Strawberry Pretzel Salad square
From the sweet and salty pretzel crust to the layers of cream cheese and strawberry jello, this is a creamy and delicious dessert dish that is perfect for any potluck or party!
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This strawberry pretzel salad is an old fashioned dessert that never gets old! From the sweet and salty pretzel crust to the layers of cream cheese and strawberry jello, it’s a creamy and delicious dessert dish that is perfect for any potluck or party!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad on a white plate with cool whip and a strawberry on top


What is Strawberry Pretzel Salad?

Strawberry pretzel salad is actually not so much a salad, it is more of a layered dessert recipe. I am a sucker for sweet and salty combination desserts and with the addition of cream cheese and fresh strawberry fruit flavors, it is absolutely a classic summer dessert!

To start, you’ll use pretzels, sugar, and melted butter to make a crunchy sweet and salty crust. Then comes the creamy layer; a mix of cream cheese and cool whip. Finally, it’s topped off with the fruity flavor of strawberry jello mixed with freshly sliced strawberries. 

This recipe is so simple to make. It’s a perfect ending to a family meal or a great dish to pass at a potluck or gathering. People always rave about this dessert. If only they knew just how quick and easy it is. It’s cool and refreshing, yet creamy and rich! The perfect combination for any dessert.

Slice of Strawberry Pretzel Salad on a spatula with a baking dish in the background

What is Pretzel Salad made of?

  • 2 ½ cups of pretzels, crushed
  • 1 ½ cups sugar, divided
  • ¾ cups butter, melted
  • 12 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 12 ounces cool whip (thawed in the refrigerator)
  • 3 to 4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 6 ounces strawberry jello (2 packages 6-ounces total) note: you can use sugar-free if you like
  • 2 cups water, boiled
step 1 make the crust

Jello Pretzel Salad substitutions and additions

Jello: If you like, you could change the flavor of this salad altogether, by switching up the jello flavor. Some other jello flavors that would be delicious in a pretzel salad include cherry, raspberry, strawberry banana, or lime.

Fruit: If you’re changing up the jello flavor in your recipe, you might also want to change up the fruit. Strawberries would still be great with strawberry-banana jello, but if you’re changing the jello to a flavor like raspberry you might want to use raspberries in place of the strawberries.

step 2 spread the cream cheese layer on top of the pretzel crust

How to make this Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe

  1. Preheat oven: to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the crust: Combine in a medium bowl, crushed pretzels, sugar, and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Make the Jello: In a medium bowl, mix boiling water and jello. Stir until jello is completely dissolved. Stir in sliced strawberries. Chill in the fridge until the jello is partially set (for about 1 hour.)
  4. Make the Cream Cheese Layer: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, remaining sugar, and vanilla, until well combined. Fold in the cool whip.
  5. Layer: Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the pretzel crust, (make sure it completely covers the crust and touches the sides of the pan). Let chill in the fridge for a few minutes)
  6. Layer the Jello: Carefully pour or spoon the strawberry jello over the top of the cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate until the jello and dish are firm (about 3-4 hours).
step 3 spread the jello and strawberry layer on top

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert tips

  • To crush your pretzels and easy way, place them in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin, wooden spoon, or your hand to crush them!
  • Be sure to spread the cream cheese layer all of the ways to the edges of the pretzel crust. This will keep the jello from seeping through and making the crust soggy or mushy.
  • When serving your strawberry pretzel salad, if you have any extra cool whip you can top each serving with an extra dollop of whip cream.
  • This dish is meant to be served cold so the longer it can be in the refrigerator the better. You can keep it up to 3 days in the fridge.
  • We always prefer using fresh fruit, but you can use frozen strawberries if you are in a crunch!

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert FAQs

Where is strawberry pretzel salad from?

Strawberry pretzel salad is a dessert that is believed to have originated in the southern United States, specifically in the Midwest region. It is a popular dish for potlucks, family gatherings, and holiday celebrations.

Make ahead Jello Pretzel Salad – Can it be Made Ahead of Time?

We love make-ahead desserts and this one is perfect if you are entertaining! Strawberry Pretzel Salad is better the longer it chills, so it is great to make the day or even 2 days before entertaining!

step 5 chill slice and serve the Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Tips for the Perfect Crust

To achieve a stable and delicious crust for your strawberry pretzel salad, please follow these important tips.

  • Sufficient binding: Make sure you’re using the correct amount of melted butter or other binding ingredients, like sugar, in the crust mixture. Too little butter can lead to a crumbly crust that doesn’t stick together.
  • Pressing the crust: When making a pretzel crust, it’s important to press the mixture down firmly and evenly to ensure it stays intact when you slice and serve the salad.
  • Overbaking the crust: If the crust is overbaked, it can become too dry and crumbly, causing it to fall apart when you add the layers on top. To prevent this, keep a close eye on the crust while baking and remove it from the oven when it’s just lightly golden.
  • Proper cooling: Allowing the crust to cool completely before adding the other layers is crucial. If the crust is still warm, the filling may seep into it and cause it to become soggy or fall apart when cutting.
  • Too much moisture in the filling: If the filling layers are too moist, they can cause the crust to become soggy and fall apart. Make sure your cream cheese layer is thick enough to act as a barrier between the crust and the strawberry layer and drain any excess liquid from the strawberries before adding them to the salad.

How to store Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad

To store strawberry pretzel salad properly, follow these steps:

  1. Cover: Once the salad has set, cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to protect it from absorbing odors and drying out.
  2. Refrigerate: Store the covered salad in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and prevent the layers from becoming too soft or melting.
  3. Container: If you need to transport the salad or prefer not to store it in its original dish, transfer it to an airtight container before refrigerating. This will help preserve its freshness and prevent it from drying out.
  4. Storage duration: Strawberry pretzel salad is best enjoyed within 2-3 days of preparation. Over time, the crust may start to soften and the flavors may diminish.

