel they can enjoy with these.
FitJoy Gluten-Free Pretzels Key Features:
- Certified gluten-free
- Non-GMO Project verified
- Low in fat and sugar
- Taste great with a salty, sweet crunch
- Perfect for those with food allergies and sensitivities
Best Organic Pretzels: Hanover Organic Spelt Pretzels
If you’re not worried about gluten, but you would like an organic product, try the Hanover Organic Spelt Pretzels. They are simply made with organic spelt flour, organic sunflower oil, sea salt, and soda. You can’t get much simpler than that when it comes to pretzels!
In case you’re not familiar with spelt, it’s a distinct type of wheat that’s been cultivated for thousands of years and is considered an “ancient” grain. It has a harder outer shell than regular wheat along with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. It does have a lot of gluten, but some say the gluten is more water-soluble than that in regular wheat, which may make it easier to digest.
These are also the lowest-calorie pretzels in our line-up—only 100 per serving. They’re also a little higher in protein than all the others, as one serving will give you 4 grams. Total fat is only 1.5 grams (3 percent) and carbohydrates total only 17 grams (6 percent). These have a little more fiber than most other options too, totaling 2 grams rather than the typical 0 or 1.
Reviewers love the simplicity of the recipe and feel better buying a “much healthier snack,” with some commenting that these don’t upset their stomachs as other pretzels may.
Hanover Organic Spelt Pretzels Key Features:
- Made with organic spelt and organic sunflower oil
- Simple ingredients with no additives or artificial flavors
- May be easier to digest for some
- Low in calories and fat, with some protein and fiber
- Made in Pennsylvania