Crunchy pretzel crust, creamy cheesecake filling and fresh fruit join forces in this easy, no-bake recipe for Strawberry Pretzel Dessert Cups.
The pairing of pretzels and berries in dessert form most commonly pops up on the interwebs as “strawberry pretzel salad.” The concoction includes a crushed pretzel crust, strawberry Jell-O filling and store-bought whipped topping. I’m not sure how “salad” made it’s way into the nomenclature, but it sure beats greens, in my book!
I’ve reimagined this traditional favorite into a fully homemade treat with all of the classic elements of the original… and then some.
We’ve got a crushed pretzel base, a tangy no-bake cheesecake filling (to replace the Jell-O), diced fresh strawberries and a hearty dollop of my not-so-secret ingredient homemade whipped cream.
Strawberry Pretzel Dessert Cups hit all the right flavor notes, but beyond the perfect balance of tangy cheesecake and sweet berries, they also can be prepared in advance and assembled right before serving.
Keep each component separate, with the crushed pretzels stored at room temp in an airtight container and the cheesecake filling, strawberries and whipped cream all stored separately in airtight containers in the fridge.
Grab your serving glasses (or bowls) of choice then layer the pretzels, cheesecake, berries and whipped cream for a dessert that does double-duty as eye-catching tabletop décor!
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- 4 cups pretzels
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temp
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups chopped strawberries
- Homemade or store-bought whipped cream, for topping
- Add the pretzels to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. (See Kelly’s Note.) Add the pretzels to a medium bowl then stir in the melted butter until the mixture is well-combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Divide the pretzel mixture among serving cups, reserving a portion to sprinkle atop the cups as garnish.
- Spoon the cream cheese mixture on top of the pretzels. (Alternately, transfer it to a piping bag or plastic bag, snip off the tip and pipe the mixture into the cups.)
- Spoon the chopped strawberries atop the cream cheese mixture.
- Spoon the whipped cream atop the strawberries then garnish with the reserved pretzel crumbs. Serve.
- If you don’t have a food processor, you can crush the pretzels in a sealed plastic bag.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.
Do the pretzels stick together like they do when you bake them, or are they crumbs ?
Hi Jen! The butter helps the pretzels stick together. :)
It is very good but I do have a question Would you be able to make this type of dessert in a trifle and if so how much pretzels in between the layers would you use and would they be more whole or more crushed?
Absolutely, Lisa! The amount you use totally depends on your personal taste preferences.
What type/brand of pretzels is everyone using/preferred?
Hi Donna! Any brand of mini pretzel twists works great :)
YUM! These are totally my new favorite treat! I will be making for my family! Thanks for the great recipe.
You are so welcome, Niamh! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the dessert cups!
My mom’s favorite dessert is strawberry pretzel salad so I know she’ll absolutely LOVE these!! Thanks for the recipe, Kelly!
You are so welcome, Grace! Enjoy!