5 Ingredients or Fewer

Strawberry Sorbet From The River Café

July  5, 2021
16 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food Stylist: Sam Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Oliva Bloch.
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Makes 1 1/2 quarts
Author Notes

In honor of Genius Recipes turning 10 years old, and this iconic three-ingredient Strawberry Sorbet from The River Café that started it all, we’re sharing a new video, with tips for adapting to the fruit and equipment you have, and a podcast episode with the story behind that whole chopped lemon (finally), plus two new sorbet buddies that require no special machinery at all. Serve this at a sorbet party along with the Peach & Lemon Sorbet or Mascarpone Sorbet from The River Café (both on Food52), or all on its own.

The sorbet will be at its best and most dramatic with ripe, in-season fruit, but, as River Café co-founder Ruth Rogers advises, the most important thing is to taste the fruit and the sorbet before churning and adjust as needed—it should challenge you a little, and feel like the fruit is exploding in your mouth.

Adapted from The River Café Cook Book (Ebury Press, 1996) by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

Hear more about this recipe from Ruthie herself, on our podcast The Genius Recipe Tapes. Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Strawberry Sorbet From The River Café
  • 3 large lemons, 1 seeded and roughly chopped, the others juiced
  • 2 cups (396 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled
  1. Place the chopped lemon and sugar in a food processor and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl. Alternatively, pulse with a blender or immersion blender in a large bowl.
  2. Purée the strawberries in a food processor (or using one of the alternatives listed in step 1) and add to the lemon mixture, along with the juice of 1 lemon. Taste and add more juice as desired. The lemon flavor should be intense but should not overpower the strawberries.
  3. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn until frozen. Alternatively, pour into a shallow dish and freeze, stirring every half hour or so, until firm and scoopable. Serve right away or cover and freeze. For the best texture and flavor, eat within a few days. If frozen too hard, let soften for 10 minutes, or until just soft enough to scoop.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alison Jones-Pomatto
    Alison Jones-Pomatto
  • Austin Burges
    Austin Burges
  • amanda russell
    amanda russell
  • Moyard O'Hara
    Moyard O'Hara
  • borntobeworn
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

