All you need to make this easy, homemade strawberry sauce is THREE simple ingredients, and it's very quick and easy to prepare.
It's a simple berry sauce that contains no cornstarch, you can make it thick or thin, or with fresh or frozen strawberries, all the details are included below. Once it’s ready, you can use it as a topping for so many things, just try to resist eating it straight from a spoon!
I have a few fruit sauce recipes on the website already, and it's really hard to pick which one is the best because I love all of them, but this may be the one!
When you use fresh berries to make this recipe, the finished sauce is vibrant in colour and taste! It contains defined pieces of berries, the flavour is bright and fresh, AND you can customize it to be less sweet or more sweet, it's up to you.
Like all of my other fruit sauces, this one is also naturally vegan (as long as you use vegan sugar, see the FAQ section below) and gluten-free.
Oh, and in case you're wondering about my other sauce recipes, here they are:
Ingredients You'll Need
All you need is three simple ingredients and yes, it's made without cornstarch! So you may be wondering how to thicken it without cornstarch, right? It thickens on its own, thanks to the natural pectin in the strawberries.
All you need is strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice.
Strawberries - Fresh is best for this sauce, but there may be times when strawberries are out of season. In those cases, frozen berries can be used. I provide details on how to use frozen berries below.
Sugar - I use organic cane sugar for this recipe. The amount you use will vary based on how sweet your strawberries are and how sweet of a sauce you want. I find that in season, fresh strawberries are the sweetest and you can get away with adding only a few tablespoons of sugar. (I prefer making it not too sweet since what I am topping with it is likely sweet, too. A sauce that has a slight bit of tartness to it provides a very nice contrast.)
Frozen and out-of-season berries can be less sweet and more tart, so you'll need to add more sugar. I provide a range in the recipe. You can start with the smaller amount and build up the sweetness from there. I have not tried making this recipe with any other sweeteners.
Lemon Juice - Freshly squeezed lemon juice helps to brighten up the flavour of the sauce. Lemon extract cannot be used, and I have not tried it with bottled lemon juice.
How to Prepare the Strawberries
I prefer to chop my strawberries into large dice-ish pieces, like in the picture below. Depending on what you prefer, you can slice the berries, or chop them into a smaller dice, it's up to you. The berries will break down a little while they cook, so keep that in mind.
How to Make It
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions at the end of this post.)
There are just a few steps involved and before you know it, you'll have a luscious, crave-worthy sauce you'll want to put on everything!
Follow along with the steps and numbered images below. There is also a video in this post so you can see it being made.
1. Add all the ingredients to a medium pot and mix them together.
2. Heat the mixture, uncovered, over medium heat until it starts to bubble.
3. Once the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15-25 minutes so it can reduce (timing is based on whether you want a thin or thick strawberry sauce, details are in the recipe).
4. Cool the sauce in the pot and then enjoy. It can be served warm if you like!
Note that it will still seem runny and thin after it has cooked, but it will thicken as it cools and thickens even more after it spends some time in the refrigerator.
Using Frozen Berries
It's possible to make this strawberry sauce with frozen strawberries, and there's no need to thaw them before starting. I use unsweetened sliced frozen strawberries to make this recipe outside of strawberry season.
Since frozen berries need to cook for a longer amount of time, the berries break down more than with fresh strawberries so the berry chunks will be less defined.
The colour isn't always as vibrant as when fresh berries are used, the taste isn't as bright and fresh in comparison, and you will likely need to use the higher amount of sugar in the range I provide since frozen berries are not as sweet, BUT, despite these things, the finished compote is still delicious and it's a great stand-in when fresh berries are not available.
Note that the measurement and cooking times for frozen berries are different from fresh berries, all of the details are in the recipe notes below.
After the sauce has fully cooled, transfer it to a jar or container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. When you’re ready to serve it, bring it back up to room temperature, warm it up slightly, or serve it cold.
You can freeze the sauce so you have a taste of summer tucked away in the freezer long after the strawberry season has ended.
After the strawberry topping cools completely, transfer it to an airtight, freezer-friendly container and store for up to 3 months.
When you're ready to use it, thaw the frozen strawberry sauce in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve it, bring it back up to room temperature, warm it up slightly, or serve it cold.
How to Use It
You can serve it cold or warm and I'm sure you have some ideas about what you want to drizzle it on, but here are some delicious uses for strawberry sauce:
- french toast, pancakes, waffles, crepes
- ice cream, banana split, sundaes
- panna cotta
- strawberry shortcake, angel food cake
- pound cake, trifles
- oatmeal (like flax oatmeal or blueberry oatmeal), baked oatmeal, overnight oats
- chocolate mousse
- chocolate pudding
In addition to the above, you can also use it as a strawberry dipping sauce or as a cake or cupcake filling. If using it as a cake/cupcake filling, you'll need to simmer it for longer than the time stated in the recipe, see the recipe notes for info.
