Strawberry Pretzel Salad really isn’t a salad at all; it is an easy make-ahead dessert recipe.

A buttery pretzel crust topped is topped with a cheesecake-like layer, and strawberry topping.

This dish has everything: sweet, salty, creamy, and tangy.

piece of Strawberry Pretzel Salad on a plate with a fork

Ingredients for Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This old-fashioned treat is called pretzel “salad,” but really it’s a layered dessert, perfect to serve for Thanksgiving dinner or at Christmas.

  • Crust: crushed salted pretzels, butter, sugar
  • Creamy Filling: a cheesecake-like layer made with cream cheese, sugar, and whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)
  • Strawberry Topping: strawberry gelatin, 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. Change up the flavor with raspberries and raspberry Jell-O or peaches and orange Jell-o.

a pretzel crust in a 9x13 pan  with strawberries beside it

How to Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This strawberry pretzel salad recipe comes together in three easy steps. Be sure to chill each step between so they set.

  1. Crust: Combine the crust ingredients and press into the bottom of a baking dish (per the recipe below).
  2. Creamy Filling: Whip cream cheese and sugar, and fold in whipped topping. Spread over the pretzel layer and refrigerate until firm.
  3. Strawberry Topping: Combine strawberry jello and water with strawberries and pour over the creamy layer.
  4. 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’.
  • Frozen berries: Thaw and drain frozen strawberries if using.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad served on a plate

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 4 hours to set up, or preferably longer. It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

This dessert does not freeze well.

More Sweet Salads

(that aren’t really salads at all!)

Did you make this Strawberry Pretzel Salad? Leave us a rating and a comment below!

piece of Strawberry Pretzel Salad on a plate with a fork
4.96 from 273 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a family favorite. This easy make-ahead dessert is a delicious combo of sweet and salty, creamy and crunchy!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 35 minutes
Servings 12 Servings
buy hollys book


Pretzel Crust

  • 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

Strawberry Topping

  • 6 ounces Strawberry Jell-O
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups sliced strawberries


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Combine crushed pretzels, melted 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 stir 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.



Do not follow the instructions on the Jell-o box. Ensure the Jell-o is the larger 6 oz size box.
The pretzels are crushed first and then measured. Use a food processor or a rolling pin to crush the pretzels. 
For easy removal from the pan, the dish can be lined with parchment paper.
4.96 from 273 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 244 | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 274mg | Potassium: 94mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 28.2mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Strawberry Pretzel Salad on a plate with a title
Strawberry Pretzel Salad in a plate with writing
Strawberry Pretzel Salad in a casserole dish and a piece of Strawberry Pretzel Salad on a plate with a title
piece of Strawberry Pretzel Salad on a plate with text


, , , , ,

Like our recipes?
Follow us on Pinterest!

Follow us on Pinterest

Recipes you'll love

About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
See more posts by Holly

Follow Holly on social media:

pinterest facebook twitter instagram

Free eBook!

Subscribe to receive weekly recipes and get a FREE Bonus e-book: Quick & Easy Weeknight Meals!

You can unsubscribe anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of emails you receive.

Latest & Greatest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. I made this with gluten free pretzels. I also decreased the amount of sugar in the cream cheese layer and used powdered sugar in place of granulated in that layer. It is vey good, especially since it has been years since I have eaten this salad because of the gluten. Gluten free pretzels do substitute easily in this recipe. I think they are a bit harder/crunchier than regular pretzels, so I crushed them in my food processer.5 stars

  2. Following the directions, and exact measurements, it seems like the one featured in the picture has doubled ingredients, except for the crust. I wish that would have been made clear and visible near the recipe.3 stars

  3. When I make this my jello with the strawberries slide off it doesn’t seem to set on top of the cream cheese row? Would you know what I’m doing wrong?

    1. Are you allowing the layers to completely chill in between? Are you using whipped topping or whipped cream?

  4. I love this salad. Any substitutions for the pretzel crust? Trying to reduce the carbs. I already substitute for the sugar free options. Just trying what I can do for the crust. Thank you.

    1. I have only tried this recipe as written so I can’t say for sure Barrie. Maybe another reader has tried something and has a suggestion for you!

