You’ll love the contrasting textures of this strawberry pretzel dessert! A sweet, crunchy crust, a creamy center, and a strawberry jello topping. This easy summer dessert is always a hit no matter the occasion!

slice of strawberry pretzel dessert topped with whipped cream.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This dessert goes by a few names – Strawberry Pretzel Dessert, Strawberry Pretzel Jello, or Strawberry Pretzel Salad. I don’t understand calling it a salad, but vintage recipes often have odd names.

Whatever you call it, this dessert is a summertime staple. It’s one of those potluck desserts that is so popular, you know it’s missing when it’s not there!

It’s a layered dessert with a crunchy pretzel crust topped with a creamy layer of cream cheese and whipped topping, finished with a top layer of sweet strawberry jello and slices of fresh strawberries.

It’s simple, nostalgic, and a dessert so easy to make, you’ll want to make it all the time!

slice of layered strawberry pretzel dessert with a bite missing.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Other than baking the crust for 10 minutes to set, the rest of it is a no-bake dessert served chilled.
  • It can be made with different flavors of jello and fruit for a fun variation.
  • You’ll love that it’s budget-friendly and so easy to make.
  • Perfect for serving a crowd at a potluck, BBQ, the holidays, or anytime you need a quick and easy dessert.

Helpful Tools

Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe, why you need them, and possible substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card with measurements.

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  • For the jello topping – You’ll need strawberry gelatin and boiling water.
  • The crust – Crushed pretzels, unsalted butter, and granulated sugar. Melting the butter will help bind the crushed pretzels together and give it a nice buttery flavor and texture.
  • Whipped layer – Bring cream cheese to room temperature. If using frozen Cool Whip, bring it to room temperature to thaw. I also have a great homemade stabilized whipped cream recipe you can use.
  • Fresh strawberries – Washed, dried, hulled, and sliced.
overhead shot of labeled ingredients laid out to make strawberry pretzel salad.

How to make Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

This section shows you how to make this recipe, with process photos showing the steps to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.

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  1. Step One: Mix the jello with 2 cups of boiling water. Mix until the powder has dissolved and let it sit at room temperature to cool.
strawberry gelatin in a glass mixing bowl.
  1. Step Two: Combine melted butter and sugar with crushed pretzels. Stir to ensure pretzels are fully coated and then transfer to a 9×13 glass baking dish.
  1. Step Three: Press evenly to spread it out to form the crust. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Let it cool.
pretzel crust in a baking dish.
  1. Step Four: Whip the cream cheese and sugar on low speed, then use a spatula to fold in the Cool Whip. Spread the creamy layer on top of the crust, all the way to the edges. You should see no crust. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  1. Step Five: Evenly arrange the sliced strawberries on the cream cheese layer and pour the cooled jello mixture over the top. Refrigerate for 2 hours until the jello layer is set. Then, slice and enjoy!
  • Don’t skip the chill times! For the creamy layer not to melt, or to avoid one layer bleeding into the next, make sure each layer is set before adding the next one.
  • For clean slices, use a plastic knife to cut. Or, wipe the blade clean between each slice.
  • This strawberry pretzel salad serves about 12 people, but you can always adjust the size of your pieces.
  • Switch up the jello and fruit flavors if you’d like. For example, raspberries with raspberry jello, blueberries with blue jello, or mandarin oranges with orange jello. You get the idea.
  • It’s best enjoyed within a day or two as the crust tends to get soggy the longer it sits.
overhead shot of strawberry pretzel salad in a baking dish.

How to store leftovers

Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days covered in an airtight container. It will get soggy eventually, so it’s best eaten within the first couple of days.

I don’t recommend freezing it, because once it has thawed, it will alter the texture.

FAQs

Can I use frozen strawberries?

You certainly can, but I recommend you thaw them and drain them first. That way the juices won’t run and cause the whipped topping to separate.

Does this make a good make-ahead dessert?

You can make it up to 24 hours ahead, but no more than that. Since it’s best eaten the day it’s made, avoid making it ahead if possible.

This Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O is a quick and easy summer dessert idea. Made with fresh strawberries nestled in Jell-O on top of a whipped cream layer and crunchy pretzel crust.

Need more strawberry dessert recipes? Try these:

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Strawberry Brownie Delight

Strawberry Cannoli Cones

Strawberry Jello Poke Cake Cupcakes

Click here to view my entire collection of dessert recipes.

For more great recipe ideas, be sure to follow me on Pinterest.

lifting a slice of strawberry pretzel dessert from the pan.

Did You Make This?

If you made this recipe, I’d love to know how it went in the comments section below.

You can also tag me on Instagram – @melissa_ppplates or share a pic in the Persnickety Plates Community Facebook group. I love seeing what you’ve tried!

slice of strawberry pretzel dessert topped with whipped cream.
5 from 1 vote

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Set Time 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
You'll love the contrasting textures of this strawberry pretzel dessert! A sweet, crunchy crust, a creamy center, and a strawberry jello topping. This easy summer dessert is always a hit no matter the occasion!

Ingredients
 

  • 6 ounces strawberry gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups pretzels crushed
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated white sugar divided
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces whipped topping thawed (Cool Whip)
  • ¾ pound fresh strawberries sliced

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and set out a 9×13 glass baking dish.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the packet of strawberry jello with 2 cups of boiling water until dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
    6 ounces strawberry gelatin, 2 cups boiling water
  • In a large zip top bag, crush the pretzels using a rolling pin.
    2 cups pretzels
  • In a small saucepan, melt the stick of butter. Once melted, stir in 1/4 cup sugar. Pour the crushed pretzels into the saucepan and mix together.
    ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • Press the pretzel mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to come to room temp.
  • While the pretzel crust is cooling, add the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix on low until fully combined.
    8 ounces cream cheese, 1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • Use a spatula to fold in the thawed whipped topping.
    8 ounces whipped topping
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled pretzel crust going all the way to the edges to create a seal. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • While that portion is cooling, slice up the strawberries. You'll need ½-¾ pound.
    ¾ pound fresh strawberries
  • Once cooled, evenly arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the cream cheese layer.
  • Pour the cooled gelatin mixture over the strawberries and refrigerate until it is set, approximately 2 hours.
  • Slice & enjoy!

Notes

  • Alternatively, 12 ounces of frozen strawberries can also be used. Thaw them in the fridge before using. 
  • To switch it up, try fresh (or frozen) raspberries with raspberry jello.
  • Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. The crust tends to get soggy so it is best enjoyed within 1-2 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 371kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 308mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 508IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram @melissa_pplates so I can see!

Originally published August 7, 2014; photos updated June 16, 2024

This Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O is a quick and easy summer dessert idea. Made with fresh strawberries nestled in Jell-O on top of a whipped cream layer and crunchy pretzel crust.
This Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O is a quick and easy summer dessert idea. Made with fresh strawberries nestled in Jell-O on top of a whipped cream layer and crunchy pretzel crust.


5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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