No-Bake Pineapple Pretzel Salad

Candied pretzel pieces are sprinkled over a whipped topping and cream cheese fluff to become the BEST No-Bake Pineapple Pretzel Salad.

If there was an official must have dish for all potlucks, holiday meals and parties this Pineapple Salad would be it!  People will ask for the recipe because it is creamy and delicious with a salty twist that makes you want more.

Bowl full of white and creamy pretzel pineapple salad with candied pretzels broken on top on a yellow and white napkin with a silver serving spoon to the side.

Pineapple Pretzel Salad Recipe

Whipped topping and cream cheese mix together to create a fluffy base.  Pretzels are microwaved in butter and sugar and then set-up until they become candied.  The sweet and salty pretzel pieces are sprinkled over the fluff for one of the most memorable dessert salads we’ve eaten!

I love that two simple mixtures make one of the best flavor combinations for a light dessert.  Each portion of the recipe can each be prepared the day before.  Wait until it’s time to serve to sprinkle the candied pretzels over top of the fluff. 

Similar to our Pineapple Cream Cheese Pie this no-bake dessert saves precious time and effort.  Typically the pretzels would be oven baked in a crust, but heating them for three minutes in the microwave to become caramelized is such a time saver.

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Bowl of no-bake pineapple pretzel salad next to whole pineapple

A few of our other favorite no-bake desserts are Strawberry Banana Split Cake and Angel Food Cake Trifle.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Pineapple Pretzel Fluff has the perfect balance of sweet and salty to make our favorite dessert salad.
  • This recipe is super simple to mix up and can easily be made ahead of time.
  • Can be served in a bowl of in layers with the pretzels as the crust, the cream cheese and pineapple layer next and topped with the Cool Whip. It’s so delicious either way!
Candy coated pretzel pieces sprinkled on top of a spoon full of pretzel salad with pineapple over top of a white bowl full.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Crushed Pineapple – we like to use a can in natural juice.
  • Butter – makes the pretzels richer.
  • Sugar – sweetens both the pretzels and the pineapple fluff.
  • Pretzels – be sure to use fresh pretzels, sticks work fine, but we typically use the traditional pretzels.
  • Whipped topping – also known as Cool Whip – be sure to defrost in the refrigerator before using.
  • Cream Cheese – Philadelphia brand does have a slightly better flavor than store brand, but definitely costs more.
Ingredients to make pineapple pretzel salad are a can of crushed pineapple in natural juices, butter, Cool Whip, sugar, pretzels and cream cheese on a white counter top.

Also Known as Pineapple Pretzel Fluff

The pretzels are fun because they can be stirred in, sprinkled on top or pressed in the bottom of a pan to make a crust and create a layer dessert like our Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad.

These are two of my favorites for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It also makes me think of a dessert salad my mom makes calls Marshmallow Salad with the colored marshmallows and a pudding mix.  I like Pineapple Pretzel Fluff because it’s sweeter and has fruit in it.

A friend shared this recipe with me because it’s a family favorite.  I was skeptical that it was too simple to be impressive until I gave it a try.  Never again will I underestimate a sweet and salty pretzel fluff.

The light, fluffy and sweet citrus flavors remind us of our other tropical recipes: Orange Sherbet Jello Salad and Orange Cake with Pineapple Icing.

White serving bowl full of pretzel fluff with a serving spoon to the side and a fresh pineapple on the other side sitting on a yellow and white napkin.

How To Make Pineapple Pretzel Salad

  1. Using a large bowl and a mixer, mix together 1/2 cup sugar and cream cheese.
  2. Fold in or slowly mix Cool Whip and pineapple. Then refrigerate a few hours or overnight.
  3. Mix melted butter, crushed pretzels and 1/4 cup sugar together.
  4. Microwave crushed pretzel mixture for 3 minutes, stirring after each minute.
  5. Allow to cool and stir occasionally to prevent sticking together.
  6. Stir together with first mixture just before serving.
Close up pieces of crushed pineapple wrapped in a rich and creamy mixture and topped with sweet pretzel pieces.

