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11 Peanut Butter Pretzels Ranked Worst To Best

peanut butter pretzels
peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

The only snack that might tempt diehard fans of peanut butter-dipped pretzels away from their usual bags and jars is peanut butter-stuffed pretzels, the jazzy combination that's easy to get wrapped up in. Who doesn't love a treat that does most of the work for you, eliminating the need for repetitive dipping by wrapping a crunchy pretzel shell around a dollop of smooth peanut butter? It's the creativity of M&M's applied to the salty-savory side of the bagged treat aisle that makes the prospects of grab-and-go snacking simpler and more delicious. No more messy fingers catching stray globs of peanut butter. No more broken pretzels lodged in the lunchbox staple Skippy jar. Two problems with a single elegant solution — it's food engineering par excellence.

Snackers have many choices for peanut butter pretzels, enough variety that we wondered how some of the most popular brands stack up against each other. We got our arms around a selection from grocery, warehouse, and drug stores that should be accessible to many Americans. We then rolled up our sleeves for a good, old-fashioned taste test and ranking.

The prospect of peanut butter and pretzels tasting mighty similar even across brands prompted us to factor in package size and price to give readers a better idea of where they can find premium bites at proper prices. While every brand offered a nugget of satisfaction, some clearly fulfill their potential better than others.

Read more: Frozen Pizzas, Ranked From Worst To Best

11. Quinn

Quinn peanut butter pretzels
Quinn peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

Cottage-sized snack company Quinn has come up with a potentially more healthful way to pack a pretzel shell with peanut butter, an idea that falls in line with the rest of the company's mindful munchies. Peanut butter isn't all this modern food producer uses to fill its pretzel shells, however. The collection also includes cheddar cheese, chocolate, and maple almond butter options. The bags carry all the stamps of gluten-free, corn-free, dairy-free, and vegan to give thoughtful snackers all the info they reasonably need to make their choice.

If peanut butter pretzels are a gateway snack to a utopia of stuffed pretzel options, it would be best if the flavor were enticing enough to encourage further investigation. Sadly, the Quinn-tessence of these peanut butter pretzels seems to lose what makes these treats so special in the quest for a healthier way to crunch. Ingredients like brown rice flour, pea protein, and tapioca starch may elevate the profile of key components, but they also appear to mute the flavor of both the pretzel and the peanut butter, leaving an oddly musty essence. The date on the package was well within "best by" limits, which leaves the impression that healthier doesn't equate to tastier, at least not in this case.

Given that a 7-ounce bag retails for about $4.26, the numbers don't add up, either, which is why this bag landed in last place.

10. Gold Emblem

Gold Emblem peanut butter pretzels
Gold Emblem peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

Drugstore dominator CVS makes a play for peanut butter pretzels with its Gold Emblem brand While customer reactions to other Gold Emblem products is hit or miss, this one doesn't embarrass itself where flavor and texture are concerned. The basics are in there: pretzels baked to a crisp and loaded with a gem of sweet peanut butter, all utterly acceptable in presentation. There's no question that CVS has contracted with a top-notch food factory to create its savory-sweet nibbles.

But what gives with the $2.49 price for a 5-ounce bag? That's a far cry from relatively lower grocery store offerings. Granted, CVS prices seem to run a little higher than other stores all the way around, but there's still a point at which paying whatever the tag shows just to satisfy your craving becomes a hardship, even if the crunch is high-quality. The idea of shelling out more than $2.00 for such a modest bag is enough to make the most dedicated snacker head for other retailers to take their chances. More for poor pricing practices than flavor, Gold Emblem misses getting a gold star on our ranking by a long shot

9. Great Value

Great Value peanut butter pretzels
Great Value peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

Walmart's Great Value collection does remarkably well in the snack sector from most of what we have experienced. When side-by-side comparisons reveal substantial savings, especially in an aisle where shopping is more of a luxury than necessity, it's a relief to have an alternative that helps to keep costs under control. Much like chips and crackers, the Great Value peanut butter pretzels offer a passable option that lets you get the goods without going broke.

Yet, while you can pick up a 24-ounce container for around $6.00, the flavor may not be exactly what you're looking for. There's a flatness to the pretzel that gives way to a peanut butter that's a little bitter, which proved to be a sad revelation. We were sure there was no way to compromise the basic premise of a peanut butter pretzel, but it seems as though in its effort to contain expenses, Great Value has also skimped on the snack itself, a fact that puts this treat near the bottom of the barrel. It would be wiser to save a little on other goods and opt for a pricier filled pretzel instead of this one.

