Fresh Fruit Compote: The Perfect Pancake Topper (and so much more!)

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Fruit compote is such a simple recipe to pull together on a whim. Whether you are out of maple syrup for your pancakes, using up excess fruit or adding just the right finishing touch to a sweet or savory dish, you’ll become a devoted fan of this fancy-sounding but super simple way of creating a sauce with fruit. (This post was first published in 2013, updated June 2019)

fruit compote in a glass bowl with silver spoon and fresh strawberries on the side

Out of maple syrup on Pancake Sunday – what is a good mom to do? Make an omelette? Serve fake syrup? Go out?

Motivated by a 3-bag-full trip to a new farmer’s market and a post about blueberry compote from the blog Blue Kale Road, I created a fruit compote instead using the beautiful fresh berries purchased the day before.

What is a Fruit Compote?

Compotes are simply fresh or frozen fruits cooked with a bit of sweetener and spices to create a syrupy, chunky fruit dessert. Think of it as cooking fruit to create a sauce. It is one step simpler than preparing jam.

You cook it for less time and it will thicken up. But you are not looking for a spreadable end result, just a pourable or spoonable texture.

compote on pancake with cup of tea and compote in glass bowl

What Makes a Compote Thicken Up?

The natural pectin in the fruit will aid the thickening. As the mixture boils and the liquid reduces, the fruit will break down and create texture and continue to thicken. If it seems too runny, just let it continue to cook until it’s a syrupy, pourable consistency.

How Do you Make a Fruit Compote?

Compote-making is a simple process.

  1. Wash and slice your fresh fruit or measure your frozen berries.
  2. Put the fruit in to a medium-sized saucepan.
  3. Add some sugar or sweetener of choice.
  4. Zest in about half of a medium sized lemon (meyer if you have it) as well as a tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of vanilla. Here you can be creative with your flavors – use alternate citrus such as oranges or limes, add cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cardamom. You are only restricted by your spice drawer or imagination.
  5. Turn the stove to medium until the mixture begins to boil (about five minutes), then turn to medium low and let it simmer for about another ten minutes. Taste for sweetness and flavor – I added the very last teaspoon of maple syrup at the end for just a touch more sweetness and hint of maple flavor. If it’s too thick, extra juice from the citrus you used can be added.

ingredients in pot ready to cook

Let it cool down before using – it will thicken up a bit more as it does. Serve the fruit sauce over my Bubbie’s bubula (matzo meal pancake) – you’ll love it. I promise.

fruit compote on a bubula with utensils and red napkin

If you have any leftover compote (unlikely), the flavor just keeps improving. So this is a recipe you can make ahead for a brunch or gathering of any sort.

What Should you Serve with this Fruit Sauce?

Compote is an obvious fit for breakfast – on pancakes, waffles, french toast, or yogurt. Even a sidekick to scones or hearty toast.

But don’t stop there – it will thicken up when you refrigerate it. Go ahead and spread it on a sandwich, or reheat it and serve it as a side dish to a pork tenderloin or roast chicken. Or the simplest dessert with just a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream, or yogurt on top.

Deb’s Perfect Pancake Recipe

Bubbe’s Bubula – A Matzo Meal Pancake

Pancakes for One

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Waffles

Grandma’s Homemade Cheese Blintzes

Homemade Pecan Coconut Granola

And a special thanks to Family Spice’s publisher, photographer, chef, and two-time cookbook author Laura Bashar for recipe testing and photographing this fruit compote recipe. Her flavor combinations and photography are inspiring – please pop over and check out her blog and buy!! her cookbooks here:

This post contains Amazon affiliate links – if you click on one and purchase something, I receive a very tiny percentage of the sale. Your price is never affected.

Other Supplies for Making Compote


Also check out my Amazon shop that includes some of my favorite food and food-related products. I am always updating it – please visit often. And let me know if you need specific product recommendations – I am happy to help!

fruit compote in a glass bowl with silver spoon and fresh strawberries on the side
4.46 from 11 votes

Fruit Compote

A simple technique - similar to jam-making but quicker and less sugar - the idea is to have nice chunks of fruit remain and to preserve the flavor of the fruit, in this case strawberries and blueberries.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword breakfast, fruit, pancakes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 45 kcal
Author Beth Lee


  • 1 pint strawberries cleaned and quartered
  • 1 cup blueberries washed
  • 2 tablespoons sugar could also use honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, etc
  • zest of 1/2 of a medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon juice from the lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp maple syrup


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. This should take about 5 minutes.
  2. Turn down to medium low and let slowly simmer/boil for about 10 more minutes until the fruit is starting to break down but is still whole.
  3. Take off heat and let it cool down a bit before using. It will thicken up a bit as it does.


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30 Responses to Fresh Fruit Compote: The Perfect Pancake Topper (and so much more!)

  1. Belinda Jolie September 10, 2019 at 3:40 am #

    Hello sis, this recipe is very interesting and easy to understand. I will try to make it at home. Thank you for the information

  2. Sandi July 8, 2019 at 9:43 am #

    5 stars
    This compote is not only crazy good looking, but I can add it to so many yummy things!

