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. Oh yum! I looooove strawberry compote, especially paired with cheesecake! Yours looks delicious, SallyI can’t help but feel I should blend this up with some vanilla ice cream and a bit of milk to make a strawberry milkshake…with no added preservatives or stuff whose names I can’t even pronounce correctly! Considering how it’s past 10:00PM at night, I’m gonna have to wait a little while to satisfy my craving. I have a feeling I’m going to be dreaming about strawberry milkshakes tonight…

    1. Erin, that sounds INCREDIBLE! If you try it, let me know how it goes… Now I’m day dreaming of strawberry milkshakes 😉

  2. Can you use this recipe with other fruit as well? I have a ton of cherries. The strawberry milkshake is a wonderful idea as well.

    1. Yep absolutely! See recipe note.

  3. Can you swap out other berries such as cherries and raspberries in the recipe? ‘Tis the season!

    1. Sure can! See recipe note.

  4. Charlotte Moore says:

    This looks so delicious. Biscuits, waffles, pancakes…..

    1. The possibilities are truly endless! 🙂

  5. I just made some strawberry compote last week…so yummy! Question…in that recipe your slurry is 1-1/2T cornstarch to 4T water. Here it’s 1T cornstarch to 3T water. Isn’t the cornstarch:water ratio the almost the same? Wouldn’t the consistency for both sauces be just about the same? Sorry to nerd out on you, but I’m curious…you know I love your recipes! 😉

    1. Yes, the cornstarch/water ratio is pretty much the same, however, there is less overall cornstarch per the amount of strawberries and sugar. Less slurry per strawberries. Hope that makes sense!

  6. Thank you, Sally, for making this a separate post! It will be even easier now for me to find this delicious recipe (and maybe actually finally print it;)). And thank you for the freezer instructions, as that has been one of my questions. Your recipes are delicious! (And so much to learn from them).

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy having this recipe as a separate post! If you try this strawberry sauce I’d love to know what you think 🙂

      1. We have had this delicious strawberry compote already several times with your classic cheesecake. I’m ‘a little’ to that combination .

  7. Can this Strawberry recipe be stored in caning jars ? If so please tell me how to do this .

    1. Hi Judy! I’m sure it could be, but I haven’t tried canning this yet. Let me know if you do!

  8. Do you think I could process this in jars in a boiling water bath so I can give as gifts?

    1. Hi Mary! I’m sure you could, but I haven’t tried it yet. Let me know if you do and how it goes.

  9. Looks perfect for adding to my “overnight oats”.

    1. Great idea!

    2. Can this sauce be used in a layer cake,on it’s own or layered with the frosting?

  10. Nicole Skipper says:

    What are the instructions for canning the sauce? Thought I read on your instagram that you canned some for later time. Love this sauce!

    1. Hi Nicole! I often freeze the sauce. I’ve never canned it. Let me know if you try it!

  11. KRISTY HOWARD says:

    Hi Sally,

    It’s apricot season here in New Mexico any recommendations for substituting apricots for strawberries in this sauce? Are there any other recipes from your blog that you think would work well with apricots?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Kristy! I’ve never made apricot topping, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work here. Chop them up and use as a 1:1 substitution for the strawberries. I think apricots taste better in a baked dessert, though. You should try them in place of the peaches in my frangipane galette.

  12. I made your strawberry compote as my topping for the no-bake cheesecake jars and thought that the compote was absolutely delicious, but also thought it was just a little too thick. I will definitely make this recipe from now on!!! I also think it deserves its own post

    1. Yes, that recipe is a little bit thicker! I hope you’ll try this one 🙂 Thanks for participating in July’s baking challenge!

  13. Oh I think this is just what I’ve been looking for, pound cake on the bottom, a scoop of ice cream, this strawberry sauce & your homemade whipped cream on top. All of your recipes are delicious & thanks for always covering the make ahead & freezing tips, they are so helpful ❤️

    1. Kelli Wright says:

      Super easy and fast! My friend decided to have a last minute BBQ today and this was the perfect treat to bring. Made 8 different flavors in 4oz jars.

      Thanks again Sally!

  14. Hi Sally Thanks for standardizing this strawberry sauce….I usually make from frozen strawberries and it normally good….you took my guessing out fo me…i am grateful…..

  15. Karen Walter says:

    Hi Sally,
    I noticed someone also asked about substitution of fruit…..however, I was thinking of peaches! We have so many and wondered if your recipe would work?


