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Cream Cheese Strawberry Pretzel Dessert (oh yum!!)


I’m not sure when I tasted this dessert for the first time.  Maybe college?  But I’ve loved it ever since.  But I haven’t had it in a while.  A very long while.  And that’s because this whole Celiac/gluten free thing takes away my most favorite things.  Urrrgh. ;)  And the most important ingredient in this delicious little dessert, is the pretzels (aka: full of gluten)…….so I haven’t had it in a while.  And yes, there have been gluten free pretzels on the market for a while but well, let me put it nicely, they weren’t my favorite.


However {{{{cue angels singing}}}}, my cousin (who is also gluten free……yes, we have a lot of bad Celiac genes in our family! ;) ) told me that the Snyder’s Pretzel brand came out with a gluten free variety!  Hooray!  And guess what?  I found some at Whole Foods and they actually taste like real pretzels.  They are the best by far.  Thanks Whitney! 




Anyway, one of the very first things that I thought of after trying these pretzels, was that I could make this yummy crunchy strawberry cream cheese-y pretzel dessert.  I know, I have issues!  So I looked online and found one that was similar to what I remembered, made a few adjustments, and then made a whole pan of this Creamy Strawberry Pretzel Dessert.  Oh yes, it blew my socks right off.  Just like it used to! :)



And nothing beats using fresh summer strawberries. (However, you can use frozen too.)



My little ones gobbled and gobbled and gobbled it up.  Connor kept asking for more Strawberry Cake.  Whatever you call it, it’s delicious! :)




  There’s something about the sweet juicy strawberries and the salty crunch of the pretzels that really does a number on your taste buds. (I guess the sweet cream cheese filling doesn’t hurt either!)




I intended on making this for the 4th.  But plans changed, we traveled last minute, and this had to wait until the weekend. 


And yum, every bite tastes like summer!



Wanna bite?


First of all, this recipe works with regular ‘ol gluten FULL pretzels too.  Not just gluten FREE. ;)


I found these pretzels at Whole Foods.  My sister found them at Kind Soopers and my cousin found them at WalMart.  So, be on the lookout if need some gluten free pretzels.  (And yes, there are other brands of gluten free pretzels….but none taste this good.  And no, this isn’t a sponsored post.  I really just love them THIS much!)


They even have sticks too.  Cool.



Full recipe is written out below.


First, mix 2 cups of boiling water and 1 package (6 ounce) strawberry flavor gelatin.  Stir until dissolved. 


Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  Then begin working on the next steps.


Next, crush an 8 ounce bag of pretzels (or crumble in food processor) and mix that with 5 tablespoons of sugar and 3/4 cup of melted butter.  Mix well and spread mixture into a 9 x 13 pan.  Press into bottom.  Bake at 400 (F) for 7-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.


I like to leave big chunks of pretzels mixed with smaller bits.  I love a good hearty pretzel bite!  But you can keep crushing the pretzels to make a finer crust.


Allow the crust to cool completely.


While that’s cooling, place 8 ounces of cream cheese (room temperature) and 1 cup of granulated sugar.  Mix completely.  Add 3 cups of whipped topping (I used cool whip) and mix that in.  Poor over cooled crust.


Spread around, until an even layer covers the crust.  Place pan in the fridge while you work on the next step.


Next, slice fresh strawberries (frozen can be used as well).


Add 3 cups of sliced strawberries to your room temperature gelatin.  Mix together.  Place in fridge to allow gelatin to thicken just a bit.


Pour mixture over cream layer.  Distribute strawberries evenly.


Place the entire pan into the fridge until the gelatin layer is completely firm.


Then beat about 2 cups of heavy whipping cream in a mixer until soft peaks form.  Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time to sweeten up your whipped cream, adding more sugar if desired.  Add a dollop of whipped cream to top of each serving of dessert.  (Or whipped topping can be used as well.)



Serve and enjoy. 


And then serve another piece.  Because your guests will want more! :)





Creamy Strawberry Pretzel Dessert


(adapted from this recipe)


  • 8 ounce bag of crushed pretzels
  • 5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 package (6 ounce) strawberry flavor gelatin
  • 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cup whipped topping
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (optional)
  • 1/2-1 cup powdered sugar (optional)



Preheat oven to 400 F.


Crush pretzels with a rolling pin or food processor. Combine crushed pretzels with 5 tablespoons sugar and melted butter. Press pretzel mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan to form a crust. Bake 7 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely.  While the crust is cooling, combine 2 cups boiling water with gelatin in a bowl. Stir until dissolved and let cool to room temperature. Set aside.  Using a mixer, beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and whipped topping, until combined. Spread evenly over cooled crust.  Place in fridge until needed.  Add strawberries to cooled gelatin and place in fridge to let it thicken slightly.  Then spread strawberries and gelatin over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until firm.


Whip the heavy whipping cream in  mixer until soft peaks form.  Add a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at first, then stop there or add more to taste.  Mix again. 


