If you’re a fan of foods that are crunchy, salty and sweet, there’s no way you’re not going to love this mandarin orange Jell-O pretzel salad recipe. The irresistible dish makes many appearances at many Midwest potlucks, but it’s just as easy to make for a backyard weeknight dinner with family or neighbors.
Strawberry is the most common fruit used on this classic dish, but the cool, citrusy combination of mandarin and pineapple makes for a delicious update.
Notes: I probably make this dish about once a year — not because I don’t love it, but because I can’t be trusted. I will eat the whole pan by myself if left without supervision. It’s just THAT GOOD. In no way is this a healthy recipe, but I do what I can to cut out unnecessary calories if possible. That said, if you like a creamier salad, add a full three or four cups of whipped topping. I cut back to just under two because you can still have all the flavor, just slightly less fluff. I also don’t add any additional sugar to the cream layer — the Jell-O above adds all the sweetness you’ll need.
Mandarin orange Jell-O pretzel salad
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups crushed salted pretzels
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 (3-ounce) packages of orange Jell-O gelatin
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple
- 2 cans (11 ounces each) mandarin orange slices, drained
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 2-3 cups whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, mix crushed pretzels, butter and sugar. Press into bottom of ungreased 13×9 in. clear baking dish. Bake 10 minutes before removing and setting on a wire rack. Cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, add gelatin and boiling water and stir until dissolved (about 2 minutes). Add pineapple and orange slices to bowl and stir. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until partially set. (This will help the Jell-O from seeping through your cream layer.)
- While you wait for the gelatin to set, fold cream cheese and whipped topping together.
- Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled pretzel layer — careful not to disturb the pretzels. Use a knife or spoon to make sure the mixture cover the pretzels entirely and that the edges are sealed off.
- Spoon gelatin mixture over top of cream layer. Refrigerate until firm — about 3 to 4 hours.
- To serve, cut into squares, and enjoy!
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