Strawberry Pretzel Salad might just be the most delicious ‘salad’ you’ll ever eat! A buttery pretzel crust is topped with a decadent cream cheese filling, then topped with an irresistible layer of strawberries in strawberry jello. This cool and creamy dessert is a summertime classic that’s always a hit with friends and family!
Strawberry Pretzel Salad Recipe
If you’ve never had strawberry pretzel salad, which is also referred to as strawberry pretzel pie, you are in for a treat. I originally shared this recipe in my cookbook, and it’s been so popular that I wanted to share it with you here on the website as well.
This is a dessert that has it all. It brings together an awesome variety of flavors and textures. While each layer of this pie is great on it’s own, the real magic happens when you combine them all in one bite. If you are looking for an easy summer recipe
This easy dessert is almost no-bake, making it a fantastic summer dessert recipe. The only baking that occurs is the crust, which gets a quick ten minutes in the oven. Aside from that, you can keep the oven off and your kitchen cool. And speaking of pretzel crust, if you’ve never had one, I can’t wait for you to it. It’s buttery and salty and just crunchy enough, all at once.
How To Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Reminder, the full printable recipe, with exact measurements and instructions, is found at the bottom of the page. This portion of the post is for discussion, helpful tips and answering common questions about the recipe.
What You Will Need
- Pretzels: I prefer the salted variety, as it really brings the best flavor out in this recipe. While I love gluten free pretzels, especially the Snyders, I find they get a bit too soggy in this recipe unfortunately.
- Brown Sugar: Light or dark brown sugar will work.
- Butter: The recipe calls for unsalted, but if you are on team salty sweets like I am, do not hesitate to use salted butter.
- Cream Cheese: It’s important to make sure your cream cheese is softened. Cream cheese isn’t as cooperative as butter when it comes to mixing it while cold.
- Lemon: You’ll need both lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Sugar: Regular granulated sugar.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream, is ideal. In a pinch you could try half and half in it’s place, but I haven’t done so and can’t speak to the results.
- Fresh Strawberries: If you find strawberries on sale, this is a great way to put them to good use! I have not made this with frozen strawberries, thus cannot speak to the results. That said, I would be concerned that they would bring a bit too much moisture to the recipe. I usually use the Jell-O brand.
- Strawberry Gelatin Mix: I have not tried making this with the sugar free variety.
- Cornstarch: This really helps the strawberry layer to set up, allowing you to cut a nice, neat slice of pie.
- Sugar, Lemon & Water
Steps To Take
To make this delicious strawberry pretzel salad, start by making the crust. This is done by combining pretzels, brown sugar and butter in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, a blender is another option. Don’t have a blender? Then I suggest putting the pretzels into a large ziploc style bag and going over them with a rolling pin to crush them as finely as possible. After crushing, mix the remaining ingredients in with them in a bowl.
The crust is then pressed into a pie pan and baked for ten minutes. After removing from the oven, allow it to cool completely prior to filling, or it will melt the cream cheese layer.
After the crust has fully cooled, begin the cheesecake filling. To do this, the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice are combined and beaten with an electric mixer.
Next, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. While I prefer homemade whipped cream, you could use a ready made whipped topping such as cool whip if needed. The whipped cream is then folded into the cream cheese mixture, until combined. Then gently spread the cream cheese mixture over the pie crust, and place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.
After that, it’s time to make the strawberry layer.
For the strawberry layer, combine sugar, water, dry strawberry gelatin and cornstarch in a pan and bring to a boil. Clean, cut strawberries are then placed in a bowl and topped with the gelatin mixture. Once combined and mixed together, the strawberry mixture goes into the fridge to chill for about 45 minutes. This helps the strawberry mixture thicken up.
All that’s left to do is to add the strawberries to the pie, then give it a good four or more hours to chill. While this is a very easy pie to make, it does take some time in the chilling department. Use this chilling time to your advantage and make this strawberry pretzel salad the day before you need it.
- Spray the pan really well, or the pretzel crumble will stick.
- A glass dish works nicely for this pie because you can see the beautiful layers, but any pie dish will do!
- For storing, this will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. Or you may freeze it for up to 6 months.
I don’t have pretzels – what else could I use for the crust? You could substitute graham cracker crumbs or other cookie crumbs.
Could I use technically use a different berry? Absolutely! Try what you like – blackberry or blueberry would work really well, too!
I don’t like lemon; can I leave that out of the recipe or substitute something else in its place? Personally, I love that the lemon adds a small tart flavor to balance out the sweetness of the strawberry gelatin but if lemon is not your thing you can always add vanilla in its place and leave out the lemon zest!
More Great Recipes
If you love this recipe, I have some other recipes that I think you’ll enjoy. Give them a try!
- Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
- Strawberry Cupcakes
- Homemade Strawberry Sauce
- Bisquick Strawberry Shortcake
- Frozen Fruit Strawberry Smoothie
- Creamy Cheesecake Recipe
- Cheesecake Brownies
- Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars
- Cheesecake Minis
- Churro Cheesecake
- Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars
- No Bake Mini Cheesecakes
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- 4 cups small pretzels
- 5 tbsp brown sugar light or dark
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Strawberry Jello Layer
- 4 cups fresh strawberries washed, dried and sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 4 tbsp strawberry gelatin mixture straight from the box, to not follow the recipe on the box
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place all pie crust ingredients into a food processor and process until the ingredients resemble the texture of wet sand. Press crust mixture into the bottom and of the sides of a well-greased 9" pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely prior to filling.
- To make filling, in a large bowl using an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar until light and fluffy.
- In a medium bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture just until combined, then spread into prepared pie crust. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, dry strawberry gelatin and cornstarch. Bring to boil over medium heat and let bubble for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Place cleaned, sliced strawberries into a bowl, and pour strawberry glaze mixture over strawberries.Toss to coat strawberries in glaze. Let this mixture sit in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to thicken up a bit. Using a slotted spoon, layer strawberries mixture over the cheesecake layer, then drizzle the remaining sauce over the strawberries to the edges of the pie plate.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours prior to serving.