Don’t want to turn on your oven and bake?
These salty-and sweet bars are your saving grace.
The bars combine sweet with tart, smooth with crumbly, salty with sweet.
And you can knock them out in 15 minutes flat.
The best part of these freezer bars, in addition to being pink, is the use of one of my favorite ingredients, COOL WHIP Whipped Topping.
Copious amount of COOL WHIP in the freezer for a rainy day was totally normal in my household growing up.
This recipe is a play on something my mom used to make called Lemon Lush and when I saw this recipe on the Kraft site for No-Bake Raspberry-Lemon Bars, it got my wheels turning.
In addition to my love for the fluffy stuff, I love a good crumble topping. Actually, I am one of those people who picks off the crumble topping pieces from blueberry muffins or peach cobbler.
They are concentrated little balls of butter and sugar so of course that’s what I go for.
Except this crumb topping is not made from butter and sugar and flour.
It’s made from butter and sugar and Ritz crackers.
I have spring fever, badly. Maybe if I keep making frozen desserts spring and summer will arrive faster.
This is the type of refreshing dessert you want after a hard day at the beach.
In between that beloved crumble topping and the buttery, slightly salty Ritz cracker crust is the tangy-yet-sweet COOL WHIP middle that’s fluffy without being airy.
Gather the goods.
Place the crackers and powdered sugar into the cracker pulverizing container.
If you don’t have one of these or don’t have a food processor, place the crackers and sugar into a large ziptop bag and roll a glass or a rolling pin over it until you have crumbs.
Or hit the power-on switch for about 5 seconds.
How do you make Ritz crackers better? You crush them and add butter and sugar.
Stir until it combines and a dough forms.
Press slightly less than three-quarters of the dough into the prepared pan, reserving the remainder for the crumble topping.
Crack the seal on the thawed container of COOL WHIP.
How do you make a can of pink lemonade juice concentrate become amazing?
Add a can of sweetened condensed milk and a container of COOL WHIP. That’ll do the trick.
Pour the pink mixture over the crust, add the crumb topping, and freeze.
Allow this to set up for at least four hours. While waiting, remember that patience is a virtue.
The middle pink layer never quite freezes solid so you don’t have to struggle to slice it, yet it has a surprisingly long room temperature “shelf life” before it begins to melt.
Must be one of those magical properties of COOL WHIP.
I always go for that bite of softserve that is just slightly melty. This dessert tastes even creamier when it just begins to melt and is going to be my summertime go-to dessert.
Or my put-a-smile-on-my-family’s-face-in-a-hurry-dessert.
Pin This Recipe
Pink Lemonade Freezer Bars
These easy, no-bake bars combine salty-and-sweet and are always a hit. Crushed Ritz crackers form the crust and topping, and the filling is a tartly sweet and creamy mixture of whipped topping and pink lemonade. The bars are cool, refreshing, and perfect on a warm day.
- 120 crackers Ritz, about 3 cups crumbs
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (heaping)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)
- one 12-ounce can pink lemonade concentrate, thawed to liquid
- one 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- one 8-ounce container Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed to room temperature
- red or pink food coloring, optional (I used about one dozen drops of red food coloring)
- Line a 9-by-9-inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Place the crackers and powdered sugar in a food processor or blender to pulverize. Alternatively, cracker-crushing can be done by hand by placing crackers into a large ziptop food storage bag, zipping it shut, and rolling over the bag with a large glass, coffee can, or rolling pin).
- Place the cracker crumbs into a bowl, add the melted butter, and stir to combine.
- Press a little less than 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, set the pan aside, and reserve the remaining 1/4 of the cracker crumbs.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine pink lemonade concentrate, sweetened condensed milk, and stir until combined.
- Add the Cool Whip and stir until smooth.
- If desired, add food coloring drops to desired shade and stir until color is uniform.
- Pour the mixture over the crust, noting that you may have an extra half cup or so of the mixture depending on the height of your pan; do not overfill the pan. Use the extra mixture for a mini-tartlette, as a dip for fruit, or just eat it.
- Top with the reserved cracker crumbs by sprinkling evenly over the top.
- Place pan into the freezer to set up for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving. Store extra dessert in the freezer with a sheet of foil over the top. It will keep for up to 3 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 386Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 154mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 0gSugar: 40gProtein: 5g
Ritz-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cups (Vegan, use a GF cracker to make GF)
Related Sweet ‘n Salty Recipes:
Pretzel Peanut Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles (with Vegan & GF options)
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, laced with pretzels, encased in chocolate, and topped with more pretzels.
Compost Cookies – Chips of all kinds are included: Potato chips, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips. Sweet, a hint of salty, and full of texture.
