Delicious Strawberry Pretzel Salad Dessert Recipe

May 22, 2024

How to make the most delicious strawberry, cream cheese and pretzel dessert!

It's strawberry season! This crunchy and sweet strawberry dessert "salad" is a hit EVERY time I make it! It's one of my favorite desserts ever. 

It's rare that I make desserts from scratch, so I share something here you know it's going to be good and easy. This is so yummy! 

It's a perfect combination of sweet and salty, my favorite. 

A friend of mine used to make this every time we got together and it got to the point where I would request it. I finally asked her for the recipe and now it's my go-to for summer potlucks. (But it works ALL year round!)
Strawberry pretzel dessert salad

Here are the ingredients needed to make this Strawberry Pretzel Dessert: 

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels (make sure this is two cups after you've crushed them -- I actually use a little more)
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) package softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) Cool Whip
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages of strawberry gelatin
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries (I use one 14 ounce package and it's fine)
  • 9x13 baking dish
To make the pretzel crust take your pretzels and smash them -- I put them in a baggie and crush them up: 
crushed pretzel dessert

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I use our meat tenderizer, but a rolling pin works great as well! You can also use a food processor, but I prefer bigger chunks of the pretzels for this crust. 

Salted pretzels are perfect for this strawberry pretzel salad recipe. The bit of salt is a great combo with the sweetness of the jello and fruit. 

Then mix the pretzels, melted butter and three tablespoons sugar: 
pretzel and strawberry dessert

Pour this mixture into the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan till covered. This is the non-stick baking pan I use. There's also a cover that makes it really easy to transport.

Bake at 400 degrees for eight to ten minutes and then set aside to cool:
pretzel crust in pan

You'll want this to cool down before adding the cream cheese layer. I wait until this is out of the oven before continuing. 

Mix softened cream cheese and one cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl:
whipped cream cheese

Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature (or place in microwave for 10 second increments) to ensure you don't have chunks. 

Fold in the container of Cool Whip to your whipped cream: 
Strawberry cream cheese dessert

Try with all your might not to eat it right then. :) Little fact about me -- I could (and do) eat Cool Whip with a spoon. Delish. 

Spread this whipped topping mixture onto the cooled crust: 
whipped cream cheese and cool whip

Important tip -- make sure to spread the cream cheese mixture to the edges and don't leave any holes. This will keep your pretzels nice and crunchy. 

Next is the strawberry jello -- prepare in two cups of boiling water (according to the box instructions, just leave out the cold water at the end). Then add the package of frozen sliced strawberries: 
strawberry jello dessert

You can also make this dessert with sliced fresh strawberries as well. 

You'll want this strawberry jello mixture to set up for a bit -- the recipe calls for it to be an egg white consistency. I usually chill it in the refrigerator for five to ten minutes and stir. You'll be able to tell when the gelatin is starting to set up.

Spread the strawberries over the cream cheese mixture. Let set up even more in the fridge before serving, even an hour is fine. 

I'm telling you -- this is SO good. I warn you though, it's addicting. 

You'll have some and then need more: 
Pretzel and strawberry salad in trifle bowl

I love the combo of the creamy and crunchy textures and sweet and salty flavors. It's a lovely summer dish -- I hope to make it again with fresh picked strawberries soon!

Have you tried this dessert? Any twists on it that are worth trying? I've heard this is delicious with peaches as well. 

Add some blueberries on top to make this a patriotic dessert!

Pin and save this strawberry dessert recipe for later with this image: 
Strawberry cream cheese and pretzel salad

Check out all of my recipes here! These are a few of my most popular...

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  1. When I was working there was a co-worker and this was her signature dessert. She knew if there was a potluck, she had to make it. Thankfully she shared the recipe with several of us so after she retired we could still enjoy it. Now I'm retired as well but I still have the recipe. You are right, it is addicting. When I have made it and brought it to somebody's house, the dessert is gone every single time. :-)

  2. My husband bribes the kids of friends to request I make this so that he can eat it. I have made with both fresh and frozen strawberries. I prefer the frozen for what it is worth. And I have never thought to let the gelatin set up a bit before pouring over the cream cheese layer. Brilliant!

  3. Love this recipe. Strawberry is great now and then switch to peach later in summer...yum!!

  4. This sounds delish and I openly admit I am a spoon dipper in cool whip (I don't buy the container's anymore HA!)

    Lauren | Lovely Decor

  5. I see your pretzels are still in stick form after putting them into the pan - is the smashing just to break them up a little or should they actually be crumb-like? Thank you!

    1. Just to break them up a bit so you still have some crunch!

  6. Our version has you crush the pretzels more, and use 2 cans of pie filling rather than the jello and strawberries combo. Usually cherry pie filling but I've switched it up and used blueberry as well so yummy!

  7. Can this be made the day before? I would e to serve for father's day.

  8. I make it with raspberries and it is so delicious.

  9. I’d also like to know how far ahead this can be made!

    1. I wouldn't make it more than a day ahead. Overall everything is still delicious, but the pretzels will start to soften and lose their crunch a bit. I like to make it the morning of or night before an event. (Leftovers are still great though!)

  10. I love this dessert. My mom made this type of dessert for many years. Thanks for sharing. I'm impressed that you haven't any commenters shaming you for using "evil" Cool Whip. "wink"


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