This is hands-down one of the most scrumptious strawberry recipes around. It’s my favorite way to use ripe, in-season summer strawberries. It’s made completely from scratch (unless of course, you want to take the easy way out when it comes to the graham cracker crust) yet is quite easy to do!
It has the most vibrant strawberry flavor that comes 100% from fresh strawberries. No Jell-O flavoring here, friends! It’s also a no-bake pie, making it even sweeter on those hot summer days.
I’ve been obsessed with strawberries for…basically forever. Every summer I would pick fresh strawberries from my Grandpa’s garden and/or request that we stop at every roadside stand selling strawberries we passed on those Iowa country roads.
I can’t get enough of strawberries in any form. I love them as a jam smeared over fresh sourdough bread, in popsicles, in cupcakes, popped in summer-inspired rose sangria, layered in a luxurious coconut cake, filled in the center of an angel food cake, and of course, overflowing in a graham cracker crust.
What You’ll Need
If all you have known is a fresh strawberry pie with gelatin, Jell-o, or cornstarch, prepare to have your mind blown. This recipe uses none of those ingredients. No shade is thrown at those recipes that do, but the ones made with gelatin or Jell-o simply cannot be enjoyed by vegetarians and vegans.
And because everyone deserves to indulge in a slice of heaven (AKA: homemade pie) this recipe can, in fact, be enjoyed by everyone. So what is the magical ingredient that somehow holds a fresh no-bake pie together? It’s called agar-agar.
- Agar-Agar: a plant-based alternative to gelatin, it’s made from algae, and while it’s not a perfect substitute for gelatin or Jell-o (it doesn’t get quite as jiggly), it as very similar properties. Agar comes in flake or powder form, and for this recipe, I recommend using agar flakes, as that’s what this recipe has been tested with. If you use agar powder, I recommend reading the package directions for converting from flakes, as it is more concentrated in powder form. See FAQ below for where to find it!
- Fresh Strawberries: the shining star of this recipe! You will need to use fresh berries for the best results (frozen just isn’t going to be the same). I highly recommend making this recipe with the freshest summer berries you can find!
- Sugar: the sugar macerates the strawberries and creates a delicious strawberry syrup for the pie, which becomes part of the filling.
- Graham Cracker Crust: you can make your own crust or buy a pre-made crust at the store.
How to Make Strawberry Pie without Jell-O
This is a simple recipe with a few easy steps, and the only thing it requires is a little time. Waiting to cut the first slice is always the hardest part. As always see the full recipe card for full instructions.
The first thing to do is to macerate the strawberries. When you macerate a berry, you are softening it. In this case, we are using sugar and tossing it in the berries. This will draw out the juice in the strawberries (photo 3). The syrup that comes from this will create the base of the pie. Let the strawberries macerate until you have about 3/4 cup liquid (photo 4, draining the liquid).
The strawberries will continue to release their juices as they sit. You can substitute some of the water with additional syrup or save any excess syrup to add to cocktails!
As the strawberries macerate, prepare the graham cracker crust. If you are making homemade crust, anyway. If you’re using store-bought crust instead, you can begin preparing the rest of the ingredients! The homemade crust will set up in the fridge, too, so do make it after you begin macerating the berries.
Puree the remaining strawberries in a food processor. I like to puree part of the strawberries to create texture in the filling.
Then, once you have enough strawberry syrup, combine it with water and the agar-agar flakes. Whisk it together and bring the mixture to a boil. This will activate the agar and set it up to thicken later on.
Let the mixture cool slightly, then stir it together with the pureed and macerated strawberries. Pour it into the crust and chill for at least 4 hours until it is firm and set. The pie is definitely best served the day you make it. The strawberries tend to release more liquid if left for over a day; while still delicious, it’s not as crisp of a crust.
Make a big batch of homemade whipped cream and dollop it on top of the pie when you’re ready to serve. It’s 100% THE BEST way to enjoy a slice of fresh pie! Now the only question will be, who gets the last slice?!
Frequently Asked Questions
I have seen agar popping up in bigger grocery stores. I usually buy it at Whole Foods, but if you can’t find it there you can check out a local Asian supermarket or purchase it online. I use this agar-agar and you can find it on Amazon.
Yes, you can! Simply use a store-bought gluten-free graham cracker crust or if making your own, use gluten-free graham crackers.
If making my homemade graham cracker crust recipe, you can use vegan butter. Otherwise, yes, you can easily purchase a store-bought crust that is already vegan (many are made with oil as opposed to any dairy already) and this pie is vegan and vegetarian friendly!
The pie will need to set in the fridge for several hours, but after that, I would recommend enjoying it the day you make it. The strawberries tend to release additional liquid the longer they sit. Store-bought crust tends to hold up to the filling for a longer time period than the homemade crust. Additionally, how ripe your strawberries are will also impact any excess juices.
More Fresh Strawberry Recipes
- Individual Strawberry Cheesecakes
- Strawberry Basil Gazpacho
- Strawberry Black Pepper Smash
- Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Filling
- Farmer’s Market Strawberry Salad
- Strawberry Mint Sangria
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Fresh Strawberry Pie (No Jell-O)
- If making a homemade graham cracker crust, prepare it first as it needs to set in the fridge for 1-2 hours. If using store-bought, you won't need to worry about the crust until later.1 graham cracker crust
- Quarter 5 1/2 cups of the strawberries; if you have very large strawberries you may want to cut them into smaller pieces, and if they are small you may only need to halve them. Make them approximately equal in size.7 cups strawberries
- Add the chopped strawberries to a large bowl and stir in the sugar to completely coat the berries (to macerate the berries). Let them sit for approximately 25 minutes to release their juices, stirring occasionally. Once you have 3/4 cup liquid, proceed with step 4*.1 cup granulated sugar
- Meanwhile, puree the remaining 1 1/2 cups of strawberries in a mini food processor or blender, then set aside. You can also mash the berries using a potato masher or large fork if you don't have a food processor.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberry juice/syrup from the macerated strawberries, water, and agar-agar flakes. Bring to a boil; whisk the mixture occasionally, and boil for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly.¾ cup water*, 3 Tablespoon agar-agar flakes
- Once the liquid has slightly cooled, add the pureed strawberries and the remaining quartered strawberries to the liquid; stir to combine. Pour the strawberry filling into the prepared 9-inch graham cracker crust, evenly spreading it across as needed.
- Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours until it has firmed up. It is best served the day of making it, so I recommend planning ahead as needed. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!Whipped cream
- Liquid: you’ll need 1 1/2 cups liquid total; if you have more strawberry syrup from macerating, you can adjust the amount of water you add (i.e. if you have 1 cup strawberry syrup, use only 1/2 cup water).
- The pie is best served the day you made it. Especially delicious with a large helping of whipped cream!