Step By Step Instructions

Put some pretzels in a bag, leaving a small opening for air to escape and use a rolling pin to break up the pretzels into pieces.

In a microwave safe dish melt butter and add sugar and pretzel pieces.

Pretzel pieces sitting in a pool of melted butter with a small pile of granulated sugar in a glass mixing bowl.

Stir together and allow to cool before adding to the fluff mixture.

Broken pretzel pieces being stirred into melted butter and sugar with a spoon in a glass dish.

Defrost the whipped topping or Cool Whip and allow the cream cheese to soften.

Stir or beat softened cream cheese until smooth to ensure it will mix well with the other ingredients.

Softened cream cheese stirred in a white mixing bowl.

Drain crushed pineapple and add to cream cheese along with the sugar.

Drained, crushed pineapple poured into a mixing bowl of softened cream cheese with a wooden spoon.

Stir until mixed well. This recipe is easy to mix by hand if the cream cheese is nice and soft.

Wooden spoon stirring crushed pineapple into softened cream cheese.

Then add Cool Whip and gently fold in until well mixed.

Cool Whip being added to a bowl of pineapple salad.

This portion of the pineapple fluff salad can be refrigerated for a day or two before mixing in or layering with the candied pretzels.

Sweet and creamy mixture of cream cheese, sugar, Cool Whip and crushed pineapple in a white bowl.

When ready to serve add half or a little more of the candied pretzels and stir in.

Candied pretzel pieces added to a large mixing bowl of pineapple fluff salad in a white mixing bowl with a red spatula.

Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle the remaining pretzel pieces on top.

A generous layer of sweetened pretzels poured over top of a dish of pineapple pretzel fluff on a yellow and white plaid napkin.

Serve chilled and enjoy!

Tips for Making Pretzel Fluff

  • Drain pineapple well in a strainer, not just in the can or you will have more of a pineapple soup than a pineapple fluff
  • Well-drained pineapple will help the pineapple pretzel salad set-up properly
  • Defrost frozen topping in the refrigerator overnight for the best quality
  • To make this pretzel salad ahead of time mix up each of the two components, but keep them separate until serving time & know that candied pretzels may stick together and need broken up again
  • Mix candied pretzels and fluff just before serving to prevent pretzels from becoming soggy
  • Both mixtures can be stirred together to accomplish the same amazing taste, but the look is very plain because everything is white like the whipped topping
  • Garnishing with candied pretzels looks much more attractive
Creamy, crunchy sweet dessert salad made with crushed pineapple, whipped topping, cream cheese and pretzels in a white bowl with a pineapple in the background.

Other Easy No-Bake Dessert Recipes

bowl of pineapple pretzel salad

Pineapple Pretzel Salad

Servings 10 servings
Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life
Candied pretzel pieces are sprinkled over a whipped topping and cream cheese fluff to become the BEST No-Bake Pineapple Pretzel Salad. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes

Ingredients
  

Pineapple Fluff

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip thawed
  • 20 ounce can crushed pineapple well-drained

Candied Pretzel Topping

  • 1 stick butter melted
  • 1 1/2 cups pretzels broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions
 

Pineapple Fluff

  • Mix together softened cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar.
  • Add Cool Whip and pineapple. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Candied Pretzel Topping

  • Mix together melted butter, pretzels and remaining sugar in a microwave safe bowl with room to stir.
  • Microwave for 3 minutes, stirring after each minute.
  • Allow to cool and stir occasionally as it cools so it won't stick together.
  • Mix with first mixture just before serving.

Notes

  • Well-drained pineapple will help the pineapple pretzel salad set-up properly
  • To make this pretzel salad ahead of time mix up each of the two components, but keep them separate until serving time & know that candied pretzels may stick together and need broken up again
  • The candied pretzels can be mixed in, sprinkled on top or used as a crust on the bottom layer

Nutrition

Calories: 332kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 4gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 310mgPotassium: 155mgFiber: 1gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 655IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

Tried this recipe?Mention @PlowingThroughLife or tag #PlowingThroughLife!

Originally published November 4, 2019 with pictures updated on July 16, 2023.

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