Is pretzel good for keto?

The ketogenic or “keto” diet has become incredibly popular in recent years as a way to lose weight and improve health. This low-carb, high-fat diet puts the body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat rather than carbs for fuel.

Many people wonder whether pretzels can be part of a keto diet. After all, pretzels are a beloved snack food for many. This article will explore whether pretzels can fit into ketogenic eating, the pros and cons of eating them on keto, and some healthier keto-friendly pretzel alternatives.

Are Pretzels Keto-Friendly?

Pretzels are not generally considered keto-friendly for a few key reasons:

  • They are made from refined flour, which is high in carbohydrates. Keto limits carbs to 20-50 grams per day.
  • Most pretzel recipes call for sugar and honey, adding more carbs.
  • Pretzels offer little nutrition. They provide empty calories and carbs without much fiber, protein, or healthy fats.

A typical pretzel contains about 22 grams of carbs, which takes up nearly an entire day’s worth of carbs on keto. Even though they are low in fat, pretzels are still quite high in carbs, so should be limited or avoided on keto.

Nutrition Facts for Pretzels

Here are the nutrition facts for a standard pretzel (1 oz or about 1/2 a large soft pretzel):

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Fiber: 1g

As you can see, over half the calories in pretzels come from carbs. This does not align with keto’s recommended macronutrient ratios of 70-80% fat, 15-20% protein, and 5-10% carbs.

Why Are Pretzels Not Keto-Friendly?

There are a few reasons why traditional pretzels don’t fit into the ketogenic diet:

Made with Refined Flour

Pretzels are typically made from refined wheat flour. Refined flour spikes blood sugar rapidly, as the bran and germ have been removed. This goes against keto’s goal of maintaining steady blood sugar.

Refined flour also lacks fiber, protein, and other nutrients. It offers quick-digesting carbs without nutritional benefit.

Often Contain Sugar

Many pretzel recipes call for sugar, honey, or corn syrup to help promote Maillard browning and a crispy texture. Some sweet glazes or dips can also be high in sugar. Added sugars mean extra carbs.

Lack Healthy Fats

Pretzels are very low in fat, with 80-90% of calories from carbs. Keto emphasizes getting 70-80% calories from fat to promote ketosis. The minimal fat in pretzels makes them incompatible with keto macros.

Offer Minimal Nutrition

Since they are made from refined flour, pretzels contain minimal vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber or protein. They mainly provide empty carbs.

High Glycemic Index

Pretzels have a high glycemic index around 80. This means they rapidly spike blood sugar after eating. Keto aims to maintain steady blood glucose by limiting high glycemic index foods.

What Are Some Healthier Keto Pretzel Alternatives?

Though traditional pretzels may not be keto-approved, there are some healthier low-carb pretzel options to satisfy your cravings:

Cauliflower Pretzels

By swapping out flour for cauliflower, you can make low-carb pretzels at home. Cauliflower has just 5 grams of carbs per cup. Try this recipe:

Almond Flour Pretzels

For a nutty twist, make pretzels using almond flour. With 6 grams net carbs per 1/4 cup, almond flour works better than wheat flour on keto. Here’s one recipe.

Flaxseed Pretzel Thins

These crunchy “pretzel” thins get fiber and healthy fats from flaxseeds. Make them savory or sweet. Recipe here.

Cheese Crisps

For a PORTABLE pretzel replacement, try baking crispy cheese crackers. Cheese offers fat and protein for satiation. Customize flavors.

Pretzel Chips with Avocado Dip

Swap regular pretzels for low-carb pretzel chips like these. Pair with a creamy high-fat avocado dip to add fat.

Lettuce Wrap “Pretzel Dogs”

Replace the bun with lettuce for low-carb hot dog wraps. Top with mustard, sauerkraut, and other pretzel dog toppings.

Can You Have Pretzels on Keto?

