Strawberry Topping

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Fresh, sweet strawberries are simmered to make this sweet Strawberry Topping with a hint of lemon and vanilla that beats store-bought syrup any day. Serve on shortcake, pancakes, pound cake, ice cream….the possibilities are endless!

Do you have a strawberry patch in your garden? We planted a small patch of strawberries at our old house and ate them as soon as they were ready.

Eating strawberries fresh is my favorite way to eat them. Ok…that is a slight lie. If I had my choice, I’d eat this shortcake recipe with this homemade strawberry topping every day.

Table of Contents
  1. Why you’ll love this strawberry sauce:
  2. What is strawberry sauce made of?
  3. A Secret Ingredient
  4. How to Make Strawberry Topping
  5. Why is my strawberry sauce not thickening?
  6. What to Serve with Strawberry Topping
  7. Can I blend this to make a smooth strawberry sauce?
  8. How do you store homemade strawberry topping?
  9. Can you freeze strawberry sauce?
  10. Homemade Strawberry Topping with Secret Ingredient Recipe
bowl of strawberry sauce with a wooden spoon

Why you’ll love this strawberry sauce:

  • made with fresh strawberries
  • a light syrup
  • ready in 20 minutes
  • perfect topping for cakes and ice creams

What is strawberry sauce made of?

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • Strawberries. This strawberry sauce recipe works with fresh or frozen berries.
  • Sugar. To sweeten the sauce. I have not tried using any sugar substitute and prefer standard granulated sugar.
  • Water. Water gives the strawberry sauce a base and allows the strawberries to soften on the stovetop without scorching.
  • Vanilla. Vanilla extract adds a warm, familiar flavor to the strawberry sauce.
  • Lemon juice. This adds flavor and complements the sweet strawberries.
  • Cornstarch. Cornstarch is a thickening agent and helps the strawberry sauce not be too runny.
  • Salted butter. Our secret ingredient. Read more ⬇️
ingredients for homemade strawberry topping

A Secret Ingredient

What makes our strawberry sauce the best? Butter. After the sauce is done cooking you’ll add a tablespoon of butter to the sauce. This makes a deliciously rich strawberry sauce. Don’t skip it…trust me!

How to Make Strawberry Topping

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the strawberries, sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Heat the mixture to boiling, stirring often. Reduce heat and add the vanilla and lemon juice.
  • In a small cup, combine the cornstarch and two tablespoons of water. Mix well.
  • Pour this into the boiling strawberry mixture. Stir and boil over medium-low heat for 4 minutes or until the mixture has thickened a bit.
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter and mix until the butter has completely melted. Again…this is the secret! Don’t skip it.
butter melting in strawberry sauce
  • If you’d like your strawberry syrup to have a nice red color, add a few drops of red food coloring. This is completely optional.
  • Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes, then add the last cup of quartered, fresh strawberries. This allows you to have nice chunks of strawberries instead of small strawberry pieces.

Why is my strawberry sauce not thickening?

What happens if your strawberry sauce is watery? Most often, strawberry sauce is watery when it hasn’t cooked long enough.

The easiest way to thicken strawberry sauce is to let it simmer for longer. As it cooks, water will evaporate and the cornstarch slurry will have time to thicken the sauce.

Here’s some other things to consider:

  • Sugar. Don’t lower the sugar content or use a sugar substitute. These can both lead to a watery sauce.
  • Strawberries. If you use frozen strawberries, allow them to thaw and drain before making the sauce. This will help you start off with less moisture to cook out.
  • Cooling. The sauce may thicken slightly as it cools.
bowl of homemade strawberry topping

What to Serve with Strawberry Topping

The possibilities are endless, really. Serve on waffles, pancakes, Jell-O cake, shortcake, blend them with ice cream for a milkshake.

Whatever your desire, this simple homemade strawberry syrup recipe with a touch of lemon juice and a hint of vanilla is going to be one you want to save and share with your family and friends this summer.

homemade strawberry topping over ice cream

Can I blend this to make a smooth strawberry sauce?

Yes! If you don’t want chunks of strawberries in your strawberry sauce, blend the sauce with an immersion blender (or regular blender) after cooking to the smoothness that you’d like.

How do you store homemade strawberry topping?

Store the strawberry sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze strawberry sauce?

Yes! You can freeze the strawberry sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

bowl of ice cream with homemade strawberry topping
bowl of ice cream with homemade strawberry topping

Homemade Strawberry Topping with Secret Ingredient

4.70 from 146 votes
Fresh, sweet strawberries are simmered to make a sweet Homemade Strawberry Topping with a hint of vanilla and lemon that beats store-bought syrup any day.
Servings 8
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

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Ingredients
 

  • 1 1/2 cups quartered strawberries
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 additional cup of quartered strawberries
  • red food coloring (optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the strawberries, sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Heat the mixture to boiling, stirring often. Reduce heat and add the vanilla and lemon juice.
  • In a small cup, combine the cornstarch and two tablespoons of water. Mix well.
  • Pour this into the boiling strawberry mixture. Stir and boil over medium-low heat for 4 minutes or until the mixture has thickened a bit.
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter and mix until the butter has completely melted.
  • If you’d like your strawberry syrup to have a nice red color, add a few drops of red food coloring. This is completely optional.
  • Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes, then add the last cup of quartered, fresh strawberries.
  • Serve over whatever dessert you’d like!
  • Refrigerate the leftovers.

Video

Notes

The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 8, with one serving being ⅛ of the recipe. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 79mg | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 28.2mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 106
Keyword july 4, summer

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Jenny
3 years ago

Do I use granulated or powder sugar?? Thanks!

Michaela
1 year ago

5 stars
This was so good!! I think I cooked it too long because some of my strawberries looked really soggy. I picked some out and added more fresh cut strawberries. This will be my go to now!!

Sierra Stanley
3 years ago

Can I use flour instead of cornstarch? Just realised I don’t have any

Missy
4 years ago

5 stars
Absolutely delicious! We just picked fresh strawberries today at a local strawberry patch. I just made this and it is AMAZING! I followed the recipe to a T and it came out perfect. Thank you for sharing!

Ash
5 years ago

Have you tried it wid frozen strawberries? Would it still taste as good ?

Nichelle
3 months ago

5 stars
This was by far the best strawberry sauce we have had yet!

Christie Bie
9 months ago

5 stars
Just tried this recipe. Looking for something simple that would dress up a simple pound cake. This was it!! This was divine! This will be my go-to strawberry sauce. Thank you!

Danni
10 months ago

5 stars
Love this syrup! This has been my go to recipe for strawberry syrup for the last two years now, I have even modified it by making different fruit syrups from it! Its divine! Thank you for sharing it with everyone!🥰

Christina Young
1 year ago

Can one use frozen strawberries in this recipe?

Heidi Hunt
1 year ago

5 stars
Absolutely mouth watering.

Debbie B
1 year ago

5 stars
I made this for my family a few weeks ago. I used it with pound cake and whip cream in a truffle bowl. Delicious. For Father’s Day the family has requested it again. Thank you for sharing.

Marilyn M
1 year ago

5 stars
Wow, this sauce just popped with fresh strawberry flavor. I followed the recipe exactly, except that I emulsified it a bit as another reviewer suggested. Came out fantastic..

Jenny
1 year ago

5 stars
I was lucky to get fresh strawberries and this was a quick and delicious place to use them. Served over pound cake and ice cream in was delicious 🦋❤️

Kawii
1 year ago

Can you put this in the refrigerator??

Spectra
1 year ago

Just made this for mother’s day! It looks amazing and i can’t wait to taste it! (It’s cooling).