Cheesecake salad puts a creamy twist on the classic strawberry pretzel salad that is divine. Whip up a batch for an easy dessert in just 20 minutes!
Fresh berries and candied pretzel pieces are combined with a rich and fluffy concoction made with pudding and jello mixes.
The flavors dance over your tongue, creating an incredible dessert that you’ll want to make again and again.
Strawberry Cheesecake Salad
If you’re a long time reader, you know that this strawberry pretzel salad is not the first of its kind.
- Soften the cream cheese. If you try to use it straight out of the refrigerator, you’ll end up with a lumpy mess. Pull it out and let it sit on the counter while you work on the pretzels and it should be ready to go when you need it.
- Use more fruit. Since this is very rich as written, you can increase the amount of berries if you would like. I used about 2 pounds total, so I would suggest using about 3 pounds of strawberries to mellow it out.
- Too thick? You can use a combination of 1 cup heavy cream and ½ cup milk instead of all heavy cream for a thinner, silkier consistency. If it’s already mixed, add a splash of milk to loosen it up.
- Add the pretzels last. While they will stay crunchy for a while, they can start to discolor the surrounding cheesecake mixture. If you won’t be enjoying this right away, stir in the pretzels just before serving.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Baking Sheet lined with parchment paper to make the candied pretzels
- Stand mixer or large mixing bowl with hand mixer
- Mixing Bowls – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
- Silicone Spatula – Sturdy enough to mix the strawberry pretzel salad thoroughly but gently.
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Strawberry Cheesecake Salad FAQ
Can I make strawberry cheesecake salad ahead of time?
If you will be preparing this in advance, make the cream cheese mixture but leave out the jello. Store the mixture in a sealed container in the refrigerator, then chop up the berries and place those in a separate container.
You can also candy the pretzels and keep those in a ziploc bag so they don’t get stale.
When you’re ready to serve, beat the jello mix into the creamy mixture until light and fluffy. Then, drain any excess juice off the berries and fold them in along with the pretzels.
How long does this last in the refrigerator?
When kept covered in plastic or in an airtight container, it should keep for up to 3 days.
Keep in mind that the crunchy bits will start to soften over time, so you may want to leave those out and stir in a few each time you dish it up.
What’s a good serving size for this strawberry pretzel salad?
Because it’s extra rich and creamy, you don’t need much to satisfy your sweet tooth!
I would recommend about ½ cup per serving to start. You can always go back for seconds if you want.
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Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake Salad
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 1 1/2 cups lightly crushed pretzels
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 3.4 ounce package of instant cheesecake pudding mix, unprepared
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons strawberry jello mix, unprepared
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add brown sugar and butter, cut into pieces. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, until mixture is bubbling and sugar is dissolved into the butter. (this took 1 minute total in my microwave)
- Stir in vanilla extract. Add the pretzel pieces and stir until fully coated.
- Transfer the pretzel mixture to the prepared sheet pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Bake for 10 -12 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.
- Remove candied pretzels from the oven and stir to recoat pretzels with any of the sugar mixture that has spread onto the baking sheet. Allow pretzels to cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese until fluffy.
- Add the cheesecake pudding mixture and beat until fully combined (mixture will be chunky).
- With the mixer (or hand beater) running on low speed, slowly drizzle heavy cream into the cream cheese mixture. Beat well between the addition of small amounts (add only 1 tablespoon at a time).
- Add powdered sugar and strawberry jello and continue beating until fully combined. 11. Add fresh strawberries and candied pretzels to the mixture and stir to combine. 12. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published June 2021
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