Skip to content

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This traditional strawberry pretzel salad is a dessert that everyone goes crazy for. Sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy, and filled with old-fashioned charm!

Strawberry pretzel salad on white plate.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read disclosure policy.

Old Fashioned Strawberry Pretzel Salad

An ironic name has been given to this classic dessert because there’s nothing salad about it! This is the strawberry version of my famous raspberry jello pretzel salad, and I can’t decide which is my favorite. Seriously, both are so, so delicious!

This is a delicious sweet, salty, and creamy chilled dessert filled with all your favorite components. A layer of cream cheese and whipped cream is sandwiched between a sweet strawberry jello topping and a crunchy salty pretzel crust base. The flavors are flexible so switch up the fruit and jello flavors depending on the occasion or the season.

You can use cool whip or stabilized whipped cream for the center because it will hold nicely and then use a dollop of whipped cream on top! It doesn’t get much better than this super simple crowd-pleaser that has stood the test of time!

Recipe Ingredients

You need to make 3 layers for this recipe, but thankfully almost all of the ingredients are ones you already have on hand.

Strawberry pretzel salad in pan.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Pretzels: The salty component of the dish also makes up the majority of the crust and gives the salad a really nice crunch.
  • Butter: This holds the crust together during baking and adds a nice nutty flavor.
  • Sugar: I use granulated sugar in the crust (hello salty AND sweet) and in the cream cheese layer to help balance the tanginess.
  • Cream cheese: This adds a smooth texture to the salad, as well as a nice bite to the sweetness of the jello.
  • Cool Whip: Mixing this with the cream cheese makes a super creamy and light consistency that effortlessly combines tangy and sweet.
  • Jello: Strawberry jello is the perfect compliment to the salty crust and rich cream cheese filling.
  • Frozen strawberries: Adding some fruit not only makes the salad really pretty, but it gives a nice texture and added punch of flavor.

Pretzel Salad Variations

What I love about this recipe is that you can make so many variations with different combinations of jello and fruit! Below are some of my favorites:

  • Raspberry: Use raspberry jello and frozen raspberries to make a raspberry pretzel salad.
  • Pineapple: Use pineapple jello and frozen crushed pineapple or frozen strawberries.
  • Mandarin: Use orange jello and canned mandarin oranges (pre freeze them).
  • Peach: Use peach jello and frozen sliced peaches.

How to Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Each layer needs time to set. To save some time, you can even start preparing some of the layers the night before.

Strawberry pretzel salad ingredients collage.
  • Make the 1st layer. The first layer is a salty pretzel crust. Simply pulse the pretzels in a food processor or blender until they’re crushed. Then stir together the crushed pretzels with the melted butter and sugar until combined. Press the pretzel mixture into a buttered 9×13-inch baking dish, then bake at 400°F for about 10 minutes. Then place the pan in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.
  • Make the 2nd layer. The next layer is a rich cream cheese filling. Beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer, then beat in the sugar. Next fold the cool whip into the mixture. Then spread the filling on top of the crust (make sure to go all the way to the edges so the 3rd jello layer doesn’t leak through). Place in the fridge for about an hour.
  • Make the 3rd layer. Last comes the fruity jello layer. Boil the water with the strawberry jello and stir for about 2 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Then mix in the frozen strawberries. Let the mixture slightly thicken, then pour evenly over the cream cheese filling. Then place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to set completely.

Tips for Success

  • 3 distinct layers. Make sure to spread the cream cheese/cool whip layer all the way to the outer edge. This way when the top jello layer sets it won’t seep through to the bottom.
  • Clean lines. Once you spread the cream layer, use a paper towel around your fingertip to wipe the excess around the edges clean. It makes for a much neater presentation.
  • Other fruit. This recipe is such a versatile dessert. You can swap out the fruit and jello for flavors such as peach, mandarin, raspberry, pineapple, and blueberry!
  • Pretzel crumbs. You want a fine crumb, so use a food processor or blender if possible. If all else fails, place pretzels in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
  • Chill time. It’s important to chill the jello a bit to thicken it up before pouring it onto cream cheese otherwise the liquid will bleed into the whipped layer. Once it’s fully assembled, you want it to be completely set before slicing.
  • Individual servings. Switch up the presentation and layer the dessert in mini individual cups, similar to how I did with these easy mandarin orange pretzel parfaits.
Strawberry pretzel salad on white plate.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this strawberry pretzel salad gluten-free?

