Pretzels (History, Types & Flavors)

Pretzels have been a fan favorite salty snack that goes back centuries. The origin of pretzels is a little bit of a mystery, but there are few really interesting stories behind their creation.

Let’s talk about the history of pretzels and how they became an iconic snack. We’ll go over their history and the history of a few different companies that are known for producing them.

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There isn’t an exact history of how pretzels were created that historians can say for sure is the true origin. They were created hundreds of years ago somewhere within Europe and no one person can be given credit for creating them.

We just have a few different legends that people tell about how they were created that people have told.

The Italian monks story

One popular story about the creation of pretzels is that they were first created by Italian monks. Allegedly, pretzels may have first been made by Italian monks to award children for doing well in school.

The baked salty treat’s shape was said to be made to resemble prayer hands. This act of giving pretzels allegedly spread across Europe and was a symbol of good luck and love.

Pretzels and the Catholic Church

Another theory about the creation of pretzels also involves the Catholic church and goes back to the 7th century. In this age during Lent, the Catholic Church had stricter rules and more governing power.

They enforced stricter rules of fasting and abstinence during this time period. So, the idea for pretzels first started to keep within the regulations of Lent.

A simple bread-like treat that was made from water, flour, and salt to eat during this Cathlolic holiday. The original pretzels were like the soft pretzels that we consume today that have a soft and salty texture.

Pretzels were also said to go by numerous names like the Latin term “bracillae.” The Germans created their word for pretzel they use called “bretzel” based off of this Latin term.

Another one of the first words that was used for pretzels was “pretiolas” that translates to little rewards. Like in the Italian monk story, pretzels were given out as treats to children that recited their prayers correctly.

Pretzels spread across Europe

Whichever story may be true, the fact is that pretzels became rather popular. The salty snack began spreading throughout Europe rather quickly

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Since pretzels were easy to make, it became a normal practice for them to be distributed to the poor. Pretzels were both ways to get spiritual and literal sustenance for poor people that couldn’t afford food.

Pretzels & War

One very interesting story with pretzels involves an act of war during the 15th century. In 1510, the Ottoman Turks attempted to invade Vienna, Austria by digging tunnels under the city.

When the soldiers were digging, Austrian monks were in their basement making pretzels. The monks heard the Ottoman soldiers digging and quickly alerted the city.

The Ottoman’s siege attempt would be thwarted by Austrian monks, who were baking pretzels.

Pretzels & Swiss weddings

Pretzels became a food that was commonly used in Swiss weddings during the 16th century. It was said that the royal couples in Switzerland used pretzels much like a wishbone during their ceremonies.

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Used as a symbol of holy matrimony locking the bride and groom together forever. This is possibly where the term “tying the knot” may have originated from.

Pretzels & Germany

The group of people most synonymous with pretzels has to be Germans. Pretzels are ingrained in the culture of Germany and there are numerous stories involving Germans and pretzels.

During the 17th century, German children would wear pretzel necklaces during New Year’s celebration. Symbolizing good luck and prosperity for the coming year.

Germans were also one of the first groups of people that brought pretzels to North America. They began arriving in the early 1700s with large quantities of pretzels to eat during the voyage along with beer.

One of the first places that the Germans would settle was in modern day Pennsylvania. The German settlers became known for making pretzels.

Pretzels & Beer

Pretzels and beer have a long and storied history of being paired together. Of course the pairing of these two started Germany, where both are widely produced and part of German culture.

The pairing of the two was an obvious perfect match from the start.

A pretzel is a salty snack that when you eat one, your mouth dries out and you need a drink. Since beer was the most consumed drink in Germany, it would commonly be drunk while eating pretzels.

Now whenever someone eats soft or hard pretzels, they’ll commonly wash them down with a beer.

Different types of pretzels

There are two different types of pretzels that are sold and produced. Those two types of pretzels include soft and hard.

Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels are the original type of pretzels that were first created over a hundred years ago. They are distinguished by their classic heart shaped design and generally being large in size.

These types of pretzels are only served fresh and cannot be packaged like hard pretzels, because they’ll become hard. Soft pretzels are generally sold at places like fairs, markets, or restaurants, and often served with sauces like mustard or cheese.

