Are Pretzels Vegan?

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Pretzels are a deliciously salty German snack that has become popular all over the world. If you are vegan, then you may have checked the label of your favorite pretzels already. While pretzels are usually vegan, they can contain some ingredients that aren’t plant-based. We take a closer look at pretzels and what might make them not vegan-friendly.

Quick Answer

Pretzels are usually vegan. However, it’s a good idea to check the label to ensure that your pretzels don’t contain any animal-based ingredients.

Are Pretzels Vegan?

Yes, vegans can eat pretzels, although it’s worthwhile checking the label to ensure that your tasty treat doesn’t contain any ingredients that are made from animal byproducts.

The majority of your store-bought pretzels don’t contain any milk or eggs which means they are suitable for a vegan diet.

Typical Pretzel Ingredients

Pretzels are usually made from a basic dough which is made with yeast, wheat flour, salt and water. Some manufacturers also add a little bit of sugar to pretzels. The traditional pretzel topping is salt but some pretzels are also topped off with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.

While there may be some concerns around the type of flour or sugar, these basic pretzel ingredients are usually vegan.

Why Pretzels May Not Be Vegan

Although you will find that most pretzels are made with plant-based ingredients, there are a few ingredients that aren’t always vegan.

As store-bought pretzels use processed ingredients, there may be components that aren’t always vegan-friendly, such as white sugar which is often made with bone char.

Also the baking methods for pretzels can vary depending on the brand, and these methods also have an impact whether your salty treat is vegan or not.

While homemade pretzels are usually vegan, more processed pretzels can contain non-vegan ingredients to improve the color, texture or flavor of your pretzel. Here are some of the questionable ingredients that some pretzels can contain.


Although milk isn’t a traditional pretzel ingredient, you should always check the label of your pretzel for any dairy. Some brands use milk, butter or other dairy products to enrich their pretzel dough. This can make the pretzel softer and it also extends the shelf life of baked goods.

Dairy products can also add a better flavor to a pretzel and it creates a smoother brown color. For these reasons, some soft pretzels may contain milk.


One of the most commonly added non-vegan ingredient in a pretzel is egg. Eggs are often used to wash the dough just before it’s placed into the oven for baking.

The egg helps the topping to stick better on the pretzel and it also gives the baked pretzel a slightly shiny appearance.


Butter is another popular ingredient that some pretzel brands add to their products. It is usually added to the pretzel dough. However, butter can also be used to glaze the dough for a smoother color.

Added Fats

Manufacturers also often add fats to their pretzels to make them taste richer and feel softer. In the past, traditional pretzel recipes called for lard to be added to the dough. However, most modern recipes contain margarine or butter. Saying this, pretzels can also contain vegetable oils instead of the dairy or fats, which would make them vegan.

Toppings And Flavorings

Modern pretzels come in all range of shapes, sizes and flavors. They also have different toppings which may not be vegan friendly. Some pretzels also come with dipping sauces which might contain any type of processed sugar or dairy.

How To Check If Your Pretzel Is Vegan

Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way of telling whether a pretzel is vegan or not just by looking at it. Even when you try the pretzel, you will likely not be able to tell if it contains milk, butter or animal-based products. Generally, the only way to find out if your pretzel is vegan is by checking the label on the packaging.

Mass-produced pretzels don’t usually contain any obvious non-vegan ingredients. However, some of the additives may be made with animal byproducts.

If you buy a pretzel in a café or a bakery, then you can simply ask if the pretzel contains any non-vegan ingredients.

Saying this, the easiest way to ensure that your pretzel is vegan is by making your own. Then you can use vegan ingredients for your own homemade vegan pretzels.


Most pretzels are vegan. However, store-bought pretzels might contain additives or toppings which contain animal products.

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