This woman’s recipe is a bit different, but she definitely stole your photo.
Ugh how sad. Yes she sure did. I will contact her. Thank you for alerting me. It’s always amazing that there are no ethics left.
I’d like to make this for a party, but we’re having a lot of people. Would this be easy to double and make in a 13 x 9 pan, or would you recommend two pans then? I could maybe do one in my 9 x 9 and one in my 8 x 8. Thanks!! Really wanting to make this for the weekend!
I haven’t tried doubling so can’t say for sure but I think one 9×13 would work.
I knew I’d like this, and I was right. I have a similar recipe in which you use a graham cracker pie crust, and we love that as well–but the salty crust was a nice touch–I like the contrast of flavors. I bet it would be tasty with limeade, too!
I remember you telling me like LAST year that this was on your to-make-one-day list and glad you finally got around to these! Glad you’re happy and they were worth the wait….whew :)
Limeade would be great with the salty/sweet aspect too I bet!
Sigh…sometimes it takes me awhile to get around to making things…funny that you remember!!
I have about 20 women who make lots and lots of my recipes (and write to me to tell me about it) and you’re on that list and believe it or not, I actually can remember who’s husband doesn’t like nuts, who’s child won’t eat peanut butter, who loves lemon, etc. It’s how my brain works :)
Happy National Lemonade Day, Averie!! Stopping by to let you know that I’ve featured your Pink Lemonade Freezer Bars in a celebratory round up today: http://www.chattingoverchocolate.com/2014/08/national-lemonade-day-sips-sweets.html
Thanks for sharing your sweet recipe! Have a lovely day! :)
Thanks so much!
I made these last night. They were so easy! But after 4 hours they still were not set enough to cut, I had to scoop and plop. And the crust is so hard to get out of the pan without getting foil everywhere. I think they would work fine without the foil since the crust kind of pops out when it’s frozen. Also my pink lemonade concentrate was suuuuper tart so I’ll have to adjust for our taste next time. There WILL be a next time! I sound like I’m complaining but I’m not, promise! It’s a great recipe, just needs some tweaking to work for me. Also…your pictures are what made me want to try this…holy Ritz crumbs!
Thanks for trying them and I use the thicker, higher quality Reynold’s and it works great but if it’s easier for you to not use it, do what’s easiest. And sounds like your concentrate and mine were fairly different given both the setting up time as well as the tartness but with baking, there’s always a few tweaks that need to be made. Glad you like the recipe and will make it again!
This sounds like a wonder recipe, my family loves pink lemonade. I am wondering if you could add in bits of fruit like diced strawberry or kiwi? Or would be too weird?
I’m sure it would be great!
Can these be frozen longer? We are making some things for a mission trip fundraiser and they have to be frozen. How long is it good for?
They can be frozen for months if you want. So yes, making ahead is fine. Not sure when you take them out of freezer how long they will stay cool if you’re going to be outside or in warm weather but the make-ahead part is fine!
Yum! Averie, these look amazing! I’ve never seen Cool Whip over here in Australia though, does it taste like vanilla icing? Love the crunchy topping, mmmm… freezer bar goodness! Thanks for the beautiful recipe. Love the pictures too xx
Cool Whip is like whipped cream that’s sweetened and stabilized so that it doesn’t fall/collapse like real whipped cream would after a couple hours. It’s more fluffy like whipped cream than it is like frosting (icing). Crazy you can’t get it there. I can even get Cool Whip in Aruba! You could make these with real whipped cream that you sweeten, but…beware, they will collapse as the cream deflates over time, which is unavoidable with whipped cream.
Hm, I don’t think there’s anything similar to that here (in Western Australia… possibly the eastern states might stock it?). Do you think that adding half sweetened whipped cream and half cream cheese might work? It’d be a little more ‘cheesecakey’ but definitely more stable than the whipped cream alone. Darn it. Kraft needs to expand it’s Aussie product line!
Okay first of all… we need to talk about how cute your little girlie is in those giant sunglasses. Completely flipping adorable!!!
And second– thank you for sending me this recipe!!! LOVE IT. I am not likely to be hosting a sleepover anytime soon BUT! My momma has a birthday coming up and she is a lemon fanatic. These are gonna find their way to the dessert table no doubt!
Glad you saw these and that you can work them into something coming up! And that pic was taken about 18 mos ago – she seems like such a little peanut there to me :)
I made this and wrote about it here. Next time I need to try it with limeade!
ps I ate the extra filling with the leftover Ritz crackers I didn’t use for the crust. So good!
Glad you made it and enjoyed it and thanks for blogging about it!
