5 Ingredients or Fewer

Michelle Polzine’s Slow-Roasted Strawberries

April 24, 2018
20 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 6 hours
  • Makes about 1 1/2 cups (450g)
Author Notes

Strawberries’ delicacy makes them especially good candidates for very, very slow roasting, as pastry chef Michelle Polzine does at 20th Century Cafe in San Francisco. All that excess water gets the chance to escape slowly without steaming its neighbors disruptively, and the berries’ sweetness concentrates to a wild, exponential degree. Polzine roasts whole flats of strawberries at once, then uses them everywhere—on top of custards and ice creams, in strudel with rhubarb, in a crostata on their own. They’re particularly handy mixed into ice cream or frozen yogurt—because of their high sugar and low water content, they stay soft, not icy. They also preserve well, can be frozen, and keep for months in the refrigerator. Recipe adapted slightly from the forthcoming Genius Desserts (Ten Speed Press, September 2018) and pictured here (and delicious) on Maialino's Olive Oil Cake. —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 6 cups (900g) fresh, ripe strawberries
  • 1/2 cup to 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (100g to 125g) sugar, depending on the strawberries’ sweetness
  1. Heat the oven to 250° F (120° C). Rinse and hull the berries. Leave any tiny ones whole and quarter or halve the rest so they all cook at about the same rate.
  2. In a nonreactive baking pan that will hold the strawberries closely packed in a single layer, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar, then spread in an even layer.
  3. Roast slowly in the oven, uncovered, for 3 to 6 hours, shaking occasionally but not stirring. If they start to look dry on top, gently flip them over with a wide spatula.
  4. They are done when their juices have reduced to a syrup, but not darkened into caramel, and the berries are very jammy but not dry. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lkbixby
  • babswool
  • Joan Mikkelsen
    Joan Mikkelsen
  • FrugalCat
  • Stefanie B123
    Stefanie B123
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

36 Reviews

Milehighmunchies June 3, 2023
Serious yum! Great with olive oil cake, ice cream, and Brie. My new go-to when time is too tight for making jam. I start them around lunchtime and they are ready for after dinner delights. Stores well, too.
Carolyn K. May 15, 2020
Will this work with blueberries?
mkluvs2cook October 17, 2019
Have to bake the cake this week end, but alas it's October 17th and the best strawberries are long gone from SW Florida. We have berries available, but they are like red, tasteless cotton balls. I'm going to try whole, frozen ones. I'll do a smaller batch to not waste my $$$ and time, but I am drive to have this with the cake. I will, of course post an update with my results. My family is used to the guinea pig trials; some of which have become dearly loved and often called for repeat performers. Off to the market I go.......
draya3 June 9, 2019
Just made these and not only did they come out SO delish, but they also made our house smell amazing! Looking forward to having them tonight with shortcake. Thank you!
maggiesara March 31, 2019
I really loved these. I made 1.5 times the recipe, started it in two pans, and then transferred everything to one after about 2 hours. I wound up cooking them for 3.5 hours, and I got exactly what I was hoping for: a jammy syrup with big chewy bits of strawberries exploding with flavor. I had been planning to serve them with a meringue cake I'm taking to a party tomorrow, but instead I used them as the jam layer of a Bakewell tart, destined for the same party.
Lkbixby January 21, 2019
Oof, I wanted to love this recipe but it so did not turn out the way I hoped. First, maybe my pan was reactive? The strawberries turned this incredibly unappetizing shade of brownish-gray. I'm usually not picky about how my food looks but I couldn't show these to anyone, ha. I roasted them on the pan I usually slow roast tomatoes on, figuring that there's a similar liquid and acidity and never have issues with it, but I guess not? Also, even aside from the look, I just don't love the taste. They turned kind of slimy, not appetizing at all, and taste mostly of sugar, not the concentrated strawberry flavor I was hoping for. I roasted them for 2.5 hours, until the liquid was about to start turning into a caramel. This sounded great in concept but was a total fail for me. I think I've roasted strawberries at a higher heat and shorter time before with more success, so will try that next time. Admittedly, these were winter supermarket strawberries, so not the best quality, but that's why I hoped roasting would improve them! (As it does with winter tomatoes.)
Kristen M. January 26, 2019
Hi Lkbixby, oof that sounds disappointing. I've tried supermarket strawberries with this method a few times and it has definitely been an improvement, though I suppose if the strawberries were *really* flavorless to begin with, concentrating the flavor wouldn't be able to save them. Darkening is common; graying is not, so I do wonder if they reacted oddly with the pan. I really loved this method over higher-heat, quicker-cooking methods I tried, both for keeping the berries from turning to mush and drawing out much more flavor, so I hope you'll consider giving it another spin with a different batch of berries.
a December 26, 2018
hi, does this work with frozen strawberries too? Thank you!
babswool December 26, 2018
I think you would have to try it to know. Use whole or single sliced strawberries and roast slowly. The freezing process will already soften the strawberries so the roasting process may not work. Good luck.
a December 26, 2018
Thank you! Makes sense about the softening. I also looked up slow-roasting sweet potatoes to see if anything similar came up, no news there.
babswool August 7, 2018
I am always depressed when strawberry season ends. I roasted three quarts of strawberries toward the end of the season and refrigerated some and froze some. The refrigerated ones lasted at least a month until they were all gone and the frozen ones are easy to defrost. I froze them flat in small batches in zip lock bags. They are amazing on ice cream - more intense flavor but not freeze dried hard. Love this recipe!
kerry.mossler August 7, 2018
This is genius. Roasting the strawberries makes them so flavorful-perfect on granola or yogurt. (or ice cream). Great to do with those strawberries that are starting to look puny.
Andrea D. July 18, 2018
Has anyone tried this with cherries? I overbought when they were on sale for 99 cents a pound. I've already pitted and froze some, but have another big ol' bag sitting on the counter, saying, "Well?"
Brenda S. July 18, 2018
Wish I could get on sale for that price - best I can do here is $1.77. And the answer is they are delicious roasted. I've also frozen AFTER roasting with good results - great quick impromptu dessert.
Monica B. August 1, 2018
I had some frozen pitted cherries (kids went to town at the u-pick place and spent about $40!) that I meant to roast for an hour (using a similar recipe above) but I forgot about them so they got 2 hours. They came out like dried/candied cherries and were incredible. I would definitely try this technique.
Mkilfoyle May 24, 2019
Funny you should ask since it's cherry time again. I was going to do this with cherries but happened to have some strawberries that were going over so am using them combined with some frozen Rhubarb instead. However I do plan to do cherries too. I've been making small batch jams with my end of package fruit which is much the same but in a pot.
RALPH M. June 26, 2018
Please toss you old metal strawberry huller and replace it with one thick diameter platic straw (where available under current law!)
Hold strawberry between thumb and forefinger. Slowly but firmly push the plastic straw through the very bottom of the berry and aim to exit int the very heart of the green top.
With about two or three tries, you will be a pro and your strawberries will be cleaned of the white spine and green tops cleanly and almost effortlessly!

