This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

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!

strawberries layered with crust and filling on a plate.


What is a Strawberry Pretzel Salad?

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.

Why we love Pretzel Salad:

ingredients in pretzel salad on counter with blue striped napkin.

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.

  • A box of strawberry jello (be sure to get the correct size)
  • Boiling water
  • Crushed pretzels – For this recipe, you will need about 5 cups of mini twist pretzels. That amount will yield two cups of crushed pretzels.
  • 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)

How to make Strawberry Jello Salad

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Chill the cheesecake filling for one hour.
  6. 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.
strawberries layered with crust and filling on a plate.

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.

Can you make it 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.

strawberries layered with crust and filling on a plate.

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • I like to use my food processor to crush the pretzels 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.
  • Make sure to cool the jello to room temperature so that it doesn’t melt the cheesecake or cause the strawberries to weep.
  • Make sure to chill the crust, then the cheesecake as noted in the recipe. This is to ensure it sets up properly.
  • Make sure to spread the cheesecake layer all the way to the edges of the pan and seal it with the pan, so the jello doesn’t soak through.
  • You should make strawberry pretzel salad the night before, as it needs time to set.
  • Use fresh or frozen berries! To use frozen strawberries, let them thaw then drain them very well.
  • Store leftovers covered with plastic in the refrigerator.
  • You can use any fruit/jello combo. I’ve seen this done with mandarin oranges and orange jello too!

FAQ

Can you make strawberry pretzel salad the night before?

Yes – it’s almost better that way! It takes awhile for each layer to set and then the whole thing has to chill for the jello to set, so it’s actually better to make it ahead.

Can I use frozen strawberries?

Yes, to use frozen berries just make sure you thaw and drain them.

Can I use other fruit for pretzel salad?

Yes – any fruit and any kind of jello works for this recipe.

How do you serve strawberry pretzel salad?

This is a great potluck recipe for picnics or parties because it makes a lot. Serve on plates with a fork.

How do you store pretzel salad?

Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

Can I use fresh whipped cream instead of cool whip?

I don’t suggest that. The dish needs the stability of whipped topping to set up and hold the berries, plus whipped cream cheesecake tends to weep after a day or so.

strawberries layered with crust and filling on a plate.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe

4.91 from 40 votes
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!
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 (38g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter melted

Cheesecake:

  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!

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 Video

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.
  • I like to use my food processor to crush the pretzels 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.
  • Make sure to cool the jello to room temperature so that it doesn’t melt the cheesecake or cause the strawberries to weep.
  • Make sure to chill the crust, then the cheesecake as noted in the recipe. This is to ensure it sets up properly.
  • Make sure to spread the cheesecake layer all the way to the edges of the pan and seal it with the pan, so the jello doesn’t soak through.
  • You should make strawberry pretzel salad the night before, as it needs time to set.
  • Use fresh or frozen berries! To use frozen strawberries, let them thaw then drain them very well.
  • Store leftovers covered with plastic in the refrigerator.

Recipe Nutrition

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

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!

Favorite No Bake Desserts



Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

Learn to Bake in 4 Days!
Get my tips, tricks and recipes to take your baking to the next level for FREE!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




22 Comments

  1. My friend made the Strawberry Pretzel salad for my birthday. It was delicious. She didn’t have enough pretzels and so she substituted half with graham crackers and half with pretzels to make the crust.

  2. Pros: loved that this recipe used less sugar than most of the others I found and used fresh strawberries that were layered on the salad instead of into the jello. The cream and strawberry layers were delicious!
    Con: due to Celiac, I used gluten free pretzels. Unfortunately, they just clumped together and didn’t have a crunchy crust. I might try baking first instead of chilling.

  3. I made it and everyone loved it but the crust fell apart alot- not impressed. I did my best to crush the pretzels with a rolling pin. Seems to need more ‘glue’… but it did taste good!!

    1. It’s best if you use a food processor so they’re a fine crumb, then it won’t fall apart as much.