Hard Pretzels

Hard pretzels are a style of pretzel that were developed to be packaged and sold in stores. They have a similar flavor to soft pretzels, but differ by having a crunchy texture like a chip.

This crunchy and hard texture gives hard pretzels more options of styles and flavors. There are numerous hard pretzel brands on the market that make different sizes, shapes, and flavors of pretzels.

Another big difference between hard and soft pretzels is that there is actually an accredited creator of hard pretzels. The alleged creator of hard pretzels is a German baker named Julius Sturgis.

He was reported to have opened the very first pretzel bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania. The very first exclusive pretzel bakery that was opened in the US.

Along with opening the first commercial US pretzel bakery, Sturgis is also credited with creating the first hard pretzels.

Snyder’s of Hanover

Snyder’s of Hanover is a bakery and pretzel company that was established in 1909. The original bakery opened in Hanover, Pennsylvania, which is the city the company is named after.

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Founded by Harry V. Warehime, who began making tradional German style pretzels. Snyder’s of Hanover became popular rather quickly and would be sold nationally shortly after being established.

The company is currently owned by Campbell Soups after purchasing Snyder’s in 2017 for $4.9 billion dollars. Today, Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels are sold in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Snyder’s Of Hanover also now makes their pretzels in a variety of different flavors across the world.

Types and flavors

  • Originals
  • Minis
  • Snaps
  • Sourdough Nibblers
  • Rods
  • Butter Snaps
  • Sourdough Hard Pretzels
  • OldeTyme
  • Thins
  • Dipping Sticks
  • Itty Bitty Mini
  • Homestyle
  • Unsalted Mini
  • Parmesan Garlic
  • Honey Mustard & Onion
  • Hot Buffalo Wing
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Peanut Butter Filled
  • Jalapeno Pieces
  • Salted Caramel
  • Buttermilk Ranch
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Cheddar Cheese(Pretzel Sandwich)
  • Brick Oven Style Pizza(Pretzel Sandwich)
  • Gluten Free Variations
  • Milk Chocolate Mini Dips
  • Dark Chocolate Mini Dips
  • White Creme Mini Dips
  • Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled
  • Dark Chocolate Holiday Shapes

Rold Gold Pretzels

Rold Gold pretzels were introduced in 1917 by a Philadelphia businessman named L.J. Schumaker. Originally, the company was called the American Cone and Pretzel Company before being changed to Rold Gold.

Four years after being established, Rold Gold would be sold to the Continental Packing Company in 1921. This company would own the rights to Rold Gold until 1955, when they sold partial rights to make up for losses.

The Schumaker family would try to sell the company to Red Dot Foods Inc, but the company went bankrupt. Frito Lay would then buy Rold Gold in 1961 and has been the owner of the pretzels ever since.

Under the ownership of Frito Lay, Rold Gold became the number one sold pretzel in the US. 

Today, the Frito Lay company sells millions of bags of Rold Gold Pretzels every year.

Rold Gold Pretzels’ types and flavors

  • Original
  • Tiny Twists
  • Pretzel Rods
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • Pretzel Thins
  • Cheddar Flavored Tiny Twists
  • Fat Free Tiny Twists
  • Honey Wheat Tiny Twists

Utz Pretzels

Utz is another snack food company that was established in Hanover, Pennsylvania and started out making pretzels. The company opened its doors in 1921 and began producing pretzels, chips, and various other types of snacks.

William and Sallier Utz first started making chips out of their home. Once they earned enough money the two built the first Utz factory in their backyard.

A hundred years after being established the Utz Brands became a multi million dollar publicily traded company. Their pretzels along with their potato chips, tortillas, and popcorns are sold in various different markets.

