Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Biscuit-style shortcakes are easy to make and taste so good. You can top them with sliced peaches or crushed raspberries, too!

How long it takes: 28 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: mixing bowl, baking pan, oven, measuring cups
Servings: 6

Decorative white plate with strawberry shortcake on it, topped with whipped cream and strawberries.
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About strawberry shortcake

Warm buttery shortcakes, crisp on the outside and tender inside, topped with lustrous juicy red strawberries and a cloud of lightly sweetened whipped cream — this is the stuff dreams are made of. Nothing says summer quite like strawberry shortcake.

My mom used to “force” my sister and me to pick strawberries with her every June. We complained plenty especially if it was hot (and it usually was!) but we didn’t complain when suppertime rolled around. Our reward for picking strawberries was homemade strawberry shortcake for dinner. And I really mean “for dinner.” That’s all we had. As much as we could eat. And we were totally happy with that.

Mom always makes biscuit-like shortcakes from scratch. Not too sweet, rich with butter, they are almost like scones. With lots of homemade whipped cream and as many perfectly ripe strawberries we could eat, we were well rewarded for our labors.

I know you’re going to love these shortcakes. If the only “shortcake” you’ve ever eaten is angel food cake or those packaged sponge cakes, you’re in for a real treat!

How To Prep the Strawberries

While this recipe is for shortcakes, you’ll need to know how to prepare the strawberries, too. 

Lightly rinse a quart of strawberries, hull (remove the leaves), and slice or lightly crush the strawberries with just a little sugar, a couple of tablespoons. Do this an hour or so ahead of time so the berries have time to macerate. The juices will be released and the berries will absorb some of the sugar.

A shortcake split in half and filled with whipped cream and strawberries.

Ingredient Notes

  • Flour – Use all purpose white flour for a traditional shortcake, or use white whole wheat flour for a more hearty shortcake. We haven’t tested it, but a 1:1 gluten-free replacement flour should work as well.
  • Sugar -These cakes are very lightly sweetened so they don’t overpower the sweetness of the strawberries.
  • Baking Powder – Baking powder provides the leavening. Shortcakes are a type of quick bread.
  • Salt – Just a bit of salt helps to balance the flavors.
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter, softened. If you’d like to use salted butter, reduce the amount of salt slightly.
  • Buttermilk – You could use regular milk but buttermilk adds lots of buttery flavor and it helps make the shortcakes light textured (like buttermilk biscuits or buttermilk pancakes).

How do you make shortcake biscuits from scratch?

It really couldn’t be easier. Simply mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

Dry ingredients in a glass bowl.

Add the butter and cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like fine crumbs and holds together when you press it between your fingers.

Pour in the milk and stir it in, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter/dough will be really sticky. If it seems too dry or stiff, add a bit more milk.

Unbaked shortcakes on a tray.

Scoop out big spoonfuls, making mounds on a baking pan. It’s not fancy at all, just plop it on there. Your shortcakes are ready to bake! 

Hopefully you have your berries all ready. While the shortcakes bake, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks, and find some pretty dishes. 

To Assemble Strawberry Shortcakes

  1. Take the shortcakes out of the oven and slice them horizontally, arranging each half in a shallow dish or plate. If you’d rather make layers like the photos, that’s fine, too.

  2. Spoon plenty of berries over the halves.

  3. Top with a big dollop of whipped cream.
  4. Serve right away. This is a dessert that you have to eat as soon as the berries hit the shortcakes.
Overhead view of strawberry shortcake on a white plate.


What is the difference between shortcake and biscuits?

These shortcakes are sweeter than their savory cousins, biscuits. In addition, shortcakes aren’t rolled out like biscuits usually are. The texture is similar to biscuits or scones, crumbly and soft on the inside but with a lightly crunchy outside.

Why is it called shortcake?

It doesn’t have anything to do with how tall it is (or not tall, I guess) and it’s not a shortbread, either, like shortbread cookies. This dessert and its name has English origins dating back to the 1500s. It means adding fat to a baked good to add crispness. 

Recipe Variations

  • Flavor enhancements: Add a teaspoon of vanilla or a teaspoon of orange or lemon zest to the shortcakes.
  • Add texture. Sprinkle the tops of the shortcakes before baking with coarse sugar, such as sanding sugar or turbinado sugar for a nice crunchy texture.
  • Use a different kind of milk. Replace the buttermilk with regular milk or nondairy milk. The shortcakes won’t be quite as light but are still delicious.
  • Try different fresh fruit. Fresh strawberries aren’t the only fruit that tastes great on shortcakes. Try sliced fresh peaches or nectarines, lightly crushed raspberries, blueberries or a combination of berries. If you like things on the sweeter side, try topping the shortcakes with homemade strawberry sauce.
  • Hot fudge sundae shortcakes: Instead of whipped cream, layer homemade (no churn) vanilla ice cream in the shortcakes. Top with a generous drizzle of hot fudge sauce.
Straight-on view of a shortcake split in half and filled with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

Make-Ahead Ideas

Get a head start. Measure out the dry ingredients in a large bowl and cut in the cold butter. Cover, and store mixture in refrigerator for up to three days. When ready to bake, simply pour in the buttermilk and make shortcakes.

