Strawberry Pretzel Salad
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Old-fashioned Strawberry Pretzel Salad has mouthwatering layers of pretzel crust, filling of cream cheese mixture, topped with fresh strawberries in jello. This strawberry pretzel dessert is a perfect summer dessert!
WHY DO THEY CALL IT STRAWBERRY PRETZEL SALAD
Strawberry pretzel salad is actually not a salad but a 3-layer dessert that tastes like a no-bake cheesecake. It’s an iconic southern tradition and has been called pretzel salad since the 1960s. It’s also called strawberry pretzel dessert, strawberry pretzel pie or pretzel jello salad.
Whatever you call them, it’s a southern classic that’s creamy and crunchy, with the perfect balance between sweet and salty flavors.
STRAWBERRY PRETZEL DESSERT MADE WITH 3 LAYERS
Pretzel salad requires just a few simple ingredients, but there is some technique involved since there are three layers. Let’s go over some of the basics:
Pretzel Crust: Made with crushed pretzels, melted butter and sugar. Bakes for 10 minutes in a 350°F oven.
Cream cheese filling: Cool whip is ideal because of its stability and stiffness, but you can substitute with homemade whipped cream.
Strawberry Jello: Simply dissolve strawberry gelatin with boiling water to make liquid jello. Add fresh strawberries and combine into the cooled jello for the topping.
All you need to do now is give it a final chill in the refrigerator.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST PRETZEL SALAD
- Use fresh, ripe strawberries for this recipe to get the gorgeous red color on top.
- Spread your cream cheese filling all the way to the edges of your pan and separate the pretzel layer completely from the jello layer, as you can see from the video below.
- When you place your assembled strawberry pretzel salad in the fridge, make sure your shelf is flat, and you’ll be good to go.
- It’s a great make-ahead dish for parties, and you can make it in advance for up to 2 days, as longer than that the strawberry jello will start to bleed red color into the filling.
RASPBERRY PRETZEL SALAD
You can easily turn this recipe into raspberry pretzel salad:
- Swap strawberry jello powder for raspberry jello powder;
- Swap strawberries for raspberries.
While strawberry pretzel salad is a holiday staple for Memorial Day or Fourth of July, it’s perfect to make for BBQs, potlucks and parties year round.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY PRETZEL SALAD
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- 3 1/2 cups pretzels, crushed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 8 oz cool whip, or whipped cream (stiffly whipped)
Strawberry Jello Topping
- 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!
Please read our nutrition disclaimer.
More strawberry desserts:
View all strawberry recipes
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Hello, My family and I love the recipe. What am I doing wrong? My pretzel crust is sticking. Really hard to get out of dish…..HELP
Hi Suzanne, Thanks for your comment. I honestly can’t think why it would stick unless the butter sugar mixture burned somehow. I’d recommend sliding a metal pie server or spatula underneath to dislodge. Hope that helps!
can you make this strawberry pretzel salad in a pie plate?
Hi Lynne, Yes although you’ll need to adjust the quantities accordingly. Thanks and good luck! 🙂
Should the crust stick together or still be crumbly after baking ?
Hi Michelle, It can still be a bit crumbly, no problem 🙂 Hope you enjoy!
How early can you prepare it before you serve? A day or 2 before?
Hi Jennifer, Thanks for your question – up to one day maximum, as the red color in the jello will start to bleed into the filling after that. The flavor improves with time however 🙂
Crazy question, is there a way to speed set the jello besides freezing it?
Hi Slynnzeef, It’s a common question! Besides freezing, the other way is to put in a few ice cubes when adding the cold water. Hope that helps! 🙂
I am very confused cause that is a family recipe of mine
@Ember I think it’s actually a fairly common recipe!
There is no Cool Whip where I live… can I use “natural” whipped cream?
Hi Sara, Thanks for asking. Absolutely you can use whipping cream, as long as it’s whipped until stiff and firm. Enjoy 🙂
can I serve it the next day
Absolutely, just keep it refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap. Enjoy 🙂
It’s so beautiful and really yummy. Everyone loved it!
Can I use frozen strawberries?
You could try but I don’t recommend it because they won’t look as pretty
I prefer the frozen sweetened strawberries e cause todays store bought strawberries are hard and tart. Use frozen and your jello will set up faster also
Hi Ronda, Agreed that using fresh out of season is not worth it if they’re hard. I find that frozen can be runny when they thaw but use whatever works for you! Thanks for your comment and enjoy!
Approx. how many bags, 1, 1-1/2, of pretzels?
Hi Lynne, one large bag of pretzels will do it Thanks 🙂
Is the amount of pretzels before or after being crushed?
Great point, after crushing…