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thick strawberry sauce in a white saucepan

Easy Strawberry Topping (Strawberry Sauce)

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Emily Dixon, Sweets & Thank You
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups sauce 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This easy strawberry topping recipe is the perfect sauce for cheesecake, ice cream, waffles, strawberry shortcake, and more! 


  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 oz./680 grams) Strawberries, quartered, halved, sliced, or diced*
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar (67 grams)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch (16 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • tiny pinch (less than 1/8 teaspoon) kosher salt


  1. Prepare The Strawberries. Start by slicing or dicing the strawberries.* Set aside 1/3 of the strawberries (8 oz.) for later. 
  2. Combine Strawberries & Sugar. Add 2/3 of the strawberries (about 1 pound) to a saucepan along with the sugar. 
  3. Make Slurry. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt. Whisk together until completely smooth, then add this slurry to the strawberries and sugar. 
  4. Bring To A Boil. Stir the mixture with a flexible spatula over medium heat until it begins to boil. 
  5. Stir To Thicken. Reduce the heat and stir 4-5 minutes, or until the berries have softened somewhat and the sauce has thickened. (Remember it will thicken more as it cools)
  6. Mix In Remaining Strawberries. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the remaining 1/3 of the strawberries. Stir to coat well. 
  7. Cool. Let the strawberry topping cool, then transfer to an airtight container or glass jar. Chill in the refrigerator until cold.
  8. Serve & Store. Store strawberry topping in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days. You can freeze this strawberry topping in an airtight freezer bag up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before using (the texture will soften slightly upon thawing). Enjoy this strawberry topping on strawberry shortcake, cheesecake, ice cream, waffles, pound cake, yogurt, and more!
  9. For A Smooth Sauce. If you don’t want any chunks in your strawberry sauce, puree the strawberries in a blender and strain the strawberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve before you proceed with the rest of the sauce directions. (If you want to thicken the sauce more, you can mix up an additional teaspoon of cornstarch + 1 teaspoon of water and add it to the sauce as needed as it simmers)


  • *Feel free to cut the strawberries to your liking. I usually keep larger pieces (halves, quarters, or thick slices) for the most visual impact on things like pound cake, strawberry shortcake, or cheesecake. For waffles or ice cream, I prefer small pieces, so dicing works best for me. Remember that the smaller you cut the strawberries, the faster they will soften and cook. Choose the shape that’ll get you to your desired consistency.
  • Do I Need To Add Food Coloring? Fresh strawberry topping like this will have a naturally vibrant color that matches the vibrance of your berries. If your berries aren’t super ripe or aren’t as bright red as you like, you can add a sneaky drop of red food coloring or red dye if you like. But it’s definitely not necessary!
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
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