17 Easy Strawberry Desserts
Celebrate the first fruits of the season with strawberry slab pie, strawberry skillet pizza, no-bake refrigerator desserts, and more.
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While it’s true we can get fresh strawberries year-round, in peak season they’re far more juicy and intensely flavored than at other times. And peak season is starting! From now into mid-summer, you have every excuse to feast on them in glorious strawberry desserts. We picked these easy strawberry recipes with an eye on getting you out of the kitchen and reaching for a fork as soon as possible.
In fact, we found a lot of recipes where there’s no need to turn the oven on at all (let’s hear it for no-bake strawberry desserts!). The majority of the effort? Waiting out the chilling time.
California grows 90 percent of the strawberries on the market, the ones you’ll likely see in grocery stores over the next few months. When I can, I also like to head to my local u-pick farm and get berries there. That might not be possible this year, but there may be a way to support hardworking local farmers and get their tender, succulent little strawberries. So check with your favorite farms or farmers’ markets to see if they have a delivery or pickup option that adheres to social distancing protocols. Because those berries will grow, whether anyone eats them or not. Might as well be you.
How to select strawberries
If organic strawberries are in your budget, buy them. Strawberries are at the top of the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen produce list, meaning they have more pesticide residue than other produce — even after rinsing. If organic berries are not a possibility, buy what works for you and enjoy without guilt; strawberries are high in fiber and vitamin C, and make a low-calorie snack (to offset all the desserts you’ll be making!).
If you're in the store, always inspect berries for mold before putting them in your cart. Those plastic clamshells are conveniently see-through, so lift the container overhead to get all the angles and catch any spoilage from the bottom, too.
The deepest, most ruby-colored berries are the ripest. Leave pale pink or mostly white berries behind, as they’ll be bland and crunchy.
How to store strawberries
Don’t wash strawberries until right before you eat or cook with them. Water will cause them to spoil quickly.
Refrigerate your berries and use them within a few days. If they start to get soft but not moldy, you can still use them, but hop to it. Either cook with them or use them in a puree. If you don’t think you’ll get around to eating them anytime soon, lop off the tops and freeze them whole for smoothie-making.
How to prep strawberries
No matter what kind of strawberries you’re dealing with — conventional or organic, trucked-in or local — always wash them before snacking or starting on your recipe. Rinse them under cold water, drain them in a colander, then lay them on a towel to collect excess moisture so your recipe won’t be watery.
A strawberry huller is a little tool that can be a big help. The old-fashioned ones that look like stubby tweezers do a great job, and keep you from throwing half the strawberry away. But if you don’t have one, you can always use a paring knife. Try to just get the leafy parts to maximize your yield.
How to freeze strawberries
If you make smoothies a lot and would like to get a few from the bag at a time, just put rinsed, hulled berries on a sheet tray and freeze them until firm. Then pack them into a zip-top bag and use them in a few months so they don’t get freezer burn. Otherwise, to freeze berries in a solid brick so they don’t take up as much space, wash, hull, and quarter them. Toss them with a few tablespoons of sugar per quart and refrigerate them until they’re soupy. Then pack them into bags and freeze them flat. These should be good for up to a year.
Using thawed frozen strawberries
The best way to thaw frozen strawberries is in the refrigerator overnight. If that’s not in your timeline, submerge the bag in cold water for a few hours. Strawberries give off a lot more liquid as they thaw than other berries; be prepared for a soupy mess. That’s why frozen berries are best for pureed or cooked desserts.
Now that you’re possibly up to your neck in lovely little berries, let’s get to whipping up some berry-licious dessert recipes!
Strawberry Skillet Pizza
Ideal for kitchens without special baking pans or equipment. Make an easy giant sugar cookie crust in a skillet, and while it bakes, beat together a simple cream cheese topping and crown it with fresh strawberries. This makes enough dough for two skillet pizzas, so freeze one for later.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
This layered dessert goes by many names and has been a star of potluck tables for decades. Part no-bake cheesecake, with a fluffy cream cheese layer, and part fruity gelatin salad, it’s a salty-sweet sensation with the unlikeliest of ingredients.
Eton Mess Semifreddo
This is two classic desserts in one. Eton Mess is a British parfait of crumbled meringues, whipped cream, and strawberries. Semifreddo is Italian, a frozen mousse in loaf form. If you’d like to make a light and chilly strawberry dessert but don’t own an ice cream maker, this is made for you. Use store-bought meringue kisses and you won’t need to even look at the oven.