    1. Yes, definitely! 1:1 substitution for the peaches. Feel free to slightly reduce the sugar if the peaches are extra sweet.

  16. I doubled the recipe and used the zest and juice from a whole lemon… It was definitely more than four teaspoons and the whole thing now tastes like strawberry lemonade! Note to other bakers – follow Sally’s note about it being only two teaspoons of juice per recipe! (Unless you want a very tangy strawberry lemonade sauce :))

  17. Made this today using cherries and it came out perfectly! I just added a 1/4 tsp of almond extract at the end. So good! I’m using it to top a panna cotta tart.

  18. Can this be put through the canning sterilization in the jars process and stored in the pantry rather than freezing? I see it can be kept in fridge for only 1 week. Looks delicious, and strawberries are such a bargain right now! Thank you, Sally….. you, and all you do!

    1. Hi Pat! I haven’t personally tried canning this strawberry sauce, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t be successful. Let me know how it goes!

      1. Thanks Sally! It was a small batch, 3 cups, so I just froze in cup servings. It tastes yummy, but sauce was cloudier looking than pictured after refrigeration; not nice and clear. I simmered as instructions state. Any ideas, or is that expected?

  19. Been wanting to make this and soo happy I did. I had froze a bunch of strawberries so the process was even faster and easier! I love it when recipes are versatile: frozen or fresh. Followed recipe as is, just doubled the batch because one batch is never enough when we use your recipe (cookies, soft oatmeal raisin granola bars (8 batches every 4 weeks or so ). Thank you for all these yummy recipes, Sally!
    Next up, homemade vanilla extract. Can’t wait! Vanilla beans are sooo expensive!

    1. Wonderful to read!! Let me know if you try the vanilla extract. 🙂

  20. Sarah Johnson says:

    This looks so good! Do you know how long it will keep in the refrigerator?

    1. You can store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. See step 4 in the recipe for more details!

  21. This sauce is fabulous. I’ve just made it, even though strawberries are not at their best yet as it’s only early Spring here, the smell as it cooked was just beautiful.
    I’m going to make jars for my friends Christmas packs, by late December the fruit will be at its best.
    Thank you

  22. I tried this recipe as a strawberry sauce for french toast. Sauce came out perfect! it was delicious. I will be using this recipe again. Loved it.

  23. Gina Schlotthauer says:

    Hi Miss Sally, I want to PUT this yummy compote in jars, what size will hold this amt.:)

    1. Hi Gina, This makes 1.5 cups. I use these jars: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JNPZZQ9/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=sallsbakiaddi-20&linkId=1ee759911c8be92b2d2376cb7946678f&language=en_US

  24. I love your channel and have made many of your recipes with great success. I’m wondering if you can (sometimes) give half measures for those of us not wishing to have so much excess. I read many different measure conversions that say a pound of strawberries equals 2 2/3 cups of the fruit where you say its 3-4 cups. Strawberry measure is wholly relevant to size of the berries, but, when chopped, they’re not. I’ve reduced portions in many recipes and it just doesn’t turn out the same! However, with only 1 1/2 cups of chopped strawberries in my fridge, I’d love to make this recipe work! Any ideas?

    1. Hi KayKaye, halving recipes usually works, especially sauces and toppings. For your 1 and 1/2 cups of chopped strawberries, I suggest 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1 Tbsp water, 1 teaspoon lemon juice (you can skip the zest), and 2 Tbsp sugar.

  25. NANCY C. JENKINS says:


    Are there are substitutions for the corn starch? I stay away from corn products.

    1. Hi Nancy! You can try arrowroot starch.

  26. This is excellent and so easy! Think the lemon juice and zest really enhances the strawberry flavor. Great recipe and helpful tips.

  27. Used this as a topping for your no-bake cheesecake recipe. Yum! Strawberries are not yet in season but the sauce is still good, albeit a bit sour. Tasted a bit too sweet while cooking but afterwards it got less sweet and more sour. Really really good and easy recipe!

  28. Tried this with some pancakes and it was delicious. Probably put too much lemon juice in it so it was SLIGHTLY sour but still wonderful. I have some saved in the fridge

  29. Looks amazing! If I crush strawberries with a potato masher, will the sauce be too thin? I’m too lazy to cut 10 pounds of strawberries 🙂

  30. Atiya Easterling says:

    Have you tried this recipe with a sugar alternative like monk fruit? I’d love to make this but cannot have the sugar.

    1. I haven’t, no. Let me know if you test anything!

    2. Monk fruit should work out just fine. It is just like regular sugar.

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