The Best Pretzels Aren’t Pretzels. They’re Pretzel Pieces

The best pretzels aren’t shaped like braids, twists, rods, wreaths, hearts, loops, or sticks. They aren’t merely salted and unadorned with flavor. They aren’t just a free snack given out by your local watering hole to make people thirsty for more drinks. The best pretzels are so thoroughly blasted with flavor, fat, and crunchy, tooth-shattering texture that they practically defy the category of pretzel. They’re called Snyder’s Pretzel Pieces, and they’re the best we have.

In general, pretzels seem like a missed opportunity for innovation. Pretzels are too humble, too scared to achieve greatness, too resistant to change. Tragically old-school, they reject flavor (too flashy) and denounce modern flavoring agents like MSG. But not Snyder’s. These brave pretzel pieces are the antithesis of the traditional pretzel: They’re loud, audacious, fluid, fashionable, and full of flavor. They’re not afraid to reach their full potential.

A taste this bold is a complete oddity in the pretzel world. Snyder’s Pretzel Pieces, for the uninitiated, are thick chunks of sourdough pretzels infused with flavor. They are teeming with seasoning and swollen with delicious, buttery fat. The flavor bursts in your mouth and satisfies in a way only the most decadent snack foods can. Snyder’s of Hanover invented this delight and currently seems to have cornered the entire market on these crunchy flavor bombs. According to Snyder’s of Hanover’s brand agency, this is their origin story:

The real origin of Pretzel Pieces was a happy accident. While making Sourdough Hard Pretzels, some are broken and removed prior to packaging. Not wanting to let anything go to waste, bakery staff would flavor the broken pieces and sell them at the factory outlet. These flavored Pretzel Pieces turned out to be so popular they were eventually introduced across the country.

As a side note, I do find it suspicious and all too convenient that so many good food ideas seem to happen “by accident.” Oops! All Berries by Cap’N Crunch was, allegedly, the result of a delicious and rather advantageous mistake at the cereal factory. (Moreover, after the first box, sure, it was an “accident”, but the next few million? Purely by design and at the behest of world-eating corporate greed). The origin of the popsicle is attributed to a silly misadventure. It was supposedly invented by a kid who left a stick in a glass of sugar water outside. Doubtful! Although to be fair, the year was 1905 and kids playing with sticks in sugar water does seem feasible given the dearth of quality entertainment available to children at the time. Every game back then was like, “Here, put some aluminum in a bucket, now remove the aluminum from the bucket and that’s how you play Aluminum Bucket™.”

Even the creation of the chimichanga was supposedly the folly of a woman who serendipitously fumbled her burrito into a perfectly good deep fryer. That’s like falling into a manhole full of gold coins; it’s the kind of thing that happens to Kramer. Somehow, against all odds, a succession of “damn”s, “crap”s, “whoopsie”s, and “oh no”s have all conveniently led to some of our most iconic food inventions. Whether or not these tales are true, they’re certainly better stories than “the popsicle was made by a vicious CEO who told his employees to come up with a good idea or they would be cremated.”

So, sure, maybe pretzel pieces were an “accident.” But I call bullshit. I choose to believe instead that pretzel pieces actually have an origin story that doubles as an eco-friendly lesson: Food waste can be repurposed into something beautiful and monetizable. I imagine there were many broken pretzel pieces on the factory line that were getting thrown away until one day, somebody thriftily collected them and realized they were perfectly edible. They infused them with some flavor and boom: A great snack was born. Great ideas don’t usually happen through dumb luck. That’s the lesson of Snyder’s Pretzel Pieces (at least, I hope).

The result is an intentional, beautiful snack that absolutely crushes it, and comes in a whole array of flavor options. The official flavors listed on their website are: parmesan garlic, honey mustard & onion, hot buffalo wing, cheddar cheese, peanut butter filled, jalapeño, and buttermilk ranch. I haven’t had them all, but staff writer Jordan Myrick and I agree that the honey mustard is an all-time great snack. Why are they so good? Each serving contains 7 grams of fat and 3 grams of saturated fat. Fat, it is often said, is flavor. And the taste of these things is tart, sweet, and fragrant with tangy onions. The ingredients of Snyder’s Honey Mustard & Onion include onion powder, horseradish powder, mustard, salt, vinegar powder, and onion powder—a delicious concoction that permeates every morsel of pretzel. The best part? Each product shares that same recognizable rich, dense taste, regardless of the flavor.

Snyder’s Pretzel Pieces are fattening, almost waterlogged with oil and milk solids, which is a big reason why they’re so delicious. Fattening foods always seem to hold seasoning well since the fat concentrates the flavor and coats the pretzel with it. In conclusion: if you haven’t had Snyder’s Pretzel Pieces yet, prepare to be surprised, delighted, and converted. They’re bold. They’re smart. And they’re a radical departure from the dry, uniform-tasting pretzels we’re used to. They’re so good that they reinvented what a pretzel could be, and, in doing so, they eclipsed the competition entirely.

About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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  • Couldn’t agree more that the Honey Mustard & Onion are the peak of pretzel perfection. Also, I love the two paragraph detour about food “accidents”. Great article as always.