Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a beloved dessert that’s perfect for gatherings, potlucks, and family dinners. This classic treat combines a crunchy pretzel crust, a creamy middle layer, and a sweet, fruity topping, making it a crowd-pleaser. While it’s called a “salad,” it’s more of a dessert that balances sweet and salty flavors beautifully.

What Makes This So Great?

Strawberry Pretzel Salad stands out because of its unique combination of textures and tastes. The base is made of crunchy, salted pretzels that provide a satisfying contrast to the creamy, sweet middle layer of cream cheese and Cool Whip. The top layer of strawberry Jell-O with fresh strawberries adds a fruity, refreshing element that ties everything together. This balance of sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy makes it a hit at any event.

Moreover, it’s relatively easy to make, with straightforward steps that even beginner cooks can follow. The dish is also visually appealing, with its bright red strawberries and distinct layers, making it a beautiful addition to any table.

What Kitchen Items Do You Need To Make This?

To make Strawberry Pretzel Salad, you’ll need the following kitchen items:

SIGN UP FOR OUR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

  1. Large Bowl: For mixing the Jell-O and boiling water.
  2. Medium Saucepan: For melting the butter and combining it with sugar and crushed pretzels.
  3. Ziploc Bag and Rolling Pin: For crushing the pretzels.
  4. Electric Mixer: To beat the cream cheese and sugar.
  5. Measuring Cups and Spoons: To measure out your ingredients accurately.
  6. 13 x 9 Glass Casserole Dish: To assemble and bake the pretzel crust and layer the other ingredients.
  7. Plastic Wrap: To cover the dish while refrigerating.

What Ingredients Are Needed For This Recipe?

Here’s a detailed list of the ingredients you’ll need to make Strawberry Pretzel Salad:

  • 6 oz strawberry Jell-O: For the sweet, fruity top layer.
  • 3 cups salted pretzels: Measured before crushing, for the crunchy base.
  • ¼ cup white sugar: Mixed with the pretzels to sweeten the crust.
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter: Melted and mixed with the pretzels and sugar.
  • 8 oz cream cheese: Softened, for the creamy middle layer.
  • ½ cup white sugar: Mixed with the cream cheese to sweeten it.
  • 8 oz Cool Whip: Thawed, to make the middle layer light and fluffy.
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries: Washed, hulled, and sliced, to add freshness to the Jell-O layer.

How To Make It

Preheat and Prepare

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350℉.
  2. Boil Water: Bring two cups of water to a boil. In a large bowl, combine the boiling water and strawberry Jell-O. Stir until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Make the Pretzel Crust

  1. Crush the Pretzels: Place 3 cups of pretzels in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into tiny pieces.
  2. Melt Butter and Mix: In a medium saucepan, melt 8 tbsp of unsalted butter. Once melted, add ¼ cup of white sugar and stir until combined. Gently mix in the crushed pretzels.
  3. Bake the Crust: Transfer the pretzel mixture to a 13 x 9 glass casserole dish, pressing it down evenly to form the crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool to room temperature.

Prepare the Cream Cheese Layer

  1. Beat the Cream Cheese: In a mixing bowl, beat 8 oz of softened cream cheese and ½ cup of white sugar with an electric mixer for several minutes until fluffy and well combined.
  2. Fold in Cool Whip: Gently fold in 8 oz of thawed Cool Whip until there are no remaining streaks of cream cheese.
  3. Spread the Mixture: Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled pretzel crust, spreading it evenly to the edges to create a tight seal. This prevents the Jell-O from seeping down to the bottom layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the Strawberry Layer

  1. Prepare the Strawberries: Stir the sliced strawberries into the room temperature Jell-O.
  2. Pour Over Cream Cheese Layer: Pour the strawberry Jell-O mixture evenly over the cooled cream cheese layer.
  3. Chill: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the Jell-O is set, about 3-4 hours.

What Is The History Behind This Recipe?

