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Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake

This Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake has a buttery, crunchy, salty-sweet pretzel crust, a creamy vanilla cheesecake filling, and a fresh strawberry sauce topping. It’s the perfect dessert for spring, summer or any time of the year!

If you’re a fan of classic strawberry Jell-O pretzel salad (like me), you have got to try this recipe. I took that unique combination of flavors and textures and turned it into a cheesecake, and it’s one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever had!

So for my Mother’s Day dinner last weekend, I was looking for a new strawberry dessert recipe. My mother-in-law loves strawberries, and so every year, I always make something with strawberries just for her.

This year, my thoughts went straight to strawberry pretzel salad. I had been having a serious craving for it, and so that’s what I planned to make. But then I decided that I wanted something a little more “fancy” for such a special day.

Since the creamy filling is so similar to cheesecake, there was my answer: make it a cheesecake instead!

It was so easy to do. I just made my favorite vanilla cheesecake with a pretzel crust instead of the usual vanilla wafer crust, and then I topped it with the simple homemade fresh strawberry sauce that I shared earlier this week.

Now, if you’re at all intimidated by the thoughts of making a homemade cheesecake, don’t be! This recipe is actually very simple (you don’t even need to mess around with a water bath). The steps are all easy, and most of the time is hands-off while the cheesecake bakes, cools, and chills.

The hardest part might just be waiting for it to chill before you can dig in!

Well, the cheesecake was a big hit and was enjoyed by everyone. It was the perfect ending to our meal. And I’m telling you…I think it tastes even better than the original dessert. This one is a keeper and a repeater, my friends!

strawberry sauce being spooned onto a slice of vanilla cheesecake with pretzel crust

Ingredients you need:

  • Cooking spray
  • Pretzels (I use mini pretzels)
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Cream cheese
  • Eggs
  • Sour cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Homemade strawberry sauce

Here’s a look at how to make Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake:

two images, one a graphic of an oven with text that says preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan, the other of a bowl of crushed pretzels with a spoon in it with text that says combine crushed pretzels, melted butter, and sugar
two images, one of the pretzel mixture being pressed into the pan with a spoon with text that says press pretzel mixture firmly onto the bottom of the pan, the other of a bowl of cream cheese and sugar being beat with an electric mixer with text that says beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth
two images, one of an egg added to the bowl with text that says add eggs one at a time, mix after each until it is blended in, the other of sour cream and vanilla added to the bowl with text that says add sour cream and vanilla
two images, one of the finished batter in the bowl with text that says mix until smooth, the other of the batter in the pan with text that says pour into pan over crust
two images, one of the pan with foil wrapped around the bottom with text that says wrap bottom of pan with foil, the other a graphic of an oven with text that says bake 60 to 70 minutes or until center is almost set
two images, one a graphic of an oven with text that says turn oven off, leave cheesecake in oven 2 hours or until cooled, the other of the pan covered with paper towel and foil with text that says remove from oven, cover pan with paper towel and then foil
two images, one a graphic of a refrigerator with text that says refrigerate at least 4 hours or until thoroughly chilled, the other of a bowl of strawberry sauce with text that says meanwhile, make and chill the homemade strawberry sauce
two images, one of the finished sliced cheesecake with a knife to the side with text that says run knife around edges, remove sides of pan, and cut into 12 slices, the other of a slice of the cheesecake on a plate with a spoonful of strawberry sauce being put on top with text that says top each slice with strawberry sauce and enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • The homemade fresh strawberry sauce really makes this cheesecake extra delicious, and it’s very easy to make. I don’t recommend skipping it, but you can use a store-bought strawberry sauce in a pinch.
  • Having your cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream at room temperature will help ensure that the cheesecake is smooth and creamy, and it will also bake more evenly. To bring to room temperature, let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes to 1 hour (cutting the cream cheese into cubes can help it soften and come to room temperature quicker).
  • Once you start adding the eggs (and for the rest of the recipe), use the mixer on low speed just until everything is mixed together. This prevents your batter from having a lot of air bubbles, which will also prevent it from cracking.
  • A springform pan is a round pan that has a latch on the side which allows the sides to be removed from the bottom of the pan. It’s deeper than most cake pans or pie dishes (which is needed for most cheesecakes), and it makes removing and serving the cheesecake much easier.
    • Don’t skip the step of wrapping the bottom of the pan with foil, even if your pan says it it leak-proof. I learned this the hard way. You don’t want the butter from the crust to leak out and onto the bottom of your oven and burn.
a slice of plain vanilla cheesecake with pretzel crust being lifted away from the whole cheesecake

More Tips & Tidbits:

