Strawberry Pretzel Salad really isn’t a salad at all, it is an easy make-ahead dessert recipe.
A perfect blend of flavors; sweet and salty and pretty hard to resist. It starts with a buttery pretzel crust topped with a rich cream cheese layer, and fresh strawberries in Jell-o on top.
While it can be served as a side, it’s more like a dessert and since it’s best made ahead of time, it’s great for potlucks, parties, and of course holidays!
Ingredients for Strawberry Pretzel Salad
This old-fashioned treat is called pretzel “salad” but really it’s a layered dessert that has a no-bake cheesecake layer and is topped with fresh berries and Jello.
- Crust: crushed salted pretzels, butter, sugar
- Creamy Filling: This is a cheesecake-like layer made with cream cheese, sugar, and whipped topping (such as Cool Whip).
- Strawberry Topping: strawberry jello, sliced fresh strawberries
You can use frozen strawberries if you can’t find fresh ones (thaw and drain first). You could also substitute or add other fresh fruit. Raspberries or peaches would taste great in this recipe.
How To Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Strawberry jello pretzel salad comes together in three easy steps. Be sure to chill each step between so they set.
- Crust: Combine crushed pretzels, sugar, and butter and press into the bottom of a pan (per the recipe below).
- Creamy Filling: Whip cream cheese and sugar, and fold in whipped topping. Spread over the pretzel layer and refrigerate until firm.
- Strawberry Topping: Combine jello and water with strawberries and pour over the creamy layer.
Refrigerate overnight. When ready to enjoy, cut into squares and serve!
Tips for a Perfect Dessert
- Cool layers: Allow each layer to cool/chill before adding the next layer.
- Protect the crust: Spread the cream cheese layer all the way to the edge to prevent the pretzel crust from becoming soggy.
- Cool Jello: Allow the Jell-o to cool down to room temperature before pouring on the fresh strawberries so the heat doesn’t wilt them.
- Use whipped topping: Whipped topping is a more stable ingredient that sets more firmly. Whipped cream can ‘weep’.
To Make Pretzel Salad Ahead of Time
Strawberry pretzel salad is best when made at least half a day in advance (making it a great dessert or potluck dish).
It needs a minimum of four hours to set up, or preferably longer. It will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator.
This dessert does not freeze well.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- 2 cups crushed pretzels
- ¾ cup butter melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 8 ounces Cool Whip defrosted
- 6 ounces Strawberry Jell-O
- 2 cups boiling water
- 4 cups sliced strawberries
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Combine crushed pretzels, butter, and sugar in a bowl and press into the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Bake 10 minutes and cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer on medium until fluffy. Gently fold in Cool Whip. Spread mixture evenly over the cooled crust and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- In a large mixing bowl combine Jell-O and boiling water until jello is dissolved. Allow mixture to sit at room temperature until completely cooled.
- Place sliced strawberries over the cream cheese mixture. Pour cooled Jell-O overtop.
- Refrigerate until firmly set, at least 4-6 hours or overnight.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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