Please use this power only for Good.
Stephanie W. August 8, 2019
Wow! This is a great trick! Now I have a use for the box of plastic straws. Thanks for the tip - my new way of hulling strawberries. They are roasting in the oven now! Hope they turn out.
Joan M. June 14, 2018
I made the olive oil cake and it was divine. The strawberries ---- after two and a half hours in the slow oven, they were hard as rocks and beyond repair. What went wrong? I used 6 cups and the prescribed sugar, I flipped them a couple of times, gently. At about an hour they looked good but after longer, they were goners. I ended up just drizzling sugar over fresh strawberries and letting them macerate. However, I would love to know what went wrong. I may try them again. I cook and bake A LOT so this has me stumped.
babswool August 7, 2018
Could it have been the temp of your oven. I watched mine after about 1 to 1 1/2 hours and when the juice in the pan started to get jam-like I took them out. My code when cooking is use the time only as a guide but watch for the end result you want then decide when they are done regardless of length of time in the oven. Don't hesitate to try again.
Joan M. August 7, 2018
Thanks, babswool. I will try it again. I'm just surprised no one else mentioned having to do a lot less time. I use a convection oven so do always bake shorter times than normal. I should have taken them out when they still looked juicy.
Nancy S. May 4, 2018
Delicious! Any idea how long these will keep safely in the refrigerator?
Kristen M. May 5, 2018
Because of all the sugar, Michelle told me they keep for months in the fridge (similar to refrigerator jams)—you will surely eat them before that!
Renée R. April 28, 2018
I just made a double batch of these. Rather, I had 1600 grams, so I put them in 2 half sheet pans that I lined with parchment. Used 1/2 c. sugar in each pan. They took 3 hours. Oh. My. Goodness!!! These are unbelievable. The flavor is so bright and intense. I also made the olive oil cake. I've made it many times. It's one of my favorites. I'm going to serve the strawberries with the cake and add the rest to a batch of creme fraiche ice cream I'm getting ready to make. This is indeed a "genius" recipe. I live in South Florida and the low temperature of the oven didn't heat up my kitchen at all. I will be making these regularly. Thank you!
Brenda S. April 27, 2018
I've used this technique with grocery store strawberries to get a decent result from so-so quality fruit. I can only imagine how amazing this would be with in-season native berries....I don't know that I'd share with anyone :-]
Leslie V. September 7, 2020
Brenda, years ago Jello made a Wild Strawberry flavor jello only in a small pkg. When I bought store bought s berries I would sprinkle 1-2 tsp of the dry on the berries and add sugar. I was awesome and made them taste almost like fresh from the garden. alas jello does not make it anymore.
FrugalCat April 27, 2018
Back in the 90's there were U-Pik fields of strawberries in the outskirts of Miami. Tomatoes too. Not sure if I would make this recipe now due to the expense, plus having my oven on for 6 hours in Miami is a horrifying idea.
E B. April 26, 2018
Would this work just as well with rhubarb? Thanks.
Kristen M. April 26, 2018
Haven't tried it but sounds like it could be a-ma-zing.
Stefanie B. April 25, 2018
Can we get a ballpark time on "done"? Slow roasted for an hour, two, twelve?
Kristen M. April 25, 2018
Stefanie, sorry about that—the recipes is updated, and please see my comment to Beth & Elijah below.
Stefanie B. April 25, 2018
Thank you! Looks like a wonderful way to enjoy strawberries.
Kristen M. April 25, 2018
It really is! It's strawberries at their strawberriest.
Beth G. April 25, 2018
Hi! Can't wait to try these strawberries, but other than "very, very slow roasting" can you give a time estimate for cooking?
Elijah I. April 25, 2018
Following :)
Kristen M. April 25, 2018
Apologies! One of the steps had gone MIA. It's there now: Roast slowly in the oven, uncovered, for 3 to 6 hours, shaking occasionally but not stirring. If they start to look dry on top, gently flip them over with a wide spatula.