Saturday, August 27, 2011

What's Baking: Jello Pretzel Salad

I've been terribly negligent with my posts for "What's Baking?", so I promised myself that I'd get back into the swing of things, especially since this challenge sounded like so much fun! The theme this month was to bake something that reminded you of summer and/or used summer ingredients. Now, I don't know about you, but when I think of summer, I think of BBQs and family picnics. And if your family is anything like mine, there's always some sort of jello salad (or three) at these picnics. As much as I do try to stay away from the processed, packaged ingredients that these salads are always full of, they do hold some nostalgic value for me. But my absolute favorite one also makes use of a great summer fruit--strawberries!

Jello pretzel salad is this amazing concoction of a pretzel crust, cream layer, and jello top. It somehow manages to be both sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy. In short...awesome! This stuff is like crack to me. All of the recipes that I found called for frozen strawberries, but I wanted to use fresh ones in honor of strawberries being in season. Because of that, I decided to add some ice to the jello layer to help it set up. I think next time, I would use more ice/icewater or just use the frozen strawberries...something about the jello layer was throwing me off, and I think it was that it was too concentrated. I have updated the recipe below to reflect that. So without further ado, I hope you enjoy jello pretzel salad as much as I always have!

Jello Pretzel Salad (adapted from

  • 2 c. crushed pretzels
  • 3/4 c. melted butter
  • 1 c. + 3 Tbl. granulated sugar, divided
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (can use reduced fat, but NOT fat free)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. whipped topping, thawed (can use reduced fat/sugar-free/etc.)
  • 2 0.3-oz packages (the little size) OR 1 0.6-oz package (the big size) of strawberry gelatin
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 16 oz. fresh strawberries, thinly sliced OR 2 10-oz bags of frozen strawberries
  • 2 c. ice water (omit if using frozen strawberries)

Crush the pretzels in a food processor. Add 3 Tbl. sugar and melted butter, and pulse until mixture is crumbly and starts to come together. Dump it into a greased 9x13 pan, and pat it down into an even crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, cream together cream cheese, vanilla, and 1 c. sugar until light and fluffy. Gently fold in whipped topping until thoroughly incorporated. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled pretzel crust, making sure to get it all the way to the edges! Chill until set.

Mix together the strawberry gelatin and boiling water, whisking for 2 minutes, or until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add strawberries and ice water (if using). Stir until ice is melted. Cool mixture in fridge for one hour, or until partially set--it should be about the consistency of egg whites. Pour gelatin mixture over the cream layer, making sure it's in an even layer. Chill until ready to serve. This is best served a few hours or one day after making--the crust starts to get soggy if you make it more than a day ahead of time.


  1. This may be my favorite dessert from childhood. I am totally making it for labor day! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I remember this from my childhood as well. It was also served as dessert at Thanksgiving last year. Love that you added the fresh strawberries. Thanks for the submission.