Expert Tips for Success
- Measure and have all your ingredients ready to go before starting. This will make the process run smooth, quick, and easy.
- Measure everything correctly. I highly recommend using a scale to weigh your berries (this is one I have (Amazon Link).
- Use fresh berries if possible. Fresh berries will give you the best-looking and tasting sauce.
- If you want a smoother sauce, blend it after it has cooked. Use a blender or an immersion blender and blend to the consistency you like. You can also blend just half so it's less chunky, or you can take it a step further and make it a coulis by blending all of it and running it through a sieve to catch any remaining strawberry bits and seeds.
- If the sauce is too thick after it has been refrigerated, warm it up on the stove or in the microwave and it will loosen up a little.
- If you want a little vanilla flavour in your sauce, add ½ - 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the sauce while it's cooling and stir.
- Read this post from beginning to end before making the recipe, it contains lots of helpful tips and info on how to make the berry sauce, every single time!
- For the very best results, follow the recipe exactly as it’s written.
After your sauce has fully cooled, transfer it to a jar or container and keep it sealed in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. When you’re ready to serve it, bring it back up to room temperature, warm it up slightly, or serve it cold.
You sure can! After it has fully cooled, transfer it to an airtight, freezer-friendly container and store for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use it, thaw it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve it, bring it back up to room temperature, warm it up slightly, or serve it cold.
I have not tried it yet, but I do think it's possible if you're using peak, in-season strawberries that are very sweet and if you prefer having your sauce be on the less sweet side. Frozen and off-season strawberries tend to not be very sweet on their own, so when using these berries, I find that they always need a little added sugar. I have not tried making this recipe with any alternative sugars.
Some brands use animal bone char to process their sugars, making them not vegan, but luckily, some brands don’t use this process, like Wholesome Sweeteners, Trader Joe’s brand, Whole Foods’ 365 brand, and Redpath (Canadian brand). If you can’t find any of these, your best bet is to look for organic sugar, which will always be vegan.
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If You Make This Recipe...
...please let me know by leaving a rating and comment below or by posting a picture on Instagram and tagging me so I can see! (I'm @delightfuladventures on Instagram)
And If You Like This Recipe...
...you may also like these other berry recipes:
- Blueberry Galette
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- Blueberry Muffins
- Strawberry Muffins
- Cranberry Orange Muffins
Easy Strawberry Sauce
- 1 pound (454g) fresh strawberries (if using frozen strawberries, and/or cup measurements see notes below for more info)
- 3-6 tablespoons (38g - 75g ) sugar (amount can be reduced or increased, as needed, see note below)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Wash, hull, and chop the strawberries.
- Add strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice to a medium pot. Mix the ingredients together.
- Place uncovered pot over medium heat until it starts to boil, about 4 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes for a thinner sauce and 20 minutes for a thicker sauce. Stir the sauce occasionally.
- After the time has passed, remove the pot from the stove and allow the sauce to cool completely in the pot. It will still be thin after it has cooked, but it will thicken as it cools down and when it's refrigerated.
- Once cooled, place the strawberry sauce in a jar, cover, and refrigerate for up to 7 days.
- Please read the helpful info above and below before making this recipe to ensure success.
- I highly recommend using a scale to weigh your berries (this is one I have (Amazon Link). If you are using the weight measurements, weigh the berries BEFORE they have been hulled and chopped. If you don't have a scale, you will need roughly 2 and ¾ cups chopped berries (measure them AFTER they have been chopped!) See below for frozen berry measurements.
- This recipe makes 1 and a ½ cups of strawberry sauce.
- The sauce will look runny/thin once the cooking time has ended, it will thicken more as it cools and thickens even more after being refrigerated.
- You can adjust the sugar as needed, based on how sweet you prefer the sauce to be and how sweet your strawberries are. Fresh, in-season berries need less sugar, out of season and frozen strawberries need more.
- To Make with Frozen Strawberries: Use 400g (roughly 3 cups) of unsweetened sliced berries. Add all the ingredients to a medium pot and mix everything together. Place uncovered pot over medium heat until all the frozen berries have fully thawed and the mixture starts to boil, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes for a thinner sauce and 20 minutes for a thicker sauce. Stir occasionally. Continue at step 5 above.
- Store sauce in an airtight jar or container, in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
- To Freeze: After the sauce cools completely, transfer it to an airtight, freezer-friendly container and store for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use it, thaw it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve it, bring it back up to room temperature, warm it up slightly, or serve it cold.
- If you're making this to use as a cake or cupcake filling, simmer for 25 minutes and cool completely so it is thick enough for this use.
- Nutrition info is based on 1 serving (2 tablespoons) and on the recipe made as written using fresh strawberries and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Nutrition info is only to be used as a rough guide. Click to learn how nutrition info is calculated on this website.