The Pennsylvania Soft Pretzel Bucket List

One of the most truly iconic foods in Pennsylvania is the pretzel. We just can’t seem to get enough, with our annual pretzel consumption roughly six times higher than the national average; there are also upwards of 45 pretzel companies based here in the Commonwealth. And while the Pretzel Belt (yes, that’s real) is rife with crunchy and soft pretzels, there’s something specifically homegrown about the soft pretzel culture here.

The German immigrants who settled in PA in the late-18th and 19th centuries brought over their centuries-long obsession with pretzels, which took root here and has only continued to grow. Fresh-baked soft pretzels, with a chewy golden exterior and soft crumb, are wildly ubiquitous all across Pennsylvania, from food carts to brew pubs. If you go to a school or office function in PA, there’s a very strong chance (like, 100%) that there will be a tray of soft pretzels set out. We just love these twisty carbs like no other.

Where can you find some of the best soft pretzels in PA? We’re glad you asked. There are some really special versions out there to discover! Note that we will not be including soft pretzel chains, like Philly Pretzel Factory and Auntie Anne’s, or pretzels from Wawa or Sheetz. No shade to these PA-born institutions — we’re fans! — but our goal here is to highlight small businesses and unexpected spots where the soft pretzels are tops.

Ready to go on a soft pretzel journey? Here are the places to put on your Pennsylvania Soft Pretzel Bucket List:

North Central, NEPA & the Lehigh Valley

Best soft pretzels PA

Breaker Brewing Co. & Breaker Brewing Co. Outpost: For nearly 20 years, this local brewery has kept the Wilkes-Barre area supplied with great craft beer and suds-friendly snacks. One of the most popular starters on the menu at both Breaking Brewing locations is the Pretzels-n-Dips, a large house-made pretzel infused with the brewery’s Lunch Pail Ale, and served with mustard, garlic and herb dip, beer cheese dip, or all three! 787 E. Northampton St., Wilkes-Barre Township; (570) 392-9078; 192 Wildcat Rd., Archbald; (570) 392-9078.

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Nurnberger Bierhaus: Authentic German food and brews are the focus at this lively bierhaus in NEPA. Alongside hearty plates, like homemade spatzle, pickled herring and jägerschnitzel, there are soft pretzels, which are imported weekly directly from Germany by the restaurant! Try some with a pint of German bier or the locally made Irving Cliff Apple Strudel Cider on draft for a great pairing. 2136 Lake Ariel Highway, Lake Ariel; (570) 698 – 5144.

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Shuey’s Pretzels: Family-owned since 1927 (yes, almost 100 years!), Shuey’s Pretzels is a cute little spot for all things pretzels, including pillowy soft pretzels and hard pretzels, too. Soft pretzels come in different sizes, ranging from regular and beer (on the smaller side) to medium and large. Locally made condiments are also for sale. 702 E. Lehman St., Lebanon; (717) 272-8332.

Social Still: Fabulous cocktails made with house spirits are the specialty at this local distillery, but the food menu is not to be missed! A knockout snack on the menu is the Everything Pretzel, coated in everything bagel spices and served with cheddar fondue and honey mustard for dipping. 530 E. 3rd St., Bethlehem; (610) 625-4585.

Southeastern PA

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Bernie’s Pretzels: Bernie’s has been Delaware County’s go-to for soft pretzels since 1960. Its products are freshly baked each day, and large catering orders for events or schools are easy to place with a quick phone call. Find classic twists and nuggets, plus savory options like hot dog pretzels, cheesesteak pretzels and pizza pretzels. Bonus: Bernie’s opens at 6 a.m. each day if you’ve got an early-morning craving. 500 E. Providence Rd., Aldan; (610) 259-9193.

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Miller’s Twist: For many Philadelphians and tourists, no stop at the Reading Terminal Market is complete without a soft pretzel from Miller’s Twist. This stand, which sells both pretzels and ice cream, has been a cornerstone of the famous public market since 2008. You can’t go wrong with the buttery classic, but there are lots of other flavors, too like cinnamon and sour cream an onion, as well as Pretzel Roll-Ups with savory fillings. Popular choices include the Philly Cheesesteak, and bacon, egg and cheese. 51 N. 12th St., Philadelphia; (215) 923-1723.

Center City Pretzel: On the edge of the Italian Market in South Philly, Center City Pretzel is one of the few places where you can walk in and purchase a pretzel basically right out of the oven — for less than $1 a piece! This family-owned bakery also makes pretzel bagels, loaves, nuggets and specialty items like number- and letter-shaped pretzels. Though it’s been temporarily closed to walk-in business since suffering a fire in 2022, the owners recently announced on Instagram that it should be back open sometime in the spring of 2024. 816 Washington Ave., Philadelphia; (215) 463-5664.

Central PA

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Dutch Country Soft Pretzel: Right in the heart of Amish Country (and just a few minute’s drive from the Shady Maple Smorgasbord), Dutch Country makes pretzels worth stopping for. Its products are baked fresh daily; in fact, you can even watch them being made in the full production bakery facility on-site. The pretzel-y delights range from classic twists to braided loaves to chocolate-dipped pretzel nuggets to epic jumbo soft pretzels. There are even gluten-free options! 2758-1 Division Highway, New Holland; (717) 354-4493.

