Had your fill of pumpkin spice? Looking for an easy Thanksgiving dessert that will feed a crowd? Just want to try a sweet treat that will have you craving more? Well, here at South Shore Kitchen all we can say is check, check and check! Cranberry pretzel salad starts with a buttery pretzel and pecan crust, a thick rich layer of fluffy no bake cheesecake, topped with a layer of chunky cranberry gelatin.
Cranberry pretzel salad is a fun take on strawberry pretzel salad. You may remember the one….is it salad or is it a dessert? Families were divided, debates raged on. At South Shore Kitchen we don’t care what you call it as long as you are serving up a heaping helping of deliciousness. However, it is a dessert.
You will start out by prepping your crust. Any shape of plain pretzels will do. We prefer a little bit of a harder pretzel but nothing crazy; using Pennysticks Brand from DollarTree. To make 1- 1 ½ cups of crust you will use about 1/2 of the bag. You will need to crush the pretzels. This can be done by tossing them
in the food processor and pulsing until you have small crumbly pieces or place them in a bag and beat them with a rolling pin.
The no bake cheesecake layer in this dessert is the best. Mama M has been making it for as long as we can remember. No, need to mess with perfection so, we decided it would be the perfect light and fluffy filling. It is great all by itself, but really steals the show in our cranberry pretzel salad recipe.
Pro tips from Mama M- POWDERED SUGAR!
It’s all about the powdered sugar. We asked if we could substitute granulated sugar. She said, “sure if you like your cheesecake gritty”.
Ok, fair enough. No granulated sugar. Also make sure you set your cream cheese out to room temperature or until softened. Finally, you can easily double the no bake cheesecake ingredients without any problems.
When making your cranberry topping there are a few little tips to keep in mind. Boil your water and then measure the two cups of liquid for mixing into the Jell-o. We realize this sounds super logical but if you are short on liquid your cranberry layer will be gummy. Plus, we have already made this mistake, so you don’t have to.Print
Cranberry Pretzel Salad
- 1–1/2 cups crushed pretzels
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 4 Tbsp of butter
No-Bake Cheesecake Filling
- 1 8-oz package, cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 8-oz. container of cool-whip (any brand will work)
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 3-oz package of cranberry Jell-o
- 1 8-oz can of whole berry cranberry sauce
- 10 x 7″ pan
- Pre-heat oven to 400°
- Once pretzels are crushed, place a stick of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add sugar and pecans. Stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat, add the crushed pretzels and stir until well coated. Press crust mixture into a 10 x 7″ pan and bake for 8-10 minutes. Take care not to overbake. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- While crust is baking, boil water for cranberry Jell-O topping. Mix gelatin in boiling water and set aside until it sets to the consistency of egg whites. Once it reaches this point, stir in entire can of whole berry cranberry sauce.
- As the Jell-O is setting up, mix the cream cheese filling. Place softened cream cheese in mixer bowl and whip until softened. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, continue whipping until light and fluffy. Fold cool whip by hand.
- When pretzel crust is cooled, spread no-bake cheesecake filling in a thick layer over the crust. Top with cranberry gelatin and place in refrigerator for about an hour to set.