Homemade Southern Strawberry Shortcake is the stuff dessert dreams are made of, and for a good reason. With fresh red, juicy strawberries, billowy clouds of whipped cream, and crunchy Southern shortcake biscuits, this traditional quick and easy dessert is as beautiful as it is delicious!
Fresh strawberries really shine in the spring and summer, and homemade strawberry shortcake has been a classic since the recipe first appeared in an English cookbook in 1588. There is even a Strawberry Shortcake Day on June 14 to celebrate this sweet “traditional” dessert. It’s as perfect for a back-yard barbecue as it is for a festive Mother’s Day or Easter celebration.
Here’s what you need to make this recipe:
- Fresh strawberries – are the star of this show. Buy the freshest strawberries possible and let them shine.
- Sugar – granulated sugar is used to macerate the strawberries and to sweeten the shortcake biscuits. Confectioners sugar sweetens the whipped cream.
- Heavy cream – is the major component in the soft billowy homemade whipped cream. After whipping, the rich cream doubles in volume.
- All-purpose flour – is the base of the cornmeal shortcake biscuits.
- Cornmeal – is what sets this Southern shortcake biscuit apart and gives it a Southern spin or twist.
- Butter – adds rich flavor and moisture to the shortcakes.
- Baking powder – reacts with the buttermilk and causes the shortcakes to rise.
- Salt – enhances the flavor of the other shortcake ingredients.
- Buttermilk – another Southern twist, works with the baking powder to cause the drop biscuits to rise and become fluffy shortcakes.
Here’s how to make it:
- To make the strawberry filling, mix the sliced strawberries and sugar in a bowl and macerate for about 30 minutes.
- To make the drop biscuits for the strawberry shortcakes, gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine everything. Or, if you don’t have a food processor, place the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the chilled cubed butter to the mixture in the food processor and pulse a few times until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can also cut the butter in with a pastry blender or fork until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the buttermilk and stir until the mixture comes together. Do not over-mix, or your biscuits will be tough.
- If the mixture seems too dry, add a little more buttermilk, about a tablespoon at a time. If it appears too runny, add a little more flour, about a tablespoon at a time.
- Spray the inside of a 1/4 cup measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray and use it to scoop out your biscuits.
- Drop the biscuits about an inch apart onto a greased baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Bake the biscuits for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
- To make the whipped cream, place a metal mixing bowl and electric mixer beaters in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the sugar and whipping cream to the chilled mixing bowl. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Store any unused portion in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- To assemble the strawberry shortcakes, slice the biscuits. Add a generous layer of whipped cream and a generous layer of strawberries to the bottom biscuit half. Place the top of the biscuit on top and repeat the layers. Serve immediately.
What to look for when purchasing them?
Florida and California lead the nation in growing strawberries. In Florida, the season runs from November to March; in California, the season runs from April through August.
When purchasing strawberries, look for medium-sized berries with a bright red color. They do not continue ripening after they are picked, so don’t buy green ones. They should also have a sweet strawberry fragrance that is almost intoxicating. If you can’t smell them, walk away. Also, make sure that they are free of bruises or blemishes and that their leaves are green and healthy-looking. If the leaves look dry, the berries are past their prime.
How to store them?
Strawberries are extremely perishable. Try to use them as soon as possible after purchasing them. To keep them from spoiling, don’t wash them until you are ready to eat them and store them in the refrigerator in the container they came in. They should keep in the refrigerator for one to two days.
How to hull them?
First, give your berries a quick rinse and pat them dry.
Then, if you don’t have a strawberry huller, angle a small sharp paring knife at a 45-degree angle under the green leafy top of the strawberry and into the flesh directly underneath, turn the fruit in a circular motion, and cut the hull out.
You can also use a straw and insert it in the bottom of the fruit and push it out the top, pop the leaves and core out. I have to admit, I usually take the lazy way out and slice the top of the fruit off, including the leaves. I lose a bit more of the strawberry using this method, but it is quick and easy.
Frequently asked questions:
What is a shortcake?
