Raspberry Pretzel Salad is a long-time family favorite, combining a pretzel crust with cream cheese and jello layers. This universal recipe is the perfect addition to any meal, as a side or dessert!
Jello Pretzel Salad
It’s been awhile since I made this recipe, but Mike asked to take it to a work luncheon so I decided it was time to share it with ya’ll. It’s a VERY common recipe it seems, and it brings back all the memories.
My mom made this recipe for most family holiday gatherings, and it brings a smile to my face when I think of the debate. Are you asking, “What debate?” 😀
Salad or Dessert?
There it is. THE debate. Is this recipe a salad or a dessert? My hubby thinks SALAD all the way, and I think DESSERT! C’mon ya’ll. Go look at my salad category and tell me this is a salad! Haha.
But we can all pretend that it’s a salad if that’s the way you wanna play. Ok, SALAD it is!
This classic recipe is often made with strawberry jello and frozen strawberries instead of raspberries. Both are excellent!
How to make this SALAD
Make pretzel layer. Combine pretzels in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush the pretzels. It’s ok to have some bigger pieces. Combine pretzels in a mixing bowl with the sugar and melted butter. Stir well to combine and then press firmly into a 9×13 baking dish.
Bake crust. Bake the crust in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let the crust cool completely. (I often place it in the refrigerator to speed up the process.)
Prepare cream cheese layer. In another mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese and sugar until very well mixed. Then use a spatula to fold in the Cool Whip.
Add cream cheese layer to pretzel crust. When the crust is completely cool, add the cream cheese mixture to the top, carefully spreading it to all edges of the dish.
Make jello layer. Boil the water in the microwave, using a large measuring cup or bowl. Add jello and stir until dissolved. Then add the frozen raspberries and stir. Let cool.
Add raspberry jello mixture to dish. When the jello mixture is cooled off, gently add it to the chilled cream cheese layer. Spread it carefully to all sides of the dish.
Chill. Place the dish back in the refrigerator until the jello is completely set, about two hours.
Serve. Cut the pretzel salad into 12 even squares and serve.
This is a recipe that goes well with any holiday menu. We normally eat it at Thanksgiving with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, salad, and dinner rolls. But it is delicious with literally anything during any time of year!
Wouldn’t it be a great show-stopper over the 4th of July along with the classic hotdogs and potato chips?
- Give yourself plenty of time when making this salad. I recommend making it while you’re making other things because you’ll need time for the pretzel layer to cool and for the jello to cool as well.
- Use a rolling pin instead of a food processor when making the crust. You want some bigger chunks of pretzels – not crushed.
- I recommend using full-fat cream cheese and cool whip. This layer holds the salad up, so using lighter ingredients may cause it to get watery too soon.
- When adding cream cheese layer, create a seal by smoothing it to all sides of the dish. Don’t leave any open spaces. If done properly, the jello layer will stay intact and not leak into the pretzel layer.
I find this salad to be best if made the day of your event. But you can make it a day in advance, if needed.
We normally keep leftovers for about three days. Beyond that, the salad can get too soft.
Haha. YES! This salad makes a fantastic dessert!
Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)
Raspberry Pretzel Salad
For the pretzel crust:
- 2 ½ cups pretzels – crushed
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 10 Tablespoons butter – melted
For the cream cheese layer:
- 8 oz. cream cheese – softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 oz. Cool Whip
For the jello layer:
- 2 cups water
- 6 oz. raspberry jello
- 12 oz. frozen raspberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pretzels in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush.
- Combine pretzels in a bowl with sugar and melted butter, and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a 9×13 baking dish and press firmly into the bottom of the dish.
- Bake crust for 10 minutes and then cool completely.
Make cream cheese layer.
- Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to mix well. Then fold in the cool whip with a spatula.
- Spread cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled pretzel crust, smoothing it gently to all areas of the dish, completely covering the pretzels.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Make jello layer.
- Boil the water in a large measuring cup (or bowl) until bubbly. Then add the jello and stir well until dissolved. Add frozen raspberries and stir so they are broken apart. Let this cool.
- Add the raspberry jello mixture to the cream cheese layer, gently spreading it evenly to all sides of the baking dish. Refrigerate until jello is set.
- Slice into squares and serve.