Delicious Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe

strawberry pretzel salad layered dessert

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This is in my opinion the perfect summer dessert. Strawberry Pretzel Salad is light, delicious, and the perfect balance of sweet and salty. It’s cool and not heavy so it pairs well with a summer BBQ or cookout.

layered strawberry pretzel salad dessert. pretzels on the bottom, fruit filled jello in the middle, and topping with a cream cheese whipped topping.

Is It a Salad or a Dessert?

This recipe was handed down to me by my mom and while we always served it as a dessert, you could serve this as a “salad” alongside the meal. Why it’s called a salad and not a dessert, I have no idea. All I know is that it’s a family favorite that I am sure yours will love too.

What Kind of Pretzels Should I Use?

You want to use salted pretzels. Tiny pretzels are best so I would suggest using the sticks or traditional twists. I crush mine up to make serving easier because it is a layered dessert. The salty element of this recipe is what makes it so delicious so whatever you do, don’t use unsalted pretzels.

Ingredients for Strawberry Pretzel Salad

  • 2 Cups of salted pretzels
  • 1/2 Tsp of salt
  • 6 TBPS of unsalted butter
  • 8 Ounces of crushed pineapple
  • 1-2 Cups of sliced strawberries
  • 6 Ounces of strawberry Jell-O
  • 8 Ounces of plain or strawberry cream cheese
  • 8 Ounces of cool whip
  • 1/2 Cup of sugar

Kitchen Tools

  • 9×13 pan
  • Baking sheet
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Mixer
  • Kitchen knife
  • Whisk
  • Large Bowl

Can You Make This Recipe Dairy Free?

Yes! You can easily make this recipe dairy free with a few substitutions. The dairy products in this recipe are whipped cream/cool whip, cream cheese, and butter.

Cool Whip Substitution

I prefer to use the vegan Truwhip as the cool whip substitution. There are other dairy free cool whips out there, but I have not personally tried them with this recipe. I have had the Cocowhip before, but I prefer Truwhip because of its texture and consistency.

Cream Cheese Substitution

Daiya cream cheese works great in this recipe. You can even use their strawberry cream cheese if you are able to find it. Otherwise, I just use plain cream cheese.

Butter Substitution

Lately, I have been using Country Crock’s Plant Butter for dairy free recipes. However, there are many dairy free butter options you can choose from. Use whatever brand/type you prefer.

Other Dairy Free Desserts

Simple Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding Recipe

How to Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Prepare the pretzels:

broken twisted pretzels on a foiled lined cookie sheet topped with slices of butter.
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Crush two cups of pretzels and spread them on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle a 1/2 tsp of salt over the pretzels.
  3. Slice and top with 6 TBSPs of butter.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes
  5. Stir when done baking and set them aside to cool.

Make the Jell-O filling:

jello and hot water with a whisk sitting in a two cup measuring cup
  1. Open your can of crushed pineapple and drain as much of the juice as possible into a 2 cup measuring cup. Set the pineapples aside.
  2. Add water to the measuring cup until you have 2 cups of liquid.
  3. Boil the liquid, remove the pan from the burner, and stir in a 6 ounce package of strawberry Jell-O.
  4. While the Jell-O is cooling, wash and slice your strawberries. You want between 1 to 2 cups of sliced strawberries depending on how much fruit you prefer.
  5. Add the strawberries and crushed pineapple to the Jell-O in a large bowl.
  6. Set the fruit filled Jell-O in the fridge just until it starts to set. If it sets all the way, you will need to break it up before layering it in the final dish.
jello and lots of sliced strawberries sitting in a large glass bowl on the countertop.

Make the whipped topping:

  1. While the Jell-O is setting, beat 8 ounces of plain or strawberry cream cheese in a mixer until it is soft. It helps to let your cream cheese soften on the counter prior to making this dish.
  2. Add 8 ounces of cool whip and beat again until it is fully incorporated.
  3. Then add a 1/2 cup of sugar and beat for around a minute.

Layer the strawberry pretzel salad:

strawberry pretzel salad in a glass dish. It is a side view where you see the pretzels, then the fruit filled jello, and lastly the white whip cream/cream cheese topping.
  1. Place your cooled pretzels in a 9×13 dish as your base layer.
  2. Here is where it gets tough. Ideally, you want to do the whipped topping layer next to prevent the pretzels from getting soggy. It is rather difficult to spread however. Place the whipped topping in small dollops and spread or put it in a pipping bag or ziplock bag with a hole in the corner to pipe it onto the pretzels. (or if you are eating it the same day, you can do the Jell-O layer and then the whipped topping layer like I did in the pictures.)
  3. Lastly, spread your nearly set fruit filled Jell-O mixture on top.
  4. Allow everything to finish setting for at least an hour in the fridge.
Yield: 9x13 dish

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Strawberry pretzel salad desert in a glass 9x13 pan

This is in my opinion the perfect summer dessert. Strawberry Pretzel Salad is light, delicious, and the perfect balance of sweet and salty.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 38 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups of salted pretzels
  • 1/2 Tsp of salt
  • 6 TBPS of unsalted butter
  • 8 Ounces of crushed pineapple
  • 1-2 Cups of sliced strawberries
  • 6 Ounces of strawberry Jell-O
  • 8 Ounces of plain or strawberry cream cheese
  • 8 Ounces of cool whip
  • 1/2 Cup of sugar

Instructions

Prepare the pretzels:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Crush two cups of pretzels and spread them on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle a 1/2 tsp of salt over them.
  3. Slice and top the pretzels with 6 TBSPs of butter.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Stir when done baking and set them aside to cool.

Make the Jell-O filling:

  1. Open the can of crushed pineapple and drain as much of the juice as possible into a 2 cup measuring cup. Set the pineapples aside.
  2. Add water to the measuring cup until you have a total of 2 cups of liquid.
  3. Boil the liquid, remove the pan from the burner, and stir in a 6 ounce package of strawberry Jell-O.
  4. While the Jell-O is cooling, wash and slice your strawberries. You want between 1 to 2 cups of sliced strawberries depending on how much fruit you prefer.
  5. Add the strawberries and crushed pineapple to the Jell-P in a large bowl.
  6. Set the fruit filled Jell-O in the fridge just until it starts to set. If it sets all the way, you will need to break it up with a spoon before layering it into the final dish.

Make the whipped topping:

  1. While the Jell-O is setting, beat 8 ounces of plain or strawberry cream cheese in a mixer until it is soft. It helps to allow your cream cheese to soften on the counter prior to making this dish.
  2. Add 8 ounces of cool whip and beat again until it is fully incorporated.
  3. Then add a 1/2 cup of sugar and beat for around a minute.


Layer the dish:

  1. Place your cooled pretzels in a 9x13 dish as your base layer.
  2. Spread your whipped topping on top of the pretzels. (do small dollops or put it into a pipping bag to make spreading it on top easier.)
  3. Lastly, spread your nearly set fruit filled Jell-O mixture on top.
  4. Allow everything to finish setting for at least an hour in the fridge.

Pin it for Later!

One long image of a layered strawberry pretzel salad. The layers are pretzels, jello with strawberries and crushed pineapple, and a whipped cream/cream cheese topping. In the top third of the picture is a 50% transparent white box with black text stating strawberry pretzel salad in title text and steiger family farms in subtext.

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