This Strawberry Pretzel Salad is one of the best summertime or anytime desserts! Salty & sweet crushed pretzels create the perfect crust and foundation for all the goodness that goes on top. A whipped cream and cream cheese mixture forms the second layer and then all of those delicious strawberries mixed with some gelatin goes on top. It’s the perfect combination of honestly everything!
This is seriously one of my all-time absolute favorite desserts. But if you haven’t guessed by now it’s actually not a salad at all, lol, it's definitely a dessert so I’m not sure where the name Strawberry Pretzel Salad comes from. When I was growing up we always called this sweet, easy to make treat a Strawberry Pretzel Surprise. It’s a favorite at any summertime party or event and will have all of your guests asking you just how in the world did you make it?!
Ingredients For Strawberry Pretzel Salad
The ingredients to make this delicious dessert are pretty simple:
Crushed Pretzels - Just grab you a bag of regular salty pretzels from the chip aisle and crush them in a large ziplock bag. This will help form the crust.
Cream Cheese - I try to get the best quality ingredients when it comes to any dessert recipes. They make a huge difference. So grab a good quality cream cheese package.
Whipped Cream - The whipped cream or cool whip will get mixed with the softened cream cheese to form the second layer of this dessert.
Sliced Strawberries - Frozen or fresh strawberries will work for this dessert! I’ve recently noticed that fresh work a little bit better.
Strawberry Gelatin - Gotta have the strawberry gelatin or jello to help it all come together!
Butter & Sugar - What dessert doesn’t have a little butter and sugar mixed in. This gives the pretzels that delicious salty & sweet taste.
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here’s a quick overview:
Step One: Crush your pretzels in a large ziplock bag and then add them to a large bowl. Use a rolling pin to help you crush them if you have one. Mix in melted butter and sugar with the pretzels and stir until well combined. Spread pretzel mixture into the bottom of a baking dish making sure the entire bottom layer is covered with pretzels. Gently press the pretzel mixture down to create an even and flat crust.
Step Two: Place the baking dish in the oven and bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to completely cool.
Step Three: In a large bowl combine softened cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixture. Next fold in whipped cream/cool whip with cream cheese until mixture is completely blended and smooth.
Step Four: Spread cream cheese mixture on top of cooled pretzel crust. Make sure to spread evenly. Put the dish in the refrigerator for a few minutes just until mixture is cool and slightly set.
Step Five: While you are cooling your cream cheese layer, melt gelatin with boiling hot water. Add sliced strawberries to melted gelatin and stir. Carefully pour strawberries and gelatin mixture on top of cream cheese mixture. Place the dish back in the refrigerator and allow it to completely cool and set for 3-4 hours before serving.
- Allow it to cool. Make sure to cool each layer before moving on to the next one. This will help make sure each layer is completely set and doesn’t melt too fast when moving to the next step.
- Thoroughly mix cream cheese and whipped cream together. Make sure your cream cheese is soft enough to blend with the whipped cream. Mix the two together with the sugar well so they become one mixture. But be careful not to overmix.
- Strawberries. For years I used frozen strawberries to make this recipe, which works very well. This is how you will see me make it in my Youtube video below. However the frozen strawberries cause the gelatin to set a lot faster and ultimately end up not as smooth. I recently started using fresh strawberries and I like the consistency a lot better. Either way, both options work well and taste great!