This Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe is a delicious dessert all year round, but especially great during the summer. It’s frugal and easy to make too, which makes it ideal for family parties, cookouts, and get-togethers. You’ll only need a few common ingredients that can be found easily in most grocery stores.
If you’ve been cooking (or eating!) for any period of time, chances are you are aware that not all “salad” recipes mean lettuce or savory flavors. There are lots of salad recipes that are actually desserts. Yes, DESSERTS! Sweet treats that often include fruit and other ingredients. Sometimes they include whipped topping (Cool Whip) or Jell-O — or perhaps both.
Many families have retro dessert salad recipes that have been passed down through the years. Often times, they are a tradition for holidays, cookouts, or get-togethers. For example, in my family, we have a Lime Jello Salad recipe that I make every Thanksgiving without fail. Sometimes Christmas too. That recipe was originally made by my grandmother-in-law who passed away in the mid-1990s.
But, while Lime Jello Salad is a tradition in our home, it’s actually not my favorite dessert salad. My favorite dessert salad is the one you’ll find in this post: Strawberry Pretzel Salad! Now only is it loaded with strawberries, but it’s super easy to make.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a creamy layered dessert that is a perfect combo of sweet, salty, and crunchy. It has a salty pretzel layer at the bottom, followed by a sweet creamy middle layer of whipped topping and cream cheese, and is topped with bright red strawberries and strawberry jello. It’s a nostalgic recipe that has stood the test of time — everyone continues to love it!
Strawberry Pretzel Salad Ingredients
The ingredients for this recipe are common grocery items that you’ll be able to find in most grocery stores. We have all of the ingredients listed below with our recommendation, but for the full recipe, scroll to the bottom of this post.
- Pretzels – we recommend mini pretzel twists or mini sticks. You’ll need about 8 ounces of pretzels to make 2 cups of crushed.
- Cream Cheese – you’ll want to use original block-style cream cheese; NOT the soft type cream cheese that comes in a tub, and not light, reduced-fat, or Neufchatel cheese.
- Whipped Topping – this means the whipped topping in a tub, like Cool-Whip, which will hold much better than whipped cream. This is usually found in the frozen food department. You’ll want to thaw in your refrigerator before using it.
- Strawberry Jello – use any brand of strawberry gelatin that you prefer.
- Strawberries – we typically use frozen strawberries for this recipe. You’ll want to make sure they are thawed before using and any liquid is drained off from them. If your frozen strawberries are whole, you’ll need to slice or quarter them after thawing. Feel free to use fresh strawberries, you prefer – hull and slice them before using.
- Butter and Sugar
Easy Steps to Old Fashioned Strawberry Pretzel Salad
You’ll love how easy this old fashioned dessert is to make! In no time, you will be creating a favorite dessert that the whole family loves and it won’t take you much time at all!
This dessert has three distinct layers: a pretzel layer (crust), a sweet and creamy layer of whipped topping & cream cheese in the middle, and the top layer of strawberries and jello.
To start, you’ll make the bottom layer: the pretzel layer. The crushed pretzels are combined with sugar and melted butter in a bowl. Then, the mixture is pressed into the bottom of a baking dish.
The crust is baked in the oven for about 10 minutes. Then, it’s removed to allow it to cool completely. The cooling of the crust is very important — don’t add the middle layer until the crust is completely cool.
In a bowl, you’ll combine the strawberry jello with boiling water. When the gelatin is completely dissolved in the water, cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool completely, until it’s just about starting to thicken and set (but still liquid).
Next, you’ll make the 2nd layer, which is the sweet and creamy filling. You’ll beat together cream cheese and sugar. Once that’s all combined, you’ll fold in the whipped topping.
The creamy cream cheese & whipped topping layer is then spread over the cooled pretzel layer. Be sure that you spread this layer ALL the way to the edges of the pan. This is very important to do in order to prevent the strawberry jello layer from seeping below.
Arrange the strawberry slices/pieces on top of the cream cheese/whipped topping mixture. Gently spoon the cooled jello evenly over the strawberries.
Cover your baking dish and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or until the jello layer is set and firm.
The last step is cutting it into squares and serving. You can also top the squares with additional whipped cream and fresh strawberries if desired.
Can You Make This Pretzel Salad in Advance?
When I make this dessert, it’s usually for a fun occasion and/or we’re having guests over. This Strawberry Pretzel Dessert recipe is perfect for those situations because it can be made in advance. I have made this the night before and it worked out great.
Extra Tips for Making Strawberry Pretzel Salad
When you are making this strawberry dessert, we have a few more tips to share:
- CRUSHING THE PRETZELS: We use a food processor to crush our pretzels, but if you don’t have one, you can place the pretzels in a plastic food storage back and crush them in the bag with a rolling pin.
- WHIPPED TOPPING: You’ll want to use WHIPPED TOPPING, not whipped cream because it allows it holds better. Whipped topping is usually sold in the frozen food department at the grocery store in plastic tubs. Be sure that the whipped topping is thawed before you start making this recipe.
- NO STRAWBERRIES? You can use this recipe with a different fruit. Cherry, peaches, blackberries, or even raspberries would be amazing.
Easy Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe
2 cups crushed pretzels (about 8 ounces)
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar, divided
6-ounce box strawberry gelatin (Jello)
2 cups water, boiling
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
8 ounces whipped topping (such as Cool-Whip)
32 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed, liquid drained and sliced or quartered
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine pretzels, butter, and 1/4 cup sugar to create the crust mixture. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a 13×9″ baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside and allow the crust to cool completely.
In a large bowl, combine the strawberry Jello with the boiling water. Stir until the Jello is completely dissolved. Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator to allow it to cool just until it begins to set (but is still liquid).
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and remaining sugar (3/4 cup) until smooth. With a spoon, fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled pretzel crust, ensuring that the mixture completely covers the crust, all the way to the edges of the dish. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and arrange the strawberry slices/pieces on top of the cream cheese/whipped topping mixture. Gently spoon the cooled Jello evenly over the strawberries.
Cover the baking dish and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or until the Jello layer is set and firm. Cut into squares to serve. Top with additional whipped cream and fresh strawberries, if desired.
I hope you enjoy this Strawberry Pretzel Salad just as much as our family does. If you make it, take a photo and be sure to tag us on Instagram at @memorablebites or on Facebook at Home Cooking Memories.