Summer Berry Trifle

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe
Summer Berry Trifle

This berry trifle is perfect for a summer party — it’s refreshing, gorgeous, and make-ahead.

Berry Trifle

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Berry trifles make wonderful (and patriotic) summer party desserts. Not only are they gorgeous, they feed a crowd and are made in advance. The only drawback is that, with all their layers, they can be time-consuming to make from scratch. I save time by using store-bought Savoiardi biscuits (a.k.a. crisp ladyfingers), cream cheese, and raspberry jam. The result is a dazzling, delicious berry trifle that can be made in 30 minutes.

Use a deep, clear glass bowl or a footed glass trifle dish so the pretty layers can be seen. And don’t worry if the layers look slightly uneven or if the layers mix a bit — that’s the beauty of a trifle. You can also make the trifle in small glasses as individual parfaits.

What You’ll Need

berry trifle ingredients

STEP-By-Step Instructions

To begin, warm the raspberry jam in the microwave.

Warm Raspberry JamToss it with the berries and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the trifle.

Berries tossed with Jam

Beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, then set aside.

beating heavy cream

In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and Confectioners’ sugar.

cream cheese and sugar

Beat until smooth and creamy, then beat in the vanilla.

adding vanilla

Add a third of the whipped cream.

adding some of the whipped creamBeat until smooth and then add the remaining cream.

adding the remaining creamFold with a rubber spatula until evenly combined.

combined cream mixture

To assemble, begin by layering the lady fingers in the bottom of the dish. Top with a third of the berry mixture, followed by a third of the cream.

assembling the trifle

Continue alternating the lady fingers, berries, and cream.

assembling the trifle 2End with the cream cheese mixture on top; for the last layer of cream, leave a 1-inch border around the edge showing the fruit beneath. Sprinkle some berries and a fresh mint on top.

finished berry trifle ready to chillLet the trifle chill for at least 8 hours, then top with some fresh berries and a spring of fresh mint, if desired.

Berry Trifle

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

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Summer Berry Trifle

This berry trifle is perfect for a summer party — it’s refreshing, gorgeous, and make-ahead.

Servings: 8-10
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes, plus at least 8 hours to chill

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (8 oz) seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 quart (1-1/2 pounds) strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pint (12 oz) raspberries
  • 1 pint (12 oz) blueberries
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 16 ounces cream cheese (preferably Philadelphia brand), at room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (7 oz) package crisp lady fingers (also called savoiardi biscuits)
  • Fresh mint spring, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Set aside a few berries for topping the trifle.
  2. Heat the raspberry jam in a large bowl in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until hot and liquidy. Add the fresh berries and toss to coat. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. In another large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with the powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla, then beat in a third of the whipped cream. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the rest of the whipped cream until well combined.
  5. Cover the bottom of a 9-inch (14-cup capacity) trifle dish or glass bowl with a layer of lady fingers (break into pieces as necessary). Follow with 1/3 of the berry-jam mixture (including 1/3 of the juices), then 1/3 of the cream. Alternate, ending with the cream cheese mixture on top; for the last layer of cream, leave a 1-inch border around the edge showing the fruit beneath. Garnish with the reserved whole berries and a fresh mint spring if using. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight, before serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (10 servings)
  • Calories: 554
  • Fat: 31g
  • Saturated fat: 18g
  • Carbohydrates: 65g
  • Sugar: 41g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Sodium: 197mg
  • Cholesterol: 143mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I made this dessert the last weekend for my husband’s Bday. It was absolutely outstanding. I’ve made different deserts with pastry cream before but this one takes the prize. Please do not substitute anything for cream cheese or decrease it’s amount. It’s worth it. It’s what makes it different from other similar recipes.

    • — Olga on June 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • This recipe is a show stopper! My entire family devoured it for dinner and what was left over was literally fought over for breakfast. It is the best trifle recipe ever and the cream cheese mixture was to die for! I used Polander All-Fruit for the jam, substituted 1/3 less fat cream cheese, and used a Sara Lee Pound cake from the freezer section. So incredibly delicious. Jenn…thank you for the work you put into perfecting your recipes. Everything I have tried on this site has been outstanding. My cookbook arrives today and I can’t wait.

    • — Carolyn on May 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed this and hope you find lots of new favorites in the cookbook! 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • 1st time to make a trifle. Used Angel cake instead of Lady Fingers. Skipped the raspberry jam. Did everything by hand. Was a huge success! Definitely bookmarking this for future use!

