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. Sally, this recipe is amazing and so easy to make! I have some strawberries that I grow lately in my greenhouse, fortunately I have it so I can grow what I want and whenever I want! I have grown tresca variety, do you think that it will be also good for making this sauce? I grown it from seeds that I bought. They are quite sweet so I think that even there is a small amount of sugar I will limit it a bit. Thank you again for this recipe, it is amazing!

    1. That sound amazing to grow your own in your greenhouse! If you enjoy eating a particular type of strawberry, then you will enjoy it in this sauce. You can absolutely reduce the sugar if they are already super sweet. Enjoy 🙂

      1. Hi, can I freeze this sauce?

      2. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Yes, see recipe notes for freezing instructions.

  2. I used these for crepes! It tasted very good. BTW I love the beautiful pictures!

  3. okay, just made this last night. so so so good! instead of 1/4 sugar i did 1/8 splenda because my parents are diabetic and i wanted them to enjoy! also, didn’t have a lemon so I used lime juice. Easy and tasty!

  4. Great recipe!! Didnt realize it was so easy to make. My husband use to buy these strawberry cups (frozen) from Costco but one day…no more! He used it on my oatmeal in the mornings. This guy does not cook one bit! I taught him how to make it and since hes up earlier than me he makes it and I enjoyed not making breakfast. Ever since, the cups were gone so were the oatmeal in the mornings! 🙁 Now I can make my own strawberry sauce Im getting him to make breakfast again haha! But after I made batches of this sauce we have been using it on everything but oatmeal….milkshakes, ice cream..etc this is just adding to my quarantine diet..

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this sauce, Annie!

  5. This was so easy to put together and tasted great both warm and cold! My 7 year old and I poured this sauce on our muffin tin Dutch babies. The Dutch baby recipe may have said it was 4-6 servings and, thanks to this amazing sauce, we did not have any leftovers. Thank you! My son has requested that I make this sauce for everything from now on! 🙂

  6. I LOVE this recipe!!! Made it twice this week so far. I really like citrusy flavors so I added another teaspoon of lemon juice, and it is absolutely perfect for waffles. Thank you so so so much!!!

  7. Lynn Ebsary says:

    I am wondering if I would get the same result if I used frozen strawberries.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    1. Ive used frozen. But I thaw to get the extra liquid out

  8. Vicki Darnell says:

    Wonderful recipe using the bounty of fresh strawberries! The sweetness of the strawberries is enhanced–not overpowered–by the lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar.

  9. Loved your recipe. I had some Strawberries that got pushed to the back of the refrigerator and needed some love. This recipe was just perfect to give them a second chance. I love that the sauce wasn’t that sickly sweet stuff you get from a jar. We enjoyed it over ice cream and some on waffles. Going to make more….thanks

  10. Sally could I use Swerve instead of sugar? Thank you in advance for your help.

    1. Hi Jane, I haven’t tested it so I can’t be certain. Let me know if you do!

  11. Hey! I want to make this for my mothers birthday which is next week, so I was wondering How long this lasts in the fridge so that I can make it in advance??

    1. You can store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  12. Hi, can you top a 9 by 13 version of your strawberry cake with this sauce or will it mess up the cake frosting?

    1. Hi Nick, I would add the sauce right before serving. YUM!

  13. Bette Anne says:

    It sounds great I haven”t made it yet. I was wondering if you can can this in jars. I would rather not freeze it. Anyone try freezing?

  14. I also would be curious to know how this would freeze. We’re having angle food cake for my daughters graduation in August, but strawberries are fairly cheap and really yummy where I live right now.

    1. See recipe notes for freezing instructions 🙂

  15. Is there a substitute for the lemon juice and lemon zest?

    1. Hi Mel, There is no substitute but you can skip it. See recipe note.

  16. Would one be able to can the sauce rather then freeze it ?

  17. This recipe is a keeper. I baked mine in silicone muffin pan with no liners and placed a water bath in the oven. I will not use a water bath next time so the bottom will be a little crispier. I also added lemon zest to mine. AWESOME. These were a real hit in my house. Thank you.

  18. I use this recipe for everything!!! Most recently I had some strawberries and blueberries that were on their last leg. Used them to make this sauce and it turned out great! No food wasting here!

  19. How well does this freeze? I read that cornstarch sauces can not be frozen. Did you find it to be runny when you thawed it?

    1. I’ve never had an issue after freezing/thawing. Let me know if you try it!

  20. Brenda Lanteigne says:

    Amazing. I’m on my 5th batch. The Ontario strawberry season is ending so I am glad I will have this in my freezer to enjoy in the fall/winter.

  21. Do easy and delicious! I put it over custard cups with a little shaved dark chocolate and a smidge of whipped cream. Very tasty!

  22. Hi Sally,

    Can I use flour instead of cornstarch?

  23. Can I use this sauce as a filling for a cake?

    1. Hi Julissa, I 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. See other suggestions above the recipe, too!

  24. Making this today!! Got some really ripe strawberries at the farmers market cannot eat them all before they start to be TO ripe!! googled Homemade Strawberry Sauce and this is the first to to come up…I also got blueberries so I am going to do some of those as well…maybe WITH the strawberries LOL so happy they freeze well.


    1. I also had lots and lots of strawberries and blueberries this season and just rinsed them, cut the strawberries and placed blueberries and strawberries in separate freezer bags and they freeze really well. I was tired of them going bad in the refrigerator since we couldn’t eat them fast enough. Freezing works best for me. They hold up well.

  25. Hi Sally! Is there a brand of nostick saucepan you recommend for use with this recipe? I’d love to find one without any harmful chemicals.

  26. Hi Sally! I was looking for a strawberry sauce to top a baked cheesecake, with which I could do a drip effect too. I had to search on your site first do you think this sauce will hold up well for dripping. Or is it too runny?

    1. Hi Shilpa, I think this would be a little too runny for a drip-style.

  27. Allergic to corn — suggestions for sub-ing out the cornstarch. What would be better tapioca starch or cream of tartar?

    1. You can use rice flour instead of corn starch but you have to double the amount. Often sold in the Asian section of the grocery store. Comes out clear when added to liquid and works the same way corn starch does.

  28. My freezer is full of strawberries which I rinsed, cut and froze. We use them at home to make smoothies and were blessed this season to get tons of them at the grocery store for a low price. I wanted to use some for a topping for pancakes and waffles. I tried your wonderful recipe and made two batches which came out perfect! Thank you for posting this – so simple and a wonderful way to use some of the berries. I didn’t have lemons so I used 1 tablespoon store bought lemon juice which I had on hand and it still came out great! (will try fresh lemons and zest next time). I’m freezing the batch so we’ll have it on hand when we need it.

  29. I was amazed at how easy this recipe was, too bad I didn’t read on the details below the actual recipe that states to use 2 tsp of lemon juice as opposed to the instructions in the recipe where half a lemon is required. My sauce is way too acid, even after adding 1/8 cup sugar 🙁

  30. Can we swirl this into our cheesecake batter? Or is it better to serve it on the side?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jackie, If making a baked cheesecake you can swirl it into the top like we do in this blueberry swirl cheesecake. But if making a no bake cheesecake it’s best left for a topping as the filling won’t set with added liquid.

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