Homemade Maraschino Cherries: The Perfect Topping for Any Dessert

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Growing up, I always loved having dessert when my family ate out at a restaurant. Most importantly, I loved the red maraschino cherry on the top of whatever dessert I was having that day.

Have you ever made maraschino cherries at home? Once you've tried this recipe, it's sure to become a go-to for desserts and cocktails. Plus, it's dye-free! Get the recipe now: https://foodal.com/recipes/desserts/homemade-maraschino-cherries/

Whether it was a big ice cream sundae or a large slice of black forest cake, that cherry made the dessert seem complete.

Do you know how easy it is to make your own maraschino cherries? This alcohol-free recipe is not only quick and simple, but these also taste so much better than the store-bought ones. You can be sure that your guests will be impressed! Get the recipe on Foodal now, and make your own maraschino cherries today!

I never actually wondered how the cherries were made as a kid. But recently, I found out that they are actually a cinch to make at home.

Reaching for Maraschino Cherries | Foodal.com

This recipe for homemade maraschino cherries is incredibly simple, and best of all, these cherries actually taste so much better than the store-bought ones.

While they’re not dyed artificially red like those from the store, these are definitely way better. Trust me.

Fresh Cherries | Foodal.com

This recipe does not include any alcohol. But if you prefer, you can always make a spiked version by adding a bit of cherry liqueur to yours – or brandy, vodka, bourbon, or rum. These make a wonderful addition to cocktails!

All you need to make your own batch is a little patience to pit the fruits, and a few basic ingredients like sugar, citrus, and warming spices.

Homemade Maraschino Cherry Ingredients | Foodal.com

Once you’ve tried making your own, you’ll never go back to the commercially available premade ones again!

Turn Maraschinos into Candied Cherries for Baking

These also come in handy for holiday baking, if you take the simple recipe one step further.

To make your homemade maraschinos into candied cherries to top your Christmas cookies, drain the jar and reserve the syrup. Combine about 1/2 cup of the reserved maraschino juice with 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a saucepan, and stir over medium heat until the sugar is almost completely dissolved. Then add the cherries, stir, and bring to a boil.

Maraschino Cherries with Cinnamon and Star Anise | Foodal.com

 

Cover and reduce the heat, and simmer until the cherries are slightly dehydrated and firm, for about 1 hour. Take the lid off your pot and remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely, then transfer the cherries to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.

Once they’re dry, these can be used in holiday baking, to make a figgy pudding, top sweet desserts, and of course, to decorate buttery cookies like these delicious, tender Snowflakes. Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for about six months.

Alcohol-Free Maraschino Cherries | Foodal.com

Tip: Frozen cherries can also be used to make this recipe, if the fresh version is unavailable in your area in the wintertime. There’s no need for pitting (which will save you some time!) and you can reserve the liquid from the defrosted fruit to use in place of some of the water.

Ready to make your own maraschino cherries? Let’s head straight to the recipe!

The Recipe

Homemade Maraschino Cherries Recipe | Foodal.com
Homemade Maraschino Cherries
Votes: 9
Rating: 3.56
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The perfect topping for any dessert, these delicious non-alcoholic homemade maraschino cherries are tart yet sweet, and they can be made in just one hour!
Servings Prep Time
5 people 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 3 days
Servings Prep Time
5 people 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 3 days
Homemade Maraschino Cherries Recipe | Foodal.com
Homemade Maraschino Cherries
Votes: 9
Rating: 3.56
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
The perfect topping for any dessert, these delicious non-alcoholic homemade maraschino cherries are tart yet sweet, and they can be made in just one hour!
Servings Prep Time
5 people 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 3 days
Servings Prep Time
5 people 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 3 days
Ingredients
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 pound whole cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise pod
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Reserve the peel, and juice the orange. You will need 1/2 cup juice for this recipe.
  2. Remove the stems and pits from the cherries.
  3. Combine the water, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, salt, cinnamon, star anise, and orange peel in a large skillet over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and allow the ingredients to simmer until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the pitted fruit, and let it simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, until the syrup has a faint cherry taste.
  6. Once the syrup is ready, transfer the ingredients to a bowl to prevent them from cooking further.
  7. Once cooled, transfer the ingredients to a clean glass jar and cover. Place the jar in the refrigerator and let them soak for at least three days before eating.
Recipe Notes

 

Adapted from Cupcake Project

Nutritional Information*

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Maraschino Cherries
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1232 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0.2g 1%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2g
Sodium 8mg 0%
Potassium 1160mg 33%
Total Carbohydrates 319g 106%
Dietary Fiber 10g 40%
Sugars 297g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 8%
Vitamin C 145%
Calcium 9%
Iron 8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prepare the Mise en Place

Start pitting the cherries, doing your best to leave them whole.

