Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a salty and sweet, southern dessert-like salad. Made with strawberry filled Jell-O topping, sweet cream cheese middle layer, and a salty pretzel crust.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
This delicious southern salad dates back as far as I can remember in my childhood. Whether it is indeed a salad or a dessert still remains a mystery, however, it’s deliciously sweet and salty taste is obvious. Years ago when I shared images of a strawberry pretzel salad on social media my feed was flooded with friends sharing memories linked to this dish.
How to Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- Strawberry Jell-O Layer: place the dry Jell-O in a bowl and pour in boiling water. Stir until the Jell-O completely dissolves, and then stir in cold water. Refrigerate the mixture for 1 1/2 hours or until slightly thickened. Stir in the strawberries
- Cream Cheese Filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula gently fold in the whipped cream.
- Pretzel Crust: Stir together the crushed pretzels and sugar. Pour the butter in and toss with the mixture. Press the crust into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
- PRO TIP: After spreading the cream cheese layer over the pretzel crust let it chill and firm for about 15 to 20 minutes before adding the topping.
- PRO TIP: Make the strawberry Jell-O first and let it chill in the fridge for about an hour and a half before stirring in the fresh strawberries. This will keep it from bleeding into the sides and cream cheese layer.
- PRO TIP: Firmly press the pretzel crust into an even layer at the bottom of the dish. The firm crust helps to set up the other layers.
Can I Change the Strawberry Topping?
Yes! Change this simple salad with the options below.
- Cherry Jell-O + Fresh Sliced Cherries
- Pineapple Jell-O + Fresh Pineapple Chunks
- Raspberry Jell-O + Fresh Raspberries
- Cranberry Jell-O
Can I Change the Crust Layer?
Sure! You can easily change this salad up completely by making a graham cracker crust and using this recipe.
- 2½ cups Pretzels crushed
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 8 tablespoons Unsalted Butter melted
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese room temperature
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 8 ounces Cool Whip thawed in the fridge
- 6 ounces Strawberry Jell-O
- 1 lb Strawberries sliced and hulled
- 2 cups Boiling Water
- Preheat the oven to 400℉ and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray or oil.
- In a medium bowl stir together the crushed pretzels and sugar. Pour in the melted butter and mix until the ingredients are evenly coated. Firmly press the pretzel mixture into the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool completely.
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula gently fold in the cool whip. Spread evenly over the crust and cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Place dry Jell-O in a medium bowl and pour in the boiling water. Stir until the Jell-O is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in the strawberries and pour over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until the Jell-O layer is completely set.