8. Snyder's Of Hanover

bag of Snyder's peanut butter pretzels
bag of Snyder's peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

Snyder's of Hanover is the uncontested pretzel maven that's mastered flavored pretzels in much the same way that Doritos has got dust–encrusted corn chips covered. With super-seasoned flavors like Hot Buffalo Wing and Honey Mustard & Onion in its cache, the snack provider has also worked up a formula for peanut butter-filled pretzels to broaden its collection in sweeter directions. The fact that these pretzels are fully formed rather than packaged in rustic chunks like the spicier selections makes them a more polished version of a Snyder's snack, something like crispy ravioli with creamy centers.

With a 10-ounce bag as the only size available and priced between $3.50 and $4.00 depending on location and retailer, Snyder's is banking on consumers to spend more for brand recognition. Yet, upon tasting, we found a strangely dissatisfying snack in which peanut butter and pretzel tasted identical. Either there's no distinction between the two, or the flavor of the pretzel overwhelms the peanut butter. The result is more bland than some of the less-prestigious selections on the list. When price and quality present a double challenge, you know you have a mid-ranking peanut butter pretzel on your hands.

7. Nice!

Nice peanut butter pretzels
Nice peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

Walgreens has tagged its peanut butter pretzels with the company's house brand label, Nice!, which is maybe a simple way of saying these won't be the best peanut butter pretzels you'll ever eat, but they also won't be the worst. They may be one of the priciest, however, as a 5-ounce bag rings up at around $2.49, though you can also potentially pick up two bags for $3.00 or so. Even the exclamation point in the name can't make us excited about how overpriced such a small bag of crunch snacks turns out to be.

As for the quality, this version of a peanut butter pretzel uses twice as much pretzel to peanut butter which makes this more of a pretzel nugget with a touch of peanut butter at the center.

That's too bad, as the texture of the pretzel is, as the name suggests, very nice. But there are a wide variety of peanut butter pretzels competing for consumers' snack money, which means that getting the ratio right is paramount. When a lesser-known store label tries to elbow its way into the market, we think that it should be more liberal with the creamy center and a little less dependent on the crispy exterior. It should also keep its prices lower.

6. Market Pantry

Market Pantry peanut butter pretzels
Market Pantry peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

Testing out Target's house brand Market Pantry peanut butter pretzels allowed us to see how much care Target puts into its value-minded snacks. The price and quantity are far more favorable than the company's other house brand, Good & Gather, though given taht about $12.00 for a 44-ounce drum was the only purchase possibility, customers aren't granted any choice in how much they buy in a single go. If you're looking for snacks that last a long time, then this could be an excellent purchase. If you're hoping for a smaller bag at a lower price, you'll be better off checking the other brands in the round-up.

None of this means that Market Pantry offers anything other than a fantastic take on the peanut butter pretzel. This version is an elongated variant of the more squared-off ingots some brands favor, which we thought was easier to chew, though that may have been the result of crunching fatigue after testing so many nuggets in a single sitting.

If only there were more possibilities for a lower-priced option, we'd be likely to swing by Target and grab these to keep in our snack collection. But there are equally tasty treats at better prices waiting out there, some of which come to your door with just a tap of your smartphone screen.

5. Good & Gather

Good and Gather peanut butter pretzels
Good and Gather peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

Target's other house brand Good & Gather has quite a few good products and gets in on the peanut butter pretzel action with a modest entry that feels designed for a very specific audience. These nuggets turned out to be roughly half the size of any other pretzel bites in our shopping cart, which in trun meant they carried just a touch of peanut butter inside the crisp, rectangular husks. Add to this the fact that they're sold in a multi-pack of 9 1.5-ounce bags for under $6.00 (depending on location), and the image of a totable kid-friendly crunch comes into focus.

In the race for taste and texture superiority, Good & Gather is just as great as the bigger brands, if not better. But the real strength of these miniature packs is that they're the perfect bite-size for smaller snackers. These are ideal for dropping in' lunchboxes or as an afterschool nibble that's healthier than potato chips or a candy bar.

The fact that they're sold in multi-packs tells customers that Target is squarely aiming at families on the go with these nuggets, a clever tactic considering many of the other brands are sold in large canisters that require manual bagging for take-along enjoyment. Making it easier for youngsters to snack and the parents to supply them gets Good & Gather good and high on the list. The added fact that the taste is enjoyable affirms the quality and solidifies these peanut butter pretzels at number five.

4. Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh peanut butter pretzels
Amazon Fresh peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

Of course you can order a keg of peanut butter pretzels from Amazon. Why wouldn't the biggest online retailer offer a barrel under its own Amazon Fresh brand for digital shoppers to sweep into their carts, along with seemingly everything else? Just because there's a weak green logo on the label doesn't necessarily mean you're not getting as high a quality snack as you would if you just bit the bullet and chose a more familiar brand ... or does it?

