Pomegranate Pretzel Salad is a layered jello dessert made of cream cheese, cool whip, a salty pretzel crust, and fresh pomegranate seeds bursting in flavor! This pretzel salad recipe is sweet, tart, and salty, perfect for a flavorful festive dessert!
Pretzel salad dessert is an easy jello recipe that you can make ahead and set in the fridge! For more gelatin recipes try out our Birds Milk Parfaits made in cups, or this Birds Milk Cake (Sour Cream Marshmallow cake) covered in chocolate.
What is Pretzel Salad?
Pretzel salad is a layered gelatin dessert, assembled over a crunchy pretzel crust, cheesecake filling, and fruit topping. The red strawberry pretzel salad is the most popular out of all mixes, but since pomegranates are in season, we added them to raspberry jello to make a tasty dessert! A jello pretzel salad can be made with almost any variation of fruit and jello mix! Its a sweet and savory dessert perfect for serving crowds! Check out our Holiday Cranberry variation down below!
Best Type of Pretzels to Use:
Pretzel sticks are the choice of pretzels to use for a pretzel crust. They are easy to measure out and crush easily using a rolling pin. Another variety of pretzels to use are the mini twists. To crush pretzels for pretzel salad, place them into a disposable freezer bag, and crush them using a rolling pin. You will need to coarsely crush the pretzels, don’t crush into powder because you’ll want that crunch from the coarse pieces.
Can You Make Pretzel Salad Ahead of Time?
Pretzel Jello Salad is perfect for making ahead! This recipe for pretzel salad has a no bake filling, however the pretzels do cook with melted butter for a super crispy crust before layering. Once the pretzels cool the jello salad can be assembled in a 13x9 baking dish or into individual cups. You can even make into cupcakes! Place into the fridge to set, and serve for parties!
Bakers Tip: fruit glazes and jello preserve the moisture and color of the fruits!
Pretzel Salad Ingredients:
The ingredients for pretzel salad are simple! This pretzel salad is very forgiving using fresh or frozen fruit! Here is everything you’ll need to make a pomegranate pretzel salad at home!
- Pretzels-crush salty pretzel sticks or tiny twists to a coarse crumb and bake in melted butter for a crunchy crust.
- Jello-any red, fruit flavored jello can be used, however we like the tart raspberry jello here. Always use boiling water per package instructions when using gelatin.
- Granulated sugar-is used for both the crust and cheesecake filling.
- Cream Cheese-should be softened when beating.
- Pomegranates-any fresh fruit can be set under the jello, but pomegranate seeds makes this pretzel salad burst with flavor! You’ll need a cup of seeds from one large pomegranate.
How To Make Pretzel Salad:
So how do you make pretzel salad? With a few easy steps, you can have a pretzel dessert salad ready and assembled days before a gathering! You’ll need a 13x9 dish to layer all ingredients. When assembling into cupcake liners or cups, break up the cooled crust to fit the individual servings.
- Prepare the jello by adding boiling water; cool.
- Melt the butter with sugar and add crushed pretzels.
- Press into a 13×9 baking dish and bake 10 minutes at 350°F. Cool completely.
- Beat cream cheese and sugar, then fold into the Cool Whip.
- Spread over cooled pretzel crust and seal the edges.
- Refrigerate 30 minutes to set.
- Spread out the pomegranate seeds over the cheese filling. Pour over jello and set in the fridge until firm (up to 4 hours.)
Storing Pretzel Salad:
A jello pretzel salad should be refrigerated after preparing so the gelatin sets. How long does pretzel salad last in the fridge? Leftovers can keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. To extend the storage time, prep the cheesecake over the crust and keep refrigerated for up to a week, or freeze. Prepare the jello and fruit a day before serving.
Substitute for Cool Whip?
The best substitute for cool whip is firmly whipped cream. Beat heavy whipping cream with 2/3 cups of granulated sugar until stiff peaks form (softer peaks will sog the crust too quickly.) The cheesecake filling may need to set longer in the fridge before topping with fruit and jello.
Pretzel Salad Origin?
Pretzel salad is an American Jello salad made of fruit and Jello. The popular sweet variations are made of strawberries and mandarins and remain popular in the Midwest.
Tips For Making Pretzel Salad:
- Do not use fresh or frozen pineapple, kiwi, ginger root, papaya, figs or guava. Gelatin will not set.
- Jello preserves the moisture and color of the fruits!
- Always dissolve the gelatin to properly set.
- To speed-set gelatin dissolve jello in 3/4 cup of boiling water, add ice to 1/2 cup cold water to make 1-1/4 cups. Stir into gelatin and remove any ice. You can also dissolve jello in half boiling water and then add half cold water to cool quickly.
- Use fresh or frozen berries or pomegranate seeds to make pretzel salad.
- Christmas Pretzel Salad is best made with red cranberries, strawberries, or pomegranate seeds.
- Do not freeze pretzel salad with the jello. The texture will not be the same and it can become a liquid mess. If you do wish to freeze this dessert, freeze the cheesecake filling over the pretzel crust only, then thaw and prepare the jello topping as directed.
- For party cups; assemble layers evenly into eight 9-oz party cups.
Pretzel Salad Variations:
A Pretzel Salad can be as festive as you’d like, adding sour cherries to cherry jello or orange and mandarine slices to orange jello are all ways to get creative! Here are other popular variations to this dessert:
- Raspberry Pretzel Dessert: add 12 oz of frozen raspberries to 6 oz of prepared raspberry jello.
- Strawberry Pretzel Salad: use one pound of fresh strawberries to 6 oz of strawberry jello. Without fresh strawberries? Make it with 12 oz of frozen strawberry slices!
- Cranberry: make a Thanksgiving treat by adding fresh cranberries to 6 oz of cranberry flavored gelatin. Cook 12 oz of fresh cranberries in 1 cup of water until they burst open (10 minutes.) Drain and cool. Proceed with the recipe.
- Blueberry: top cheesecake layer with 1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries, pour over 6 oz of prepared blueberry flavored Jello.
- Peach variation: peel and slice 2 peaches to make 2 cups. Use with 6 oz of peach flavored jello.
How To Make Pretzel Salad:
Pomegranate Pretzel Salad
- 1 13x9 baking dish
- 1 saucepan (to melt butter for pretzel crust)
- 4 oz salty pretzel sticks (2 1/2 cups before crushing)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick)
Cream Cheese Filling:
- 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
- 8 oz Cool Whip (thawed)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 oz Raspberry Jello
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup Pomegranate seeds
- Combine Jello with water and cool to room temperature.
- Crush pretzels.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter with 1/4 cup of sugar. Add pretzels to coat.
- Press pretzels into a 13x9 dish and bake for 10 minuets at 350°F. Cool.
- Beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar. Fold in the Cool Whip using a spatula.
- Spread over cooled crust and seal any edges. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Spread pomegranate seeds over the top.
- Pour jello over the fruit. Set in the fridge until firm (at least 4 hours.)