Strawberry Pretzel Salad

With nary a green vegetable in sight, calling this delicious dessert Strawberry Pretzel Salad might be a stretch, but we love it, no matter its name. With a sweet-salty pretzel crust, a creamy no-bake cheesecake filling and a strawberry gelatin top, this dessert is an F&W test kitchen favorite.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Photo: Abby Hocking / Food & Wine
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs
10 to 12


  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 cups mini pretzels

  • 5 ounces honey graham crackers (about 10 whole crackers)

  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin

  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream

  • Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • Two 3-ounce packages strawberry gelatin

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water

  • 12 ounces strawberries—stemmed, hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small saucepan, cook the butter over moderate heat until browned and nutty-smelling, about 5 minutes. Transfer the butter to a small bowl and let cool slightly.

  2. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels with the graham crackers, brown sugar and salt until fine crumbs form. With the processor on, drizzle in the brown butter until damp crumbs form. Press the pretzel crust into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes until the crust is set. Transfer the dish to a wire rack and let cool completely.

  3. In a small microwave-safe dish, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the heavy cream at medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese with the sugar, vanilla and salt at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the lemon juice and honey until just combined. Microwave the gelatin for 10 seconds, until it is liquid. At low speed, beat the gelatin into the cream cheese mixture until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream in three additions. Spread over the pretzel crust and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

  5. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the strawberry gelatin in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water until dissolved. Set the medium bowl in the ice bath and, whisking occasionally, cool the gelatin until thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes.

  6. Scatter the strawberries in a single layer over the cream cheese. Pour the gelatin over the strawberries. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.

Make Ahead

The strawberry pretzel salad can be covered with plastic and refrigerated for 4 days.

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