A thick New York style bagel with a heaping helping of simple cream cheese slathered on it is one of the best things to wake up to in the morning.
It’s one of those simple breakfasts that goes perfectly with a steaming mug of coffee, however you take it.
With a bagel and schmear in one hand, a travel mug of coffee in the cup holder, blasting your favorite jams, that commute to work is vastly improved.
But we think it could be made even better with the addition of fresh, seasonal produce from the farmers market.
With the arrival of summer, it’s time for the return of your favorite cherry recipes. Alongside the homemade Black Forest cake, cheesecake, and pie, we’d like to suggest something a little simpler, that doesn’t require turning on the oven, or even the stove.
I am a huge fan of cherries, especially fresh ones. The sweet and tart taste of the fruit, the burst of juice that tickles your taste buds – it’s the epitome of summer, in edible form.
Imagine fresh fruit flavor on your classic morning bagel, super portable so you can just grab and go!
Are you ready to dive in?
This cherry cream cheese spread is such an easy upgrade to the typical plain variety, sure to brighten up your day. Sweet black cherries and tart cherry juice come together with the soft and mild cheese to give a touch of tanginess and sweetness.
This unique take on the classic topping is more than simply infusing the base with cherry flavor. Chopped dates and walnuts are also thrown into the mixture, adding some texture and chewiness to every single bite.
I love the crunch of the walnuts and the chewy sweetness of the dates. They provide a little added depth to the recipe, and when it’s slathered on a toasted bagel, every bite is an explosion of deliciousness.
The best part? With just a handful of ingredients, a batch of this will be ready to devour in a few minutes.
If you really want to cheer up friends and family, grab a pack of bagels and this delectable recipe. I guarantee that no one will be able to resist gobbling every last drop of cherry goodness.
It also makes a great hostess gift, or a bright and delicious addition to brunch and lunch gatherings at baby and bridal showers.Print
The Best Cherry Cream Cheese Spread
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
Want to upgrade your bagel game? Celebrate cherry season with this sweet and tangy cream cheese spread, made with fresh fruit.
- 8 ounces plain cream cheese
- 4 teaspoons tart cherry juice
- 2 teaspoons chopped pitted dates
- 2 teaspoons chopped walnuts
- 3 teaspoons pitted and chopped fresh cherries
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly combined. The mixture is ready when the walnuts, dates, and cherries are distributed evenly, with tiny pieces throughout.
- Slather on toasted bagels and enjoy.
Adapted from a recipe by Shanna Mallon
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Spread
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: Dips and Spreads
Keywords: cream cheese, cherry, bagel spread
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients
Pit the cherries and chop them. Set aside.
Chop the dates and walnuts, setting aside until ready to use.
Measure the remaining ingredients, keeping them nearby.
Step 2 – Combine
Add all ingredients to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture is creamy and the chunky ingredients are distributed evenly throughout it. Scrape the sides of the canister with a spatula as needed.
For a chunkier version, you can mix by hand.
Why Use Fresh?
When it comes to making this spread, using fresh cherries and real tart cherry juice makes all the difference in terms of flavor.
The tartness really comes across in the spread and it isn’t too sweet, making it a great topping for savory bagels so you get just the right balance in every single bite.
Of course, fresh cherries aren’t always available and sometimes you have to make do.
Here’s a tip: You can also use frozen cherries if you need to. Be sure to thaw them out before you make the recipe, and keep in mind that they will have a softer texture than the fresh version.
Of course, if maraschino cherries are all you have on hand in your pantry, these can be used in a pinch. This is not my preferred option since the spread will be much sweeter, but the liquid in the jar makes a fine substitute for tart cherry juice.
Rather than adding those glowing orbs of the mass produced kind (you know the ones, full of artificial dye and preservatives) if you’re a fan of a sweet spread, try our recipe for homemade maraschinos.
Looking for other fun ways to use this summer-fresh cherry recipe? Here are a few of my favorites that are fantastic to experiment with, using this spread as a substitute for plain cream cheese:
- Try a Black Forest take on your favorite cream cheese brownies, with chocolate shavings subbed in for the walnuts
- Top carrot cake, fill whoopie pies, and make cinnamon rolls more memorable using this version in the glaze
- Take the classic cheese ball up a notch by using this spread, rolled in chopped walnuts.
When you make this recipe, tell us in the comments below how you like to use this spread and what type of bagel (try our einkorn flour bagel recipe!) you love to spread it on. And be sure to leave a five-star rating if you loved it!
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Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on December 14, 2009. Last updated: July 12, 2021 at 12:21 pm.
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.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.
4 thoughts on “Upgrade Your Bagel Game with this Cherry Cream Cheese Spread”
This was a beautiful post! I remember places and times in terms of food as well. I loved your clean writing and description of fond Christmas memories attached to food.
Thanks, Nancy, for your sweet comment!
I’m making this for a New Year’s party tonight. Thought you’d like to know!
Yay! I hope everyone liked it! You’ll have to let me know.