  5. I have been making this for 30+ ears now, both regular and sugar free. If you can get wild strawberry jello, use that for a much better flavor, in my opinion. If you want to try a different flavor, use raspberries and raspberry jello or canned pineapple and pineapple jello. Both are great, too. For the raspberry flavor, my daughter made some whipped coconut milk and used that instead of Cool Whip.5 stars

  6. The jello layer was awful. Super rubbery and I followed recipe to the letter. Not sure what happened but won’t be making this again1 star

  7. Hi, Should it be .6oz for the box of Jello? The notes say the 6 oz. large box but I think that they come in .3oz and .6oz. Thanks!

    1. Actually that looks to be the difference in the regular and the sugar free! So I guess .6 would work similarly.

  8. Can you make this without the sugar in the cream cheese mixture? I don’t like any of those sugar substitutes either. I’ve tried them all! Will the texture still be the same if you just do the cream cheese and cool whip?

  9. I made this yesterday and when I spread the cream cheese mixture over the pretzels, the pretzels started to move and mix with my cream cheese. What did I do wrong or what is the best way to spread mixture?

    1. Sorry to hear that, Kim! Once cooled it should be firm enough to spread the mixture on top but some tips to help: make sure the cream cheese was beaten until fluffy before folding in the cool whip, this will help keep the mixture light and spreadable, using a spoon place small dollops all over the pretzel crust to avoid having to spread it too far and disrupting the crust, and use a light pressure spreading it over the crust. Hope that helps!

  10. I typically use unsalted butter when cooking, but since you didn’t specify… do you use unsalted or salted butter when you make this?

    1. Either will work in this recipe. I typically use unsalted since the pretzels are salty but I don’t think you’d notice a diffference.

  11. Love it!! I’ve made this hundreds of times and it’s always a fan favorite but why does the prep time say 25 minutes? The prep time is at Least 1.5 hours.5 stars

    1. Hi Kim, thanks for your feedback. The prep time does not include the chill time but you can speed your prep time up when you go to assemble this recipe by premaking your crust. Hope that helps.

    1. That sounds like such a fun idea, Shawna. We haven’t tried prepping this recipe that way but would love to hear how it turns out!

  12. The biggest hit at our 2021 Christmas party! I knew it’d be good, but had no idea it’d be that good! Toddlers and seniors alike lined up for seconds.5 stars

  13. Everyone said it was delicious. I used no sugar strawberry Jell-O and low sugar Cool Whip but after I ate some I thought it needed to be sweeter and more cool whip to be creamier. There was no crunch from the pretzels. They had absorbed moisture. I also added nuts between the creamy layer in the strawberry Jell-O layer but there was not much crunch there either. I also wish I had more Cool Whip to have as a garnish for the top. It was better after it came to room temperature.

  14. Delicious!!! I LOVED the fresh strawberries instead of the frozen ones. I did use about 5 frozen strawberries to set my jello. Once it was set I threw them out. I also used 1 1/2 cream cheese. I set each phase for one hour in the refrigerator. Turned out perfectly, crust and all. Wish I could show pictures. 5 stars

  15. While the taste is good, you would have to use an 8×8 pan or double the filling to get it to look like above. My crust and filling didn’t even make it close to half way up the pan. I will make note for next time though and try again.3 stars

    1. Glad you enjoyed the taste Karina! In the pictures, we did make it in a 9×13, but an 8×8 or 9×9 would work too.

  16. When making the Strawberry Pretzel Salad, making the jello, the directions on the Jello box says add 2cups boiling water and also 2 cups cold water. Do we follow the Jello directions? You recipe says add just the 2cups boiling water.

  17. Smelled so good assembling, wish me luck. Couldn’t get into the kitchen until exactly 4 hours, put in freezer during steps.
    Has anyone tried putting a layer of crushed pineapple in between layers?5 stars

    1. I used half pineapple juice and half water when making the jello. If you want to include crushed pineapple, I’d drain really well and mix it in the cream cheese/cool whip mixture (kinda like a pineapple delight dessert).

      1. Can these be made in muffins pans/tins with each lined with cupcake liners? If so, any changes to the measurements or directions?

      2. I haven’t tried these in muffin pans but I think it would work. I am not sure if you’d be able to peel the liner away but I have recently been buying parchment muffin liners and nothing sticks to them! Another suggestion is to use the foil liners and your guests/family can eat them directly out of the foil liners since they’ll hold up better!