Serves a Crowd

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

June 28, 2024
1 Ratings
Photo by Elvin Abril
  • Prep time 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 12 to 16
Author Notes

Strawberry pretzel salad is a nostalgic, retro dessert that dates back to the 1960s when Jell-O was all the rage. It’s thought that the recipe first came from a cookbook called, "The Joys of Jell-O," in 1963, and although not really a salad, it was influenced by the era's Jell-O salad trend. It was (and still is) a common dessert to bring to gatherings, especially during the summer months in the South and Midwest.

Without further ado, here is my take on this classic American dessert. The base is a buttery and salty pretzel crust with a cream cheese and whipped cream filling, topped with fresh strawberries and strawberry Jell-O. It’s very simple to make, and the homemade whipped cream mixed with the cream cheese makes this dessert taste more like a no-bake cheesecake than anything.
Nea Arentzen

What You'll Need
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Strawberry Pretzel Salad
  • 2 cups very crushed salted pretzel snaps
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (6-ounce) package strawberry Jell-O
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 (8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC and generously grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the crushed pretzels, sugar, and salt. Pour in the butter and mix together until evenly incorporated, looks like coarse sand, and holds together when pinched. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, then set it aside to cool completely (if not cooled, the cream cheese layer will melt once added).
  3. While it cools, mix the boiling water and jello in a large measuring cup until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool until lukewarm (don’t put it in the fridge as it’ll cool too quickly and set before you have time to pour it over the other layers).
  4. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt until combined. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add it to the cream cheese and beat together until the mixture is light and fluffy, and holds mostly-stiff peaks.
  5. Spread the cream cheese whip into an even layer over the pretzel crust. Cover and transfer to the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Arrange the strawberry slices all over the cream cheese layer, then pour the almost-cooled jello over top. Cover and refrigerate until the jello has completely set, 1 to 2 hours.

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Nea Arentzen

Recipe by: Nea Arentzen

Content creator & recipe developer

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