Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes

These Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes are made with a pretzel crust, vanilla cupcake, cream filling and strawberry frosting! They’re inspired by the classic strawberry pretzel salad dessert and so fun!

Looking for more strawberry desserts? This classic strawberry shortcake recipe is one of my favorites!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes topped with strawberries and pretzels

Strawberry Pretzel Cupcakes

So I’ve seen strawberry pretzel salad recipes around for a while now. I can’t say that it really appealed to me as something to try. I’m not entirely sure why, but it just didn’t. I was curious about it, but not curious enough to make it.

Well as luck would have it, we were at a friend’s house for Easter and it’s one of the things they served. I was excited to finally get to try it. I was pleasantly surprised too! SO good! I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. I do love a good sweet and salty treat. But the combination of pretzel, cream and strawberries and jello was even better than I thought it might be. The hubs had several helpings.

Decorated Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes

So naturally I wanted to make a dessert inspired by the classic. It took a while to decide exactly how I wanted to execute it and it took even longer to get the frosting just right, but I’m so pleased with how they turned out. And our hosts from Easter got to try them and they got a big fat stamp of approval!

Homemade Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes

What Are Strawberry Pretzel Cupcakes Made Of?

Pretzel Crust

So to start, there’s the pretzel crust. That’s kind of a no brainer. Just be aware that like the classic dessert, a pretzel crust doesn’t hold together as well as a graham cracker crust. Try to grind the pretzels into somewhat fine crumbs so that they hold together better. I used my food processor and while they were a bit crumb-y, they held together pretty well.

Vanilla Cupcake + Cream Filling

Next up was the cupcake. I toyed with making it strawberry but went with vanilla. With the middle layer of the classic dessert being vanilla/cream, it seemed most appropriate. To further the cream filling layer, there’s a cream filling in the cupcake. It’s made with cream cheese, just like the classic, and it’s light and yummy!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes recipe

Strawberry Frosting

Topping the cupcake is the strawberry frosting. Since the classic dessert uses strawberry JELLO, I felt it only appropriate that the frosting did too. And then of course, fresh chopped strawberries.

I initially wanted to use a cream cheese frosting, but it didn’t end up being the best idea. Cream cheese frosting tends to be softer and with the fresh strawberries mixed in (which adds more moisture), it just didn’t hold it’s place on top of the cupcakes well.

So I went with a more standard buttercream. To add the JELLO, I dissolved a little strawberry jello powder in some hot water and added that to the frosting. I tested it with both the original JELLO and their new Simply JELLO. I have to say I much preferred the Simply JELLO. It dissolved better in the hot water, which in turn resulted in a better frosting. If the powder doesn’t dissolve well, you end up with a grainy frosting and nobody wants that. I also preferred the more natural strawberry flavor and color.

When adding the strawberry JELLO water to the frosting, be sure not to add too much. You’ll add the chopped strawberries next and they’ll add even more moisture to the frosting. You don’t want it to get too thin.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes with Jello

A Fun Twist on the Classic Strawberry Pretzel Salad

The final cupcake is a sweet and salty treat that definitely models the classic strawberry pretzel salad! The lightly crunchy pretzel crust, moist cupcake, smooth cream filling and strawberry frosting are SO good together! They make a super fun way to switch up your pretzel salad eating ways. 🙂

Favorite Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes


Read transcript

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Recipe

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 23 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 23 minutes
  • Yield: 18 1x
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes are made with pretzel crust, vanilla cupcakes, cream filling & strawberry frosting! Such a fun cupcake recipe!


Scale

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 1 1/4 cup (168g) pretzel crumbs
  • 5 tbsp (70g) butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp (39g) sugar

CUPCAKES

  • 6 tbsp (84g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups (155g) sugar
  • 6 tbsp (86g) sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp (90ml) milk
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) water

FILLING

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1/4 cup (29g) powdered sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp sugar

FROSTING

  • 3/4 cup (168g) butter
  • 1/2 cup (95g) shortening
  • 5 cups (575g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) hot water
  • 4 tbsp Simply Good Strawberry Jello powder
  • 1/2 cup (80g) very finely diced strawberries
  • Additional strawberries, for decor
  • Additional pretzels, for decor

