Strawberries are kinda like tomatoes: available in stores year-round, but only amazingly tasty when they’re truly in season. Now that summer is almost over (eek!), peak strawberry season is already past in many places—but if you’re lucky, you can still find some delicious specimens before fall. These strawberry dessert recipes will let them shine, and they go way beyond the usual shortcake.
Of course, we do have shortcakes covered too—and are never opposed to simple chocolate-dipped strawberries, or using them as the red stripes in a flag cake for Labor Day, but the sweet strawberry treats below include some we bet you’ve never tried (and won’t be able to get enough of once you do).
Related Reading: 6 Strawberries You Should Seek Out
Rich, creamy cheesecake with strawberry topping is a classic, but why settle for the pre-made stuff when you can make a simple sauce with fresh berries, lemon, and sugar? Get our Strawberry Cheesecake recipe.
The most elegant take on Jell-O you’ve ever seen, this simple but sophisticated Champagne Gelee with Strawberries recipe from the “Tartine All Day” cookbook is a light, refreshing, and just plain beautiful summer dessert.
These easy, crumble-topped bar cookies combine fresh berries with the intense flavor and color of freeze-dried strawberries, but also tangy crème fraîche and sweetened condensed milk, for a perfectly balanced (and perfectly pink) filling that’s super smooth to boot. Get the Strawberry Crème Fraîche Bars recipe.
Natierra Nature's Organic Freeze-Dried Strawberries, $9.25 from Amazon
Also good for snacking on by their lonesome.
Bundt cakes are delightfully old fashioned, but this vanilla bean version studded with fresh summer strawberries feels timeless too. Greek yogurt makes it moist, and a simple vanilla glaze lets the details of the pan (and the berries) stand out. Get our Vanilla Strawberry Bundt Cake recipe.
Related Reading: How to Get a Bundt Cake Out of the Pan in One Piece
We have a whole post devoted to strawberry shortcake (both classic and updated), but we have to include a few shortcake-inspired treats here too—like this Strawberry Shortcake Muffin recipe topped with clouds of whipped cream. These definitely work as dessert, but are also ideal for brunch, or afternoon tea.
A slice of this pie with its flaky, tender crust and bright, juicy filling bursting with strawberries and rhubarb is practically summer on a plate. Vanilla ice cream is optional, but highly recommended. Get our Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe.
Baking mixed berry crisps in small jars makes them perfect for packing on a picnic (but make sure you practice proper social distancing outdoors). Since our Individual Strawberry Blueberry Crisps recipe only makes four servings total, you can also just bake the whole batch for yourself, and dole one out each day. That said, it’s easy to increase the ingredient amounts for more servings too.
Ball Wide Mouth 8-Ounce Mason Jars, 4 for $4.89 from Target
These are also great for storing spices and seasoning blends.
Related Reading: 12 Clever Ways to Use Mason Jars Beyond Canning
Grilled fruit combines two of summer’s finest dining pleasures, and makes for an easy dessert paired with pound cake or angel food slices. The berries in our Angel Food Cake with Grilled Apricots and Strawberries recipe are simply macerated with sugar, mint, rosemary, and orange zest and juice, but you can always skewer the whole strawberries and grill them too before proceeding with the recipe as written.
Fluffy clouds of strawberry mousse and light-yet-crisp pastry puffs team up for an elegant dessert. (Strawberry fool is similar but simpler and won’t require turning on the oven.) Get our Strawberry Cream Puffs recipe.
Fresh strawberry ice cream is superb, but our Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream recipe is even better. It includes cream cheese for tang and richness, and cookie butter to evoke the graham cracker crust. But the fresh berries still come through loud and clear.
The very best berries are beautifully showcased in this pastry case-worthy tart filled with smooth vanilla-citrus cream. And while our Strawberry Tart with Citrus Pastry Cream recipe looks impressive as anything, it’s actually easy to make, with a press-in crust. The real key is sourcing the best berries and artfully arranging the slices, which you can definitely pull off.
The citrusy note cardamom brings to our Strawberry Cupcake recipe is a revelation if you’ve never tried it with the fruit before, but the light, pretty-in-pink strawberry cream cheese filling and fresh strawberry sauce tucked away inside each little cake would also work with your favorite standard vanilla recipe.
This Brown Sugar Meringues with Strawberries recipe from Waterbar pastry chef Emily Luchetti is like a fancier take on shortcake—but it’s not really much more difficult to make, especially if you have a stand mixer or electric hand mixer.
KitchenAid Pro Line Cordless Hand Blender, $329.95 from Sur La Table
A cordless hand mixer is easier to wield.
Another stunning dessert that’s surprisingly easy to put together, our Almost Summer Pudding recipe is one of our favorite no-bake desserts for summer. You just line a large bowl with slices of brioche, fill it up with macerated fruit (strawberries not only taste great but lend a lovely pink hue), seal it up with more bread, and let it sit in the fridge for a day or so. Then unmold to oohs and ahs, your own included.
One last shortcake-inspired option, because everyone knows they’re the very best way to serve strawberries during peak season. Our Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake recipe is a large-format treat with just one downside: It doesn’t keep well. But it tastes so good, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Related Video: This Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Is Easy Enough for Beginners
An earlier version of this story was written by Christine Gallary and Amy Wisniewski.
Header image by Chowhound.