Easy Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe

When most people think of a salad, they picture fresh greens paired with some sort of dressing. However, salads are not one-size-fits-all and come in different forms. This strawberry pretzel salad is more like a dessert, with layers of cream cheese and strawberry on a pretzel crust. You could definitely serve it as a dessert, but it's also an excellent option to sneak in as a "side," so you can have dessert with your meal.

Recipe developer Stephanie Rapone is the brains behind this salad that isn't really a salad but instead a sweet treat. "I love the salty-sweet combination of this 'salad,' and also that it's dessert disguised as a side dish," Rapone raves. "This is a classic example of a 'salad' that finds its way onto every table for family gatherings in the Midwest." If you have yet to try and make a strawberry pretzel salad, there's no time like the present!

Keep reading to find out how to make this classic strawberry pretzel salad.

Gather the ingredients for this strawberry pretzel salad

This recipe is pretty easy to make, and you will only need a few ingredients. Be sure to get water, strawberry-flavored gelatin, pretzels, granulated sugar, unsalted butter, cream cheese, nondairy whipped topping, and frozen strawberries. For the crust, you'll need to crush the pretzels, and that's easy to do in a food processor or blender.

Once you have those items, you can get started on this strawberry pretzel salad.

Combine the water and gelatin

Pour the water into a saucepan and place it on your stove. Turn the heat to high and wait for the water to boil. In the meantime, add the strawberry gelatin to a medium or large bowl. Once you see bubbles on the water's surface, add it to the bowl with the gelatin and whisk the two together until the gelatin is completely dissolved. 

Set the gelatin mixture aside and let it cool to room temperature. Then, take the strawberries out of the freezer, so they have a chance to thaw.

Mix the butter and pretzels

Let's get started on the crust. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 F. Measure out and add the butter to a microwave-safe bowl, heating until it has fully melted. Then, add the crushed pretzels, ¼ cup sugar, and melted butter to a large glass casserole dish. Use a fork to mix the ingredients, and press the pretzel mixture into the bottom of the dish to form the crust.

Transfer the baking dish with the pretzel layer into the hot oven and bake it for 10 minutes. After you remove it from the oven, allow the crust to cool until it reaches room temperature (this should take at least 30 minutes, if not a bit longer).

Make the second layer

Once the crust has cooled, you can begin making the second layer. Just add cream cheese and ½ cup sugar to a mixing bowl. Then, grab a hand mixer and beat it on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Now, add the nondairy whipped topping but this time, use a spatula rather than a hand mixer to fold it into the sweetened cream cheese. Spread the mix over the pretzel crust and pop it into the fridge for 30 minutes. "Just be patient with the time between each layer," Rapone notes. "You really do have to wait, or it won't turn out right." 

Combine the strawberries and gelatin

For the final layer, dump the strawberries into the gelatin mix. Use a potato masher to mash the strawberries while combining them with the gelatin. Make sure the pieces are bite-sized or smaller. Pour the mixture over the cream cheese and use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly on top.

Refrigerate and serve

Now, you will need to refrigerate the strawberry pretzel salad and let it chill for at least two more hours or until the gelatin sets. Then, you can remove the masterpiece and serve it to your lucky guests. "I love to bring this to friends' houses when we're sharing a meal," Rapone shares. "It either reminds them of their childhood, or they are totally fascinated and love it." 

If you have leftovers, be sure to keep them refrigerated. "This can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days, but in our house, it's always eaten within two days (if not sooner!)," Rapone shares. We hope this strawberry pretzel salad earns your stamp of approval. 

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe
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Strawberry pretzel salad works as a dessert or side dish. With a pretzel crust and layers of sweet cream and strawberry gelatin, this recipe is fun to make.
Prep Time
Cook Time
strawberry pretzel salad on plate
Total time: 3 hours, 40 minutes
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 ounces strawberry gelatin
  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 (8-ounce) container nondairy whipped topping, thawed
  • 10 ounces frozen whole strawberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Bring the water to a boil. Place strawberry gelatin in a medium- to large-sized mixing bowl. Add the boiling water and whisk until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Take the strawberries out of the freezer and set them aside to thaw.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave. Place the crushed pretzels, ¼ cup sugar, and melted butter in an 8x12-inch or 9x13-inch glass dish and mix with a fork. Press the mixture into the bottom of the dish. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, and allow it to cool to room temperature before making the next layer (at least 30 minutes).
  4. Once the crust has cooled, use a hand mixer to beat together the cream cheese and ½ cup sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy. Add the nondairy whipped topping and fold it in with a spatula. Spread the mixture over the crust and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, pour the strawberries into the gelatin mixture. Use a potato masher to mash the strawberries into the gelatin until you have bite-size or smaller pieces. Pour the mixture over the cream cheese layer and use a spatula to spread it evenly.
  6. Refrigerate until the gelatin is set, at least 2 hours.
Calories per Serving 513
Total Fat 23.4 g
Saturated Fat 13.5 g
Trans Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 66.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 57.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Total Sugars 19.9 g
Sodium 677.0 mg
Protein 21.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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