Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe

5 from 2 votes
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Classic Strawberry Pretzel Salad is perfect for potlucks, BBQs and other gatherings! The combination of the salty pretzel crust, sweet cheesecake filling and fresh strawberries with jello is perfection.

Also it’s a dessert that’s called salad so that gives it 5 stars in my book!

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One square of strawberry pretzel salad on a white plate

I know, I know… it’s called a “salad” but it looks more like dessert! Strawberry pretzel salad is a classic jello salad that has been around for years because it feeds a crowd, tastes amazing and it’s always the best conversation starter when I make it!

Remember the crazy jello molds people used to make when back when? You know, with the fruit mixed in? Those were often called “salads”, too and I think that’s how this pretzel jello salad came to be! It’s also a popular dish in the Midwest where potlucks always have some kind of jello or whipped cream “salad” that is often served as a side dish.

Because it’s so sweet I love to serve it as a dessert, but I’m sticking with the name! You definitely don’t want to mess with the classics.

I just love a salty-sweet dessert – the pretzel crust pairs perfectly with the creamy filling and strawberry jello. You have to try it!

Strawberry pretzel salad in glass baking dish with one square missing

Ingredients in dessert salad casserole

There’s basically three parts to this recipe: the crust, the strawberry jello with fresh strawberries, and the cheesecake filling. All of it’s easy to do and, once it’s set, you just slice and serve it.

Here’s what you need:

  • A box of strawberry jello (be sure to get the correct size)
  • Boiling water
  • Crushed pretzels (we prefer using mini twists, see below)
  • Granulated sugar
  • Melted unsalted butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Cool Whip (use any kind of whipped topping, not fresh whipped cream)
  • Sliced fresh strawberries (you can also use frozen)

Assemble the three layers

This recipe can be a little involved because it has three parts that need to be done separately.

Make the jello: Pour the jello mix into a bowl and pour the boiling water over the top. Stir until the powder is dissolved and then leave it to sit at room temperature until it’s cooled. I like to do this step first because it has to cool.

Make the crust: Combine the crushed pretzels with sugar and butter. Press the mixture into a 9×13” baking dish. Chill the crust for at least 30 minutes.

four photo collage showing process of making pretzel crust

Making the Pretzel Crust – how to crush pretzels

For this recipe, you will need about 5 cups of mini twist pretzels. That amount will yield two cups of crushed pretzels.

I like to use my food processor to crush them because it’s really easy. Plus, it chops them evenly. You don’t want a lot of big pretzel pieces otherwise your crust won’t hold together well when you slice it.

If you don’t have a food processor, you can place the pretzels in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin. It will take longer to break them down, but it will work.

Four photo collage showing process of making no bake cheesecake filling

Make the cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese with the sugar and then fold in the Cool Whip. Spread the mixture over the top of the chilled crust.

Make sure you spread it all the way to the edges and into the corners. You don’t want any spaces or holes in this layer otherwise the jello will seep through when you add it.

Chill the cheesecake filling for one hour.

Four photo collage showing process of making strawberry jello filling

Assemble the dish: Place the sliced strawberries in an even layer on top of the cheesecake. Pour the cooled jello mixture over the top of the strawberries. Carefully transfer the baking dish back to the refrigerator and chill it until the jello is set, about three hours.

Fresh vs Frozen Berries

You can substitute frozen ones for fresh strawberries! I use two 32-ounce bags of frozen strawberries when fresh strawberries aren’t available. Just be sure to thaw the strawberries before you add them to the dish.

Make the dish ahead of time

This is actually a requirement of this dish. Because there are several steps with waiting time in between I usually make it up to 24 hours ahead of time. That way, I know it will be perfectly set and ready to serve when I need it.

Any leftover jello salad can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days, too!

One square of strawberry pretzel salad on a white plate

If want a delicious make-ahead dessert for summer this strawberry jello pretzel salad is for you! It’s cold, creamy and summery with fresh strawberry flavor. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Other summer strawberry recipes:

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Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Classic Strawberry Pretzel Salad is perfect for potlucks, BBQs and other gatherings! The combination of the salty pretzel crust, sweet cheesecake filling and fresh strawberries with jello is perfection. It’s a cold and creamy treat that always gets rave reviews!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Chilling Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Yield 16 servings
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients

Strawberries:

  • 1 6-ounce box strawberry Jell-o
  • 2 cups boiling water

Crust:

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels about 5 cups of twists, see note
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted

Cheesecake:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries hulled and sliced

Instructions

  • Place Jello powder in a medium sized bowl. Carefully pour boiling water over the powder, stir until it’s all dissolved. Let sit at room temperature until it is completely cool.
  • While the Jello is cooling, make the crust. Stir together the crushed pretzels with sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Make the cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer until smooth, then mix in the whipped topping.
  • Spread cheesecake mixture on top of the crust. Make sure that the cheesecake completely touches all edges of the pan – leave no holes or areas where it’s open, otherwise the jello will soak through when you pour it on. Chill 1 hour.
  • Assemble the dessert: place the strawberries in a single layer on top of the cheesecake mixture. Carefully pour the cooled jello mixture evenly over the berries and cheesecake. Chill until set, at least 3 hours.
  • Dessert can be made up to 24 hours ahead. Enjoy within 3 days.

Recipe Notes

Approximately 5 cups mini pretzel twists = 2 cups crushed pretzels. It’s best to use a food processor to crush the pretzels so you don’t have large chunks.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 186mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 488IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword no bake cheesecake, pretzels, strawberries
One square of strawberry pretzel salad on a white plate with recipe title in text on top of image

This Classic Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a no bake cheesecake with fresh strawberries covered in jello. Did I mention the pretzel crust? It’s an easy recipe and perfect for summer get togethers!

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