4.63 from 8 votes

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

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Introducing the best strawberry pretzel salad recipe! This easy pretzel salad combines a delightfully crunchy pretzel base with a creamy cheese layer and is topped off with a refreshing strawberry jello layer.

Regarded as one of the best Jell-O salads, it effortlessly combines sweet and salty flavors, making it an instant family favorite and the perfect holiday dessert.

Why Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a Must-Try Layered Dessert!

This charming dessert salad seamlessly combines frozen strawberries‘ juiciness, Cool Whip’s light fluffiness, and the unmistakable crunch of a salty pretzel crust. It’s no wonder that among perfect dessert salads, the Strawberry Pretzel Salad stands out as a fan favorite.

With its distinct layers, this dessert is the perfect sweet side dish that has graced many a family gathering, making it a memorable part of our meals together.

Important tip: Remember to give this strawberry pretzel dessert time to set before serving. The jell-o mixture needs time to set, but this classic recipe is worth the wait!

Ingredients

Ready to give this retro recipe a go?

  • Frozen sliced strawberries: Thaw, but remember, don’t drain out the juices.
  • Strawberry Jell-O: This gives us our lovely top layer.
  • Boiling water: To mix with the Jell-O.
  • Salted Pretzels: For that irresistible crunch.
  • Granulated sugar: for sweetness.
  • Butter: To help set the pretzel layer.
  • Cream cheese is the star of our creamy middle layer.
  • Milk: To smooth things out.
  • Cool Whip Whipped topping: For a fluffy finish.

Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad Recipe

Preparation Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Ensure there’s space in your fridge for a 9×13 casserole dish.

Strawberry Layer:

  1. Prepare Strawberries: If using whole frozen strawberries, slice them. Otherwise, thaw the FROZEN sliced strawberries in the fridge. Retain all the juices; do not drain.
  2. Mix Jell-O: In a bowl, add boiling water to a 6 oz. box of Strawberry Jell-O. Stir until dissolved, about 3 minutes.
  3. Combine Strawberry Gelatin with Strawberries: Mix in the sliced strawberries.
  4. Refrigerate: Place the mixture in the fridge until it starts to thicken but not completely harden (similar to the consistency of egg whites).
Strawberries and strawberry jello as the top layer for the dessert salad

Salty-Sweet Pretzel Crust Layer:

  1. Crush Pretzels: Place pretzels in a gallon-sized bag. Use a rolling pin or the bottom of a glass cup to crush them into bite-sized pieces. A food processor or electric mixer will likely turn pretzels into dust, so it’s better to do it manually. 
  2. Mix: In a bowl, combine crushed pretzels, white sugar, and melted butter.
  3. Form Crust: Press the pretzel mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, ensuring even coverage.
  4. Bake: Place in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Once baked, let the crust cool completely.
crushed pretzels, sugar, and butter for a delicious salty crust

Creamy Layer:

  1. Mix: In a bowl, combine a softened package of cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and milk. Beat or whisk until smooth.
  2. Add Whipped Topping: Fold in the whipped topping using a spatula and mix until well combined.
cream cheese layer with cream cheese, sugar, and whipped cream mixed

Assembling the Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad:

  1. Once the crunchy pretzel crust is completely cool, evenly spread the cream cheese mixture. Ensure the creamy filling reaches the edges to prevent the jello mixture from seeping through.
  2. Chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
  3. Gently layer the semi-set strawberry mixture on top of the cream cheese layer.
  4. Refrigerate the assembled dish for at least 4 hours or until the Jell-o layer is firm.
  5. Once this classic strawberry pretzel salad is set, slice it into squares and serve. Enjoy!
Easy Strawberry Jello Salad with Pretzel Crust

How long can you store Old-Fashioned Strawberry Pretzel Salad in the refrigerator?

Strawberry Jello Salad is most enjoyable within 1-2 days of preparation. After that, the pretzels in the base begin to lose their crunch. It’ll still taste great, but the texture will change.

Is it possible to prepare the Strawberry Jello Salad in advance?

Absolutely!

Feel free to prepare this salad the evening before your event and allow it to chill overnight. However, remember that the longer it sits in the refrigerator, the softer the pretzel pieces at the base will become. Not everyone loves a soggy crust.

What’s the best way to serve Jello Pretzel Salad?

For the best experience, serve Jello Salad chilled straight from the refrigerator. This ensures the layers remain distinct, and the pretzel base retains some crunch.

For many, this Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad isn’t just a holiday side dish; it’s a cherished family tradition often shared at church potlucks, bringing warmth and nostalgia to every gathering.

Can I use other fruits besides strawberries?

Certainly! While strawberries are a classic for this salad, you can experiment with other fruits like raspberries, mandarin oranges, blueberries, or a mix of your favorite frozen berries.

Just ensure the fruits pair well with the sweet and salty flavors of the dish.

Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad Recipe with 3 layers of delicious dessert salad

More strawberry recipes to explore!

After savoring the taste of our Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad, dive into more strawberry-inspired creations.

Whether you’re in the mood for a tangy Strawberry Cranberry Dip or the creamy indulgence of Strawberry Fruit Dip, there’s something for everyone.

Don’t miss out on the heavenly Layered Strawberry Angel Food Cake or the moist and flavorful Strawberry Poke Cake. And for breakfast enthusiasts, our Strawberry French Toast Bake is a game-changer.

Dive into these amazing recipes and let strawberries take center stage in your kitchen!

4.63 from 8 votes

Strawberry Pretzel Salad (With Jell-O)


Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad is a three-layered dessert. It starts with a crunchy sweet, and salty pretzel base, followed by a creamy cream cheese layer, and is topped with a strawberry jello that includes real strawberries. Great dessert side dish choice for holidays, potlucks, and family get-togethers.

Equipment

  • 9 x 13 Casserole Dish

Ingredients
 

Strawberry Layer

  • 16 oz. frozen sliced strawberries thawed (do not drain) OR 1 pound sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 6 oz. strawberry Jell-O

Pretzel Layer

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 th cup sugar

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 1/4th cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip whipped topping thawed

Instructions

Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Dish:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Ensure a 9 x 13 baking dish is available and make space for it in the fridge.

Strawberry Layer

  • Prepare the Jell-O Mixture: In a mixing bowl, add 2 cups boiling water and the boxed strawberry Jell-O. Mix thoroughly until dissolved, about 3 minutes by hand.
  • Add Strawberries: Incorporate the sliced, thawed strawberries, including their juice, into the Jell-O mixture.
  • Chill Mixture: Place the strawberry-Jell-O mixture in the fridge until it reaches a consistency similar to egg whites but not completely set.

Pretzel Layer

  • Crush Pretzels: Put pretzels in a gallon-sized bag and use a rolling pin or the bottom of a cup to crush them into bite-sized pieces.
  • Prepare the Crust: In a mixing bowl, combine crushed pretzels, 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter. Mix until combined.
  • Evenly press this mixture into the bottom of the 9 x 13 baking dish to form a thin crust layer.
  • Bake and Cool: Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely. For quicker cooling, place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

Cream Cheese Layer

  • Ensure Pan is Cooled: The pan and crust must be fully cooled before proceeding.
  • Prepare Cream Cheese Mixture: In a mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and milk. Beat these ingredients until well combined. Gently fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture using a spatula.

Assembling the Strawberry Pretzel Salad

  • Spread Cream Cheese Layer: Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled pretzel crust, ensuring it reaches the edges to prevent Jell-O from seeping through. IMPORTANT.
  • Chill: Place the dish in the fridge for 10 minutes to slightly firm the cream cheese layer.
  • Add Strawberry Layer: Gently pour and layer the strawberry Jell-O mixture over the cream cheese layer.
  • Final Chill: Return the baking dish to the fridge and allow it to set for about 4 hours or until firmly set.
  • Serve: Once set, slice the salad into squares and enjoy!

Notes

Cream Cheese Layer: It is fine to double the cream cheese layer, which provides a really thick center. Just make sure you have a deep pan and spread the middle layer evenly. It must go edge to edge, or the gelatin will seep through before it’s set.
Can other Fruits be used? Absolutely! Instead of strawberries, try Raspberry or mixed fruit!
If you do not like pretzels, try crushed-up graham crackers instead!
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 184mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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4.63 from 8 votes

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4 Comments

  1. I think it would be helpful if you stress the importance of spreading the cream cheese layer all the way to the edge, leaving no holes for the jello mixture to drip into and ruin the pretzel layer. I cannot tell you how man times this detail has ruined this dish for people, myself included. Great recipe otherwise though. Thanks!!

    1. Abby, thanks for pointing this out. I will add into the article!

      Trisha

  2. If the strawberries layer is made first, does it not jell in the bowl before being poured on top?

    1. Hi Deborah, I have never had an issue with it oversetting. You want it to set a bit (not like super hard, but soft set like egg whites) so it isnt too liquidy. Otherwise it runs more risk to get under the cool whipped topping and mix everything together. I have updated the post to reflect that so there is no confusion. I will work on a video after our bad weather passes so its more visible in the post!
      Trisha

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