★★★★★

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This Strawberry Pretzel Salad recipe is the perfect sweet and salty combination! A light cream cheese filling, crunchy pretzel crust and fresh strawberry JELLO topping make these bars totally irresistible.

Save some strawberries to make this Strawberry Eclair Cake Recipe next! Or give our no bake strawberry cheesecake recipe a try soon.

Slice of strawberry pretzel salad on a white plate.

Why This Dessert is Best

You’ll love the combination of salty pretzels, sweet creamy cheesecake filling and tangy-sweet strawberries in this easy dessert!

No potluck is complete without my aunts famous strawberry pretzel salad (or sometimes we call it strawberry pretzel jello).

Originally, my aunt always made these bars with JELL-O spread on top. But when strawberries are in season, you can swap the JELL-O for the ripest, juiciest berries.

  • Layers of sweet, salty and creamy flavor.
  • Make it with strawberry JELL-O or fresh strawberries!
  • Tastes like no bake cheesecake with a pretzel twist.
  • A refreshing chilled dessert perfect for summer!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make strawberry pretzel jello.

Making today’s recipe is simple enough with ingredients you may already have in your pantry. Be sure to scroll down all the way to the recipe card for a complete list with exact measurements.

  • Pretzel crust – Crushed pretzels are combined with sugar and melted butter.
  • Strawberries – You can slice them and arrange them right on top of the bars, or mix them into the JELL-O.
  • Strawberry Gelatin – You’ll use this if you want to make the JELLO topping.
  • Cool whip – Makes the cheesecake filling light and fluffy. Or use my homemade stabilized whipped cream instead!
  • Cream cheese – It’s beaten with the cool whip and powdered sugar to make a simple no-bake cheesecake filling.

Tips and Tricks

Step by step photos showing how to make strawberry pretzel salad.
  • Plan ahead. You’ll want to get a head start on making the gelatin so that it’s slightly thickened as you add it to the bars.
  • Measure the pretzels before crushing them. This gives you an accurate measurement.
  • Bake and cool crust completely. While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling and topping.
  • Chill before serving. Strawberry Pretzel JELLO is best served cold! I let mine chill for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving.
Strawberry pretzel jello in a white 13x9 dish.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use fresh whipped cream instead of Cool Whip?

Fresh whipped cream won’t give you the same results as stabilized whipped cream (Cool Whip). The “stabilizers” give the cheesecake filling a light, fluffy consistency while holding its shape. Regular whipped cream loses air as its sets, so the filling will end up runny.

Will this recipe work with other berries or fruits?

Yes, you can swap the strawberries for blueberries, raspberries or other sliced fresh fruit. Feel free to change up the JELL-O flavor too.

Salted or unsalted pretzels in strawberry pretzel salad?

I used salted pretzels for the strawberry pretzel salad crust. The saltiness complements the sweetness of the filling and topping for a super satisfying dessert. If you don’t like salty-sweet desserts, you can use unsalted pretzels instead.

Can I make strawberry pretzel jello ahead of time?

Yes, strawberry pretzel jello is a great make-ahead dessert idea. Assemble the bars and keep them covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy within 3 days for best taste.

Slice of strawberry pretzel salad with a fork taking a bite.

More Easy Dessert Recipes

Yield: 15

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes

This Strawberry Pretzel Salad recipe is the perfect sweet and salty combination! A light cream cheese filling, crunchy pretzel crust and fresh strawberry JELLO topping make these bars totally irresistible.

Ingredients

For the Gelatin:

  • 2 packages (small 3 ounce boxes) strawberry JELL-O
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups sliced, fresh strawberries (about a 1 pound package)

For the Crust:

  • 2 ½ cups pretzels (measure before crushing)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

  • 1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 container (8 ounce) Cool Whip, thawed

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolive JELL-O with boiling water by stirring with a spoon for several minutes. Stir in strawberries. Refrigerate until partially set, about an hour and a half.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine crushed pretzels with sugar. Using a fork, add in melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish.
  3. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Remove and cool.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Fold in thawed Cool Whip until fully blended. Spread over cooled crust.
  5. Refrigerate crust with filling until gelatin topping is partially set.
  6. Using a spoon, carefully add the gelatin and strawberry mixture over the top of the chilled cheesecake. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight until set.

Notes

  • Plan ahead. You'll want to get a head start on making the gelatin so that it's slightly thickened as you add it to the bars.
  • Measure the pretzels before crushing them. This gives you an accurate measurement.
  • Bake and cool crust completely. While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling and topping.
  • Chill before serving. Strawberry Pretzel JELLO is best served cold! I let mine chill for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving.
  • Use fresh sliced strawberries if you don't want to use the JELLO.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

15

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 118mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 2g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on June 22, 2022

Comments & Reviews

  1. I made this as a summer holiday dessert—with the addition of blueberries. VERY GOOD!!! It’s also a very adaptable recipe in that you can tweak the butter, sugar— and to some degree the fruit—to meet the need of what you have in the frig and pantry. (I only had a very small amount of whipped cream on hand and it was still heavenly.) I am going to try this with bananas and strawberries with a drizzle of chocolate! This is a recipe keeper; thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for all your tips Francene! So glad you enjoyed the recipe. LOVE the idea of bananas and chocolate 🙂

  2. Aimee…sounds delicious!  I never thought of putting nuts in the crust, I’ll have to try it sometime!  Usually I bake the crust for 8 minutes on 400 degrees.  I love the cheesecake idea for the filling.  Definitely a summer treat!

  3. That is definitely one I must try. I am Italian, living in The Netherlands and I never ever tried pretzel as a base for cheesecake. I am Veeeery intrigued 🙂

  4. Oh gosh, this dessert has my name written all over it! From the nutty pretzel crust to the creamy strawberry topping – its a slice of heaven! 

  5. Like Dorothy, I also want to marry that crust! Looks incredible and I love this version of pretzel salad but in a convenient bar form. Easy and delicious! 

  6. The jello layer of strawberry pretzel salad was my least favorite part. You are brilliant to have omitted it! I love this idea – and the pretzel crust has always been one of my favorites. Thank you for sharing!

  7. I am in awe of anyone who does not have a breakdown in the middle of Costco. I can’t find anything in the huge aisles and there are no signs and I don’t know what to dooooooo…
    This looks fantastic. I’ve been wanting to try a pretzel crust, and now you’ve inspired me!

    1. haha, Costco is like home to me. I’ve memorized where everything is from the many times I shop there each month 🙂

  8. I have never seen pecans in a pretzle crust – that is a good idea! I find that pretzle crusts often turn soggy before we finish a dessert but adding pecans would keep it crunchy longer, good idea!!

    1. Yes, exactly!! the pecans add a nutty flavor, while keeping the crust nice and crunchy 🙂

  9. I love using pretzels in desserts but I’ve never thought to pair them with strawberries – sounds so delicious!

  10. I am all for sweet and salty treats and I can’t get enough of strawberry anything right now.

  11. You know me with sweet and salty…I’m definitely loving this take on strawberry pretzel salad.  And rustic has me cracking up!  It’s the best way to describe those messy desserts!

  12. Strawberries and pretzels are one of my favorite things!  I think I will thoroughly enjoy these bars over the holiday weekend!  Great recipe, Aimee!

  13. I love salty and sweet together! What a perfect dessert for this long holiday weekend!

  14. You crack me up Aimee! I’ll have to take a cue from you and use the word rustic to describe something that is messy when you serve it! 

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