Strawberries are now a year-round delight, but there’s nothing better than getting them when they’re in season. My mom swears by the ones grown in Plant City, Florida, which start showing up in stores in late February. Those are plenty good, but I covet the ones at the local u-pick farm down the road. I get up early, don my dorky giant straw hat to mitigate the sunlight, and get out there crouching in the straw with the rest of the strawberry fanatics.
At first I devour those berries straight-up, but then the urge hits to conjure up strawberry desserts and treats. Pies, bars, crisps, custards, sauces—you name it. If it stars strawberries, I’m in.
Here are our favorite strawberry desserts to make any time the fancy strikes you. If you have more berries than you can keep up with, try our trick for keeping them fresh and perky in the fridge for over a week.
Classic Strawberry Shortcake
Shortcake is not only the most iconic strawberry dessert—it’s also one of the easiest to make. Work a mix of butter and cream into the dough just until it’s moistened, then bake until golden brown for tender biscuits ready to soak up that ruby red strawberry juice. You can make both the biscuits and the macerated strawberries up to a day ahead.
Strawberry Pretzel Pie
That chilled strawberry Jell-O salad on a pretzel crust in a 9×13-inch pan is a fixture of Midwestern potlucks and gatherings. The reason? It’s good. It’s also not really a salad, so this pie reimagines that recipe as a true dessert, topped with whipped cream and a crumble of pretzel crunch.
Strawberry Ice Cream
Here’s one worth breaking out the ice cream churn for. For a berrylicious ice cream, use a combination of strawberry puree and strawberries cooked into a jam, then mix into a custard base.
Ricotta-Mascarpone Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries
If you’re all thumbs with baking, this one’s for you. Whip heavy cream and mascarpone with a little lemon zest and sugar, then chill. Spoon it over strawberries macerated in balsamic syrup. It’s a prefect finale for special dinners.
Whole Wheat Strawberry Shortcake
Whole grain flour adds an unexpected flavor that enlivens plain old shortcake. In this case, use a 50-50 mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flours for the best of both worlds: flavor, lightness, and an appealing rustic look. A yogurt whipped cream adds another twist on this beloved strawberry dessert.
Early Grey Yogurt Cake With Strawberries
Fragrant specks of Early Grey tea leaves grace a tender yogurt cake. The easy-peasy batter is based on a traditional French cake made with plain yogurt, olive oil, eggs, flour, and vanilla extract. Serve with fresh strawberries tossed in a little sugar and put extra dollop of yogurt or whipped cream on top for a treat that’s welcome any time of day.
Microwave Strawberry Jam
A jar of A+ homemade jam is amazingly achievable in minutes with this genius microwave method. You have to try it to believe it. It’s a fun project to make with kids, and so much less of a commitment than hours stirring a boiling, lava-like kettle over a hot stove.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars
A timeless pairing of late spring produce gems, rhubarb and strawberries star in crumble-topped bars that are more shareable than pie. And for those who have pastry-making phobia, the easy pat-in-the-pan crust is a double blessing, since you set aside a portion for the crumble topping.
Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse
Don’t let the mousse part of this recipe intimidate you! Just follow the steps and everything will come together for a make-ahead layered dessert. The white chocolate adds incredible richness to the mousse.
Strawberry Italian Soda
A syrup made with fresh strawberries lends this refreshing treat its unbeatable flavor. Make the syrup to have on hand for mixing up sodas on a whim.
Vanilla Roasted Strawberries
If making jam isn’t your jam, try this hands-off recipe for jammy berries that fall somewhere between a preserve and a sauce. Scatter sugar over the berries in a baking dish, nestle a split vanilla bean in there, and pop it in the oven for a quick dose of high heat that’ll concentrate all of those wonderful flavors. Serve it over yogurt, ice cream, panna cotta, or sponge cake.
Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins
Do muffins count as a dessert? They do at my house. And a breakfast, and a snack. These are tender yet hearty, with pockets of juicy strawberries. The best part is how effortlessly they come together. It’s a quick stir-together batter with no creaming.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Here’s a ruby red dessert that just right for busy-day baking. Simmer the fruity filling in a skillet, then top with an oaty brown sugar crumble topping. Bake until bubbling and serve warm or at room temp.
Fresh Strawberry Pie
Man oh man. This is just the kind of pie that you see in a glass dessert case at a diner or café and immediately want. Then you order it and it’s gloppy and overly sweet. But this homemade version lets fresh strawberries shine. They’re kissed with a light glaze and piled in a blind-baked crust. Bring this one out for all of your serious strawberry lovers.
Strawberry Eton Mess
What, pray tell, is an Eton mess? It’s a make-ahead parfait with layers of crumbled meringue, fruit, and whipped cream. As it chills, the meringues soak up the fruit’s juice and soften. Here’s a shortcut: skip making the meringue yourself and pick up a tub of the ones at Trader Joe’s for a stress-free strawberry delight.
American Flag Pie
A splendid strawberry filling makes up the red stripes in this patriotic slab pie that’ll be a huge hit for Memorial Day or July 4th cookouts.
An ages-old Italian dessert that’s traditionally made tableside and served right away, zabaglione is a spoonable Marsala and egg custard that you whip in a bowl over a bath of simmering water. Serve it with strawberries and ameretti or bisotti.
Strawberry Jam for Canning
Home-canned strawberry jam is a true labor of love. Yes, it’s work, but for those willing to embark on the journey, you’ll have a pantry stocked with jars that offer comfort and memories. Not to mention jam that’s leagues above what you get at the store. It’s good enough to transform humble toast into a a dessert fit for royalty.