Homemade Strawberry Syrup is a three ingredient recipe made in 20 minutes. A bit of cornstarch helps the syrup to thicken quickly, preserving the flavor of the strawberries. Use it on pancakes and waffles, in drinks, drizzled on yogurt or on desserts like angel food cake, ice cream, or strawberry shortcake.
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When we first moved into our current house there was a little strawberry patch in the backyard. Over the past couple of years the patch slowly dwindled until I decided to pull it out last year and plant blueberries in its place. The plants. will take a few years to start producing, but will give us fresh berries for years to come. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t missing those sweet, ripe red berries we ate straight off the vine our first summer here. (Above is a picture of June watering the blueberry plants earlier this summer in a very fashionable outfit she picked out herself.)
Even with our own little strawberry patch, my taste for fresh berries far exceeds what I can grow. We buy pounds and pounds of berries at the grocery store and at our favorite local berry patch this time of year.
I’ve often made jam with any berries we don’t eat or freeze, but this year I’ve also been making fruit syrup. You can strain the berries out for a smooth syrup or leave them in for a version that is great as a topping on breakfast or dessert. It’s easy, delicious, and doesn’t need nearly as much sugar as you’ll find in the store-bought stuff.
Ingredients for Strawberry Syrup
- Fresh Strawberries – Remove the stems and chop them. Frozen berries work too.
- Sugar – White sugar will sweeten the syrup. Since cornstarch is used to thicken the syrup, feel free to reduce the amount of sugar or use an alternative sweetener.
- Cornstarch – This will give it a thick, pourable texture. See below for more details on why I prefer this method.
- Lemon Juice – This is optional, but a bit of fresh lemon juice will help the syrup to retain its bright color and fresh berry flavor.
Why use Cornstarch in Strawberry Syrup
There are two camps when it comes to making any fresh berry syrup – the cornstarch camp and the non-cornstarch camp. Cornstarch serves as a thickener and thickens the syrup in just a couple minutes. You can also make a version of strawberry syrup that is just strawberries and sugar, simmered until it thickens naturally. A syrup made from just strawberries and sugar requires more sugar (about 2x more) than listed in this recipe and has to cook down for much longer.
When I tested this recipe, I preferred the syrup made with some cornstarch because 1) it requires less sugar and 2) it only has to simmer for a few minutes, which helps the strawberries to retain their fresh flavor.
Strawberry Syrup – to Strain or Not to Strain
To strain or not to strain your strawberry syrup is completely personal preference. I like the chopped pieces of strawberries in my syrup and think that makes it a better consistency for using on yogurt or desserts. If you ask my kids, they are firmly in the strained syrup camp.
Important: If you strain your syrup, do NOT press down on the strawberries. Simply pour the syrup through a sieve and discard the solids. Pressing down on the strawberries will make your finished syrup cloudy.
How Long with Strawberry Syrup Keep?
Fresh strawberry syrup can be stored in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Give it a stir before using it. (It will thicken slightly when cold.)
What to Serve with Strawberry Syrup
- Light and Fluffy Whole Wheat Waffles
- Light and Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes
- The Best Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Healthy Smash Cake for Baby’s First Birthday
Homemade Strawberry Syrup
- 1 lb Fresh strawberries, stems removed, chopped (see note)
- 3/4 cup White Sugar
- 1 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp Water, divided
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together strawberries, sugar, and 1 1/4 cups water.
- Let the mixture come to a boil.
- Boil, stirring every couple minutes, for 10 minutes. (Be sure to reduce the heat if the syrup looks like it will boil over.)
- Stir together 2 Tbsp water and 1 Tbsp cornstarch and pour it into the boiling syrup. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the syrup thickens. (This should take 2 to 4 minutes more. If you’re going to leave the strawberry pieces in the syrup, you can choose to continue cooking the syrup for a few minutes longer to let the strawberry pieces reach a softer texture.)
- Optional: If you want to strain out the strawberries, pour the syrup through a sieve. Do not press on the strawberries (this will cause your syrup to be cloudy).
- Let the syrup cool completely.
- Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
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