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Homemade Fresh Strawberry Sauce

This Homemade Fresh Strawberry Sauce is quick and easy to make and so versatile. You can enjoy it warm or cold, and it’s the perfect topping for cheesecake, ice cream, pancakes, and lots more!

Strawberry season is right around the corner, and this homemade strawberry sauce is one of my favorite things to make with those plump and juicy, fresh local strawberries!

It takes just 6 simple ingredients and only 15 minutes to make, and the flavor is so much better than any jarred or canned sauce I’ve ever had!

And honestly, it’s even an awesome recipe in the middle of winter when we can still pick up fresh strawberries in the grocery store. It’s also a perfect way to use up berries that maybe aren’t so sweet or aren’t so pretty.

Strawberry sauce is awesome on so many things (and you can use it warm or chilled, depending on what you’re using it with). Let’s make a quick list, shall we?

Things you can put homemade strawberry sauce on (or in):

  • Cheesecake
  • Pound cake
  • Angel food cake
  • Shortcake
  • Rice pudding
  • Ice cream
  • Milkshakes
  • Smoothies
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • French toast
  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat
  • Crepes
  • Blintzes
  • Yogurt

Did I miss anything? Let us know in the comments below what you like to put it on!

Now, you could go out and buy strawberry topping, but why? Sure, it might be good, but it’ll never be as good as homemade strawberry topping made with fresh strawberries. Plus, check that label, because it probably has preservatives, artificial colors, and other mystery ingredients.

And lest you need more convincing, let me say it again: this homemade sauce has just 6 simple ingredients and takes only 15 minutes to make!

bowl of strawberry sauce with a spoon and two strawberries on the side

Ingredients you need:

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Maple syrup (or sugar)
  • Lemon juice
  • Vanilla extract

Here’s a look at how to make Homemade Fresh Strawberry Sauce:

two images, one of strawberries being chopped on a cutting board with text that says cut off tops (leaves) and cut strawberries into half-inch pieces, the other of a small bowl of cornstarch slurry with a spoon with text that says mix together the cornstarch and water, set aside
two images, one of the cut strawberries in a pot on a stove with text that says place berries in a pot with water, syrup, and lemon juice, the other of the berries coming to a boil on the stove with text that says bring to a boil, stirring occasionally
two images, one of the berries in the pot being mashed with a potato masher with text that says optional: mash the berries for a less-chunky sauce, the other of the cornstarch slurry being added to the pot with text that says stir in the cornstarch mixture
two images, one of the strawberries simmering in the pot with text that says reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes stirring occasionally, the other of a close-up of a spoonful of sauce over the pot with text that says until sauce has thickened slightly
two images, one of a measuring spoon full of vanilla extract being help over the pot of strawberry sauce with text that says remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract, the other of a bowl of the finished sauce with a spoon in it with text that says serve warm or chilled, enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • Don’t wash strawberries before storing them in the refrigerator because they will go bad and grow mold quicker if you do. Instead, wait to wash them until right before you plan to use them.
  • You can chop the strawberries any size you want depending on the texture you want your sauce to have. I like smaller chunks of berries in my sauce, so I go for ½-inch pieces.
  • For a smoother texture, mash the berries a little with a potato masher, fork, or the back of a spoon once the berries come to a boil (they will have softened a bit by then).
  • I use maple syrup for a sweetener, but you can use sugar instead.
  • The amount of maple syrup (or sugar) that you need will depend on how sweet your strawberries are and your own personal tastes. ¼ cup always works perfectly for me, but you can start with less and add more at the end if needed.
  • When cooking, keep in mind that the sauce will thicken up a little more as it cools. This is not meant to be a super thick sauce. It should still be pourable but not liquidy. If you want it thicker, you can always add more cornstarch slurry (just remember you will need to bring the sauce back to a simmer so the cornstarch will thicken it).
  • Fresh berries work best for this sauce, but yes, you can use frozen berries in a pinch (thaw them first). The berries will likely have a slightly mushier texture (and you may need to add extra cornstarch slurry if the berries release a lot of extra liquid), but it will still be yummy!
  • Use this same method with different berries or other fruits. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries all work well (and you don’t need to chop them), as would cherries, peaches, and even pineapple.
piece of cheesecake on a white plate with a spoonful of homemade fresh strawberry sauce being put on top

My favorite way to enjoy this homemade strawberry sauce is spooned over cheesecake…like this vanilla cheesecake with a buttery, sweet pretzel crust that I just made for Mother’s Day because my mother-in-law loves strawberries. It was crazy good!

Stay tuned, because I’m sharing that Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake recipe next!

I hope you try this Homemade Fresh Strawberry Sauce recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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Homemade Fresh Strawberry Sauce

This Homemade Fresh Strawberry Sauce is quick and easy to make and so versatile. You can enjoy it warm or cold, and it's the perfect topping for cheesecake, ice cream, pancakes, and lots more!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12 (2 tablespoons each; recipe makes about 1½ cups total)
Estimated Calories: 32

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, washed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water, divided
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup, or sugar, add more or less to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Remove the leaves/stems from the strawberries; cut the strawberries into ½-inch pieces.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon cold water; stir until smooth (this is called a cornstarch slurry). Set aside.
  • Place the chopped strawberries into a medium saucepot (I use a 3-quart pot) along with the remaining 2 tablespoons water, the maple syrup (or sugar), and the lemon juice; give the mixture a quick stir.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Optional: Once the berry mixture comes to a boil, mash the strawberries a bit with a potato masher, a fork, or the back of a spoon if you want a less-chunky sauce.
  • Stir in the cornstarch slurry.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Note: The sauce will thicken up a little more as it cools.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Taste and add more maple syrup (or sugar), if needed.
  • Serve warm or chilled. If you are going to serve it chilled, pour it into a bowl, let it cool completely at room temperature, and then place in the refrigerator until cold.

Notes

  • You can chop the strawberries any size you want depending on the texture you want your sauce to have. 
  • The amount of maple syrup (or sugar) needed will depend on how tart your strawberries are and your own personal tastes (¼ cup always seems to work perfectly for me). If desired, you could start with less and add more at the end, if needed. 
  • This is not meant to be a super thick sauce. It should still be pourable but not liquidy. If you want it thicker, you can always add more cornstarch slurry (just remember you will need to bring the sauce back to a simmer so the cornstarch will thicken it).
  • Store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, or you can freeze it. For best results, use frozen sauce within 2 to 3 months. 
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