Creamy, salty sweet pretzel jello salad always makes an appearance at our holiday meals.
There’s something about these type of dessert salads, that are so fun to include in the big spread of a fancy holiday meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas. We love this recipe year round, but especially during the holidays. The best part is that because it’s called a “salad” (haha) it usually makes the meal as a side dish and not dessert…so bonus…there will still be dessert!
- For the First Layer (The Pretzel Crust):
- 1 3/4 cups crushed pretzels (about 6-7 cups pretzels)
- 3/4 cup salted butter, melted (12 Tablespoons)
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- For the Middle Layer (The Whipped Cream Cheese Mixture):
- 12 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 8 ounces whipped topping, softened (1 container)
- For the Top Layer (The Jello and Berries):
- 2 cups boiling water
- 6 oz. raspberry jello (two 3oz. boxes)
- 2 cups frozen raspberries
How to make Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad:
- Pretzel Crust Layer: The first layer is the pretzel crust. Blend the pretzels in a food processor or blender until they’re crushed. Move to a mixing bowl and add in the melted butter and sugar. Mix together until combined. Press the pretzel mixture into a buttered 9×13″ baking dish. Bake at 400°F for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool at room temp for 10-15 and then move the pan into the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.
- The Cream Cheese Layer: The middle layer is a whipped sweetened cream cheese mixture. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, whip the softened cream cheese. Add in the sugar and continue mixing. Fold the thawed whipped topping (cool whip) into the mixture. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the pretzel crust. Be sure to go all the way to the edges so the top layer (the jello layer) does not leak through (making the pretzel crust soggy). Place the dish back into the fridge for about an hour.
- The Jello Layer: Last comes the jello layer. Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the jello packets. Stir for 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add in the frozen berries (we are using raspberries). Let the mixture slightly thicken, then pour evenly over the top of the cream cheese layer. Place in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight) to set completely and firm up.
Other Names you might know this dessert salad by:
- Layered Jello Cheesecake
- Layered Jello Salad
Frozen Fruit or Fresh Fruit for this recipe?
This recipe is best made with frozen berries or fruit, and the reason is that when added to the hot jello, the fruit or berries will hold their shape better if frozen first. If you use fresh berries or fruit, they will become more mushy from the heat of the hot jello and will not have the same texture.
- Strawberry: use strawberry jello and frozen sliced strawberries.
- Mandarin Oranges: use orange jello and canned mandarin oranges (freeze them before adding).
- Peach: use peach jello and frozen sliced peaches.
- Homemade Whipped Cream: swap real whipped heavy cream for the Cool Whip Whipped Topping.
This is a great holiday recipe to make ahead when there is so much to prepare. It’s best made one day ahead. If you make it earlier than that, like two days ahead, just know that the pretzel crust will soften the longer it sits, so if you like it like this, you can make it earlier.
How to store:
This is best stored in the glass dish it is prepared in, covered the top with plastic wrap. Leftovers will keep a day or two chilled in the fridge.
Tips and Tricks for recipe success!
- Make this dessert salad the night before: If you are planning to make this pretzel jello salad for Thanksgiving, or for a fancy Christmas Dinner, when you already have a lot to prepare, this salad is definitely one to make the day before, because it takes time to set and chill.
- Be sure to spread the cream cheese layer all the way to the side walls of the baking dish to make sure that jello layer does not seep through to the bottom making the jello crust soggy.
- Let the jello cool and thicken before pouring it over the top of the cream cheese layer
- Measure the pretzels before blending in the blender.
How long does it take cream cheese to soften?
Cream cheese (and butter) both take about 30 minutes sitting at room temperature to soften from being stored in the fridge. If they have been frozen, they will take 1-2 hours to soften.
Can I use whipped cream instead of Cool Whip:
I have some friends that refuse to make anything with cool whip, and I get it. If you’d like to swap the cool whip with homemade whipped cream, here is what you need to replace the 8oz. container of cool whip (whipped topping):
- 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (or heavy cream)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla together until stiff peaks. Fold into the whipped cream cheese mixture when needed in the recipe.
Pretzel Jello Salad
Creamy, salty sweet dessert salad full of flavor. Can be made with raspberries or strawberries.
- * 1 3/4 cups crushed pretzels about 6-7 cups pretzels
- * 3/4 cup salted butter melted (12 Tablespoons)
- * 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 12oz. cream cheese softened (1 1/2 packages)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 8oz. container whipped topping softened
- 2 cups boiling water
- 6oz. raspberry jello (two 3oz. boxes)
- 2 cups frozen raspberries
For The Pretzel Layer:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 9×13" dish and set aside.
In a blender or food processor blend the pretzels.
Move crushed pretzels to a bowl and add in the melted butter and sugar. Stir until combined.
Press the pretzel mixture evenly into the prepared dish. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Out of the oven let cool to room temp. Move to the fridge for 30 minutes or until the pretzel crust is cool.
For The Whipped Cream Cheese Layer:
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer whip the cream cheese. Add in the sugar and then fold in the whipped topping (cool whip).
Add big spoonfuls of the whipped cream cheese mixture over the top of the pretzel crust. Spread the whipped cream cheese mixture evenly over the top, making sure to spread it all the way to the sides of the glass dish to keep the next layer (the jello layer), from leaking to the bottom.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour for the middle layer to firm up and set.
For The Jello Layer:
Boil water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add in the jello packets. Stir until the sugar of the jello is dissolved (about 2 minutes).
Stir in the frozen raspberries. Let the jello mixture sit for about 5-10 minutes to allow it to slightly thicken. Once the pot is cool enough to handle move it to the fridge (on a hot pad) for 10-15 minutes longer.
Once thickened pour the jello mixture over the top of the cream cheese layer. Move back into the fridge for another 2 hours until the jello is firm, or you can refrigerate overnight (which is preferred). Once the dessert is firm, cut into squares and serve.
Making This Recipe? Tag us on Instagram: @NoBiggie using the hashtag #NoBiggieRecipes, so we can see what you are making in the kitchen!
More Dessert recipes like this we love:
- Cranberry Salad
- Frog Eye Salad
- No Bake Peaches and Cream Dessert
- Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding
- Eclair Squares
We love to hear from you! Leave a comment and a recipe rating if you make!