Technically, you can fit a small amount of pretzels into a keto diet if they fit within your daily carb limit. However, pretzels are still not optimal for keto for a few reasons:

Slow Weight Loss

Pretzels can easily cause weight loss to stall or slow on keto because they are high in carbs and calories yet low in nutrition. Limiting pretzels will help speed up fat burning.

Blood Sugar Spikes

Being high glycemic, pretzels can spike blood sugar after eating. This can temporarily kick you out of ketosis.


Grain-based pretzels trigger inflammation in some people, especially those with gluten sensitivity or gut issues. This works against keto’s anti-inflammatory effects.

Lower Nutrient Density

On keto, the goal is to get maximum nutrition from your limited carb intake. Pretzels offer carbs without much nutritional benefit.

Fewer Fat Calories

Fat helps control hunger and sustain energy on keto. Pretzels’ minimal fat makes them less satisfying.

So while an occasional pretzel may be possible on keto, it’s best limited to stay in ketosis and optimize health.

What About Pretzel Sticks?

Pretzel sticks, also called pretzel rods, tend to be very similar nutritionally to regular pretzels. They also lack keto-friendly macronutrients. One 10-inch pretzel stick nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbs: 23g
  • Protein: 3g

The bottom line is pretzel sticks contain too many refined carbs and not enough fat or protein to truly be ketogenic. They are best avoided in favor of healthier snacks when following the keto diet.

Are Pretzel Crisps Keto-Friendly?

Pretzel crisps appeal to keto dieters because of their satisfying crunch. But are they actually a better option than regular pretzels when it comes to carbs and macros? Let’s dig in.

One serving (about 1 oz) of original pretzel crisps nutrition contains:

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 1.5g
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Protein: 3g

As you can see, the macros are nearly identical to regular pretzels. So pretzel crisps are still very high in carbs without offering much fat, fiber, protein or nutrition.

Some pretzel crisp flavors are even higher carb, like garlic Parmesan which has 27 grams per serving.

Overall, pretzel crisps don’t align with keto goals of limiting refined carbs. You’re better off choosing nuts, seeds, nut butters, jerky, or veggies for crunch on keto instead.

Are Gluten-Free Pretzels Keto-Friendly?

Some people on keto also need to eat gluten-free for health reasons. But are gluten-free pretzels any better for keto diets?

Many gluten-free pretzels are made with starches like brown rice flour, corn starch, potato starch or tapioca starch instead of wheat. But these are still highly refined carbs.

One mini gluten-free pretzel nutrition info:

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbs: 19g
  • Protein: 2g

So while gluten-free pretzels are slightly lower carb than regular wheat-based pretzels, they still contain a high amount of starchy carbs. They won’t promote ketosis or fat burning.

Overall it’s best to think of gluten-free pretzels as an occasional treat if you follow the keto diet. Relying on them too often will make it tricky to maintain low carb ratios.

Are Soft Pretzels Keto-Friendly?

Soft, chewy pretzels are satisfying…but how do they fit into keto eating? Here’s a look at the nutrition facts:

Soft Pretzel Nutrition Facts

1 average soft pretzel:

  • Calories: 277
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbs: 56g
  • Protein: 8g

With over half their calories from refined carbs, soft pretzels are not optimal for the keto diet. Their high glycemic load can rapidly spike blood sugar.

Part of a small soft pretzel may fit your macros, but it would use up most of your daily carb limit in one snack with little nutrition. There are better keto snack options.

Can You Have Pretzel Buns on Keto?

Pretzel buns have grown popular as a replacement for normal bread. But are they any better for keto diets? Here’s a look:

One average pretzel bun contains:

  • Calories: 210
  • Fat: 2.5g
  • Carbs: 36g
  • Protein: 7g

While pretzel buns have slightly fewer carbs than regular bread, at 18 grams per serving they are still too high in carbs for most ketogenic diets.

Using pretzel buns as sandwich bread would use up most of your daily carb intake very quickly.

