This homemade Strawberry Compote recipe is super quick and easy to make with 3 ingredients only and in about 20 minutes. It is the perfect thick strawberry sauce to use over cheesecakes, cakes, ice cream or as a breakfast topping!
Why we love this recipe
This homemade strawberry compote recipe is one of my favourite sweet topping is extremely versatile. It is perfect as a topping for Cheesecake, French Toast, Waffles, Pancakes, as a Cake Filling or simply as a Dessert on its own or served with Ice Cream!
This recipe is great because:
- It is super quick and easy to make with 3 ingredients only (with the optional addition of vanilla) and is ready in about 20 minutes.
- It can be made with fresh or frozen Strawberries so you can enjoy it all year round.
- The compote is relatively low in sugar - and can even be made with a natural sweetener substitute as well.
- It will last for days in the fridge and can easily be frozen.
- The compote can be blended to create a smoother Strawberry Coulis sauce.
There are 3 basic ingredients required to make this strawberry topping, with many other optional addition to customise the sauce!
Scroll down to recipe card below for all quantities
What is this compote made of:
- Strawberries: You can use either Fresh or Frozen Strawberries. A little bit of water might be required if using fresh strawberries to help them start cooking. When choosing the fresh fruits, try to go for ripe strawberries that contain more natural pectin than unripe ones; that will help the compote to thicken.
- Sugar: Caster Sugar or Fine White Granulated Sugar. This recipe is relatively low in sugar but I recommend tasting and adjusting the sweetness level if required (some strawberries are simply naturally sweeter than others!).
This recipe will also work with a natural liquid sweetener like Honey or Maple Syrup, but you will usually need to reduce the compote for a little bit longer since you will be adding some extra liquid to it. An unrefined sugar such as coconut sugar can be used as well.
- Lemon Juice: Used to balance the flavour as well as help the compote to thicken and preserve. The fresh lemon juice can be substituted with Lime Juice for a slightly different flavour as well!
- Vanilla: I used Vanilla Extract for this recipe since vanilla works so well with strawberries - but it is completely optional!
- Spices such as Ground Cinnamon or Ginger. A little bit goes a long way here!
- Fresh Herbs like Mint or Basil.
- Citrus Zests: lemon zest, lime zest or orange zest is a simple but delicious addition to this strawberry sauce and will add lots of flavour to it.
How to make Strawberry Compote
- Photo 1: Wash, hull and slice the Strawberries in half. Place them in a small saucepan.
For a thicker sauce, keep the strawberries whole. For a thiner compote, you can cut the strawberries in smaller pieces.
Note that if using fresh strawberries, you might need to add a little bit of water (1 or 2 tablespoons) of water to help it start cooking and avoid burning the strawberries. It is not required if using frozen strawberries as they will release water as soon as they start thawing.
- Photo 2: Add the Sugar and Lemon Juice and stir to combine.
- Photo 3: Turn on low to medium heat and leave to simmer until the fruits have softened and the liquid starts to thicken. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of the strawberries and how much water they naturally contain - but is usually between 10 and 20 minutes.
For a thicker sauce, you can reduce the compote for longer until almost no more liquid remain. For a thiner but chunkier compote, you can cook the strawberries until soft then drain them to discard any extra liquid - or keep some of the fresh (uncooked) strawberries and only add them in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Note that the sauce will continue to thicken once it cools down so it is ok to still have a little bit of liquid in the saucepan when you stop cooking it!
- Remove from the stove and leave the strawberry compote to cool down slightly. Transfer the mixture into a glass jar or container and place in the fridge to finish cooling and set.
Both coulis and compote are usually made with the same ingredients (a fruit, some sugar and lemon juice) and prepared in the same way on the stove.
A compote is usually kept thick and chunky after cooking while a coulis is blended (in a blender or with an immersion blender) and poured through a thin mesh sieve to be used as a thin, more liquid sauce.
