Strawberry pretzel salad starts with a pretzel crust, then a cream cheese layer and finally a concentrated strawberry top. It’s a fabulous dessert to serve for a crowd. Great for holiday gatherings or potlucks.
I was trying to come up with a dessert that was not cake like and thought about this old fashioned strawberry pretzel salad. Natalie just couldn’t understand how this could be called a salad, and I have to agree. I think it got the name because the original version used strawberry jello. This was something you would see at family gatherings or potlucks when I was growing up, but I guess it’s not very Southern because I haven’t seen it around for quite some time.
So feeling nostalgic, I found an updated version form America’s Test Kitchen. They really got it right, the pretzel layer is salty and buttery and the cream cheese and filling is rich and smooth and 100 times better than the non-dairy topping that I remembered.
The strawberry layer can’t even compare to the jello version. You’ll use fresh and frozen strawberries and non-flavored gelatin for an amazing concentrated strawberry topping. When making this, adjust the sugar based on the sweetness of the strawberries you have. I would suggest adding a little at a time to the puree and see how much you need.
Give yourself some time when making this dessert, the gelatin needs to set before you make your layers and then it needs to refrigerate for several hours. I would suggest making it the day before you want to serve it.
How do you make strawberry pretzel salad
Step 1: Add melted butter and a little sugar to ground up pretzels and place in the bottom of the baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool.
Step 2: Beat the cream cheese and heavy cream together and place on cooled crust and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Process 8 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries and add to a saucepan with sugar. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and it has thickened to jam consistency.
Step 4: Soften gelatin in water for 5 minutes then add to hot strawberry mixture. Add sliced fresh strawberries and place in the refrigerator to thicken and cool, about 30 minutes.
Step 5: Add cooled thickened strawberry mixture to the top of the cream cheese layer and refrigerate overnight.
The girls were delighted with this salad as were the rest of us. Of course they will be very disappointed if she is ever served the strawberry jello version. I can’t wait to make this again and amaze everyone with how much better this is then the 70’s version. The salty combined with the sweet berry flavor makes perfect summer cook-out dessert.
More POTLUCK recipes
- Chocolate pecan slab pie
- Broccoli cheddar salad
- Sweet potato casserole
- Cucumber and Corn Salad
- Chocolate cream cheese cake
Strawberry recipes you’ll love
- Strawberry skillet cake
- Strawberry chiffon pie
- Strawberry slab pie
- Strawberry cake
- Strawberry cobbler
If you make this recipe be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! I would love to see your creation.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- 4 cups thin pretzel sticks
- 2 ¼ cups sugar divided
- 12 tablespoons butter melted
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 10 cups strawberries frozen and fresh
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup cold water
- Preheat oven to 400º. Spray 13 X 9 inch baking pan.
- In a food processor, pulse pretzels and 1/4 cup sugar until coarsely ground but not powdered. Add melted butter and pulse until combined. Put in the bottom of the prepared pan and press to even it out with fingertips. Bake for 10 minutes until beginning to brown. Let cool for about 20 minutes.
- In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar with the whisk attachment, then add cream slowly and beat until soft peaks form. Spread mixture on cooled crust and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- While the crust is cooling, make the third layer. Process about 8 cups of frozen or fresh strawberries until pureed. Add to a medium saucepan along with 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar and salt. Cook over medium-high heat until bubbles begin to appear and sugar is dissolved and it has thickened. The time will vary depending on how juicy the strawberries are. Remove from heat.
- While the strawberry puree is cooking, sprinkle gelatin over water in a large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk strawberry puree into gelatin. Add about 2 cups of sliced strawberries to the gelatin mixture and stir. Refrigerate until gelatin starts to thicken but not until it’s set, about 30 to 60 minutes, make sure it is not warm. Carefully pour over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.