Strawberries and Cream Semifreddo

Semifreddo is the easiest, dreamiest frozen dessert with no special equipment or fancy ingredients required. Smooth and creamy, this recipe pairs fresh strawberry compote with a light-as-air vanilla semifreddo.

Strawberries and Cream Semifreddo Slices Cascading on a Platter Next the Rest of the Uncut Semifreddo on the Same Platter. Semifreddo Is Topped With Halved Fresh Strawberries and Strawberry Compote. In the Surroundings, a Bowl of Fresh Strawberries and a Stack of Plates.

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

You probably have all the ingredients in your refrigerator needed to whip up semifreddo, one of the most texturally delightful but underrated frozen treats. Easier to make than ice cream, semifreddo doesn’t require any special equipment and has the same satisfying richness combined with the lightness of a mousse. 

Frozen desserts always seem to impress, and any semifreddo you make will be the highlight of a summer gathering. With plenty of flavor combinations possible, there’s also lots of room for creativity.

Strawberries and Cream Semifreddo Slices Cascading on a Platter Next the Rest of the Uncut Semifreddo on the Same Platter. Semifreddo Is Topped With Halved Fresh Strawberries and Strawberry Compote. In the Surroundings, a Bowl of Fresh Strawberries and a Stack of Plates.

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

What is Semifreddo?

Semifreddo is an elegant frozen dessert that translates to ”half-cold” or “half-frozen” in Italian. Dating back to the 19th century, semifreddo is still popular today and can most often be seen on menus at Italian restaurants. It’s akin to a frozen mousse and relies on a short list of simple ingredients that transform into a perfect summer treat. 

There’s no ice cream maker or churning required, making it easy and accessible for any home cook. 

Recipe Variations

Similar to ice cream, the flavor combinations for semifreddo are endless. This semifreddo recipe is the perfect base for any additional flavors or add-ins. Consider folding in cookie pieces, cake crumbs, or chopped nuts before freezing. Avoid fresh fruit, since it can become icy and hard.

Once the semifreddo is unmolded, it can be topped with a variety of fruits, jams, sauces, or whatever you desire. The strawberry compote recipe below is easy to adapt to a variety of berries (like raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries), and can be embellished with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, melted white chocolate, or toasted slivered almonds.

Try topping semifreddo with these sauce recipes:

Spoonful of Strawberry Compote Drizzled Onto Strawberries & Cream Semifreddo

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Tips and Tricks for the Best Semifreddo

While semifreddo is simple compared to many frozen desserts, there is some technique involved in bringing this dessert together. 

  • It’s imperative to whip the cream to stiff peaks but not to over-whip it, making it clumpy.
  • The egg mixture must be cooked to the proper temperature—not only to cook the eggs, but also to ensure that the mixture whips to the right consistency. Use an instant-read thermometer and make sure the tip is submerged at least an inch.
  • When folding the whipped cream into the egg base, take caution to gently fold the cream in so you don’t deflate all of the air you’ve carefully added. 

Making It Ahead

One of the benefits of making a frozen dessert is being able to make it ahead and store it in the freezer. Semifreddo can be made up to 2 weeks in advance without having any adverse effects on the flavor or texture.

Whether you keep it in the freezer for two days or two weeks, make sure to tightly wrap the dessert with plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. When you’re ready to serve the semifreddo, it can usually be served right away, but depending on how cold your freezer is, you may want to let it stand for 5 minutes at room temperature before cutting into it.

Strawberries and Cream Semifreddo

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Chill Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 35 mins
Servings 8 servings

Plan ahead—the semifreddo needs to freeze overnight.


For the semifreddo

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted, chopped almonds, pistachios, or pecans (optional)

For the strawberry compote

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Prepare the pan:

    Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer.

    A Loaf Pan Lined With Plastic Wrap

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  2. Make the whipped cream:

    Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a separate bowl and place it in the refrigerator. 

    Wash and dry the stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment to use again.

    Freshly Whipped Cream on a Stand Mixer Whisk Attachment (Still Attached to the Stand Mixer) and the Rest in the Bowl Below It.

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Bowl of Freshly Whipped Cream With a Spatula for Strawberries and Cream Semifreddo Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  3. Cook the egg mixture:

    Add a few inches of water to a saucepan. The bowl of your stand mixer should fit on top without touching the water. Bring to a simmer. 

    Combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer and whisk to combine. Set the mixer bowl over the simmering water.

    Cook the mixture over the simmering water, whisking constantly, until it registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. The sugar will dissolve and the mixture will be foamy. This process will take somewhere between 5 and 8 minutes.

    Bowl of Eggs & Sugar Sitting on a Sauce Pan on the Stove (Double Boiler Method)

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Eggs and Sugar Whisked Together in a Bowl Over the Sauce Pan

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Egg-Sugar Mixture Continuously Whisked Using the Double Boiler Until Mixture Is Foamy

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  4. Whip the hot egg mixture:

    Once the mixture reaches temperature, transfer to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes until the egg mixture is thick, glossy, lightened in color, and cool to the touch.

    Bowl Placed on a Stand Mixer and Egg Mixture Whisked

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Whisk Attachment Lifted to Showcase Egg Mixture Texture (Thick, Glossy, and a Light Yellow). Bowl Still Attached to the Stand Mixer.

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  5. Fold in the whipped cream and freeze:

    Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the yolk mixture using a flexible spatula, then fold in the remaining whipped cream until just combined (do not overmix). Transfer the semifreddo mixture to the prepared loaf pan and use a small offset spatula to smooth the top. 

    Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until solid enough to slice, at least 8 hours or overnight.

    Whipped Cream Carefully Folded Into Bowl of Whipped Egg-Sugar Mixture for Semifreddo Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Strawberries & Cream Semifreddo Added to Lined Loaf Pan

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  6. Make the strawberry compote:

    Place the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the strawberries are broken down into a thick, chunky jam, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. 

    Let the compote cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

    Quartered Fresh Strawberries in a Sauce Pan for Strawberries & Cream Semifreddo

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Strawberry Compote in a Sauce Pan for Strawberry Semifreddo Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  7. Serve the semifreddo:

    When ready to serve, unwrap the semifreddo, invert it onto a platter, and remove the plastic wrap. Top with strawberry compote, sprinkle with nuts (if using), and slice. Serve immediately.

    Love the recipe? Leave us stars and a comment below!

    Frozen Semifreddo on a Platter Next to a Bowl of Strawberry Compote

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Overhead View: Strawberries and Cream Semifreddo Slices Cascading on a Platter Next the Rest of the Uncut Semifreddo on the Same Platter. Semifreddo Is Topped With Halved Fresh Strawberries and Strawberry Compote. In the Surroundings, a Bowl of Fresh Strawberries, a Stack of Plates, and a Blue Table Napkin.

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
189 Calories
5g Fat
30g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 145mg 48%
Sodium 127mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 34mg 168%
Calcium 33mg 3%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 142mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.