When you’re ready to serve the salad again, simply remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Make sure to put it back in the fridge (or freezer) in between servings, you are bringing this to a potluck or serving it at a gathering. If the cream cheese layer melts, it will lose its form and become a huge mess.

How to Freeze Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Freezing strawberry pretzel salad is possible, but texture and quality may change.

To freeze, use a freezer-safe dish, set in the refrigerator, wrap tightly, and freeze up to one month. To serve, thaw in the fridge, blot excess moisture, and let it sit at room temperature briefly. Note that it’s best enjoyed fresh within a few days, stored in the refrigerator.

More Strawberry Desserts

Strawberry Crisp | Skinny Strawberry Cake | Strawberry Shortcake Trifle | No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake | Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips | Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries | Strawberry Lemonade Cream Cheese Cookies | Strawberry Fluff Salad | Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

4.93 from 38 votes
Strawberry Pretzel Salad square

Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad

Serves — 16
From the sweet and salty pretzel crust to the layers of cream cheese and strawberry jello, this is a creamy and delicious dessert dish that is perfect for any potluck or party!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • cups pretzels crushed
  • cups sugar ​divided
  • ¾ cup butter melted
  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 12 ounces cool whip
  • 3-4 cups fresh strawberries sliced
  • 6 ounces strawberry gelatin 2 packages – 6 ounces total
  • 2 cups water boiled

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, combine crushed pretzels, 3⁄4 cup sugar, and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the 9×13 pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
  • (TIP: Crush pretzels by putting them in a ziploc bag and using a rolling pin, wooden spoon, or your hands to crush them.)
  • In a medium bowl, add the 2 cups of boiled water to the jello and stir until jello is completely dissolved. Stir in sliced strawberries. Chill in fridge until the jello is partially set (about an hour).
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, remaining 3⁄4 cup sugar, and the vanilla until well combined. Fold in the cool whip.
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the pretzel crust, making sure it completely covers the crust and touches the sides of the pan. (This will help “block” the jello from going into the crust and making it soggy.) Place in the fridge until chilled.
  • Carefully pour or spoon the strawberry jello over the top of the cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate until the jello and dish is firm. (best is about 3-4 hours)

Jenn’s Notes

TIPS:
  • To crush your pretzels and easy way, place them in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin, wooden spoon, or your hand to crush them!
  • Be sure to spread the cream cheese layer all of the ways to the edges of the pretzel crust. This will keep the jello from seeping through and making the crust soggy or mushy.
  • When serving your strawberry pretzel salad, if you have any extra cool whip you can top each serving with an extra dollop of whip cream.
  • This dish is meant to be served cold so the longer it can be in the refrigerator the better. You can keep it up to 3 days in the fridge.

Video

Nutrition Info

Calories: 351kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 369mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 592IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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Comments

  1. The layout of this recipe and details could have been written better. I found myself going back to the ingredients or recipe ingredients to read things like: finely crushed pretzels (had to look at the pic to see how crushed they should be), layering notes should be in the steps, it’s not 1.50 hours total time (3-4 hrs to chill after prepared), sugar divided should includ 3/4 c for pretzel crust and 3/4 for crème mixture, pressing the pretzel crust firmly should be in the steps, etc. preparing this recipe had me scrolling all over the place the entire time. My frustrations of the written recipe brought me to the comments. The recipe will taste good if you don’t mess it up because you read something after the fact. Also, 4 hours for cool whip in the fridge to thaw and the cool whip is just fine if 8 oz…there isn’t a 12 oz container.

  2. 5 stars
    not a quick dessert, but yummy. I only had 8oz. cream cheese & cool whip. it barely fit 9×13 pan

  3. 5 stars
    Made this recipe and realized that I only had 1 tsp. of vanilla so I substituted the remaining 1 tsp. with almond extract. Brought this to a whole new level! I highly recommend trying it with a 50/50 mix of vanilla and almond extract!

  4. Is the bottom layer supposed to have that much sugar I’ve seen other recipes with less sugar. Reason why I’m asking is that the bottom layer is kind of gritty….and yes only baked for 10 minutes.

  5. 4 stars
    I absolutely love this recipe …but I’m one of those who have trouble w/the crust falling apart….help!

    1. Oh No!! I am so sorry! I added some new tips to the post, but here is the condensed version:

      If your strawberry pretzel salad crust is falling off, consider these possible reasons:

      Insufficient binding: Ensure you’re using enough melted butter or other binding ingredients.
      Inadequate pressing: Press the crust mixture firmly and evenly into the pan.
      Overbaking: Avoid overbaking the crust, as it can become dry and crumbly.
      Insufficient cooling: Cool the crust completely before adding other layers.
      Excess moisture: Ensure the cream cheese layer is thick and strawberries are drained to prevent sogginess.
      Addressing these issues should help you achieve a stable, delicious crust.

  6. 3 stars
    6 ounces Jello( 2packages) can be interpreted two ways . I read it as 2…..6 oz. Packages!! 2 cups of boiling water is way too little for 2- 6 ounce boxes of jello . When the mixture starting setting up, it was obvious that 4 cups of water was needed. Very frustrating

    1. I see how that may be confusing. It is 2 packages total = 6 ounces total. So 2 packages of 3 ounces each. I will try to clarify it in the recipe. Thank you for your feedback. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    2. The box says one cup hot one cup cold PER BOX OF GELATIN so yes 4 cups in total 2 hot water 2 cup

  7. When i make the Strawberry pretzel salad i always have problems with the crust not firm.what am I doing wrong?