Sweet fruit compote is the secret to a killer pancake breakfast — and it couldn't be easier to make. 

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If you ever find yourself with a surplus of fresh or frozen berries (including bruised ones) — you need to make compote. Using ingredients you already have on hand, you can easily transform virtually any fruit into sweet, syrupy compote for use on pancakes, waffles, and more. Learn step-by-step how to make compote for your next big brunch.

What Is Compote?

You're probably familiar with compote from your favorite pancake house — it's that gooey, fruit sauce that's often used as a topping for pancakes and waffles. Compote simply refers to fruit, sugar, and sometimes additional ingredients that have been cooked over a little heat until you get that fruity, syrupy concoction. 

Unlike jam or jelly, compote isn't cooked down as much, so the fruit is still mostly intact. Compote also doesn't have any added pectin, which is a fruit-derived substance used to thicken jams and jellies. But this also means compote isn't meant for long term storage, like jams and jellies. The good news is, it's so easy to make, you can throw it together whenever you need to!

Best Fruit for Compote

So, what's the best fruit to use for compote? Whatever's in season! Berries are a popular choice because it's a great opportunity to use up those bruised buggers. Some of the most common fruits for compote include: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, pears, cranberries (cranberry sauce), and of course apples (applesauce)

Can You Make Compote With Frozen Fruit? 

Yes! And you don't even have to do any defrosting. Just expect your mixture to take slightly longer to reach a boil, but otherwise, there's no difference. 

How to Make Compote

Here we're using this Mixed Berry Compote recipe from recipe creator Nathan Plesnicher as a base, but feel free to switch up the fruit to suit your tastes. This recipe also uses cornstarch as a thickening agent, but that is not necessary unless you are wanting to go for a more pie filling-like consistency.

parfait bowl of ice cream topped with Mixed Berry Compote
Credit: Kim's Cooking Now

Here's What You'll Need:

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries
  • ½ cup white sugar, or to taste
  • ⅓ cup honey, or to taste

Optional Thickener: 

  • 1 tbsp brandy 
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch 

Instructions: 

  1. Optional: Dissolve cornstarch and brandy in a small bowl and set aside. 
  2. Combine fruit, sugar, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. 
  3. Optional: Add cornstarch mixture to saucepan. 
  4. Continue to boil until the berries break down and the compote has thickened to desired consistency, or about 2 to 3 minutes. 

How to Use Compote 

There are truly endless ways to use compote. As we've already established, it's the perfect topping for pancakes and waffles. You can also use it as a topping for yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal, and French toast

How to Store Compote

Store compote in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also freeze it in individual servings using an ice cube tray (like these Amazon best-selling silicone trays). Keep in the freezer for up to a month. To reheat, heat over the stove top on low heat or microwave to desired temperature. 

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