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Take a bite of sunshine with every bite of this Strawberry Pretzel Salad! It’s sweet, creamy, and has a great touch of saltiness in the pretzel crust.
I had a strawberry pretzel salad for the first time two years ago at a friend’s house. I was so confused by this dessert because how is this a salad? Salad = greens! There are no greens in this! Of course I can’t argue with tradition so it is what it is.
Regardless of what it’s called, it was the most delicious thing I had put in my mouth. I LOVED the texture of it and I couldn’t stop eating it. This isn’t a new recipe since it’s everywhere all over the internet, but I wanted to put my personal spin on it. Instead of making it in a square or rectangular dish, I made it in a round springform pan instead.
The three layers that make up this dessert are incredible on their own, and they compliment each other perfectly. The salty pretzel crust, decadent cream cheese filling and sweet strawberry Jell-O topping all come together to create one seriously delicious treat!
Going back to why they call this a strawberry pretzel salad…maybe the fact that there’s real fresh strawberries in this topping, so it’s technically a salad… right? Okay, maybe not, but that won’t stop me from reaching for seconds! It’s hard to not crave a second serving of this simple strawberry dessert, honestly.
This strawberry pretzel salad is easy to make and perfect for any summertime occasion. You can even make it a little bit earlier in the year for Valentine’s Day!
No matter when you serve it up, it’s sure to impress at any event. This is one of those old, classic recipes that people just can’t seem to get enough of. I mean, just look at it! That salty and sweet combo is the ultimate crowd pleaser.
For the topping, you’ll need:
- Strawberry Jell-O – You can use a generic brand instead if you’d like.
- Water – For the gelatin mixture to work, it must be boiling water.
- Strawberries – Use fresh, not frozen strawberries!
The crust calls for:
- Pretzels – Use salted pretzels! Unsalted pretzels won’t create the salty and sweet flavor we’re looking for here.
- Sugar – Plain white granulated sugar is all you need to keep it a little sweet.
- Butter – The butter should be unsalted. The pretzels already have enough salt in them, you don’t want to go overboard with the sodium.
The filling will need:
- Cream cheese – Make sure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature before using.
- Cool Whip – Thaw the Cool Whip in the fridge prior to using. If it’s frozen, it won’t work.
What’s the best way to crush the pretzels?
There are two easy ways to crush the pretzels to the consistency you’ll need them to be! If you have a food processor, simply pulse them until they’re crushed and ready to be used. That’s the easiest way to get it done. However, if you have no food processor, simply toss the pretzels in a closed Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. It may be old fashioned, but it works!
Can I use another fruit?
Yes! I have another fruit variety coming up but you can most certainly do it with another fruit. Try to find the same flavor in Jell-O if you’re going to do that!
How long will strawberry pretzel salad stay fresh?
In an airtight container in the fridge, this strawberry pretzel salad will stay fresh for about 3-4 days.
It’s best served within the first day or two, though, so don’t make it too far ahead of time. You want the pretzels to still be crunchy and not soggy.
Keep things sweet this summer with these dessert recipes!
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
For the topping:
- 6 ounce (170 g) strawberry Jell-O packets
- 2 cups (473 ml) boiling water
- 1 pound (454 g) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
For the crust:
- 2 ½ cups (200 g) salted pretzels, measured before crushing
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter
For the filling:
- 8 ounce (227 g) package cream cheese softened
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 8 ounce (227 g) cool whip, thawed in the fridge
- Pre-heat oven to 350 °F (177 °C). Mix strawberry Jell-O with 2 cups boiling water and stir until Jell-O mixture is completely dissolved. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
- In the meantime, crush 2 ½ cups of pretzels with a rolling pin in a plastic bag or roughly in a food processor or blender.
- In a medium pan, melt 8 tablespoons of butter then add ¼ cup sugar. Stir to dissolve. Mix in crushed pretzels then transfer to a 9-inch spring form pan, pressing the pretzel mix evenly over the bottom of the dish and bake for 10 min at 350 °F (177 °C). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- When pretzels have cooled, use a hand mixer to beat 8 ounces of cream cheese and ½ cup of sugar until fluffy.
- Fold in Cool Whip until no streaks of cream cheese remain. Evenly spread mixture over cooled pretzels in the pan, spreading to the edges of the pan to create a tight seal. Refrigerate 30 minutes to set.
- Hull and slice strawberries then stir into your room temperature Jell-O mix. Pour and spread strawberry jello mixture evenly over your cooled cream cheese layer and refrigerate until Jell-O is set, about 2-4 hours.
- Carefully remove springform pan, slice and serve!
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