The Ultimate Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Have you ever had a homemade strawberry shortcake? If not, you’re in for a real treat when you try my dad's Ultimate Homemade Strawberry Shortcake recipe.

Have you ever had a homemade strawberry shortcake? If not, you’re in for a real treat when you try this recipe.

Homemade strawberry shortcake is a quintessential summer treat throughout New England, where I grew up. So much so that many churches hold “strawberry suppers” at least once during the summer, as one of their main fundraisers of the year.

The menu for the main meal really isn’t important, and can vary quite a bit, because that’s not why people come. They come for the delicious homemade strawberry shortcake that’s served for dessert.

Fortunately for me, I grew up in one of these churches. And more importantly, my late father (whom everyone called Doc) was the undisputed king of making shortcakes at these events. Hence I learned the secrets to the best homemade strawberry shortcake you’ll ever eat from a true master.

My dad, slinging shortcakes, in this image from an old newspaper article we recently rediscovered

At the same time, though, there are a few shortcuts you can take along the way to simplify the prep process; they’re under the “Mix It Up” section, after my dad’s original recipe.

So if you’re looking for 4th of July dessert ideas and want a special treat, for your Fourth of July celebrations or any summertime family get-together, give my dad’s recipe a try. You won’t be sorry.


Doc’s Ultimate Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

ADVANCE PREP 15-20 min / DAY-OF PREP 10-20 min (see Mix it Up, below) / servings 6

What you need:

  • One batch (1/2 dozen) fresh-baked shortcake – I usually use the recipe on the Bisquick box, but if you don’t have access to Bisquick, you can make a batch of this master mix recipe and follow the biscuit recipe, adding 1/4 cup each sugar and melted butter as you’re mixing the biscuit dough
  • 2 lbs fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
  • Approx. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Butter
  • Real maple syrup
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream plus additional granulated sugar
  • Electric hand mixer or immersion blender (for whipping cream)
  • Cereal/salad bowls (for serving)

The day before:

  1. Slice the strawberries into a container with a lid. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the top, and stir to distribute the sugar throughout. Cover and refrigerate until the next day.
  2. Unless it’s convenient to make the biscuits immediately before serving (which is challenging if you’re serving this for dessert after a meal), you’ll want to prepare these the day ahead, too, and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

An hour before serving:

  1. Place a glass mixing bowl or flat-bottomed measuring cup (big enough to use your mixer/immersion blender in) into the freezer.
  2. Remove the syrup from the refrigerator, to bring it to room temperature.

To prepare the shortcakes:

  1. Using a hand mixer/immersion blender, beat the cream in the chilled bowl until it forms soft peaks, adding a little sugar (to taste) as you go. If it’s really hot where you are, pop the bowl into the refrigerator while you prepare the shortcakes so it doesn’t melt.

  2. Slice each shortcake in half horizontally, to create two thinner circles. Heat the shortcakes slightly (either by lightly toasting in a toaster oven, or by microwaving for 30 seconds), then place the heated circles side by side in a bowl.
  3. Spread each shortcake lightly with pure butter. (If you’re making a bunch of these, you may find it easier to microwave the butter for 30-second intervals until melted, then brush onto the shortcake pieces with a pastry brush.)
  4. As soon as the butter has melted into the shortcake, heap 1/2-3/4 c. sliced berries on top of each bowl of shortcake.
  5. Drizzle each shortcake with pure maple syrup.
  6. Top each shortcake with a dollop of freshly-whipped cream, and enjoy!

Mix it up:

There are a few places where you can make small substitutions or shortcuts without fundamentally affecting the overall experience. They are:

  • If you truly do not use butter (only margarine), go ahead and spread margarine on your warmed shortcakes instead of butter.
  • Likewise, if you can’t freshly whip the cream (or don’t do whipped cream at all), you can substitute canned whipped cream or a non-dairy alternative like Cool-Whip. This will save you a chunk of prep time.

However, these are the things you do NOT want to skimp on or substitute:

  • A proper shortcake. Some store bakeries will sell a properly-made shortcake, which looks like biscuits, in their bakery department. Be warned, though, that these often are too sweet. (Our local bakery department coats the top with sugar.) The spongey round commercially-made “shortcakes” that many grocery stores in the U.S. sell will give you a strawberry dessert, but the result cannot hold a candle to the real thing. (Another appropriate substitute would be a slice of homemade angel food cake, toasted. But this would not be a proper homemade strawberry shortcake, either, even though it is tasty.)
  • Fresh strawberries. In a pinch, you can stretch your fresh strawberries with a small quantity of frozen ones. But too many frozen ones will mess up the consistency of the whole thing, making it too runny.
  • Real maple syrup. If you’ve never had anything but “table syrup,” which gets its maple flavor from fenugreek, you are (again) in for a treat. Trust me, investing in a small amount of the real thing for this recipe is worth it. (And if you’re a native of the northeastern United States and surrounding parts of Canada, you already understand why there is no substitute.)

Other ideas:

  • This method also works well for blueberry or peach shortcakes. For blueberry shortcakes, wash/stem them thoroughly and let them dry before use. For peach shortcakes, you’ll want to slice/sugar/refrigerate them the day before, as described above for the strawberries.
  • For a festive Independence Day dessert, top your freshly-made strawberry shortcake with a handful of fresh blueberries. Red-white-and-blue deliciousness!

Did you enjoy this recipe for homemade strawberry shortcake? Then please share with others by pinning it!


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40 thoughts on “The Ultimate Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Recipe”

    1. Super Mom Hacks

      Oh, it is (as well you know 😉 ) – I admit that I’ve been known to substitute margarine for the butter…

  1. My mouth watered this entire post. This means that I really have to make this. Strawberries are among my favourite fruit. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.

  2. Oh my! This looks delicious! I haven’t had a dessert like this a long time due to starting keto in January but when I take a break next I’ll be adding this to my ‘cheat’.

  3. I love strawberry shortcake even though I rarely get to eat it. The best one I had was a few years ago in Boston. I bought it freshly made at a local Whole Foods store. It was divine.

  4. Melanie williams

    This looks so lovely, we have a lady near where we live in the UK that makes the best shortcake x

    1. Super Mom Hacks

      Enjoy! We’ve been having it pretty much every other night at my mama’s house while we’re visiting her these couple of weeks…

    1. Super Mom Hacks

      The shortcakes whip up SO quickly with Bisquick/homemade master mix, and they make the best strawberry shortcakes by far. Do give it a try!

  5. Strawberry shortcake is my favorite! It’s what I request in place of birthday cake most years. I’ve never made it homemade though (I know, surprising for me) so I’ll have to give your dads recipe a try soon. I’d love the strawberry supper, but we don’t have that where I grew up.

    1. I for sure thought it would be like a bajillion difficult steps but this is so easy and looks like it tastes AMAZING! I love all things strawberry so this would be so fun to make this weekend! P.S The pic of your dad in that newspaper is so precious!

    2. Super Mom Hacks

      Yeah, I think strawberry suppers are a New England thing – in all the other places I’ve lived, I’ve never seen them anywhere else. Whether you use Bisquick or your own homemade master mix (which is pretty much the same thing as Bisquick only DIY), they are SO simple and foolproof, and the results when you assemble it all are delectable! 🙂

    1. Super Mom Hacks

      SO yum. And this is by far the best I’ve ever had (though yes, this being my dad’s recipe, I AM biased lol…)

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