Nothing screams "summer cookies" like these simple, fluffy, fresh strawberry shortcake cookies! Keep them light or add a fluffy cream cheese filling to take them to the next level.
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!
I was inspired by Delish but wanted a lighter version and a better way to fill the cookie if I chose to use cream cheese. After several tweaks, here we are - with a delicious cookie recipe. Just look at the fluffiness!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Use fresh or frozen strawberries: If you've stopped to ask, "What can I use strawberries for?" this recipe is for you! Easy to make with fresh strawberries in the summer and frozen ones during the rest of the year!
- Comes together in under an hour: These cookies are utterly delicious, soft and chewy and super fluffy but they take very little time to make. You can also make and freeze the cookie dough ahead of time if you'd like!
These cookies use just nine simple ingredients (not counting the optional filling). The ingredients include all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt (salt is critical to activate the baking powder), granulated and brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice and strawberries.
Picking the right strawberries
Skip strawberries that are visibly moldy or grossly misshapen (or smell bad). If your strawberries look a bit bruised few days after you buy them, chop off those parts. The Environmental Working Group reported that strawberries contain the most pesticides of any fruit or vegetable, so when possible, please try to buy organic to avoid residues.
Storing and cleaning strawberries
Store your strawberries in the fridge until it's time to eat them. Wash them first under running water thoroughly before you consume them. Don't put washed strawberries back into the fridge though - this can cause them to go bad soon. If you sliced an extra strawberry or two while making this recipe, make sure to eat them within two hours. Don't store those in the fridge more than two days!
Making a vegan version of this cookie
To make a vegan "basic" cookie, use vegan butter (to maintain the same fluffy texture) or vegetable oil (slightly less fluffy texture) instead of butter. Swap the egg with flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal + 2.5 tbsp of water).
🍓 How do you make strawberry cookies from scratch?
This recipe is inspired by Otis Spunkmeyer's strawberry shortcake cookies (loved them when I lived in the Bay Area). That version has white chocolate and cranberries in it. Mine is simpler and highlights the deliciousness of the strawberries in just three steps!
First, chop up the strawberries and soak them in lemon juice and sugar
Soaking strawberries in lemon and sugar brings out both the sweet and tart components in the fruit. This makes them a perfect complement to the sweet and fluffy cookies! It also helps keep the strawberries fresh for longer. I typically strain the strawberries after soaking for 10 minutes, and strain again before adding to the dough. You can save the strained liquid too! Just add it to cream cheese for a strawberry-flavored filling!
Next, prepare the dough and fold in strawberries
Mix the all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt and sift them together. Cream butter with both sugars, and add eggs and vanilla extract to make a smooth mix. Then, combine with the dry ingredients to make a flaky dough.
Drain strawberries, fold gently into the dough. Then, scoop out medium sized balls and bake them, spaced about 2" apart on a large tray at 350F. For a decadent cookie, you can add strawberry jam or cream cheese filling (see below for notes)
Portion dough and bake!
Using a cookie scoop, portion out the dough into equal pieces (roughly 1.5 tablespoons each) and then place them on a baking sheet, neatly spaced apart from each other.
🧁 Optional Cream Cheese Filling
The strawberry shortcake cookies, without any fillings, are already absolutely delicious. They are also a tad lighter than the ones with filling. But occasionally, you want a more decadent cookie. So if you want a "filled" cookie, you have two options. You can either use a strawberry jam or a cream cheese filling.
Simple strawberry jam filling
Remove the edges, and chop up 1 lb of strawberries. Add this to a small saucepan, along with 1.5 cups of granulated sugar. Bring to a boil, then add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Continue boiling for 15 minutes, stirring to make sure they don't stick to the bottom or burn. Portion the cookie dough into 12 equal sized "dough balls" and then flatten them. Use your thumb to create an indent in the center of each cookie. Add a teaspoon of the jam to the thumbprint area. Bake, enjoy!
Decadent cream cheese filling
Cream together 4 oz of soft cream cheese with 2 tbsp of powdered sugar. As soon as you're done creating the filling, portion them into 12 teaspoon sized dollops on a baking sheet. Throw this in the freezer while you prepare the dough (~10 minutes). Then, you can make a simple thumbprint cookie for an easy fix, or you can stuff the cookie.
I'll warn before you start. "Stuffing" the cookie is a bit messy and takes a while, so if you want a quick, clean, but delicious method, the thumbprint method is the way to go. But hey, if you're up for an adventure, you won't regret stuffing the cookie! I was inspired by Sally's Baking Addiction (specifically, her red velvet cookies) to freeze the filling before stuffing the cookie. Okay, here goes.
