Salty pretzel crust, vanilla cream cheese center and a blast of orange on top, this orange pretzel salad has it all. It is a fun flavor twist on the classic strawberry pretzel salad and it is popping with citrus flavor!
A perfect mashup of two old school favorites, this orange creamsicle pretzel salad will remind you a little bit of those orange dreamsicle popsicles mashed up with another summertime treat, strawberry pretzel salad. The result is a perfect mix of sweet and salty, orange and vanilla.
Let me start be telling you whoever decided that a layer of pretzel crust followed by sweetened cream cheese and topped with jello a salad was an absolute genius! Mostly because whoever made that decision somehow made what might normally seem like a dessert be an acceptable side dish at gatherings my whole childhood.
Strawberry pretzel salad was a fixture at gatherings during my childhood. It makes an appearance at most family reunions, potlucks and BBQs in the Midwest.
It was always one of my favorites and it seemed to make regular appearances during the spring and summer months. I was always disappointed when a pan didn’t make an appearance on the table.
I couldn’t let the summer get away without having some. But you know me, I can’t leave well enough alone. So I went to tinkering.
If you have been hanging around here lately, you know I am going through my creamsicle phase lately. I want everything to have that mix of bright orange citrus and creamy vanilla.
There was the orange creamsicle cheesecake ice cream, orange creamsicle jello salad, and the orange creamsicle no bake cheesecake. So of course I had to put an orange creamsicle twist on that pretzel salad I loved so much growing up.
I did make a few changes besides the basic flavor of the top layer. Instead of using cool whip, I mimicked my favorite no bake cheesecake filling which is fluffy and delicious and made of just cream cheese, cream, sugar and vanilla.
The little mandarin orange slices are always a hit at our house as well, so I loaded it up with them. No smattering of oranges for us, we wanted orange in every bite! I delivered the finished “salad” to my parents’ house.
My brother made char siu (the real pork on a stick kind, not our chicken version) and fried rice. This kick of citrus was the perfect little sweet something to go alongside all of that goodness.
Everyone was a fan and now I don’t know which version is my favorite, the strawberry or orange. I guess we’ll just have to keep making both until we can make up our minds!
Tips and Tricks
This recipe is super simple to make, but it does take a little time between each step. You may be tempted to rush it along, but for the best results you will want to give each layer the time it deserves.
Your pretzels don’t have to be ground completely into powder, but you do want them pretty well broken up to make serving and eating your salad more enjoyable. You can use plastic bags and a rolling pin to make that happen, but if you have a food processor it is the perfect tool for the job.
Allow the crust to cool completely before you add the cream cheese filling. Then make sure the cream cheese filling touches the pan the whole way around.
If your cream cheese filling isn’t making contact with the pan, the jello can leak underneath. Your dish will still be edible, but not nearly as pretty and the pretzels will be soft.
Allow the cream cheese filling to set in the refrigerator while the jello mixture cools at room temperature a bit. Then gently pour the jello over the cream cheese and put the whole thing back in the refrigerator until the jello is set.
It really is an easy recipe, but taking care between layers is the key to the best finished product!
Storing Pretzel Salad
It is a good idea to make this dish the night before you plan to serve it in order to give it plenty of time to set up. Just put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.
Leftovers should also be stored in the refrigerator. They are edible for up to a week, but the pretzels will start to get soft after a few days.
Luckily the leftovers never last that long around here. This pretzel salad gets gobbled up in the first day or two every time!
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- 2 cups crushed pretzels
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cups butter
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3oz box orange gelatin
- 1 cup boiling water
- 3/4 cup ice water
- 2 10 oz cans mandarin oranges
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place crushed pretzels and 3 Tablespoons of sugar in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Melt the butter and pour over the pretzels and sugar. Mix and spread over the bottom of the pan, pressing slightly. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove to cool.
- In a stand mixer, or a mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until super smooth. Add 1 cup of sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Slowly drizzle in the cream while the mixer is running and whip until the mixture is light and fluffy. Spread over the pretzel crust. Be sure to spread it all the way to the edges to create a seal that will keep the Jello from seeping into the crust.
- Drain the oranges and arrange slices over the cream cheese. Place in the refrigerator to set.
- Stir the gelatin powder into the hot water until it is dissolved. Add the ice water and stir until cooled. Allow the Jello to sit until it reaches room temperature.
- Slowly pour cooled Jello over orange slices and cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until set, at least a couple of hours.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 332Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 242mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 4g
All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.