Amazing Strawberry “Pretzel” Salad

pretzel saladLooking for the perfect Mother’s Day treat? Well, look no further. My Amazing Strawberry “Pretzel” Salad has a crunchy and salty “pretzel” crust with a creamy and sweet cream cheese layer topped with a homemade strawberry jello that contains real strawberry juice! Grain-free, low-carb and DELICIOUS! This classic Strawberry “Pretzel” Salad will remind you of everything you loved about the original recipe minus a few ingredients such as:

  • Strawberry jello that contains: Sugar, Gelatin, Adipic Acid (For Tartness), Contains Less Than 2% Of Artificial Flavor, Disodium Phosphate And Sodium Citrate (Control Acidity), Fumaric Acid (For Tartness), Red 40…but NO STRAWBERRIES!
  • Cool Whip that contains: water, hydrogenated vegetable oil (including coconut and palm oils), high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, skimmed milk, light cream, and less than 2% sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and beta carotene (as a coloring)…but NO CREAM!
  • Pretzels that contain: wheat flour, dextrose, canola oil

Take my word, my version is just as delicious without all of the questionable ingredients listed above! 

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Tips about the Recipe

I promise, this recipe is really easy! To use your time the most efficiently, be sure to follow the directions in the order listed when making the three separate layers. 

I used fresh and sweet Louisiana strawberries to make the gelatin. If your strawberries are bland or not that flavorful, I would suggest that you use 2 lbs. of strawberries cooked down in 1/2 cup of water. You will still need 2 cups total juice but this will insure that your gelatin tastes like strawberries. 

I used Great Lakes Gelatin (the kind in the red or orange container, NOT the green can), but I am most certain in a pinch, you can use an unflavored gelatin such as Knox brand. If you don’t have Great Lakes Gelatin, be sure to check out this post about why it is so important to use a high quality gelatin and how it can even help heal your body!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad 2Recipe Modifications

This recipe can be customized to your family’s taste buds and dietary needs. Here are some suggestions:

  • Does someone in your family have a nut allergy?? Substitute sunflower seeds for the chopped pecans and ground sunflower seeds for the almond flour for the perfect nut-free crust. 
  • Can’t have strawberries? Use another juice instead such as blackberry or blueberry. Just be sure to keep the gelatin ratio the same, 2 tbsp. gelatin to 2 cups of juice. Perfect gelatin every time.
  • Need to feed a small army?? Simply double the entire recipe and use a 9X13 inch pan. 
  • Add other fruit like bananas, blueberries or even pineapple to the gelatin mixture.

I hope everyone enjoys this delicious grain-free classic! Happy Mother’s Day to all!


Strawberry "Pretzel" Salad (Grain-Free & Low-Carb)
Serves 12
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  1. Strawberry Gelatin

    • 1 lb. fresh or frozen strawberries (approximately 2 pints), stems removed and sliced
    • 1-1/4 cups water 
    • 2 tbsp. gelatin
    • 1/4 tsp. Stevia Select Powdered Stevia or sweetener of choice, to taste**
    • 1 pint of sliced or chopped fresh strawberries (reserve for the final assembly)

    "Pretzel" Crust

    • 1 cup almond flour
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon pink salt (start with 1/4 tsp. and add the extra if you really like a salty crust)
    • 1/8 teaspoon Stevia Select Powdered Stevia or sweetener of choice, to taste**
    • 4 tbsp. salted butter, melted

    Cream Cheese Layer

    • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 tsp. Stevia Select Powdered Stevia or sweetener of choice, to taste**
    • 1 tbsp. raw honey, optional**
  1. Strawberry Gelatin

    In a medium saucepan, add the strawberries and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the strawberries come to a boil, crack the lid and adjust the heat to low. (Be sure to crack the lid or the strawberry juice will bubble out of the pot.) Cook the strawberries for another 5 minutes and then turn off the heat. Using a potato masher, mash the strawberries to release as much juice as possible. Place a mesh strainer over a large measuring bowl or measuring cup, and pour the strawberry mixture into the strainer. Stir the strawberries in the strainer to release all the juice from the strawberries. Discard the strawberry pulp and add enough water to the juice until you have exactly 2 cups.

    **Update: Some people are having problems with the gelatin clumping. To ensure that this doesn't happen, as another option you can completely cool the juice and then add the gelatin, sprinkling it over the cooled juice. Then whisk the gelatin into the juice and heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Be sure not to cook too long or your juice will evaporate. 

