A fantastic twist on the classic pretzel salad recipe
Amazing as a salad or dessert, this incredible Cherry Jell-o Pretzel Salad is the ultimate side dish for any cookout, potluck or backyard barbecue! Made with a salty-sweet pretzel crust, a delicious cream cheese filling, and topped with fresh cherries, this jell-o salad recipe is a must for any summer get-together.
If you love salty-sweet foods, then you’re definitely in for a treat with this amazing pretzel salad recipe! Many call it a salad, as it is made with Jell-o, but it is certainly sweet enough to be considered a dessert. The strawberry version of this side is fantastic, but if you love fresh cherries, then THIS version is definitely for you. Perfect for a neighborhood cookout, pot-luck dinner for summertime block party, this fun side dish will be a hit with everyone!
Step 1: Make the Pretzel Crust
This fantastic summer side dish starts with a pretzel crust that is out-of-this-world! It’s as simple as crushing pretzels, adding melted butter and a few tablespoons of sugar, mixing to combine, and then patting in to the bottom of a 9×13″ pan. You’ll need to bake the crust for about 10 minutes to get it to set. This is a step you don’t want to skip, as this crust might be the most complimentary part of this salad!
Step 2: Top Crust with Cream Cheese Filling
Once the crust comes out of the oven and has cooled completely, you’ll top the crust with a creamy, delicious cream cheese filling. This filling is super-yummy, and is just three simple ingredients – cream cheese, granulated sugar, and thawed whipped topping. Simply use your hand or stand mixer to whip these together, and then spread over the top of your crust. Once you have this done, you’ll want to refrigerate this for about 30 minutes. This will help the creamy filling get set, and to also help act as a cool surface for the jell-o and cherries that will be added in the next step.
Step 3: Add the Cherry Jell-O Layer
Your last step is to add the cherry jello to the top. While the crust/filling is in the fridge chilling, begin boiling your water for the jell-o. The recipe calls for 2-3 oz. packages of cherry jell-o, or you can use a large 6 oz. package if its available. Pour the boiling water together with the jell-o mix in a large bowl, and let cool at room temperature. While the jell-o is cooling, begin slicing the fresh cherries. I sliced mine in half, which makes it easy to remove the pit. If cherries are out of season or unavailable, pick up some frozen cherries in the frozen food section. The work as a nice substitute.
Add your cherries to the jell-o and stir. Then, pour the cherry/jell-o mixture on the top of the cream cheese mixture and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until the jell-o is completely set.
Here’s a quick-reference shopping list of the ingredients you’ll need to make this fantastic pretzel salad recipe:
- Pretzels (mini pretzel twists work well)
- Granulated sugar
- Cream cheese
- Frozen Whipped Topping (like Cool Whip)
- Cherry Jell-O (2) 3 oz. boxes or (1) 6 oz. box
- Fresh cherries (or frozen if fresh is not available)
Here’s the easy recipe for this fantastic summer side dish:
- [b]Crust Layer:[/b]
- 2 c. pretzels, roughly crushed
- 1 stick (1/2 cup), butter, melted
- 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- [b]Cream Cheese Filling Layer:[/b]
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 (8 oz.) container, frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- [b]Cherry Jell-o Topping:[/b]
- 2 (3 oz.) pkgs., cherry Jell-o mix
- 2 c. boiling water
- 2 c. sliced and pitted fresh cherries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a 9x13" pan, add the pretzels, sugar and melted butter. Stir together to coat, and then evenly press into the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- While crust is baking, empty jell-o into a bowl, and add boiling water. Stir to disolve. Set jell-o aside to cool to room temperature.
- With a hand or stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Gradually add in the whipping topping and mix until completely combined. Spread mixture evenly over the cooled crust, making sure filling is sealed to the sides of the pan. (This is important, as you don't wait the jell-o liquid to leak to the bottom of the crust making it soggy.) Refrigerate crust and cream cheese mixture for 30 minutes to set.
- While crust and filling layers are chilling, slice and pit the fresh cherries and add to the cooled jell-o liquid. When the 30 minutes is up, pour the cherries & jell-o over the cream cheese layer, and chill for at least 1-2 hours or until jell-o is completely set.
- Garnish with whipped cream and additional pretzels, if desired. Slice into squares and enjoy!
*If fresh cherries are not available, substitute frozen cherries.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 286Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 150mgCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1g
The recipe is fantastic to make ahead for pot-lucks, parties, summer cookouts and back-yard barbecues. Enjoy your summer! ~Erin