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This sweet, vibrant, and simple strawberry compote is ready in under 20 minutes! It’s the perfect addition to pancakes, waffles, ice cream, biscuits, and more! With bright, fruity flavors, this recipe is guaranteed to win anyone over.
Table of Contents
🍓 What is a strawberry compote?
A strawberry compote is a fruit spread made by combining whole strawberries with a touch of sugar. The berries are simmered slowly over low heat, creating a thickened texture and sweet taste.
Compotes sometimes vary in texture — They can be spreadable like jam or pureed fruit, or they may contain larger pieces of fruit. We tend to lean towards larger fruit chunks, but it’s great to experiment to see what you prefer.
We use cornstarch in our strawberry compote recipe to thicken it up a little more, and we also love adding a dash of lemon to cut the sweetness and create a vibrant flavor.
If you’re a jam lover, you definitely need to try compote to see what you prefer!
🤷 Compote vs jam
Although compote and jam are used interchangeably, there are a few notable differences between the two.
Speadablility — Compote typically contains bigger chunks of fruit, making it less spreadable than jam.
Sugar content — Unlike compote, jam is created to last longer in the fridge. With this goal in mind, jam has a higher sugar content than compote, which acts as a preservative.
Additions — Unlike jam, you may see compote with savory additions mixed in like peppercorns and balsamic vinegar or spices like star anise, cinnamon, etc.
Compote, which is French for “mixture,” originated in 17th-century France. At this time, they believed fruit cooked down in syrup helped balance the side effects of humidity on the body.
Initially, fruit compotes were served as an afternoon snack with biscuits and sour cream. Later, the English began serving fruit compote during or after multi-course meals.
Due to the inexpensive nature and simplicity of preparing it, compote became a staple of many cultures and regions around the world. Nowadays, it is made with all types of fruits, spices, nuts, and other add-ins.
🍯 How do you thicken compote?
Compote is naturally thickened with pectin, which is a type of fiber found in fruits. This substance helps “gel” everything together.
Since we prefer ours a little thicker, we add cornstarch as well. However, compote will never be quite as thick as jam. This sauce is meant to be spooned or poured over different foods like waffles, pancakes, and cheesecakes.
🌱 Is compote vegan?
Yes, this strawberry compote recipe is 100% vegan-friendly! Unlike jam, compotes do not generally contain gelling agents like gelatin. Some compotes contain thickeners like cornstarch, which is plant-based.
We always use organic cane sugar as opposed to refined white sugar, which is not typically vegan.
🛒 Ingredients & substitutions
Strawberries — We prefer fresh strawberries, but you can also use frozen berries if they aren’t in season. If you are using frozen berries, just cook them straight from the freezer. You may need to extend the cooking time by a few minutes.
Sugar — We use cane sugar for this strawberry compote recipe, but any granulated sugar you have on hand should work. If you try a liquid sweetener like maple syrup or agave, you may need to add a little more corn starch or reduce the liquid.
Lemon — We love the combination of lemon and strawberry, so we added both lemon juice and zest to our recipe. You can use other citrus fruits like orange or lime as well. If you use orange, reduce the sugar by about 1 tablespoon as it’s much sweeter than lemon or lime on its own.
Cornstarch — While not entirely necessary, we add just a little cornstarch to thicken the compote right up. If you don’t have any, omit both the cornstarch and water.
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Step 1 — Wash and stem the strawberries, then half or quarter them. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Add it to a medium saucepan with the strawberries, cane sugar, and lemon zest.
Step 2 — Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat until it appears thickened. Pour the lemon juice in and cook for another few minutes to incorporate it.
Step 3 — Remove the saucepan from heat and let it stand for about 10 minutes. Serve your compote warm or chilled. Happy eating!
If you have questions about this strawberry compote recipe, check out our FAQs or leave a comment down below!
🍞 What to serve compote with
Strawberry compote is the perfect accompaniment to so many different recipes. Try it with one of these dishes:
Sourdough French toast — Nothing goes better with tangy sourdough French toast than a freshly made strawberry compote.
Torrejas — Mexican-style French toast served with piloncillo syrup and this compote… Yum!
Strawberry compote also pairs extremely well with vanilla bean ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, cheesecake, or chia pudding. The options are only bound by your imagination!
🌡️ Storage & reheating
Follow these storage tips to keep your delicious strawberry compote recipe fresh:
Fridge — In an airtight container, compote will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
Freezer — In a freezer-safe jar or container, you can freeze compote for up to 3 months. Allow it to fully cool before you transfer it to the freezer.
Reheating — Reheat your strawberry compote in a saucepan over medium until warmed all the way through. Compote is also just as delicious served cold.
Frozen strawberries — Are strawberries not in season where you live? Replace them with frozen berries for an equally delicious recipe.
Spices — Instead of citrus, try vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, almonds, coconut, or dried fruit. You can even use a dash of balsamic vinegar or freshly cracked black pepper for a savory kick.
No cornstarch — This recipe doesn’t need cornstarch. Omit the cornstarch and water to achieve a similar consistency.
Different berries — If you don’t have access to strawberries, make a blueberry compote, blackberry compote, or raspberry compote.
Other fruit — For a completely different compote, use pears, apples, peaches, cherries, or cranberries.
🧑🍳 Top tips
Lightly simmer — The sauce should remain at a light simmer. If it’s heavily boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low or even low.
Adjust the consistency — If you prefer a thicker compote, add less liquid. If you want it thinner, add more liquid. For a smooth consistency, use an immersion blender.
Wait for it to cool — Compote will thicken up once it starts cooling down. For the best texture, allow it to stand for 10 minutes before serving it.
Add the lemon last — For the most vibrant citrus flavor, add the lemon juice towards the end of simmering.
The best way to thicken strawberry compote without cornstarch is to reduce the liquid, prepare a roux, make a beurre manié, or use another gelling agent such as pectin.
Compote is made from fresh or dried fruits that have been slowly cooked in sugar. Coulis is made from fruit that’s been pureed and strained.
Since compote has a relatively low sugar content, it is not safe for canning.
🍴 More sauce recipes
If you enjoyed this strawberry compote recipe, be sure to check out some more of our flavor-packed sauces:
- Chamoy sauce: An intense Mexican sauce that contains every flavor profile.
- Vegan cajeta: A sweet, buttery, and ultra-creamy caramel sauce.
- Mexican adobo sauce: Made from dried chiles, spices, and vinegar, this is an all-purpose sauce perfect for marinades.
- Mango chamoy: A salty, sweet, spicy, and tangy sauce perfect to drizzle on fruit and vegetables.
Quick & Easy Strawberry Compote
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, quartered ($2.49)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch ($0.04)
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup cane sugar ($0.02)
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice ($0.09)
- Wash and stem the strawberries, then half or quarter them. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Add it to a medium saucepan with the strawberries, cane sugar, and lemon zest.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until it appears thickened. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking. Pour the lemon juice in and cook for another few minutes to incorporate it.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve your compote warm or chilled over waffles, French toast, pancakes, ice cream, and more. Happy eating!
- Lightly simmer — The sauce should remain at a light simmer. If it’s heavily boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low or even low.
- Adjust the consistency — If you prefer a thicker compote, add less liquid. If you want it thinner, add more liquid. For a smooth consistency, use an immersion blender.
- Wait for it to cool — Compote will thicken up once it starts cooling down. For the best texture, allow it to stand for 10 minutes before serving it.
- Add the lemon last — For the most vibrant citrus flavor, add the lemon juice towards the end of simmering.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe to recipe. All prices are in USD.