Vanilla Roasted Strawberries

Favorite SummerSauceStrawberryVanilla

Jammy roasted strawberries burst with sweetness! Roasting them with a vanilla bean takes them to the next level. Serve over ice cream, yogurt, or stir into oatmeal. Freezes brilliantly!

Photography Credit: Alison Bickel

Strawberries are one of the more enticing treats of early summer. Instead of just macerating them in sugar, I love roasting strawberries with a split vanilla bean.

Roasting strawberries intensifies their flavor and creates a nice, gooey syrup—it’s almost like making a compote in the oven, and the berries maintain their shape while still getting jammy. It’s wonderful for spooning over ice cream, yogurt, panna cotta, or old-fashioned strawberry shortcake.

ROAST STRAWBERRIES FOR SWEETNESS

Roasting strawberries concentrates their flavor, making them sweet and extra-fruity, without having to add much sugar. You also get an intense syrup. I think of this as an oven compote. The berries themselves stay more intact roasted in the oven than they would if you simmered them on the stove.

A bowl of hulled strawberries to make roasted strawberries with vanilla.

USE FRESH STRAWBERRIES, NOT FROZEN

Save your frozen berries for smoothies. There’s no reason to make this unless you have fresh strawberries. Strawberries that are thawed after freezing are already collapsed and weeping liquid, and they’ll just turn to mush if you roast them.

Use locally grown berries, if you can. The varieties trucked in from Mexico, California, and Florida are bred more for longevity than flavor, though they’ll still be tasty when prepared this way.

Make sure you hull the berries, removing just the green leaves and stems from the strawberry, rather than slicing off the white tops or tips—the tops are high in pectin, which helps give the finished berries a jammy texture.

I like to use this strawberry huller, but you can also use a paring knife. Just insert the tip near the leaves and cut them out in a shallow cone.

FRUIT LOVES VANILLA!

I love using whole vanilla beans with fruit. Yes, they’re expensive, but I think you really get your bang for the buck. The vanilla flavor mutes the acidity of the fruit and is so incredibly aromatic. Try it!

A bowl of strawberry topping for ice cream in a small white bowl. Behind it is a ceramic baking dish with more of the vanilla roasted strawberries inside.

SWAPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

This is still worth making without the vanilla bean. Here are some other flavoring options, if you want to shake it up. Add any of the following to the baking dish, along with the berries and sugar, prior to roasting them.

  • Cardamom (3 pods, or 1/4 teaspoon ground)
  • A few whole star anise
  • One 1 inch x 3 inch strip of orange zest
  • Add a tablespoon of orange liqueur like Grand Marnier to the berries after you take them out of the oven
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract (once again, add after roasting the berries)

WHEN ARE THE STRAWBERRIES DONE ROASTING?

The more room in your dish, the less time these will take to roast. The berries will be soft and slouchy. The juices pooled around them will be syrupy and have sticky little bubbles popping. As the berries cool, the syrup thickens, and the berries become even softer. 

A mason jar filled with strawberry topping for ice cream.

HOW TO STORE ROASTED STRAWBERRIES

Refrigerate the berries, covered, for up to a week.

You can also freeze them for up to a year. Either put them in an appropriately sized freezer-safe storage container, or in a small freezer bag and freeze it flat. It’s best to eat frozen berries within a year.

ROASTED STRAWBERRIES TASTE GREAT WITH:

Dairy! These are terrific with dairy products and dairy-based desserts.

Baked desserts are great, too: the more basic, the better.

Close up of strawberry topping for ice cream in its own syrup.

More Great Strawberry Recipes:

Vanilla Roasted Strawberries Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 30-40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 to 1 1/2 cups

If you don’t have a vanilla bean, you may omit it; if you like, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the berries after you remove them from the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound strawberries, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, optional

Method

1 Preheat the oven: Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425° F.

2 Prep the berries: Hull the strawberries (use a huller if you have one, or a paring knife if you don’t). To remove the stem and leaves from the berry using a paring knife, insert the tip of your paring knife as close to the stem as possible, and cut a narrow, shallow cone around it. Discard the stem.

If the strawberries are large, halve or quarter them. You can leave smaller berries whole.

A bowl of hulled strawberries to make strawberry topping for ice cream.

3 Combine strawberries with other ingredients: Put the strawberries in a 9x9-inch shallow, non-reactive baking dish (ceramic, enameled, or Pyrex are good choices). Add the sugar. Cut the vanilla bean in half vertically with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds; add the seeds and the scraped-out vanilla bean to the berries. Toss to combine.

Pan wiht sliced strawberries topped with sugar. A vanilla bean is to the right of the pan.

4 Roast the berries Place the dish, uncovered, in the oven and bake for 30, stirring after 15 minutes, if you remember. The berries will collapse and lots of juice will rapidly bubble all around them.

5 Cool: Cool to room temperature; everything will thicken and become jammy as it cools.

A bowl of roasted strawberries with vanilla is in front of a baking dish with more of the strawberries inside.

6 Store: Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week. Leave the vanilla bean in there so the flavors both deepen and mellow as it all sits. Serve over cakes, ice cream, yogurt, or spoon into oatmeal.

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Sara Bir

Sara Bir a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and the author of two cookbooks: The Fruit Forager’s Companion and Tasting Ohio. Past gigs include leading chocolate factory tours, slinging street cart sausages, and writing pop music criticism. Sara skates with her local roller derby team as Carrion the Librarian.

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5 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Bonnie

    Can I use swerve sweetener

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  2. Clara

    How about using these strawberries as the fruit component of overnight oatmeal.

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  3. [email protected]

    Sharing on the weekend edit this weekend! Yum! laura

Easy roasted strawberry topping spooned over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. The bowl is set on a plate with a spoon to the right. A second bowl and baking dish of strawberry topping for ice cream is behind.Vanilla Roasted Strawberries