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Easy Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie with Pretzel Crust
Our luscious Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie is an easy summer treat the whole family will love!
No-bake cream cheese pies have been around for ages. Similar pies are some of the first I ever made as a young baker. Our no-bake strawberry cream cheese pie filling is made with just four ingredients and couldn’t be easier. As a result, anybody can make this pie even without culinary skills!
What makes this strawberry cream cheese pie memorable is the combination of sweet, creamy, salty and crunchy!
The combination of pretzels, cream cheese and strawberries may seem random, but it works! It’s a terrific combination of flavors and textures.
This pie is a nod to the famous, and beloved, Strawberry Pretzel Salad made with cream cheese, gelatin and frozen whipped topping. Our strawberry cream cheese pie recipe doesn’t include gelatin or frozen whipped topping, but I don’t think you’ll miss them at all.
How to make Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie
For the pretzel crust you’ll need:
- pretzel sticks, crushed
- graham crackers, crushed
- unsalted butter, melted
- granulated sugar
Combine the ingredients in a food processor or bowl, then press firmly into a pie plate. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, cool and refrigerate until ready to fill.
For the no-bake filling you’ll need:
- cream cheese
- sweetened condensed milk
- fresh lemon juice
- vanilla extract
Whip the cream cheese until fluffy then gently fold in the condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Pour the no-bake filling into the prepared pie crust and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24.
For the strawberry topping:
- fresh strawberries
- strawberry jam
For the topping you’ll need 4 cups ripe strawberries that have been cleaned and halved. Heat 2 tablespoons of your favorite strawberry jam in the microwave until slightly warm. Pour over the fresh strawberries and gently fold together.
Spoon a few strawberries on top of the pie to decorate, then pass the remaining with individual slices. Add a dollop of whipped cream, too, if desired.
Can Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie be made ahead?
The crust and filling can be made the day before. I don’t recommend preparing the strawberries until you’re ready to serve. An hour or two is fine, but if made the day before, the strawberries will start to breakdown. They’ll taste good, but won’t be as pretty.
We picked these strawberries from a local farm, at the peak of ripeness. They were the reddest strawberries I’ve ever seen and the flavor was phenomenal. Once covered in jam, strawberries start to soften and create lots of juice.
Unless the entire pie will be eaten soon after it’s assembled, I recommend waiting to add the strawberry topping until right before serving. If you’re only going to eat a few slices of pie right away, make half the topping for now, and the rest later so the strawberries are at their best.
If you wait to add the strawberry topping, and only spoon berries over individual slices, the pie crust and filling will keep well for about 5 days.
Can you substitute another fruit for the strawberries?
Absolutely! Any kind of berry work well on this pie. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries all compliment the creamy filling and crust. Use the coordinating jam or jelly and enjoy!
Fresh stone fruits would also be a delicious topping. Peaches, apricots and plums all sound good to me!
Do you have to use pretzels in the crust?
We use a combination of pretzels and graham crackers for this tasty crust. The salty bite of the pretzels is present, but not overpowering.
We first fell in love with pretzel crusts when creating our Frozen Margarita Pie recipe way back in 2011. I think you’ll find you love it too, so I hope you’ll give it a try!
Sweetened condensed milk was a game changer when introduced more than 150 years ago.
In the mid-1850’s, Gail Borden created a method for removing most of the water from cow’s milk so it could be preserved and canned safely. This invention made it possible for milk to be transported and stored without refrigeration.
Evaporated milk is the unsweetened cousin to sweetened condensed milk. Both are made using similar methods which removes about 60% of the water. These two canned milks are often confused with one another, but are not interchangeable in recipes.
Sweetened condensed milk has gotten a bad rap over the years, and is sometimes frowned upon by culinary kings. I say phooey to the naysayers! Just think, without sweetened condensed milk there could be no luscious Key Lime Pie or easy Peach Sherbet!
Sweetened canned milk is the perfect kitchen hack, used all around the world. Use it as a foundational ingredient for pies, as a sweetener for coffee, or in a wide variety of desserts like our Chocolate Peanut Butter Revel Bars.
Pour it over just about anything for a luscious treat. Milk and sugar is all you’ll find in a can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. What’s not to love?!
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Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie with pretzel crust
For the crust:
- 2 cups pretzel sticks (100g)
- 2 sheets of graham crackers, four squares (31g)
- 5 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (70g)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (55g)
For the filling:
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 4 cups fresh strawberries, halved (about 1 quart)
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
To prepare the pretzel crust:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch pie plate with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pretzels and graham crackers until crushed. You should have about 1 ¼ cups of crumbs. Add the melted butter and granulated sugar. Pulse until combined. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie plate. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely then refrigerate until ready to fill.
To prepare the filling:
- In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Fold the mixture together using a spatula taking care not to over-mix. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24 hours before serving. Overnight is best.
To prepare the strawberry topping:
- Just before serving the pie, prepare the strawberries. Pour the cleaned, halved strawberries into a large bowl. Spoon 2 tablespoons strawberry jam into a small bowl. Warm the jam in the microwave on 50% power for about 10 - 15 seconds. Stir the jam and pour over the bowl of cut strawberries. Using a spatula, toss gently to coat.
- Scoop mounds of strawberries on top of individual slices of the pie. Pass extra for serving, if desired.
- I don’t recommend mounding a lot of strawberries on top of the pie unless you plan to serve it all at once. If you anticipate leftovers, I recommend spooning the strawberries on each slice as they’re enjoyed. The filling is soft and too much weight will cause it to spread.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
Finally, here are a few more fresh strawberry recipes you might enjoy: