What Is The Difference Between Chips and Pretzels, and Are Pretzels Really Healthier Than Chips?

Chips and pretzels are two of the most popular snack foods, but what is the difference between them? Is one healthier than the other? A pretzel is a snack food in the same category as chips. Typically a “chip” is flat and round, oblique, or rectangular.

It can also be in other shapes such as a pentagon or hexagon, but always flat or “wavy”. A pretzel cannot be shaped like a chip but a chip could be shaped like a flattened pretzel. In fact there are some chips masquerading as pretzels, but there are’t any pretzels masquerading as chips.

A pretzel is made from dough. A chip is made from a variety of substances including potato, corn, or even soy. However, it is not made from dough. A chip by nature is crispy. A pretzel can be crispy but does not have to be. A soft pretzel is enjoyable but no one would eat a soggy or soft chip.


Chips are sometimes called “crisps” in some countries outside the USA (like the UK) because by nature a chip is enjoyed by its inherent crunch. In the UK, “chips” are really what we call “fries” (potato fries) in the USA, while “crisps” in the UK are what Americans call “chips”.

While pretzels can be cooked until crispy, the substance of a pretzel is dough and different than a chip. Besides small snack pretzels, however, typically when someone mentions a pretzel they are referring to a soft pretzel made from dough, rolled and twisted into the famous “pretzel” shape, lightly baked, and then seasoned as desired.

While pretzels can be seasoned after the fact, generally chips cannot. Instead, if anything chips typically are dipped (although rarely are potato chips dipped, usually corn chips), and the go-to dip is usually salsa or some other similar dip like guacamole. These dips would usually not be pleasant to dip a pretzel in, especially a soft pretzel. Chips are often seasoned during the baking process, but not after.


Soft pretzels on the other hand are often coated or drizzled with a variety of seasonings after baking including brown sugar or powdered sugar or other coatings. They are also often limited to salt or sugar (and perhaps butter) during the baking process, unlike chips which have many coatings during baking.

In the USA, chips are usually seasoned with non-food seasonings emulating a real food (artificial or “natural” flavors). These fake seasonings taste like a certain flavor (like BBQ or even meat) but are made from shocking ingredients that you might not eat if you knew. Pretzels, on the other hand, usually only contain salt (for hard pretzels) and salt or sugar for soft pretzels. Other ingredients and toppings may be used.

Chips do not typically constitute a meal, although some gluttons and chip addicts do so anyway. Hard pretzels are the same (the small snack kind), but generally soft pretzels, while often a snack, can be had as a whole meal.


Large soft pretzels, being dough, have more substance, and can be dipped in nacho cheese (or mustard is also common) and can make an entire meal. It would not be frowned on to eat a large soft pretzel and a drink for lunch. However, if you only had a bag of chips for lunch, people would look at you sideways.

There are just a few differences between pretzels and chips. Neither are particularly healthy unless made at home from the original ingredients, such as slicing a potato and baking in the oven, or baking a homemade soft pretzel from original organic ingredients.

Still, chips are often given a bad name due to their addictive chemical additives, and blamed in part for the American obesity epidemic. However, pretzels do not get this bad reputation, and are often touted as the “healthier” alternative; even though this really isn’t true at all, and especially sugary pretzels can be even more harmful than chips.


So which is better, chips or pretzels? Both can be addictive due to their chemical additives, seasonings, and MSG hidden inside. However, large soft pretzels are often eaten more rarely while a large bag of chips might be eaten every day by chip addicts. Therefore, due to the fact that both are harmful but chips are eaten more frequently (largely due to price and availability), chips are then more harmful.

However, if you eat pretzels every day then pretzels may take the cake as the more unhealthy of the two, especially if you eat sugary soft pretzels. Hard pretzels, on the other hand, are just as harmful and addictive as chips – even more so, if the person thinks it’s ok to eat a lot of hard pretzel snacks thinking it’s “healthier than chips”. In this case, hard pretzel snacks are the worst of the bunch.

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