Layer of cake topped with buttercream and strawberry filling

Strawberry Filling Recipe

Strawberry filling recipe for cake, cupcakes or to add to other desserts! You can use fresh or frozen berries in this fruit filling that comes together in minutes!

Fruit fillings in cakes are the perfect way to elevate the flavors and impress your friends and family!

My personal favorite filling is this fresh strawberry filling that can be made in minutes. It goes so well with different cake flavors! Pair it with vanilla, lemon, almond, or even chocolate!

I get a lot of requests for this cake filling and everyone that has tried it says that it is best with chunks of strawberries in it. So make sure not to smash them all!

I have used both fresh and frozen berries in this filling and they both work great.

In the winter, when fresh strawberries are expensive, I use frozen berries for the filling. Then I buy a small container of fresh berries, slice a couple of them up and place them on top of the filling.

This will help save you money but still give you a fresh berry burst!

Strawberry filling for cake, cupcakes and more!

Optional ingredient

There are only four ingredients in this strawberry cake filling recipe and one of them is optional -lemon juice.

You don’t have to add the lemon juice but it does three things in this recipe.

First, it helps to keep the strawberries bright red. Without the lemon juice, the fruit will brown about from oxidation. Just a little bit of lemon juice will keep your berries bright red and looking delicious!

Second, the lemon juice helps to thicken the filling by adding natural pectin. Pectin is a substance that occurs naturally in foods and it is needed to make jams, jellies, and compotes thicken when cooked.

Your filling will still thicken without the lemon juice because the cornstarch is also in there for thickening. But a little added pectin will make this filling stable!

Third, lemon juice will brighten the flavor of the strawberries without making the filling taste like lemons – I promise! The fresh flavor will shine through with a boost from the lemon juice!

Not too sweet

This filling is sweetened naturally by the strawberries and only uses a small amount of granulated sugar.

The sugar is necessary to help set up the filling but I have kept it to a minimum so that you really get the flavor of strawberries and not just sugar!

Strawberry filling inside a dam of buttercream used as a cake filling

Tips for success with this recipe:

  • Make sure that all of the ingredients are stirred together before going on the heat. If the cornstarch is added after the other ingredients begin to heat up, the cornstarch will clump and you will never get rid of the lumps!
  • You can smoosh all of the berries to have a mostly smooth filling (almost like jam) but most people prefer chunks of the berries in there. I have done side-by-side taste comparisons and 100% of people wanted chunks!
  • Make sure that the mixture is boiled for a full two minutes. This is the step that will allow the cornstarch to thicken the mixture. If it is not heated long enough, the mixture will be runny and will squish out of your cake, cupcakes, etc.
  • The mixture will thicken some as it cools and even more when refrigerated.
  • Make sure that the mixture is completely cool before adding to a cake or as a topping to other desserts so that it doesn’t melt your buttercream or other elements.
  • When filling a cake with this strawberry filling, put a layer of buttercream down on the cake and then pipe a dam around the edge to hold the filling in.
  • Once this filling is inside a cake, cupcakes, etc., the cake should be refrigerated until almost ready to serve. This filling does require refrigeration!

Other ways to use this strawberry filling

As I mentioned, this strawberry filling recipe is perfect as a filling for cakes and cupcakes. But this recipe is so versatile and can be used in other treats as well!

  • Add dollops on top of cheesecake batter prior to baking and swirl into the batter
  • Spoon dollops on top of a baked cheesecake as a fresh fruit topping
  • Spoon on top of toast, with or without a little ricotta or cream cheese smeared on first
  • Spoon on top of pancakes or waffles
  • Add a dollop to the top of your morning bowl of oatmeal
  • Put a scoop on your ice cream or yogurt

Let me know how you use this Strawberry Filling Recipe in the comments below!

Strawberry Filling Recipe

Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 3 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen, hulled and chopped

  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch


  • Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and crushing berries slightly with a masher or the back of a spoon.
  • Boil the mixture for 2 minutes to thicken, stirring constantly.
  • Pour into a heat-proof bowl and cool completely. Use once it is cooled or cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

I used this Strawberry Filling in this cake for a blood red filling!

This filling would be delicious in my Lemon Cake!

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  2. could i add this filling in my pastries and bake it?

    • I think that you could use it as baked filling but I have never tried it with this recipe. It is very similar to a strawberry pie filling so it should work. If you are going to bake it, dont cook it on the stove as the recipe says. Just mix the filling ingredients together and then bake.

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