This strawberry pretzel salad is crowd-pleasing and contains NO Jello! Featuring a buttery pretzel crust, creamy middle layer and delicious strawberry topping. The combination of sweet and salty is simply irresistible!

white pan full of a strawberry pretzel salad dessert, a square taken out

Bring this strawberry pretzel salad to your next potluck and watch it disappear! It’s one of my favorite desserts for summertime family gatherings.

Just like my strawberry pie, this dessert is made without Jello, unlike most recipes. Plan ahead because it needs time to chill in the refrigerator before serving. The good news? It’s a really easy dessert to make!

It calls for plenty of fresh strawberries, so make it during strawberry season if possible. You can also substitute another fruit, like raspberries or peaches.

What is strawberry pretzel salad?

It’s actually not a salad at all, but instead a delicious old fashioned layered dessert with a salty pretzel crust, cheesecake-like filling with cream cheese and cool whip, and strawberry topping (usually with Jello).

It’s still a staple potluck dessert in the South and for good reason: it’s pretty, incredible tasting, serves a crowd and can be made ahead of time.

grey plate with crumbly bottom layer, creamy middle and sweet strawberry topping dessert

How to make strawberry pretzel salad

Find the complete recipe with measurements and directions below.

  1. Crush the pretzels using a food processor, or place in a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  2. Mix with melted butter and sugar, then press evenly in a 9×13 inch casserole dish and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  3. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and frozen whipped topping together, then spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Place in the freezer for an hour.
  4. Make the strawberry sauce which consists of strawberries, sugar, water, cornstarch and lemon juice. Let it cool, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
collage showing crumbled pretzels, creamy mixture and strawberries in sauce

Pour the strawberry sauce over the cheesecake-like mixture and chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or overnight, until it’s set.

Can you make strawberry pretzel dessert ahead of time?

Yes, this is the perfect make-ahead dessert. It’s best when it’s had several hours in the refrigerator, so make it the night before if you’d like.

Can you freeze strawberry pretzel salad?

No, unfortunately it does not freeze very well so I would not recommend it.

How long does it last?

It will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

strawberries in sauce in a white pan with blue edge

Want more strawberry desserts?

fork taking a bite of strawberry pretzel salad dessert on grey plate
square image of strawberry dessert in pan
5 stars (5 ratings)

Strawberry Pretzel Salad (NO Jello!)

This strawberry pretzel salad is crowd-pleasing and contains NO Jello! Featuring a buttery pretzel crust, creamy middle layer and delicious strawberry topping.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 12 servings


Pretzel layer

  • 2 1/2 cups salted pretzels measured whole
  • 8 tablespoons butter I used Miyoko's vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Creamy middle layer

  • 8 ounce package cream cheese I used Tofutti vegan cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 9 ounces package frozen whipped topping I used So Delicious Coco Whip

Strawberry topping

  • 2 pints ripe strawberries about 4 cups whole
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Crush the pretzels. You can either pulse several times in a food processor or place them in a ziploc bag and use a rolling pin.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the 1/4 cup sugar. Stir until combined, then mix in the crushed pretzels. Press the pretzel crust evenly into a 9×13 inch casserole dish. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer with the whisk attachment), beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add the whipped topping last and beat until smooth.
  • Once the crust is completely cool, spread the creamy mixture over it, all the way to the edges, and place in the freezer for an hour.
  • Slice the strawberries. Place 3/4 cup of the strawberries into a medium saucepan. then stir in the sugar, water, cornstarch and lemon juice. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir well.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened a bit. Remove from heat. Let it cool to nearly room temperature, stirring every 10 minutes or so and slightly mashing the strawberries in it. This will take 20-30 minutes.
  • Stir the rest of the strawberries into the mixture, then pour and spread the mixture over the creamy layer. Chill in the refrigerator until the top layer is set, about 2 hours. Serve and enjoy!


  1. Gluten free – Use gluten free salted pretzels for the pretzel layer.
  2. It will keep for up tp 3 days in the refrigerator. It does not freeze well, unfortunately. 


Serving: 1of 12 servings | Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 357mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 403IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. Nora, you’ve done it again. I served this at a brunch I hosted and it was a hit.
    Thank you for writing recipes I can trust. I can tell you put a lot of effort into them and I am sure you test and tweek and retest to get the consistent wonderful results you share with your audience.
    Keep up the good work

    1. Hi Brenda. I so appreciate your uplifting feedback! I do put a lot of time, testing, and effort into creating my recipes. I am thrilled that you love my recipes! Thanks so much for your stellar review and feedback! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  2. THIS IS AMAZING. Such a unique, different dessert. It really is easy to make, just waiting for it in the fridge/freezer is the longest part. I’ll definitely be adding this to my go-to desserts. Thank you Nora!

  3. Would this work with no whipped topping or is there a recipe alternative for a whipped topping?

  4. DELICIOUS!! A little time consuming but so worth it. Everyone loved it and is now what they request I make to share.

    Has anyone tried this filling in anything else? Would it work as just a cheesecake?

  5. Just finished preparing this recipe and I’m sure it will be a crowd pleaser as mentioned!  
    I would like to know if you recommend covering the dish in the refrigerator?  I’m inclined to do so in order to keep the topping in a more spreadable texture when serving.
    Many thanks for your fabulous recipes!

    1. I can’t wait for you to try it, Claudie! The dish can be left uncovered while chilling, but if you don’t want the topping to be quite as firm or set, then feel free to only leave it in the fridge (covered) for only 1 hour.

  6. Perfection! Had never heard of this before but my sister had and so I made it for her wedding shower this weekend and it’s now my favorite salad 😉 so fresh and delicious! Will be making again and again.

    1. Alright! I’m so happy to hear you found a new recipe to love! How fun that you made it for your sister’s wedding shower! Congratulations to your family! Thanks for sharing your wonderful review and feedback! Happy cooking!

  7. My mom used to make this when I was growing up but I have never seen a vegan version! Thank you for all your recipes! They never disappoint!

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