    • — Melody on April 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • Made this recipe for Christmas, the family LOVED it! Everyone wanted the recipe. Big succes!! Btw, I used pound cake in stead of the lady fingers.

    • — Dieka van den Eijnde on February 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • I bake gluten free with no refined sugar so used some powdered monkfruit in place of the sugar in the cream cheese mixture and also added 2-3 T of cognac. I used one box of Simple Mills yellow cake mix to sub out the ladyfingers. Unbelievable. Served it to guests the other day and it’s such a beautiful presentation, they were amazed and stuffed by the time they left our house! Another alternative is to use chocolate cake with just raspberries tossed in raspberry preserves with a little chambord. Use the same white cream mixture and toss in some diced chocolate chunks. Thank you for this absolutely amazing recipe. I LOVE your cookbook also. You along with Ina Garten have the best recipes on the internet hands down.

    • — Danielle M on February 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes!! 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 4, 2020
      • Reply
  • I’ve never made a trifle before and was considering making this one as my first one. I’ve noticed many trifle recipes have sherry in them. Has anyone added sherry to this recipe, and if so, did it turn out?

    • — Michelle on December 1, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hello! So I joined a cookbook club at our library and the way it works is that our librarian picks a cookbook and everyone picks a recipe. We make it at home then bring it to the library and we all have a feast on the date scheduled. We label the dishes so everyone knows what it is. We then go around and describe the recipe and evaluate it. Well your cookbook was picked! I am sorry to say that I never heard of you. That changed! I made the berry trifle and it was outstanding. Everyone loved it and my husband said it looked like it should be on a magazine cover. It was easy to make as well. The entire library dinner was a huge success, every dish was cooked from your book. So I immediately bought the book and told my friends and they bought it too. So far I made the key lime pie, roasted carrots and Israeli salad. I subscribed to your blog and love getting your recipes and listening to your stories. I will be using your pie crust recipe next. So if there will be another cookbook I will definitely add it to my collection. Thanks so much for all the great recipes. I am working my way through them. The recipes turn out great the first time as well. My husband thanks you too. Three key lime pies later-the best ever!!! Flossie

    • — Flossie on November 21, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Flossie, so glad you were exposed to the cookbook through your club and have enjoyed all the recipes – – your note made my day! 🙂 ❤️

      • — Jenn on November 22, 2019
      • Reply
  • I made this for the first time and like many of the other reviewers, five stars all the way! What a great dessert! I wanted to share my review specifically for all the gluten-free people out there. If that’s you, well, you’re one of my people 🙂 GF lady fingers are hard to find sometimes and when I made this, my main grocery store did not have any. For a substitution, I baked a King Arthur GF yellow cake mix and after letting the cake cool, I cut into small squares. The trifle looked just as beautiful and garnered RAVE reviews from my gluten-eating family and friends. All the other parts of the recipe I did as Jenn has written.

  • Love, love, love this recipe. It looked so amazing, I took photos! lol The whipped cream/cream cheese made it easier and soooooooo delicious. Just wish I could make this, somehow, during the winter, but fresh berries in Canada during the winter…not going to happen. Sigh.

    • — Anne MacGregor
    • Reply
  • Looks yummy, can’t wait to make it tonight! I do not have any lady fingers. Can I sub it with graham crackers?? TIA!
    -Dee

    • Hi Dee, I’ve never tried graham crackers here, so it’s hard to say. I suspect they may work, but if you want to go with something that other readers have had success with (and can’t find ladyfingers in your store), you could use cut up pound cake or angel food cake. Hope that helps!

  • I just made this, and it looks phenomenal! I changed it slightly to suit my tastes. I omitted the fresh raspberries and increased the strawberries. Everything else was as written. I could barely get it into the fridge away from my family. I had some leftover ladyfingers and cream, much to their delight. It was too easy not to make again!

  • I have made this trifle before to rave reviews, but instead of cream cheese, I use mascarpone cheese. I also use this as the filling for my tiramisu. The mascarpone is slightly sweeter and “buttery.” Also, it does not need to come to room temperature before using. It is slighly soft as is. I get my mascarpone from Trader Joe’s at a cheaper price than at the grocery stores. My life has not been the same without it! It’s even good on cinnamon raisin toast.

  • I made this and brought it to a summer party. It was amazing and the entire bowl was eaten! I am an awful cook and followed this recipe exactly and it came out perfect! I am going to try another one of your recipes to see if I can actually cook! LOL
    Thank you, I will make this again!

