Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad is a family favorite during the holidays! Salty and sweet, crunchy and creamy - this layered sweet strawberry jello salad won't last long and is a crowd favorite!
I cannot with this recipe. It is my weakness. Like utter and total I have no self-control I will just keep eating it weakness. I am a sucker for a salty-sweet combo and this strawberry jello salad with fresh strawberries - UGH - stick a fork in me and give me the whole pan!
I LOVE IT SO MUCH!
There are 2 things at Thanksgiving and the holidays that there are no leftovers of every year with my family. Broccoli casserole and this. It is everyone's favorite and for good reason.
If you have never had strawberry pretzel jello salad you are missing out and you MUST MAKE IT this holiday season! Let me show you how!
Ingredients Needed for this Recipe
Whipped Topping Layer
- Cream Cheese
- Cool Whip
Strawberry Jello Layer
- Strawberry Jello
- Boiling Water
- Fresh or Frozen Strawberries
How to Make
This is not a hard recipe but it is easy to mess up and rush so is it SUPER IMPORTANT to follow these steps exactly in order and allow for adequate chilling time in between each one. If you don't then it will result in a jello salad in that all the layers will run together and never set properly. Following these 3 steps exactly will ensure a perfect result each time!
STEP ONE - Pretzel Layer
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Crush pretzels in a large zip-top bag with a rolling pin.
- Add to a 9x13' baking pan along with 4 tablespoons of sugar and melted butter. Mix until everything is combined and press into the bottom of the pan evenly.
- Bake for 6 minutes.
- Remove, place in fridge and let cool completely (at least 1 hour).
STEP TWO - Whipped Topping Layer
- In a large bowl, add cream cheese and sugar. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy with no lumps remaining. Gently fold in the thawed whipped topping until combined, light, and fluffy.
- Spread evenly over the completely cooled crust all the way to the edges (make sure to leave no holes to gaps on the sides of the pan).
- Place in fridge to set completely (at least 1 hour).
STEP THREE - Strawberry Jello Layer
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add to a bowl and add the jello. Mix for 1-2 minutes until the jello is completely dissolved.
- Add in the sliced strawberries. Mix well.
- Set the bowl in the fridge to cool for 30-60 minutes. You do not want the jello to set, just to cool completely before setting.
- Gently pour over chilled pretzels and cream cheese layers.
- Place in the fridge and chill completely until set (at least 3-4 hours).
Pro Tips to Make it Easy
I have ruined this recipe more times than not, unfortunately, and just due to my lack of patience. Like I said earlier, this is not a hard recipe but it can be super easy to mess up. These couple of tips will ensure you get even perfectly chilled layers with a crunchy pretzel bottom every single time!
- Chill each layer! This is the most important step! If you spread the whipped topping on top of the hot or warm pretzels that just come out of the oven, then that layer will melt and will set the rest of the recipe up for failure. Chill the pretzel layer COMPLETELY for at least an hour. Then chill and set the whipped topping later COMPLETELY for at least an hour before adding the jello. Taking time to do this will ensure you will get a crunchy pretzel bottom and 3 distinct layers that do not run together.
- Spread the whipped topping all the way to the edge! You want to make sure to spread that chilled whipped topping evenly across the chilled pretzel layer all the way to the edges leaving no gaps or holes. If you do leave holes or gaps, then the strawberry jello layer will seep through to the bottom with the pretzels and ruin the proper setup of the dish.
- Chill the jello BEFORE pouring it in! This is what has helped me the most in this recipe. So many times I have made the perfect chilled pretzel and whipped topping layer. Then I pour hot jello on top and completely melt the whipped topping and the whole thing is ruined - and it's so frustrating! So this is the biggest secret and tip of all - once you have made the jello layer with the strawberries, keep it in the bowl and place it in the fridge to chill for 30-60 minutes. You don't want the jello to set in the bowl, but you want to chill it enough that it has cooled off significantly and starting to want to set. Gently pour the chilled jello over the whipped topping and place it back in the fridge to set for 3-4 hours. This step and tip are crucial to get that perfect top layer!
- Chill the entire salad before serving! This amount of jello actually takes a while to set. You will need at least 3-4 hours for it to be ready to serve and slice.
- Allowing enough time to make and prep! Following the statement above - this is not a hard recipe, but it is time-consuming because of the chilling time in-between layers. And this recipe is best made the day of want to serve. So allow yourself enough time in the morning and day to make sure it will be set to serve for dinner that night. Or if needed in the morning/lunchtime - make it the night before and chill it in the fridge overnight.
How to Prep in Advance
This recipe best made the day of wanting to serve in my option. Leftovers can be kept for up to 2 days after but the pretzels will start to lose some of their crunch and strawberries lose their freshness.
Make it early in the morning so you have plenty of time to chill in between layers and set the jello completely before serving it for dinner. If needing to serve in the morning or early in the day, make it at night the day before and chill overnight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Keep leftovers covered tightly in the fridge for 2 days.
You can use frozen strawberries. I prefer fresh but frozen can definitely be used. Make sure you thaw them completely and that they are thinly sliced (NOT WHOLE). Drain off any excess liquid. You do not want any excess liquid with the strawberries - it will ruin the outcome of the jello layer.
Use the classic small salted twisted pretzels for this recipe. They work the best compared to rods, sticks, or any large-sized pretzels.
I normally like to avoid using frozen whipped topping, but I do not recommend it for this recipe. The stabilization in frozen whipped topping is crucial for the setting of this layer and whipped cream will not result in the same result.
Absolutely! Sub out gluten-free pretzels in the first layer to make this strawberry jello salad with fresh strawberries gluten-free!
More Holiday Side Dishes
- Slow Cooker Green Beans
- Southern Cheesy Corn Casserole
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Mac and Cheese
- Easy Broccoli Casserole
- Watergate Salad
- Creamed Corn
- Sous Vide Maple Carrots
- Candied Pecan Brussel Sprouts
- Lemon Mandarin Orange Jello Salad