Strawberry season is here! I’m telling you, it will be hard to resist the smell of this beautiful Fresh Strawberry Bread in your oven.
This strawberry bread is made with freshly diced strawberries, and it comes out so tender, moist, and light. It’s very easy to make, and it’s also freezer-friendly!
You’ll love how fragrant and delicious this quick bread is. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet – it’s just perfect!
This fresh strawberry bread is one of my most beloved quick bread recipes. It’s tender, moist, and fragrant. I love the delicate flavors that fresh strawberries add to this quick bread.
Last week, I bought a pint of strawberries and, I swear, they were one of the sweetest I’ve had…and it’s not even peak season yet! I’ll be making lots of my Strawberry Chicken Salad and fresh Homemade Strawberry Milk. But for today, this beautiful strawberry bread takes center stage!
The secret to ultra tender and flavorful strawberry bread is using buttermilk. It adds the perfect amount of moisture, while keeping it ultra tender and light. In my opinion, buttermilk works better than milk or yogurt for this particular recipe.
Why I love this strawberry bread recipe:
- It’s perfectly moist, tender, and light.
- Great way to use fresh strawberries: Something about baking with it gives baked goods that delicate and fragrant feel.
- This strawberry bread is not too overwhelmingly sweet – it’s just right!
- Customizable: Finish it with a glaze, add mix-ins, or turn them into muffins. Keep reading to find even more variations below!
- It’s very easy to make: Nothing complicated here. The hardest part is waiting for the bread to bake and cool!
Made with Fresh Strawberries
This strawberry bread is the perfect recipe to use up all the fresh strawberries that this season is going to bless us with!
- Pick fresh, firm strawberries: Find strawberries that are firm in texture and bright red in color for best results. Mushy strawberries will make the bread soggy.
- Don’t use frozen strawberries: It will make the quick bread too wet and mushy.
- Remove excess moisture from the diced strawberries by patting them dry thoroughly with paper towel.
The Secret to the Most Tender Loaf
The secret to baking tender and moist is using buttermilk, which is really great at giving baked goods a perfectly tender and moist texture, while keeping it light at the same time. It also adds a delicious, slightly tangy flavor to baked goods!
This strawberry bread recipe requires buttermilk. I’ve tested it with milk and yogurt, and buttermilk ALWAYS yields a more tender and delicate loaf, which is perfect to let the strawberries shine. Additionally, this recipe calls for baking soda only, so you need an acidic component (buttermilk) for it to rise properly.
DYI buttermilk: If you forgot to buy buttermilk, you can make your own at home! All you need is whole milk and vinegar. Here’s how: For every 1 cup of whole milk, mix in 1 tablespoon vinegar. Stir and let it sit for about 5 minutes until thickened and curdled.
Use Oil for Quick Breads
When it comes to baking quick breads, I always choose to bake with vegetable oil rather than butter.
For this strawberry bread recipe, I use vegetable oil and it always comes out perfectly moist, light and tender.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste that butter gives to baked goods, but quick breads always turn out better with oil. With oil, the bread will be lighter with more separated crumbs. On the other hand, quick breads made with butter tend to be more like pound cake.
The full list of ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card down below, but I wanted to share a ingredient notes I took while testing this recipe:
- Fresh strawberries: Find ones that are firm in texture and bright red. You’ll also need to toss the diced strawberries with a some all-purpose flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom as it bakes.
- All-purpose flour: Spooned and leveled for accurate measurements.
- Baking soda: Check that it’s not expired to ensure the bread rises properly.
- Salt: Just a little bit of salt always makes baked goods taste so much better. I prefer to use Kosher salt.
- Large egg: At room temperature. You only need one large egg for this recipe.
- Granulated sugar: Granulated works best to achieve a light and tender texture. I would not recommend using brown sugar here.
- Vegetable oil: Oil gives quick breads a lighter texture with more “separated” crumbs. You can also use butter, but it will be denser, kind of like a pound cake.
- Buttermilk: No substitutions. This ingredient is required for the baking soda to “activate” and do its magic. You can also make your own buttermilk at home (see notes in recipe card down below).
- Vanilla extract: For flavor.
- Lemon zest: Adds a subtle touch of brightness!
- Butter to grease the pan
Step 1 | Mix dry ingredients
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Step 2 | Mix wet ingredients
In a large bowl, whisk egg, granulated sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until evenly combined.
Step 3 | Mix batter and fold in strawberries
- Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients and combine with a whisk until no pockets of flour remain. Do not overmix.
- Toss diced strawberries (thoroughly patted dry) with flour. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom.
- Add strawberries into the batter, leaving excess flour behind.
- Gently fold in the strawberries into the batter with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Step 4 | Transfer to pan and top with strawberries
Transfer the prepared batter to a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan. Top with more diced strawberries, gently pushing them down into the batter but letting them still be visible for aesthetics.
Step 5 | Bake
Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-65 minutes. After 40-45 minutes, cover with foil to prevent it from browning too much. Return to oven and continue baking. The strawberry bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
How to Prevent Sinking in the Middle
I get this question a lot when it comes to baking in general. The answer is almost always to avoid opening the oven too early or too often during the baking process, as drastic changes in temperature will cause baked goods to collapse.
