Homemade Strawberry Extract Recipe {for Baking}

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Add the sweet, tart flavor of strawberries to a variety of beverages, bakes, desserts, and more with this homemade strawberry extract! It’s a convenient and easy way to add a taste of summer to your recipes all year long.

amber glass bottle of strawberry extract surrounded by fresh strawberries.

Strawberries are one of my favorite berries to bake with! I love when strawberry season rolls around in the early summer and I get to stock up on these delicious fruits for the whole year.

One of the best ways to preserve the sweetness of fresh strawberries is by making an extract! This concentrated strawberry flavor is so easy to add to cakes, cookies, ice cream, muffins, milkshakes, and more. It’s a great way to save that strawberry essence for the winter months.

If you love the flavor of fresh strawberries, add them to this strawberry apple crisp for a delicious summer dessert! It just needs a scoop of ice cream to melt over the top. Delicious!

What is Strawberry Extract?

Like your favorite vanilla extract, strawberry extract has a concentrated strawberry flavor perfect for adding an extra boost of flavor to cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and more.

Homemade strawberry extract won’t add the same intense strawberry flavor you get from artificial flavorings, so it’s more subtle. It won’t likely add enough strawberry flavor to use it on its own, but it’s a great way to complement the flavor of fresh strawberries in your favorite recipes.

What you’ll love about this strawberry extract recipe


  • ADD EXTRA STRAWBERRY FLAVOR – Many recipes are simply topped with fresh strawberries, but adding a bit of extract to the batter, spread, or syrup of a recipe is a great way to evenly infuse extra strawberry flavor throughout.
  • USE YOUR DRIED STRAWBERRIES – Dried strawberries are fairly easy to find at the grocery store. But if it’s strawberry season and you find yourself with a ton of fresh strawberries on hand, you can easily dehydrate your own! These DIY dried berries are the perfect strawberries to use.
  • GET CREATIVE IN THE KITCHEN Homemade extracts are a great way to test out your creativity! You can use it instead of vanilla extract in any recipe and it will add a boost of delicious fruit flavor. Try adding it to homemade syrup, strawberry ice cream, shortcake, strawberry puree, and other similar goodies for an even stronger strawberry taste.

Equipment

To make this strawberry essence recipe, you’ll need:

  • 2 mason jars (one for infusing and one for storing)
  • Fine mesh strainer
white dish with homemade strawberry extract on a wooden table.

Ingredients

  • Dried strawberries – Feel free to also use freeze-dried strawberries or dehydrate your own strawberries at home!
  • Vodka or Everclear – It’s important to use a high-proof alcohol with a neutral flavor, like vodka or Everclear. I usually use an 80-proof vodka (40% alcohol). 

How to Make Strawberry Extract

  1. Place the dried strawberries and alcohol in a jar. Shake daily for 7 days. I like to keep my extract on the counter for this phase to make it easy to remember.
  2. After 7 days, place the jar in a cool, dark place like your pantry or spice cupboard for up to 3 months. Give it a sniff. If you smell strawberries before you smell vodka, it’s ready!
  3. Strain out the dried (now plump) strawberries with a fine mesh sieve and either use the extract right away or go for a second round of infusion by adding another batch of dried strawberries to the infused vodka. Allow this mixture to sit for 2-3 months again, then strain.
wooden surface with white dish of fresh strawberries and homemade strawberry extract.

Storing

Once strained, the extract should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. For best results, store in an amber or blue glass bottle to prevent the sunlight from reaching the extract. I generally try to use my homemade extracts in 2 years or so, though they likely last longer.

