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A white napkin with a white bowl of strawberry sauce being spooned. Fresh scattered strawberries.

Strawberry Sauce (topping)

This 4-ingredient homemade, easy strawberry sauce beats anything you ever tasted that is store-bought! It's sweet but not cloying, has a deep berry flavor, and is a snap to prepare, ready in 20 minutes. It's also the perfect topping for cheesecake, french toast, pound cake, angel food cake, waffles, pancakes, and ice cream, so be ready to take them to the next level.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 1/2 cups


  • 1 pound fresh strawberries (see Notes, below)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


  1. Wash, hull, and cut the strawberries into pieces. 
  2. Put half of them in a medium saucepan and add the sugar, lemon juice, and half the amount of water. 
  3. Cook until it breaks into a boil and foam, stirring once in a while. 
  4. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining water and add to the strawberries in a thin stream. 
  5. Stir constantly and cook for 1 minute. 
  6. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and add the remaining pieces of fresh strawberries. 
  7. Mix well and let cool. 
  8. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid or other types of airtight container. It can also be frozen for a month and thawed at room temperature.


Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!

Strawberries: this is the recipe to use those overripe berries. You can cut them small or just in half, depending on what you'll be using them for. If using frozen, cook them all together, because you won't have fresh pieces to add at the end.

Make ahead: this strawberry topping can be kept in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for a month, always in a container with a tight-fitting lid. If you need to use a large amount of strawberries, consider making a double batch and freezing it in portions. It thaws well at room temperature or in the refrigerator when you need to use it. 

Citrus: I love lemon for this recipe, but lime and orange go very well with strawberries. So choose your favorite. And also, you can use a few tablespoons of frozen lemonade or strawberry lemonade, directly from the container, and then add the water stated in the recipe.

Sweetness: you can add up to 1/4 cup more of sugar if you have a sweeter tooth.

Syrup: if you like to go heavy on the syrup, double the amount of water and add a teaspoon more of cornstarch.

Thicker topping: if using it as a strawberry topping and you want it to be firmer, consider adding 3-4 tablespoons of a good strawberry jam. I've done it several times, especially when using it for cheesecakes.

Serving it: as a topping for cheesecake and waffles, or our buttermilk pancakes, as a sauce with ice cream and french toast. And with cake. I love a slice of angel food cake with this sauce on the side. Or, a favorite dessert around here, is a thick slice of lemon pound cake, strawberry sauce on top (at room temperature), and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Smooth sauce: if you're the type of person that doesn't like a chunky or thick sauce with pieces of fruit (beats me, but hey, who am I to judge, I love reheated pasta) you can process it or use an immersion blender or the regular blender and turn it into a puree more than a sauce.

Variation: use raspberries or blackberries instead of strawberries.

Flavorings: besides the citrus, you can add other ingredients to flavor the sauce, like a few drops of vanilla extract, pure almond extract, a pinch of ground cinnamon, or some other spice or extract you like paired with strawberries.

  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: International


  • Serving Size: 1/4
  • Calories: 88
  • Sugar: 17.9 g
  • Sodium: 5.4 mg
  • Fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.1 g
  • Protein: 0.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: strawberry sauce