A Spicy Perspective

Best Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert Salad – This sweet “salad” features layers of strawberry jello, fresh berries, cream cheese fluff, and crunchy pretzels. It’s a classic southern treat that’s perfect for potlucks and dinner parties!

close view slice of strawberry pretzel salad with three layers on a white plate

Have you ever heard of strawberry pretzel salad? I hadn’t until a few years ago, and my life has not been the same since.

This is a retro recipe my sister-in-law introduced me to. She first described it to me as a salad, but then served it as dessert… Mind. Blown.

Only true southerners can call recipes made with jello and cool whip a “salad.” And I am here for it!

top view strawberry jello salad with cream cheese layer and pretzel crust

The Best Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe

The weird and wonderful combination of fresh strawberries, jello, and cream cheese fluff all layered on a salty pretzel crust is hard to resist. It’s classic to serve as an after-dinner treat or a potluck or holiday side dish – so, yeah, this dessert salad really is fabulous with any course.

While old-school jello desserts have been around for a while, we decided to doctor the recipe a bit to make it, well, even better. Here we add pecans to the crust and prepare the fresh strawberries in a way that fills in all the jello-y cracks. That way, the jello holds the berries together, without taking over as the main component.

We are sure you’ll agree that this version is a real winner. Make the strawberry pretzel salad a day ahead in less than 45 minutes, and serve it chilled for a deliciously fun whenever dish!

fork with bite of dessert salad close to camera

Ingredients You Need

  • Strawberry Jello mixor preferred brand of strawberry gelatin
  • Waterboiling
  • Pretzelscrushed into pieces
  • Pecansfinely chopped
  • Buttermelted
  • Sugarwhite granulated
  • Cream cheesesoftened
  • Whipped topping like Cool Whip
  • Fresh strawberrieshulled and sliced thin
top view basket of fresh strawberries, box of strawberry jello, box of cream cheese, bag of pretzels, bowl of pecans, tub of cool whip

How to Make Strawberry Jello Salad with Pretzels

First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Set out a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and a mixing bowl. Grease the baking dish and set it aside.

In the bowl, mix the strawberry jello with 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until completely dissolved.

pouring hot water into the strawberry gelatin mix

Set the jello mixture aside to cool to room temperature. (If it’s too warm it will melt the cream cheese fluff layer!)

Meanwhile, crush enough pretzels to fill 2 cups. You can chop them, place them in a zip bag and beat them with a rolling pin, or quickly pulse them in a food processor. Then chop the pecans.

adding crushed pretzels to a large measuring cup

Place the crushed pretzels, chopped pecans, ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon of sugar in the baking dish. Pour the melted butter over the top, then toss well to coat the pretzels.

Press the pretzel mixture into a tight even layer and bake for 10 minutes.

layer of tightly packed pretzels and pecans in the bottom of a white baking dish

Next, set out a clean mixing bowl. Use an electric hand mixer to beat the cream cheese with the remaining ½ cup sugar, until light and fluffy.

Gently fold in whipped topping until completely smooth and even. Set aside.

bowl with cream cheese and cool whip fluff

Then prepare the fresh strawberries: Trim off the tops, then thinly slice. Separate out one-third of the strawberry slices and finely dice (to fill in the cracks.)

Get the Complete (Printable) Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!

cutting board with large knife, whole and diced strawberries on the board

Mix all the different sized cut berries together on the cutting board or in a bowl.

Once the pretzel layer has cooled to room temperature, add the cream cheese filling. Spread it in an even layer over the pretzels.

using a blue spatula to spread cream cheese cool whip fluff across the pretzel crust

Now spoon the fresh sliced (and diced) strawberries evenly over the cream layer.

Pour the cooled strawberry jello mixture over the fresh strawberry layer. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE IT ALL.

