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Classic Strawberry Shortcake

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When fresh strawberries come into season, there’s no more delicious dessert than a Classic Strawberry Shortcake. Tender flaky biscuits pair beautifully with sweet, juicy berries and freshly whipped cream.

Scroll down for tips on How to Make the Best Strawberry Shortcake.

Classic Strawberry Shortcake on a square white plate with a dollop of cream and mint sprig

Classic Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Nearly 8 years ago, we had one of our parish priests over for dinner.  He was a young guy, and was thrilled when out of pure luck, I made his favorite dessert. He claimed it was the best strawberry shortcake ever.  With the recipe in hand, he set out to find the elusive pastry blender called for in my recipe. he left completely unsure of exactly what this mystery item looked like. After checking the appliance aisles of numerous retailers he called a parishioner who brought him one of hers.

He was amazed when he realized he owned one himself, but called it a tuna masher…used only to make tuna salad. He went on to make this dessert a number of times….the ultimate compliment for a baker!  That shortcake with white chocolate whipped cream has always been my go to recipe, but when I saw a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for a classic strawberry shortcake, I had to compare the two recipes!

Bowl of flaky shortcake biscuits

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits

This biscuit dough was a joy to work with and it rose to at least four times the unbaked height! Perfect for this fabulous strawberry shortcakes recipe!

There are a couple things about this recipe that make it work so well. First is grating  frozen butter. If making biscuits, scones and pie crust is new to you, you may not be aware that the little bits of cold butter will release steam as they heat. This process helps produce the beautiful layers with some assisitance from the baking powder.

The butter grating process is kind of a pain, but worth the effort. Using your fingers to rub the butter bits into the flour gives better quality control compared to other mixing methods. The resulting mixture should look like coarse cornmeal. Before diving in, remember to remove your rings!

Using half and half or a mixture of cream and milk adds a lovely richness as does the egg. The addition of egg also helps make for a more cohesive dough. It was a breeze to roll out, unlike typical shortcake or scone dough.

Note that you don’t want to overwork the dough, but I still like to fold and roll the leftover dough after the first round of cutting out the shortcakes. This next round of shortcakes won’t be as perfect, but still tasty!

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes on a square white plate with a half strawberry garnish

How to Make the Best Strawberry Shortcake

As mentioned above, you do not want to over work the shortcake dough. See the lovely, flaky layers in my biscuits? Those layers will be minimized if you over mix. Mix just enough to moisten all the flour, then knead until the dough is cohesive and roll out with a rolling pin.

Dust some flour on the work surface and onto your rolling pin. Make sure it’s just a dusting as excess flour can make the biscuits tough.

PRO: Tip: When you cut the shortcakes with a biscuit cutter, cut straight down. Do not twist the cutter a this will seal the edges and prevent a nice rise. If needed, you can dust your biscuit cutter with flour so it doesn’t stick.

I used a 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter. I have a tin with assorted round cutters. You could always make them smaller or larger depending on your needs. 

For the best strawberry shortcake recipe, make these with peak of the season strawberries. They should be red, with a slight sheen, not yellow or green at the stem end and fragrant. If your berries have no aroma, their flavor will suffer.

I love buying local Indiana strawberries in early June. They’re tiny, sweet and delicious. When my family sees these in the fridge, they know I’ll be making one of my two favorite strawberry shortcake recipes! Thank goodness this classic strawberry shortcake was another crowd pleaser.

Classic strawberry shortcake on a plate in front of a bowl of shortcake biscuits

This recipe was first shared in June, 2011. Photos and text were updated in 2019.

More Strawberry Desserts You’ll Love:

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Classic Strawberry Shortcake on a round white plate with a sprig of mint

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

A traditional strawberry shortcake recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes
  • Total Time: 44 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Mixing, Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Berries:

  • 34 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Shortcakes:

  • 2 cups flour, plus more for cutting biscuits
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) frozen butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Demerara sugar (regular sugar may be substituted)

Whipped cream topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Mix crushed and slice berries with sugar. Let sit while preparing biscuits.
  2. Preheat oven to 425º.
  3. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a medium bowl. Using the largest holes on a box grater, grate frozen butter into dry ingredients. Toss butter with flour, then using your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients till mixture looks like cornmeal.
  4. Beat egg slightly and add to the half and half. Pour into the flour mixture. Toss together till most of the flour is incorporated. Lightly flour counter or work surface and gently knead biscuit dough till it comes together. Pat into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle and cut rounds with a 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter. Gently gather leftover dough and fold and roll to a 3/4 inch thickness and cut out another biscuit or two.
  5. Place biscuits on baking dish, brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for about 12-14 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Whip cream with sugar and vanilla.
  7. To serve, cut biscuits in half, top bottom half with berries and juices, followed by a big dollop of whipped cream and the top of the biscuit.
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43 comments on “Classic Strawberry Shortcake”

  1. That definitely looks pretty perfect!

  2. Hehehe – I guess a pastry blender would work as a tuna masher! Top marks to your guest, Lizzy, for creative use of a mystery kitchen gadget. He was close!

    Your strawberry shortcake looks amazing. I have never had proper strawberry shortcake so this looks like something I need to try very soon – especially as strawberries are plentiful right now.