Well, yes and no. Yes, you get a lot for your money (44 ounces for a little over $13.00), and yes, they come directly to your door as quick as snacks can travel, at least if you have Prime delivery. As far as taste and texture, they're no better or worse than the others we tested for this ranking. So, while there's nothing particularly notable about what's in the big plastic tub, these snacks are perfectly delightful nonetheless. And the idea of getting it fast, cheap, and without leaving your sofa makes this a premium pick for kicking back on the weekend with your favorite crunchable on hand. After double-checking our calculations, we've determined it all adds up to the number four spot.

3. H.K. Anderson

HK Anderson peanut butter pretzels
HK Anderson peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

The black-and-white photograph on the label speaks volumes about the heritage that comes with snacks made by H.K. Anderson. The company has made peanut butter pretzels since 1888, securing it a permanent spot on the national snacking landscape after it was acquired by Utz in 2020. This move gave the pretzel powerhouse its own peanut butter-filled pretzel operation and positioned the company on shelves in stores like CVS and Costco (the warehouse has even stamped the labels with the Kirkland header).

Offering a generous 24 ounces of crunchy and creamy nuggets in its squared-off plastic barrel, H.K. Anderson does an admirable job with a munchie that fills sharp pretzel pods with creamy peanut butter. All together, it's just the right level of sweet for the occasion. The darkness of the pretzel studded with just a scattering of salt translates to a hearty roasted flavor that doesn't compete with the filling, but instead imparts the flavor of a toasted peanut butter sandwich.

With a whopping 24-ounce bucket priced at $9.00 and up depending on location and retailer, it's an exceptional snack that may cost a bit more, but the snacking experience you get from our number three entry is worth paying a little extra.

2. Kroger

Kroger peanut butter pretzels
Kroger peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

Having a more affordable house brand lets grocery giant Kroger create its own take on the popular peanut butter pretzel for shoppers to enjoy without compromising their cash flow. The grocery chain does a stellar job at sinking a dollop of peanut butter into the center of a pretzel pillow, producing snacks as skillfully as the bigger name brands. Kroger also offers its peanut butter pretzels in colossal 52-ounce drums for around $12.00, sensible 24-ounce canisters for around $7.00, and portable five-ounce snack bags for just over $1.00. The fact that our local Kroger was entirely sold out of the smaller bags when we made our purchase is proof of their popularity — and just as likely, their affordability.

There's something refined about these peanut butter pretzels that we didn't detect in the others on the list. They're lighter in color from a more delicate roast, which meant slightly less crunch, followed by a more mellow peanut butter flavor. Every nugget comes in an almost comically rounded shape, which look kind of like a plumped couch cushion. The label even contains an illustration of a tire pump injecting peanut butter into an overstuffed pretzel nugget, the cleverest of the packaging amongst our selections. We love having a price-friendly version of these treats that doesn't make taste and texture secondary considerations. It's a top-two option, without a doubt.

1. Member's Mark

Members Mark peanut butter pretzels
Members Mark peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

We'd have been surprised if Sam's Club hadn't worked its way into the peanut butter pretzel conversation. The Walmart-owned warehouse retailer is nothing if not savvy when it comes to presenting its analogues of popular products. With its twist on peanut butter pretzels, the signature label offers a highly passable munchie, in a quantity that lets you relax in the knowledge that you have plenty to snack on for a while. The company even forgoes the squatty square and rounded barrel-shaped containers in favor of a sleek and rather chic tower of a tankard that lets its house brand stand a little bit taller than the competitors.

We couldn't help but be dazzled by the quantity and price that Sam's Club offers. 44 ounces for just about $8.00 is a spectacular deal, especially with generously-stuffed pretzel chunks that boast an evenly-roasted tone and uniform distribution of salt. You may find slightly different prices online or in your local Sam's Club, but having sampled the quality for ourselves, we happily place Members Mark at the top of the peanut butter pretzel stack.

How We Ranked Our Peanut Butter Pretzels

packages of peanut butter pretzels
packages of peanut butter pretzels - Steven Luna/Mashed

There isn't much variation that can be done with pretzels and peanut butter, as the recipes for both are pretty standard. Yet we found that tasting our selections side by side revealed subtle distinctions in the heartiness of the pretzel shell, the sweetness of the peanut butter, and the interplay of the two that helped us discern one from another.

We also considered pricing and packing when assembling this ranking. The idea that some brands offer smaller quantities for higher prices per ounce was often a decisive factor, helping us determine whether the quality was really worth the cost.

Read the original article on Mashed.