Easy Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie
An Easy Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie recipe with a quick press-in shortbread crust, fluffy cream cheese layer, and stunning fresh strawberry topping!
Easy Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie Recipe
Have you ever tasted a freshly picked strawberry, warm from the morning sun? There is absolutely nothing like it. And if you haven’t experienced strawberry picking, I hope you unfold that Bucket List in your pocket and add this simple summer joy.
My first experience with freshly picked strawberries was from my aunt Patsy’s garden. When I was young, I marveled at the intensely sweet flavor and tender texture of those homegrown crimson gems. And now, as an adult, I make a point to get our girls to one of the local strawberry u-pick fields each summer.
Homegrown berries are nothing like you’ll find at the grocery store. Ruby red all the way through, with not a spot of white in the center, they are juicy and fragrant, sweet and tangy. It’s like sweet, sweet summer melting in your mouth.
This easy Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie recipe is a favorite at our house, straight from Patsy’s recipe box – I’ve been eating it since I was a kid. And now my family loves it, too.
Hello, sweet, sweet summertime!
What Makes this Strawberry Pie So Good?
I think the pictures speak for themselves, but let me tell you why my family thinks this strawberry pie is so dang good!
The crust is a pressed-in, cookie-like shortbread crust that my whole family adores. It has a wonderful buttery flavor and is SO EASY TO MAKE!
The filling is a magical, fluffy-fun mixture of freshly whipped cream and cream cheese that I can’t help but snitch as I’m making it. This would be a great dessert all on its own, topped simply with sweet summer berries!
The topping is gorgeous and delicious, with fresh, sweet strawberries – and an optional strawberry glaze, if you like.
Recipe Ingredients for Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie
This pie recipe is broken down into three distinct layers:
- an easy press-in shortbread crust,
- a whippy, fluffy cream cheese pie center,
- and a vibrant strawberry topping.
Let’s break down the ingredients for each of these easy-to-make layers!
First Layer: Ingredients for the Press-In Shortbread Crust
I love an easy pie crust recipe. Especially when it tastes like a buttery shortbread cookie! And that’s exactly what you get when you make a shortbread pie crust.
All you need are a few very common ingredients. Grab some flour, sugar, salt, and butter.
Second Layer: Ingredients for the Fluffy Cream Cheese Pie Layer
This is what I like to call “the happy layer”. I promise you, you’ll be smiling once you swipe a taste of this!
Again, you’ll need only a few common ingredients for this next layer. Get out some cream cheese, powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract, and heavy cream.
Third Layer: Ingredients for the Strawberry Topping
And finally, of course, you’ll need some fresh strawberries.
This recipe includes an optional strawberry glaze. I most often make this pie without the glaze, just my own personal preference to enjoy those beautiful summer berries all on their natural own. But if the strawberries aren’t quite as sweet as I’d like, it’s nice to include the glaze. Not only does it add sweetness, but also a pretty, glossy appearance. Many people love to include the glaze, no matter what!
If making the optional strawberry glaze, also grab powdered sugar and cornstarch.
How to Make Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie
Even though there are three different layers to this strawberry cream cheese pie, it’s still crazy easy to make. It’s been a longtime summer dessert staple at our house!
So let’s take this layer by layer, shall we?
How to Make a Shortbread Pie Crust
We’ll start with this very easy pie crust. This is a no-roll pie crust, meaning you press the dough into the pie pan. No need to get out the rolling pin. Dontcha just love it?!
- Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Cut in butter until crumbly.
- Mix ingredients to form a dough.
- Press dough into pie pan.
- Bake for 23 to 26 minutes.
- Cool completely, before adding filling.
How to Make the Cream Cheese Layer
And now to make “the happy layer”!
This is a simple combination of cream cheese and sweetened whipped cream. It’s absolutely dreamy!
- Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer until smooth.
- Whip heavy cream until stiff.
- Fold together cream cheese mixture and whipped cream.
- Add fluffy whipped cream cheese mixture to cooled pie shell.
How to Make Strawberry Topping
And finally, let’s talk about the different options we have for making the strawberry topping.
Strawberries WITHOUT glaze: This is my preference when I have the freshest, sweetest strawberries. I like to enjoy the berries in all their naturally sweet glory whenever possible.
Simply slice the strawberries and pile them on top of the whole cream cheese pie or onto individual slices of pie. That’s it. Easy!!
Strawberries WITH glaze: This is great for those times when the strawberries could use a boost of sweetness. And a couple members of our family just plain prefer the pie this way. Once the glaze is created, use as little or as much as you like.
To create the strawberry glaze, start by combining the sliced strawberries with powdered sugar. Let stand for 30 minutes, until juice accumulates. Then drain the berries, and reserve the strawberries and juice separately.
Next, combine the reserved strawberry juice and cornstarch in a saucepan and cook on the stovetop until a thickened glaze forms. Cool the glaze completely. Then fold it into the reserved strawberries or drizzle some of the glaze over the strawberries, either on the whole pie or on individual slices.
Tips for the Best Strawberry Pie + Serving Suggestions
I’ve played around with this strawberry pie recipe for many years, always striving for the ultimate experience for both serving and eating. Here are my best tips!
