Real Girl's Kitchen: Mom's Strawberry Pretzel "Salad"Haylie Duff

I am very honest about my horendous baking skills. It’s bad! They are so bad that even though this is clearly a dessert, I’m still going to continue to call it a “salad” in an attempt to entice you to try it. I can’t even make the cookies that are straight out of the freezer without burning them. I blame it on the exact measurements and having to follow directions, neither of which are really my strong suit. That being said, this “salad” requires very little baking and no exact measurements!

As a kid in Texas, I only knew this dish as “church salad” because it was always present at church functions.  It’s easy, doesn’t require any fancy care afterwards and everyone loves it! I’m not even joking when I say everyone. If you don’t like this your not normal, and definitely not a Texan. It’s salty, sweet and jello! Who doesn’t like Jello?!

It should also be noted, this is my mother’s famous recipe. I would love to take the credit but it’s all Mama Duff’s.

Attn: Vegans, you can substitute! Don’t worry girls, you’re not left out of this one…

What you need:

2-3 cups of crushed pretzels (depending on how much your making)

3/4 cup of butter (melted in a small bowl)

Sugar (or Stevia, but it might taste different)

1  8oz cream cheese

1  8oz container Cool Whip

2 boxes of sugar-free jello (I used 1 strawberry and 1 cherry…it’s what I had!)

Fresh strawberries

1  8oz can crushed pineapple


How to:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Combine crushed pretzels, butter, 3 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl. Pat the mixture in to a greased baking dish.

Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

In a second bowl, combine cream cheese, cool whip, 1/3 cup of sugar. When pretzels are cool, spread a layer evenly across them. Place in refrigerator till cool or “set”


In a third bowl, combine 2 boxes of jello and 1   3/4 cups of boiling water. Stir to dissolve jello. Once completely cool, mix in pineapples and strawberries. Pour on top of the cream cheese filling.

Place back in fridge.  Now leave it alone! It will take a few hours for it to firm up.


I also made a homemade vanilla & lime whipped cream for a topping. You can find the recipe here!


xo HD

**RGK diet tip: The thinner you make the filling layer, the less fattening this dessert is…I didn’t do a great job of cutting calories with my example, but your jello should be the biggest portion!**



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  1. My family has this at every get together! it might look weird, but it is delicious!

  2. Yumm I’m excited to try this! I usually don’t like ‘stuff’ in my Jello either, but I’m going to live on the edge and give it a shot :)

  3. Pretzel Jello! My paternal Grandmother (RIP) was famous for making this at get-togethers, (and famous for the amount of vodka she could drink, and famous for the “Thank You For Not Breathing While I Smoke” sign she posted on her front door). Pretzel Jello was the white trash icon of the family. The one item my mother could use against my dad to verify that she had better genes than him….Regardless, it is delicious, and I have continued to carry on my Grandmother’s tradition (minus the vodka & cigarettes) and make this for family reunions…

  4. We call this dish “Jello Surprise” at my house. I ate so much one year I got sick. Now I can’t eat it anymore.

  5. oh wow, I love this stuff! I remember eating it as a kid, but could never find a recipe. Thanks so much!

  6. :) It’s refreshing to see this mentioned. I mention pretzel salad and most often no one knows what I’m talking about! (Unless I’m back in Pennsylvania.) I’ve never tried it with pineapple before. My favorite method is raspberry jello with raspberries. Yum!

  7. Props to MaKenzie Maxwell. This blog is refreshingly well-written.

  8. Looks pretty and yum-o! But any suggestions on a substitute for the Jello? Is there a vegetarian alternative to Jello?

  9. I just finished making it!

  10. I’m not a big fan of jello, but I really want to try it, and it looks really good too! Thanks for sharing!’

  11. I don’t usually prefer things in my jello…but I’m SO tempted to make this. It sounds great.
    Like a cheap cheesecake. :D

  12. My aunt used to make that for every family function and stopped a few years ago. I remind her that she “forgot” every time I see her.

  13. To those who have come here to leave a criticism–why? Of course she knows the difference between using “your” and “you’re”, but honest mistakes happen. When she publishes her first hardback book and you find mistakes there, then gripe because you paid for a book that’s @”flawed”. Here the recipes/tips are free and you show your gratitude with a complaint? What nerve. Haylie, you have a standing offer from me to help edit your first hardback–for free. Why? Because I am one of your grateful followers: @makelena Besides, your recipes are delish!

  14. “Who doesn’t like Jello?” I sure don’t, since it is made from the boiled bones, tissues, and intestines of animals. There is absolutely no reason to use Jello, since you can get gelatin made from seaweed and other substances.

  15. heck yes!!!

  16. Crazy, my mum calls it pretzel salad to0! We use the butter flavored pretzels to give it the an extra buttery taste!

  17. I got this recipe from Paula Deen! Yummy!

  18. I LOVE this! my mom used to make it all the time, I didn’t know anyone else had experienced it. favourite.

  19. This looks really good and I can’t wait to try it, but I have to ask you learn the difference between your and you’re if you’re going to continue blogging. I don’t say that to be rude, it’s really easy to learn and knowing the difference helps you get respect from other bloggers.

  20. This looks so yummy! Can’t wait to try it!