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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Cherry Cheesecake Pretzel Salad

Layers of sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy all come together in this fun treat. Cherry cheesecake pretzel salad is perfect for potlucks, bbqs, holidays and more.

piece of layered jello salad on plate in front of pan of pretzel dessert

     This fun twist on the classic strawberry pretzel salad has the literal cherry on top! It has the perfect mix of flavors and textures. It's a great make ahead and easily portable treat that is perfect for so many occasions.  In fact, you might want to go ahead and make two!

      If you are like me, you grew up eating and loving pretzel salad. The layer of pretzel crust was the perfect base for a cream cheese filling and jello and fruit topping.

      It was a staple at spring and summer gatherings. It was known for disappearing quickly, so you had to get your piece early.

      I know some families serve it as a dessert, but my family always took the word salad in the title as an excuse to serve it as a side dish.

      Maybe it was just because we couldn't wait to dig in.  Most probably it was so we could still have a dessert as well!

cherry pretzel salad ingredients ready to assemble

      A couple of years ago I made a delicious orange creamsicle pretzel salad that was an instant hit. We are a sucker for all things orange and cream, so I wasn't surprised.

       This time I was inspired to put a new fruity spin on it. This the cherry pretzel salad was born!

      It's perfect really. It's a lot like a no bake cheesecake with cherry topping.

      But the salty pretzel base adds that extra layer of flavor.  It lights up so many taste receptors!

     Plus the addition of gelatin to the topping makes it set firmer. You can cut a slice and it will hold its shape.

      That way if you are like us and serve it as a side, you don't get cherry filling all over your other food! It just has so many things going for it.

       Of course it is a great make ahead dish.  In fact you have to make it at least a couple of hours in advance so it has plenty of time to set up.
       Feel free to make it a full day ahead if that works better for your schedule. It will be tasty for several days after that, but eventually the pretzel crust will start to get soft.

bite of cream cheese, cherry and pretzel treat on fork in front of piece on plate

Getting the filling perfectly creamy

       I like making the filling with whipping cream instead of whipped topping.  Don't worry though, it is still made in one bowl.

     Beat the softened cream cheese really well before adding anything else. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and the beaters a couple of times to make sure there are no lumps.

    Add the sugar and vanilla and beat well. Make sure there are no cream cheese lumps before proceeding.

      Once the mixture is smooth, slowly drizzle in the cream while beating it.  Incorporating it slowly allows it to come together more easily.

      When all of the cream is added, whip it until it is super fluffy.  Then you are ready to spread it over the prepared pretzel crust.

pan of layered pretzel, cream cheese and cherry dessert

Potential fruity topping additions

I was really tempted to add pineapple to the jello topping. We love it in Aunt Dori's cherry pineapple jello salad.

  Little Dude isn't always a pineapple fan though, so I opted to leave it out. I really hope somebody tries making that salad recipe and spreading it over the pretzel and cream cheese base.

    Please let me know how it goes and send .e pictures if you do!

    As it is, this cherry pretzel salad was a huge hit with my family. My brothers helped eat a good chunk of it at family dinner.

     My husband, Little Dude and I had to practically wrestle for the leftovers.  Little Dude kept asking for more "salad" and giggling. I guess he's a salad lover now! 😉

    Have you ever made a fun variation of layered jello salad? I'd love to hear about your favorites!

cherry jello salad, pretzel jello salad, layered jello dessert
Yield: 16 servings

Cherry Cheesecake Pretzel Salad

Cherry Cheesecake Pretzel Salad

Layers of sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy all come together in this fun treat. Cherry cheesecake pretzel salad is perfect for potlucks, bbqs, holidays and more.
Prep time: 2 H & 15 MCook time: 15 MTotal time: 2 H & 30 M


  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 3oz  box cherry gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 21 oz can cherry pie filling


How to cook Cherry Cheesecake Pretzel Salad

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place crushed pretzels and sugar in the bottom of a 9x13" pan. Melt the butter and pour over the pretzels and sugar. Mix and spread over the bottom of the pan, pressing slightly. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove to cool.
  3. In a stand mixer, or a mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until super smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Slowly drizzle in the cream while the mixer is running and whip until the mixture is light and fluffy. Spread over the pretzel crust. Be sure to spread it all the way to the edges.
  4.  Stir the gelatin powder into the hot water until it is dissolved.  Add the cherry pie filling and stir until cooled to lukewarm. Slowly pour over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until set, at least a couple of hours.
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Layers of sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy all come together in this fun treat. Cherry cheesecake pretzel salad is perfect for potlucks, bbqs, holidays and more.


  1. Yes! It’s like a mixture of my two favorite desserts I make, my pineapple pretzel salad and what we call cherry delight, just like this but with a graham cracker crust. This sounds so good and refreshing right now, I’m going to have to make it for sure! Hope you’re safe and healthy my friend!

    1. So far so good! Thank you so much, Andrea! And now I want pineapple pretzel salad xoxo

  2. Hi Carlee, this sounds very similar to a cheesecake recipe I make except the base on yours sounds very intriguing! I never thought of using pretzels as a base, but I do fancy the sweet and salty combination.


    1. The crunchy salty pretzels add a fun touch!

  3. I love having salads like this and still getting more sweets for dessert! I don't think we've had this at any family gatherings, so I will have to share this!

    1. It's like a double bonus! I love how proud Little Dude was that he had multiple servings of salad ;-)


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!