Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad Recipe

Summer is officially in full swing . . . we have the hot temperatures going on, swimming lessons, fireworks, and many family BBQ’s. And I am loving every minute of it! I would much rather have a hot summer than a freezing cold winter!

My parents have lived in the same house for almost 25 years. They have a pretty good sized backyard and shortly after they moved in, they planted a cottonwood tree that would give the yard lots of shade. Well, after about 20 years, it pretty much shaded the entire yard, which was so nice for hot summer days. We would have BBQ’s and parties in the backyard, along with killer barefoot soccer games (that usually ended up with one or more people injured- we are a pretty competitive family!). Well, in December 2011, we had a huge windstorm move through our area with tornado-like winds and it snapped my parents’ huge tree right in half- and landed smack dab on the neighbors house! Thankfully, a couple of others trees softened the blow, so it didn’t crush through the neighbors’ roof (but it definitely dented a lot of things! Thank goodness for insurance!).

Since the storm, my parents backyard has been like a hot desert . . . without that shade, we all just sweat to death when we are back there! Last summer, we hardly had any family gatherings because we didn’t have a place large enough (or cool enough!) to gather. My parents thought about putting in another tree, but didn’t want to wait 20 years for it to grow, so for now they settled for a nice awning. And just like that, our family parties were back in action!

We had a fun get-together for the 4th of July and I was planning on making my mom’s Raspberry Pretzel Salad, but I completely forgot to buy raspberries at the store. I started looking for something that I could use in place of it and I saw some cans of mandarin oranges in my pantry . . . the rest is history! It turned out awesome!

Serves: 15

Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad Recipe

1 hr, 30 Prep Time

7 minCook Time

1 hr, 37 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 2 cups pretzels, crushed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
  • 1 (8 oz) container Cool-Whip (non-dairy whipped topping)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large box (6 oz) orange Jell-o
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges


  1. For the first layer, combine broken pretzels, melted butter and 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together until well blended.  Press in  9 x 13" baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.  Cool completely.
  2. For the second layer, beat 1 cup sugar and cream cheese together until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Spread cream mixture over pretzel layer (be sure to seal the cream cheese layer against the sides of the pan so that the jello mixture (3rd layer) will not be able to leak through when added).
  3. For the third layer, mix orange Jell-o and boiling water together until Jello is completely dissolved.  Add mandarin oranges and let cool until slightly set.  Pour Jell-o over cream cheese layer and refrigerate until firm.
  4. Cut into squares and serve.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comment on this Recipe

12 Responses to “Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad Recipe”

  1. i was so exicited to make this! followed the directions sealed the cream cheese and then when i went to pour the jello on top it seperated and one little section bubbled and it soaked to the bottom now:( i put it in the fridge hoping it will still be ediable ? will it??
    • It should still be edible. Not sure what went wrong. We let the jello cool slightly before pouring it over the cream cheese layer. Sometimes it cools to the point that it starts to thicken just slightly. Hope this helps for a future attempt. :)
  2. Marsha Milton
    I make a Blueberry dessert that is very similar but uses powdered sugar instead of regular sugar. for me it makes it a little creamier! I love these kinds of recipes because there is no end to the choice of fruits and jello combinations you can use! (-:
  3. Hi! I've had this since I was a little kid. Unfortunately my son and I both have health concerns. Both of us don't eat gluten and I don't eat lactose. I'm taking a big risk because I miss this desert so much. I changed the cream cheese to 8ozs. of goat cheese and whipped topping to coconut cream topping and I used Quntino gluten free pretzels. So far both of those steps/layers has set up beautifully! Yay! When I got to the last step and it didn't say 'Add.. 2 cups cold water' does this mean it will be a firmer set, like jigglers? I'm so excited to see if my risk has paid off. Altering foods is challenging but better than being sick. Thanks for sharing the recipe.?

Leave a Comment