This raspberry pretzel jello is a classic. It’s all about a salty-sweet pretzel crust + fluffy cream layer + raspberry laden jello. Yum!

Today’s classic recipe is dedicated to my husband, Brian. This is one of his favorite side dish-dessert-salad-whatever you’d call it recipes of all time.

I figure at this point, everyone who loves this recipe has their go-to version already. And everyone else has either never heard of it or thinks it is a travesty.

So, today’s post is honestly a selfish gesture in order to put a placeholder on this blog (which will always be my go-to “cookbook”) for Brian’s tried-and-true favorite.

9X13-inch pan of raspberry pretzel jello with one corner square removed

My Version is a Wee Bit Different

I’ve made a few changes to the wildly popular original recipe to make it more our style. But otherwise, it’s pretty much what you’ve come to expect from this iconic recipe.

The biggest change is that I swap out the cool whip and granulated sugar in the cream layer for heavy cream and powdered sugar.

I’m certainly not doing this for healthy-eating reasons. Ha! That’s funny. These small changes create a cream layer with a flavor and consistency that is ultra-delicious and a little bit more my style.

square of raspberry pretzel jello on white plate with one corner removed

Pretzel Crust

This salad-y dessert starts with a pretzel crust. A buttery, lightly sweet pretzel crust.

It actually might be my favorite part of the entire thing.

After mixing the pretzels, butter and brown sugar together in a bowl, I like to press the mixture into the pan with the bottom of a measuring cup to lightly compress it into an even layer.

This delightful crust gets baked for a couple minutes before assembling the rest of the recipe.

*Sidenote: I had some “help” from little hands when making this and taking pictures for the blog so the pretzels aren’t quite as small as I normally crush them. They don’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) pulverized into dust, but they should be coarsely crushed.

pressing pretzel crust into glass 9X13-inch pan

The Assembly

After the crust has cooled, the cream layer is spread over the top.

The key here is to spread the cream layer all the way to the edges sealing off the pan really well so the jello layer doesn’t leak down the sides and get the pretzel crust all soggy. Ew.

You can a) refrigerate at this point to firm up the cream layer…or you can b) throw caution to the wind and spread the jello + raspberry mixture over the top.

I’m lazy. I always go for B.

Pro Tip: You’ll notice in the recipe that I dissolve the jello in boiling water and immediately add the frozen raspberries. I set the whole mixture aside before starting on the crust and cream layer. This allows the jello/raspberry mixture to set up and thicken a bit before being layered on top which prevents leaking and splattering issues.

As with all good jellos, let the assembled dish set up in the refrigerator before serving.

This dessert can be made a day ahead of time. Just keep in mind that the pretzels will soften the longer it is in the refrigerator. Not a deal breaker (they don’t get full on soggy if it’s just a day ahead of time), but something to think about.

square of raspberry pretzel jello on white plate

Are you a fan of this classic raspberry pretzel jello? Is it something you grew up eating?

To be honest, I always have a bit of an inner struggle knowing where to place this in a meal lineup. Does it get served with dinner? I mean, a lot of people call it a salad, so…

Or should it appear as dessert?

Instead of inciting a heated debate, may I suggest that if you really want to live life to its fullest, consider serving it as a side dish with dinner so you can have a dessert, too.

In closing, I’d like to give a special thanks to my friend, Jamie, Ultimate Jello Connoisseur, who also helped convince me this recipe deserved a spot on the blog (and who consulted on several other jello recipes, as well). 🙂

fork scooping off corner of raspberry pretzel jello on white plate

One Year Ago: Amazing Spinach Salad with Sweet-Spicy Nuts, Apples, Feta and Bacon
Two Years Ago: Chewy Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Three Years Ago: Fluffy Honey Oat Dinner Rolls
Four Years Ago: The Best Chicken {or Turkey} Pot Pie 
Five Years Ago: Simple Herb Roasted Turkey + No-Fail Gravy Tips
Six Years Ago: Pretzel and Sausage Stuffing
Seven Years Ago: Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie 
Eight Years Ago: Creamy Confetti Corn with Bacon
Nine Years Ago: Chocolate and Coconut Cream Pie Bars 
Ten Years Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Wafer Cream Cake

square of raspberry pretzel jello on white plate

Raspberry Pretzel Jello

5 stars (5 ratings)

Ingredients

Raspberry Jello:

  • 6-ounce package raspberry jello (see note)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 12-ounce package frozen raspberries, unthawed

Pretzel Crust:

  • 1 ¾ cups (140-150 g) crushed pretzels (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons (40 g) packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup (113 g) butter, melted

Cream Layer:

  • 8-ounce package (227 g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups (143 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream (see note)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the jello and boiling water until the jello is fully dissolved. Stir in the frozen raspberries and set aside.
  • For the pretzel crust, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pretzels, brown sugar, and butter until evenly combined.
  • Press the mixture in the bottom of a 9X13-inch pan, pressing lightly with the bottom of a measuring cup to lightly compact the crust. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely.
  • For the cream layer, in a medium bowl with an electric mixer (stand mixer or handheld mixer), whip together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix (start on low speed so it doesn't spatter everywhere) until thick and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Spread the cream layer evenly over the cooled pretzel crust. Make sure to spread all the way to the edges and into the corners to make a good "seal" with the cream layer so the jello layer doesn't leak down the sides.
  • Pour the raspberry jello mixture over the top and gently spread into an even layer. Refrigerate until firm and set up, 6-8 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

Notes

Jello: a reader alerted me that there are several dye-free jello options (check online at places like Amazon), like the Simple Mixes or Simply Delish brands.
Pretzels: the pretzels don’t need to be pulverized into dust, they should just be coarsely crushed.
Heavy Cream: I use Darigold 40% heavy cream; it thickens great in this recipe without having to whip it first. If you are using heavy cream with less milkfat, you may want to whip the cream to soft peaks before adding to the cream cheese so it thickens fully.
Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 440kcal, Carbohydrates: 78g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 409mg, Fiber: 17g, Sugar: 50g
Follow @MelsKitchenCafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: adapted from the many other versions of this recipe online (I think it’s originally from a cookbook published in the 1960’s called The Joys of Jello)