    • 🙂
      So glad it turned out nicely!

  • Absolutely Spectacular! I used seedless strawberry jam because that’s all I could find in the store. Also I did not use raspberries because they tasted very tart. Everyone raved and said please bring this again!

  • By the way, I used an almost an entire Sara Lee Butter Pound Cake (about 9 oz. of it – about 3 oz. per each of the 3 layers), instead of the Savoiardi lady fingers. Could that be the reason why it was so sweet? (my own personal taste – nobody else mentioned this).
    I couldn’t find the lady fingers, so I don’t know how sweet they are, compared with the pound cake.

    • I actually don’t think that pound cake is that much sweeter than the lady fingers, so it may just be that your palate prefers things a bit less sweet. 🙂

  • Hi Jenn,

    I made your summer berry trifle for July 4th this week. Very patriotic with the red, white and blue colors. No surprise it was a show stopper and a huge hit, flavor wise!
    The next time I make it, I will decrease the amount of sugar to 1 1/4 cups, about 25% less, which would still be sweet enough, with the raspberry jam providing plenty of fruity sweetness.
    I know you prefer heavy whipping cream to blend with the powdered sugar and cream cheese, but for a shortcut I would like to try subbing Cool Whip for the whipping cream. I know that Cool Whip is already sweetened, so I was wondering how much less powdered sugar you think I would need to use.

    Thanks again for a great summer recipe. Enjoyed by the whole crowd!

    • Glad you enjoyed this, Christi! If you want to use Cool Whip, I’d suggest cutting the confectioners’ sugar back by a quarter cup. Hope that helps!

  • Has anyone use almond extract?

  • This recipe was so amazingly simple and absolutely fantastic in both taste and presentation. It looked as great as it tasted. My brother-in-law, who is not a dessert eater, ate his whole serving and made multiple compliments. This dessert was a home run for the whole group.
    I didn’t change anything. Follow it to a “T” and you’ll impress everyone, I guarantee it!

  • I made this yesterday and didn’t have time to let it sit for eight hours so I used an angel food cake as a substitute. It turned out amazing!😁

  • Hi Jenn,
    If I replace the lady fingers with pound cake, how much pound cake would you recommend?
    Thanks,
    Dawn

    • One more question-
      Would you cut the cake into cubes or slices.
      Thanks, Dawn

      • Either will totally work, but I guess I’d go with slices. Hope you enjoy!

    • Hi Dawn, assuming you buy a 16 oz. pound cake (I think that’s generally how they’re sold), I’d use about 1/2 of it.

  • Amazing dessert! I’ve made it 3 times, and every time I take it to a party, I get so many compliments. Several of my friends have also asked for the recipe. There’s never any left over for me to bring home. The only thing I do differently is that I use blackberries instead of raspberries. I’m not a fan of raspberries, but that’s just my personal taste. I also love this dessert, because it’s not overly sweet. It’s just such a nice, refreshing blend of berries and cream.

  • Delicious – Even better the next day. I substituted mascarpone cheese for the cream cheese and reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup.

    • Hello Jenn,
      I would like to make this trifle on the weekend, however, I can’t find any seedless jam.
      I feel a bit silly asking, but can I just use regular jam or is there a trick to removing the seeds from a store bought jam?
      Thank you

      • — Kate on December 18, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Kate, regular jam will work here too. Enjoy!

        • — Jenn on December 18, 2020
        • Reply
  • Hello Jenn,
    I want to make this for for 20 people. Do you think I could double it and do it in a punch bowl?
    Thank you,
    Dawn

    • Sure, Dawn – it should double very well.

  • Will this work with a 4 quart trifle bowl?

    • Yes, Rae, I think it should fit. Hope you enjoy!

      • How do you think vanilla wafers would work vs lady finger cookies?

        • Hi J, I’ve never tried vanilla wafers here, so it’s hard to say. I suspect they may work, but if you want to go with something that other readers have had success with (and can’t find ladyfingers in your store), you could use cut up pound cake or angel food cake. Hope that helps!

  • Hi Jenn! I just love your recipes! I’m planning to make your Summer Berry Trifle this weekend for a cookout, but my sister isn’t the biggest fan of blueberries. She loves peaches, though, and I’m thinking of substituting peaches for the blueberries. Do you think this would work? I’m a bit concerned they wouldn’t soften enough while sitting overnight. Thank you!