  3. Looks great Liz…believe it or not I always use my pastry blender to make tuna salad as well as egg salad….lol

  4. Lizzy-Cooks Illustrated is a fantastic source for recipes…they go through such lengths to illustrate, but I think grating frozen butter is a bit going too far…and no reflection to you!

    Cutting the butter into the dough in little pea sizes bits, is just as effective, don’t you think so? The recipe is really great, and I will try this. Your strawberry shortcake is so pretty, and perfectly done. Love shortcake filled with the yummy berries, and loads of whipped cream:D
    Lizzie
    xoxo

  5. Strawberry shortcake makes me giddy. I love strawberries. I feel less guilty when I eat a dessert with fruit in it. I need to get my hands on a Cooks Illustrated publication. I don’t think I’ve ever seen their works.

  6. Yum, strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts of all time! I was just thinking I needed to make a batch soon, before the strawberries disappear.

    I just took a wander through some of your old posts and wanted to say I will definitely be bookmarking your blog. You have amazing pictures and some very tasty looking recipes.

  7. That looks awesome:-)You are making us drool here with u lovely clicks:-)

  8. as usual you are the Queen of desserts in presentation, flavor and making my mouth water!~

  9. Look so nice! Must be very Yummy!

    Papacheong
    http://home-cook-dishes-for-family.blogspot.com/

  10. Ah…strawberry season is upon us!! I plan on going out tomorrow morning and picking! These look great! Beautiful photos!

  11. Your story was cute, your shortcake is beautiful! Enjoyed this post a lot.

  12. My husband is always badgering me to make strawberry shortcake, but I never like how the poundcake version gets all soggy. Looks like a biscuit would stand up to the strawberry juices a little better. Maybe he’ll get his strawberry shortcake after all!

  13. I’m cracking up over his “tuna masher”!

    Amy @ A Little Nosh

  14. This looks good! I love strawberries! I’ve never made my own shortcakes so I will have to try it.

  15. Oh Lizzy, these look so good! I can’t wait until I can get fresh strawberries here in Iowa. This is one of our all time favorite things to make! Once a year we get this for dinner – can’t wait!

  16. These strawberry shortcakes look GREAT…my favorite summer dessert!

  17. I love shortcakes with biscuits! And that fluffy whipped cream looks divine!

  18. What a cute story! I’ve never heard of it being called a tuna masher. This shortbread recipe looks delicious!

  19. Looks very yummy, and with a simple recipe too!

  20. Cute! And I’m in love with that strawberry shortcake! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  21. Oh man I’m always lazy and make my shortcakes with poundcake…this is making me wanna go old school and whip up some biscuits, though, to go with all the gorgeous summer fruit around…

  22. I’ve never actually made shortcake for my strawberry shortcake. Typically I get those sponge dessert cup thingies by the strawberries. This looks so much better and I really need to try that white chocolate whipped cream you mentioned. It sounds divine!

  23. It actually pains me that I have to wait another 3 months for strawberries to be in season 😛 This looks amazing!

  24. Love the biscuit idea. One of my favorite summer desserts – and one can just make the biscuits ahead and assemble at ease. ( I love easy stuff.)

  25. These look so very good, Lizzy!

  26. Loved your story…a tuna masher indeed…teehee 🙂
    Strawberry shortcake seems like a very “priestly” thing to like…like watching Father Ted.

  27. These look wonderful, Lizzy! This is my fav type of strawberry shortcake!

  28. Very cute and easier version of strawberry short cake. If it goes into tummy, all version is the same. So I rather want to prepare this easy one (how lazy!). Looks beautiful and yummy at the same time!

  29. Such a classic – and so delicious! My husband already wants to know when I will be making this strawberry shortcake again!

  30. Definitely delicious and strawberries are a perfect match!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  31. These are the prettiest shortcakes I have seen. A simple dessert that everyone loves

  32. This is our favorite summer dessert. Thanks!

  33. This is our all-time favorite dessert. We will be making this all summer!

  34. Those biscuits look really flaky and yummy!

  35. Wish I had this right now… for breakfast:@)

  36. This looks like it should be called Best Shortcake EVER! 
    I love those tiny berries too. We used to have them in Wisconsin but, after living in Raleigh for 40 years, I had almost forgotten about them. I was thrilled when we moved to the mountains of NC to find those tiny, sweet berries. I felt, after tasting the first one, that I hadn’t really had strawberries for 40 years!

  37. This classic recipe is a delightful treat for teatime and your short cakes are so flaky!

  38. My mom’s favorite strawberry dessert with the best shortcake! Pinning! xo

  39. Oooo – this sounds like a great recipe and your’s look perfect! Strawberry season is one of my favourites and making shortcake is a must. Yum.

  40. Can you believe I’ve never tried making strawberry shortcake? I always love it when I eat it, so there’s no reason to not make it myself!

  41. Such a great story. And a lovely dessert! I’m in strawberry heaven these days. Can’t get enough, so this is a welcome dessert! 😀 ~Valentina

  42. I love strawberry shortcake! When I was a kid, I always looked forward to strawberry season, because it always meant shortcakes. Thank you for your tips. I’ve tried the frozen butter before – it’s genius. I didn’t know about not twisting the biscuit cutter, though – that’s good to know.

  43. I love the cake and this looks absolutely delicious! It would be interesting to try this summer

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