Cut into squares, add dollop of whipped cream on top, and serve.


**I used “whipped topping” in the filling mixture because it tends to hold its shape better.  However, homemade whipped cream can be substituted.





Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Carol says:

    Searched forever for this recipe! Bought a bag of unsalted pretzels by mistake and while we won’t eat them I’m not throwing them out. Decided to make the strawberry pretzel salad but could not find my recipe and all the recipes I found used frozen berries, which we don’t really care for. But then I came upon your recipe and its in the refrig as we speak! Thank you

  2. Amy Appell says:

    So glad you can get gluten-free pretzels now! I was drooling over this post as my Mom always made this when we were kids and it is one of my all-time favorites. But I now live in a third-world country that does not know about the joys of pretzels yet, so I cannot make this delicious delight (I found a similar recipe with a graham cracker crust, so that will have to suffice for the time being), so please enjoy some of yours for me! God bless!

  3. Simplex says:

    I just love your Strawberry Pretzel Salad, I am really happy to get this recipe! Hope you have a great holiday week end and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!

  4. Lin says:

    I want to make this. Can you swap out the cool whip for stabilized whipped cream? :)

  5. Blink says:

    I just made this today and it is wonderful and very cool on a hot day

  6. Eloisa says:

    Hello so i have a quetion do i mix cool whip and the cream cheede to gother and add sugar

  7. Laura says:

    Thanks for a simple easy recipe! I’m going to try with some softened vanilla ice cream for the whipped topping layer because I like to avoid hydro-oils and because…I love ice cream!!! It’s strawberry season in FL and I’m looking for quick easy ways to enjoy our fresh berries before they turn. Thanks!!

  8. Sarah says:

    Ashley, I love your blog and all of your great crafting ideas and sewing projects! Your recipes look pretty tasty too :) I’m going to have to try this delicious strawberry dessert! We are gluten free in our house so my family would be quite happy if mommy made this :)

    I actually have a gluten free baking blog now and it’s filled with yummy gluten free treats! You can check it out at…

    Have a super day!

  9. rebecca borne says:

    changed it up a little …… mixed strawberries, gelatin in with whipped creme and philly chese … had leftover filling …. made desert cups and added pecans on top of pie and desert cups …. family loved it

  10. Kris Lee says:

    So, I also made a table doing the same basic thing. I used an old shower door I had removed for the table top. It is awesome and just the right height, doesn’t scratch, and is easy to clean.

  11. TamiS says:

    I love this so much, my Grandmother would make this for me for my birthday instead of the traditional cake. Picture this with candles sticking out the top. HA! THEN, I became gluten intolerant so I didn’t get to eat it for years. Then, like you, I found the GF Pretzels (at Kroger) and went searching for this recipe. I’m headed to the store now to get the ingredients and cannot wait to eat the whole pan myself! LOL Thanks for sharing!

  12. Jenn-O says:

    My neighbor made this the other day and gave us some and it was so yummy! Can’t wait to make it!

  13. Camille says:

    We call this Pretzel Salad at my house!! Sounds a lot healthier, which justifies my eating a WHOLE pan (no lie) on Christmas one year. Awesome.

  14. Shayla says:

    I’ve had a similar version that uses raspberries. It’s one of those things that always goes first at a potluck. And, like Leslie commented above, every time I’ve seen this served, it’s been as a side-dish. I think you’re right to call it a dessert, but here in Utah, it seems anything with Jello is a “salad” and not a dessert. :)

  15. Caryn says:

    OH man this totally reminded me of your love of pretzels dipped in ranch dressing!!! Do you remember when we used to always eat those!? Ha. I sometimes crave that still!

  16. Jackie says:

    2 things:
    We call this Strawberry Pretzel Salad. My grandma made it for us for picnics and such. Now I’m expected to make it for my husband’s family 4th of July picnic. It is soo sooo yummy :)
    A tip for slicing strawberries – use an egg slicer :) Saves time and makes them all pretty much uniform

  17. Jen says:

    I had this at my sisters friends house 2 yrs ago, it was so good. I have never seen it before, and I thought it was odd at first. But the sugar and salt combo is so good!

  18. Robin says:

    I make this dessert but add crushed pineapple to the whipped cream part.

  19. Jennifer says:

    Have I told you I LOVE you today?! Just when I think you can’t be any more fabulous, you go and throw up another link to make my life easier! KamSnaps will be getting an order very soon! Please, please, please keep passing these gems along. If not for you I wouldn’t be Picking Plums and all sorts of other things I never knew existed! You have saved my sanity a thousand times over!

    *kisses you sloppily all over the face*


  20. Robin @ says:

    that looks delish! :D

  21. Kristen says:

    Hi Ashley, what a FUN blog! Love all you have. Great photography too. I “liked” you on FB and added your button to my Blog. Hope you will go there and check it out and “follow” me:
    Can’t wait to make that dessert!

