All the delicious flavors of classic strawberry pretzel salad, but in a fluff form—and served in a bowl (instead of a pan). It’s a simplified version of this dessert salad favorite.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad in a White Serving Bowl with a Sliced Fresh Strawberry and Sugared Pretzels on Top

If you love the classic strawberry jello pretzel salad like we do, you will love this fluff salad! This version has all the deliciousness of the ‘pan’ version, but it’s served in a bowl.

The recipe starts with a sweet cream cheese fluff ‘base’ and adds fresh strawberries and delicious sugared pretzel bits. Bonus: it comes together much quicker than the classic, which is why we tend to use it more often for holidays and family get-togethers.

Ingredient Notes

Here are the simple ingredients you’ll need for this strawberry salad (pictured below). Read on below for a few extra notes.

Strawberries, Pretzels, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cream Cheese, Sugar, Vanilla, and Cool Whip in Bowls on Marble Surface

Strawberries: this recipe (compared to the classic) uses fresh strawberries (yum!) instead of frozen.

Cream cheese: make sure to soften the cream cheese (not to room temperature).

Pretzels: use original pretzels like sticks or twists—we tend to use Rold Gold twists.

Supplies

  • Small mixing bowl and spoon
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Medium mixing bowl and spoon
  • Rubber spatula
  • Hand-held electric mixer
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Serving bowl or dessert cups
Strawberry Pretzel Salad in a Dessert Bowl

Let’s Make This Easy Strawberry Salad

Follow these simple steps to make strawberry pretzel fluff.

1

Preheat Oven.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2

Crush Pretzels. Melt Butter.

Crush the pretzels. We like to add them to a ziplock bag and use a cup or bowl to crush them. It makes cleanup easy. Melt the butter for step 3.

Crushing Pretzels in a Bag

3

Add Brown Sugar and Butter.

Add the crushed pretzels to a small bowl. Then add the brown sugar and melted butter. Mix well.

Adding Sugar and Butter to Pretzel Mixture in Glass Bowl

4

Bake pretzel mix for 7 minutes.

Spread the pretzel mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven for 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely. (To speed up the cooling time, you can set them in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.)

Spreading the Pretzel Mixture on Baking Sheet Lined with Parchment Paper

5

Slice Strawberries.

While the pretzel mix is baking, slice the strawberries into bite-sized pieces. (Set a few aside for garnish, if you’d like.) Chill in the fridge until right before serving.

Slicing Strawberries on a Grey Cutting Board

6

Break apart pretzels.

Once the pretzels have cooled completely, break them apart into small pieces with your hands or a spoon.

Breaking Up Pretzel Mix with a Spoon on Baking Sheet

7

Make Cream cheese Mixture.

In a medium-sized bowl, add the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla flavoring. Mix with an electric hand mixer until blended and creamy. Then, gently fold in the Cool Whip. Chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve the salad.

Mixing Together Cream Cheese, Sugar, Vanilla, and Cool Whip in Glass Bowl
Folding in Cool Whip to Cream Cheese Mixture in Glass Bowl

8

Add Strawberries and pretzels.

Right before you are ready to serve, add the sliced strawberries and pretzel pieces. (Reserve some for garnishing, if you’d like—see step 9.) Gently stir together until well distributed.

Adding Strawberries and Sugared Pretzels to the Salad

9

Garnish and serve.

Serve as is, or if you’d like to get a bit fancy, add a fresh sliced strawberry and pretzels or some sugared pretzel pieces.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad in a Bowl Finished
Strawberry Pretzel Salad in a Bowl Garnished with a Fresh Strawberry and Pretzels

More About This Recipe

  • We’ve made the classic version of this salad forever. (Pretzel crust, sweet cream cheese filling, and a strawberry jello layer on top.) It’s so delicious and has always been a family favorite. This ‘fluff’ version is so similar and perfect for when you want something a little quicker to throw together.
  • This recipe makes a small batch, enough for a smaller gathering, serving about 8 to 10 people. We recommend doubling (or more) the recipe for larger gatherings.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad in a Bowl Closeup

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about making this dessert salad.

What can I substitute for fresh strawberries in this recipe?

You can experiment with other fresh fruits like raspberries, blackberries, or peaches, but strawberries are our favorite.

How long can I store leftovers of this salad?

You can store leftovers in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Keep in mind that the pretzels will soften over time, but it will still taste delicious.

Can I add nuts to this recipe?

Yes, you can add chopped nuts to the pretzel mixture before baking. Pecans or walnuts work well; try adding about 1/2 cup of chopped nuts.

More Dessert Salad Recipes

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Strawberry Pretzel Salad in a White Serving Bowl with a Sliced Fresh Strawberry and Sugared Pretzels on Top

Strawberry Pretzel Salad in a Bowl

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All the delicious flavors of the classic strawberry pretzel salad, in a fluff form and served in a bowl. A quick and easy way to make this dessert salad favorite.

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup pretzels, crushed
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups Cool Whip (8 oz)
  • 3 cups strawberries, diced (1 lb)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Crush the pretzels and melt the butter.
  3. Mix crushed pretzels, brown sugar, and melted butter.
  4. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 7 minutes. Cool and break into small pieces. Set aside.
  6. Slice strawberries into bite-sized pieces. Place in the fridge.
  7. Blend softened cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla.
  8. Fold in the Cool Whip.
  9. Chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
  10. Before serving, add the strawberries and sugared pretzels (reserve some for garnish if you’d like).
  11. Garnish with a sliced fresh strawberry and pretzels.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Storage: if you have leftovers (highly unlikely!), you can store this salad in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. The pretzels will soften, but it still tastes yummy.
  • Fruits: feel free to try other fresh fruits like raspberries, blackberries, and peaches. Although strawberries will always be our favorite.
  • Nuts: you can add chopped nuts to the pretzel mixture before baking. Try 1/2 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.
  • Author: Kelsey Restemayer
  • Prep Time: 23 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 350
  • Sugar: 33.1 g
  • Sodium: 182.7 mg
  • Fat: 20.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40.6 g
  • Protein: 3.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 47.8 mg
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