With that said, here are some tips to get that beautiful dome in this strawberry bread:
- Don’t open the oven too often: Only open it once when you need to cover it with foil, and when it’s ready to check for doneness.
- Avoid excess moisture: Thoroughly pat dry the diced fresh strawberries before tossing them with flour.
- Use the right amount of baking soda: Baking soda is strong, so be sure to use only the amount listed in the recipe. Also, check that it’s not expired.
Let the bread cool completely. Wrap tightly with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil and transfer to a freezer-friendly bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
There are so many ways to change up this recipe! Here are some ideas:
- Make strawberry bread muffins! Simply spoon the batter into a lightly greased muffin pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middles comes out clean.
- Make a glaze: Drizzle it over the cooled bread as you wish. Combine 1 cup confectioners sugar with 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk. You can also add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and lemon zest.
- Add mix-ins: Mix and match other fruits, such as berries (adjust the proportions accordingly) or add a few nuts. Make sure to not add too many mix-ins, otherwise the bread may not rise properly.
If you’re looking for more ways to use strawberries, check out these recipes!
This recipe requires buttermilk. I wouldn’t recommend using just milk in this recipe because of the baking soda, which needs an acidic ingredient (buttermilk) to react and rise properly.
Yes! Here’s how: Pour 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into a 1-cup measurer. Then fill the cup with milk. Give it a stir and let it sit for 5 minutes. It will slightly curdle.
I’d recommend using vegetable oil for all quick breads. Oil yields a lighter texture with more “separated” crumbs than butter does. With butter, it will be more like a pound cake.
This will prevent the strawberries from sinking to the bottom of the loaf pan.
No. Frozen strawberries contain too much moisture and will make the bread soggy.
Yes, definitely! Also check out my lemon blueberry bread recipe for a variation.
This recipe was published in 2019 and updated in March 2023 to include additional information and tips.
Tips for Success
- Use bright red and firm strawberries for best results. Strawberries tend to soften and turn a bit pale when exposed to heat. The more vibrant and firmer they are, the better.
- Always check that your baking soda isn’t expired. This will ensure the bread will rise properly
- Do not overmix the batter. Overmixing can cause a dense texture.
- Do not substitute the buttermilk. It’s needed for the baking soda to react and help the bread rise. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own buttermilk at home (see notes in the recipe card below).
- Try not to open the oven too often: To prevent the bread from sinking in the middle, only open it once when you need to cover it with foil, and when it’s ready to check for doneness.
Fresh Strawberry Bread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour - spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg - at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature - no substitutions
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Butter to grease the pan
For the strawberries:
- 2 cups diced fresh strawberries - firm in texture and bright red
- 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9×5 inch aluminum loaf pan with butter. Set aside. Optional: For cleaner release, you can line the pan with parchment paper with overhang on the sides.
- Mix the dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk 2 cups all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt until evenly combined.
- Mix the wet ingredients: In another large bowl, mix the egg, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until evenly combined.
- Gradually, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, whisking until no pockets of flour remain. Do not overmix.
- Thoroughly pat dry the diced strawberries. Reserve about 3 tablespoons of strawberries for later and set aside. Toss the remaining diced strawberries with 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour. Gently, fold in the flour-coated strawberries into the batter until just combined, leaving any excess flour behind.
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Top with the reserved 3 tablespoons of diced strawberries, gently pushing them down into the batter but letting them still be visible. This will make the bread more beautiful.
- Bake for about 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. About 40 minutes into the baking time, cover with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning too fast. Tip: To prevent the bread from sinking in the middle, only open it once when you need to cover it with foil, and when it’s ready to check for doneness.
- Remove from oven and let it cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Then, carefully remove from the pan and let it cool a bit more before slicing. Note: The strawberries inside may look a little bit pale, that’s normal. Using bright red and firm strawberries helps with that.
- Use bright red and firm strawberries for best results. Strawberries tend to soften and turn a bit pale when exposed to heat, so the more vibrant and firmer they are, the better. After dicing, pat them dry thoroughly to remove any excess moisture.
- Buttermilk is required. This recipe only calls for baking soda, which needs an acid component to react. Buttermilk, which contains acid, reacts with the baking soda to help the bread rise.
- DIY buttermilk: If you forgot to buy buttermilk, make it at home! Pour 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into a 1-cup measurer. Then fill the cup with milk. Give it a stir and let it sit for 5 minutes. It will slightly curdle.
- Storage: Store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
- Freezing instructions: Let cool completely. Wrap tightly with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil and transfer to a freezer-friendly bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
- Do NOT substitute buttermilk or baking soda.
- Instead of strawberries, feel free to use blueberries.
- Turn them into muffins: Spoon the batter into a lightly greased muffin pan (fill ¾ of the way through) and bake at 375 degrees F for 22 to 25 minutes.
- Drizzle with a quick glaze: Combine 1 cup confectioners sugar with 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk. You can also add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and lemon zest.