Macerated strawberries are like a gorgeous chunky strawberry sauce. Perfectly ripe strawberries are marinated in just a few ingredients to create a glorious syrup and tender berries.

  • Just 4 ingredients and 5 minutes effort.
  • Vibrant, sweet and fresh.
  • Try other berries as well.
  • Perfect on cakes, pancakes, ice cream and so much more.

Learning how to macerate strawberries (or any berries) couldn’t be easier. In no time, you’ve created a sweet, juicy berry sauce that’s absolutely sublime and perfect paired with so many desserts. I teamed them up with this chantilly cream on my strawberry sponge cake.

You’ll love this homemade strawberry topping too.

A glass bowl filled with macerated strawberries.

What are macerated strawberries

Macerating strawberries is the process of marinating fresh strawberries in sugar (and sometimes a little liquid) for the purpose of softening and sweetening the berries to use as a sauce.

By simply macerating strawberries in sugar, liquid is drawn out of the berries and in turn the sugar is dissolved in that liquid. This creates both a sweet strawberry flavoured syrup and softened berries within it. The berries become sweeter, so it’s a great way to use berries that may not be as sweet as you’d like and as it becomes a chunky fruit sauce, it’s wonderful spooned over everything from ice cream to waffles.

Ingredients you’ll need

Just 4 ingredients are all you need and you can even swap them up for different flavour profiles.

Ingredients for macerated strawberries.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Strawberries: I find fresh strawberries best for macerating, however you can use frozen, they’ll just turn out softer. They don’t need to be super sweet as, by adding sugar, even tart berries are turned wonderfully sweet.
  • Sugar: Just some white granulated sugar is perfect. You can use brown sugar instead for a slight caramel edge. You can use a sugar alternative like monk fruit too.
  • Maple syrup: I just love the flavour of maple syrup with berries but you can leave this out if you prefer or you can swap it for honey.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Adding a little sweetness but also some piquancy, balsamic vinegar and strawberries are a classic combination for a good reason. Vinegar also helps the berries to release a little more liquid creating more of that glossy syrup.

Other flavours you could try

  • Flavourings: You can add flavourings like vanilla extract, lemon zest or orange zest. You can also swap it out and use a little lemon juice or orange juice in it’s place.
  • Alcohol: You can also swap the vinegar for liqueurs like Grand Marnier, Cointreau, brandy or rum. If using alcohol, be careful who you serve them to.
  • Other fruits: You can macerate many type of fruits. You could make macerated blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, even peaches using this recipe.

How to macerate strawberries (step-by-step)

It’s a very quick, 3 step process to gorgeous syrupy strawberries.

A collage showing how to make macerated strawberries.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Prepare the strawberries: Start by washing and drying the strawberries. Hull them (cut away the leaves at the top) then slice them up.
  2. Dress them: Mix the “dressing” in a mixing bowl – here we use sugar, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar – then add the prepped strawberries and mix well.
  3. Let them macerate: Let them sit at room temperature with the bowl covered, giving them a mix every so often for 45-60 minutes. Over this time, they’ll soften and create a glossy strawberry flavoured syrup.

What to do with macerated strawberries

There are so many ways to enjoy them. Use macerated strawberries as a topping on pancakes, waffles or French toast. Spoon them over or stir through vanilla ice cream or panna cotta. Try a breakfast of crepes, whipped cream or Greek yogurt and macerated berries. So delicious.

Use them for topping cakes, cheesecake, strawberry shortcakes and scones. You can even create a strawberry tiramisu (use my raspberry tiramisu recipe as a guide).

If all of that’s not enough, you can even use them in drinks. Sweeten plain or soda water. Pop some into your iced tea or even into cocktails.

Macerated strawberries over some ice cream in a glass.

Yield and storage

This recipe makes about 1 ½ cups of macerated strawberries.

These will happily keep at room temperature for a few hours but for extended periods, keep them in an airtight container or preserve jar in the refrigerator. They’ll last nicely for 2-3 days.

You can also freeze them – in ice cube trays is perfect so you can thaw just what you need.

Closeup of macerated strawberries in a bowl.

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Macerated strawberries on a spoon being lifted out of a bowl.

Macerated Strawberries

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Macerated strawberries are quick and easy to make with only 4 ingredients. These marinated sweet, syrup berries are gorgeous over ice cream, pancakes, on toast or cakes and so much more.

Ingredients

  • 750 g fresh strawberries (roughly 4 cups, notes)
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar or caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions
 

  • Wash the strawberries and dry well.
  • Hull then slice or roughly chop the strawberries into 3-4 pieces.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, maple syrup and vinegar.
  • Add the strawberries and mix well.
  • Rest the macerating strawberries at room temperature for 40-60 minutes, stirring and turning every 10 minutes.
  • Store the macerated berries in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze in ice cube trays, then transfer to a freezer bag, for up to 3 months.
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Notes

  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons worldwide). Many countries use a 15ml tablespoon so just check before measuring.
  2. Yield: This recipe makes roughly 1 ½ – 2 cups of macerated strawberries. It’s easy to scale it up or down too.
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