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Everybody loves this irresistible Raspberry Pretzel Salad recipe with it’s salty-sweet combo of crunchy pretzel crust, creamy cool whip and cream cheese filling, and sweet-tart raspberry jello top! It’s a summertime and holiday favorite!
Raspberry Pretzel Salad Recipe
This is one of those funny “salad” recipes that is really a dessert (let’s all just admit that right up front, alright?) but you are allowed to eat it WITH YOUR DINNER because it’s called a salad. That, my friends, is called winning at life.
I recently took this raspberry pretzel salad to a potluck with a bunch of friends and we all stood around extolling its virtues. I mean, what’s not to love? I can’t decide which layer is my favorite, which is a good thing because every bite has elements of crunchy, salty-sweet pretzel crust, creamy, almost no-bake cheesecake like filling in the middle, and fruity, sweet-tart raspberries in raspberry jello on top.
It’s heaven. You might want to make a two pans of it, because you are definitely going to be wanting more the moment that last slice is gone.
Ingredients for Raspberry Pretzel Salad
- pretzels (sticks, twists, or squares – it’s all good)
- cream cheese
- cool whip
- raspberry jello
How do you make Raspberry Pretzel Salad?
- Make the Crust: Give your kids a rolling pin and a bag of pretzels and let them go to town. Then mix that up with a little butter and melted sugar and press it into a 9×13-inch baking dish and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- Make the Filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar together in a bowl using a hand mixer until smooth. Then fold in a carton of Cool Whip and spread it in an evenly layer over the cooled pretzel crust. Be sure to go all the way to the edges of the baking dish so the top layer doesn’t seep through. Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Make the Raspberry Layer: Heat water to boiling, either in a pan or in a microwave safe dish, then add the jello and stir until dissolved. Add the frozen raspberries, then carefully pour over the chilled cream cheese layer and refrigerate for 2-3 hours until completely set. Slice and serve!
Can you make Raspberry Pretzel Salad ahead of time?
Raspberry pretzel salad is a great, easy recipe to make in advance! I usually make it the night before, which also gives it plenty of time for the jello to completely set.
I don’t recommend making this more than 2 days in advance though, because the pretzels will lose their crunch, which is one of the best parts. Making it 24 hours in advance is best.
Pretzel Salad Variations
There are many iterations of this dessert salad recipe, but really any fruit combination will work.
- Strawberry Pretzel Salad: Use strawberry jello and sliced strawberries (this might well be the most popular version of this dessert).
- Pineapple Pretzel Salad: Use pineapple or lemon jello and 2 cans of crushed pineapple that has been drained well.
- Blueberry Pretzel Salad: Use berry blue jello and frozen blueberries.
- Peach Pretzel Salad: Use peach jello and fresh or frozen sliced peaches.
- Mandarin Pretzel Salad: Use orange jello and mandarin oranges. This is probably my kids’ favorite.
- Mixed Berry Pretzel Salad: Use cherry jello and frozen mixed berries (usually a combination or raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries).
Why use frozen raspberries instead of fresh?
You can absolutely use fresh fruit in this recipe. The main reason I use frozen raspberries is that they can be added while the jello is still hot and immediately start to cool down the jello, shortening the time to make this by quite a bit. They also are often quite a bit cheaper, and better tasting if it doesn’t happen to be raspberry season where you live.
If you want to use fresh raspberries, let the jello cool down for 30 minutes before pouring it over the cream cheese layer.
Tips for the best Raspberry Pretzel Salad
- Be sure you have enough time. This raspberry pretzel salad recipe isn’t difficult, but it does take a while for each layer to set up in the fridge.
- Spread the cream cheese layer right up to the side of the pan. This will help seal the layers so the jello layer doesn’t seep down into the pretzel crust when it gets added.
- Pour the jello onto a spoon when pouring over the cream cheese layer. This will help it disperse a bit so it doesn’t drill into the cream cheese layer.
- You CAN substitute real whipped cream for Cool Whip, but I wouldn’t unless using stabilized whipped cream. I’m typically a huge advocate of homemade whipped cream, but it gets runnier than Cool Whip and makes the pretzel crust go soft much faster.
Love jello salads? You know you do. So do I.
- Layered Rainbow Jello
- Cottage Cheese Jello Salad
- Orange Jello Salad with Pudding Whipped Cream
- Coca-Cola Jello Salad
- Cranberry Jello Salad with Cream Cheese Topping
- Lemon Pineapple Jell0 with Pineapple Whipped Cream Topping
- Triple Layer Vintage Christmas Jell0 Salad
- 2 1/2 cups pretzels
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 (8-ounce) container of Cool Whip, thawed
- 2 (3-ounce) boxes raspberry jello
- 2 cups water
- 1 (12-ounce) package frozen raspberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place pretzels in a large ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin. Transfer to a bowl and add sugar and melted butter, stirring to combine. Press into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and cool completely.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Fold in the Cool Whip with a spatula, then spread over the pretzel crust in an even layer, taking care to press all the way to the edges of the pan to create a seal that will prevent the jello layer from seeping through. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- While the middle layer chills in the fridge, microwave the water for 3-5 minutes, until boiling, then stir jello into the hot water until dissolved. Add frozen raspberries and stir.
- Once the cream cheese layer has chilled and the jello has cooled, gently pour the raspberry jello mixture over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until the jello is completely set, around 2 to 3 hours.
- Slice into squares and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 197Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 208mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 19gProtein: 2g
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.