    Pour the juice back into the sauce pan and bring to a simmer and then turn off heat. One tablespoon at a time, sprinkle the gelatin over the strawberry juice. Let the gelatin sit for 90 seconds and then whisk the gelatin into the juice until the gelatin is dissolved. Whisk in sweetener. Taste for sweetness and adjust if needed. Pour into a bowl and skim off any foam that has formed. Refrigerate for 60-90 minutes or until jello starts to slightly thicken.

    While strawberry gelatin is cooling, prepare the "Pretzel" Crust.

    "Pretzel" Crust

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, blend almond flour, pecans, salt and stevia. Stir in melted butter. Taste for sweetness and saltiness and adjust if needed. Press into the bottom of an 8X8 pan (I used THIS square one).

    Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is slightly brown but not burned. Allow to cool completely. While cooling, prepare the Cream Cheese Layer.

    Cream Cheese Layer

    In a large bowl, blend cream cheese until smooth. Add heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and sweetener and blend until thick. Taste for sweetness and adjust if needed. Refrigerate until the crust has cooled.


    Spread the Cream Cheese Filling over the "Pretzel" Crust. Be sure you go all the way to the edges. Then, pour the thickened (but not completely set) gelatin mixture over the cream cheese layer. Top with chopped/sliced strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight before serving. 

    **Feel free to use your preferred sweetener of choice. Check of this blog post to learn more about stevia. 

  1. Nutrition:

    244 Calories, 22 grams Fat, 9.5 grams Net Carbs, 2.5 grams Fiber, 7 grams Total Carbs, 4 grams Protein per serving (including the honey)


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  1. Jasmine says

    I made this for Mother’s Day lunch. My in-laws couldn’t even tell that it wasn’t made with pretzels. My FIL said he doesn’t normally even eat almonds or pecans. He couldn’t tell they were even it it. I warned them first that it was healthy, and gave them slivers to try. They both asked for more and said it was good. I didn’t totally follow the recipe as I didn’t strain the strawberries, I blended them. I also blended the gelatin with the strawberries, so skipped that step. It is super yummy though! Thanks!

  2. Sarah says

    Would it be OK to sub some coconut flour for the almond flour in the crust? I only have 1\3 cup of almond flour and really want to make this. Thanks!

    • satisfyingeats says

      Sarah, maybe use the 1/3 cup almond flour and 2 tbsp. of coconut flour. I’m not exactly sure how it will work (not sure what the texture of the crust will be) but it should still taste good! :)

  3. Sarah says

    Thanks for the help! We made it with 1/3 cup almond flour and 2 Tbs of coconut flour and it was awesome! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  4. Stacy says

    I’m struggling with the gelatin. Instead of dissolving, it’s just turning into clumps in my strawberry juice. I followed the directions exactly. What am I doing wrong? I resorted to using my hand blender, which seems to have worked except that now I have a ton of foam. LOL…..ugh.

    • satisfyingeats says

      Stacy, I didn’t have a problem with the gelatin but to make it extra easy, use cooled juice next time. Then heat it after you whisk the gelatin and warm until gelatin is dissolved. Just be careful not to cook it too long or you will evaporate all of your juice. I hope this helps!

  5. Victoria Morrison says

    Is it important to use the pink salt? Will it turn out very different if I use coarse sea salt?

    • satisfyingeats says

      Victoria, it’s a much healthier salt. Not process and LOTS of trace minerals that our bodies need. Regular sea salt or Kosher salt will also do. I hope you enjoy!

  6. KarenL says

    “coarse sea salt” should be just as “healthy” as “regular sea salt”. Celtic sea salt, whether coarse or fine ground, has 84 trace minerals.

  7. KarenL says

    I am so happy to find this recipe! “Pretzel Salad” has been a favorite of mine to have for special holiday meals but I stopped making it because of all the garbage in it. We are having a 4th of July picnic and I will take this instead! Thank you! I’ll report back as to the success of it (and even if NO ONE there likes it…Ha! I will love it!).

  8. Marlys says

    I just made this substituting almonds for the pecans (what I had on hand) and it was so delish! This shows up at every Thanksgiving meal so I thought, “Why not try it before the holiday and see if it will work at our meal!” It will absolutely work at our meal and I won’t have to feel guilty about eating it!! Melissa, your recipes are amazing and I love that you transform comfort foods into healthy comfort foods. Thanks so much and keep up the good work.

  9. Kathy says

    I basically have the same question as Emma. Recipe says 2 different amounts for total carbs. What are the corrected amounts?

  10. Julie says

    I was wondering if you have ever used pumpkin seed flour and if it could be used in this recipe? Thanks!

    • satisfyingeats says

      Julie, I have. I think I have a Triple Chocolate Cookie Cake recipe on the blog where I used pumpkin seeds… it worked perfectly. I don’t know how it would do for a cake but for a crust or cookie, I say go for it!

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