Instructions

1. Heat oven to 325°F (162°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
2. In a small bowl, combine crust ingredients and mix well.
3. Press about 1 1/2 tbsp of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
4. Bake crusts for 7 minutes then remove and set aside.
5. To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
6. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the amount of creaming time.
7. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
8. Add egg whites in two batches, mixing until well combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
9. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine the milk and water in a small measuring cup.
10. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well combined. Add the milk mixture and mix until well combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
11. Fill the cupcake liners with the baked crusts about three quarters full with batter. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.
12. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.
13. To make the filling, add the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar to a large mixer bowl. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
14. Add the cream cheese, vanilla extract and sugar to a mixer bowl and mix until smooth.
15. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture in two batches. Set in the fridge.
16. To make the frosting, combine the butter and shortening in a large mixer bowl and mix until smooth.
17. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
18. Add the JELLO powder to the hot water and stir until dissolved.
19. Add 1 tablespoon of the JELLO mixture to the frosting and mix until smooth.
20. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
21. Add remaining JELLO mixture as needed and mix until smooth.
22. Mix in the diced strawberries.
23. Use a cupcake corer to remove the centers of the cupcakes, then fill with the filling.
24. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used Ateco tip 808. Top the cupcakes with a strawberry half and pretzel if desired.


Keywords: strawberry pretzel dessert, strawberry cupcakes, pretzel cupcakes, salty and sweet dessert, vanilla cupcakes, strawberry frosting, strawberry dessert

Enjoy!

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Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes - modeled after the classic dessert with a pretzel crust, cream filling and strawberry JELLO frosting!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes - modeled after the classic dessert with a pretzel crust, cream filling and strawberry JELLO frosting!

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Recipe rating

21 Comments
  1. Sharon E Poythress

    Hi Lindsay, I would love to make the icing included with your recipe but cannot find the Simply Good Strawberry Jello powder. In researching, I read it has been discontinued. I would appreciate any suggestion as far as substitute. Thanks, Sharon

      1. LEONIE

        Hi Lindsay, I’m going to make these for Canada Day! Could I not use regular Strawberry Jello Powder and fresh strawberries for the icing? Instead of freeze dried strawberries? TIA

      2. Lindsay

        You could certainly give that a try. If I remember correctly, I did try regular strawberry Jell-O and it didn’t really give it much flavor. But definitely a regular strawberry purée would work as well, you just don’t get as strong of a strawberry flavor as with freeze dried.

  2. Brittany

    I’m thinking about trying to execute these as a layer cake. Do you think the filling and icing would be stable enough for that? I’m thinking 3-layers of white cake, baking the pretzels for a bit into a crumble to put between the layers with the strawberry frosting, and icing the outside with your mascarpone icing. Does this sound feasible/delicious or am I being too ambitious?

    1. Lindsay

      I think that should work out fine. The only thing is that the pretzel crumb between the layers might not retain any crunch. As long as you’re ok with that, it should be fine. 🙂

  3. Corless

    I just tried this recipe. I baked them for 14 mins. and the toothpick came out clean. when I scooped the cakes out to fill them I discovered the cakes were pretty raw.

  4. Graceanna

    Thanks for the recipe! When I made these, the pretzel bottoms fell apart into a crumbly mess when the liners were taken off. Any tips on this not happening in the future? I packed them in tightly and used a food processor to crumble them.

    1. Lindsay

      Hmm, I assume you pre-baked the crusts with the butter, right? That should help them hold together. You could try adding a little more butter or crushing up the pretzels a little more. The finer they are, they better they’ll hold together.

    1. Lindsay

      They should be best for 2-3 days. If you freeze them when they’re done, they’d need to be well wrapped. They’ll still taste good, but won’t look as nice. 🙂

  5. Isabella

    I am a little confuse on how to make this Strawberry Pretzel Salad Cupcakes. After baking the crust for 7 minutes, I let it cool down. Do I pour the batter on top of this crust to bake or do I bake the batter in a new cupcake liners? Please reply. Thank you.

  6. Amanda

    Besides the cupcakes looking amazing, I’m mostly impressed with your ability to use “salad” and “cupcakes” in the same recipe title! 🙂

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12