Skip the store-bought and make strawberry shortcake completely from scratch. With only a handful of basic ingredients, you can make tall fluffy sweet biscuits. Layer them with juicy strawberries and 3 ingredient fresh whipped cream for a totally unforgettable summer dessert. Everyone needs this recipe!
Today is real food and real flavor brought to life without any peanut butter swirls, caramel drizzles, rainbows, chocolate chunks, candy bar pieces, sprinkles, or unicorn magic. Strawberries + sweet biscuits + whipped cream. Every summer has a different song anthem with the latest chart-topping hit, but the summer dessert anthem stays the same year after year. And that dessert we just can’t get out of our heads, tastes delicious any time of day, and soothes our summertime soul is most definitely strawberry shortcake. ♥
Here’s What You Don’t Know About Strawberry Shortcake
Completely homemade strawberry shortcake is easier than you think. Skip the store-bought biscuits and toss the packaged whipped cream that’s loaded with who-the-heck-knows-what. Instead, have fun making strawberry shortcake at home. The biscuits come together with butter, flour, sprinkle of sugar, and milk. Load them up with juicy strawberries and homemade whipped cream that, again, is so simple. If you can reach for store-bought whipped cream in the dairy aisle, you can make fresh whipped cream at home.
I hope I’m not overwhelming you with all this homemade goodness– I promise it’s all VERY easy. And that’s what summer is about, right? Simple, happy, pure homemade goodness that celebrates the season’s fresh flavors.
Fresh Strawberries for Strawberry Shortcake
You only need two ingredients for the strawberry filling: sugar and fresh strawberries. Chop up the strawberries and mix with a little sugar. The sugar helps strawberries release all their delicious juices, which will seep down into the sweet biscuits and whipped cream. (Aka the best part about strawberry shortcake!) I recommend mixing the strawberries and sugar together before you make the biscuits; this gives the strawberries some time to juice up.
Moving onto the biscuits!
Homemade Sweet Biscuits in 4 Steps
Homemade biscuits are one of life’s greatest treasures. The strawberry shortcake biscuit recipe is similar to my homemade biscuits, but we’ll add a little sugar since it’s dessert. Let’s make the biscuits in 4 easy steps.
- Cut cold butter into dry ingredients– you can use either a pastry cutter or food processor
- Add milk and stir.
- Cut into shapes.
How to Shape Biscuits
My #1 tip for shaping biscuits: Do NOT twist the cutter. Firmly press the cutter down into the biscuit dough. Twisting the cutter into the dough will seal off the biscuit edges, preventing the biscuits from rising.
Did you know that biscuits rise even taller when they’re touching? They help lift one another up, so press them snug together before baking. You can bake the biscuits on a lined baking sheet, cast iron skillet, or round cake pan. A brush of heavy cream and sprinkle of coarse sugar gives the sweet biscuits a delightfully crisp top.
Homemade Whipped Cream
Just 3 ingredients here: cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. The colder the heavy cream, the more volume your whipped cream has. Unlike store-bought whipped cream, you can control the amount of sugar. I prefer lightly sweetened whipped cream with strawberry shortcake, so we’ll only use 2 Tablespoons. And another thing! Homemade whipped cream tastes 100x better than store-bought. It’s refreshing, creamy, and pillow-soft.
Let’s Assemble Strawberry Shortcake
After the biscuits bake, it’s time to assemble the strawberry shortcakes. Strawberry shortcake is fantastic with warm biscuits, cold strawberries, and cold whipped cream– but you can also wait for the biscuits to fully cool.
Assembling the strawberry shortcakes is the fun part! You can totally set up a “strawberry shortcake bar” where everyone makes their own stacks. Who doesn’t love a DIY dessert bar?! And you could definitely add blueberries to the sweet strawberries for a patriotic treat in the summertime. 🙂
I recommend going heavy on the whipped cream dollop because you know it’s the best part!
More Easy Summer Desserts
- Key Lime Pie – only 3 ingredients in the filling
- No Bake Cheesecake
- Peach Cobbler – with homemade biscuit topping
- Fruit Pizza
- Lemon Blueberry Cake
Skip the store-bought and make easy homemade strawberry shortcake instead. You’ll be surprised how simple it is to make homemade biscuits and whipped cream!
Strawberries + Whipped Cream
- 6–7 cups quartered strawberries
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons (75g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for hands and work surface*
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons aluminum free baking powder (yes, Tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (180g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 cup (240ml) cold buttermilk*
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream or buttermilk
- coarse sugar, for sprinkling
- Start with the strawberries: Stir the strawberries and 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar together in a large bowl. Cover and set in the refrigerator until ready to use. This time allows the strawberries to release their delicious juices.
- Make the biscuits: Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Mix the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl or in a large food processor. Whisk or pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or by pulsing several times in the processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. If you used a food processor, pour the mixture into a large bowl.
- Pour buttermilk on top. Fold everything together with a large spoon or rubber spatula until it begins to come together. Do not overwork the dough. The dough will be shaggy and crumbly with some wet spots. Pour the dough and any dough crumbles onto a floured work surface and gently bring together with generously floured hands. Using floured hands or a floured rolling pin, flatten into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle as best you can. Cut into 2.75 or 3-inch circles with a biscuit cutter. (Tip: Do not twist the biscuit cutter when pressing down into the dough– this seals off the edges of the biscuit which prevents them from fully rising.) Re-roll any scraps until you have 10-12 biscuits. Note that I skipped re-rolling when photographing these steps, so you only see 9 in the picture above.
- Arrange in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (see note) or close together on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet. Make sure the biscuits are touching.
- Brush the tops with 2 Tablespoons heavy cream or buttermilk and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before assembling.
- Make the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until soft-medium peaks form, about 3 minutes.
- Slice the biscuits in half and layer with strawberries and whipped cream. Serve immediately.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Each part of this recipe can be prepared ahead of time. Make the biscuits up to 3 days in advance and store covered tightly at room temperature– or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before using. Prepare the strawberries in step 1 up to 1 day in advance. Prepare the whipped cream up to 1 day in advance. Store both in the refrigerator.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Pastry Cutter or Food Processor | 3-Inch Biscuit Cutter or 2.75-Inch Biscuit Cutter | 10-inch Cast Iron Skillet | Pastry Brush | Silpat Baking Mat | Baking Half Sheet
- Flour: Starting with cold flour is helpful when making biscuits. If you can remember, place the flour in the freezer 30 minutes before beginning.
- Baking Powder: To avoid a chemical aftertaste, make sure your baking powder is labeled aluminum free. I usually use Clabber Girl brand and though the ingredients state aluminum, I’ve never noticed an aluminum aftertaste. Alternatively, you can reduce the baking powder down to 1 Tablespoon and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
- Buttermilk: You can substitute whole milk for buttermilk if desired. Acidic buttermilk isn’t needed in order for the biscuits to rise since we’re using baking powder. However if you’d like the tangy flavor, which I highly recommend, you can make your own sour milk substitute. Add 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough cold milk to make 1 cup. (You need 1 cup in the recipe, plus 2 Tbsp for brushing– you can use regular milk to brush on top.) Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe. Whole milk is best for the DIY sour milk substitute, though lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch. (In my testing, the biscuits don’t taste as rich or rise quite as tall using lower fat or nondairy milks.)
- If you’re using a cast iron skillet: If your cast iron skillet isn’t well seasoned, I recommend greasing it with a little vegetable oil or melted butter. Brush a thin layer of either on the bottom and around the sides. No need to heat the cast iron skillet before using, though you certainly can. Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes before arranging the shaped biscuits in it.