Strawberry Pretzel Salad

5 from 18 votes

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Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a long-time family favorite! Crunchy pretzel crust, layered with smooth cream cheese filling, and rich strawberry flavored gelatin layer.

A slice of strawberry pretzel salad on a white plate with a fork sticking up from the middle
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients for Strawberry Pretzel Salad
  2. Recipe Tips
  3. Frequently Asked Questions about Strawberry Pretzel Salad
  4. More Flavor Combinations to Try
  5. More Delectable Dessert Salads
  6. Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe

This Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad may have the word “salad” in its name, but it definitely tastes more like a dessert. Although the combination of crushed pretzels, a strawberry Jell-o topping, cream cheese, and whipped topping may seem pretty strange, once you try it, you’ll be hooked. Every bite holds crunchy, salty, sweet, and creamy flavors which complement each other so well! Additionally, this dessert is versatile enough to serve during the warm summer months on the patio after a cook-out, or as a holiday dessert for a Christmas buffet. Also, I love eating a big bowl of it the next day when the pretzels have softened a bit.

Ingredients for Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad will satisfy all your cravings: it has sweet, salty, and fruity flavors all rolled into one. Here’s what you need:


  • 2 cups pretzels – you can use pretzel sticks or twists, and crush them in a food processor. Or, use a rolling pin to crush them in a baggie.
  • Melted butter – about a stick and half. Microwave until melted but not too hot.
  • Sugar – three tablespoons.


  • Cream cheese – make sure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature before adding to the mixture.
  • More sugar – this time you need one cup.
  • Whipped topping – I like to use eight ounces of regular Cool Whip to make it easy on myself. Or, you can whip up your own homemade whipped topping using heavy cream too.


  • Strawberry gelatin – six ounces. But, you can use sugar free jell-o for this part as well.
  • Boiling water – two cups.
  • Fresh strawberries – I love to top this salad with fresh strawberries when they’re in season. But, frozen berries will work as well.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad in a 9x13 glass casserole dish

Recipe Tips

  • To avoid soggy pretzels, make sure the cream cheese layer covers the pretzels completely before adding the strawberry jello mixture. That way, the cream cheese filling creates a buffer for the liquid before it sets up.
  • Typically, I like to double the cream cheese layer, especially if I want to serve a crowd or serve it as more of a dessert than a salad.
  • A sweet reader suggested to actually make this strawberry pretzel salad upside down, with the jello on the bottom, and the cream cheese layer and the pretzels on top to keep the pretzels nice and crunchy. Great suggestion!
  • For extra texture and flavor, you could mix in a can of crushed pineapple with the jello.
Side view of strawberry pretzel salad showing layers of pretzels, cream cheese filling, and strawberry jello

Frequently Asked Questions about Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Where did pretzel salad originate?

Farmers’ Almanac reports the strawberry pretzel salad was first introduced in “The Joys of Jell-O” cookbook first published by General Foods in 1963. And the Washington Post called it a “salty sweet retro dessert.”

Why is pretzel salad called a “salad”?

Good question! Honestly, this dessert resembles more of a cheesecake with a pretzel crust. I think it’s just an excuse to eat dessert on your dinner plate with no judgement.

How long is strawberry pretzel salad good for?

Leftovers will stay good in the fridge for three to four days. Any longer than that and the pretzels can get too soggy.

Read More: 30+ Best Strawberry Recipes

More Flavor Combinations to Try

One of the things that makes this strawberry pretzel jello really fun is all the opportunities for customization. We’ve made this dessert several different ways, as well as gotten some great suggestions from readers. Here are some delicious options to try!

