Strawberry Shortcake

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The ultimate Strawberry Shortcake is a glorious mixture of tender and sweet homemade biscuits piled high with fresh whipped cream and juicy strawberries. You won’t believe how easy it is to make this dessert from scratch!

I’m sharing an amazing strawberry shortcake recipe from scratch, all my tips and tricks to perfect biscuits, strawberry shortcake variations, and how to store leftovers. 

Image of the ready-to-eat Strawberry Shortcake with strawberry sauce being drizzled on top.

If I’m left to pick out a dessert, I’ll always go for chocolate (namely Chocolate Cheesecake), but after being married for (almost) 8 years to a fruity-dessert-obsessed husband, I’ve slowly become converted to fruit-filled desserts. Strawberry Shortcake is one of those desserts. With homemade biscuits (don’t worry, they’re easy!), fresh and plump strawberries, and perfectly soft and sweet whipped cream — I may just pick these over chocolate any day.

Image of the lemon zest and other dry ingredients being added to a bowl for Strawberry Shortcake.

Strawberry shortcake can be made so many different ways, but our favorite is with homemade biscuits. 

What is a Strawberry Shortcake?

A traditional strawberry shortcake recipe generally includes a cake or slightly sweetened biscuit that’s baked, split into layers, and filled with macerated strawberry topping and whipped cream.

QUICK TIP

In baking terms, a shortcake was originally any cake that was high in fat, which was also known in general as shortening – hence the name. Shortcakes were a contrast to egg-based cakes like sponge cakes that didn’t use very much butter in their basic recipes.

Image of the cubed butter and the pastry cutter blending the butter into the dry ingredients.

How to make Strawberry Shortcake

  • Macerate strawberries. Toss sliced strawberries with sugar and set aside. This allows them to soften, become sweeter and form a syrup.
  • Prepare the biscuits: While these biscuits aren’t overly complicated to make, check out the tips below, pay close attention to the instructions, and you’ll be successful!
  • Whip the cream. Once the biscuits are mostly cooled, start the whipped cream. If you haven’t ever made whipped cream from scratch, it’s SO easy; I wrote a guide here: how to make whipped cream.

Image of the butter being cut into the flour; wet ingredients being added to the dry for Strawberry Shortcakes.

Strawberry shortcake ingredients

  • All-purpose white flour: Make sure to spoon and level the flour into the measuring cup (rather than scoop from the bag or canister) to avoid adding too much flour.
  • Cornstarch: This helps keep these biscuits soft inside.
  • Lemon or orange zest (optional): Biscuits aren’t generally flavored very strongly, but I love to brighten up my shortcakes with fruit zest (it’s so good with strawberries!).
    • To do this, I massage freshly grated citrus zest into the sugar until the sugar is fragrant and steeped in lemon or orange oil. SO good!
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking agents: Baking powder and soda plus salt for flavor enhancement
  • Nutmeg (optional): It adds just a touch of delicious flavor!
  • Heavy cream: Make sure to get full-fat, straight-from-the-fridge cream.
  • Buttermilk: Again, full fat and straight from the fridge! This adds a slight tang and tenderness to the biscuits.
  • For the Strawberry Shortcake filling: We use strawberries, granulated sugar, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla!

Image of the dough cutter making a circle in the dough-- for the perfect biscuit.

Strawberry Shortcake tips

  • Number 1 tip: Keep the butter and the dough as cold as possible! Chill the flour, freeze the butter after cutting it, and use wet ingredients straight from the fridge. The colder your dough, the better your biscuits will be.
  • When cutting biscuits with a biscuit cutter press the cutter straight down — don’t swivel, shimmy, or shake it! This is important for how they rise. It creates firm edges in the dough that hold together.
  • Go easy on the kneading. As soon as the dough comes together — STOP. A few bumps and lumps are good (really!). Remember, we want to keep the shortcake dough as cold as possible. The more you have your hands on the dough, the softer the butter will become.
  • Watch the bake time. Keep an eye on your biscuits while they’re in the oven so they don’t overbake. 
  • Let baked biscuits stand. Once you pull out the biscuits from the oven, let them stand on the sheet pan for about 5 minutes without breaking into them. The residual heat and steam ensure the insides are fully baked through.
  • For the best flaky layers in the shortcakes, we’ll fold the dough over itself multiple times (4-6 times); don’t skip this step! This is different from kneading.
  • Don’t use a rolling pin. It will flatten your dough too much; instead, use your hands to work the dough into a rectangle.
  • Use in-season strawberries. I don’t recommend using frozen or out-of-season strawberries for this recipe. For best flavor and texture, fresh is best.

Image of heavy cream and coarse sugar being added to the tops of these biscuits before being baked.

Shortcake FAQs

What happens when you put sugar on strawberries?

This process is called  macerating — when you soften food by soaking it in a liquid. To macerate strawberries, we don’t add a liquid, but use sugar instead. The water from inside the strawberry and the sugar added on top combines on the outside of the fruit to cause the strawberries to soften and yield a syrup.