63 Reviews

Alison J. July 25, 2022
So easy and delicious. I had super ripe local strawberries so cutback the sugar and even added more lemon. Huge hit.
Jessica G. July 17, 2022
Its perfect! As if anything from The River Cafe would be anything but.
Tortoise July 11, 2022
a fantastic recipe that lets the flavors of the strawberries/raspberries' shine. i make preserved lemons and i added one salt and all to the recipe. I added preserved lemon to the food processor. it was a great twist on the recipe.
Kiki May 13, 2022
Hi there. I’m making this for the first time today, I’m sure it will be delicious. Has anyone tried making this with artificial sugar like stevia or erythritol? Would that work or is it a chemistry thing with the sugar as in merengues?
mlledaffodil April 16, 2023
I use Splenda for sorbet all the time, but you must add alcohol or the sorbet will freeze rock hard—1-2 tbs of vodka
katelizbaking July 13, 2021
I love this but I accidentally broke my food processor and my ice cream maker struggled. Would recommend halving the recipe if you don't have large kitchen appliances. Otherwise incredible. <3
snic July 6, 2021
I haven't made this specific recipe (which looks delicious), but in general if you add a tablespoon or two of vodka to a fruit- and sugar-based sorbet recipe, it will freeze to a nice scoopable texture rather than rock-hard. And usually you can't taste the vodka.
LNE July 5, 2021
I made this twice with apples. First with Ambrosia 'cause it's my favourite apple, peeled & cored, reduced the sugar because Ambrosias are quite sweet, it tasted like applesauce, I then added a dash of Żubrówka, put it in the fridge to chill a bit since all my ingredients were room temp, that was a mistake! The lemon went bitter. It also just looked & tasted like frozen applesauce so I will not use Ambrosia again. Second time, I chilled the apples and lemon in the fridge, I used Granny Smith, peeled & cored, sugar as is, one whole lemon and a dash of Żubrówka; this tasted much better! It tasted more like lemon than apple though so I may reduce the lemon next time. The colour was a very nice light green. After freezing in the freezer for an hour, the texture was like a slurpee but thicker. Any suggestions on how to intensify the apple flavour naturally?
Kristen M. July 7, 2021
How cool! Thanks for reporting back. Maybe a bit of Calvados or other apple liqueur? Or some reduced apple juice or cider, or boiled cider syrup? (King Arthur sells it: https://shop.kingarthurbaking.com/items/vermont-boiled-cider-1-pint)
Suzanne May 19, 2020
I have made this incredible sorbet for many years and love it. Probably a silly question but has anyone turned it into sorbet pops instead? Is there a trick to making them the right consistency to pour into a pop mold?
Kristen M. June 29, 2021
Hi Suzanne, I'm sorry I'm just seeing this—the batches I've made recently seem like they'd work well as pops, but if you want to make them a bit harder, you could decrease the sugar slightly and adjust the flavors to taste.
Annefb August 21, 2019
Delicious and simple
Austin B. June 5, 2019
Really good, and easy. I'd recommend seeding the lemon before you toss in it though.
amanda R. February 28, 2019
This lemon trick is truly genius - a little goes a long way. I used this recipe as a base because I only had frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) and 1 lemon on hand. I used the food processor to blend and then churned in my Kitchenaid ice cream bowl. I added 1/4c-1/2c of whole milk for creaminess. Very delicious!
dannelson0 June 9, 2015
This is really, really good. Has anyone tried it with other berries/fruit?
Moyard O. July 12, 2013
This is absolutely delicious! The lemons seem to enhance the strawberry flavour and the colour is intense. I had a glut of strawberries in my garden and thought they would be wasted as a jam, but this is superb. I strained the strawberry puree to get most of the pips out and also strained out the chunks of lemon peel. And I added a tot of rum to stop it freezing too hard as I don't have an icecream machine. You just have to remember to stir it to break up the ice every couple of hours.
RuthAnn August 31, 2023
Hi, Moyard! I wish I had read your review before making my batch. We are chewing up chunks of lemon rind with every bite. :/ Shouldve strained those out first. Will do next time!
Eilibake June 25, 2013
Absolutely delicious! Was doubtful of the whole lemon blitzed at first but worked excellently. We used the whole lemon plus juice of only one other lemon and added a tablespoon of limoncello (might add two next time...!). Wonderfully intense color and flavour. Great!
bcbsr123 April 10, 2013
When you say one lemon seeded and roughly chopped do you mean the entire lemon rind and all?
Kristen M. April 10, 2013
Yes indeed!
Woodside April 10, 2013
Sounds like a mistake, right? But yes, rind too. The citrus version of "snout to tail."
kasia S. May 7, 2014
reminds me of a Nigella Lawson Chocolate Orange cake where you boil two whole oranges and then pulverize them in a processor, then add to batter, amazing.
RuthAnn August 31, 2023
Yes, but don't toss the seeds in. Also, I recommend you strain the lemon peels out. We were having to chew those up with every bite.
Woodside March 17, 2013
This is even better than advertised. I only used the one processed lemon, plus the juice of one other lemon, and the lemon flavor was good, but didn't overpower the berries. The consistency, even after being in the freezer for a few days, was still as good as day one. Is this adaptable to other fruits, varying the sugar, perhaps?
lllooolll January 18, 2013
wish i had done this for my food tec class. made it at home and it was a winner
marley16 August 1, 2012
this is fabulous! I am making for the second time this week. I may add some alcohol so it doesn't freeze as hard.
borntobeworn August 19, 2011
We're at the beach and I made this last night - YUM!! So glad I upped the quantity a little so we have plenty for tonight too.
Chubby B. August 16, 2011
I made this with Meyer lemons and it cranked the insane deliciousness up to eleven. One of the all-time great summer desserts and way too easy.