    • Hi Jamie, I haven’t tried this with peaches, but I suspect it would work. You could also just sub out the blueberries for more strawberries and/or raspberries. Hope everyone enjoys!

  • Hi. Is the trifle bowl you used, 9X9?

  • Hi Jen:

    I would like to take the trifle on Friday, May 24 for my nephew’s graduation party. Can I make this the day before, Thursday, May 23. I have tried your other recipes and have loved them all.

    Thanks.

    • — Upasana Malhotra
    • Reply
    • One more thing please. Should I buy crispy ladyfingers or the soft ones. Thanks.

      • — Upasana Malhotra
      • Reply
      • Definitely the crispy!

      • I used the soft lady finger put them in the oven 250 for approx 30 min turning midway and they turned out crisp and and worked out great.

    • Yes, definitely, it should be perfect.

  • Jen, I’m preparing the trifle, and tasted the strawberries as I cut them up. They are really not as sweet as they look. I’m wondering if there is enough jam to sweeten them, if I should go on a search for sweeter strawberries, if I should add more jam, or what you would suggest. Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Susan, The jam should sweeten them up enough but you could always add a tablespoon or two of sugar as well – it won’t hurt.

  • I have made this recipe twice and it was absolutely perfect. It is not only pretty but delicious–a real show stopper. If you have a smaller crowd , I would cut the recipe in half.

    • — Kathleen Clark-Severson
    • Reply
  • I made this for a baby shower the night before and it was perfect! The guests really enjoyed it and asked for the recipe. Of course I told them about your cookbook. A score

  • My friend made this for my daughter’s bridal shower. It was absolutely fabulous. I made it the next day for the my poor guys who missed the party and substituted blackberries for the blueberries. That was a little tangier and not quite as sweet.

  • Can cool whip frozen topping be used for the heavy cream?-Diana

    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

  • Can this recipe be halved?

    • Sure, Cheryl, but I’d use a smaller dish. Hope you enjoy!

  • Is there a way to make the whipped cream mixture lemon flavored

    • Sure Cory, you could fold some lemon curd or stir some lemon zest into the whipped cream. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it!

  • Hi Jenn,

    I don’t think I can find fresh blueberries in Israel this time of the year, can I use frozen, if not can I use only strawberries?
    Thanks!
    Jenny

    • — Jenny Brosztein
    • Reply
    • Hi Jenny, I would stick to fresh fruit here. While I like the color that the mix of berries provides, you could get away with using all strawberries here. Hope you enjoy!

      • I used the soft lady finger put them in the oven 250 for approx 30 min turning midway and they turned out crisp and and worked out great.

  • I made my first recipe from Jenn’s website – the summer berry trifle. Now, because I don’t like raspberries, I substituted homemade strawberry jam and blackberries. I took it to a party tonight, and it was a great hit. Everyone absolutely loved it! I’m looking forward to making some of her savory dishes too.

  • I just made this. Followed directions and ingredients to the T. The only thing I don’t have is a trifle dish lol. I used my salad spinning bowl (large OXO brand). I hope it’s a decent size. I’ve never been awesome at making homemade whipped cream. I felt like mine was a little watery and flat, but not as bad as it could’ve been. It had some sad peaks but the fluffiness was somewhat there. I didn’t want to over beat because I’ve had it get chunky before. Will this compromise the overall texture and flavor of the dish?

    • Hi, Sorry to hear you had some problems with the whipped cream. Because of the other elements in the dish, I don’t think the imperfect texture will impact the trifle.

    • Are you beating your whip cream in a plastic bowl? If so, that could be the problem.

  • Hi Jenn, I am planning to make this for my brother’s 40th birthday on Boxing Day, do you think I could make this two days in advance and keep chilled? Looking forward to serving your Peruvian chicken & black bean salad for Xmas dinner!

    • That’s fine, Melissa – it keeps well for several days (and happy early 40th to your brother)!

      • Thank you Jenn, and I will pass on your birthday wishes too! It’s so nice how you take the time to reply your readers, I wanted to let you know that it really helps with planning for the busy Xmas season. Merry Xmas to you and your family!

        • Happy to help! Merry Christmas to you and yours! xo

  • OMG, this is beyond delicious. I did a half recipe dummy run for Christmas next month. Being a non cook, I made the mistake of putting the fruit straight from the fridge into the hot liquid jam. Of course it didn’t stay liquidy and that worried me a bit. What a wasted worry, the lady fingers still softened. The trifle was in the fridge 24 hrs. It was truly delicious. Of couse I gave credit to you, Jenn, and the recipe to our Australian visitors. Thank you so very much.

