Strawberry Pretzel Surprise Dessert

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Baking Time

10 minutes




  • 8 ozPretzels
  • 6 TbspButter, melted
  • 4 TbspSugar
  • 8 ozCream Cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ C Sugar
  • 8 ozWhipped Topping
  • 1 TbspVanilla Bean Paste
  • 6 ozStrawberry Gelatin (I used Jell-O)
  • 1½ CBoiling Water
  • 1½ CIce Water
  • 2 LbsStrawberries, hulled and diced
  • 4 ozBlueberries
  • 8 ozCanned Crushed Pineapple, drained


Crust Layer

In a food processor, pulse the pretzels and sugar together until a very coarse chop. Add the melted butter and pulse until a coarse grind. Press firmly into a parchment lined and greased 9” x 13” x 2” tall baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes to set the crust. Allow to cool completely to room temp before adding the cream cheese layer.

Cream Cheese Layer

For the Whipped Topping I used the non-dairy Bettercreamthat we sell here. I whipped that separately to stiff peaks, added the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla bean paste and mixed until fully incorporated. You can also use Cool Whip style whipped topping and just whip to combine the topping, sugar, cream cheese and vanilla. Spread into an even layer on the cooled pretzel crust being sure the filling goes all ofthe way to the edges.

Fruit Gelatin Layer

Combine gelatin and boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add ice water and stir. Mix in the fruit when the gelatin is no longer warm to the touch. Tip -if you have your fruit cold from the refrigerator, it will speed-up the setting time of the gelatin. Pour the gelatin mixture over the top of the cream cheese layer and even out the fruit.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight to set. Cut into pieces, serve and enjoy. Can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

This is one of those recipes that you can find variations of in probably every church cookbook, grandma’s recipe file as well as now on the Internet. There is good reason for that –because it is a really fun and delicious classic-style dessert. I remembered this dessert (probably from some pot-luck event in my past) and I made it again just to see if it was as good as I remembered -and it was! I love the crunchy, salty crust from the pretzels and the sweet luscious cream cheese layer. Then it is topped with a fruit filled gelatin mixture. I hope you enjoy this old-school classic that is perfect for a salty sweet summertime dessert!