Strawberry Pretzel Salad has a nostalgic charm that harks back to mid-20th century American cuisine. This dessert salad likely originated in the southern United States, where potlucks and family gatherings are common, and dishes that can feed a crowd are highly valued. It became popular during the 1960s and 70s, a time when Jell-O desserts were a staple in American households.

The recipe was often found in community cookbooks and passed down through generations, making it a cherished part of many family traditions. Its name, though a bit misleading, reflects a time when “salad” could refer to a variety of dishes, including sweet and dessert-like creations. The combination of pretzels, cream cheese, and Jell-O might seem unusual, but it’s a testament to the creativity and resourcefulness of home cooks.

What Can I Switch Up To Make This Different If I Have Dietary Needs (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)?

Strawberry Pretzel Salad can be adapted to meet various dietary needs. Here are some ideas:

Vegan/Vegetarian

  • Jell-O: Use a plant-based gelatin alternative instead of traditional Jell-O.
  • Butter: Substitute the unsalted butter with a plant-based butter.
  • Cream Cheese: Use a vegan cream cheese alternative.
  • Cool Whip: There are dairy-free whipped topping options available.

Gluten-Free

  • Pretzels: Use gluten-free pretzels instead of regular ones.
  • Jell-O: Ensure that the Jell-O or gelatin alternative is gluten-free.

Healthier Options

  • Sugar: Use a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup instead of white sugar.
  • Cool Whip: Use a homemade whipped cream made from coconut milk for a healthier twist.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Strawberry Pretzel Salad last in the fridge?

Strawberry Pretzel Salad can last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Ensure it is covered with plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container to maintain its freshness and prevent it from absorbing any other flavors from the fridge.

How to crush pretzels for Strawberry Pretzel Salad?

To crush pretzels for Strawberry Pretzel Salad, place them in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into small pieces. You can also use a food processor if you prefer finer crumbs, but be careful not to over-process them into a powder.

How long can you freeze Strawberry Pretzel Salad?

While it is possible to freeze Strawberry Pretzel Salad, it’s not generally recommended because the texture of the Jell-O and cream cheese layers can change upon thawing. If you do choose to freeze it, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

How Should I Store This?

To store Strawberry Pretzel Salad, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This dessert is best enjoyed fresh, but if you need to store leftovers, keeping it well-sealed will help maintain its texture and taste.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a delightful dessert that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering. Its unique combination of sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy elements makes it an unforgettable treat. Whether you’re making it for the first time or it’s a beloved family tradition, this dish is always a crowd-pleaser. Enjoy creating and sharing this classic dessert with your loved ones!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
Strawberry Pretzel Salad is always a crowd pleaser with its combination of sweet and salty.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 263 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 oz strawberry Jell-O
  • 3 cups salted pretzels measure out before crushing
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 8 oz Cool Whip thawed
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries washed, hulled, and sliced

Recipe Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Bring two cups of water to a boil. In a large bowl combine boiling water and Jell-O. Stir until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temp while you prep the rest of the dish.
  • Place 3 cups of pretzels in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush into tiny pieces.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 8 tbsp of butter. Once melted, add ¼ cup of white sugar and stir. Gently mix in crushed pretzels. Once combined, transfer to a 13 x 9 glass casserole dish, pressing the pretzel mixture down evenly.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then cool to room temp.
  • Beat 8 oz of softened cream cheese and ½ cup of sugar for several minutes until fluffy and evenly combined. Fold in 8 oz of Cool Whip until there are no remaining streaks of cream cheese.
  • Spread the mixture over the cooled pretzels, evenly spreading to the edges to create a tight seal. (You don't want the Jell-O to seep down to the bottom layer). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Stir sliced strawberries into your room temperature Jell-O. Pour the strawberry Jell-O mixture evenly over your cooled cream cheese layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until Jell-O is set, about 3 – 4 hours.

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 3gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 140mgPotassium: 49mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 520IUCalcium: 42mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword strawberry pretzel salad
Tried this recipe?Mention @thembitesrecipes or tag #thembites

Similar Posts

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating