This recipe for old fashioned Strawberry Pretzel Salad has been around for ages and there’s a good reason why! Everyone loves it! It’s layers of sweet and salty pretzel crust topped with a decadent cream cheese filling then finished off with a fruity jello top layer and fresh strawberries.
I honestly have no clue why this dessert is called a “salad” but If calling it a salad fools my body into thinking I’m eating something healthy, I’ll call it a salad all day long!
How to make Strawberry Pretzel Dessert:
- First you’ll make the crust. It’s a simple crust with crushed pretzels, butter, and sugar. The pretzels are best left a little chunky you can just add them to a zip top bag and crush them by hand. (This is a great job for the kids!) The crust then gets baked and left to cool.
- The next step (and my favorite part) is the center filling. It’s cream cheese, cool whip, and sugar. I used to make this recipe from an old cook book and found that there was never enough filling so I’ve doubled the amount of filling…you’re welcome! By the way, if you forgot to leave out your cream cheese to soften it, just pop it in the microwave for a 15 second intervals until it’s soft.
- The last step is the jello topping. It’s strawberry jello with fresh strawberries and crushed pineapple. The pineapple is such a great addition to this topping. It just gives it an extra little punch of fruity flavor and texture. If you have frozen strawberries, you can use those too but the fresh ones are just perfect and have a better texture.
Can strawberry pretzel salad be made ahead?
Yes! The jello topping actually needs to full set before serving so this recipe is actually best made a day in advance. That is just another reason why I love this recipe! If we have a big family get together, I make this the night ahead and it’s one less thing to prep on party day!
This is honestly one of my all time favorite desserts. It’s just so fresh and bright and it makes enough to feed a crowd. I hope you love this as much as our family does!
If you’re looking for another favorite strawberry dessert, try this fresh Strawberry Pie!
Strawberry Pretzel Salad (Dessert)
- 3 cups crushed pretzels (measured after crushing)
- 1 cup sugar (divided)
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese (softened)
- 16 ounce container of cool whip (that's the large one!)
- 2 - 3 ounce packages of strawberry jello
- 1 - 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple (NOT drained)
- 1 and a half pounds of fresh strawberries (slice 1/4 inch thick)
- Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
- In a zip top bag, crush the pretzels. I like to keep them a little chunky. Pour in the melted butter and 1/2 cup of sugar, seal the bag again and shake to combine.
- Spread the pretzels evenly into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
- While the pretzel crust is baking, you can make the filling. Beat together the softened cream cheese, cool whip, and 1/2 cup of sugar until smooth. Then spread the mixture over the cooled pretzel crust.
- When spreading out the cream cheese mixture, make sure you get all the way to the edges of the pan. This will prevent the jello mixture from seeping down into the pretzels.
- After spreading out the cream cheese mixture, place the pan in the fridge while you make the jello topping.
- Add 2 cups of boiling water to a small bowl. I just place the bowl with the water in the microwave for 2 minutes to heat it but you could also use a kettle or boil the water on the stove.
- Add the jello packets to the water and stir to dissolve. Then add in the sliced strawberries and crushed pineapple. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then carefully pour over the cream cheese mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate until the jello is set. (at least 4 hours or overnight)
- Serve as is or with an extra dollop of cool whip on top!