I usually pour about three-quarters of the liquid jello over the berries, so they are all completely coated in jello, but not floating in it. This creates a better berry-to-jello ratio, in my humble opinion. (It’s a matter of personal preference, so use as much of the jello as you like.)

pouring the red jello mixture over the layers of diced strawberries

 Refrigerate until the jello is set, usually 2-3 hours.

top view chilled and solidified strawberry jello salad

Cut and serve the strawberry pretzel dessert cold.

spatula lifting a piece of jello pretzel salad dessert from the baking pan

Recipe Variations and Tips

  • Don’t use all of the jello, unless you want a really thick top layer. I prefer to use only 3/4 of the strawberry jello mixture for an even layer. Otherwise the strawberries sort of “float” in the layer.
  • Skip pecans if you prefer. I love the nutty flavor and extra crunchy texture they add to the strawberry pretzel dessert, but they are certainly optional.
  • This is a great recipe to make ahead! Prepare a day or so before you plan to serve, and it will be perfectly chilled and ready to slice.
  • Use low fat cream cheese and whipped topping for a slightly more healthy(ish) dessert.
  • For an extra festive touch at holiday parties, make this recipe as individual servings! Instead of one pan of strawberry pretzel jello salad, prepare each serving in a ramekin… Grease 12 ramekins, and place on a baking sheet to bake with the pretzel layer. Then simply layer the remaining ingredients and chill per the original recipe.
side view of square piece of strawberry pretzel salad on a white plate

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this strawberry pretzel salad recipe be made gluten-free?

Certainly! Just use your favorite gluten-free pretzels and this is instantly a GF-friendly dessert.

What other fruits can I use to make jello pretzel salad?

This recipe is fabulous to make cherry, raspberry or mixed berries, and even pineapple dessert salad! Simply use whatever flavored jello you like and corresponding fresh fruits in place of strawberries.

How long do leftovers keep?

Cover the pan with plastic wrap or transfer leftovers to a container with a lid, and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

hand with fork actively taking a bite of the layered strawberry jello cream cheese fluffy and pretzel pecan crust dessert

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Best Strawberry Pretzel Salad (Dessert!)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
This sweet dessert "salad" recipe features layers of strawberry jello with fresh berries, cream cheese fluff, and crunchy pretzels. It's a classic southern treat that's perfect for potlucks and dinner parties!
Servings: 12 slices

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Set out a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and a mixing bowl. Grease the baking dish and set aside. In the bowl, mix the strawberry jello with 2 cups boiling water, stirring until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, crush enough pretzels to fill 2 cups. You can chop them, place them in a zip bag and beat them with a rolling pin, to quickly pulse them in a food processor. Then chop the pecans.
  • Place the crushed pretzels, chopped pecans, ¼ cup + 1 tb sugar in the baking dish. Pour the melted butter over the top, then toss well to coat the pretzels. Press the pretzel mixture into a tight even layer and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Set out a clean mixing bowl. Use an electric hand mixer to beat the cream cheese with the remaining ½ cup sugar, until light and fluffy. Gently fold in whipped topping until completely smooth and even. Set aside.
  • Trim the tops off the strawberries, then thinly slice. Separate out one-third of the strawberry slices and finely dice (to fill in the cracks.) Then mix all the berries together.
  • Once the pretzel layer has cooled to room temperature, spread the cream cheese filling over it, in an even layer. Spoon the fresh sliced (and diced) strawberries evenly over the cream layer.
  • Pour the cooled strawberry jello mixture over the fresh strawberry layer. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE IT ALL. I usually pour about three-quarters of the liquid jello over the berries, so they are all completely coated in jello, but not floating in it. This creates a better berry-to-jello ratio, in my humble opinion. (It’s a matter of personal preference, so use as much of the jello as you like.)
  • Refrigerate until the jello is set, usually 2-3 hours. Cut and serve cold.

Video

Notes

You can skip the pecans if needed, we just like them for extra nutty richness.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap or transfer leftovers to a container with a lid, and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1pc, Calories: 351kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 407mg, Potassium: 207mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 364IU, Vitamin C: 33mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Sommer Collier

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4 comments on “Best Strawberry Pretzel Salad”

  1. This Recipe is amazing which also looks so deliciouse in you post images and I have set mind to keep share it with my wife to make it tonight and I am very thankful to you for sharing this such a nice post about this recipes.

  2. So easy to make, and SO delicious!

  3. We make this every Christmas. It’s our favorite thing! Perfect side that tastes just like dessert!

  4. this jello dessert is just one of the best desserts! I love this for all the thanksgiving and Friendsgiving events I am going to this year!