Strawberry Topping for Cheesecake is so easy to make at home with just 3 ingredients! It’s the perfect sticky, sweet topping for cheesecake, and also ice cream, pound cake, or molten chocolate cakes.

A slice of cheesecake drizzled in homemade strawberry sauce on a white plate with a fork

Ah the humble strawberry! Strawberries, by far, are some of our favorite spring/summer fruits. We had a small patch in our garden a few years ago that churned out enough June strawberries to make them come out of our ears.

We made things like Strawberry Summer Cake and frozen strawberry gin smashes. And we lounged by the pool on Sunday afternoons without a care in the world.

And then: kids. Need I say more?

Nowadays, I buy strawberries when they’re in season for all kinds of cobblers and pies. And happily, this Strawberry Sauce recipe doesn’t need in-season strawberries!

It’s made from just fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, and sugar so you never need to buy jarred strawberry topping again. And with it, you can make the best ice cream sundae bar along with homemade hot fudge, my incredible salted caramel sauce, and some whipped cream.

Fresh strawberries, sugar, and strawberry jam in a small sauce out on a trivet

What is Strawberry Sauce Made of?

This is a basic shopping list for the best cheesecake topping. Though you’ll barely need it to remember these 3 super simple pantry staples!

  • Strawberries — I use fresh but frozen will work too! Just thaw the frozen berries in the fridge first.
  • Strawberry jam
  • Granulated sugar

That’s seriously it! You almost don’t even need a list for this homemade topping. However, since my mom brain is fried these days, I ALWAYS need a shopping list!

How to Make Strawberry Sauce from Scratch

Here are some tips and tricks to make the perfect strawberry topping for cheesecake at home, but you’ll find the full steps and ingredients for the easiest strawberry sauce in the green recipe card below!

A metal sauce pot filled with strawberry sauce with some strawberry chunks

STEP 1: First, mix the strawberries, jam, and sugar together in a small saucepan and simmer until the strawberries soften and begin to make a juicy sauce.

STEP 2: Let the sauce chill to room temperature in a small heatproof bowl and then move the sauce to the fridge to chill completely.

That’s it! So simple, right?

Strawberry Topping without Jam

While this recipe includes strawberry jam as 1 of its 3 ingredients, you don’t absolutely need it. Confusing? Let me explain.

Over the years, we’ve made strawberry topping more times than I can count, both with and without the jam. And what I’ve found is that the jam helps to thicken the sauce once it has chilled.

The topping without the jam tends to be thinner. There’s nothing wrong with that – it still makes a great cheesecake topping!

You’ll need to add a bit more sugar to the sauce to replace what the jam adds. If you skip the jam, stir 1/3 cup of sugar to the saucepan with the strawberries.

Overhead shot of a slice of cheesecake topped with strawberries and sauce on a white plate

Tips for Making the Best Strawberry Topping

  • Don’t blend the strawberries. It takes some time to dice the strawberries by hand, but it gives you a better final result than the blender. The sauce will be foggier and you won’t get that glossy strawberry sauce sheen. 
  • Use a potato masher. This is for so much more than mashed potatoes!  If you want a smoother sauce, you can use a potato masher to break up the strawberries as they cook.
  • Try brown sugar. Out of granulated sugar? No problem! You can use the same ratio or light or dark brown sugar for a deeper flavor with the added molasses!
  • Make it your own. You can add a little fresh lemon juice or fresh orange juice for a brighter flavor! Or, add 2 teaspoons of orange liqueur for an adult version of the sauce. A little goes a long way here, and too much liquid will make a thin sauce. 
  • Sauce too thin? Make sure you chill the sauce completely before you determine if it is too thin. At that point, if it is still too thin for your preference, you can reheat it in a sauce pan with a little bit of cornstarch mixed with water. This cornstarch slurry, made of 1 tablespoon of water mixed with 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch, will thicken the sauce right up when you bring the sauce to a boil.

Freezing Leftovers

You can leave this homemade strawberry topping in an airtight container in the fridge up to a week. 

However, this 3-ingredient strawberry sauce recipe is great to freeze! You can always simply thaw in the fridge and scoop it out later. It will last up to 6 months in the freezer! 

A spoonful of homemade strawberry topping with fresh strawberries

Wanna dress up your summer cocktails? Freeze the strawberry syrup in ice cube trays for a fruity ice cube that won’t water down your drinks.

Or, make fancy strawberry lemonade with strawberry ice cubes for the poolside treat every kid loves.

What to Serve with Strawberry Topping

Making this sauce is just an excuse for me to make cheesecake. There’s no better dessert than a creamy New York cheesecake covered in sweet red strawberry sauce. It’s our FAVORITE way to eat cheesecake and Kyle requests it every time he knows I’m going to make a cheesecake.

For a fun cheesecake twist that this topping would be utterly delicious on top of, try my Oreo Cheesecake Bites!

Strawberries and gooey chocolate cakes are like peanut butter and jelly. It just works. Molten chocolate cakes are so delicious and super romantic date night desserts, too.

Chocolate truffles are one of my favorite desserts but they can be such a pain to make! This chocolate truffle tart is a great in between with less work and the same decadent taste.

A bite of strawberry cheesecake on a fork next to a slice of cheesecake

Chocolate cannoli bundt cake is decadent on its own but it’s even more amazing with a little strawberry sauce on top. Cannoli cream wrapped inside a moist chocolate bundt cake is the sweet chocolate dessert you deserve.

And of course, pound cake might just be the best vessel for this sauce, aside from cheesecake. Either make your own pound cake or pick up one from the grocery store to make a fast and super impressive dessert. To kick things up a notch, grill your pound cake for an extra level of flavor!

If you love savory and sweet, try this amazing brie grilled cheese sandwich with strawberry sauce (instead of roasted strawberries) and a little dark chocolate for an ooey gooey Valentine’s Day lunch! 

Strawberry Topping for Cheesecake

Strawberry Topping for Cheesecake

Yield: about 1 ½ cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Strawberry topping for cheesecake is an incredibly simple sauce to make with just 3 ingredients. And it goes perfectly on top of ice cream, pound cake, and chocolate cakes as well!


  • 1 ½ cups (8 oz) fresh or frozen strawberries, washed, dried, hulled, and halved
  • ⅓ cup strawberry jam
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar


  1. Stir the strawberries, jam, and sugar together in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the strawberries soften and a sauce forms from the juices.
  2. Transfer the topping into a small heatproof bowl and cool to room temperature before chilling for at least 40 minutes before serving.

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Leave a Comment

  • Alicia
    December 20, 2021 at 10:36 PM

    This recipe saved the day as all others I found required cornstarch, which I didn’t have on hand. I used frozen strawberries. I didn’t have jam on hand, but I had mixed Berry preserves, so I preserves through a very fine strainer to get the jam consistency. I also added a 1/4 tsp of pure vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp of lemon juice and it came out awesome!

    • Tara
      December 21, 2021 at 3:34 PM

      This is fantastic to hear, Alicia! I love your ideas of swapping in a different jam in place of strawberry jam and adding vanilla (which is always an A+ move in my book!). Thanks so much for coming back and leaving a review!!