Those Pink Lemonade Freezer Bars are not only delicious but beautiful too. Almost too pretty to eat…almost! Thanks so much for contributing to RecipeLionBlog.com with the recipe. You can check out your post among many others at http://blog.recipelion.com/tmhb-cool-whip-recipes/ for more recipes that use Cool Whip. Thanks again Averie!
I MADE THIS LAST NIGHT! Easy peasy lemon squeezy, and DELISH. :) Delish, Averie. You’re the best when it comes to sweet :) Is it bad I had some for my breakfast?!
Glad you love them and yes they are ” Easy peasy lemon squeezy” <--- my 5 year old just used that expression on my yesterday. I busted out laughing so hard coming from her little mouth :)
She did?! How freaking adorable is that?? What a sweetheart!
I was making dinner asking her if she could spell cat for me. She’s like, mom. Easy peasy lemon squeezy C-A-T as she screams it to me :)
I LITERALLY just laughed out loud, oooh my GOODNESS!!! SO funny and cute!!!!!!!! You must have just been hysterical when she said that! Oh, from the mouths of babes :)
Just wanted to say I made these yesterday and I had a little extra to taste test. Love the tangy/sweet/salty combo!
YAY!! Thanks for the report & glad you love them!
I make a recipe in a sound spring form pan with cool whip, frozen juice concentrate, cream cheese, icing sugar and a graham cracker crust. It is then frozen and delicious.
That sounds awesome. I have seen other COOL WHIP + cream cheese recipes but hadn’t ever combined it with sweetened cond milk. It never freezes *quite* solid; whereas I’d imagine it gets more solid/thick with cream cheese. I need to try your recipe!
These look amazing Averie! What a clever idea! I definitely look forward to making these to serve poolside this summer!
Thanks & thanks for the pin!
Hey – the recipe I posted today has CoolWhip!! These sound so delicious and refreshing – and your daughter is just way too adorable!!
I know I was drooling over it…and there have been so many C.W. recipes floating around the past week or so all of a sudden!
these look delicious and are such a cute color! love it!
Ohhh-pink fluffy stuff between a crust and crumble topping. Looks great and easy to make. I have used some cool whip in frostings to “lighten” them up for my husband. He isn’t a fan of rich buttercream like me. I also like to mix cool whip in with my banana soft serve, or just eat it straight out of the container (slightly thawed).
Ohh, I LOVE these!! Especially the no-bake aspect! Perfect after a day at the beach or a summer cookout!
they scream summer cookouts and potlucks, for sure!
Salty and sweet- can’t be beat! I’ll wait to try this on a day when we need some cooling off…but then I have it to look forward to.
The pink lemonade bars look wonderful, perfect treat for the summer for a day on the lake or beach. Awesome job and great pics, the colors are so vibrant and that’s saying a lot from my dinky laptop screen in a hotel! :-)
Love the pink lemonade bars, I am a sucker for pretty pink desserts, and I am a big fan of whipped cream!! Your daughter is very pretty :)
This looks like the perfect summer dessert! Love it!
I LOVE the sweet and salty taste combo- thanks for the recipes!
Cool whip definitely reminds me of being young (in Canada). My parents used to serve it on top of fresh summer strawberries. But they don’t sell it here in the UK!
These look amazing!! Cool whip is a favorite of mine as well :) It definitely reminds me of growing up and dipping strawberry after strawberry into the tub… mmm….. The cracker crumb is genius! I must try asap.
Your daughter is so cute too! That blonde hair, how could she not be yours? :)
Hi Averie. I love the lead-in to this recipe. I have totally had those moments when I needed to whip up a quick snack for those after school impromptu play dates.
I also love the step-by -step instructions and photos as you can see how easy this recipe is to make. You continue to amaze me with your creativity in the kitchen.
Oh I am SO GLAD you saw this and wrote in. You, and the mama/friend above you, Michele, are two mamas I respect so much and I am glad you can relate to my opening line. YES!
And the step-by-step is not something I do every single post in THIS much detail b/c it’s very time consuming, so a 15 min dessert isn’t really a 15min dessert :) But for this post, it was worth it!
Aww, you’re so sweet Averie. The feeling is totally mutual. I admire you because you actually create your recipes and they are stunning as well as delicious. Someday, I will have the confidence to be able to veer away from a recipe and create something of my own.
I know how time consuming step-by-step photos can be. I only do it because my friends need and enjoy them. It’s something they have gotten use to seeing on the blog so I continue doing it for them. Sometimes though, I just want to snap a photo of a finished product and call it a day. That is why I only post 2x a week because it takes so long for me to edit and write up a post.
