Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad – The Best Blog Recipes

Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad is a layered dessert made with a crunchy pretzel crust and topped with cream cheese, orange jello, whipped cream, and mandarin oranges.

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Table of Contents
  1. Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad Ingredients
  2. How to Make Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad
  3. How to Store Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad
  4. JUMP TO RECIPE

Sweet, salty, and creamy all at the same time, this Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad is a refreshing dessert to add to your menu. Not a salad in the traditional sense, this layered dessert would be a great addition to any potluck or get-together!

MORE RECIPES: Orange Fluff | No-Bake Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake | Orange Creamsicle Truffles

The perfect mix of sweet and salty, this mandarin orange pretzel salad is the perfect dessert for any occasion. Friends and family will love the layers of crunchy pretzels topped with cream cheese, orange jello, whipped cream, and juicy mandarin oranges that combine to make a dessert that’s truly a delight.

The perfect dessert to share, serve this tangy dessert with an extra dollop of Cool Whip or a squirt of whipped cream and a pretzel twist if you’d like. It would also taste delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Mandarin orange pretzel salad may be an odd name for a dessert, but your taste buds will be wowed by all the fun and vibrant layers in this easy-to-make treat. Every bite is bursting with the flavors of the crunchy pretzel crust, tangy cream cheese, fluffy whipped cream, and sweet and tart mandarin oranges.

Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad Ingredients

  • Pretzels
  • Sugar – granulated sugar
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cool Whip
  • Gelatin – orange gelatin
  • Water – boiling water
  • Mandarin oranges – mandarin oranges in fruit juice
  • Mandarin orange juice – reserved from the cans of mandarins

Before beginning, make sure that your cream cheese is at room temperature, so you don’t have lumps in your cream cheese filling. Then, when you are spreading the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled pretzel crust, be sure to seal the cream cheese mixture all the way to the edges over the pretzels. We like to use an offset icing spatula and really press down the cream cheese mixture.

Cool the gelatin and mandarin mixture just until it starts to thicken. That way, it will still pour easily into the pan and form a smooth top. You may have a little extra gelatin depending on the depth of the pan. Be sure to cover the mandarin oranges and fill to the top of the baking dish.

If you can’t get Cool Whip, you could make your own homemade whipped cream. Homemade whipped cream can be made using softly whipped cream with a little sugar added.

How to Make Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad

FIRST STEP: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan with nonstick baking spray.

SECOND STEP: Place the pretzels in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the pretzels are crushed into small pieces but not pulverized. Add ¾ cups of sugar and the melted butter and pulse a few more times to combine the ingredients without breaking down the pretzel pieces too small. Press the mixture into the bottom of the 9×13 pan.

THIRD STEP: Bake the pretzel base for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

FOURTH STEP: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, the remaining ¾ cup of sugar, and the vanilla until well combined. Fold in the Cool Whip until the mixture is evenly combined.

FIFTH STEP: Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled pretzel crust. When adding the cream cheese mixture to the pan, make sure that it goes all the way to the edges. This creates a barrier to prevent the jello from seeping down into the pretzel base and making it soggy.

SIXTH STEP: Drain the mandarin oranges, reserving 2 cups of juice. If your mandarin oranges are in syrup, use 2 cups of water instead. Add ice cubes to the juice or refrigerate it.

SEVENTH STEP: In a medium bowl, dissolve the gelatin/jello in two cups of boiling water. Once it is completely dissolved, add the chilled mandarin juice (or water.) Add the mandarin oranges to the mixture and stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the jello is just starting to thicken but has not yet set.

EIGHTH STEP: Carefully pour the mandarins and jello over the cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or until the jello is set. Slice into squares to serve.

Can I change the flavor of this orange gelatin pretzel salad?

This light dessert recipe is flexible. Change up the fruit and jello flavor to whatever you prefer. Or mix and match. Try blueberries with lemon or black cherry jello for fun combinations on top of the salty pretzel crust.

Should I use salted or unsalted pretzels?

Salted pretzels should be used for the crunchy pretzel crust as they add that salty element. You can use either pretzel sticks or twists. In addition, while pretzels are in the name of this easy orange pretzel salad dessert, you could replace the crushed pretzels with graham crackers or vanilla wafers for the crust.

Can I make mandarin orange pretzel bars in advance?

This is a great make-ahead dessert! Assemble the bars and keep them covered in the fridge until ready to serve. We recommend enjoying the bars within 3 days for the best flavor.

How to Store Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad

IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftover mandarin orange pretzel salad covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

IN THE FREEZER: It’s not a good idea to freeze this pretzel salad with mandarin oranges. Freezing jello destroys the chemical bonds in the gelatin, which means that it will become runny when you defrost it. The oranges and hard pretzels are likely to go a bit mushy too.

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  • 5 cups pretzels crushed (2½ cups once crushed)
  • cups granulated sugar divided
  • ¾ cup butter melted
  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces Cool Whip
  • 6 ounces orange gelatin
  • 2 cups water boiling
  • 47.25 ounces mandarin oranges in fruit juice
  • 2 cups mandarin orange juice reserved from the cans of mandarins
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan with nonstick baking spray.

  • Place the pretzels in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the pretzels are crushed into small pieces but not pulverized. Add ¾ cups of sugar and the melted butter and pulse a few more times to combine the ingredients without breaking down the pretzel pieces too small. Press the mixture into the bottom of the 9×13 pan.

  • Bake the pretzel base for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, the remaining ¾ cup of sugar, and the vanilla until well combined. Fold in the Cool Whip until the mixture is evenly combined.

  • Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled pretzel crust. When adding the cream cheese mixture to the pan, make sure that it goes all the way to the edges. This creates a barrier to prevent the jello from seeping down into the pretzel base and making it soggy.

  • Drain the mandarin oranges, reserving 2 cups of juice. If your mandarin oranges are in syrup, use 2 cups of water instead. Add ice cubes to the juice or refrigerate it.

  • In a medium bowl, dissolve the gelatin/jello in two cups of boiling water. Once it is completely dissolved, add the chilled mandarin juice (or water.) Add the mandarin oranges to the mixture and stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the jello is just starting to thicken but has not yet set.

  • Carefully pour the mandarins and jello over the cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or until the jello is set. Slice into squares to serve.

Calories: 806kcal | Carbohydrates: 134g | Protein: 13g | Dish: 26g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 1065mg | Potassium: 429mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 58g | Vitamin A: 1628IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 4mg

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