1poundfresh strawberriesrinsed, hulled and halved or quartered
1teaspooncornstarchor more to taste; see notes below!
Combine strawberries and sugar in a medium pot or saucepan.
Whisk together lemon juice, vanilla extract and cornstarch in a small bowl until fully smooth/no lumps remain. Pour over strawberries and stir well.
Bring to a boil once over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium heat and simmer sauce until berries are soft and juices have thickened slightly, about 5 minutes for a chunky topping (see notes below for other consistencies).
Use warm, at room temperature or chilled.
Strawberries: You can make this with frozen strawberries. You don’t need to defrost them, but the sauce will take a little longer to cook and they tend to break up more. Feel free to substitute other berries – the sauce works great with blueberries, blackberries or cherries. Raspberries tend to completely break up and form more of a jam.
Cornstarch: Feel free to double or triple the cornstarch for a more jammy, thick sauce (the recipe as-is yields chunks of soft strawberry in syrup-y sauce).
Lemon juice: The lemon aids with the thickening of the sauce. If you use bottled or skip the lemon juice, you may need to add a little more cornstarch to get the same consistency.
You can cut the strawberries as small or as chunky as you’d like. I prefer a chunky strawberry sauce, especially for cheesecake toppings or for things like extra-special strawberry shortcake and the like.
The sauce thickens a little as it chills. If it is too thick when you want to use it, microwave it for 10-15 seconds.
This yields soft, juicy strawberries in a sirup-y sauce. For a thicker sauce, double or even triple the cornstarch.
I like a chunky strawberry topping with lots of juicy syrup. But in some instances, it can be more useful to have more of a sauce consistency, or smaller chunks. Here are some ways you can vary the consistency:
Cut the strawberries in large chunks (halve or quarter) and only stir carefully during simmering to leave the berry chunks whole for a very chunky topping, perfect for cheesecake
Dice the strawberries in medium chunks, and/or break up some of the berries as the sauce simmers for a more small chunk, jamm-y topping
For a smoother sauce, please do not blend – it turns out too liquid-y. Instead, break up/mash all of the berries with a wooden spoon after simmering the sauce for about 5 minutes. Simmer for 5-10 more minutes, stirring often, until thickened to your preferred consistency.
Fridge: Cool the sauce to room temperature, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Microwave for 10-15 seconds to warm the sauce and to make it thinner again if it is too thick.Freezer: Cool the sauce to room temperature, then place in a labelled freezer bag or freezer container. Freeze for up to 4 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight.