THEY’RE BACK. The first real strawberries of the season have arrived, and that means it’s time for Strawberry Crisp.
I do a little happy dance when the first pint of real strawberries hits stores.
This dance is usually accompanied by a little squeal, and you can bet that an easy-to-make, healthy strawberry dessert is soon to follow.
Often, it’s Strawberry Oatmeal Bars, which are healthy version of strawberry crisp bars and the most popular dessert on my site.
Others, it’s gluten free Strawberry Shortcake (not because it’s gluten free, but because it is delicious).
But this time, I wanted to celebrate the arrival of real strawberries with a simple dessert that is all about the fruit itself (and who are we kidding? It’s about the topping too): Strawberry Crisp.
This Strawberry Crisp filling tastes like pure strawberry abundance. The topping is chunky, oat-y and buttery, the way a crisp topping should be.
Start to finish, this crisp can be in your oven 15 minutes from now. It demands only two bowls—and if you want to cheat and stir the filling up inside the baking dish instead, you can cut it down to one.
Strawberry Crisp—A Recipe to Celebrate the Season
Every year, as soon as the real strawberries arrive, I go on a berry shopping spree.
And by “real” strawberries, I mean the ones that are bright red from their ends all the way to their green tops.
The ones that taste so pure and sweet, biting into them is like eating a spoonful of strawberry jam.
The ones that make me realize that the lackluster, white-centered berries I’ve been desperately paying premium prices for since March probably shouldn’t have been called strawberries at all.
Now that the real berries are here AND the store regularly offers them at half price, clearly the only prudent move is to load up my cart!
If you share my strawberry fervor and thus find yourself with an excess of strawberries, or if you are looking for an excuse to purchase too many, or if you just love easy, healthy fruit desserts, this easy Strawberry Crisp is the ideal recipe for you.
How to Make the Best Strawberry Crisp
And I do mean BEST. I’ve made this recipe three times so far this season.
Let’s start with the filling ingredients. They’re simple, sublime, and entirely focused on letting the strawberries shine.
- Strawberries. You can make Strawberry Crisp with just-picked strawberries, strawberries that are getting old, or even frozen strawberries. If using frozen, let the berries thaw, pat away any excess moisture, then use them in the recipe as directed.
- Honey. Rather than sweeten up the filling with sugar, I used honey. It’s the bees knees when paired with strawberries. If you’d like to make a vegan strawberry crisp, swap maple syrup.
- Lemon Juice. The crisp doesn’t taste lemony; rather, the lemon enhances the intensity of the strawberries’ flavor.
- Cornstarch. To help the filling thicken. Don’t worry if it’s super juicy right out of the oven; the filling will gel a bit more as the crisp cools.
- Vanilla Extract. Once you try it in your fruit crisp filling, you won’t go back!
Now that we’ve got our filling, let’s talk TOPPING.
- Melted Butter. Forget cutting the butter into the dry ingredients. It’s a time-consuming step that for a strawberry crisp I find totally unnecessary.
One of the reasons I love making fruit crisps is how quick and easy they are. Using melted butter speeds up the process even more.
- Melted Coconut Oil. If you prefer, you can use extra melted butter instead, though I like the healthy balance of the two. (And those looking to make the Strawberry Crisp vegan can use exclusively coconut oil.)
I also sometimes use Greek yogurt in my healthy crisp topping, like in my Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. If that idea appeals to you, it’s a worthy recipe to add to your baking list too.
- Baking Powder. A touch of baking powder helps the topping clump and become golden, crumbly, and crisp, just as it should be.
- Cinnamon. A subtle note of background warmth.
- Coconut Sugar + Granulated Sugar. Just the right amount to make the crisp satisfyingly sweet, without overtaking the natural sweetness of the strawberries. (You can buy coconut sugar in most grocery stores and online here. You can also swap it for brown sugar if you prefer.)
- White Whole Wheat Flour. This healthy take on strawberry crisp is 100% whole grain! If you’d like the strawberry crisp gluten free, swap a 1:1 all purpose baking flour like this one.
- Oats. I like old-fashioned rolled oats for the chunkiest, crispest topping texture.
- To Use Frozen Strawberries. Thaw the strawberries in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about 2 hours. If they are not yet quartered, do so before adding them to the filling.
- To Make Gluten Free. Use a 1:1 baking blend like this one.
- To Make Vegan. Use a vegan buttery spread in place of the butter or swap the butter for additional coconut oil.
- Strawberry Crisp without Oats. Swap in the topping on my Peach Crisp (replace the 1 cup oats with an additional 1/2 cup flour) or replace the 2/3 cup oats called for in this recipe with 1/2 cup additional flour or 3/4 cup chopped raw pecans.
This Strawberry Crisp with a big, melty scoop of vanilla ice cream is the most magnificent of summer desserts.
And since it is made with wholesome ingredients, when warmed and topped with Greek yogurt it makes for best-day-ever summer breakfasts too!
For the Strawberry Crisp Topping:
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter - cut into large pieces
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar or light brown sugar
- Zest of one medium lemon - juice the lemon for the strawberry filling
For the Strawberry Crisp Filling:
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch - plus 1 to 2 additional teaspoons if your berries are very juicy
- 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
- Juice of one medium lemon - you can juice the lemon you zested for the topping!
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Vanilla or plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the topping: In a medium microwave-safe bowl, place the butter and coconut oil. Heat the butter in microwave for 30 seconds, then continue heating in 15-second bursts, just until the butter and coconut oil melt. Add the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, granulated sugar, coconut sugar, and lemon zest. Stir until clumps form (some will be small and some will be large). Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- Hull and quarter the strawberries (you will have about 6 cups total), then place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the cornstarch, honey, lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Transfer to a 9x9-inch baking dish, including any juices that collect in the bottom of the bowl.
- Remove the topping from refrigerator and scatter it evenly over the strawberries. Bake until the topping is golden brown in places and the fruit is hot and bubbling, about 40 to 50 minutes. Check the topping at the 20-minute mark. If it is browning more quickly than you would like, loosely tent the pan with foil, then continue baking as directed. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes. Enjoy warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- To use frozen strawberries: Thaw the strawberries in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about 2 hours. If they are not yet quartered, do so before adding them to the filling.
- To make gluten free: Use a 1:1 baking blend like this one.
- To make vegan: Use a vegan buttery spread in place of the butter or swap the butter for additional coconut oil.
- Store leftover sin the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat gently, then top with more ice cream (or eat it for breakfast with Greek yogurt!).
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