  22. Robin says:

    Amazing!someone always brings this to our family events but I have NEVER seen what it looks like before it is 90% devoured. So it’s got pretty layers, hmm? Tastes good even when it’s 90% destroyed, too!

  23. Kirbie says:

    I love KamSnaps…I ordered all of my snaps for my cloth diapering from them! Dessert looks tasty too!

  24. Meg Nelson says:

    Just had to say three things –

    1. Thank you for calling it a dessert – here in Minnesota they ALL call it a salad. What the heck?? It is a dessert!!
    2. I have also had this with raspberries and raspberry jello
    3. My original recipe calls for butter flavor pretzels – it’s good with those as well as regular pretzels.

    Enjoy your blog – thank you!

  25. kris says:

    going to search for these pretzels next shopping trip. My gluten free SIL will be visiting. Trouble with that is he will think cuz it is gluten free it is all his. He hid the brownies I made for him last time. I wondered where they were cuz I had not tried them and the pan was empty. I found out later he packed them up and took them home LOL

  26. TAmmy says:

    That looks so good! And simple. I will be trying this very soon.

  27. Jennifer Williams says:

    We eat this every year at our Family Christmas. It has been the dish my mom brings for as long as I can remember. Funny, I never think to make it in the summer. Sooo yummy!!

  28. Jessica says:

    We had this for the 4th! Everyone loves it!

  29. says:

    So ahppy to have all the ingredients to make this tonight!

  30. leslie says:

    love this dish! it’s at all of our family gatherings- served as a SIDE DISH! :) As my husband says “only in the south would something that sweet be considered a side dish!!”

    1. Anonymous says:

      I’m from TX & we serve it as a side dish too. My Grandma makes 2 layers of Jello -one has pineapple & one has strawberries & chopped pecans. I don’t know if hers has cream cheese or sour cream in the middle. I’m going to try to make this with way less sugar.

  31. Kathy says:

    My gluten-free tummy thanks you for this recipe… :D

  32. Beth says:

    That’s a favorite dessert at our house. I think it’s one of the reasons why my husband married me!

  33. Jodi says:

    Yummy!! I’d forgotten about this yummy dessert. Thanks for the reminder.

  34. Christine says:

    that’s not fair! strawberry season almost ended in Italy!!!!

    1. Stephanie says:

      When strawberries are not in season here, I use canned pineapple (crushed or bite sized – drained) instead of strawberries. I love it this way just as good. I’m not fond of using frozen strawberries – they are too mushy for me.

    2. Meg Nelson says:

      You can use frozen strawberries – maybe just use a little less water when making the jello.

  35. Kelsey says:

    This dessert is so yummy!! It is such a great summer treat. I might just have to whip up a batch :)

  36. Larissa says:

    Help! I am a pregnant European reader and I really need to make and consume this tonight!!

    Strawberry flavoured gelatin – Can I used Strawberry jelly crystals? (Jelo, Jello mix)
    Whipped topping – Can I use normal whipped cream or is this something different?

    Oh this just looks heavenly to my hot, tired week 36 pregnant body!

    1. Claire Harper says:

      From what I know about this dessert, I think strawberry jelly crystals will do the same trick (the goal is just for the final product to end up like jello) and “whipped topping” refers to a type of cream that’s already whipped and is much more firm than the cream that you spray out of a can, usually it comes in a tub. But I bet if you beat/whipped some whipped cream long enough until it’s very stiff it could work – you’d just have to make sure it stays cold or it will become kind of runny.

    2. Erin says:

      Hi, Larissa, Jell-O is gelatin; any kind of gelatin (in the box, or even use plain gelatin packets and substitute juice for the water) would work. And whipped topping is a non-dairy frozen topping we have in the U.S.; it’s made of sugar and hydrogenated oil, which stays solid and fluffy when frozen. You can definitely use heavy whipping cream and just whip it until it is stiff (add a sweetener like white sugar–we call it granulated sugar–or agave syrup, powdered sugar, honey, etc.). Good luck! Four weeks to go!

    3. Ashley says:

      Hi Larissa! Looks like Claire and Erin have helped, thanks guys! I forget that we don’t all have the same grocery items. But best of luck………your little baby belly will LOVE this dessert! In fact, I have leftovers and think I need another piece RIGHT NOW!!! :)

      Best of luck with your 4 weeks left! :)


    4. Larissa says:

      Thanks guys!
      I have just woken up and the first thing i thought of was to check and see if I got a reply! Heading to the store now to get ingredients.
      Baby needs a strawberry cake!


    5. Anonymous says:

      I had this recently without the gelatin and mixed the strawberries sliced into the whip cream and whip cream mixture it was great.

  37. Aubrey says:

    I love this dish! In fact, I made this just last week and, as always, brought home just the pan. :) So good!

  38. Lindsey says:

    We absolutely LOVE this dessert. It’s one of our summer favorites.

  39. Olga says:

    Simplemente Delicioso!

  40. i love this! says:

    Yummy! im soo going to try this one day, everything seems twice as tasty in the summer!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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