Strawberry pretzel salad is a 3-layer dessert consisting of a strawberry jello topping, a cheesecake filling and a caramelized pretzel crust. It’s often called strawberry pretzel dessert or simply jello pretzel dessert.
This treat originated in the 1960s in The Joys of Jell-o cookbook according to Farmers Almanac, and has become an iconic southern tradition ever since. The combination of the crunchy pretzels, creamy filling and tart berries is totally irresistible!!
While strawberry pretzel salad is a holiday staple for Memorial Day or Fourth of July, it’s perfect to make for barbecues, potlucks and parties year round.
Watch our video tutorial to see how to make strawberry pretzel salad:
You can make this dessert up to one day in advance. It doesn’t last longer because the strawberry jello starts to bleed red color into the filling, read: not attractive.
One thing is keep in mind is you definitely need fresh, ripe strawberries for this recipe to get the gorgeous red color on top.
How to make strawberry pretzel salad
This dessert requires a bit of effort to make, since there are three layers. The first layer is the pretzel crust, which is made with your favorite crushed pretzels, melted butter and sugar:
This bakes for just 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven – the only baking step in this otherwise no bake recipe.
The next step is making the cream cheese filling. If you want to make it lighter, you can use light cream cheese.
Cool whip is ideal because of its stability and stiffness. If you love homemade whipped cream, however, you can whip until stiff and fold in some powdered sugar for extra support.
Once the pretzel crust has cooled to room temperature, you can spread the filling on top. Try to get it as even and flat as possible with the help of a spatula.
And last but not least is the strawberry jello layer on top. Simply dissolve strawberry jello powder with boiling water to make liquid jello. Then slice up fresh strawberries and combine into the cooled jello.
The final step is putting the strawberry jello layer on top of the filling. It’s worth doing it slowly, so as to not upset the filling.
It looks a bit like a crime scene with jello pooling over the filling 🙂 You can either place the strawberries down one by one, or pour them onto a large spoon.
All you need to do now is give it a final chill in the refrigerator. Make sure your shelf is flat, and you’ll be good to go.
When it’s time to serve, use a sharp knife to cut through the layers, and a stiff spatula to scrape up the pretzel crust from the baking dish. Enjoy!
Try our Strawberry Jello Cake for another delicious jello dessert: