1package16 oz. frozen sliced strawberries, thawed (do not drain) OR 1 pound sliced fresh strawberries
1large box6 oz. strawberry Jell-O
1/4th cup sugar
Cream Cheese Layer
1brick8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4th cup sugar
1small tub8 oz. whipped topping, thawed
Before Getting Started
Preheat oven to 350.
Get out 9 x 13 baking Dish.
Make room in your fridge for 9 x 13 baking dish.
Thaw, but do not drain, strawberries. This is easily done by leaving in fridge the night prior to making this recipe. If your strawberries are whole, slice.
Make Strawberry LayerStart with the strawberry layer as the Jell-O and Strawberries need some cold time to partially set in the fridge for the last layer.
Add 2 cups boiling water and boxed strawberry Jell-O to a mixing bowl and mix well until dissolved, which takes about about 3 minutes hand mixing.
Stir in sliced and thawed strawberries (along with any juice) and combine.
Refrigerate Jell-O and strawberries until partially set but not all the way set. It should be "goopy" and be like egg whites before using with last layer.
Make Pretzel Layer
For the crust, start by crushing pretzels - a rolling pin with pretzels in a gallon sized bag (or the bottom of a cup) works great. Make sure pretzels are bite sized pieces (see images in blog post for demonstration on size).
Mix crushed pretzels, 1/4 cup sugar and melted butter in a mixing bowl until combined and press pretzel crust into a 9 x 13 baking dish, taking care to cover the bottom dish in a thin layer as much as possible.
Bake pretzel layer for 10 minutes on 350 and let cool completely.
It is best to place this in fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Make Cream Cheese LayerIt is important to note that the pan and crust should be 100% cooled before moving on, otherwise the cream cheese layer will MELT causing holes for the Jell-O to go through, which will still taste fine but look like a mess.
In a mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and milk and beat all ingredients well.
Fold whipped topping into cream cheese mixture and combine.
Assemble Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Spread cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled pretzel crust layer. The back of a spoon works well.
It is important to spread cream cheese mixture edge to edge so jello doesn't find holes to drip between cream cheese layer and crust.
Place casserole dish into fridge to set cream cheese corners for 10 minutes.
Gently spoon strawberry Jell-O mixture on top of cream cheese layer and return to refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely set and firm.
Slice into squares and serve.
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 middle layer evenly.
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!