Classic Strawberry Shortcakes
The queen of simple strawberry desserts. If you can make biscuits, you can make shortcake. (Never made biscuits? Try it!) These are just sweet enough, with a light and tender crumb. If you’re not feeding a crowd, you can freeze the extra biscuits for strawberry dessert encores.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Tartlets
Who doesn’t love peanut butter and jelly? The “jelly” here is really strawberry chia jam — you can use fresh or frozen berries. This vegan and gluten-free recipe requires only seven ingredients top to bottom.
Very Berry Chia Pops
The gelatinous magic of chia seeds gives these strawberry popsicles a nice body so they’re not brittle and icy. Stick some in the freezer to enjoy on one of the year’s first hot days. They’re healthy strawberry desserts, so no need to hold back.
Strawberries and Cream Poke Cake
A strawberry desserts list would not be complete without this throwback strawberry cake. The contrast between the white cake and the pink Jell-O soaked into it draws you right in. If you have young cooks, ask them to help you make this — they’ll especially love the poking part, though they can also help spread the whipped cream or whipped topping "frosting." Feel free to load it up with fresh berries just before serving.
Strawberry Lemon Parfaits
Lemon and strawberry are a winning combination. If you buy a pound cake (frozen or from the bakery), sponge cake, or biscotti cookies and a jar of lemon curd, these parfaits are a no-bake dessert. Layer them ahead of time, if needed, for make-ahead ease.
No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie
This is another retro-tastic, low-effort strawberry dessert with high appeal. Strawberry gelatin and frozen whipped topping make a silky, pretty pink filling. Put this strawberry pie together early in the day so it will be nicely chilled by the evening.
5-Minute Healthy Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Start with frozen strawberries and puree them with Greek yogurt, and you’ll be eating no-churn frozen yogurt in minutes. This is more like a sorbet/fro-yo mashup, but who can protest with that gorgeous color?
Meringue Cupcakes with Nutella and Strawberries
These aren’t cupcakes per se, but billowy meringues baked in cupcake tins (so they’re gluten-free!). Fill them with gooey Nutella and a few sliced strawberries and you have a lovely, impressive treat with very few ingredients. If you don’t have a piping tip, just spoon the meringue into a gallon zip-top bag and snip off the tip for easy portioning into the paper-lined tins.
Instant Pot New York Cheesecake
A classic cheesecake cooked in under an hour? And with no water bath! The secret is your Instant Pot, which quickly steams the creamiest cheesecake you’ll ever taste. One try and this easy strawberry cheesecake recipe will be your favorite for any occasion. Heap on that strawberry topping! You’ll need a 7-inch cheesecake pan.
Can’t wait for a frozen dessert? Need a strawberry dessert fix now? Strawberry milk to the rescue! Maybe you didn’t even know it was possible to make this stuff without a pink tin of Nesquik, but if you’ve never tried it with real berries before, you are in for a treat.
Strawberry Slab Pie
This is a pie for pie-lovers who aren’t pie-bakers. It bakes faster than a regular pie, too. Start with store-bought crusts, simmer a quick filling (using thawed or fresh berries), and assemble the slab pie on a sheet pan. To quickly cool the filling before spreading it over the unbaked crust, scrape it into a bowl and set that in a larger bowl of ice water. You can top it with pastry pieces made with any favorite cookie cutters.
Strawberry Rhubarb Fool
A fool is a humble name for a charming dessert. It’s simply whipped cream swirled with crushed fruit. You’ll need to cook the rhubarb a bit, but otherwise this is mostly a matter of whipping cream, folding in the strawberry-rhubarb mixture (the rose water is optional), and spooning it into glasses, which you can do hours ahead of serving.
Strawberry Chocolate Greek Yogurt Bark
This easy frozen dessert isn’t the chocolate-y bark you’d initially think of. It’s just berries and chocolate chips scattered over a base of frozen Greek yogurt. Break off bits as needed for a quick, healthy snack.
Strawberry Daiquiri Jell-O Shots
The berries themselves are the shooters in this boozy grownup nibble. Maybe you won’t be hosting parties in the near future, but file this one away for those fabled quarantine-free days to come, or delight your in-home drinking partner with something over-the-top.
More strawberry dessert recipes
On Yummly we have so many spring and summer dessert options for juicy strawberries, including strawberry crumble, strawberry ice cream, strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar, buttery strawberry tart, strawberry pavlova, strawberry-rhubarb pie, strawberry layer cake, strawberry and vanilla ice cream, stuffed strawberries, strawberry muffins, strawberry crepes, and strawberry-blueberry custards. You'll find favorite flavor combinations, too, like strawberries with dark chocolate, strawberries with white chocolate, pistachios and strawberries, and strawberries with mascarpone cheese.