Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Crunchy, salty, sweet, and creamy, this retro dessert is a winner. I swear I have found it in nearly every Pennsylvania Dutch, Mennonite, and local community cookbook I own (and I own a LOT).

Use fresh strawberries when they are in season or frozen strawberries for year-round goodness!  The dessert lends itself to changing up the flavors by substituting raspberry gelatin and berries for the strawberry.

This cream cheese layered beauty showed up on holiday and special occasion tables in my family as far back as I can remember.  And it always made an appearance at my house during the peak of fresh strawberry season in the Coal Region.

Why is it called “Salad”?…I suspect because in the 60s and 70s it seemed like every recipe made with Jello was called “salad”. I just call it “yummy”.

I like to use my 13 x 9 baking pan with its cover for desserts like this and my 5-Layer Pistachio Chocolate Delight.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: DessertCuisine: Coal Region, Pa. DutchDifficulty: Easy

Crunchy, salty, sweet, and creamy, this retro dessert is a winner


  • Crust
  • 2 cups finely crushed pretzels

  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided

  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

  • Layers
  • 1-1/2 (8 ounces each) packages cream cheese (12 ounces total), softened

  • 2 Tablespoons milk

  • 1 cup thawed Whipped Topping (like Cool Whip)

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • 1 (6 ounce) box strawberry flavor gelatin (or 2 – 3 ounce boxes.)

  • 1 1/2 cups cold water

  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced OR

  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries, sliced


  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Combine pretzel crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter in a bowl., mixing well. Press the crumbs into bottom of 13 x 9-inch pan. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  • In a clean bowl, beat cream cheese, remaining sugar and milk with electric mixer until blended. Stir in whipped topping until smooth. Spread over cooled crust. Refrigerate.
  • In a bowl, add boiling water to gelatin; stir 2 minutes or until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water. Refrigerate about 60 to 90 minutes until thickened, not set.
  • Stir in the berries until distributed then spoon the mixture over the over cream cheese layer NOTE: if using frozen berries, stir them into gelatin along with the cold water, then refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes or until the consistency of egg whites, Spoon evenly over the cream cheese layer.
  • Refrigerate at least 3 hours or until firm before cutting and serving.


  • This recipe lends itself to being made in a raspberry version. Substitute the same amount of raspberries and raspberry gelatin as for strawberry.