Looking for a delicious homemade strawberry sauce for your breakfast, dessert, or snacks? Then a batch of strawberry compote is your answer! Made with a few simple ingredients, this delightful fruit topping is easy to make and adds a burst of fruity flavor to any dish.
Strawberry season is short here in New England and I plan on taking full advantage of it this summer
I love making compote because it's an easy way to use up a lot of berries and it's a great recipe for those that don't want to make a big batch of jam.
A dollop of compote is a great way to add a burst of flavor to your morning oats or desserts, and it doubles as a delightful strawberry sauce to share with friends!
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What is a compote?
Compote is made by simmering fruit in a sugar syrup made from the fruit's natural juices (or added water) and sugar. During cooking, the berries break down, and the sauce becomes thick and spoonable.
You can opt for fresh, frozen, or dried fruit when making compote, and different flavors can be infused into the mixture depending on the recipe you follow.
How to Make Homemade Strawberry Compote
Full ingredient amounts and instructions are listed on the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Equipment You'll Need
- A 2-3 quart saucepan. I like using a pan with a wider bottom like a "saucier" pan. The wider bottom allows more space for the fruit, making for a faster cooking time.
- Heatproof silicone spatula or wooden spoon
- Potato masher (optional)
Ingredients You'll Need
Fresh strawberries- Make sure to select strawberries that are in season for your area. If you're getting berries at the grocery store, make sure the berries are bright red, plump, and very fragrant. If you're making this strawberry compote out of season, use frozen berries instead.
Sugar- I use standard granulated white sugar. This will add sweetness to the compote and make a nice, thick sauce.
Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest- this will add flavor and brightness to the compote after cooking. The lemon will also help to balance out all the sweetness.
Salt- A dash of coarse kosher salt will remove any bitterness from the lemon and balance out the sweetness from the sugar and berries.
If using fresh fruit, wash, dry, and trim the green tops off the strawberries.
Cut any large berries in half, smaller berries can be left whole. If using frozen berries, skip to the next step.
Add the strawberries to a 2-3 quart saucepan along with the sugar, lemon juice, and dash of salt.
Heat the mixture over medium-high heat and cook for about 5 minutes. The berries will have released enough juice that the strawberries are halfway submerged in liquid, but not totally covered, and not soft yet.
The sugar is completely dissolved at this point and the berry liquid is boiling.
Reduce the temperature to medium heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture is bubbling too furiously, turn the heat down to medium-low to prevent burning.
After 10 minutes of simmering, use a potato masher or a fork to break up the larger pieces of fruit.
Continue to cook the mixture until the strawberry liquid is thick, the bubbles are looking syrupy, and the fruit is broken down, about 10-15 minutes more.
Once the compote is thick, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and more lemon juice, if desired.
Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before use. The compote will thicken as it cools.
Variations and Substitutions
- Replace the lemon juice with orange juice and orange zest for a sweeter and more floral compote.
- If you like a smoother compote, use the immersion blender to blend the mixture into a silky smooth sauce.
- For a thicker compote, simmer the mixture for an extra 5-10 minutes. No cornstarch slurry is required. Keep in mind, the compote will thicken as it cools.
If you love this delicious strawberry sauce, I have a blueberry compote I make the same way that I know you'll just LOVE.
- Choose ripe and sweet strawberries. The key to a flavorful strawberry compote is using ripe strawberries in season. Look for fresh, plump strawberries that are deep red in color and have a sweet aroma. If you can't get good fresh berries, frozen is perfectly good to use, see the FAQ's section for more details.
- The compote is done when it is thick, syrupy, and has reduced to 1 ¼ cups in a liquid measuring cup.
- To test if your compote has thickened enough, place a small dish in the freezer at the beginning of your cooking time. When you think the compote might be done, spoon a little liquid onto the chilled plate and let it cool. This will show you the consistency of your sauce. If it's where you want it, the compote is done, if it's a little loose, continue cooking until the desired thickness is reached.
Storing and Freezing
Leftover compote can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Strawberry compote can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to a month. When you're ready to use, allow the compote to thaw in the fridge or reheat in a small saucepan over low heat until spoonable.
- Strawberry shortcake is my favorite way to serve this homemade compote. I like spooning thick strawberry compote over buttery biscuits or slices of pound cake and topping them with whipped cream.
- This compote makes the perfect topping for cheesecake--I use this same strawberry topping for my mini strawberry cheesecakes.
- Serve the compote warm on top of ice cream, for the best sundae ever.
- Swap out the maple syrup and top French toast, pancakes, or waffles, with the compote instead. It makes a great addition to the breakfast table.
Yes! I recommend using frozen berries if you want to make compote in the winter or when berries are out of season. When using frozen strawberries, do not thaw them first, just add them right to the saucepan. No need to cut up the larger berries either, they'll break down easily during cooking. Expect to add about 5-8 extra minutes to the total cooking time.
This strawberry compote is better for you than a store-bought jam, since it's made from fresh, whole berries and there is very little added sugar. I would still recommend consuming in moderation.
A fruit compote differs from jam in the way that there is way less sugar, no added pectin, and the fruit is left very chunky. Compote is more spoonable and saucy, whereas jam is thick and spreadable.
More Recipes For Your Compote
- 16 ounces strawberries, whole
- ¼ cup of granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
- Dash of coarse kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon zest (optional)
- Wash, dry, and trim the green tops off of the strawberries. Cut any large berries in half, small berries can be left whole.
- Add the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt to a 2-3 quart saucepan with a wide bottom.
- Cook the berries on medium-high heat for 5 minutes until enough liquid is released to submerge the berries halfway in juice. The liquid will be boiling.
- Reduce the temperature to medium heat and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a fork or potato masher to break up the large berries.
- Cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until the compote is thick, the berries are broken down, and the bubbles have started to look syrupy during simmering.
- Remove the compote from the heat. Let it cool enough to taste and stir in the lemon zest and more lemon juice if desired. Cool before serving and storing.
- You can use frozen berries instead of fresh ones. Skip to step 2 if using frozen berries
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 17Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g