Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Total Time
Prep: 30 min. + chilling
What's a potluck without strawberry pretzel salad? This summer side dish (or should we say dessert?) is definitely a recipe to keep in your back pocket.

Updated: Apr. 26, 2024

Strawberry pretzel salad—otherwise known as strawberry pretzel dessert—is a recipe that I think of fondly. I get nostalgic remembering my grandma preparing the potluck dessert for family get-togethers throughout my childhood. As it was with my family, this recipe is sure to be a hit with any crowd!

Whether you call it a salad or a dessert, this recipe is a winner, and not just because of the sweet-salty flavor combination. The crunch from the pretzel layer, the creaminess of the Cool Whip and cream cheese filling, and the inimitable Jell-O topping work together to provide several textures in each bite.

Ingredients for Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Ingredients for Strawberry Pretzel SaladTMB Studio

  • Pretzels: Crushed pretzels combined with melted butter serve as the salty element and the base for this sweet and salty dessert. Crush the pretzels by putting them in a gallon-sized resealable bag and breaking them up with a rolling pin.
  • Whipped topping: Store-bought whipped topping like Cool Whip, as compared to homemade whipped cream, is best for this strawberry pretzel salad recipe because it holds up better underneath the layer of strawberries and Jell-O. If it is frozen, thaw it in the fridge until soft.
  • Cream cheese: When combined with Cool Whip and sugar, cream cheese adds a cheesecake-like richness to the dessert. Make sure the cream cheese is fully softened so that there are no lumps.
  • Strawberry gelatin: This recipe calls for two 3-ounce boxes of strawberry gelatin to fill up a full 13×9-inch dish. (And as long as you’re in that aisle, try some more of our favorite Jell-O recipes!)
  • Sliced strawberries: We use fully thawed frozen sliced strawberries to make our recipe, but you could use sliced fresh strawberries as well. Just make sure you know how to clean strawberries properly beforehand.

Directions

Step 1: Make the pretzel crust

Combine the crushed pretzels, butter and sugar in a bowlTMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine the crushed pretzels, butter and sugar. Press the mixture into an ungreased 13×9-inch baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Step 2: Whip up the filling

Spread cream cheese over the pretzel crustTMB Studio

In a small bowl, beat the whipped topping, cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Spread the filling over the pretzel crust. Refrigerate until chilled.

Step 3: Make the topping

Dissolve the gelatin in boiling water in a large bowlTMB Studio

Dissolve the gelatin in boiling water in a large bowl. Stir in the strawberries, then chill the strawberry Jell-O topping in the fridge.

Step 4: Chill the strawberry pretzel salad

Carefully spread Strawberry Jello-O over the the dishTMB Studio

After the strawberry Jell-O topping has chilled in the fridge until partially set, carefully spoon it over the filling in the 13×9-inch dish.

Chill the pretzel salad until firm, for four to six hours.

Step 5: Serve the strawberry pretzel salad

Scrumptious Strawberry Pretzel Salad served in two platesTMB Studio

Cut the strawberry pretzel salad into squares. Serve with additional whipped topping and additional pretzels if desired.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Variations

  • Add nuts: Try adding chopped, toasted nuts (such as toasted pecans) to the pretzel layer for a little more flavor.
  • Switch up the fruit: You can make this pretzel salad recipe with other fruits besides strawberries! Attempt a peach pretzel salad by using peach gelatin and frozen peaches instead of strawberry gelatin and frozen strawberries. Or, try adding raspberries or cherries to the strawberry gelatin, or half strawberries and half another fruit.
  • Use this recipe as inspiration: If you can’t get enough of this strawberry pretzel dessert come summertime, try these other strawberry pretzel salad-inspired dessert recipes.

How to Store Strawberry Pretzel Salad

If you have leftover strawberry pretzel dessert (unlikely), cover it tightly with tin foil and store it in the fridge. It’ll last for up to three days, but you’ll want to eat it sooner rather than later.

Can you make strawberry pretzel salad ahead of time?

This pretzel strawberry dessert is a perfect make-ahead recipe for potlucks and other get-togethers. It needs to refrigerate for four to six hours minimum, so you can make it the day ahead and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Tips

Strawberry Pretzel Salad featuring a crunchy pretzel crust, creamy filling, and sweet strawberry toppingTMB Studio

What kind of pretzels should you use to make strawberry pretzel salad?

Salted pretzels are the way to go when making strawberry pretzel salad. The salty pretzels, sweet whipped topping and strawberries make this treat so craveable. Make sure you have enough crushed pretzels for your 13×9-inch baking dish by measuring after you crush them, not before. Use a food scale to measure 8 ounces if you want to be exact!

Can you make your own whipped cream instead of using store-bought whipped topping?

You can make your own whipped cream for this strawberry pretzel salad recipe, but we recommend sticking to a frozen whipped topping like Cool Whip. Homemade whipped cream doesn’t hold up as long and can get weepy after a day or so, muddying the layers as leftovers sit in the fridge.

How can you make sure the layers of strawberry pretzel salad don’t mix?

To keep those beautiful layers of this strawberry pretzel dessert sharp and separate, take care to spread the cream cheese layer all the way to the edges of the dish before you pop it into the fridge. If there are any gaps, the strawberry jello layer will leak down to the bottom.

Watch how to Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels (about 8 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • FILLING:
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • TOPPING:
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) strawberry gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 packages (16 ounces each) frozen sweetened sliced strawberries, thawed
  • Optional: Additional whipped topping and pretzels

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, combine the pretzels, butter and sugar. Press into an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. For filling, in a small bowl, beat whipped topping, cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Spread over pretzel crust. Refrigerate until chilled.
  3. For topping, dissolve gelatin in boiling water in a large bowl. Stir in sweetened strawberries; chill until partially set. Carefully spoon over filling. Chill until firm, 4-6 hours. Cut into squares. Serve with additional whipped topping and additional pretzels if desired.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 295 calories, 15g fat (10g saturated fat), 39mg cholesterol, 305mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (27g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.

Need to bring a dish to pass this weekend? This make-ahead strawberry pretzel salad will disappear quickly at any potluck. —Aldene Belch, Flint, Michigan
Recipe Creator