Do Pretzels Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie

Yes, pretzels do go bad, but hard and soft pretzels have different times when they go bad. Soft pretzels go bad quickly, especially if they are not stored in the fridge within a reasonable amount of time. Pretzels usually last 3 to 4 days before going bad.

But if you have a sweet pretzel or a pretzel covered in sugar, they will only last two days.

Hard pretzels can last up to two weeks, and they do not need to be refrigerated, but if they are not sealed after each time they’re opened, they will go stale in one or two days. 

What are Pretzels?

If you have ever visited a county fair, carnival, movie theater, amusement park, convention center, or mall, then chances are you have eaten a pretzel. Although pretzels come in many shapes and sizes, there is one main characteristic they all share. They are all long thin pieces of dough tie into a bow tie and then baked until golden brown or crunchy. 

Although adored and enjoyed by many Americans, pretzels originate from Germany. Their old-world name was pretiolas. Like many foods that are considered American, pretzels made their way to the United States when German immigrants began to move into the 13 colonies, which was around the early 1700s. Now, they are ingrained in American culture. Most American establishments and entertainment venues sell some form of the pretzel. 

Types of Pretzels

  • Hard Pretzels – Commonly found in the junk food aisle of grocery stores and in gas stations in 7-Eleven, these might be the most popular type of pretzel. Hard pretzels are then and small pretzels to bake until they are crunchy. They are often eaten with dipping sauce. 
  • Soft Pretzels – Sold in the freezer aisle, theme parks, venues, and other establishments, soft pretzels are close to Hard pretzels in popularity. Soft pretzels are usually covered in salt and serve with dipping sauces like cheese and garlic spread.
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzels – Another type of hard pretzel, these pretzels are baked and then covered with chocolate sauce.
  • Sugar Pretzels – most soft pretzels are salty. But for those of us with a sweet tooth, you can buy a soft pretzel covered in sugar. These are sometimes served with chocolate sauce or vanilla icing.
  • Pretzel Bites – one of the most common side dishes or appetizers in American restaurants, pretzel bites are made from pretzel dough that is cut into small balls instead of rolled into a bow shape. Pretzel bites can either be salty or sweet and served with a cheese sauce or chocolate sauce.

The Main Ingredients of Pretzels

No matter what type of soft pretzel you order, the ingredients remain relatively the same—water, flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and eggs. Although many people do not consider pretzels to be bread, they are. Like bread, they require yeast and sugar, which turns the mixture into a dough. Then it can be baked into a soft snack. 

To make hard pretzels, you will need a couple of ingredients not needed for soft pretzels. Hard pretzels are made with flour, water, several preservatives, folic acid, some type of corn syrup or sweetener, and yeast, among other ingredients. Although it is possible to make hard pretzels at home, most people would rather purchase them from the gas station or grocery store.

How Long Do Hard Pretzels Last? 

Hard pretzels – Because hard pretzels do not contain eggs, milk, or a large amount of water, they are much longer than soft pretzels and do not need to be refrigerated. If hard pretzels are stored away securely every time, they’re open, they will last two weeks before turning stale and flavorless.

Chocolate-covered pretzels – since these pretzels are covered in chocolate, they will not last as long as regular hard pretzels. If left out on a counter, they can turn stale by the end of the night. But if chocolate covered pretzels are stored in the fridge after opening, they can last about a week.

How Long Do Soft Pretzels Last?

Soft pretzels A basic salted soft pretzel can last up to four days in the refrigerator. But if they are left out or stored in a Ziploc bag, they can last 24 hours.

Sugary pretzels – If you purchase a sugary pretzel from a vendor, you have about twenty-four hours to eat it before it turns mushy and unpalatable.  Sometimes you don’t even have that long, depending on how much glaze for sugar is on the pretzel.

Pretzel bites – Since pretzel bites are a type of soft pretzel, how long they last depend on how they are stored. If they’re placed in an airtight container, pretzel bites can last for up to five days. Just be sure to separate the pretzel bites from any dips they are served with a sitting in dip can make them soggy.

How to Know if a Pretzel Has Gone Bad?

To know if a hard pretzel has gone bad, take a small bite. It will taste very still and saltless. It will no longer have a crunch to it. Although hard pretzels usually last up to two weeks, if they are not stored properly or if the bag is left open, they can turn bad overnight. They may last an extra day in the fridge. But if the hard pretzels are not closed up in an airtight container, they will turn stale in 2 days.

To know if a soft pretzel has gone bad, try to break off a piece. Soft pretzels that are left out for too long will harden. They will no longer be soft and chewy. You can also smell the soft pretzel and see if there’s a sour smell coming from it. Remember that soft pretzels have milk and eggs inside of them. These ingredients will speed up spoilage.

How to Properly Store Pretzels

To store hard pretzels properly, every time you open the bag, seal it shut with tape or a clip. Make sure there’s no air in the back. You can also put them in an airtight container.

Additionally, you can freeze pretzels.

To store a soft pretzel in the fridge:

  1. Wipe off any excess grease or glaze and place it into a Ziploc bag.
  2. Press out as much air as you can and seal it.
  3. Place the pretzel in the back of the fridge and write the date on it, so you know when it is old.

How Long Do Pretzels Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Type of PretzelLength of Time
Hard Pretzel2 weeks
Soft Pretzel, fridge3-4 days
Soft Pretzel24 hours
Chocolate-Covered Pretzels, fridge7 days
Chocolate-Covered Pretzels3 days
Sugary Soft Pretzel24 hours
Pretzel Bites, fridge5 days

Conclusion

  • Pretzels are stretched out pieces of dough shaped into a bow tie and then baked until they are golden brown.
  • Pretzels are a beloved and important snack in American culture, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find an American establishment that does not serve some form of a pretzel.
  • Pretzels originated from Germany, and they made their way to the United States when German immigrants migrated to the 13 colonies in the early 18th century.
  • There are five common types of pretzels – the hard pretzels, the soft pretzel, the sugar pretzels, pretzel bites, and chocolate covered pretzels.
  • Hard pretzels and chocolate covered pretzels usually last the longest, which is up to two weeks if they are stored properly and kept away from excessive air.
  • Soft pretzels, sugar pretzels, and pretzel bites turn sour the soonest and require refrigeration to last.
  • When hard pretzels turn stale and Bev, they will lose their flavor and their crunch.
  • When soft pretzels go bad, they emit a sour smell as the milk and eggs inside them turn old. 

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