I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again… I love how, in the South, we give ourselves permission to call all kinds of things salads. This Strawberry Pretzel Salad is obviously not a salad, but as long as I have known about this dessert, it’s always been called a salad. It’s kind of like my Pineapple Walnut Salad. Again, not a salad. But I’m totally fine calling it one. I’m happy to add this salad to my menu any day. 🙂
This is a generations-old recipe that is perfect if you love that sweet and salty flavor combo. The salty pretzel crust, creamy filling, and tangy sweet strawberry topping make it one of our favorite desserts. In fact, this might be Heather’s all time favorite. She’s a huge strawberry fan.
There are probably a hundred different ways to make this recipe. In fact, it is traditionally made with frozen strawberries and I’ve included those directions in the recipe. However, I saw one of my blogger friends post a recipe that used fresh strawberries and knew I had to try it that way. I immediately loved that version even more. I’m not a huge fan of the texture of the frozen strawberries. They’re softer and make cutting it much easier, but I just really like the flavor and texture of the fresh strawberries better. It’s good either way and it’s great to have the option of using the frozen berries when fresh ones aren’t in season. Regardless, y’all are going to love this. It might seem a little weird to some, but just try it. 🙂 Y’all enjoy!
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- 2 cups crushed pretzels (not too fine)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 (6-ounce) package strawberry instant gelatin mix
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 (16-ounce) container fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced [or 2 (16-ounce) containers frozen sliced strawberries, thawed]
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly spray an 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the crushed pretzels, granulated sugar, and butter. Mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and press it evenly to form a crust. Bake for 15 minutes then allow to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, use a mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Fold in the thawed whipped topping. Once the crust has cool completely, spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over it. Chill in the refrigerator.
- In a large bowl, whisk the gelatin mix with the boiling water until dissolved. Add the strawberries. (If using frozen berries, there's no need to thaw them.) Chill the mixture until it thickens to the consistence of egg whites, then pour over the cream cheese layer. Chill until set. Slice and and serve.
Nutritional values provided are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.
This is my favorite side dish to have at Thanksgiving! I eat double helpings of this and skip dessert. This year I am bringing it and I am wondering how far in advance I can make it before the crust gets soggy? Thank you!
It’s so good, right?! I don’t think I’d do this one any more than the day before.
Question…I made the Jello and added the 2 pounds of the froze strawberry with sugar from Kroger. When these are thawed, it made everything “soupy”. I added another box of Jello after mixing with boiling water. Seems to be still soupy. What did I do wrong?
Did you thaw and drain the strawberries first?
Marjorie K Hensley
One of my favorite strawberry desserts. Have made it many times and always look forward to strawberry season. Just made 8 jars of jam—YUM.
I add a cup of pecan pieces to the pretzel crust, its yummy. Love this recipe! Many thanks for sharing.
That sounds like a perfect addition! I’ll have to try that for sure.
One of our favorites! One of the trickier steps, however, is spreading the cream cheese layer over the crust so that the crust does not come away from the bottom of the pan and get mixed in to the cream mixture. I have found that if I dollop small amounts of the cream cheese mixture close to the edges of the pan, sort of “attach” them to the glass and each other without raising my spatula (then dolloping in remaining in the center of the crust), and spreading towards the center this helps the cream cheese layer and the crust layer to remain as separate as possible. And… I also use a combination of frozen strawberries in syrup (for the extra sugar) and fresh strawberries (to lend a fresher taste) 🙂
Thanks for these super helpful tips, Vicki!
PEGGY H SMITH
Every time I have made this. The crust is not firm.
What am I doing wrong.
It is really good but you don’t want to take it to another party if the crust isn’t firm
Hey Peggy! Are you allowing the crust to cool completely before adding the cream cheese layer?
I’m dietetic and for my birthday my daughter made this using Stevia, artificial sweetener. It was delicious. She also had a sugar sweetened desert but all of the guests went for the Stevia sweetened recipe. All thought it was sugar sweetened. I did not know the recipe called for powder sugar and I didn’t notice it was missing or whether it was in the dessert. I’ll have to ask her what she used. Probably used Stevia. Thanks for posting. I really enjoy all your recipes.
Thanks so much, Sandra! Glad to hear y’all enjoyed it!
We make this every year. But I use Raspberries and raspberry jello. It’s so delicious-I make one for Thanksgiving dinner and one for the kids to split and take home with their leftovers. And I use home made whip cream I stead of coolwhip.
Sounds like a delicious twist!!
We make this every year. But I use Raspberries and raspberry jello. It’s so delicious-I make one for Thanksgiving dinner and one for the kids to split and take home with their leftovers. And I use home made whop cream I stead of coolwhip.
2 cups of crushed pretzels, yes they were crushed when I measured them, doesn’t make a crust as thick as you show. Yes I did use a 9×13 dish.
There is a difference in surface area of 9×13 pans, some slope in more, some don’t. This can make a significant difference in the thickness of a crust. Either way, I don’t see any gain for Stacey sharing a different version of the recipe than the one he made but I reckon you’re the one who has this figured out. ????
You had me at Jello, but this sounds like an awesome twist on it. Pinning it for later. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Hope you’ll enjoy!!
Sometimes I think “salad” is the go to word when folks don’t know what to call something. If it had a cookie crust it would be a dessert, no one sees pretzels as a dessert S-O it’s a salad. Whatever you call this it’s really good, just eat it within a day or two, soggy pretzels are nasty!!
I agree! And it usually doesn’t last long enough around here to get soggy, but you’re absolutely right! 🙂
If using frozen strawberries, would I be correct in assuming you would use the ones that are sweetened? Love all your great recipes! Thanks!
Either sweetened or unsweetened will work.
Stacey, I first had this at the Iron Gate Tea Room in Decatur, AL. I’d just moved to Huntsville as a young bride some 45 years ago and my friend and I had lunch at the Iron Gate. I don’t remember what else we had, but I do remember the delicious Strawberry Pretzel Salad. What a treat. Thanks for the sweet memory. My dear friend is gone, but we shared some great times, and, of course, what are great times without great food?
I just love how food can take us back like that! Thanks for sharing your sweet memory with us!
for Patti Moss….I also went to the Iron Gate JUST for that dessert! So glad to have found it. I’ll make it this weekend.
What a small world!
My favorite summer-time dessert. You’re right; the sweet/salty combo is irresistible! Church luncheons wouldn’t be complete without this making an appearance.
I couldn’t agree more!! 🙂