I don’t see why not. You will need to replace the pretzels for a gluten-free version, but it should work just as well.

Can I use frozen strawberries in place of the fresh?

Absolutely! You want the strawberries to freeze for about an hour before adding to the jello anyhow, so I think this would be a simple swap. The only issue might be slicing them, so you may want to defrost enough to slice and then quickly refreeze, if needed.

Can I freeze this pretzel jello salad?

I would love to say yes, but honestly the pretzels tend to get soggy and it doesn’t hold up as well once it’s been frozen. I wouldn’t advise trying it.

Make Ahead + Storing

This jello pretzel dessert needs time to set in the fridge, which makes it a great recipe to prepare ahead of time. You can make it up to 1 day in advance, however I wouldn’t prepare it any sooner or else the pretzel crust could get a little soggy.

Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge. Just keep in mind that the pretzels will soften the longer they sit.

Other Easy Desserts

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for all the newest recipes!

strawberry pretzel salad on white plate

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

5 from 7 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This traditional strawberry pretzel salad is a dessert that everyone goes crazy for. Sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy, and filled with old-fashioned charm!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Refrigerate: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time: 4 hrs
Servings: 16

Ingredients 

Layer 1:

  • 6-7 cups pretzels
  • ¾ cup (12 Tablespoons) salted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Layer 2:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) container cool whip , softened

Layer 3:

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 (3-ounce) boxes strawberry jello
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries , hulled and sliced

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Layer 1

  • In a food processor or blender, pulse pretzels until finely crumbled (about 1 3/4 cups crumbs). Stir in butter and sugar until combined. Press evenly into baking dish. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Chill 30 minutes, or until cool.

Layer 2

  • In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer. Add sugar until combined. Mix in Cool Whip.
  • Drop by spoonful (about 8) over the top of the chilled crust. Carefully spread in an even layer, being sure to go all the way to the edges so the jello mixture doesn’t leak through. You can use your finger with a paper towel to run along the edges to make clean lines. Chill 1 hour, or until set.

Layer 3

  • While you are refrigerating the cream mixture, place the strawberries in the freezer for the hour to chill.
  • In a small saucepan, boil water and jello over medium-high heat. Stir 2 minutes, or until the mixture is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the strawberries. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes, until thickened slightly. Once the pot is cool enough to handle, I like to put it in the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes more.
  • When thickened slightly, pour evenly over the of cream cheese mixture and chill at least 2 hours, or until jello is firm (I like to leave it overnight).
  • Once the dessert is firm, slice and serve.

Notes

Variations 
  • Raspberry: Use raspberry jello and frozen raspberries.
  • Pineapple: Use pineapple jello and frozen crushed pineapple or frozen strawberries.
  • Mandarin: Use orange jello and canned mandarin oranges (pre-freeze them). 
  • Peach: Use peach jello and frozen sliced peaches.
Make-ahead: This jello pretzel dessert needs time to set in the fridge, which makes it a great recipe to prepare ahead of time. You can make it up to 1 day in advance, however I wouldn’t prepare it any sooner or else the pretzel crust could get a little soggy.
Storage: Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge. Just keep in mind that the pretzels will soften the longer they sit.

Nutrition

Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 572mg | Potassium: 157mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 591IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Let’s connect

Join our community of over 5 million!

Featured on

  • Taste of Home
  • Martha Stewart
  • Country Living
  • BuzzFeed
  • Yahoo
  • Food Network
  • Today