Storage & Reheating Tips

Shortcakes are best eaten immediately but if you have any left over, store completely cooled shortcakes in a zip top bag or container. There’s no need to refrigerate them. They’ll keep two to three days. Shortcakes can be frozen for up to three months.

To reheat, preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Place the shortcakes on a baking pan and reheat for five to seven minutes. Frozen shortcakes will take a bit longer.

Fruit Desserts


Easy Shortcakes Recipe – for Strawberry Shortcake

4.65 from 17 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 28 minutes
Servings: 6 shortcakes
Enjoy traditional strawberry shortcake made from scratch using this easy shortcakes recipe. With just few simple ingredients, you can make this classic old-fashioned dessert.
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  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, more if needed

For Strawberry Shortcake

  • 1 quart strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Whipped cream


  • Prepare strawberries. Slice or mash slightly and mix with 2 tablespoons sugar.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare mid-sized baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or greasing lightly.
  • In medium bowl, mix flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with a fork or fingers, until mixture resembles fine crumbs and holds together when lightly pressed.  
  • Add buttermilk, stirring lightly until all ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix. If mixture seems too dry, add more buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time. Drop by ⅓ cupfuls on baking sheet, making six shortcakes.
  • Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown on bottom and slightly browned on top.
  • Remove from baking sheet and cool slightly on wire rack.
  • Split each shortcake in half crosswise with a serrated knife and serve immediately, topped with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.


  • Nutrition information is for shortcakes only.
  • Add flavoring to the shortcakes: 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or a teaspoon of orange or lemon zest.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the shortcakes before baking with coarse sugar, such as sanding sugar or turbinado sugar for a nice crunchy texture.
  • Replace the buttermilk with a different kind of milk. The shortcakes won’t be quite as light but are still delicious.
  • Strawberries aren’t the only fruit that tastes great on shortcakes. Try sliced fresh peaches or nectarines, lightly crushed raspberries, or a combination of berries.



Serving: 1shortcake, Calories: 272kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 18mg, Sodium: 370mg, Potassium: 317mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 243IU, Vitamin C: 93mg, Calcium: 145mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.65 from 17 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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  1. Ralee Waller Pruett says:

    5 stars
    Best recipe I have ever used for shortcake biscuits just perfect. Thanks a bunch. Miss Ra-Lee

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      That makes me so happy! Thank you for leaving a review!

  2. Mary says:

    5 stars
    I made the shortcake biscuits and they were awesome. I printed the recipe and will use it for other recipes too
    Thank you

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you enjoyed them! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

  3. Evelyn says:

    5 stars
    Easiest yet for me – did not use so much flour and left over rewarded ( not in microwave) delicious for breakfast

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you liked them! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  4. Leslie says:

    5 stars
    Being a chef, I love to find and make recipes from the internet. This is THE best shortcake recipe I have ever made or tried!!! That includes a long-time family recipe for shortcakes!

    The buttermilk is essential! I find that I have to make 2 batches. One for the dessert for company? One for guests and for me to have with honey or raspberry jam and beverage of choice. The flavor is fantastic! I highly recommend this to all.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Wow, that is quite a compliment! I’m so glad you liked them – thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  5. Amanda P says:

    3 stars
    These would have been perfect but I put them in for the recommended 18 mins at 400 and the bottoms burnt. Will take them out sooner next time or turn the heat down lol

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Thanks for the feedback! Some ovens definitely run hot. Also – what shelf of the oven did you use? If you use a lower shelf they may brown more quickly on the bottom.

  6. Linda B says:

    4 stars
    I mae these with cashew milk and they puffed up just fine.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Good to know, thank you!

  7. Evonne says:

    5 stars
    My shortcakes tasted wonderful — but turned out much flatter and I’m wondering what I did wrong. I sensed I maybe didn’t need quite the full 1 cup of milk? Any advice? (although the family that ate these devoured them and came back for more!)

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Hmm, did you use milk or buttermilk? We did find that milk worked, but buttermilk does yield a slightly softer, fluffier (and therefore thicker) shortcake.

      1. Evonne says:

        5 stars
        I used milk ‘soured’ with vinegar…which isn’t quite as good as real buttermilk. suspect that was the reason. They were so yummy, next time I will make sure to get real buttermilk!

        1. Rachel Gurk says:

          That is a great shortcut but is probably why they were a little flatter, but I’m glad you still enjoyed them! I might have to do some extra testing on these just to be sure. Such a hardship. ;)

    2. Molly says:

      5 stars
      Okay, so many similar recipe’s for shortcake, but these are THE BEST I’ve ever made!

      Everybody loved them! I often use plain milk when a recipe calls for buttermilk, but

      The buttermilk is a game changer! These are buttery, soft, scone -like…everybody ate

      2 so I had to quickly make another batch, which was a cinch. I think Evonne who said

      hers were delicious but flat, said she used One Cup of buttermilk, but the recipe calls

      for only 3/4 & maybe a TBSP or 2 if it’s dry. I think that was the problem. Anyway, I

      can’t wait to try more of your recipe’s. Thank you!

      1. Rachel Gurk says:

        Your comment made me so happy! I’m glad you liked the recipe. I agree, buttermilk really makes a difference in this one!

  8. denise says:

    sounds perfect

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      It’s such a great summer dessert!