    • I’m wanting to make this for Christmas but noticed there’s no custard 😳
      Has anyone tried it with custard?

      • — Bek on December 4, 2019
      • Reply
  • Instead of blueberries try blackberries to make it a Xmas trifle. It was so good that a midnight fridge raider finished it off 🤣

  • Absolutely delicious. Made this for some potluck bbqs over the summer and everyone loved them.

  • Jenn, I would live to try this for our NZ summer Christmas. I have found the correct brand of biscuit but since I have no idea what lady fingers are, will biscotti work or do I keep looking? Many thanks, Susan

    • Hi Susan, I think the texture of biscotti will be too hard for this. If you can’t find the ladyfingers, it’s fine to use cut up pound cake. Hope you enjoy!

  • Hi Jen, lovvvve all your recipes which I pretty much make daily and I have your cookbook . I have made this trifle and we all love it. I have a question. My sister in law has gluten and dairy allergies. Any suggestions on how to make this gluten and dairy free?

    • So glad you like the recipes, Vicky! You could make a gluten-free cake to use instead of the ladyfingers in the trifle. Also, I saw that there is a brand of gluten-free ladyfingers that may work. The dairy-free element is more challenging as I’m not sure how dairy-free options would translate here. You could try looking for dairy-free cream cheese and a dairy-free whipped cream, just not certain how it will turn out as I haven’t tried it this way. Please LMK what you think if you try it!

  • This turned out excellent! My grocery store didn’t have the hard variety of lady fingers, just the soft ones in the bakery section, so I just placed them on a baking sheet in the oven at the lowest setting (170 degrees for mine) until they dried out. Mine was refrigerated for more then 8 hours and the texture was fine – not too mushy. I also used black raspberry seedless jam in place of plain raspberry jam and it was a fine substitution. The remaining ingredients and amounts I kept exactly as written and everyone loved it. I will definitely make this my go-to summer dessert. Thank you 🙂

  • I’ve made this several times and it always gets rave reviews! I brought it to a BBQ yesterday hoping to have leftovers, but it was the only dish completely gone. Several people asked for the recipe. I’ve made many recipes from the website and cookbook that have all been hits, several friends and family members use this site now too! Thank you so much!!

    • — Garland Picard
    • Reply
  • I see you say it should be refrigerated for 8 hours. Can it be refrigerated for up to 12 hours? Also if I use pound cake instead does it need to be refrigerated as long?

    • Sure, Gayle, it’s fine to refrigerate it for 12 hours. And, if you use pound cake, you could abbreviate the chilling time a bit, but I’d encourage you not to do much less than 8 hours. Hope you enjoy!

  • Hi Jenn – discovered your website just a few months ago and it is already my :go-to” – have tried at least a dozen recipes (this will be the 3rd I’ve made since yesterday!) – everything is wonderful and delicious. Question on the trifle, specifically the sugar content: I’ve made this once already, and it did come out looking and tasting delicious, but I we found the cream cheese “frosting” too sweet. I had thought that might be the case, but was afraid to substitute or reduce the confectioner’s sugar in case the consistency of the mixture would be affected. Now that I would like to make it again, but not so sweet, I wanted to see if you have any advice: can I eliminate the confectioner’s sugar entirely, reduce my half or even more, swap out with greek yogurt for a tarter taste? Thanks again for all the wonderful recipes…hope to purchase the cookbook soon! Already made & on the menu for tonight: Watermelon Gazpacho & Bulger salad with dill & cucumbers. yum!

    • Hi Kim, So happy you’re enjoying the recipes! I think you could reduce the confectioners’ sugar by half w/o any issues – and that would reduce the sweetness significantly. Hope that helps. 🙂

    • I switched out the cream cheese and substituted crepe fraiche and marscapone cheese…blended that with a packet of stevia and it was lighter tasting. Great recipe-easy to do and whenever I make it-people want the recipe,

  • Can this be make one day ahead?

    • Sure, Gloria.

  • Can I use marscpone instead of cream cheese?

    • Sure, Rosanne — that should work.

  • This recipe is phenomenal! Its the best summer dessert that ever was :-). I used only strawberries and blueberries and strawberry jam instead of raspberry jam. I also used maybe a 1/2 cup of jam because I ran out. It tasted amazing and it looked amazing. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

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