    • Beth Lee July 8, 2019 at 12:12 pm #

      Yup! I can think of so many great recipes for you to pair this with, just from your collection!

  3. Laura Bashar July 6, 2019 at 3:32 pm #

    5 stars
    This was such an easy recipe to cook up and it turned out beautifully and so delicious! Thank you!

    • Beth Lee July 8, 2019 at 12:10 pm #

      You made it look extra gorgeous my talented friend.

  4. Rita June 29, 2019 at 6:56 pm #

    5 stars
    I’ve actually done something similar, except I use an immersion blender in the pot to make a fruity syrup of sorts. Any remaining syrup/sauce goes in the fridge, and is microwave warmed up for next time.

    • Beth Lee July 8, 2019 at 12:10 pm #

      Oh that’s a great idea Rita! Different texture is always a fun variation.

  5. Jenni June 25, 2019 at 5:57 pm #

    5 stars
    Compote seems so much more “doable” than jam or jelly, somehow. Such a simple, delicious formula, too. Thanks for offering so many ways to vary it as well. 🙂

    • Beth Lee June 25, 2019 at 6:48 pm #

      It really is so simple, so delicious and looks so nice on your table or buffet!

  6. Ruthie Leath April 26, 2019 at 5:52 pm #

    Made it for my daughter’s b’day breakfast. It was so good and everybody loved it. Now it’s a hit in my kitchen.

    • Beth Lee April 26, 2019 at 10:50 pm #

      I’m so glad! Happy birthday to your daughter. Happy cooking!

  7. Dini December 12, 2018 at 7:19 pm #

    5 stars
    I love making fruit compote too! It’s one of my favorite ways to use up fruits in the summer. This recipe looks delicious – I’d have it by the spoonful just as it is! 🙂

    • Beth Lee December 17, 2018 at 8:46 pm #

      Yup – me too! My mom used to call it stewed fruit!

  8. Wilhelmina December 12, 2018 at 6:24 pm #

    5 stars
    This will take breakfast to the next level!

    • Beth Lee December 17, 2018 at 8:45 pm #

      It really does but it’s so easy to make!

  9. Stephanie Miller October 14, 2018 at 9:44 am #

    5 stars
    Perfect healthy addition to a great stack of pancakes! I love pancakes and this is a delicious topping! Thanks!

    • Beth Lee October 14, 2018 at 9:52 am #

      Right? Craving some right now!

  10. Shadi Hasanzadenemati October 14, 2018 at 9:33 am #

    5 stars
    I can have this all the time!! Looks so tasty!

    • Beth Lee October 14, 2018 at 9:34 am #

      I know – craving some right now!

  11. Chamanpreet Kaur June 28, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    got me creative with the fruits! thanks 🙂

  12. Teresa May 24, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    Homemade compote is such a treat. I’m so looking forward to berry season here.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog last week. It would be great to have you join in with us and French Fridays again, when you’re able. (I keep wanting to join in on the Jerusalem group, but it keeps not happening…)

    • Beth Lee May 29, 2013 at 7:30 am #

      Hi Teresa! well I’m with you guys in spirit at FFWD if not in reality – remember that!

      Hope that the berries are starting to appear in your neck of the woods!

      Stop by Tasting Jerusalem and join the conversation even if you don’t have time to cook!

      Great to see you here – thx for popping over!

  13. Hannah May 24, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    I love your family pancake Sundays, Beth! You’re creating such warm, delicious food memories for your children. I’d love a spot at your table some morning! What a terrific stash of berries from the farmer’s market – your compote sounds marvelous, especially with that touch of maple you add at the end. Stirring it into yogurt is a favorite of mine, too. Thank you for the kind mention! I hope you all enjoy a wonderful long weekend!

    • Beth Lee May 29, 2013 at 7:32 am #

      Hope you had a great 3-day weekend Hannah. I bet there is lots going on with the high school graduation season upon you, just as in our household.

      I didn’t make pancakes this weekend and my daughter was still craving them yesterday – so I whipped some up on my way out the door – I guess they are absolutely necessary at this point!

  14. Deb May 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    Your post brought back childhood memories. My mom always served pancakes and waffles with “homemade” maple syrup AND homemade jam! Her maple syrup was a thick simple syrup flavored with maple and vanilla extract. We never knew the taste of real maple syrup and it was much better than the store bought fake stuff! These days I opt for the real deal but your lush compote of summer fruit is just irresistible!

    • Beth Lee May 24, 2013 at 8:04 am #

      Oh you made my day Deb – I know we food bloggers probably say it so much but it just warms my heart to give people a moment to pause and recall fond memories about food. How interesting that your mom made her own maple syrup. Way better than Mrs. Butterworth’s I’m sure! I’m eating that last bit of compote on my yogurt right now – another great way to enjoy it!

  15. Sandy Corman May 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    what a great idea. will have to get the fresh fruit (which we both love) and try this.

    • Beth Lee May 24, 2013 at 8:02 am #

      Yes – try it – it’s so easy – in fact come to think of it – it’s really you that taught me to cook fruit. But try it with berries – you and Dad will love it!

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