Skip to main content

Strawberry Shortcakes



Two plates with strawberry shortcake and whipped cream.
Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Stevie Stewart

Classic strawberry shortcake is perfect, full stop. A combination of tender golden shortcakes (a type of biscuit that first appeared in a 16th-century British cookbook), juicy strawberries, and a cloud of lightly sweetened cream, the recipe is as simple to make as it is delicious. It’s the ideal dessert for any holiday from the start of spring through at least the 4th of July, and it makes an excellent stand-in for birthday cake and other festive foods.

This strawberry shortcake recipe comes from Gourmet food editor emeritus Kemp Minifie in honor of her father’s favorite summer pastime: gathering fresh strawberries at a U-pick farm. Minifie offers a range for the amount of sugar you’ll use on the naturally sweet strawberries. After they’ve turned juicy, give them a taste; if you find you’ve used too much, a squeeze of lemon juice can even things out. (Outside of strawberry season, use the same method for blueberries, sliced peaches and plums, diced pears, or any juicy fruit that looks good to you.) Adding a dollop of sour cream to the whipped cream topping has a twofold effect: The result is more stable than plain whipped cream, and the slightly tangy topping makes a wonderful counterpoint to the sweet-tart berries.

Minifie uses barely sweetened buttermilk biscuits as the base here. You can make them up to a day in advance, or whip them together while the fruit macerates. Biscuits not your thing? Some variations use sponge cake instead, and the berries and cream would be equally delicious with pound cake or angel food cake.

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    1 hour 15 minutes (includes making biscuits)

  • Yield

    6 servings



1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ Tbsp. granulated sugar
1½ tsp. baking powder
Rounded ¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ stick (2 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½" cubes
¾ cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 Tbsp. milk or cream for brushing

Strawberries and Assembly:

2½ lb. strawberries, trimmed and quartered (7½ cups)
⅓ to ½ cup granulated sugar, or to taste
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup chilled heavy cream
¼ cup sour cream
1½ to 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Special Equipment

Potato masher


  1. Shortcakes:

    Step 1

    Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

    Step 2

    Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda onto a sheet of wax paper, then sift again into a bowl. Blend butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms (dough will be moist).

    Step 3

    Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times. Pat out dough on a floured surface with floured hands, reflouring surface if necessary, into an 8x5½" rectangle. Trim all 4 sides with a knife, dusting knife edge with flour before each cut. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then into thirds crosswise to form 6 (2½") squares, flouring knife between cuts. Transfer shortcakes with a metal spatula to an ungreased baking sheet, arranging them 2" apart, and brush tops with milk or cream. Bake until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.

  2. Strawberries and Assembly:

    Step 4

    Toss strawberries with granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently press strawberries with potato masher to help release their juices, being careful not to crush them to a pulp. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    Step 5

    Beat together heavy cream, sour cream, powdered sugar (to taste), and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until very soft peaks form.

    Step 6

    Split shortcakes horizontally with a fork and arrange 2 halves, split sides up, on each of 6 plates. Top with strawberries and juices, then with whipped cream. 

    Editor’s note: This recipe was first printed in the June 2005 issue of ‘Gourmet.’ Head this way for more of our best summer desserts →

Sign In or Subscribe
to leave a Rating or Review

How would you rate Strawberry Shortcakes?

Leave a Review

  • The flavors are simple and wonderful! I made the recipe as written. The shortcakes were sizable. When I make it next time I will make 8-10 portions of the shortcakes and increase the strawberries by 25% as its a generous serving as written.

    • Leslie

    • Maricopa, Az

    • 6/17/2023

  • First time eating and making strawberry shortcake and it was delicious! Make for a party of 5 and everyone cleared their plates. Used 1/4 cut sugar vs the 1/3 for the strawberry mixture. And used unsweetened greek yogurt instead of the sour cream. at first taste it was a little tangy for a whip cream, so i added a little more vanilla extract and it was perfect. Will definitely make again! 5 stars

    • allie

    • oregon

    • 12/20/2023

  • The classic. Biscuts are so much better than sponge cake. The perfect desert.

    • danielt2859

    • LA, CA

    • 5/27/2005

  • This was a really easy and homey version of strawberry shortcake. I sprinkled some sugar on top of the biscuits after I brushed them with milk, and that gave them a nice sheen. And I baked them the full 15 minutes or a bit longer just to give these a bit more texture. Add some lemon zest and lemon extract to the whipped cream. Lots of ways to vary this just slightly for little touches your guests will notice.

    • chefindy

    • Indianapolis, Indiana

    • 5/28/2005

  • Can't wait to make another batch. Mine disappeared in a flash!

    • Anonymous

    • 5/28/2005

  • This is the very best Strawberry Shortcake I've ever had. How simple. How wonderful!

    • D. Thaomas

    • Rochester, NY

    • 5/28/2005

  • This is the BEST. The biscuts are the key. Wonderful

    • R

    • NY

    • 5/28/2005

See Related Recipes and Cooking Tips

Read More
Studded with fresh strawberries and sprinkled with crunchy sugar, these tender-crumbed strawberry muffins are the best bake to wake up to.
Use it in yogurt, on ice cream, or smash a few big chunks onto buttered toast.
In this riff on a classic spring dessert, airy choux pastry replaces bready shortcakes. Strawberry cream puffs give the fruit and cream more room to shine.
These foolproof, ice-cream-filled choux buns make the perfect dessert for two.
Level up your weeknight dinner game with this fragrant, veggie-packed stir-fry. 
A cool trick (pouring boiling water on chicken skin preps it for a layer of perfect shiny lacquer) turns a few basic ingredients into a flavorful dinner.
This gin and peach cocktail is tangy, herbal, and refreshing, thanks to a touch of Greek yogurt and a few fresh basil leaves shaken into the drink.
Revive yourself for the night ahead with this vivid tequila, grapefruit, and Campari cocktail.