Strawberry Pretzel Salad

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This classic Strawberry pretzel dessert is a family favorite and perfect for holiday gatherings, potlucks, and summer BBQs. 

Also known as a Strawberry pretzel salad, this dessert is sure to be a crowd-pleaser with its sweet and salty flavor combination. The recipe is made with layers of salted pretzels, a cream cheese filling, and topped with strawberry Jell-O.


There is something so nostalgic about classic party food recipes. Like this Ambrosia Salad, my mother makes for every holiday. This layered strawberry pretzel jello dessert is easy to make and always quick to go at family parties. The best part, for me, is that I can easily make this dessert gluten-free.
Sweet and salty classic strawberry pretzel salad dessert recipe

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

First, you make the crust layer out of salted pretzels. Note: I switched to gluten-free pretzels and it was delicious! If you or someone you know has a gluten allergy, then this recipe is easy to make without sacrificing flavor. Surprisingly, gluten-free pretzels taste exactly like regular pretzels. So, feel free to use regular or gluten-free pretzels for this recipe

Next, is the cream cheese filling made with granulated sugar and whipped cream. The ingredients are mixed together to create a cheesecake-like center that blends the flavors of the salted pretzels and strawberry Jell-O together. Fresh strawberries are hulled and sliced into the Jell-O layer on top. You can use frozen strawberries if desired.

Sweet and salty strawberry pretzel salad made with a cream cheese layer and topped with fresh strawberries

Once the crust is prepared, baked and cooled, the cream cheese mixture is spread into an even layer. Be sure to create a “seal” by spreading the cream cheese mixture around the edges of the dish. Then cool until firm.

The Jell-O is prepared using 2 cups of boiling water mixed with 6 oz of strawberry Jell-O. Note: do not add 2 cups of cold water as directed on the box. Only 2 cups of boiling water, stir and let the Jell-O cool completely before adding the fresh strawberries. The goal is to have the Jell-O slightly thicken before adding it to the dish. This will ensure the layers don’t blend together.
old fashioned strawberry pretzel salad
Once the dessert is refrigerated for at least 2-4 hours, cut into slices and enjoy! Add a dollop of whipped cream and a pretzel on top.
strawberry jello pretzel dessert
strawberry jello pretzel salad recipe

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Sweet and salty layers of pretzels, cream cheese filling, topped with strawberry jello
 Course Dessert, Side Dish
 Cuisine American
 Keyword desserts, gluten-free, Jello, strawberry pretzel salad
 
 Servings 12
 Author Crystal Owens

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups salted pretzels
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter

Filling

  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 oz Cool Whip thawed

Jello Topping

  • 6 oz Strawberry Jell-O
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries hulled, sliced

Instructions

Pretzel crust

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. In a small saucepan, melt butter and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Place pretzels in a bag and crush with a rolling pin. Stir in butter with pretzels in a small bowl. Press into an even layer in a 13x9 dish. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool to room temperature before adding next layer.

Cream Cheese Layer

  1. Beat together cream cheese and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in cool whip; mix until well combined. Spread onto cooled pretzel crust. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until firm.

Jell-O Topping

  1. Dissolve strawberry jell-o with 2 cups boiling water. Set aside until room temperature. Once cooled, add fresh sliced strawberries and pour over refrigerated cream cheese layer. Carefully spread the strawberries into an even layer. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or until jell-o is firm. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Tips for making Strawberry Pretzel Salad

  • Prepare the jello using the directions in the recipe card, not on the Jell-O box.
  • Optional: add ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans to the pretzel layer
  • It is important to make sure the crust layer is cooled completely before adding the cream cheese filling. Spread the filling around the edge of the dish to keep the layers separate.
  • Refrigerate the cream cheese layer until it is firm to avoid causing the layers to blend together.
  • Cut into 12 squares or scoop with a spoon
  • Top with whipped cream, pretzels, or fresh strawberries.
  • I recommend using this 13×9 baking dish with a lid for easy transport to potlucks.

Dietary Alternatives:

  • Use gluten-free pretzels to make the Strawberry pretzel salad gluten free
  • I have not personally tried them, but milk alternatives for the cream cheese and whipped cream can be used to make it dairy-free
  • Sugar-free gelatin and fresh strawberries make great alternatives for low sugar needs.

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