Monday, July 4, 2011

Jell-O Pretzel Salad

I am sure you’re all SHOCKED to read yet ANOTHER post from me on Jell-O, right? Well this one is quite possibly the most important of all. Not only was it taught to me by my dear friend Kim Mejia as an indispensable element of every 4th of July, but it is one of those dishes that sounds horrible but is actually delicious. OK let’s be honest – it is rather obscene, but take one bite and you’ll grab the whole tray and a fork and run off for some Alone Time. Honest.

The other fantastic thing about this dish is that I found it in my 1986 [comedy] gem of a cookbook, “Cooking with Country Music Stars”, as given by none other than the Oak Ridge Boys! Come on, do you mean to tell me they really fixed this up and brought it to a pot luck? THAT is something I’d pay to see (note 1973 photo of them looking smooooth!) “Elvira – hey guys, get in here and help me with this cream cheese!” Umm, yeahhhhh…..

I must point out that the version Kim makes is the one I used, so compared to the one below, you make a few changes, as follows: use whole pretzels and melt an entire cup of butter over them as the first layer (no sugar needed). Bake for 10 min at 400 degrees, then cool. DO NOT add the cool whip to the sugar and cream cheese mixture – these are two separate layers under the Jell-O! Finally, just mix up the Jell-O as you would normally, no pineapple juice needed. You can add fruit, but it isn’t necessary. Finally, you won’t be able to serve this in nice little squares – just let people scoop blobs out for themselves, and forget the lettuce leaves. Like this is a salad, oh PLEASE!

Don’t forget that if this is for an Independence Day Party, you need to work the canned whipped cream into stripes over the red Jell-O base, and you can use blueberries for the blue part with the stars. Or just go crazy and spray the whipped cream everywhere. Heck, it’s a party, right?

The Oak Ridge Boys’ Pretzel Salad

2 cups crushed pretzels
¾ cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp sugar
1 8-oz package cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 8-oz carton Cool Whip
2 cups pineapple juice
2 3-oz packages strawberry Jell-O
2 10-oz packages frozen strawberries
Lettuce leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix pretzels, melted butter and sugar and press firmly into 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Bake 6 to 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Blend cream cheese and sugar in bowl. Add Cool Whip. Spread mixture over cooled pretzel crust.

In saucepan, heat pineapple juice to boiling. Add Jell-O. Stir until dissolved. Add frozen berries. Stir. Pour over cheese mixture and let set in refrigerator. Cut into squares. Serve on bed of lettuce if desired.

Makes 12 servings.


  1. Pretzels bring the savory and mingle with the sweet, plus cream cheese!! I have made a version of this and it is chow down delightful! America wins!

  2. Ann, I had a feeling you would appreciate the goodness! PLUS - I bet you could garnish it with BACON if you wanted... heehee! :)