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Make your own homemade strawberry compote from four simple ingredients in less than 15 minutes. Use this delicious strawberry sauce to in or on top of ice cream, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, cheesecakes, pies, or anything that pairs well with fruit. If strawberries aren’t in season, use frozen, or change it up and use any berries you love!
A good strawberry topping recipe is great to have in your back pocket. Not only is it a great way to use strawberries that may be past their munching prime, but also for those times you need a simple way to turn a dessert, breakfast, or snack into something a little more interesting.
The first time I made this deliciously thick strawberry compote was in summer 2020 when I took our boys strawberry picking at a local orchard.
We had so many strawberries, and while we live in a house full of strawberry monsters, even the 4 of us couldn’t keep up with how quickly they were deteriorating and losing their luster.
Rather than waste them, I chopped them up, mixed a few ingredients in a saucepan, and we had simple strawberry compote for several days longer than we’d have been able to enjoy the fresh strawberries from our haul.
WHAT IS COMPOTE?
Compote is a simple fruit sauce made with pieces of fresh (or frozen) fruit cooked in water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
You can also describe compote as a textured, chunky fruit sauce.
COMPOTE VS JAM
You might be thinking “why are we calling ‘jam’ by this fancy name?” And you’d be partially correct and also wrong because compote and jam are actually different.
As mentioned, compote is a chunky fruit sauce. While it’s totally acceptable to put it on a sandwich or toast, the chunks of fruit make it quite difficult to spread.
Jam, on the other hand, involves more mashed and broken up pieces of fruit, which you can get by cooking it longer and at a higher temperature than you would compote.
A compote should also not be confused with a chutney, which is much like a compote but cooked with spices. See my homemade spiced cranberry sauce for one deeeeeelish chutney recipe!
You only need a few simple ingredients to make strawberry compote (and actually, you can turn this into a simple berry compote, but we’ll get there).
Of course, you’ll need strawberries. I use one whole pound of them to make just shy of two cups of compote.
While I do prefer using fresh strawberries, you can absolutely make strawberry compote with frozen strawberries.
You’ll also need some water to get the mixture boiling, sugar to sweeten the berries up a bit, some lemon juice to help keep the mixture from browning and also help the pectin relax to allow it to set, and cornstarch to thicken the mixture so it’s nice a gooey.
HOW TO MAKE A STRAWBERRY COMPOTE (OR ANY BERRY COMPOTE)
The hardest part of making strawberry compote is preparing the strawberries, since you’ll need to remove the tops, hull if necessary, and then slice them.
If you’re using frozen strawberries, you may not have to slice them into pieces, since they’re usually on the smaller size. When strawberries are in season, they can be pretty large, so use your best judgement on how to slice them.
I slice most of my larger strawberries into quarters but some need cut into eighths. Smaller ones may only need to be halved.
If you’re using other berries (like blackberries or blueberries), there may be no need to prepare them.
Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan together, then bring to a boil.
Once boiling, turn the mixture down to just a simmer, then allow it to cook while stirring occasionally for about 10-12 minutes.
You’ll know the compote is done when the liquid has thickened and can make a thick coating on the back of a spoon.
Your strawberry pieces will also be starting to fall apart a bit. Some of the larger pieces may be intact, and that’s when I just like to smash them with my spatula.
If you want to use it in ice cream, yogurt, on cheesecake, or other cold dessert, it’s best to let it chill in the refrigerator.
The good news is, you can make this easy strawberry compote recipe and keep it in the fridge for a few weeks in case you find yourself needing to use strawberries but don’t have an immediate use for them.
I will say, though, that once you get a taste of this strawberry sauce, you’ll want to top all the breakfast and brunch foods and desserts with strawberry compote. It probably won’t last long!
Again, consider changing up the fruit in your compote or make a frozen fruit compote full of anything you can find in your grocery store or home freezer if you’re feeling the desire for something fruity.
- 1 pound (454g) fresh or frozen strawberries1,2 hulled and sliced into halves or quarters; about 2 and ½ cups once sliced
- ½ cup (120mL) water
- 3 Tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar
- 1 and ½ Tablespoons (22mL) lemon juice3
- 1 and ½ Tablespoons (15g) cornstarch
- Combine the strawberries, water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat, bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes4 until liquid thickens.
- Allow strawberry compote to cool a bit before using as a topping for warm food (like blintzes, pancakes, or French toast), or chill in the refrigerator until ready to use on cold foods (like ice cream, yogurt, or cheesecake). Store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Compote freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
- Fresh or frozen strawberries: I like to use fresh the best, but out of season, frozen work just fine. Do not thaw. You may need to simmer the compote a bit longer to account for the added water from thawing.
- Other berries: this strawberry compote recipe actually works for any berries. You can see in my cheese blintzes recipe that I used a mix of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
- Lemon juice: it is best to use freshly squeezed lemon juice in compote, but you can use bottled if it’s all you have available to you.
- Simmer time: this recipe both halves and doubles beautifully. You may need to reduce or increase simmer time depending on how large your batch is. You want the juice to hold a thick coating on the back of a spoon when it’s sufficiently reduced.