Maybe you're in the mood for a light, salty-sweet dessert, or perhaps you have too many strawberries on hand. Either way, it's the perfect excuse to make old-fashioned strawberry pretzel salad. This delicious layered dessert is an amazing treat to bring to a potluck, picnic, or barbecue.
Strawberry pretzel salad is sweet, a little salty, a little tart, with a gorgeous buttery pretzel crust. It's creamy and crunchy – in short, strawberry pretzel salad has it all! This tasty dessert is a much-loved classic that's found throughout the American South. Serve it up at your next big get-together, and don't be surprised if it's quick to disappear!
No one is one hundred percent sure how strawberry pretzel salad got its name. The dessert itself seems to originate from a jello cookbook that dates back to the 1960s. Jello salads are a type of American dish which can contain fruit, vegetables, nuts, cheese, and various other ingredients.
The name pretzel salad may come from the fact that this dessert is a type of jello salad made with pretzels.
Small salted pretzels are the best choice for making strawberry pretzel salad. You can use either classic twisted pretzels or pretzel sticks. Just make sure you pick up salted ones – that salty flavor is a great counterpoint to the sweetness of the jello, berries, and cream cheese layer!
You don't need any fancy ingredients or equipment to make this gorgeous, light dessert.
For the base, you'll need pretzels, butter, and sugar.
To make the creamy layer, you'll need cream cheese, Cool Whip, and sugar.
Finally, you'll need strawberry jello mix and strawberries. You can use fresh or frozen strawberries, but if you use frozen, you should let them thaw out first so you can slice them and add them to the jello mixture.
Making old-fashioned strawberry pretzel salad couldn't be easier. Let's get started. Set your oven to 350F. Combine the strawberry jello mix with the boiling water, then set it aside so it can cool down to room temperature. While the jello is cooling, pop the pretzels into a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin (a bottle or meat tenderizer will also work).
Melt the butter in a pot and stir in ¼ cup sugar, followed by the crushed pretzels. Put the pretzel mixture into a baking dish, and gently, but firmly press it into the bottom. Bake the pretzel base for 10 minutes, then remove it from the oven to cool completely.
Next up is that delicious, smooth cream cheese layer. Beat the cream cheese with ½ cup sugar until it's nice and fluffy. Fold in the Cool Whip until it's totally combined with the cream cheese.
Layer the mixture over the crust, then put it in the fridge for half an hour. Mix the sliced strawberries into the jello mixture. Pour it over the cream cheese layer, then pop it in the fridge for a few hours to set. Once set, slice and serve your strawberry pretzel salad and enjoy!
You can make strawberry pretzel salad up to one day in advance.
Make sure to spread the cream cheese layer to the edges. This will ensure the jello layer doesn't leak down the sides of your pretzel salad.
Swap out the strawberries for other types of berries or fruits, and use a different flavor of jello for a fun variation on this classic recipe. Raspberry and lemon, orange and blueberry, or blackberry and mixed berry are tasty alternatives. Pineapple, peach, and mandarin oranges are also amazing!
Nuts like pecans or almonds are a great addition to this recipe.
If you don't have Cool Whip, use whipped cream instead. However, one thing to note is that whipped cream will soften the pretzels more compared to Cool Whip. You'll also need to mix 2/3 cup sugar into the cream cheese to achieve the same sweetness.
For a dairy-free strawberry pretzel salad, use dairy-free cream cheese instead.
Be gentle when pouring the jello over the cream cheese layer to avoid making any cracks.
Cover your strawberry pretzel salad with cling film and keep it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Whisk the jello powder with boiling water, then leave to cool to room temperature.
Put the pretzels in a sealable bag. Crush them with a rolling pin.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the ¼ cup sugar.
Stir in crushed pretzels. Pour the mixture into a baking dish, and press into the bottom to form a crust.
Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven to cool completely.
Beat the cream cheese with ½ cup sugar until fluffy. Fold in the Cool Whip until completely mixed.
Layer the mixture over the crust, then place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Mix the sliced strawberries into the jello.
Pour over the cream cheese layer, then place in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours to set.
Use a 9×13-inch baking dish to make your pretzel salad.