When you see the term “shortcake,” it refers to a sweetened biscuit with a crispy exterior that has been leavened with baking powder or soda. The biscuits can be either easy drop biscuits, like mine, or rolled out and cut into circles. This recipe features Southern shortcake biscuits made with a bit of cornmeal, which is slightly different from traditional drop biscuits and gives them a delightful crunch.
What does macerate mean?
Macerate is a big word with a simple meaning; it means adding a bit of sugar to fruit or berries to draw out their natural juices. For most fruit, it only takes 30 minutes or so.
Can this dessert be made ahead of time?
You can make the biscuits up to two days ahead and store them tightly covered until you are ready to assemble the shortcake. You can also freeze them for a month or two. For the best texture and taste, don’t add the sugar and macerate the strawberries any longer than an hour ahead of when you want to serve this dessert. The longer the berries sit, the softer they become.
How to store leftovers?
Unfortunately, once assembled, strawberry shortcake doesn’t store very well and will get soggy. My recommendation is to make and keep the components separately and then assemble them before serving.
What to serve with it?
Strawberry shortcake would be a heavenly sweet ending to any meal. I’ve been known to eat it for breakfast too. After all, it’s full of fruit…
- Instead of strawberries, step out on the wild side and try substituting your favorite fruit or a combination of fruit and berries. Blackberries, raspberries, sliced peaches, nectarines, blueberries, cherries, or even figs would all be delicious.
- Keep the butter cold until you are ready to make the biscuits. I use unsalted butter; if all you have is salted, reduce the amount of salt you use in this recipe.
- Speaking of salt, I use kosher salt. If all you have is regular table salt, only use one-half as much.
- Not in the mood to make biscuits or don’t have time? Substitute slices of angel food cake, or pound cake, or the small cake dessert shells you can purchase at your bakery.
- You can also substitute frozen whipped topping or canned whipped cream for homemade whipped cream too!
- Want to ramp up the flavor of the strawberries? Feel free to add a splash of Grand Marnier or a bit of lemon juice to the strawberry mixture.
More desserts with fresh fruit:
If you like this fruit dessert, you might also be interested in these easy and popular recipes on my blog:
- Strawberry Trifle with Angel Food Cake
- Red, White, and Blue No-Bake Ice Box Cake
- Old-Fashioned Strawberry Pie
- No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake
- The Best Apple Dumplings
- Southern-Style Fresh Peach Pie
- Easy Pear Pie
- Kumquat Pie
- Southern Peach Cobbler
If you need more menu ideas or recipes, check out all of my dessert recipes here.
★ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and give it a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Southern Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
Strawberry Filling Ingredients:
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries rinsed, hulled and sliced
- ¼ cup sugar
Whipped Cream Ingredients:
- 1 cup heavy cream chilled
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar
Southern Shortcake Biscuits Ingredients:
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup cornmeal
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter cold, cut into small cubes
- 1½ cups buttermilk
Strawberry Filling Directions:
- Mix the sliced strawberries and sugar in a bowl and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
Southern Shortcake biscuits:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine everything. Or, if you don't have a food processor, place the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the cubed butter to the mixture in the food processor and pulse a few times until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Or, you can cut the butter in with a pastry blender or fork until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the buttermilk and stir until the mixture comes together. Do not over-mix, or your biscuits will be tough. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little more buttermilk, about a tablespoon at a time. If the mixture appears too runny, add a little more flour, about a tablespoon at a time.
- Spray the inside of a ¼ cup measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray and use it to scoop out your biscuits. Drop the biscuits about an inch apart onto a greased baking sheet or a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Bake the biscuits for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
Whipped Cream Directions:
- Place a metal mixing bowl and electric mixer beaters into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Place the sugar into the mixing bowl and add the whipping cream. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Store any unused portion in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- To assemble, slice the biscuits. Add a generous layer of whipped cream and a generous layer of strawberries to the bottom biscuit half. Place the top of the biscuit on top and repeat the layers. Serve immediately.
**This recipe was originally published on February 15, 2018. It was republished on February 28, 2021, with new pictures, a new FAQ section, and expanded tips.