The thickening of the compote happens naturally when you cook down and reduce the fruits (the water contained in the fruit evaporates). The lemon juice as well as the strawberries contain a little bit of pectin that will help the strawberry sauce thicken on its own.
If you are looking for a much thicker strawberry compote, you could also add about 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch as well.
This recipe can be made with a natural sweetener such as Maple Syrup or honey if you are looking for a more healthy strawberry compote. In this case, the compote will need to reduce for a little bit longer as it will contain more liquid. The sugar can also be substituted with an unrefined sugar such as coconut sugar.
Simply note that the caster / white sugar is not only used as a sweetener but also as a preservative here.
No, this strawberry sauce does not contain enough sugar to be canned or preserved as opposed to jam.
Tips for Success
- For a chunkier strawberry sauce, don't cut the strawberries before cooking them. For a thiner, more liquid compote, cut them into small cubes. The cooking time will also influence the overall texture of the compote so you can really adapt this recipe to suit your needs!
- You might need to add a little bit of water when using fresh strawberries to avoid the fruits burning at the start. This will depend on the strawberries you use, how ripe they are and if they naturally contain a lot of water already. No need for water if using frozen strawberries.
- The exact cooking time will depend on the strawberries you use, how much water they naturally contain and what consistency you want for your compote. A chunkier compote will cook more quickly that a smoother one.
How to use the compote
There are so many uses for strawberry compote. It can be serve hot or cold over a huge variety of cakes and desserts (or even on its own!):
- As a Cheesecake Topping like I did for these Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes, or over a Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake.
- As a topping (or even filling if thickened enough) for a cake like this Chocolate Fondant Cake, Strawberry Almond Cake or this Upside Down Strawberry Cake.
- With Yogurt, Granola or over a simple Vanilla Ice Cream.
- Served as a breakfast topping over Waffles, Pancakes or French Toast.
Storing & Freezing
To store the homemade compote, let it cool down slightly then transfer into a sealed glass jar or container. Keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Alternatively, this Strawberry Compote can be frozen in small or large quantity. I love to freeze it in individual portions using a large silicone ice tray / mold! It will last for 3 months in the freezer. Simply thaw in the fridge overnight or reheat in the microwave for a few seconds.
More Sweet Sauces
- Raspberry Coulis
- Stewed Rhubarb
- Passion Fruit Curd
- Blueberry Coulis
- Easy Mango Coulis
- Stovetop Applesauce
- Passion Fruit Coulis
Made this recipe? Let us know if you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below! And don't forget to share your creation on Instagram with the hashtag #abakingjourney and tag @a.baking.journey
- 350 gr (12 oz) Strawberries - fresh or frozen (see note 2).
- 50 gr (1/4 cup) Caster Sugar
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) Lemon Juice
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract - optional
I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
- Wash, hull and slice the Strawberries in half (see note 1). Place them in a small saucepan.
- Add the Sugar and Lemon Juice (and optionally the Vanilla) and stir to combine (see note 2).
- Turn on low to medium heat and leave to simmer until the fruits have softened and the liquid starts to thicken. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of the strawberries and how much water they naturally contain, but is usually between 10 and 20 minutes (see note 3).
- Remove from the stove and leave to cool down slightly. Transfer into a glass jar or container and place in the fridge to finish cooling and set. Keep in the fridge for up to a week, or freezer for 3 months.
- For a thicker sauce, keep the strawberries whole. For a thiner compote, you can cut the strawberries in smaller pieces.
- If using fresh strawberries, you might need to add a little bit of water (1 or 2 tablespoons) of water to help it start cooking and avoid burning the strawberries. It is not required if using frozen strawberries as they will release water as soon as they start thawing.
- For a thicker sauce, you can reduce the compote for longer until almost no more liquid remain. For a thiner but chunkier compote, you can cook the strawberries until soft then drain them to discard any extra liquid - or keep some of the fresh (uncooked) strawberries and only add them in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Note that the sauce will continue to thicken once it cools down so it is ok to still have a little bit of liquid in the saucepan when you stop cooking it!