Homemade Strawberry Sauce (Topping)

Make homemade strawberry topping sauce for your desserts or breakfast using fresh strawberries with this simple 10 minute recipe. When strawberries aren’t in season, use frozen strawberries instead.

strawberry sauce dessert topping in glass jar

After publishing no bake cheesecake jars, I figured a completely separate post for the strawberry topping sauce would be appreciated! I actually made a triple batch of it last week when strawberries were on mega sale and froze the sauce in freezer tupperwares. (Freezes and thaws like a dream!)

But this strawberry dessert topping has actually been an essential for years, pairing with everything like pound cake, cheesecake, ice cream, and strawberry french toast casserole. I have plenty more suggestions below and yes, this stuff is totally acceptable at breakfast!

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Strawberry Topping

  • 5 simple ingredients
  • 10 minutes
  • Nothing artificial
  • No preservatives
  • Made from real strawberries
  • Supremely versatile

strawberry sauce dessert topping in glass jar

Isn’t this jar cute?!

What You Need

  1. Fresh or frozen strawberries: Hulled & halved.
  2. Cornstarch + water: Mix the two to create a slurry. Without mixing with water, the cornstarch will leave white chunks in your strawberry sauce.
  3. Lemon juice + zest: Keeps the flavor bright. The sauce won’t taste like lemon, I promise!
  4. Sugar: Just enough to sweeten the sauce without taking away from the strawberry’s natural flavor.

I include a strawberry compote recipe with my brown butter pound cake. This strawberry topping sauce is almost identical, but I use a little less cornstarch here. Today’s strawberry sauce is on the thicker side, but it’s not quite as thick as the compote. The compote is closer to a jam consistency.

washed fresh strawberries

Video Tutorial

How to Make Strawberry Sauce

This strawberry sauce cooks on the stove in about 10 minutes.

  1. Mix the cornstarch and water together.
  2. Place everything, including the cornstarch mixture, into a medium saucepan. Mash the strawberries a bit with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. This helps the release the juices and cooks down the strawberries.
  3. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. The sauce will begin to thicken.
  4. Remove from heat and allow strawberry sauce to cool.

This is a chunkier style strawberry sauce, providing wonderful texture to no bake cheesecake, waffles, biscuits, and so much more. But the amount of strawberry chunks is up to you. For less chunks, mash up the strawberries a little more as the sauce cooks.

strawberry sauce in saucepan

Prefer a chunk-free sauce? For no strawberry chunks, blend the finished sauce in a blender until you reach your desired consistency.

strawberry sauce topping

strawberry dessert topping on ice cream

Endless Uses for Strawberry Topping!

What will you use it for?!

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strawberry sauce dessert topping in glass jar

Homemade Strawberry Sauce (Topping)

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


You can use fresh or frozen strawberries in this versatile strawberry topping sauce. This topping is fresh, quick, & easy and gives desserts that little something extra!


  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) warm water
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced in half (you can use frozen; don’t thaw)
  • zest and juice from 1/2 small lemon (see note)*
  • 1/4 cup (50ggranulated sugar


  1. Whisk the cornstarch and water together until all the cornstarch has dissolved. (I just use a fork to mix– very easy.)
  2. Place the cornstarch mixture, along with the rest of the ingredients, into a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir the mixture as it cooks. Break up some of the strawberries as you stir.
  3. Bring it to a simmer and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. After 5 minutes, remove pan from the heat and allow to cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
  4. You can serve the sauce warm before it cools completely if desired, or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Strawberry topping will be thick after refrigeration, so microwave for 15 seconds or warm on the stove to thin out, if desired.


  1. Freezing Instructions: After the strawberry sauce cools completely, freeze in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3-6 months. Thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator. Warm up in the microwave or on the stove, if desired.
  2. Strawberries: You need a 1 pound carton of strawberries, which is 16 oz, 3-4 cups, or 450g.
  3. Other berries: You can substitute other berries such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries for the strawberries with no other changes to the recipe. Cherries work too– pit and halve them first. If the berries are extra sweet, feel free to reduce down to 3 Tablespoons of sugar.
  4. Lemon: Lemon brightens the flavor of the strawberry topping. You need about 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Feel free to skip the lemon zest if needed.
  5. Chunks: The amount of strawberry chunks is up to you. For less chunks, mash up the strawberries a little more as the sauce cooks. For no strawberry chunks, blend the finished sauce in a blender until you reach your desired consistency.

Keywords: strawberries


  1. What if I don‘t have cornstarch? Can I use flour instead? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andrea, We haven’t tested it to say for sure exactly how much you would need, but you would need to use more flour than cornstarch to thicken this as much. Let us know if you try it!

  2. This recipe is so simple and tastes amazing! How long does it last in the fridge??

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kristine, you can store this sauce in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For longer, see recipe notes for freezing instructions.

  3. I’m actually making the no bake cheesecake and the suggested toppings linked me to this recipe. Can I make the sauce and spread it all out on my cheesecake after it’s made if I’ll be refrigerating the leftovers?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:


  4. Hi Sally,

    Can this recipe be used in a layered cake as filling? Will it be too runny if I don’t use gelatin? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Keren, We don’t recommend using this strawberry sauce as a cake filling. It’s a little too thin and could spill out the sides. It would, however, be a great filling for cupcakes.

  5. Can I use a water bath canner to store this in mason jars?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen! I’m sure you could, but we haven’t tried it yet. Let us know if you do and how it goes.

  6. Kaitlynne Perez says:

    Hey Sally I was wondering if this topping is supposed to be sour and if not then I messed up. How do I fix it?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kaitlynne, the sauce shouldn’t be sour — were your strawberries particularly sour? That could be why! Starting with a batch of sweet strawberries will result in a sweeter sauce.

  7. This ended up being way too lemon-y for me. I was going for intense strawberry flavor but it tastes more like strawberry lemonade. Not bad but just not what I was hoping for. I didn’t even use the full amount of lemon juice or zest but they still overpowered the strawberries. I ended up making a second batch without any lemon and I like that one much better. I might try it again some day but add the lemon juice/zest in small bits and tasting along the way.

  8. Hi Sally! What measurement would you suggest to replace strawberries with blueberries?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ashley, same amount (1 pound)!

  9. Hi Sally
    I want use this filling for cupcakes and will be making them a day ahead. Is it possible to fill them the day before serving them? How many cupcakes will this recipe fill? Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. When I need a recipe I always go to yours!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lori, it depends on how big you core the cupcakes and how chunky your sauce is, but we estimate this should fill about 24 cupcakes, give or take. You can fill them the day before and store in the fridge. Hope you love this one!

  10. Hi! I was wondering how many cupcakes this would fill? I need enough for 24-26 cupcakes. Also, would your normal whipped cream be enough to frost that amount of cupcakes? Thank you!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi DG! It depends on how big you core the cupcakes and how chunky your sauce is, but we estimate this should fill about 24 cupcakes, give or take. We recommend multiplying our whipped cream recipe by 2x to frost your cupcakes (our recipe yields about 2 cups of whipped cream). Enjoy!

      1. Thank you so much! The sauce is cooling now and smells awesome!

  11. Does this have to be refrigerated? I’m trying to mail it

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jess, unfortunately, this strawberry sauce isn’t the best candidate for mailing.

  12. Too sour needs more sugar and less lemon!

  13. Yummy! Such a simple yet delicious recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Hello Sally,

    If using frozen cherries instead of strawberries, can I also add kirsch? If so, how much? Thanks

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Diana! We haven’t tested it, but you could definitely add kirsch- we would start with a couple tsp and add to your taste.

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