Strawberry Pretzel Salad

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Strawberry Pretzel Salad has a sweet and salty pretzel crust, cream cheese middle, and a jello strawberry layer on top. Perfection!  Everyone loves this salad!

When I did my BBQ round-up idea and found this recipe, I knew I had to make it. I have seen it everywhere and it looks so amazing and perfect for summer! I was curious to know how a pretzel crust would taste and the result was fantastic!

Strawberry Pretzel salad square with a dollup of whip and a pretzel on top.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I especially loved the layers in this dessert. The crunchy saltiness from the pretzel crust covered with a smooth and tangy cream cheese middle, and finished off perfectly with a fresh, sweet strawberry jello layer on top!  This was everyone’s new favorite and it didn’t last long at all! I am so glad I finally gave this recipe a try because it is a keeper!

When I am in the mood for something sweet but not too rich, this is my first choice.  There is just something about how perfectly balanced all the flavors and textures are that keeps me coming back for more!  Adding big chunks of fresh strawberries to the jello is part of what makes this pretzel salad so special.  That hint of freshness is just right! I also like to finish it off with a big swirl of whipped cream on top!  Altogether, it is like heaven on my fork! This strawberry pretzel salad should be at the top of your list of new dessert recipes to try this week! Your friends and family will thank you!

Pretzel Salad Ingredients:

  • Pretzels:Use small, salted pretzels (either sticks or twists are fine) so they will be easier to crush.
  • Brown sugar: Gives a rich sweetness to the pretzel crust.
  • Butter:The melted butter helps bind the pretzel crust together.
  • Instant strawberry jello: You can use sugar free here if you would like without changing the flavors too much.
  • Fresh strawberries: I love the fresh sweetness the strawberries add!
  • Cream cheese: Room temperature so that it can beat together with sugar easily.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness to the creamy layer.
  • Cool whip: Thaw in refrigerator and fold into cream cheese and sugar mixture.

How to make Strawberry Pretzel Salad:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine ingredients for the pretzel layer: In a mixing bowl, combine crushed pretzels, sugar, and melted butter.
  3. Cook pretzel crust: Press into a lightly greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 8 minutes and remove from oven. Let cool completely.
  4. Make the jello: Follow package directions to make jello. Once cool, mix in the fresh strawberries. Let refrigerate for an hour or so to let it partially set.
  5. Make creamy center: Beat the cream cheese and sugar together with a hand mixer until creamy. Fold in the cool whip with a spatula.
  6. Build finished layers: Spread the creamy mixture over the top of the pretzel crust completely to the edges so the jello won’t leak through.  Then, pour the jello over the cream cheese layer and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.
  7. Serve and Enjoy!
Steps to making strawberry pretzel salad.

Can you make this ahead of time?

Strawberry pretzel salad is best when made at least half a day in advance. It needs at least four hours to set up, or preferably longer. It will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator.  If you are making it ahead, be sure to use cool whip instead of whipped topping because it doesn’t soften the pretzels overnight.

Fruity Variations:

  • Mix up your fruits and try an Orange pretzel salad with orange jello, crushed pineapple and mandarin oranges, or any fruit and jello flavors/colors you like!
  • If you decide to use whipped cream (by beating 1 cup heavy whipping cream until stiff and fluffy), I would add 2/3 cup sugar to the cream cheese to add back in some of the sweetness.  Also, refrigerate the cream portion for 45 minutes to give it more time to firmly set.

Tips to Make the Best Pretzel Salad:

  • Measure 2 ½ cups of whole pretzels
  • Spread cream portion from edge to edge of the pretzel layer to keep the jello from seeping through to the pretzels and making your crust mushy.
  • Gently pour room temperature jello over the cream layer to prevent cracks in the cream layer.
  • Allow each layer to cool/chill completely before adding the next layer.
  • The Jell-o needs to be room temperature before you pour in the fresh strawberries.  Otherwise, the heat will cause them to wilt.
  • You can use frozen strawberries instead of fresh.
Close up on the side of a slice of strawberry pretzel salad that shows the layers.

