Raspberry Jello Dessert

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This Raspberry Jello Dessert is our all-time favorite! A variation on the famous “strawberry pretzel salad”, but with a thick graham cracker crust and raspberries instead. This is a simple-to-make and crowd-pleasing treat or addition to your holiday table.

Image of the Raspberry Jello Dessert on a plate

Easy Raspberry Jello Dessert

Being born and raised in Utah, strawberry pretzel salad has been a staple in my diet. They show up at just about any potluck, party, or holiday dinner. Sometimes they’re served for dessert, but more often than not, we pass them off as a salad as if they were filled with leafy greens.

It may be one of my favorite things ever about the place where I live. Because it means I can have a scoop of this “salad” (yes, we call it a salad haha) next to a pile of mashed potatoes and green beans plus dessert later on. It’s a beautiful thing.

I mean, there are raspberries in there so that’s got to count for something right?!

This recipe is adapted from the famous Strawberry Pretzel Salad/Dessert Bars. We’re swapping the often-troublesome pretzel crust with my reliable Graham Cracker Crust, thickening the center layer a bit to avoid seeping, and swapping strawberries for raspberries. Truthfully, this version is my favorite! And you can bet this Raspberry Jello Dessert is always on my holiday table!

And a side note: Jello®is a brand name of a type of gelatin dessert. Any prepared gelatin dessert mix will work. 

Process shots-- images of the graham crackers being blended together and then sugar and butter being added and it all being mixed together

Graham Cracker Crust

 Raspberry Jello Dessert starts with a thick, sweet, and buttery graham cracker crust. These tips below will help to ensure a perfect crust every single time!

  • Let the melted butter cool. Once the butter is melted, it needs to cool back to room temperature. If the butter is hot, it will melt the sugar and crushed crackers, which will cause a greasy crust. 
  • Measure the crumbs. While it’s easiest to just add graham cracker sheets to the blender and hope for the best, there can be a good amount of variation from cracker to cracker and brand to brand. Measure the crumbs instead of counting out graham cracker sheets. 
  • Blend graham crackers thoroughly. To ensure there aren’t large chunks of graham cracker in the crust, which will affect how nicely these Raspberry Jello Dessert bars cut out, thoroughly blend the graham crackers until they are fine crumbs. Add any chunks that didn’t blend completely back into the blender and blend again.

QUICK TIP

If you’d prefer to make a raspberry pretzel cream cheese dessert, swap out the graham cracker crust for a pretzel crust!

Process shots Raspberry Jello Dessert-- images of the crust being pressed into the pan and then the cream cheese filling being beat together

Cheesecake Filling

This Raspberry Jello Dessert does not work well with lower fat products (particularly lower fat cream cheese or whipped topping). Low-fat products won’t thicken up or set properly, which can cause a watery filling that allows the Jello to seep through and cause the crust to become soggy. We need all the firmness in this layer!

  • Cream cheese: For best results, use full-fat brick-style cream cheese. I also recommend a good quality brand; We love Philadelphia Cream Cheese® best.
  • Whipped topping: Be sure the whipped topping is fully thawed through so it can fold in nicely with the other ingredients.
  • Sugar: This ensures a sweet cheesecake-esque filling. We think the amount of sugar is perfect, but if you’d prefer a tarter filling, reduce this amount a touch.
  • Vanilla: This adds a nice complexity and “finishing touch” to this layer.

QUICK TIP

To soften cream cheese: Place the completely unwrapped package of cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 10-15 seconds, check, flip to the other side, and then microwave for an additional 10-15 seconds as needed. You don’t want it at all melted, just softened to room temperature.

Process shots-- images of the whipped cream being whipped together and being layered on top of the dish

Raspberry Jello Topping

The last layer of this layered Raspberry Jello Dessert is only 3 ingredients: 

  • Raspberry Jello: Watch the ounces on the box to ensure you grab the right size — we’re looking for the big box (a full 6 ounces). Avoid lower-sugar alternatives here.
  • Boiling water
  • Frozen raspberries: We don’t recommend fresh raspberries in this recipe — we’re relying on them being frozen to help quickly set up that top Jell-o layer!

Process shots of the Raspberry Jello Dessert-- images of the jello being whisked together and the frozen raspberries being added and it all being poured on top of it

 

STORAGE

Raspberry Jello Dessert Storage

These bars are best served within 1-2 days of making. After that,t the bars begin to get watery/seep out liquid. These bars do not freeze and thaw well.

Image of the Raspberry Jello Dessert on a plate ready to be served

More Raspberry Treats

FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content.

Raspberry Jello Dessert

5 from 10 votes
This Raspberry Jello Dessert is our all-time favorite! A variation of the famous strawberry pretzel salad, but with a thick graham cracker crust and raspberries instead! This is a simple-to-make and crowd-pleasing treat or addition to your holiday table.
Print Recipe

Raspberry Jello Dessert

5 from 10 votes
This Raspberry Jello Dessert is our all-time favorite! A variation of the famous strawberry pretzel salad, but with a thick graham cracker crust and raspberries instead! This is a simple-to-make and crowd-pleasing treat or addition to your holiday table.
Course Dessert, Salad
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Raspberry Jello Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Chilling Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Servings 40 bars
Calories 115kcal
Cost $8.12

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs (12 full sheets)
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar

Cheesecake Layer

  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, (Note 1)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 container (8 oz.) nondairy whipped topping such as Cook Whip, thawed, full-fat (Note 2)

Raspberry Jell-o Layer

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 package (6 oz.) raspberry Jell-o
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen raspberries

