Today: Get My No Fail, Easy Cookbook Series for 60% OFF
Buy Now

Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad

Pin RecipeReview Recipe
a close up shot of a slice of Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad on a plate
The perfect mix of sweet and salty, this mandarin orange pretzel salad is a refreshing dessert to add to your menu.
Jump to Recipe
Table of Contents
  1. Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This oddly named but delicious mandarin orange pretzel salad will wow you with fun and vibrant layers. Not a salad in the traditional sense, this dessert features a crunchy layer of pretzels topped with cream cheese, orange jello, and juicy mandarin oranges for a dessert that’s a delight.

a close up shot of a slice of Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad on a plate

Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad Ingredients

Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 5 cups pretzels, crushed (2½ cups once crushed)
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • ¾ cup butter, melted
  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 6-ounce package of orange gelatin 
  • 2 cups water, boiling
  • 3 (15.75-ounce) cans of mandarin oranges in fruit juice
  • 2 cups mandarin orange juice (reserved from cans of mandarins)

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

WHIPPED TOPPING: If you can’t get Cool Whip, an alternative to this whipped topping in this orange jello pretzel salad would be softly whipped cream with a little sugar added. Check out our own homemade whipped cream recipe.

How to Make This Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad Recipe

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

STEP TWO: Place pretzels in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the pretzels are crushed into small pieces but not pulverized. Add ¾ cup 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 pretzel mixture into the bottom of the pan. 

crushed pretzel, sugar and butter combined and pressed into a baking pan

STEP THREE: Bake the pretzel base for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your crust as the suggested baking time approaches.

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

PRO TIP:

Make sure that your cream cheese is at room temperature, so you don’t have lumps in your cream cheese filling.

cool whip and cream cheese folded together in a bowl

STEP FIVE: Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled pretzel layer. 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.

PRO TIP:

Be sure to really seal the cream cheese mixture all the way to the edges over the pretzels. I like to use an offset icing spatula and really press down the cream cheese mixture.

cream cheese spread over the top of the cooled pretzel crust

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

STEP SEVEN: 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 orange slices to the mixture and stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the jello mixture is just starting to thicken but has not yet set.

PRO TIP:

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.

mandarin oranges added to the jello mixture in a bowl

STEP EIGHT: 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.

PRO TIP:

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.

mandarin and jello poured over the cream cheese layer in a baking dish

How To Serve

You can top this delicious dessert with a dollop of Cool Whip or a squirt of whipped cream and a pretzel twist if you’d like. A scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side would finish off your dessert perfectly.

For two variations on this refreshing dessert, our strawberry pretzel salad and peach pretzel salad are just as easy to make.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftovers of this pretzel salad with mandarin oranges covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

IN THE FREEZER: It’s not a good idea to freeze this delicious recipe. 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.

a close up shot of mandarin orange pretzel salad

You will enjoy the crunchy, salty crust, tangy cream cheese layer, fluffy whipped cream, and a bite of mandarin in every scoop of this tasty treat. It would be a great addition to any summer menu or potluck.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use a different base for this jello salad?

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 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.

What kind of pretzels are the best choice for this easy recipe?

Salted pretzels should be used for the crunchy pretzel crust as they add that salty element. You can use either pretzel sticks or twists.

More Recipes You’ll Love

Get Recipes on Pinterest

get recipes on pinterest
get digital lazy cookbooks
a close up shot of a slice of Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad on a plate

Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad

5 from 23 votes
The perfect mix of sweet and salty, this mandarin orange pretzel salad is a refreshing dessert to add to your menu.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

  • 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 ounce 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

Instructions
 

  • 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 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.

Notes

  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your crust as the suggested baking time approaches.
  • Make sure that your cream cheese is at room temperature, so you don’t have lumps in your cream cheese filling.
  • Be sure to really seal the cream cheese mixture all the way to the edges over the pretzels. I 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 593kcal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 687mg | Potassium: 344mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 58g | Vitamin A: 869IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 2mg
Have You Tried This Recipe?Follow me on Pinterest @spaceshipslb

Get Recipes on Facebook

get recipes on facebook

Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

You May Also Like

get digital lazy cookbooks

Reader Interactions

Comments

    Leave a Comment

    Recipe Rating




    Comments

  1. Julie says

    5 stars
    I loved this to answer your questions, this tasted almost like a cream cyclic, I would like to try Mangos with this. I first tried it with after dinner dessert, now I can take it to Church and have them try it we have a small buffet of dessert types treats to give you that after church
    lift. You know instead of a after church nap. I only tried it with cool whip, I don’t trust having my whip cream to come out right. Even through heavy whipping cream works for everything else. I couldn’t really come up with other fruits I would try. Maybe add a cherry pie filling on top with cherry jello.
    Another great recipe to add to my collection Thank you so much I do appreciate your hard work.

  2. Pennie Taylor says

    5 stars
    This recipe sounds yummy. We can’t wait to try it. I would prefer a whipped cream but cool whip is quick, easy, and holds up without melting as quickly. I think a peanut butter filling would be great too. The kind of filling you would make for buckeyes. Thank you, Pennie

  3. Christy says

    5 stars
    This recipe sounds delicious. I have had pretzel salad made with strawberries; I think the mandarin oranges would make a lighter and more refreshing version of pretzel salad.

  4. Carol Clendenen says

    5 stars
    I’ve had strawberry pretzel salad before and loved it, but I’m over the moon about the mandarin orange.

  5. KIMBERLY DUDEK says

    GUAVA! It is so underrated. There are very few desserts that use guava. It’s such an exotic fruit and should be used more.

  6. Nancy says

    5 stars
    I would love to try this! I will make it for a group of us musicians that get together once a week. We always bring food! Thanks for sharing. It does sound really good.

Load More Comments