  • My family loves making this using raspberry or blueberry jello with an assortment of fresh fruit on top. Also, this is a great way to use a leftover fruit salad.
  • Give this dessert a tropical twist with tropical-flavored jello and crushed pineapple with mandarin oranges. Also, don’t forget the fresh whipped cream and some coconut shavings!
  • Raspberry jello and fresh raspberries also make an excellent substitution for the strawberry pretzel jello.
Strawberry pretzel salad on a serving plate with fresh strawberries on the side

More Delectable Dessert Salads

I love a good dessert salad, and we have some super delicious options! Try some of these amazing recipes:

A slice of Strawberry Pretzel Salad on a plate

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

5 from 18 votes
Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a long time family favorite! The crunchy pretzel crust is layered with a smooth cream cheese filling, and a fresh strawberry gelatin layer on top. 
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Refrigeration 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 28 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15



  • Mix first three ingredients and press in bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Let cool completely.
    The pretzel crust of a strawberry pretzel salad
  • Beat sugar, cream cheese, and Cool Whip in a medium-sized bowl.
    Whipped cream cheese filling of strawberry pretzel salad
  • Spread cream cheese filling over pretzel crust.
    Cream cheese filling spread over pretzel crust
  • Mix Jello and boiling water until dissolved. Add strawberries.
    Strawberry Jell-O topping of Strawberry Pretzel Salad
  • Pour over cheese mixture. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
    Strawberry Jell-O layer of Strawberry Pretzel Salad


  • The cream cheese layer of this Strawberry Pretzel Salad can be doubled. This makes it more of a creamy dessert.
  • Fresh raspberries and raspberry gelatin can be used instead of strawberries and strawberry gelatin. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 297kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 3gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 290mgPotassium: 94mgFiber: 1gSugar: 30gVitamin A: 517IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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  1. 5 stars
    The strawberry pretzel salad is a family favorite! I make it several times a year, especially when I have extended family coming! I think that’s why some of them come, just for the salad!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh my does this dessert look delicious! I’ve never heard of strawberry pretzel jello salad, but I’m pinning and saving for the upcoming holidays!

    1. 5 stars
      Great idea but I’m confused about the pretzels–are they still combined with the butter and sugar? Are they baked and then broken up and sprinkled on top? Or is the top layer just crushed pretzels?
      BTW made this the original way and it was really good. I’m just curious about this new version.

  3. 5 stars
    I stir in a can of drained, crushed pineapple to the cream cheese mixture. Yummy!!! So good!!!

  4. I made this a few weeks ago, but when I poured the strawberry/jello topping on top, the jello just drained down to the pretzel crust. :o( The ladies still loved it! Can you tell me how long I need to let the strawberry jello mixture “set” before I pour it on top? Do I just stir until it thickens a little more?

    1. You want to make sure the cream cheese layer really covers all the crust and all the way to the edges of the pan before you pour on the jello. If that still doesn’t work, try doubling the cream cheese layer (this is really good!) and the jello shouldn’t get through.

    2. I know I am replying over two months later. Put the cream cheese mixture on top of the pretzel crust and seal it really well .. Leave no spaces at the edges. Then it helps to refrigerate it for like a half hour before putting the jello/ strawberries on top. I also let it cool til it gets like to egg white consistency and some people add a couple ice cubes to cool it down. Then pour it over. In my opinion makes a great difference!

      1. 5 stars
        I am making this for a local function. I am letting the jello set just a little before I add it . It sure looks yummy and I think it will be a big hit.

    3. I have the same recipe, but it only calls for 1 cup boiling water and not 2 cups. you can try this, to see if it works for you.

      1. I’ll have to try it with 1 cup next time. I’m guessing there isn’t much difference in taste, but the strawberry layer probably is set up more firm with 1 cup than 2. Thank you for the suggestion!

        1. One cup of boiling water to a 6 ounce box of Jell-O isn’t going to give you very much Jell-O volume to cover up the top of a 9X13″ pan. Two cups is already half normal volume since you’re leaving out the cold water completely. Be careful with that, because your strawberry layer may not have enough Jell-O to hold it all together.

          1. Your are right, Shari. It’s best to use two cups. If the jello sets a little before adding it to the cream cheese layer, it works just fine every time.