Epex Soft Pretzels: The old-fashioned pretzels at Epex come in a number of shapes: classic twists, nuggets, sticks, sandwich rolls, mini rolls and hot dog rolls. Grab any of these to-go to make pretzel creations at home, or order of one of the shop’s specialties, like the Pretzel Smoked Sausage sandwich or a bacon-egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwich on a pretzel roll. 984 Loucks Rd., York; (717) 848-8488.

The Pretzel Company: This family-owned company has been cranking out small-batch, handmade Bavarian-style pretzels since 2014. If you’ve ever wanted to share a taste of real PA soft pretzels with family or friends out of state, The Pretzel Company is the way to go! You can order boxes of its soft pretzels online and have them shipped across the country. York; (717) 937-8745.

Immergut Pretzels: This quaint Amish-run pretzel stand is an absolute must-try (don’t worry, the long lines move quickly!). The handmade pretzels are the Plantonic ideal of the form: chewy, salty and light, served fresh from the oven. In addition to the classic flavor, there are whole wheat, cinnamon, sour cream and onion, garlic and sesame pretzels, all under $2 each. There are also a number of dip flavors, as well as savory pretzel wraps. 3537 Old Philadelphia Pk., Intercourse; (717) 768-0657.

Kom-Essa: No matter what you’re going to the Lancaster Central Market for, do what the locals do and stop by Kom-Essa first for a buttery soft pretzel to munch while you walk around. Translating to “come eat” in PA Dutch vernacular, Kom-Esssa also offers homey bites like hot dogs (and pretzel dogs), sandwiches and more. 247 Lancaster Ave., Lancaster; (717) 606-7807.

Lil’s Pretzels: In the Stone Building at the Broad Street Market, find Lil’s Pretzels, a local favorite for large, fluffy hand-rolled soft pretzels. Customers truly adore these pretzels, especially the stuffed pretzels with savory fillings. Fresh juices and baked goods, like cupcakes, cheesecake and cinnamon rolls, are also available. 1233 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg; (717) 909-6904.

Revonah Pretzels: Smack in the middle of Pretzel Town USA, Revonah may be best known for its crunchy sourdough pretzels baked in a 70-year-old hearth oven. But, its soft pretzels are also a masterpiece. They’re made every day and come in a variety of sizes — the mini size with cheese sauce makes a perfect mid-day snack. Fun fact: “Revonah” is Hanover spelled backwards! 507 Baltimore St., Hanover; (717) 630-2883.

Sower’s Harvest Café: A coffee shop might not be the first place you’d expect to find incredible soft pretzels, but at Sower’s Harvest Cafe, they’re one of the signature menu items! Handmade soft pretzels in original, cinnamon, sour cream and onion and garlic-Parmesan are popular with college students who flock here to study and socialize. The dipping sauce options include standards, like cheese sauce and mustard, but trust us and try the roasted red pepper cream cheese for a real treat. 421 E. Beaver Ave. G1B, State College; (814) 867-1007.

Western PA

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Industry Public House: Craft beer and creative comfort food are the name of the game at Industry Public House. There lots of fun starters on its menu to try, and chief among them is the Industrial Size Soft Pretzel, a truly gigantic creation (see the pint of beer above for scale) served on a special hook, with beer mustard, beer cheese or cinnamon icing. 4305 Butler St., Pittsburgh; (412) 683-1100; 140 Andrew Dr., Pittsburgh; (412) 490-9080.

Lorelei: This beautifully-designed Alpine-inspired bar serves up lovely cocktails, craft beers, natural wines and wood-fired pizza. Occasionally, the “snacks” section of its menu features a demure and delicious soft pretzel with Bavarian cheese sauce, a nice shareable bite to tide you over until your bubbling pizza arrives at the table. 124 S. Highland Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 214-6926.

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The Pretzel Shop: Since 1927, this tiny shop has been at the top of the soft pretzel game on Pittsburgh’s South Side. A no-frills, old-fashioned kind of spot (note: it’s cash-only), The Pretzel Shop makes various sizes of plain, salted and flavored pretzels, sweet and savory dips, and tons of breakfast sandwiches, cold deli-style and hot sandwiches served on pretzels, pizza pretzels and pretzel sandwich rolls! Large catering orders and custom pretzels are also available. 2316 E. Carson St., Pittsburgh; (412) 431-2574.

Penns Woods Pretzel Co.: This start up pretzel bakery has your soft pretzel needs covered with classic and cinnamon sugar pretzels, nuggets, sticks, pretzel buns and pepperoni pretzel balls (similar to a pepperoni roll). There’s also a gluten- and dairy-free option! Order online for local pick-up or shop in person at its stand at Clarion Modern Markets on Sundays. 606 Main St., Clarion; (814) 746-0633.

Voodoo Brewery: This fast-growing craft brewery now includes several locations in PA and a number of franchise locations elsewhere. But the original Arch Street Pub in Meadeville, PA, is still going strong! In addition to modern, artisanal beer pours, the pub food here is fantastic, with a dizzying array of options to choose from. One menu stalwart is the soft pretzel, an impressively large house-made soft pretzel served with cheese sauce and brown mustard. It’s a classic that you’ll find at most other Voodoo locations, as well. 215 Arch St., Meadville; (814) 337-3676; various other locations.

Where do you find the soft pretzels in PA? We want to know! Let us know in the comments or on the PA Eats Instagram or Facebook pages.


  • Feature photo: Dish Works
  • All other photos: Courtesy of their respective businesses

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