Recipe: Jell-O Pretzel Salad

My mom got this recipe from a friend who got it from a friend, and she’s been incorporating it into our family’s holiday menu since my childhood. Even though Jell-O is typically outside my food-consumption boundaries, I look forward to this holiday deliciousness every year! 

Mom always dubbed it a pretzel salad, but I think of it as a layered berry dessert that somehow qualifies to be served with the regular meal course. We follow up with a traditional dessert. 

The pretzel salad has stood the test of time in our family, and we’re now solidifying yummy memories of it in the next generation. Leftovers make a great breakfast the next day, too!

Jell-O Pretzel Salad

This salad is built in layers and is a bit time consuming to put together, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Layer 1: The Crust

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2 cups pretzels, crushed 

¼ cup granulated sugar

1½ sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

Spray a 13 x 9 glass baking dish with coconut oil so the crust won’t stick. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Using your hands, press the mixture into the base of the pan. Bake until crisp, 10-15 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Layer 2: The Cream

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1½ cups whipped cream (Mom used Cool Whip back in the day, but I recommend whipping your own heavy whipping cream or using Cocowhip, a coconut whipped-cream alternative.)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Spread onto the crust, about ½ inch thick. Place the pan in the refrigerator to cool.

Layer 3: The Jell-O

2 cups pineapple juice 

16 oz box of strawberry- or raspberry-flavored Jell-O

24 oz frozen mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)

Whipped cream to spread over the top

Bring the pineapple juice to a boil. Dissolve the Jell-O in the juice. Add the mixed berries. Pour over the cream layer, and put the pan back in the refrigerator to cool, preferably overnight.

Spread a layer of whipped cream on top right before serving to finish off this delicious, sweet holiday treat!