Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This delicious Strawberry Pretzel Salad is the perfect summer dessert. It has a buttery pretzel crust, a cream cheese layer that's light and fluffy and topped with a strawberry jello with fresh sliced strawberries throughout it. If you're a sweet and salty fan, this is the dessert recipe for you.

Close-up of strawberry pretzel salad slice.


 

The first time I had this amazing Strawberry Pretzel Dessert, I was shocked at how perfectly the flavors blended. Sweet and salty, fruity and cheesy. Pretzels. In a dessert. A beautiful Strawberry Pretzel Salad is the perfect sweet summer dish to make for any picnic or special occasion.

A layer of delicious strawberry jello filled with fresh sliced strawberries sits atop a smooth cheesecake layer over a slightly salty pretzel crust. Oh my. It's one of the most brilliant combinations ever.

Ingredients for Strawberry Pretzel Salad

See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for all ingredients and quantities.

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Ingredients for the Pretzel Crust

  • Crushed Mini Pretzel Twists - I wouldn't get the extra buttery pretzels or anything fancy. Just normal pretzels.
  • Granulated Sugar - White sugar.
  • Butter - You can use margarine if you prefer but you just can't beat the butter flavor.

Ingredients for the Cheesecake Layer

  • Cream Cheese - This will need to be softened, so plan ahead.
  • Instant Pudding Mix in Cheesecake Flavor - I didn't even know this existed for a long time, and it's discovery is worth a happy dance!
  • Granulated Sugar - White table sugar.
  • Vanilla Extract - Store-bought or homemade vanilla extract works great.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream - The stuff dreams are made of. You can also use whipped topping if you would like.

Ingredients for the Strawberry Jello Topping

  • Fresh Strawberries - You might be able to use thawed frozen strawberries for this strawberry pretzel dessert but I haven't tried it before. I always go with fresh.
  • Strawberry Jello - I used two boxes.
  • Boiling Water - To dissolve the jello completely, you need the water to be boiling hot.
  • Cold Water - This will help the jello chill and set more quickly.
Side view of strawberry pretzel dessert with all three layers visible.

How to Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This dessert is built from the bottom up adding one layer at a time. It's not difficult at all. It's actually best if it has time to refrigerate overnight, so making it a day ahead of time is perfect. This frees you up to concentrate on other things on the day of your special occasion.

How to Make the Pretzel Crust

Preheat your oven and spray your 9 x 13 pan with non-stick spray. Crush the pretzels.

Mix the crushed pretzels with sugar and then the butter. Pour this mixture into your pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for fifteen minutes.

How to Make the Cheesecake Layer

Beat the cream cheese until it smooths out and then beat in the instant pudding mix, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the heavy whipping cream a little at a time.

Spread the cheesecake mixture on top of the pretzel crust with an angled spatula. Make sure to spread all the way to the edges so there are no holes that the jello can seep through to get to the pretzel crust. Chill this in the refrigerator for thirty minutes before you make the jello layer.

How to Make the Strawberry Jello Layer

Pour the boiling water over the jello in a mixing bowl and stir it until all of the jello is dissolved. Add the cold water to bring it to room temperature and then stir in the strawberry slices.

Very carefully pour this mixture over the cheesecake using the back of a spoon to deflect the impact and prevent a disturbance of the cheesecake layer. Chill for at least four hours or overnight before serving.

Top down view of strawberry pretzel salad slices.

Tips for Best Results

Pouring the jello layer onto the dish is the trickiest part. You don't want the jello layer to become milky or disturb the cheesecake layer in any way. Pour very slowly, and use something like the back of a spoon to deflect the impact. Move around the top of the dessert as you pour so that you don't have to do much spreading.

I recommend crushing the pretzels in a sealed plastic baggy with a rolling pin or pulsing them in a food processor. Go slowly, you don't want fine pretzel dust, you want chunky crushed pretzel pieces.

FAQ

How should I store leftover Strawberry Pretzel Dessert?

I recommend refrigerating it in a sealed plastic container for two or three days. The layers will start to get mushy and unappetizing as it goes bad. You can also freeze the salad for a few months in an airtight container. I recommend freezing individual servings so that you can thaw only what you need. By the way, this dessert can be eaten partially frozen. Don't ask how I know.

Do I bake the cheesecake layer?

No. This Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe does not call for baking the cheesecake layer since it is made with cheesecake-flavored instant pudding.

More Great Strawberry Desserts

Top Down view of Strawberry Jello Layer

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A slice of strawberry cheesecake, topped with fresh strawberries, served on a white plate.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This delicious Strawberry Pretzel Salad has a buttery pretzel crust, a cream cheese layer that's light and fluffy, and topped with a strawberry jello with fresh sliced strawberries throughout it.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 445 kcal

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 2 cups crushed mini pretzel twists
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup butter melted

Cheesecake Layer

  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 3.4 ounce box instant pudding mix, cheesecake flavor
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream

Jello Topping

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries sliced (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 6 ounces strawberry jello Two 3 ounce boxes
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water

Instructions

Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Add the crushed pretzels and granulated sugar to a medium mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
  • Pour the melted butter on top of the pretzels and stir until the butter coats the pieces.
  • Pour the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared 9x13 pan. Firmly and evenly press the crust into the bottom of the pan.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Cheesecake

  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the cream cheese. Beat using a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add in the instant pudding mix, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add in ½ cup of the heavy whipping cream and beat until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add in another ½ cup of heavy whipping cream and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add in the remaining ¾ cup of heavy whipping cream and beat until the mixture becomes thick and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Spread the cheesecake mixture on top of the pretzel crust with an angled spatula. Make sure to spread all the way to the edges so there are no holes that the jello can seep through to get to the pretzel crust.
  • Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Jello Topping

  • Once the cheesecake mixture has chilled, add the jello and boiling water to a medium bowl. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Add the cold water to the mixture and stir. Check the temperature and if it’s room temperature, stir in the fresh strawberries.
  • Pour the room temperature jello slowly on top of the back of a spoon to prevent the jello from forming a hole or disturbing the cheesecake layer making the jello a milky color.
  • Carefully place in the fridge for at least 4 hours but I recommend overnight to set up completely.

Notes

Storage: Store covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 445kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 4gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 316mgPotassium: 137mgFiber: 1gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 1123IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg

(Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.)

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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