pretzels contain eggs

Do Pretzels Contain Eggs?

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Americans love pretzels. Available in supermarkets in packaged form or fresh off the street corner, there are so many ways to enjoy this doughy, twisty treat. Made in two basic variants – hard and soft pretzels – we’re here to find out if they contain eggs and are suitable for vegans and people with egg allergies.

So, do pretzels contain eggs? Eggs are usually not a common ingredient in store-bought pretzels. However, homemade pretzels or those made in small bakeries may contain eggs. For the most accurate information, it is best to read the ingredients label or ask the baker responsible for making them.

Read on to find out how pretzels are made, why some pretzels contain eggs and some don’t, and some great options for you to try if you are looking for vegan egg-less pretzels.

What Are Pretzels?

Pretzels are one of the oldest snacks dating back to the 7th century. An extremely popular item in the US, they are made with a basic yeast dough with a few varying ingredients depending on the type of pretzels being made and the recipe followed.

Although you can find a variety of different pretzel shapes at the store including knots and sticks, traditional pretzels have always had a knotted shape. 

pretzels contain eggs

When it comes to the different types, there are two main ones: hard and soft pretzels. The two are extremely similar in terms of the ingredients used, but as their names suggest, one has a hard and crispy texture, while the other is more bread-like.

Soft pretzels, also known as traditional pretzels, are bigger than hard pretzels and have a texture that is chewy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. 

They follow the traditional German recipe, usually have large flaky salt crystals sprinkled on them, and are served with mustard, cheddar cheese, or chocolate. They also taste great with sugar, cinnamon, seeds, and nuts.

Compared to hard pretzels, soft pretzels have a shorter shelf life and can start to harden if they are left to sit for too long. For this reason, it is best to eat them within a few hours after they are prepared.

Hard pretzels, on the other hand, are more popular in the US. They are smaller in size, crispy in texture, and have a much longer shelf life. If they are packaged well, they can last a few months and can be enjoyed like you would enjoy a bag of chips!

What Are Pretzels Made Of?

The main ingredients for making pretzel dough usually include wheat or rye flour, yeast, salt, sugar, water, butter, or vegetable oils. All the ingredients are mixed and rolled out, tied into a traditional knotted shape, and baked in the oven.

Aside from their very distinctive shape, another thing that sets pretzels apart from other snacks is their deep brown crust. Most commercially-produced pretzels achieve this pronounced crust using a hot Iye (alkaline sodium hydroxide) or sodium carbonate solution.

The alkaline Iye solution, when combined with heat and moisture, encourages the browning of the crust as well as flavor development. The end result is a perfect pretzel with a dark brown crust and distinctive flavor.

Do Pretzels Contain Eggs?

The majority of commercially-produced pretzels do not contain eggs; however, some home recipes and some smaller bakeries may use them to achieve the desired characteristics such as the crust and flavor.

Eggs are usually used as alternative in-home recipes for the Iye solution as it is much safer and easier to work with at home. An egg wash is typically brushed onto the surface of the pretzel just before baking to give it its characteristic sheen, add a bit of flavor, and help the salt stick to the surface.

Eggs can also be used to help the ingredients mix well as they are a natural emulsifying agent. They prevent the fat and liquid compounds from separating and work great as a thickener and stabilizer.

soft and hard pretzels

This isn’t always the case though. Some homemade pretzels often achieve similar results using baking soda instead of eggs. A longer baking time and a slightly lower temperature give the pretzels a nice rise and texture, all while making them eggless!

Some bakers even use egg-wash alternatives to make their pretzels look glossy and golden brown. Some great options include milk or cream, butter, oil, honey or maple syrup, yogurt, and mayonnaise.

That being said, if you do not like eggs or have an egg allergy, it is always best to check the ingredients label to be sure. If you are buying your pretzels from a small bakery, you can ask the baker directly for more information on the ingredients used.

List of Store-Bought Egg-Less Pretzels

As discussed above, eggs are not a common ingredient in store-bought pretzels. Here is a list of some popular brands that you can enjoy if you are avoiding eating eggs:

Other Non-Vegan Ingredients in Pretzels

If you are vegan and are avoiding eggs in pretzels because of that reason, there are a few other non-vegan ingredients that you need to look out for that you may find in some pretzel recipes.

butter, milk and cheese


Some soft and hard pretzels may contain butter to add a bit of richness to the dough. It may also be used as a substitute for egg wash to give the pretzels a nice color.


Some pretzel recipes, particularly for German pretzels or soft pretzels, may use dairy products such as milk in place of water to add moisture to the dough and make the finished product softer and fresher for longer. The high sugar content of milk also helps with the browning and gives the pretzels a nice flavor.


Cheese can be used as a flavoring for hard pretzels and baked into the dough for some soft pretzels. This is not always the case though and can depend on the type and flavor of the pretzel being made.

Related Questions

Are Pretzels Gluten-Free?

No, since most pretzels are made using enriched wheat flour, they cannot be considered gluten-free. There are, however, a few gluten-free options available made using cassava, chickpea, or sorghum flour.

Are Pretzels Keto-Friendly?

No, since pretzels are a high-carb, processed snack item, they cannot be considered keto-friendly. In addition to that, some brands of commercially-produced pretzels may also contain enriched flours and a high content of fructose corn syrup.

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