This Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe is a classic favorite that combines sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy for an irresistible make-ahead potluck treat.
This layered dessert features a pretzel crust, cream cheese layer, and strawberry jello topping.
It’s always a hit at get-togethers or holidays and can be prepared with gluten-free pretzels for those who need it.
Everyone will love the perfect combo of buttery pretzels, cream cheese fluff, and tart strawberries suspended in Jell-O.
Give this old-fashioned recipe a try today! It’s always a family favorite!
What’s in a Name? The Story of Pretzel Salad
Pretzel Salad has been around for decades – but what’s in a name?
Pretzel Salad is a popular dessert dish believed to have originated from the 1963 cookbook, “Joys of Jell-O.”
This small paperback or spiral-bound book featured an array of gelatin recipes, molds, and advertisements.
Pretzel Salad sometimes referred to as “Pretzel Jello” is a classic creation from this cookbook that consists of combining crushed pretzels, cream cheese, and gelatin with whipped topping.
It’s easy to make and typically served chilled as a refreshing summer dish but not going to lie we love it all the time.
Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad Ingredients
- 6 ounces of strawberry gelatin
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 ½ cups salted pretzels (measure before crushing)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounces cool whip
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (you can also use frozen berries)
The equipment we used!
- Microwave-Safe bowl or Medium saucepan
- 2 Medium Mixing Bowls
- Food Processor or Ziploc Bag and Rolling Pin
- 9×13 baking dish
- Hand mixer or Stand mixer
- Rubber spatula
- Measuring Cup
How to make this Old Fashioned Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe
Preheat your oven to 350°F and bring a pot of 2 cups of water to a boil.
You can do this on the stove or use a microwave-safe small bowl to boil your water in the microwave.
In a medium bowl, combine the jello and boiling water. Mix well until the jello has dissolved.
Set aside and allow it to cool to room temperature.
While the jello is cooling, crush the pretzels in a food processor or in a large ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush the pretzels.
Add the melted butter and sugar to the pretzel crumbs and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
Press the crumbs into an even layer on the bottom of your pan making the salty pretzel crust.
Bake for 10 minutes, then allow the pretzel layer to come to room temperature before moving on to the next step.
In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer (or stand mixer) on low and combine the cream cheese and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the cool whip into the cream cheese mixture.
Gently fold the mixture until the cool whip is thoroughly dispersed.
Spread the cream cheese mix onto the cooled-down crust, in an even layer.
Be sure to spread the mixture all the way to the edge of the pan to avoid any gaps.
Place the pan in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Using a measuring cup, pour a small amount of Jello onto the cream cheese mixture.
Then, place the strawberry slices on top in an even layer.
Gently pour the remaining Jello mixture on top of the strawberries.
Refrigerate the pan for 2-4 hours to fully set but if you can allow up to 6 hours before eating even better.
FAQs and Tips for Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- Be sure to dissolve your Jello according to the instructions given here and not to the package instructions.
- Make sure before getting started that your cream cheese is softened and your cool whip is thawed.
- To prevent the jello from leaking into the bottom of the pan be sure to spread the cream cheese all the way to the edges of the pan.
- Before mixing the Jello with the sliced strawberries allow the Jello to cool to room temperature. If you put the Jello in hot it will wilt your strawberries.
What kind of Pretzels are best for Pretzel Jello?
Use small salted pretzels! I personally think the best to use is either pretzel sticks or the traditional pretzel twists.
How long does Strawberry Pretzel Salad last in the fridge?
When properly stored, this strawberry pretzel salad dessert will last in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can you make this strawberry pretzel dessert ahead of time?
Yes, this dessert is great to make ahead of time because it needs a good 4-6 hours to be in the fridge before serving. So technically you have to make it somewhat ahead of time. But yes, you can definitely make it the night before and let it chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it.
Can you freeze Strawberry Pretzel Salad?
Because this recipe has a Jello layer I do not recommend freezing.
Can you make your own whipped cream instead of using frozen cool whip?
You can but I would only recommend doing this if you are eating the dessert right away with no leftovers. The problem with homemade whipped cream is that it doesn’t have great stability like cool whip. Because of that, it doesn’t last long in the fridge.
What other fruits can I use?
Yes, not only can you mix up your fruit but also the flavor of Jello. Some other great options are cherry, raspberries, mixed berries, pineapples, and oranges.
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