It’s best to skip the bun altogether or opt for a lettuce wrap when eating burgers, hot dogs, or sandwiches on keto.

Are Pretzels Made with Bad Ingredients?

Aside from high carbs, some pretzels contain unhealthy added ingredients:

Vegetable Oils

Some pretzels are made with inflammatory vegetable oils like soybean oil. These oils are high in omega-6 fats that can cause oxidative damage.

Artificial Colors

Many brightly colored pretzels get their hue from artificial food dyes. Studies connect dyes to behavioral issues in children and potential cancer risk.

Artificial Flavors

Pretzels with sweet glazes or cheese flavors often contain artificial flavors. These chemically-derived flavors offer no nutrition.


To extend shelf life, many pretzel products contain preservatives like calcium propionate, sulfur dioxide, and sodium benzoate.

Do Pretzels Have Any Benefits?

Though high in refined carbs, pretzels do offer some benefits:

Gluten-Free Options Available

Those avoiding gluten can find pretzels made from brown rice or other gluten-free flours. This makes pretzels accessible to more people.

Low in Fat

Unlike crackers, pretzels are very low in fat, with only about 1 gram per serving. This can fit into low-fat diets in moderation.


From pretzel crisps to mini twists, many pretzel products come in portable single-serve packages. This makes them handy snacks on-the-go.

Variety of Flavors

From sweet cinnamon sugar to zesty ranch, pretzels now come in endless flavor varieties to please all tastes. Add unique toppings at home too.

Crunchy Texture

Pretzels satisfy crunchy cravings in a lighter way than crackers or chips. The hard exterior provides satisfying texture.

So while pretzels may not be the best keto choice, they do offer some versatility as an anytime snack.

Healthier Keto-Friendly Pretzel Swaps

While traditional pretzels don’t align with keto macros, there are plenty of crunchy low-carb swaps to enjoy instead:


Almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts make excellent portable high-fat snacks. Choose raw, roasted or salted.

Nut Butters

Get creamy satisfaction plus healthy fats from nut butters like almond or peanut butter. Eat alone or with low-carb veggies.


Cubes of cheddar, mozzarella sticks or cheese crisps give saltiness and fat for keto pretzel cravings.

Beef Jerky

Look for low-sugar jerky made from grass-fed beef for a protein-packed pretzel alternative.

Veggies & Dip

Fresh veggies like celery or jicama dipped in guacamole or ranch make arefreshing snack between keto meals.


Cucumbers are perfectly crunchy, portable and low-carb. Enjoy on their own or dipped in yogurt dressing.

Pork Rinds

These crispy roasted pig skins pack plenty of satisfying crunch free of carbs and sugar. Buy plain or grab fun flavors.

Tips for Enjoying Pretzels on Keto

Though pretzels are limited on keto, enjoy them occasionally in a healthy way with these tips:

– Stick to 1-2 bites or mini pretzels to keep carbs low
– Choose gluten-free options if you have gluten intolerance
– Pair with protein like natural peanut butter for more filling power
– Opt for baked pretzels instead of fried for less oil
– Create your own healthy keto pretzel recipe using almond flour
– Sub lettuce wraps for pretzel buns on burgers or sandwiches
– Skip the beer and enjoy pretzels with unsweetened ice tea instead

The Bottom Line

Traditional pretzels don’t align with a ketogenic diet due to their high refined carb content, low nutrients, and lack of fat. They can quickly use up daily carbs with little nutrition.

However, there are many crunchy, portable and satisfying low-carb swaps for pretzels on keto. With smart substitutions, you can still enjoy flavors reminiscent of these twists and knots while staying in ketosis.

Overall it’s best to save pretzels for an occasional treat in tiny portions if you follow keto. Rely on healthier high-fat, low-carb pretzel alternatives like nuts, cheese and vegetables for your main snacking needs. This provides nutrition and satiation while keeping carbs low.

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