This is fresh strawberry cream cheese pie made without artificial strawberry flavor. To ensure your pie not only looks nice, but stays intact, it’s important to follow the instructions closely. Read through the recipe and review the step-by-step photos before starting.
- 1.5 lbs (24 ounces or about 680 grams) fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) water
- 1.5 Tablespoons (11g) cornstarch
- 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) graham cracker crumbs (about 12 full sheet graham crackers)
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream
- 8 ounces (226g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- optional for topping: homemade whipped cream
- Make the strawberry topping first so it can cool: Chop some of the strawberries until you have 1 cup, or 150–160 grams/5.5 ounces. Quarter the remaining strawberries (you should end up with about 3.5 cups, or about 500 grams/18 ounces, of quartered strawberries) and set aside until step 5. Lightly mash the chopped strawberries with a pastry cutter, potato masher, or a fork. Using a fork, mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until the cornstarch has dissolved. Warm the mashed strawberries, cornstarch mixture, and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until boiling, stirring often. Mixture will be cloudy. Boil 1 minute or until it’s thick like a jam (no longer liquid-y). Remove from heat, stir in the lemon zest, and cool completely. (Must completely cool, so transferring to a bowl out of the saucepan helps speed that up. Feel free to refrigerate it. You can complete a few other steps in the recipe as the mixture cools.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Make the crust: If you’re starting out with full graham crackers, use a food processor or blender to grind them into fine crumbs. Stir the graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl, and then stir in the melted butter. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Try to smash/break up any large chunks. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie dish. With medium pressure using your hand, pat the crumbs down into the bottom and up the sides to make a compact crust. Do not pack down with heavy force because that makes the crust too hard. Simply pat down until the mixture is no longer crumby/crumbly. For more shaping technique tips, see the graham cracker crust recipe page. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and cool for just 15 minutes as you prepare the filling in the next step.
- Make the filling: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cold heavy cream into stiff peaks on medium-high speed, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and beat on medium-high speed until combined. Make sure there are no large lumps of cream cheese. If there are lumps, keep beating until smooth. Using your mixer on low speed or a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until combined. This takes several turns of your rubber spatula. Combine slowly as you don’t want to deflate all the air in the whipped cream.
- Assemble layers: Spread cream cheese filling into slightly cooled crust. Use an offset spatula to smooth down the top. Fold quartered strawberries into cooled strawberry mixture from step 1 and then spoon evenly on top of the cream cheese filling.
- Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. I usually just carefully lay aluminum foil on top so the topping doesn’t get messed up. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 48 hours. The longer refrigerated, the better the pie will set up. Do not exceed 2 days because the topping begins to break down.
- Feel free to garnish the pie with whipped cream right before or a few hours before serving (keep pie refrigerated after adding whipped cream). I used Wilton 1M piping tip for the whipped cream in the pictured pie. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean between each slice. Tip: The first slice is never pretty! Much easier to slice after that 1st piece is out.
- Cover and store leftover pie in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the cooked strawberry mixture (step 1) 1–2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate before using. (I recommend folding in the quartered strawberries when you’re assembling the pie and not in advance.) You can prepare the crust (step 3) up to 2 days in advance. Cover and store baked and cooled crust at room temperature. It must be slightly warm when you spread in the filling so the filling can adhere, so warm in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 1–2 minutes before adding the filling. You can prepare the filling (step 4) 1 day in advance before spreading into the crust in step 5. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Can I Use Frozen Strawberries? Frozen strawberries work in a pinch, but the topping holds MUCH better shape using fresh strawberries. I strongly recommend using fresh. If using frozen, thaw and pat dry before starting.
- Cream Cheese: Make sure you are using block cream cheese and not cream cheese spread. Blocks of cream cheese are typically 8 ounces each, so you need 1 block.
- Other Pie Crust: Feel free to swap the graham cracker crust for traditional pie crust. This is my favorite pie crust and I also have this all butter pie crust too. You will need to fully par-bake the pie crust shell.
- Non-US Readers: If graham crackers are not available where you live, we have also tested this pie with a crust made from digestive biscuits, and it turned out great. Use 200g ground digestive biscuit crumbs (about 2 cups; 13–14 biscuits), 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar, and 6 Tablespoons (85g) melted butter. Pre-bake the crust for a bit longer, about 16-17 minutes. And from what I understand, spreadable cream cheese sold in a tub in countries outside of the US is a little different from the spreadable cream cheese in the US. It’s thicker, sturdier, and more solid and should be OK to make this pie. I have no experience with it, but this is what I’ve heard from other non-US readers. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!
- Can I make this with other berries? Yes. I recommend blueberries and you can make this similar blueberry cream cheese pie instead. Strawberries are so heavy, so I had to slightly reduce the filling for today’s strawberry version.
Keywords: strawberry cream cheese pie, whipped cream, strawberry pie