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Here’s how to make homemade maraschino cherries. They’re kid-friendly for Shirleys and desserts and equally great for cocktails.

homemade maraschino cherries in a glass jar
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Why we love this recipe

Nothing tops off an ice cream sundae or a Shirley Temple like a maraschino cherry. But the jarred version is, shall we say, not 100% natural. If you’re lucky enough to have sour cherries on hand, making your own maraschinos couldn’t be quicker, easier, or more rewarding.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Sour cherries, also called tart cherries, are delicate, thin-skinned, and bright red. As the name suggests, they’re very sour, and they have a floral briskness that really shines when lightly sweetened. They come in several varieties, including Moreno and Montmorency (pictured). You can use them interchangeably.
  • Beyond that, you’ll just need sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and water.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a beautiful batch of homemade maraschino cherries.

  1. Pit the cherries, leaving stems intact.
  2. Stir together the water and sugar. Heat until sugar dissolves completely.
  3. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.
  4. Pour syrup over cherries, submerging completely. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight before using.

Expert tips and FAQs

Where do you get sour cherries?

We get them once a year by picking as many as we can at Battleview Orchards and freezing them for use throughout the year. You can also buy morello cherries frozen or in a jar. If working with jarred cherries, drain thoroughly before using.

How long do they keep?

Maraschino cherries will keep in the fridge for at least a month.

More favorite ways to use sour cherries

homemade maraschino cherries in a glass jar

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homemade maraschino cherries in a glass jar
4.63 from 32 votes

Homemade Maraschino Cherries

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Here's how to make homemade maraschino cherries. They're kid-friendly for Shirleys and desserts and equally great for cocktails.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 50 cherries
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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups (300 grams) sour cherries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Pit the cherries, leaving stems intact, and place into a pint-sized jar.
  • Stir together the water and sugar in a small pot and heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Pour syrup over cherries, submerging completely.
  • Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight before using.

Notes

  1. Sour cherries, also called tart cherries, are delicate, thin-skinned, and bright red. As the name suggests, they’re very sour, and they have a floral briskness that really shines when lightly sweetened. They come in several varieties, including Moreno and Montmorency (pictured). You can use them interchangeably.
  2. Maraschino cherries will keep in the fridge for at least a month.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 1kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sauces and Condiments
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.63 from 32 votes (32 ratings without comment)

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5 Comments

  1. One of the flavors used in commercial maraschino cherries is almond extract. Would it be better to substitute for part of the vanilla or just add the almond extract to the recipe? Thoughts?

  2. Hi, I made these before and they were delicious! I need to make them again to go in a cake I am making for a customer, but they are not yet in season – can I use frozen cherries and would the texture be ok? Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi, Kat! So glad you like them. The texture of defrosted cherries will be a lot softer, but I think they would be fine if you’re planning to use them in a cake. Please let me know how it goes if you try it!