How to Use Strawberry Extract

Although you might not find a lot of recipes using strawberry extract, you can add it to your favorite cakes, muffins, cookies, and more! Here are some options to consider:

  • Add extra berry flavor to this Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe
  • Make the most strawberry-licious Strawberry Cookies
  • Whip up a batch of strawberry-flavored sugar cubes!
  • Add it to homemade whipped cream for an extra burst of strawberry flavor
  • Make some strawberry cream cheese for bagels
  • Create some delicious frostings like this Strawberry Buttercream
  • Add notes of ripe strawberries to your smoothies and milkshakes
  • Add a small amount to make homemade strawberry milk

Tips & Variations

  • Get an even stronger flavor by using infusing the vodka two or three times. Increase the concentration of the strawberry flavoring to get more potent flavors out of your natural ingredients.
  • Use freeze-dried strawberries instead! Freeze-dried berries work just as well as regular dried strawberries, although they often cost more.
  • Try substituting this strawberry extract for vanilla extract in recipes. Not all types of extracts are interchangeable; it depends on the flavor of the extract and recipe. But typically, natural strawberry flavor is a delicious substitute for vanilla, adding a nice berry twist to your bakes and desserts.
  • Small amounts go a long way with this extract, so start small. You can always add more, but you can’t take any out.
  • Makes the perfect gift for strawberry lovers. Double the quantity of extract you make and gift some to the bakers in your life. The 2 or 4 fluid ounce glass bottles are the perfect size for this.
  • Feel free to make a double batch. I intentionally made this recipe quite small. It still makes half a cup of extract (2 ounces), which is plenty for lots of sweet treats. If you want even more extract in your life, double the measurements.

FAQs

Can you make strawberry extract with fresh strawberries?

Technically, yes, but you need to use a higher-proof alcohol. Fresh berries have so much moisture, which dilutes the extract and makes it more likely to mold or go bad. Store extracts made with fresh berries in the fridge and consider switching to a higher proof alcohol (100-proof or higher).

I find it to be easier, more reliable, and more flavorful to use dried fruit. Since the dried berries don’t add any extra moisture, you get a much stronger, fruitier flavor. This method can be used with other dried fruits, too!

How do you make strawberry extract at home?

It’s pretty simple to make your own fruit extracts at home! To keep your extract really strong, I recommend using dehydrated strawberries whenever possible.

Cover the dried strawberries with vodka, and let them sit for 2-3 months or so. Strain out the berries and use or make an even more concentrated extract by infusing another round of dried berries in the vodka. Strain, bottle, and use as desired.

Related Recipes

white dish with homemade strawberry essence for baking.
white dish with homemade strawberry extract.

Homemade Strawberry Extract Recipe

You just need two ingredients and a little patience to make a potent, berry-packed extract full of strawberry flavor. This homemade strawberry extract is made with dehydrated strawberries, which you can prepare at home yourself. It adds an intense strawberry flavor that tastes wonderful in ice cream, whipped cream, muffins, and more.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Curing Time 28 days
Total Time 28 days 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, Baking, Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 24 servings
Calories 16 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup dried strawberries, or 1/2 cup fresh berries
  • 1/2 cup vodka (100-proof), Everclear or 180-proof alcohol for fresh berries

Instructions
 

  • Place the dried berry slices in the mason jar. Cover with alcohol.
  • Shake daily for at least 7 days. Then, store in a cool, dry place for at least 4 weeks.
  • When the extract has a strong aroma of fresh strawberries, strain out the dried berries and store the extract in your final storage jar.

Double Infusion (Optional, But Recommended)

  • For an even stronger extract, restart the process by adding another 1/4 cup of dried berries to the strained extract. Let it cure for another 4-5 weeks (or longer) before straining out the berries and bottling the extract for storage.

Notes

The approximate yield for this recipe is 4 fluid ounces or 1/2 cup of extract. The nutritional facts are based on a 1 teaspoon serving.
NOTE: For a safe infusion, it’s best to use dried berries and a high-proof vodka (I use a 100-proof vodka, which has 50% alcohol).
If you want to use fresh berries, be sure to use Everclear or something with a similarly high alcohol content (90% alcohol). I do not recommend using frozen strawberries for this recipe.
Instead of dried strawberries, feel free to use freeze-dried ones. They will work in a very similar fashion and add great flavor.
Be sure to use unsweetened dried strawberries to avoid adding extra sweetness to your recipes. We just want the strawberry flavor – nothing else!

Nutrition

Serving: 1tspCalories: 16kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 0.03gSodium: 0.05mgPotassium: 0.05mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 1gCalcium: 1mgIron: 0.01mg
Keyword homemade extract, strawberry extract
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dish of homemade strawberry essence by basket of fresh berries.

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