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Crush the graham crackers in a blender or food processor until they are all fine crumbs. Re-blend any larger chunks. Melt butter and then set aside to cool to room temperature. (Don't add hot butter to the crumbs; it will make the crust greasy.)
  • GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST: In a large bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and white sugar until combined. Press this mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan (no need to go up the sides, just the base). Use the bottom of a flat 1-cup measuring cup to thoroughly compress the graham cracker crumbs into a firm crust. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • FILLING: Meanwhile, beat the softened cream cheese in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla extract and beat until combined, 1 more minute. Use a spatula to gently fold the thawed whipped topping into the mixture.
  • FILLING, CONTINUED: Spread this mixture onto the completely cooled graham cracker crust. Smooth it evenly, so that none of the graham cracker crust is exposed. (Otherwise, the jell-o will seep through.) Take your time to really seal the edges here with the filling. Place in the freezer while you prepare the last layer.
  • JELLO TOPPING: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the gelatin to a large bowl and pour the boiling water on top. Working quickly, briskly whisk until combined. Pour in the bag of frozen raspberries and stir until those are combined. Immediately (don't let this gelatin layer sit) pour it on top of the cream cheese layer and smooth it to make one even layer.
  • CHILL: Cover tightly and place in the fridge until completely set, about 4-6 hours. To get 40 servings, cut rows of 8 x 5. These make small pieces, so of course, feel free to cut them larger!
  • STORAGE: These bars are best within 1-2 days of making. After that the bars begin to get watery/seep out liquid. These bars do not freeze and thaw well.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Cream cheese: For best results, use full-fat brick-style cream cheese. (Reduced-fat cream cheese doesn’t taste as rich and isn’t as thick.) I also recommend a good quality brand; We love Philadelphia Cream Cheese® best.
  • To soften cream cheese: Place the unwrapped package of cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 10-15 seconds, check, flip to the other side then microwave for an additional 10-15 seconds as needed. You don't want it at all melted, just softened to room temperature. 
Note 2: Whipped topping: Unfortunately this is not a dessert that works well with lower fat products. Stick to the original full-fat whipped topping and cream cheese to avoid a watery filling or filling that doesn't set up properly. We need the fat for firmness in this layer!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.1g | Protein: 1.2g | Fat: 5.3g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 75.2mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 12.5g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

 

More Recipes You'll Love

"Fruit Pizza" Cheesecake Tart

32 mins

"Fruit Pizza" Cheesecake Tart

Click the Bookmark Icon to Add to Your Favories

Grilled Pineapple

20 mins

Grilled Pineapple

Click the Bookmark Icon to Add to Your Favories

Grape Salad

20 mins

Grape Salad

Click the Bookmark Icon to Add to Your Favories

Lemon Berry Slush

10 mins

Lemon Berry Slush

Click the Bookmark Icon to Add to Your Favories

FREE BONUS

FREE BONUS

EASY MEAL SECRETS:
How to Make Mealtime Hassle Free!

5 secrets to easy, fast and delicious dinners.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




35 Comments

  1. Thank you for your wonderful newsletter. I am looking forward to making the Raspberry Jell-O Cheesecake Bars. They look and sound so yummy. There is only one thing that I would like to suggest: when listing sugar as an ingredient say: granulated sugar not white. Experienced cooks know that you mean granulated only confectioners’ [powdered] sugar is white also. Thanks for listening.

  2. Hey Chelsea!
    These pictures are so delicious looking, I definitely have to try this! I’m located in Islamabad, Pakistan and we can only get cream cheese SPREAD, not the brick kind. Any idea if that will also work, or should I not bother trying?

    Also, can I substitute any whipping cream for cool whip?

    1. Rebecca, I haven’t tried that. I’m so sorry, I wish I could be more helpful. If you do try it, let me know how it works out? 🙂

    2. 5 stars
      I whipped up my own whipping cream instead of cool whip, and it worked just fine. this stuff is delicious, i wont say how much i ate all by myself;)
      Its probably pointless for me to say this since it’s like 5 yrs old. but hey, I guess it might help someone!!

      1. I am so thrilled to hear this! And no comment is ever pointless, it means so much to me and helps others! Thanks Jamie! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Do you believe that I’ve never heard about strawberry Pretzel Salads? Your recreation looks so delicious and your photos are stunning as usually 😉

    1. You’ll have to try it! I personally like the graham cracker bottom more than the pretzel, but both are amazing! Thanks again ❤

  4. 5 stars
    I used blueberry because raspberry is hard to find in this time of year. The taste was sublime.

  5. 5 stars
    OMG! Made this for supper last night for my Sister and Brother in law. What a hit!! My sister is taking this recipe back to Florida with them! Absolutely delicious!

    1. Kathie, i’m so happy to hear. It was definitely a big hit with my family too! 🙂

  6. Hello! I was curious as to how far in advance I can make this? I was wanting to make it two days in advance, do you think it will be soggy mess?

  7. I am excited to gi e this a try! Have you tried
    this with using only 8 oz of cream cheese? Just wondering as that is how much a brick of cream cheese is. I will rate this after giving it a try

  8. Our Jello doesn’t go by ounces here, is it the one that uses 1 cup of hot and 1 cup of cold if you were to mix it up as per instructions? Also our Cool Whip doesn’t come in ounces, is that the large container that holds about 4 cups or the smaller one that holds 2 cups?

    1. The smaller one that holds 2 cups 🙂 And the 1 cup hot, 1 cup cold sounds like the right amount of jell-o. Enjoy!

  9. I made this recipe, I changed it up a little bit, I made peanut crust with peanut ,flour, butter bottom, and also added raspberry preserves jam to the cream cheese and cool whip layer

  10. This looks so good! I’m going to try it with canned Mandarin Oranges or other canned fruits soon!

Never Miss a Recipe

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.