In “The Bluest Eye,” Toni Morrison writes, “I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer.” The berry is a perfect complement to warm summer months — sweet but not cloyingly so, with a mellow tartness that sings alongside citrus or cream. Strawberries also play nicely with an array of different flavors and preparations, though you’ll have to resist eating them all straight out of the carton first. What follows are 14 of our readers’ most-loved strawberry recipes.
“I make a variation of this cake every strawberry season.”
Strawberries and cream is perhaps one of the fruit’s most-loved flavor combinations, and there are numerous adaptations on it. Take for example fraisier, an elaborately constructed French cake made from layers of sponge, strawberries and cream. This fraisier-inspired cake from Claire Saffitz is much more informal, meaning less time in the kitchen decorating and more time enjoying the summer sun.
“This is delicious and easy to make. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Adding strawberries to a simple, five-ingredient custard from Melissa Clark makes for an impressive yet unpretentious dessert that has commenters raving. As an added bonus — perhaps the most important factor when it comes to summer desserts — it doesn’t require turning on an oven.
“My fiancé says this is the best pie I’ve ever made.”
The filling in this recipe for classic American strawberry pie is the opposite of elaborate: Fresh strawberries are combined with sugar and a bit of flour and butter. That’s it. The minimalist treatment and the impressive end result is proof that you don’t need much to make your strawberries shine.
Recipe: Lattice-Top Strawberry Pie
“This is just so good. I made it twice in a week.”
While strawberries taste great on their own, they also support so many other flavors. For this recipe, Clare de Boer pairs them with savory tahini to add depth and richness, and tops the resulting soft serve with crumbled halvah for some salty balance.
“The cake was moist and delicious, with plenty of strawberry flavor coming through. I will definitely make this again!”
This recipe from Yossy Arefi makes elegant use of fresh farmers’ market berries, offering up a double dose of strawberry flavor in both the cake and the glaze that coats it. And it presents well, too, as the strawberry glaze provides a gratifyingly pink hue.
Recipe: Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake
“There are no words for how delicious this is.”
In this Nigella Lawson recipe, strawberries are mixed with a little balsamic vinegar and vanilla. It’s a combination that, as she puts it, “brings out the fullest essential flavor of the fruit.” The mixture is then poured over whipped cream-topped Pavlova. “It’s magnificent,” she writes, “and deliriously easy.” More than 1,300 of our readers agree.
Recipe: Strawberry Pavlova
“I ate this whole thing by myself. All of it.”
Anyone looking for the fastest and most straightforward way to get a strawberry-flavored sweet treat out of the kitchen and into their mouths would do well to start with Jerrelle Guy’s strawberry spoon cake. It has an unfussy simplicity and a gooey texture that can’t be beat.
Recipe: Strawberry Spoon Cake
“This has become my ‘go-to’ summer dessert.”
This recipe from the River Café in London, adapted by Amanda Hesser, uses an entire lemon, rind and all. It’s among the best examples of just how brilliant the flavor pairing of strawberry and citrus really is.
Recipe: Strawberry Sorbet
“Like eating strawberries in heaven.”
Do you prefer your strawberries as close to their natural, unsullied state as possible? Mark Bittman’s take on the classic strawberries and cream pairing is a worthwhile option. It uses Swedish cream, a mixture of sour and fresh cream, for a subtle tang.
Recipe: Strawberries With Swedish Cream
“Move over scones, there’s a new fruit-filled breakfast treat in town.”
This simple recipe requires only one bowl and a half-hour to make, with no cutting or measuring necessary. The resulting baked goods are light and fluffy, a cross between a muffin top and a biscuit, and a foolproof way to get strawberry flavor for breakfast.
Recipe: Strawberry Drop Biscuits
“So, so good. You really get the sweet from the berries, and their juices flow into the perfectly rich and subtle biscuits.”
Shortcake is perhaps one of the best-known strawberry desserts, and this version — adapted by Nancy Harmon Jenkins from Jane Grigson’s “Fruit Book” — has 3,000 five-star ratings. It can be made with very little planning or preparation, but is still impressive enough to serve at special occasions.
“Make this, put it on everything, eat, repeat.”
Die-hard strawberry fans, this one’s for you. Strawberry sauce is an easy way to add strawberry flavor to cakes, biscuits or other baked goods. It would do just as nicely drizzled over ice cream or yogurt, or swirled into fresh cream or milkshakes. Or poured directly into one’s mouth.
Recipe: Strawberry Sauce
“An absolute keeper during strawberry season!”
In this recipe, sweet swirls of strawberry purée mingle with rich yet tender cake under a crunchy crumble topping. Once baked, the cake can be enjoyed two ways: as a warm dessert fresh out of the oven, or as a room temperature breakfast coffee cake the next day.
“We loved this recipe so much that my daughter requested it a second time just a few weeks later.”
In this recipe, sugar is crushed in a mortar and pestle with buds of lavender and vanilla seeds until it’s fragrant, then sliced strawberries macerate in the floral mixture. The strawberries are spooned over a poundcake that has lovely nutty notes from pistachios, and is topped with — surprise, surprise — strawberry’s best friend: whipped cream.