Thanks for all the great tips on lightroom and the push to buy it. It has done wonders for my photos. :)
I just upgraded to LR4 about 1 week ago. Loving it! The finished images are just a little nicer than with LR3. For the 79 bucks, well worth it.
And doing step by step for others, my friend, you have a life. They arent bloggers and dont know what’s involved in ALL that goes into a post so you make sure you’re taking care of YOU and doing what you need to do :)
Great advice! I need to remember that more :)
I love the looks of these! Amazingly enough, my youngest was telling me yesterday how his favorite juice flavor is pink lemonade! That seems to happen a lot between my kiddos and your posts! Will keep you posted when I make these. Maybe for Fridays sleepover with the three other teenage boys that will be here! Missed u, Averie! :-)
I was hoping you’d see this post and want to make it b/c I actually thought about you when I was making it, thinking I bet Michele’s kids would like this and yes…that is TOO ironic about your kids and my desserts a day or two later. It happens LOTS!
Keep me posted on the results & reactions if you make it!
hillbilly icebox pie. one of my all time, my momma’s from west virginia, zomg I love this stuff.
I love that name! Never heard of that one but off to google it and see how close it comes to this!
I love anything with cool whip. These look delish!
Very interesting and creative! by the way, I made your peppermint/creme de menthe bars tonight (or a variation thereof). They were the first things from your blog I made, and I think they are my favorite recipe of yours. Perfection. Minty, creamy, vanilla-y perfection – and so quick, too!
Thanks for LMK they are a fave of yours. Funny, a very good friend of mine who I got to know in the blog world made them as one of the very first things from my blog and she wrote to me about it and the rest is history…she’s one of my besties and we’ve “known” each other for 3 years and it all started with those bars!
I am telling you, those mint bars of yours are genius, pure genius. I have never made them 100% according to the recipe (I seem to be incapable of following a recipe exactly…), but they are delicious how I make them and I am sure they are even more delicious in their original form. (The changes I made are very minor: I use all ground oats for the crust, instead of half oats and half nuts, and I use peppermint extract because I’m not sure if creme de menthe is vegan.) GENIUS.
ok Averie… maybe you should change the name of these bars to “the wham bam, thank you ma’am magical bars” – 15 minutes? no bake? salty/sweet? fruity, creamy? my head is spinning! amazing recipe.
Aww, thanks. It’s totally one of those really easy AND good desserts and it’s unexpected; the sweet/salty/tangy all working together.
These look so refreshing! Awesome idea :)
These look beautiful Averie!!! I am going to make these for my sister for her birthday! She loves anything with Cool Whip!
Aww, well aren’t you sweet. LMK how she likes them!
I made something kind of similar to this for my graduation party last summer, but it was strawberry flavored. I am sure you could easily make this one strawberry or that one pink lemonade. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a buttery cookie crust and a creamy middle. I have to say though, that these pink lemonade bars with condensed milk sound better than the ones I made with cream cheese. Sweetened condense milk >>>> cream cheese!
Omg I remember that post now! I have to say, the lightness of the COOL WHIP with the sweetened cond milk, are just…perfect together. Yes to: Sweetened condense milk >>>> cream cheese!
yes ma’am! a hard day at the beach welcomes this kind of treat!
i am printing this one and saving it for the 90 degree days ahead
I think you will love them! Please LMK if you make them! I saw Erica make your choc cookies today. Now I want to make them even more!
im saving this recipe! thank you!
also, i’m sure i missed this post somewhere but i thought you were vegan? when did that change?
About 2 years ago :)
I have this post you may want to read since you asked. Thanks for following along over the years!
Ahh love all these summery recipes! :) My mom would LOVE this one! Sending her the link!
LMK if she makes them. It’s SUCH a MN/WI type recipe :)
How fun and girly!! I could eat an entire tub of cool whip ;)
Me too :)
I love Cool Whip! My husband thinks I am crazy, glad I am not alone :) These bars sound amazing, perfect for a summer afternoon!
Tell him HE’S the crazy one :)
I love recipes like this. I bet the Ritz crackers make it too. PS – Skylar is adorable!
Between this and the compost cookies, I’ve been on the salty/sweet desserts lately!
Really cool Cool Whip dessert! Love the photos on the beach, which reminds me that I need vacations, away from everything, just my family and the beach, and blue water…:) and this dessert, strait from the freezer.
In going thru my photo stash, I was feeling major beach withdrawals..ha!
Yum those look so good, so trying them.
Please LMK how you like them!
Very cool – that would be super cute for a girlie girl’s birthday party too.
This is awesome. Love the pink! It reminds me of the summer days poolside as a kid and my sister and I would like away at our “frozen pink lemonades”
Reminds me of time with my sister and growing up, too. And my grandma…she loved recipes like this.