The Best Strawberry Pretzel Salad
This Strawberry Pretzel Salad has mouthwatering layers of crushed pretzels and cheesecake topped with sliced strawberries in jello. It’s the perfect no-bake dessert you can make ahead of time for a party or holiday with friends and family. Plus video tutorial!
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.
You can make this dessert up to one day in advance. It doesn’t last longer because the strawberry jello will start to bleed red color into the filling. One thing is to 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°F 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.
Watch how to make strawberry pretzel salad:
The Best Strawberry Pretzel Salad (Video recipe)
- 3 1/2 cups pretzels, crushed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 8 oz cool whip
- 1 lb fresh strawberries , hulled and sliced
- 2 cups boiling water
- 6 oz strawberry jello powder
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside a 9x13 inch glass baking dish.
- Place pretzels in a ziplock bag, seal and pound with a rolling pin to crush lightly.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add in the crushed pretzels and mix to coat.
- Press the pretzel mixture into the baking dish, and then bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- In a medium bowl, combine jello powder with boiling water. Stir slowly for one minute until dissolved and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.
- Using a large spatula, fold in the cool whip until evenly blended.
- Once the baked pretzels are cool, spread the cream cheese mixture evenly on top until flat across the pan. Then chill for at least 30 minutes.
- While chilling, you can rinse, hull and slice the strawberries.
- Gently place the sliced strawberries onto the filling in a single layer. Add any remaining strawberries on top as a partial second layer.
- Once the jello mixture is room temperature, dribble on top of the strawberries using the back of a spoon for even distribution.
- Chill for at least two hours. Serve and enjoy!
Looking for more strawberry desserts?
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