Jungle Animal Pretzel Pops

I’ve gone wild decorating these Chocolate Pretzel Jungle Animals. I’ll admit that most of my edible craft projects are incredibly fun for me to create, but turning ordinary chocolate dipped pretzel rods into animals, has made me downright giddy. 

Earlier this week, I decorated some Farm Animal Pretzels using modeling chocolate, and they were cute, really cute, actually. The designs were pretty simple. With my jungle animals I decided to kick it up a notch and add a bit more detail. I went a little nuts with the elephant, but all that detail was worth it. He is my absolute favorite design, so far, anyway!

My Farm Animal Pretzels were inspired by Crafts by Amanda’s adorably decorated craft sticks. Some of these jungle animals, including the zebra, were inspired by Sierra from H is for Homeschooling, who took Amanda’s idea and ran with it. She created an entire zoo using popsicle sticks and they are so fun. 

I had just finished making the lion and tiger, when my exchange student came home from school. She was excited to try her hand at designing a pretzel animal and she created the giraffe. It’s fantastic, isn’t it? 

Each animal took me between ten to twenty minutes to design and as simple as the hippo looks, it took the most effort. At first, I just couldn’t get the nose to look right. I think I finally got it. You can tell just how much I love the elephant based on the number of pictures I took of it. 
My exchange student and I have already made several more to share with you, most of which are much simpler than this herd of jungle animals. 
I’m glad you joined me on this safari. If you were to take pictures of your favorite animal, which would it be?

Jungle Animal Pretzel Pops

Before you begin, you can use candies like Tootsie Rolls, salt water taffy, Laffy Taffy, Airheads, or Starburst Fruit Chews to create the decorations, but with these designs I highly recommend using modeling chocolate (recipe here.). You can make one batch of white modeling chocolate and add coloring for each design.

TIP to keep the chocolate from cracking on your pretzels. Chocolate shrinks as it cools and when it shrinks onto something hard, it usually cracks. If you take the pretzels out of the bag and allow them to sit at room temperature for several hours or overnight they will soften just enough to keep this from happening, but not enough to become stale.

You’ll Need:
melted and tempered white and milk chocolate 
OR melted white or light cocoa confectionery coating/candy melts
pretzel rods
candy eyes or black edible pearls
modeling chocolate* (or candies like Tootsie Rolls, Laffy Taffy, Airheads, Starbust, etc.)
candy coloring
black and brown food coloring markers

baking pans lined with parchment paper
tweezers (used for food only)
kitchen shears or knife
optional: rolling pin, small metal cutters

Either dip your pretzels into the melted and tempered pure chocolate or melted confectionery coating/candy melts or spoon it over the surface of the pretzel, leaving the tip you are holding, uncovered. Shake off excess chocolate before setting the dipped pretzels on your parchment paper lined baking pans. If using pure chocolate, one coat will probably be sufficient to cover the pretzel rods. If using confectionery coating/candy melts, you might want to put on two coats. 
Refrigerate if using pure chocolate, freeze if using candy coating just until set. If freezing, it will only take about 3-4 minutes. Don’t leave them in too long or the candy coating will crack. 

If you are making an entire zoo full of different animals and are using confectionery coating/candy melts, you might want to consider using an electric skillet to keep small bowls of colored candy coating melted. For detailed instructions, see my Chocolate Making Tips page.

Decorate your pretzels using modeling chocolate or assorted candy. You can either pinch off pieces of the modeling chocolate or candy and shape them into ears, spots, manes, noses, trunks, etc. or roll the modeling chocolate or candy out using a rolling pin then cut using small metal cutters or kitchen shears. I did a combination of the techniques. Then use melted chocolate as “glue” to attach the candy to the chocolate dipped pretzels. You can use corn syrup to attach pieces of modeling chocolate to other pieces of modeling chocolate, like when adding the nose to the lion’s face. 

dip pretzel rod in grey
2 black edible pearls – eyes
 ears and trunk from grey modeling chocolate
tusk from white modeling chocolate
dip pretzel in white
2 candy eyes
snout and ears from white modeling chocolate or salt water taffy or Airheads
mane from black modeling chocolate or Tootsie Rolls or black salt water taffy
draw on the nose using a black food coloring marker
dip pretzel in yellow/orange
2 candy eyes
face and ears from yellow modeling chocolate, Lemon Tootsie Rolls or yellow taffy
mane from orange modeling chocolate, or Orange Air Heads, Starburst, or orange taffy
nose from brown modeling chocolate or chocolate salt water taffy

dip pretzel rod in milk chocolate
2 candy eyes
face and ears from brown modeling chocolate or chocolate taffy
 nose and fur in ears from tan colored modeling chocolate or caramels
use black food coloring marker to draw on nose and smile

dip pretzel rod in yellow/orange
2 candy eyes
 ears and face from yellow modeling chocolate or Lemon Tootsie Rolls or yellow taffy
snout, antlers, and spots from brown modeling chocolate or Tootsie Rolls or chocolate taffy
draw spots on face using a brown food coloring marker

dip pretzel rod in orange
2 candy eyes
 ears and face from orange modeling chocolate or Orange Airheads, Starburst, or orange taffy
snout from white modeling chocolate or Vanilla Tootsie Rolls or Airheads
nose from black modeling chocolate, chocolate Tootsie Roll or chocolate taffy
draw stripes on face and pretzel using a black food coloring marker

2 black edible pearls – eyes
head and ears from grey modeling chocolate
nose from light grey modeling chocolate
teeth from white modeling chocolate or Vanilla Tootsie Rolls
make indentations for nose using the back end of a skewer, use the point to make the spots

Pictured above is a new tool that I absolutely love to cut small circles out of modeling chocolate or fondant. It is a plunger. You cut the circle, then press the plunger and the circle falls out. 

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– Beth

Items used to create this project that are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)

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Thanks for sharing!


  1. Anonymous says

    Beth, I'm at a lose for words and that doesn't happen very often. I love them all, but the details on the hippo are great. See what happens when you take some time for yourself? Magic! Thank you once again for you talent and time. Trish Butler

  2. says

    I ran across your blog today via pinterest. I just want to commend you on your creativity. I am really impressed with the cute and colorful food you make! My boys would be very impressed if I made any of the food you have blogged. Thanks for sharing your creations on this blog!

    • says

      I thought it was so funny to see two comments about killing with cuteness. I laughed out loud and my husband asked what was so funny. He immediately commented "No animals were harmed in the making of these pretzels" :)

  3. says

    When your exchange student goes home, they are going to have talent like no one else – probably in their entire country! Very lucky – I love the giraffe – and the elephant!

    • says

      I am so happy that she has had so much fun learning a new skill. She really has mastered chocolate making. She was nervous to make an animal, thinking it wouldn't turn out well. She was thrilled to see how well she did. She made some more animals for our pet collection which I'll post in a few days.

  4. Anonymous says

    Yah – let's think of cute names for these oh-too-adorable jungle animals. like (maybe) "Ziggy the Zebra". Just thinking….


  5. Anonymous says

    "Herman the Hippo" – "Murphy the Monkey" – "Leonard or Leopold the Lion", "Jeromy the Giraffe" ….. still thinking. Know your readers will come up with some good names.

  6. Anonymous says

    Kind of thought my first post didn't send properly so last 2 annonymous posts above are mine & now out of order. Here goes from 1st post.

    You want us to decide which jungle animal we like the best??? Are you KIDDING me – they're all wonderful. The close-up photos are especially nice in that they show all the details.

    The elephant has it's trunk in the "up" position (which means good luck) and it also makes him/her look happy.

    Your exchange student made the giraffe – she learned from the best. Kudos to her. Bet her fellow exchange students are jealous she got such a fun and creative hostess.

    Have never made the moldeling chocolate (little intimidated at the thought), but it would be much easier than buying candies & trying to attach them. Just make a batch, color it various colors and you're good to go. Just looked at your post for the recipe and you make it look so easy so will give it a whirl.

    My "stash" of cookie cutters & tiny cutters has increased since following you, taking on a life of its own. In 1st post I suggested maybe it would be fun to give your jungle creatures names (hence the ideas above). "Lucy the Lion"

    Thanks for taking us on an African safari without our having to even update our passports.


    • says

      It is always so wonderful to read your comments, Tavette. My exchange student has had a wonderful time here, and I'm so happy to see her creativity blossom under my tutelage. It is so nice to have her work with me in the kitchen.

      Modeling chocolate can be a bit tricky, but honestly, once you master making it, it is so fast and easy to work with. I can pour corn syrup into a small bowl of chocolate and turn it into modeling chocolate without measuring anything. I just know how it should look and feel. The most important thing to remember is to allow the chocolate to cool to 90-91 degrees Fahrenheit before adding the corn syrup.

      Good luck and let me know if you have any questions when you give the recipe a try.

  7. says

    Oh my, I didn't think they could get any cuter, but they have. It would be impossible for me to pick a favorite because I love them all. You should have a little neighbor boy/girl name them – and BTW, Ilim did a fantastic job!!! :)

  8. Anonymous says

    WOW! You and you pretzel animals are amazing! I can't pick a favorite, all of them are amazing :)

    Brenda @ sweetsimplestuff

  9. says

    Oh WOW! These are amazingly cute & CLEVER!!! You seriously amaze me with your creativity and the finished product. I am adding to buffer to share on social media this week!

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! It is always so much fun to see what you've come up with!! Hope to see you linked up again today =)

    Have a great weekend,
    Beth =)

    • says

      I store them in an airtight container. A metal tin works best but Rubbermaid or Tupperware will work fine too. They will be best if eaten within a few weeks, but will stay fresh for a month or even longer if you use really fresh pretzels. Find pretzels with the longest shelf life.

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