Image of the first layer of the Strawberry Shortcake with whipped cream and strawberries on top.

Strawberry Shortcake variations

  • Fold some lemon curd into the whipped cream for lemony shortcakes.
  • For a large strawberry shortcake recipe, simply double quantities in the recipe card (to make 12).
  • For strawberry shortcake made with Bisquick®, follow the recipe below for whipped cream and strawberries and the Bisquick recipe for biscuits.
  • Try a different berry! Replace the strawberries with another berry you love such as raspberries or blackberries.
  • Love balsamic vinegar? Try adding a touch to the macerated strawberries for a sweet-savory touch.

Image of the ready-to-eat Strawberry Shortcake with whipped cream on top and a fork on the side of the plate.

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Strawberry Shortcake

5 from 6 votes
The ultimate Strawberry Shortcake: tender and sweet homemade biscuits piled high with fresh whipped cream and juicy strawberries. You won't believe how easy it is to make this dessert from scratch!
Print Recipe

Strawberry Shortcake

5 from 6 votes
The ultimate Strawberry Shortcake: tender and sweet homemade biscuits piled high with fresh whipped cream and juicy strawberries. You won't believe how easy it is to make this dessert from scratch!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword strawberry shortcake, strawberry shortcake recipe
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 strawberry shortcakes
Calories 503kcal
Author Chelsea, highly adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients

Strawberries

  • 1 pound fresh, washed strawberries tops removed and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar

Shortcakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon loosely measured lemon or orange zest, optional
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups white all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, COLD, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, cold, divided
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1-2 tablespoons white sparkling sugar optional

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  • PREP: Measure out flour and place it in the fridge. Cut butter into small cubes and place in freezer. It's very important that the ingredients are as cold as possible.
  • STRAWBERRIES: Thinly slice (cleaned, completely dried, and stems removed) strawberries. Place in a large bowl and add in 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir and set aside. Stir occasionally as you prepare the rest of this recipe.
  • SHORTCAKES: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a small bowl, add the 1/4 cup lemon or orange zest* and sugar. Rub the zest and sugar together with your fingers until the zest is broken down, fragrant, and ingredients are well integrated. (*Skip this step if not adding zest)
  • Combine the (cold from the fridge) flour, cornstarch, sugar with zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine.
  • Remove the frozen, cubed butter from the freezer and put right on top the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (If you don't have a pastry blender, use two butter knives). Make a well in the center of this bowl.
  • Pour 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/3 cup buttermilk (straight from the fridge) into the well of prepared dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to gently stir until combined. Do not overmix or overwork this dough.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and use your hands to gently work the dough together. (If it's too sticky, add a little more flour, avoid adding too much more flour, as you'll get dense biscuits)
  • Once the ingredients have formed a ball, fold the dough in half over itself. Gently flatten the dough to a wide rectangle (see picture) (flatten using hands, never a rolling pin). Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold in half again. Flatten with your hands again. Fold in half, flatten, rotate the dough. Repeat this process for a total of 4-6 times, being careful to not overwork the dough or make it too warm. It should always remain as cold as possible.
  • Now, flatten the dough to 1-inch thick and lightly dust a 2 and 3/4-inch round biscuit cutter with flour. Making close cuts, pressing the biscuit cutter straight down into the dough (don't twist or swivel it) and then place the cut out biscuit on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat until you have cut out as many biscuits as possible and place them less than 1/2-inch apart on a prepared baking sheet. Once you have cut as many biscuits as possible out of the rectangle of dough, gently re-work the dough to 1-inch thickness to get out another biscuit or two until you have 6 biscuits.
  • Brush with additional 2 tablespoons heavy cream and sprinkle generously with white sparkling sugar (or use granulated sugar if you don't have any). Place the pan with the biscuits in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degree F for 15-20 minutes or until tops and bottoms of shortcakes are a light golden brown and shortcakes are cooked through. Remove from the oven and let stand (without breaking them apart) for 5-10 minutes.
  • WHIPPED CREAM: Combine 1 cup heavy cream, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat ingredients on low speed until combined. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Watch carefully to avoid over-beating, which will cause the cream to break.
  • ASSEMBLY: Slice the cooled shortcakes in half (fine if they are still warm, just not hot) and place the bottom half (cut side up) on a plate. Top with a generous spoonful of whipped cream, strawberries, and the other half of the biscuit. Spoon a little bit of whipped cream on top of the top biscuit. Serve as soon as assembled.

Video

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 604mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 1001IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 210mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Strawberry Shortcake! I can’t wait to try the shortcake recipe! Homemade is BEST! Thank you!

  2. I was raised using the packaged shortcake. When I married, my mother-in-law showed me their secret recipe which uses a giant homemade biscuit sliced and covered with butter, then a layer of sliced strawberries covered in sugar. Place the top piece of biscuit on and repeat butter, strawberries, sugar then top it off by pouring a can of evaporated milk over entire dish. It is amazing
    I am excited to try this recipe on my family

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