This is without a doubt, one of our most favorite side-dish salads of all time.
This salad has been a favorite for many generations. But, it’s easy to make a simple mistake or two that can throw the dish off. We’re here to keep that from happening. And this is one of those salad side dishes that can be made the day before serving. Perfect for Potluck Sunday, holiday feasts, or just a busy weeknight. So good!
Watch Us Make It!
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How To Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad
We love this salad for many reasons.
First and foremost is the taste. The combination of sweet and salty works perfectly.
And, though it takes a little time, the effort is minimal.
Building the Classic Layers
The pretzel crust is such an important component of this salad, but it’s easy to not get it right.
It’s critical to get the correct ratio of crushed pretzels to butter and sugar.
You’ll need about 1¼ cup of crushed pretzels. This usually is about 3 cups of uncrushed pretzels.
EXPERT TIP: We like to use our food processor to pulverize the pretzels, but a freezer baggie and rolling pin work great, too. We find that the finer you get the crushed pretzels, the less crumbly your salad will be. We also use the bottom of a bottle, or a measuring cup to press the pretzel mixture into the base of your baking dish.
The next layer is the delicious cream cheese filling.
We use an electric hand mixer to cream the room temperature cream cheese with sugar.
Fold in the Cool Whip with a wooden spoon and gently mix until fully incorporated.
Tips For Making Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Pretzel Crust – As mentioned, make sure your pretzels are finely crushed. If there are large chunks of pretzels, the crust will be overly crumbly. Make sure the mixture is not too dry. You may need to add a little more melted butter if the mixture feels too dry.
Your Baking Dish – A 9″x13″ dish is traditional for this salad and will work just fine. However, we love using a 10″x10″ baking dish. This allows the layers to be a little thicker because it’s a slightly smaller dish
Make a Solid Seal – This is probably the most important tip: Be sure your cream cheese filling is sealed to the side of the dish around all four sides. If not, the liquid from the un-set Jell-O mixture will seep down to the crust and make it very soggy.
We don’t cook with Jell-O that often, but when we do, it’s just a lot of fun.
And the results are beautiful and absolutely delicious.
You could also use raspberry Jell-O with fresh raspberries in place of the strawberries.
NOTE: Be sure to get the large 6 oz. package, or two 3 oz packages of Jell-O
When to Serve Strawberry Pretzel Salad
This salad is so versatile and always a big hit when it’s served.
Because it can be made in advance, it’s perfect for a potluck feast. Other Potluck Classics include our King Ranch Casserole and our Best-Ever Broccoli Cheddar Casserole!
And, of course, it’s a perennial favorite during the holidays. But, it’s also wonderful for a busy weeknight dinner.
Just one bite and you’re reminded of why this is one of everyone’s favorite salads. Pure deliciousness.
Ready to make one of the most requested salads in the world? Perfectly? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- 10"x10" or 9"x13" baking dish
- 6 oz strawberry Jell-O
- 2 cup boiling water
- 2 cups pineapple juice cold
- 1 cup sugar divided
- 3 cups pretzels salted, 1¼ cup crushed
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 8 oz cool whip thawed
- 1 lb strawberries fresh, hulled and sliced
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add the Jell-O mixture to the 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until Jell-O is completely dissolved. Pour in the chilled pineapple juice. Set aside to until completely cooled.
- Pulverize pretzels in a food processor or in a freezer baggie with a rolling pin.
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in ½ cup of sugar to combine. Stir in the pretzels and cook for a minute or so. If the mixture is dry, add a little more butter.
- Transfer the pretzel mixture to your baking dish and use the bottom of a bottle or measuring cup to press the mixture in the dish.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to completely cool.
- Use a hand-mixer to cream (combine) the softened cream cheese with ½ cup of sugar. Use a wooden spoon to gently fold in the Cool Whip until fully incorporated.
- Once the pretzel crust is completely cooled, spread the cream cheese mixture over the top, making sure that a seal is formed along the sides of the dish. (This is important...if a tight seal is not made, the Jell-O liquid will seep down the sides and make the crust soggy).
- Add the sliced strawberries to the cooled Jell-O mixture. Gently pour (or ladle) the Jell-O mixture over the top of the cream cheese layer.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 4 hours until the Jell-O has completely set.
My Daughter and I were recalling having this dessert when Grandma was still alive. My Mom made this all the time. I decide to make this for Thanksgiving. Even though I have this recipe written down in my Mom’s recipe book, I decide to watch your video. Let me tell you, I am so glad I did. The two of you made this a pure delight to watch. It was fun to watch and you had some helpful hints. Thank you for sharing your recipes and the humor making them. I will definately follow you. Saw some of your other recipes and….oh yes they all look amazing. Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you both.
Thank you so so much, Shannon!! You have no idea how much this fills our hearts with joy. We appreciate your kind words and we hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving! God bless!! xoxo Kris & Wesley
Another hit at the house. Made this this past weekend and ate for dessert several days. Everyone loved it. The crust is the star of the show for me; like caramelized pretzels, how can you go wrong! I did make the mistake of trying this in a 7″ x 11″ deep dish and it was too tall, so stick with 9×13 or 10×10 as recommended.
Hi Mark! Sorry for the delayed response!! We agree…that pretzel crust really works amazingly well with the other components of the salad. Yeah, sometimes it gets stacked a little too high with a smaller pan. Hope you make time and time again and enjoy!! Thanks for letting us know and for the wonderful review!