Utz Pretzels’ types and flavor

  • Utz Originals
  • Utz Thins
  • Utz Rods
  • Utz Hards 
  • Utz Specials
  • Utz Twists
  • Utz Nuggets
  • Utz Selects
  • Utz Waffle Pretzels
  • Zesty Cheddar
  • Tangy Mustard 
  • Sourdough 
  • Original
  • Honey Wheat 
  • Chocolate 
  • White Chocolate
  • White Chocolate w/ Milk Chocolate Drizzle
  • Birthday Cake
  • Pretzel Bites w/ Fillings
  • Butterfinger 
  • Pumpernickel
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Snickerdoodle
  • Peanut Butter
  • Mixed Flavors
  • Everything Daisies
  • Multigrain
  • Rings
  • Classic Wheels
  • Little Utz Girl Shapes
  • Country Store Stix


Flipz were first produced by Nestle in 1997 using Rold Gold pretzels. Nestle would dip these small crunchy pretzels in various types of chocolates mimicking what bakeries would sell to customers.

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During the mid 1990s, Flipz were widely popular in both the US and UK. There were different advertisement campaigns made promoting the product that were very successful.

Today, Flipz is still sold and over 14 different flavors have been produced.

Flipz pretzel flavors

  • Milk Chocolate
  • Dark Chocolate
  • White Fudge
  • Birthday Cake
  • Caramel Sea Salt
  • Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Gingerbread
  • Chocolate Mint(Limited Edition)
  • Candy Cane(Limited Edition)
  • Strawberry (Limited Edition)
  • Unicornz “Purple Fudge Covered Pretzels Drizzled w/ Magic”(Limited Edition)
  • Double Dipped Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pretzels it(Limited Edition


Combos Snacks are cylindrical snacks that are predominantly made of pretzels and filled with different flavors. They were originally created by the candy manufacturer Mars Inc in 1987.

This salty snack is sold in markets within North America and also possibly available in Europe. As of today, Mars has produced Combos in over 21 flavors with many still being produced.

Combos pretzel flavors

  • Cheddar Cheese Pretzel
  • Pizzeria Pretzel
  • Pepperoni Pizza Cracker
  • Cheddar Cheese Cracker
  • Buffalo Blue Cheese
  • Seven Layer Dip Tortilla
  • Sweet & Salty Caramel Creme
  • Sweet & Salty Vanilla Frosting
  • Honey Sriracha (Limited Edition)
  • Spicy Honey Mustard (Limited Edition)
  • Jalapeno Cheddar (Limited Edition)
  • Cheddar Cheese Bacon (Walgreens Exclusive)
  • Sweet Barbecue Baked Cracker (Walgreens Exclusive)
  • Garlic Parmesan Baked Cracker(Limited Edition)
  • Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Cracker(Discontinued)
  • Cheeseburger Cracker(Discontinued)
  • Mustard(Discontinued)
  • Nacho Cheese (Discontinued)
  • Zesty Salsa Tortilla (Discontinued)
  • Peanut Butter(Discontinued)
  • Peanut Butter Crackers(Discontinued)

The consumption of pretzels today

Today, pretzels are still one of the most consumed snack foods in the world. Both the soft and hard kinds of pretzels are consumed in nearly every part of the world.

There are now hundreds of different companies that produce pretzels in different shapes, sizes, and flavors.


  • Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)
  • Water, Malt (Tapioca Syrup, Malt Extract)
  • Salt
  • Canola Oil
  • Yeast
  • Soda


Serving Size:20 minis (30g)% Daily Value*
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 0
Calories 110
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%

Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 250mg10%
Total Carbohydrates 25g8%
Dietary Fiber 0.5g2%
Sugars 0.5g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C0%
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.




What are Pretzels?

pretzel from dialectal German pronunciation, standard German: Breze(l) is a type of baked pastry made from dough that is commonly shaped into a knot.

What are Pretzels made of?

Pretzels are a type of bread typically made from wheat or rye flour and a few other ingredients, such as yeast, sugar, salt, water, and butter.

Who invented Pretzels?

Legend has it that the pretzel was invented by an Italian monk in the year 610 A.D. 

How many carbs in Pretzels?

There are 80 grams of carbs in every 100 grams of Pretzels.

How many calories in Pretzels?

There are 380 calories in every 100 grams of Pretzels.

How are Pretzels made?

It is primarily made up of starch and protein. When water is added, the flour protein soaks up the water rapidly and reacts with it to form a mass known as gluten. The gluten can be stretched and formed quite a distance with-out breaking. This allows pretzels to be formed into the desired shapes.

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments below. Thank you!

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