- Use the best strawberries. As with anything you’d serve with fresh ingredients, this should go without saying. The freshest, sweetest berries will make this pie absolutely shine!
- Press the crust ingredients into the pan evenly. This press-in pie crust is ultra easy to make. But the best results will come from pressing it into the pan as evenly as possibly, with a similar thickness on both the bottom and the sides.
- Bake the crust until it turns golden. For most baking recipes, I would tell you to not over bake. But this recipe is a bit different. I would rather slightly over bake this crust than under bake it. I like it to have a bit of crispness.
- Soften the cream cheese to room temperature. This will ensure that “the happy layer” isn’t lumpy from bits of cold cream cheese!
- Whip the cream until stiff. This will help it hold up to the whipped cream cheese when combined to create “the happy layer”.
- Chill cream cheese pie thoroughly. This pie is best when that middle layer of combined cream cheese and whipped cream has the opportunity to fully chill. You’ll want to refrigerate it for at least one hour. Two or more hours is even better.
- Add strawberry topping to individual slices for best appearance and leftover storage. I like this clean-cut look, plus the crust stays more crisp this way. But if you prefer, go ahead and add the strawberries to the center of the uncut pie. I might recommend this more if you think you’ll eat the whole pie in one serving, and within a few hours of making it.
- Serve with whipped cream? The motto in our family is “more whipped cream is always better”, and not one single person would turn down another dollop on top of the strawberry topping. But I know some folks might call that excessive, considering the creamy middle layer of this pie. So I’ll just leave that up to you to decide!
How to Store Homemade Pie
I’ve already talked about my preference for keeping the cream cheese pie portion and the strawberry topping separate.
When expecting leftovers, I absolutely recommend this method. This eliminates any strawberry juice/glaze from seeping into the crust and making it soggy.
To store this homemade pie, simply place the cream cheese pie portion in the refrigerator, with a cover on it. And store the strawberry topping in a separate covered container in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, top individual slices of cream cheese pie with the strawberry topping.
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for the press-in shortbread crust:
- 1.25 c. flour
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
for the whippy cream cheese layer:
- 6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 c. heavy whipping cream
for the strawberry topping:
- 3 c. thick-sliced strawberries
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar, optional for strawberry glaze
- 2 tsp. cornstarch, optional for strawberry glaze
- red food coloring, optional (not needed when using beautiful strawberries)
- Preheat oven to 325° F.
- For the press-in pie crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until crumbly. Then quickly mix with hands until it forms a dough. Don’t worry if it seems a bit dry. Press dough evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie pan. Aim for a uniform thickness on all surfaces and don’t press the dough in too hard. Bake crust for 23 to 26 minutes, or until it is just lightly browned. Cool completely.
- For the whippy cream cheese layer: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 1 or 2 minutes on medium-high to high speed.
- In another medium bowl, whip heavy cream until stiff. With a spatula, fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until evenly combined. Then add the whippy cream cheese mixture to the cooled pie shell in an even layer. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- For the strawberry topping: *If you prefer to dress the pie with only fresh strawberries and no additional glaze (especially nice when you have sweet, beautiful strawberries), skip to Step 8, and omit the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Continue to create strawberries with glaze >> Combine sliced strawberries and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Let stand for 30 minutes, folding gently halfway through. Drain strawberries, saving all accumulated strawberry juice. Add water (if needed) to strawberry juice to equal 1/3 cup of strawberry juice.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine cornstarch and 1/3 cup strawberry juice. If your strawberry juice is not very red, and if you want a deeper red color, add a drop or two of red food coloring - I don't use any, but I only make this pie when I have really beautiful berries. Cook, stirring constantly, until a thick, clear glaze results. If the cornstarch forms lumps, simply smoosh out the lumps with a spatula. A small whisk also works well. Once thickened, immediately remove strawberry glaze from heat and cool completely.
- When incorporating the strawberry glaze, there are a now a few different options to consider. You can 1) fold the strawberries into all of the strawberry glaze, 2) fold the strawberries into a portion of the strawberry glaze, 3) top cream cheese pie with the sliced strawberries and drizzle some of the glaze over the top of the berries.
- To serve: Note: I prefer to leave the cream cheese pie plain, and then top individual slices of pie with strawberries. I like the clean-cut look, plus the crust stays more crisp. But if you prefer, go ahead and add the strawberries to the center of the uncut pie. I might recommend this more if you think you'll eat the whole pie in one serving, and within a few hours of making it. To serve the pie, slice it into pieces. Top individual portions with either plain sliced strawberries or strawberries and glaze (using one of the methods from Step 7). If you plan to eat the pie within a few hours from making it, go ahead and add your preferred strawberry topping to the center of the cream cheese pie, leaving an inch of cream cheese bare around the perimeter. This is to keep any strawberry juices from soaking into the crust, which can make the crust soggy.
To prepare ahead of time: Bake the pie crust and fill with the whippy cream cheese layer, and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour (2 to 4 hours is even better). Prepare strawberries as desired (with or without glaze), and refrigerate in a covered container. When ready to serve, start at Step 8 in the Instructions.
adapted from the recipe box of my aunt Patsy Klein
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 519Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 204mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 2gSugar: 41gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
This post was originally published in 2011, and then updated in 2020.