Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad – The perfect side dish to your meal, this raspberry pretzel jello salad will have you coming back for more! You might even skip dessert. *wink*

Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad - The perfect side dish to your meal, this raspberry pretzel jello salad will have you coming back for more!   You might even skip dessert.  *wink*

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When I was a junior in college, a friend invited a group of us over to his parents’ house for dinner and a movie.  This was awesome for many reasons, but the best being that his parents were providing all the food.  (When you’re a poor college student, home cooked meals are like gold.)

When it came time to eat, we formed a line and starting filling up our plates.  I came across a dish that looked like a layered-jello salad but it had pretzels in it.  Um…what?  My friend, whose parents’ house it was, saw me looking at it and said with a smile “Just try it.  It’s amazing!”

I took his word for it and scooped a medium sized portion onto my plate.  I sat down at the table and took a tentative bite and…oh my heavens!  It was seriously one of the best first bites of anything I’ve ever had in my life!  The pretzels provided a little texture and saltiness while the jello and fruit added sweetness and the middle layer of cream cheese provided a lighter texture to balance everything out.  Needless to say, I went back for seconds…and thirds.

A few days later, I was still thinking about how good it was so I asked my friend for his mom’s number so I could call her for the recipe.  After a slightly awkward introduction on my part, she was kind enough to pull the recipe out and read it to me over the phone while I happily wrote it down on a spare piece of paper.

Since then, I’ve made raspberry pretzel jello salad any time I want to add a little “wow” factor to a lunch or dinner I’m invited to.  Some people have the same reaction I did when I saw it the first time.  Others know what it is and scoop themselves a heaping portion.  But without fail, the dish is all but licked clean (not literally, thank goodness) by the end of the gathering and I have people asking for the recipe.

Before we get started, I’ve answered a few questions about the recipe. However, please leave additional questions below and I will be happy to answer them!

Can I use fresh raspberries instead of frozen?

No, I would not suggest using fresh raspberries. Frozen raspberries will hold up better in the jello, while fresh raspberries may become mushy. However, you are welcome to freeze your fresh raspberries and then use them!

How far ahead should I plan to make this jello salad?

While not a complicated recipe, it does take a little time to prepare. This is mostly due to the time it needs to cool/set in the refrigerator.  I always try make it the night before the event to ensure it sets properly. However, I have made it the morning of for an evening event and as long as it had about 8 hours in the fridge, it turned out fine.

Is there a way to make this dairy free?

Yes! To make this raspberry pretzel jello salad dairy free, simply substitute the butter and cream cheese for your preferred brand.

My jello set before I added the fruit! What can I do?

Life happens and you may not get to the jello before it starts to set in the fridge. Simply place it in the microwave for 5-10 second increments, stirring gently until it has melted down to its liquid form. You don’t want it to get hot again because then you’ll have to put it back in the fridge to cool again before you can add the fruit.

How to Make Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad

First, melt the butter and the break the stick pretzels in half, spreading them in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  This creates a “base” for the rest of the jello to sit on.  Pat them down using your fingers or a spatula until it is mostly covered and there aren’t any pretzels sitting on top of each other.  Then you stick it in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  The pretzels will have absorbed the butter and this will help soften them up.  Put the pan in the fridge to cool, about 30 minutes.

Next, mix together the cream cheese, whipped topping and sugar in a medium bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer.  Mix until the ingredients are well incorporated, especially the cream cheese.  (As good as this stuff is, no one likes biting into a chunk of cream cheese.)

Once the pretzels are cool, spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the pretzels.  Do your best not to disturb the pretzels.   It’s important that you get the cream cheese layer all the way to the edge . This creates a seal so the jello/fruit don’t leak down to the pretzel layer. Put it back in the fridge for 1 hour.

*PRO TIP* Use a cookie scoop with a lever to distribute the cream cheese mixture. This will minimize the amount of spreading that needs to be done.

Meanwhile, pour 2 cups of boiling water into the jello and stir until dissolved. Do NOT add cold water.  Put the jello in the fridge to cool.  When cool, pour in raspberries and pineapple, then stir.  Pour the jello/fruit mixture over the cream cheese mixture.  Keep in the fridge overnight and keep chilled until ready to serve. Use a butter knife or metal serving spatula to cut into pieces.

Store leftovers (if you happen to have any) in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad

This surprising combination of sweet and salty is the perfect side dish and will have you coming back for more!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings 20 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 c stick pretzels, broken in half break first, then measure
  • 1 8-oz container whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 1 6-oz pkg raspberry jello
  • 2 c. hot water
  • 1 20-oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1 12-oz bag frozen (not fresh) raspberries

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Melt butter in the microwave.  Pour into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Break pretzels in half and cover bottom of pan.  Place in the oven for 10 minutes.  To cool, place in the fridge.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, whipped topping and sugar until well blended.  Use a cookie scoop to distribute cream cheese mixture on top of the pretzels. Spread pretzels using a rubber spatula or off-set spatual.  Put in fridge for 1 hour to cool.
  • Boil 2 cups of water and add to jello until dissolved.  Do NOT add cold water.  Put jello in fridge to cool.
  • When jello is cool, pour in raspberries and pineapple, then stir.  Pour over cream cheese mixture.  Keep refrigerated overnight.
  • Chill until ready to serve.
  • Store leftover in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad - The perfect side dish to your meal, this raspberry pretzel jello salad will have you coming back for more!   You might even skip dessert.  *wink*
Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad - The perfect side dish to your meal, this raspberry pretzel jello salad will have you coming back for more!   You might even skip dessert.  *wink*

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