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This Strawberry Pretzel Salad recipe is a layered dessert salad with a tangy strawberry Jello topping over sweetened cream cheese and a buttery pretzel crust. A family favorite perfect for holidays, showers, potluck dinners and special occasions!

slice of strawberry pretzel salad with whipped cream and mint leaf on a plate.

What is Strawberry Pretzel Salad?

Old fashioned strawberry pretzel salad is a congealed salad made with strawberry gelatin and strawberries over a cream cheese filling and salty pretzel crust. If you’ve never had this dish before, the name is just slightly misleading. It really isn’t a salad like we know today, and it really is more like a dessert than a side dish.

A group of church ladies served this layered strawberry pretzel dessert at my baby shower years ago, and I thought it was one of the best things I ever tasted. I don’t even remember any of the other food served at the shower, but I do remember this delicious dessert! I made sure I got the recipe from a family friend, and my baby girl (who is almost all grown up now) loves making it as much as I do.

This salty and sweet treat is also super easy to make ahead of time and to transport. So, if you’ve got a shower, potluck dinner or any type of celebration coming up, this sweet and salty Jello salad would be a perfect choice! It’s definitely a family favorite!

mini pretzels, strawberry jello, frozen strawberries, cool whip, cream cheese, butter, sugar, cinnamon, water.


You can find these simple ingredients in most grocery stores. Full amounts are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Mini pretzels — pretzel twists or sticks work best.
  • Sugar — to sweeten the crust and the filling
  • Melted butter — to make the crust
  • Cream cheese — Use regular full-fat cream cheese, not whipped cream cheese for best results. Let it soften at room temperature for easier mixing.
  • Cool Whip — or any whipped topping for a fluffy filling. Make sure you thaw it in the fridge before using.
  • Cinnamon — totally optional, but adds extra flavor to the crust
  • Strawberry Jello — or any brand of gelatin powder. Get the larger 6 oz size.
  • Hot water — to dissolve the gelatin powder
  • Frozen strawberries — for the topping. Frozen fruit will help the Jello set quickly

How to make Strawberry Pretzel Salad with Frozen Strawberries

First, you make the pretzel crust. You can use a blender or food processor to chop the pretzels or even crush them in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin if you want. Then, you mix in a few other ingredients, and press the crust mixture into a baking dish and bake it for a few minutes until it’s slightly crispy.


After the crust cools completely, you slather on the layer of sweetened cream cheese. Make sure to spread the cream cheese mixture all the way to the edge of the pan so the jello layer doesn’t seep over into the crust. Let it chill in the fridge for a little while — at least 30 minutes to 1 hour or until firm.

spread cream cheese over crust.

The final layer consists of frozen strawberries mixed in strawberry Jello. Mix the hot water with the Jello in a large mixing bowl until the powder is dissolved. Then, add the frozen fruit, and mix until blended.

The frozen fruit should help the Jello set, and it will be easy to scoop the mixture over the cream cheese layer.

Use a spatula to smooth the topping over the filling until the cream cheese is covered completely. Place the salad into the refrigerator, and let it set for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight before serving.

smooth jello layer over cream cheese with spatula.

The end result is just gorgeous. I just love the colorful layers!

So, this isn’t exactly what you would call a healthy salad, but it’s one of those classic retro recipes that’s definitely worth trying. And if you grew up on strawberry pretzel salad and haven’t had it in a long time, one bite will take you back.

strawberry jello pretzel dessert in pan on the table.


You can use fresh strawberries in place of frozen. Just be sure to let the gelatin cool and partially set first and slice and hull strawberries before using. Or slice and freeze fresh berries before assembling the Jello layer. Frozen berries help the Jello layer set faster.

It’s easy to use different Jello flavors with different fruit. Try orange and peach flavor next time.


Store the Jello pretzel salad in the refrigerator until ready to serve, and refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container or in the pan covered with plastic wrap. It will keep for about 3 days before the pretzel layer starts to get soft. This does not freeze well.

