Strawberry pretzel salad: This famous jello recipe from the 70s has never gone out of style

Strawberry pretzel salad The classic recipe (1975)

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The classic strawberry pretzel salad is one of the most iconic summertime salads. It’s a great way to use fresh strawberries that are abundant in the warmer seasons, and it’s layered with a pretzel crust to add some salty, crunchy texture.

In this day and age, it seems rather audacious to call any recipe with more than an entire cup of sugar in it a salad. But that’s just how they did things in the 20th century. (One could rationalize that it does at least also contain plenty of produce!)

Whether you serve this irresistible treat before or after the main course, this old-fashioned strawberry pretzel salad is bright & colorful, sweet & salty, easy to make & delicious to eat!

The prize-winning old-fashioned strawberry pretzel salad recipe (1975)

By Ann McDuffie, Food Editor – Tampa Tribune (Florida) March 13, 1975

Mrs. Merrill R. Stephan got the surprise of her life last Thursday when she was named grand prize winner of the Strawberry Recipe Contest that is a feature of Plant City’s annual Strawberry Festival.

The Tampan had entered the recipe only because her good friend, Mrs. Sam Wilson, had urged her to send in the unusual salad or dessert based on crushed pretzels combined with butter and brown sugar, then baked and spread with a cream cheese mixture before being topped with plump fresh strawberries bound together with strawberry gelatin.

Mrs. Stephan got her prize-winning recipe from her sister, Mrs. J. W. Pfleegor of Morton, Ill., and it made such a hit with members of her garden circle that they asked for it after she took the dish to one of their gatherings.

Strawberry pretzel salad The classic recipe (1975)
Photo by bhofack2/Envato

Mrs. Stephan said she changed her sister’s recipe a bit by reducing the quantity of pretzels specified, and by using fresh instead of frozen strawberries. But when fresh strawberries are out of season, she makes her prize-winning recipe with frozen berries.

The strawberry pretzel salad can be served as salad or dessert. However, the other judges and I prefer it as dessert.

Here is Mrs. Stephan’s recipe:

Strawberry pretzel salad The classic recipe (1975)

Strawberry pretzel salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes

Whether you serve it before or after the main course, this old-fashioned strawberry pretzel salad is bright & colorful, sweet & salty, easy to make & delicious to eat! Get the retro recipe right here.


  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1 large package strawberry gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups strawberries, chilled or frozen
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 small carton whipped topping


  1. Combine margarine, brown sugar and crushed pretzels (do not crush too fine - rounded pretzels work better than sticks). Mix well.
  2. Pat into lightly buttered 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes, then cool.
  3. Measure fresh strawberries after being hulled, or use a 1 pound package of frozen strawberries, slightly thawed.
  4. Dissolve strawberry gelatin in boiling water. Drop in chilled or frozen berries when slightly thickened. Cool until the mixture begins to set.
  5. Meanwhile, cream the cream cheese with white sugar; fold in whipped topping. Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust.
  6. When the gelatin mixture begins to set, pour it over the top of the cheese mixture.
  7. Refrigerate until firm, preferably overnight. Sprinkle crushed pretzels over the top (optional).
  8. Serve as dessert or salad.


Variation: Use raspberry gelatin instead of strawberry gelatin, and fresh or frozen raspberries instead of strawberries.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 258mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 3g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.


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