  • Overbaking a cheesecake will cause cracks. This is why we bake it at a lower temperature of 325°F and then shut off the oven while the center is almost but not quite set. During those 2 hours that the cheesecake stays in the oven, it will finish baking, and then it will gradually cool down (going from hot to cold too fast can also cause cracks).
  • To get clean slices, fill a glass or pitcher (one tall enough for the knife blade to be completely submerged) with hot water. Between each slice you make, dip the knife into the hot water to clean it off and wipe it dry with a paper towel.
  • Store cheesecake, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. 
  • You can freeze cheesecake whole or you can freeze it in slices. Wrap in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil (if freezing slices, wrap each individually and put them in a freezer bag). For best results, use within 1 to 2 months. 
slice of strawberry pretzel cheesecake on a white plate with a forkful of cheesecake in front of it

I hope you try this Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake

This Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake has a buttery, crunchy, salty-sweet pretzel crust, a creamy vanilla cheesecake filling, and a fresh strawberry sauce topping. It's the perfect dessert for spring, summer or any time of the year!
5 from 1 vote
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cooling + Chill Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Estimated Calories: 520

Ingredients

  • cooking spray

For the Pretzel Crust:

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels, I use about 6 ounces of mini pretzels
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar

For the Cheesecake:

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Strawberry Topping:

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Make the Pretzel Crust:

  • In a large bowl, combine the crushed pretzels, melted butter, and ¼ cup sugar. Mix until well-combined.
  • Press the pretzel mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan so that it is nicely compact (I use the back of a large spoon to press it down).

Make the Cheesecake:

  • Place the softened cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer (you can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer), beat on high speed until well-combined and the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until the egg is blended in.
    Note: Once you start adding the eggs, use low speed on the mixer for the rest of the recipe and just until everything is mixed together and smooth. This prevents your cheesecake batter from developing too many bubbles, which can cause cracks.
  • Add the sour cream and vanilla extract; mix on low speed just until well-combined and the batter is smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the pan over the crust.
  • Place the pan on a sheet of aluminum foil and bring the foil up the sides so that the bottom of the pan is wrapped in foil (this prevents the butter from the crust leaking out of the pan and onto the bottom of the oven and burning in the event the pan does not seal tightly; don't skip this step even if your pan says it is leak-proof!).
  • Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake is almost set
    To check: Give the pan a gentle shake (or you can tap the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon). The outer edges should be firm, and the center should have just a very slight jiggle to it – it should not be very loose. The middle may also look slightly sunken in as compared to the sides. This is normal at this point. The cheesecake will even out as it cools.
  • Turn off the oven. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 2 hours or until cooled. It will finish cooking during this time (so avoid opening the oven door, especially in the beginning), and it will cool down as well.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Cover the top of the pan with a paper towel and then with aluminum foil (the paper towel will help prevent any condensation that might form from dripping down on the cheesecake).
  • Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or until it is thoroughly chilled.

Make the Strawberry Topping and Finish:

  • Meanwhile, make the homemade strawberry sauce (<–click the link to go to the recipe); put it in the refrigerator to chill as well.
  • Gently run a knife between the cheesecake and the pan in case there is any sticking. Remove the sides of the pan. Slice the cheesecake into 12 equal pieces.
  • To serve: top each slice of cheesecake with 2 tablespoons of the strawberry sauce.

Notes

  • For a cute presentation, garnish each serving with a dollop of whipped cream, a strawberry slice, and a mini pretzel.
  • One recipe of strawberry sauce will be enough for 2 tablespoons of sauce per slice of cheesecake. If you’d like more than that, make a double batch!
  • Although homemade is best, you can use store-bought strawberry sauce, if desired. You will need 1½ cups.
  • Store cheesecake, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. 
  • You can freeze cheesecake whole or you can freeze it in slices. Wrap in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil (if freezing slices, wrap each individually and put them in a freezer bag). For best results, use within 1 to 2 months. 
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!

Cheesecake filling slightly adapted from McCormick.

Recipe Rating




Patty

Friday 10th of May 2024

Good morning, Can I substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream?

Michelle

Friday 10th of May 2024

Hi, Patty! I have never tried using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in this recipe, but I think it would work fine. If you try it, please let us know how it goes!

Michelle M

Wednesday 22nd of June 2022

I made this exactly as the recipe calls for, following every step, including making the homemade strawberry sauce. This cheesecake is absolute perfection! No cracks on the top and the texture was smooth and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness. I so much appreciated all of your explanations and tips! The paper towel with aluminum foil worked great. My husband said it was the best cheesecake he's ever had and he's had many cheesecakes over the years, so that's saying something. Thank you for a great recipe! It's a keeper!

Michelle

Wednesday 22nd of June 2022

Thank you so much, Michelle! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and rate the recipe, and your review totally made my day! I'm so happy that both you and your husband really enjoyed the cheesecake!