Take two small portions of cookie dough (small cookie scoop or about a tablespoon of dough each). Flatten one of them a bit. Take a frozen cream cheese filling ball, and place it in the center of the cookie dough. Cover with the other piece of cookie dough and roll into a nice smooth ball. The key is to do this as quickly as possible. The heat from your hand could start melting the cream cheese, and then it's a mess. Delicious, but still a mess.
Ideally, you want the filling to be cool as it goes into the oven. So, consider popping the finished cookies in the fridge for a few minutes before you pop them into the oven.
👩🏽🍳Top tips and FAQs
Don't mix the butter and flour too much. You ideally want a crumbly texture that holds together when pressed. You also want to make sure to avoid excess moisture as much as possible. So, drain strawberries right before you fold them into the dough.
Coating strawberries with a pinch of flour before adding it to the cookie dough will prevent them from dropping to the bottom of each cookie
Frozen strawberries work great this recipe! Chop them finely, add lemon juice and pop in the fridge while they soak (about 10 minutes). Then, strain the strawberries really well, and pop them in the freezer for about 3-5 minutes so they retain their structure and don't add excess water.
If you're not able to find flour, you can use strawberry cake mix in a pinch. Just replace everything except the folded in strawberries with a box of cake mix, 2 eggs and ⅓ cup of butter instead. Then fold in the strawberries into that dough. Note that the cookies will be a tad flatter than the recipe below.
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
I suggest storing these cookies in the fridge in an airtight container. This will make sure they stay fresh for longer, maintain the fluffiness and keep the strawberries as fresh as possible. Try to finish them off within a day or two when possible!
If you like these delicious, strawberry shortcake cookies, don't forget to check out some of my other simple desserts:
Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
- 3 medium strawberries, chopped (~½ cup of chopped strawberries)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 large egg
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
Optional Cream Cheese Filling
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- Chop up the strawberries finely and then add the lemon juice and sugar to them and stir well. Cover and soak them for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, strain and set aside
Prep Filling (Optional)
- Note: This is only if you decide to go the filling route but this is totally optional - the main recipe does not include filling.
- Cream together about 4 oz of cream cheese with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar (and strained strawberry juice). Line a baking sheet or plate (that can fit in your freezer) with some parchment paper. Scoop 1 teaspoon of this filling onto the sheet - repeat so you have 12 tiny cream cheese "balls". Throw this in the freezer for while you make the dough
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Sift the baking powder and salt in with the all purpose flour. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the two sugars - the consistency should be pliable and soft (I typically use the paddle attachment in my stand mixer, but you can also use a hand mixer or cream by hand - see recipe notes for doing this by hand)
- Add the egg and vanilla extract to this mixture. Then, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until it's a smooth dough
- Strain the strawberries one more time and then add to the dough - fold gently taking care not to mash up the strawberries (if you want an extra fruity taste, you can add up to ¾ cup)
Bake Cookies (No Filling Version)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Just scoop out roughly a 1.5 tablespoons of dough and roll into a smooth ball and place them on the baking sheet. Note: Make sure to leave 1-2" between each ball to ensure that they have space to spread!
- Bake at 350F for 20 minutes - the cookie will look and feel "soft and fluffy" but it should be done (check the bottom to see if it's harder and browned as an additional check)
Bake Cookies (With Filling!)
- Note: Again, this is an optional step - skip if you're just making the regular cookies! This WILL get a tad bit messy (more stuff on your hands, but the end result is totally worth it!)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat
- Remove the cream cheese balls from the freezer.
- Scoop roughly 1.5 tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball, and flatten into a "small pancake" on the palm of your hand. Place a cream cheese ball at the center and crimp the edges so it reforms into a rough ball. Smooth it out into a ball like shape to the best extent possible and place on the baking sheet - repeat with the rest of the dough until you have 12 cookies
- Bake at 350F for about 20-22 minutes and check the bottom to see if it's browned and a bit harder (the rest of the cookie will be fluffy) - enjoy the deliciousness!
- This recipe is a bit messier than most cookies because the strawberries are sticky. If you want the basic cookie without filling, use a cookie scoop, and you're set!
- This recipe needs room temperature butter - so try to take the butter out about 30 minutes before you need to use it if possible!
- If you're creaming the sugar and butter by hand, first use a wooden spoon to really break up the room temperature butter and sugar and get them mixed roughly together - then use a fork to really "fluff" them up the same way you fluff rice. This will take 2 to 5 minutes so get ready for action!
- Every person's oven is a bit different, so I suggest starting to check around the 18 minute mark to make sure it doesn't over bake!
- Nutritional information provided for the basic cookie without filling!
Note: This recipe was originally published on May 23, 2020 and updated on January 31, 2021 with additional tips and helpful process shots.