More Fresh Strawberry Salads:

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

4.88 from 8 votes
Delicious sweet and salty pretzel crust with a cream cheese and strawberry layer. This is perfect for summer!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 16 people


  • 2 1/2 cups pretzels crushed
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 (6 ounce) box instant strawberry jello
  • 1 (16 ounce) container of fresh strawberries sliced (or 1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) container of cool whip, thawed


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, combine crushed pretzels, brown sugar, and melted butter. Press into a lightly greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 8 minutes and remove from oven. Let cool completely.
  • While the crust is baking, make the jello according to the package directions. Let the jello sit at room temperature for an hour or until it cools.
  • Beat the cream cheese and sugar together with a hand mixer until creamy. Fold in the cool whip with a spatula. Spread the mixture over the top of the pretzel crust completely to the edges so the jello won't leak through. Chill in the fridge.
  • Once the jello has cooled, layer the sliced strawberries over the chilled cream layer and top with the room-temperature jello. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before serving.



Updated on May 9, 2020
Originally Posted on July 19, 2013


Serves: 16

Calories316kcal (16%)Carbohydrates43g (14%)Protein4g (8%)Fat15g (23%)Saturated Fat9g (45%)Cholesterol43mg (14%)Sodium356mg (15%)Potassium108mg (3%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar30g (33%)Vitamin A512IU (10%)Vitamin C18mg (22%)Calcium44mg (4%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dessert, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword pretzel salad, strawberry pretzel salad, strawberry salad
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. This recipe is great but how can you keep the pretzels crisp? They get soggy so fast!! As soon as I fix it and refrigerate it a few hours the pretzels are soggy! I make sure that absolutely no jello seeps under the cream cheeese/cool whip layer. Help!!

    1. When you put the cream cheese layer over the pretzel layer, make sure that you seal the cream cheese layer to the edges of your container and make sure that all areas on the pretzel layer are covered with cream cheese completely. Been making this for years. Turns out great every time. Sometimes I add an extra pkg of cream cheese – simply because I love cream cheese.

  2. Since I am obviously recipe illiterate, it would have been nice to know to mix brown sugar with pretzels and butter, but now I now the recipe goes in order and I shouldn’t have had all ingredients out at once. But, it was great!

    1. Yes, of course! I have never tried it but I am sure it will taste great if properly stored correctly in the freezer. It may alter the taste and even the texture of the dessert.

  3. Thanks for the recipe! I would just make one suggestion – specify which sugar you are using in steps 1 & 3. I didn’t catch the brown sugar that was listed in the ingredients and ended up using too much sugar in the crust. 🙂

      1. Been making this for years. I use powdered sugar instead of reg. Sugar can’t imagine how it would be using plain sugar. Everyone loves it and is always requesting it. Just made it for our card night. Delicious and everyone wants the recipe. My question is can you freeze it.lois

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve never made this version using brown sugar before. My family has been making a close version of this receipe for many years, but instead of using water when making the jello, we use pineapple juice, which is what our cookbook calls for. Its beyond delicious! Using frozen strawberries WITH sugar added, has always been the best choice, I feel, for this recipe!

  4. I love this recipe we have used it for family picnics for years. It is always as good as the last time. Thanks for sharing/

    1. Love this salad but recipe didn’t specify white or brown sugar for the crust and topping. Made it wrong the first time using this recipe.

      1. When I printed this recipe last week it said brown sugar. I am in the process of making it right now; the crust smells amazing.

    1. My family has been making this recipe for 30+ years with instant pudding rather than strawberry jello.

      1. I made it for a party last weekend and the pretzel crust was soggy what did I do wrong?
        I let the crust cool completely before I added the cream cheese
        It was still delicious but I really wanted a crunchy bass

      2. Oh no! I am sorry that it was soggy. I have not experienced this before. I wonder if the crust was not completely baked or the heat may have already softened it.

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