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Strawberry Topping for Cheesecake

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This sweet, fruity and tart strawberry topping is heavenly when served on rich and creamy cheesecake, but the uses are endless when it comes to the many ways you can enjoy this strawberry sauce recipe.

Turn it into a dip or spoon it over vanilla ice cream or our strawberry basil ice cream. Add this delightful strawberry topping to your pancakes, waffles, pound cake, etc. The truth is that dessert with strawberry topping > dessert without strawberry topping. And that includes cheesecake, friends.

A whole cheesecake topped with strawberry sauce that is dripping down the sides of the cheesecake.

Why We Love This Strawberry Topping:

Our strawberry topping for cheesecake is easy to prepare and gives you the option to use either fresh or frozen strawberries. Here are a few other reasons why we love it (and know you will too!):

  • It only requires 6 ingredients and is ready in under 20 minutes
  • You can prepare a batch in advance and have it ready when you need it
  • Freezes well so you can have it all year long
  • It’s an easy strawberry sauce recipe that has so many uses

This is just one of those perfect sauces or toppings that goes with so many things. Keep it around for all your last-minute desserts along with other great sauces like our butterscotch sauce, lemon sauce, or chocolate sauce.

The Ingredients:

To make this sweet strawberry topping for cheesecake, you will need:

  • Fresh or frozen strawberries (if using frozen, there’s no need to thaw them in advance)
  • Sugar
  • Instant Clearjel or cornstarch (if you plan on freezing the sauce, use Clearjel)
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Vanilla extract

Optional: You can also add in a few drops of red food coloring if you’d like the color of the topping to be an extra vibrant red. All you need are about 2-3 drops.

Fresh strawberries in a colander.
Ingredients used to make strawberry topping for cheesecake.

Strawberry Sauce Recipe:

To make this strawberry topping for cheesecake, you will also need a medium-large saucepan. If you’d like a smooth sauce, you can use an immersion blender to purée the strawberry topping (entirely up to you!).

Here is a brief overview of how to make strawberry topping for cheesecake. Make sure you scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

  1. Prepare the strawberries: Wash and hull the fresh strawberries, then slice into halves or quarters. Place them in a saucepan.
  2. Cook: Combine the strawberries with the sugar, salt, and your choice of one of the thickeners. Add the lemon juice. Cook stirring, constantly,to break up some of the berries.
  3. Cool: Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and food coloring (if using). Let the sauce cool completely. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce if you’d like it to be extra smooth.

Note: If you’re using cornstarch, the strawberry sauce will thicken more as it cools. If using Clearjel, the mixture will immediately get a bit thick and gloppy during the first couple of minutes. As you stir and mash the strawberries, the sauce will smooth out.

A collage of two photos showing the process steps for making strawberry topping for cheesecake.

tips for strawberry sauce for cheesecake

  • Taste the strawberries before making the sauce. If they’re not very sweet, increase the sugar amount to 1/2 cup total.
  • Stirring the cornstarch or Clearjel with the sugar and then adding it to the strawberries will help prevent any lumps from forming. Make sure the strawberries are coated in the starch mixture.
  • Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, especially if you are using cornstarch.
  • For freezing the sauce: If you plan on freezing this sauce, we recommend using Clearjel instead of cornstarch. Clearjel holds up better when frozen and thawed, while corn starch breaks down after thawing and will leave the strawberry topping a little bit runny.
  • When to put strawberry topping on cheesecake: Once the strawberry topping for cheesecake is completely cool (or chilled, if you’d like) you can spoon the sauce onto cheesecake right before serving. Another option is to keep the sauce on the side and serve each individual slice with a spoonful of the strawberry topping.
Strawberry sauce on top of a cheesecake.

Our strawberry topping for cheesecake is a beautifully vibrant fruit sauce that gives each bite a delicious flavor. Whether you choose to use fresh or frozen strawberries, this strawberry sauce recipe is easy to follow and results in an irresistible topping to satisfy all your strawberry dessert cravings!

Other uses for strawberry sauce

A cheesecake with strawberry topping.

Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

Butterscotch Sauce: It has a rich and decadent toffee flavor that is always best homemade! Top ice cream, cakes, or use it as a dip.

Strawberry Rhubarb Slab Pie: This summery crowdpleaser is always best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Strawberries and rhubarb filling in a flakey, buttery crust is pure bliss.

Strawberry Fig Jam is an easy homemade jam recipe that lets the flavors of the fresh fruit really shine.

Our Cookie Monster ice cream is a rich vanilla ice cream packed with crispy cookies and colored blue just for fun.

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Strawberry sauce on top of a cheesecake.

Strawberry Topping for Cheesecake

This sweet, tart strawberry topping was made for our creamy cheesecake, but don't just stop at using it just for cheesecake! Try this recipe as a strawberry dip or sauce with vanilla ice cream and top off some pancakes, waffles, pound cake… the list goes on.
If using frozen strawberries you do not need to thaw them. 
4.49 from 25 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 75kcal
Author: Dahn Boquist


  • 4 cups 1 pound fresh or frozen strawberries
  • cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant Clearjel or 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 2 to 3 drops of red food coloring


  • Wash and hull the fresh strawberries. Slice the larger strawberries into halves or quarters (leave smaller strawberries whole). Add the strawberries to a saucepan.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, clearjel (or cornstarch), and the salt. Whisk well to distribute the cornstarch or clearjel into the sugar. 
  • Add the sugar mixture to the strawberries and stir to coat the strawberries in the sugar/starch mixture.
  • Add the lemon juice to the saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Use a spoon or fork to break up some of the strawberries as you stir. 
  • Bring the strawberry sauce to a simmer and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and food coloring if using. Allow the sauce to cool completely. If you are using cornstarch, the sauce will thicken a bit more once it is cold. 
  • If you want to smooth the sauce out, you can use an immersion blender to puree it. 


  • If your strawberries are not very sweet, increase the sugar to 1/2 cup. 
  • To prevent lumps, stir the cornstarch or Clearjel into the sugar then stir that sugar mixture into the strawberries. Make sure the strawberries get coated in the starch mixture. You don’t need to make a water and cornstarch slurry if you use this method. 
  • If you use Clearjel, you will notice that the mixture will get a bit thick and gloppy during the first couple of minutes. Just continue stirring and mashing a few strawberries and as the strawberries break down the sauce will smooth out. 
  • Make sure you simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, especially if you are using cornstarch.
  • If you plan to freeze the strawberry sauce, we recommend using Clearjel. If you use cornstarch the sauce will not freeze as well and the starches will break down when you thaw it, creating a runny sauce. Clearjel will not break down when it goes through the freezer and then thaws. 


Serving: 1/4 cup | Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g

Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandchildren or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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4.49 from 25 votes (25 ratings without comment)
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Friday 23rd of December 2022

There is no water or liquid other than the lemon juice.. how does it become “sauce”..

Dahn Boquist

Saturday 24th of December 2022

Great question. The strawberries are filled with enough juices to make their own sauce. The sugar draws the liquid out of the strawberries through osmosis. Cooking the mixture and mashing the fruit helps speed up the process. Adding extra liquid will only make the sauce thin and runny.

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