Pitting Fresh Cherries | Foodal.com

You can do this using a cherry pitter, by cutting a small incision in the base of the cherry and squeezing or scooping out the pits, or by using this trick:

Place a cherry on the top of a narrow-necked glass bottle, and quickly poke the pit through with a wooden chopstick or skewer. Simple as that! Note that this only works with very ripe cherries, though.

Prepping Citrus to Make Homemade Maraschino Cherries | Foodal.com

When all of your stone fruit is prepped, carefully remove the peel from an orange, and set it aside. Then juice the citrus – you’ll need about 1/2 cup of each liquid.

Set out the cinnamon stick and star anise. Finally, measure out the water and sugar.

Prepped Ingredients to Make Maraschino Cherries | Foodal.com

Step 2 – Prepare the Syrup

In a large skillet over high heat, combine the water, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, salt, cinnamon stick, star anise, and orange peel.

Flavor Maraschino Cherries with Orange, Cinnamon, and Star Anise | Foodal.com

Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has fully dissolved.

Step 3 – Add Fruit and Simmer

Add the fruit and allow it to simmer over low heat for approximately 10 minutes, until the syrup has a faint cherry taste.

Cooking Cherries in a Pan | Foodal.com

Be sure to actually taste the syrup at this point, if you can – this is the best way to know how your recipe is coming along, and it’s part of the fun!

Step 4 – Cool and Store

Once the syrup is ready, transfer the ingredients into a bowl to cool – this will prevent them from cooking further, as you want the fruit to be cooked but not mushy.

If you're not a fan of Red Dye #40, step away from the premade commercial stuff and make your own maraschino cherries at home! With fresh citrus and warming spices, this delicious treat is perfect for topping ice cream sundaes and others desserts (and they're great in a cocktail too!) Get the recipe: https://foodal.com/recipes/desserts/homemade-maraschino-cherries/

Once cooled, remove the spices and citrus peel, transfer the fruit and liquid to a jar, and cover it with a lid. Place the jar in the refrigerator and let the fruit soak in the syrup for at least three days before eating.

These can keep for up to three months in the refrigerator.

Take your ice cream sundaes and Black Forest Cake to new heights, with Homemade Maraschino Cherries! We share the recipe: https://foodal.com/recipes/desserts/homemade-maraschino-cherries/

While these preserved fruits tend to be used as decorative toppings for desserts or a garnish for drinks, this homemade version tastes so good that you can even eat them on their own.

Serve Dessert with a Cherry on Top!

Now it’s time to impress your guests by serving dessert with a homemade maraschino cherry on top! And this home cooked fruit preserved in syrup will taste so much better than the store-bought ones – even though they won’t look quite so artificially red!

Jar of Maraschino Cherries with Warming Spices | Foodal.com

Do you like your maraschino cherries with or without alcohol? Let us know in the comments below!

Photos by Felicia Lim, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Felicia Lim

Felicia Lim is a Singaporean who moved to Argentina for love. Based in Buenos Aires, also known as “the Paris of South America,” she fills her days with freelance writing, recipe development, and food photography – three passions that give her endless joy. When she isn’t typing away at her computer, cooking in the kitchen, or shooting in her balcony-studio, you can probably find her curled up on the couch, lost in the pages of a good book.

6 thoughts on “Homemade Maraschino Cherries: The Perfect Topping for Any Dessert”

    • Hi Teri! You can add about 3/4 cup of alcohol and you should add it together at the same time as the citrus juices in the saucepan! Hope this helps 🙂

    • Hey Courtney! I haven’t tried canning these but I believe if you sterilize your jars very well, there shouldn’t be any problem!

    • Hey Linsey! Thanks!! Nope, I haven’t tried canning these yet, but I’m pretty sure if you sterilize your jars well, it should work! Do let us know if you’ve tried canning them – we’d love to hear your feedback!

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