A fantastic twist on the classic pretzel salad recipe
Amazing as a salad or dessert, this incredible Cherry Jell-O Pretzel Salad recipe 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 cherry jello salad is a must for any summer get-together. The perfect cherry pretzel salad recipe!
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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!
What do I need to make cherry pretzel salad?
- Pretzels – mini pretzel twists work well, however, you can also use small pretzel sticks or larger pretzel twists.
- Butter – the butter is used in making the pretzel crust.
- Granulated sugar – also used in making the crust.
- Cream cheese – regular or Neufchatel cream cheese works well. Be sure to let your cream cheese soften to room temperature before starting the recipe.
- Whipped Topping (like Cool Whip) – you can also use my Homemade Cool Whip recipe, which is a great option that uses real whipping cream
- Cherry Jell-O – you will need 2 smaller 3 oz. boxes or one larger 6 oz. box.
- Fresh cherries – if fresh cherries are out of season or unavailable, you can use a bag of frozen cherries from the frozen fruit section. A jar of maraschino cherries (with stems removed) could also be used.
For exact ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to the recipe card. Thanks!
How do I make pretzel salad?
Begin by making the pretzel crust. To make the crust, break the pretzels into small pieces. To the pretzel pieces, add the melted butter and sugar.
Mix to combine, then pour out the pretzel mixture into a 9×13″ pan. Evenly press into the bottom of the pan.
Bake the crust for about 10 minutes to get it to set. This is a step you don’t want to skip, as it helps the crust become firm, crunchy and a good base for the rest of the ingredients.
Making the cream cheese filling
Once the crust comes out of the oven and has cooled completely, top the crust with the cream cheese filling. The filling is made with the room temperature cream cheese, thawed Cool Whip and sugar.
To make the filling, use a hand or stand mixer to cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add in the thawed Cool whip and combine until fluffy and creamy.
Spread over the cooled crust making sure to seal it all the way to the edges of the pan. This is important, as you don’t want the top Jell-O layer to leak down to bottom, softening the crust.
Once evenly spread and sealed to the edges of the pan, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help the cream cheese filling firm up.
Adding the Cherry Jell-O Layer
Your last step is to add the cherry Jell-o to the top. While the crust/filling is 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 Jello mix in a large bowl, and let cool at room temperature.
While the Jell-o is cooling, begin slicing the 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. Jarred maraschino cherries can also be used.
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.
FAQ’s for making Jell-O Pretzel Salad:
The classic Jell-O pretzel salad is made with a pretzel crust (pretzels, butter and sugar), a cream cheese filling (cream cheese, Cool Whip and sugar) and a Jell-O topping made with Jell-O and fruit.
Add pretzels to a zip-loc bag. Using a rolling pin, crush the pretzels into small pieces. Pour the crushed pretzel pieces into a bowl, and mix together with melted butter and sugar. Pour pretzel mixture into a pan, and press evenly into the bottom of the pan forming a crust.
Pretzel salad will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days. It is best in the first 1-2 days after it has been made. After this, the pretzel crust will begin to soften and no longer be crisp.
If you loved this Cherry Jell-O Pretzel Salad, check out some of our other sweet side dish recipes:
- Peaches and Cream Pretzel Salad
- Strawberry Cheesecake Fluff Salad
- Lemon Oreo Fluff Salad
- Snickers Apple Salad
- Pistachio Fluff Recipe
- Cranberry Fluff Salad
- Healthy Broccoli Salad with Apples and Cherries
- Watermelon Cucumber Salad
- Cherry Milkshake
What can I serve this Cherry Jell-O salad with?
This Jell-O salad recipe is fantastic side-dish for any cookout, backyard BBQ or potluck. Here are some main dish recipes that this Jell-O salad would be perfect with:
- BBQ Bacon Burgers
- Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken
- BBQ Grilled Chicken Drumsticks
- Salsa Burgers
- Italian Grilled Chicken
- Brown Sugar Balsamic Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops
- Grilled Steak Kabobs
Here’s the easy recipe for this fantastic summer side dish:
- 2 c. pretzels, roughly crushed
- 1 stick (1/2 cup), butter, melted
- 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Cream Cheese Filling Layer:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 (8 oz.) container, Cool Whip, thawed
- 1 c. granulated sugar
Cherry Jell-o Topping:
- 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 want the jell-o liquid to leak to the bottom, making the crust 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, feel free to substitute frozen or maraschino cherries.
Leftover Storage: keep leftovers refrigerated. Salad will keep for up to 5 days refrigerated, although it is best 1-2 days after it is made. After this, the pretzel crust will begin to soften and no longer be crunchy. Store leftovers in the pan tightly covered with plastic wrap. You can also store individual squares in a resealable container with a tight fitting lid.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 156Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 135mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 14gProtein: 1g