Recipe Tips

Stick to Cool Whip or generic whipped topping instead of real whipped cream in this recipe. Whipped cream won’t be as fluffy and doesn’t last as long as whipped topping does. Make sure the whipped topping is thawed before using.

Don’t crush the pretzels too fine — the crust will be tough. You want to see small pieces.

Allow the crust and the cheesecake filling to cool completely before adding the next layers. Also, make sure to spread the filling so it touches the edges of the pan.

Do not thaw the strawberries before using. If there are any large pieces of fruit, cut them into smaller bite-size pieces first.

strawberry pretzel salad with whipped cream on a white plate

More Jello Salad Recipes

5 from 17 votes

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

By: Dee
This Strawberry Pretzel Salad recipe is a layered dessert salad with a tangy strawberry Jello topping over sweetened cream cheese and a buttery pretzel crust. A family favorite perfect for holidays, showers, potluck dinners and special occasions!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
refrigeration time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12


For the Crust

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup melted butter melted

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese softnened
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 8 oz tub Cool Whip thawed

Strawberry Jello Layer

  • 2 10- oz packages of frozen strawberries 20 oz total
  • 6 oz package of Jello strawberry gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
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Pretzel Crust

  • Preheat oven to 400℉
  • Grease a 9×13 baking pan with non stick spray or butter
  • Mix the crushed pretzels, sugar and cinnamon with the melted butter
  • Press into prepared baking dish
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until firm and crisp. Allow to cool completely

Cream Cheese Layer

  • Mix the cream cheese and sugar in a medium mixing bowl until creamy, and gently fold in whipped topping
  • Carefully spread over the pretzel layer, making sure to cover the entire layer all the way to the edges of the baking dish, and refrigerate until firm

Strawberry Jello Layer

  • In a large bowl, mix the gelatin with the boiling water until dissolved, and let cool slightly
  • Mix the frozen strawberries into the the Jello, and stir until it starts to thicken
  • Spoon evenly over cream cheese layer
  • Refrigerate until Jello is set and firm (4 hours or overnight), and keep refrigerated until ready to serve



Don’t bake crust any longer than 10 minutes for best results.
You can use fresh strawberries, but frozen ones help the Jello set faster. You can also slice fresh strawberries and freeze in a single layer until firm. If using fresh strawberries, allow Jello to cool and partially set before adding strawberries.
Substitute 2 3 oz boxes of Jello if you can’t find 1 large box. Follow the directions in this recipe for preparing Jello — don’t follow directions on box.
Cinnamon is optional.


Calories: 380kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 51mg, Sodium: 410mg, Potassium: 110mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 620IU, Vitamin C: 16.7mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Like this? Leave a comment below!

I hope you enjoy this easy strawberry pretzel salad as much as we do! For more delicious recipes, sign up for the weekly newsletter and follow me on social media.


Recipe first published in 2016 and updated in 2024.

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Recipe Rating


  1. AJ says:

    Made this with kids yesterday! What a treat! Pretty easy to make also! Wonder if the other Jell-o flavors will work?5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe. You can try different flavors such as peach and orange or raspberry Jello.

  2. Betty says:

    I remember this from when I was a kid! My grandma used to make soemthing like this all summer long! What memories!5 stars

  3. susan thomas says:

    for this recipe or any for pretzel salad if you use sliced frozen strawberries do you use SWEETENED OR UNSWEETENED strawberries? since they sell both.
    my sister made this (a diff recipe} good but she did pretzel in the blender? way to blended/processed like a graham cracker crust. the whole dessert was good but crust-like cement! I think the baggie method sounds good.
    also, spray sounds like a good idea
    I need explicit instruction I’m not a cook!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      I use unsweetened frozen strawberries since there is already plenty of sugar in the recipe. But, you can use sweetened or fresh strawberries if you want.

  4. Brenda Lawrence says:

    How can I make this recipe without it sticking? I love it though. Made it a few times but pretzels stick

    1. Dee says:

      You can grease the pan or use a non stick spray, and that should help. I’ll have to update the directions.

  5. Yessica says:

    Simply amazing! This is one of my go to desserts for potlucks! It’s always a hit and people asking for the recipe!