There's nothing better than a simple mixed berry compote to top your French toasts, pancakes, ice creams, and other desserts and sweet breakfasts! This recipe uses just three simple ingredients, can be made with fresh or frozen berries, and comes together in no time.
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. But if you're in a rush, please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Three ingredients, fifteen minute recipe: This mixed berry compote uses three simple ingredients - mixed berries, lemon zest, and a pinch of kosher salt.
- No additional artificial sugars: A lot of compote recipes tend to add sugar, but I've found that you don't really need more sugar since the berries are naturally sweet! If you want to add sweetness, I've provided recipe notes to add a bit of sugar, honey or monkfruit granules
- Super versatile: I love adding this to pancakes, ice cream, yogurt, and making parfait with it. Oh, did I mention my favorite: French toast with berry compote? Yum.
📋 Ingredients and notes
You'll need a pound of mixed berries of your choice, along with lemon zest and some kosher salt. Sugar or sweeteners optional!
Notes and Variations
- Fresh vs. frozen berries: This recipe works with both fresh and frozen berries with one difference in how you use the lemon. In the summer, when berries are fresh, I love using them to make compote. In this case, I usually add lemon juice from one lemon along with the zest in order to add a bit of water. However, frozen berries tend to release a ton of moisture while cooking down, so you don't need additional liquid.
- Adding sweetness: I've honestly found that the natural taste of the berries (I used raspberries, strawberries and blueberries) tends to be sweet enough for my taste. So, this recipe doesn't call for additional sweeteners as written. However, if you desire, you can add some sugar, honey or monkfruit granules to your taste!
- Optional garnishes: I love garnishing my berry compote with a few sprigs of mint, and adding some more lemon zest once I'm done cooking it down. But these are optional.
📖 Step-by-step instructions
If using frozen berries: Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and reduce over medium heat
Seriously, this is such an easy recipe.
- Add frozen berries, a pinch of salt, and lemon zest to a medium-sized sauce pan. Cook this down over medium heat, making sure to stir occasionally so the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom.
- You'll notice it'll release a lot of moisture first, and then eventually come to a rapid boil once there's enough moisture in the saucepan.
- Continue to cook, stirring constantly when it starts boiling so it'll reduce in volume and start to thicken. This whole process shouldn't take more than 15 minutes for your mixed berry compote to be ready!
If using fresh berries: Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and reduce over medium heat
- Wash and remove the stems of the fruits as needed. I also like slicing my strawberries in halves just to ensure somewhat even sizes.
- Then, add the berries along with juice from one lemon (roughly 2 to 3 tablespoons) along with a pinch of salt and lemon zest to a medium-sized sauce pan.
- Use the back of a wooden spatula or a masher to mash down the fruits so they start releasing some of their juices as well.
- Cook this on medium heat, stirring occasionally until it is at a rapid boil.
- Continue to cook, stirring constantly when it starts boiling so it'll reduce in volume and start to thicken. This whole process shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.
👩🏽🍳Top tips and FAQs
I find that using frozen berries results in a pretty thick compote. But if you want to thicken it further (e.g., for making pie filling) - you can dissolve 1 tablespoon of corn starch in 1.5 tablespoons of cold water and add this to the compote as it's cooking.
A compote is cooked, typically chunky and meant to be served soon after making. This is a great article for understanding the difference between compote and jam (and other types of preserves!)
Yes! I typically like to freeze my berry compote by using silicon ice cube molds. Once it's cooked, pour the warm compote into ice cube molds for up to a month. Take a cube or two as needed and defrost in the fridge before using.
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
When stored in airtight refrigerated container, this mixed berry compote stays fresh for up to a week. If you want to preserve it for longer, I suggest pouring it into ice cube molds as described above, in which case it'll stay fresh for up to a month. If you want to preserve it longer, I suggest freezing the berries instead, so then you can make compote whenever you want! This is what we do when we get an excess of amazing berries here in the Pacific Northwest in the summer.
If you liked this, check out some of my other recipes for your sweet tooth:
Mixed Berry Compote
- 3 cups mixed frozen berries, can also use fresh berries
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, required if using fresh berries, optional for frozen berries!
Using Frozen Berries
- Add 3 cups of frozen berries, half a teaspoon of salt, and half a teaspoon of fresh lemon zest to a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. You can also add up to 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to further infuse the flavor, but there will be enough liquid from the frozen berries if you want to skip the lemon juice!
- Cook the berries, stirring occasionally, so the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom. It will release moisture first, and then eventually come to a rapid boil once there's enough moisture in the saucepan.
- Continue to cook, stirring constantly when it starts boiling. At this point, it'll reduce in volume and start to thicken (anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes) - your berry compote is ready!
Using Fresh Berries
- Wash and remove the stems of approximately three cups of berries. If using larger fruits, try to get them into even sizes so they cook better! For instance, I slice my strawberries in halves.
- Add the berries along with juice from one lemon (roughly 2 to 3 tablespoons) along with a half a teaspoon each of salt and lemon zest to a medium-sized sauce pan.
- Use a masher or the back of a spatula to mash down the fruits so they start releasing some of their juices as well.
- Cook the berries on medium heat, stirring occasionally until they come to a rapid boil. Then, continue to cook, stirring constantly, so it starts to thicken. Your berry compote is ready! Taste and adjust sweetness as desired.
- Choice of berries: I tend to use a blend of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. But you can use any berries of your choice!
- Role of lemon juice: When using fresh berries, lemon juice helps create enough moisture for the berries to cook down. However, frozen berries have sufficient moisture already so you don't technically need to add lemon juice (and note that it'll take a bit longer to cook the moisture out). But it does add a nice acidic note!
- Additional sweetness: I always recommend tasting the compote before you take it off the stove to make sure it's to your desired sweetness. If it's too tart, you can add sugar, honey or monkfruit granules to sweeten it further!
Note: This recipe was originally published on February 2, 2020. It was updated on February 22, 2021 to include more process tips and tricks.