Saturday, February 21, 2015

Homemade maraschino cherries

homemade maraschino cherries

As a kid, I always felt fancy as fuck getting those Shirley Temple drinks. You know, the sugar bombs passing for a kid-friendly cocktail, made with Sprite, grenadine, and—of course—maraschino cherries. It was always a great treat, going out to eat and getting me one of those. I loved the sticky-sweet faux-cherry flavor of the grenadine and I loved picking out the little maraschino cherries and popping them into my mouth. Even reached my chubby little fingers into the glass if necessary.
Classy little lass, I was.

So it was only a matter of time before I decided to venture out and make my own maraschino cherries.

I’ve used them previously on this here blog, as they were featured prominently in this little pink loaf here. Then, I opted for the store-bought version, made with bleached cherries and loads of artificial flavoring. It may have been (mostly, if you consider that red food coloring often uses animal products) vegan, but we can certainly do better at home, no?

This here isn’t the epitome of virtuousness in terms of artificial flavoring. We still use a flavored liqueur—Maraschino, for which you can substitute pretty much any cherry-flavored liqueur in this case—containing plenty of red food coloring. However! You can rest assured that the cherries here are not bleached or whatever. And this concoction is actually much richer in flavor than its store-bought counterpart. Surprise, surprise!

Yeah I have no idea how to photograph this though.

Consider this a compromise. Yes, the liqueur probably doesn’t grow on a tree, but you do get the chance to feature fresh cherries. The Marasca variety isn’t exactly rolling off of store shelves, so feel free to use whatever variety you like—sweet, as I did, or maybe sour, or maybe something else. The result is a very sweet but also very bright (in flavor, not hue) cherry. I dunno. “Bright” seems like the only way to describe the difference between the homemade and store-bought. Maybe it’s the alcohol.

Yeah, it’s probably the alcohol. Here’s the recipe.


Homemade maraschino cherries

Adapted from The Cupcake Project


100 grams • granulated sugar • ½ cup

120 grams • water • ½ cup

8 grams • lemon juice • 2 teaspoons

1 cinnamon stick

Pinch nutmeg

454 grams • sweet cherries (Marasca cherries, if you can find them), pitted • 1 pound

240 grams • maraschino liqueur • 1 cup


In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cherries and simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add maraschino liqueur. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to jars to chill. Cherries should be cool to the touch before use.


Like little red eyeballs!

Why do you want homemade maraschino cherries on hand? Well, consider the opportunities this opens up—marvelous ice cream sundaes, beautiful cupcakes, even (dare I say it?) pancakes!

You were expecting that, weren’t you?

Anyway. Here are some other fruity desserts from this blog.

Momofuku-inspired apple pie cake. Really over-the-top and awesome.

Apple bundt cake with brown sugar glaze. A nice easy cake that everyone can enjoy.

Finnish blueberry-filled buns. A divine breakfast.


  1. Oh look at that. So clever, I never thought about making these at home, but it's brilliant. Thank you for sharing!

    1. It really is! Never have to buy maraschino cherries again! :D

  2. First of all, I was obsessed with Shirley Temples too. It was the best part of going out to dinner with the grandparents--getting a "fancy" drink like that. Secondly, I love that you made your own maraschino cherries! I've totally stuck with store-bought up until this point, but they're definitely more for looks than taste, and I'm intrigued about making my own that actually TASTE good!

    1. Yes, you should totally try to make them! Doesn't take long at all for something that tastes so good. :)

  3. Full disclosure: I still love Shirley Temples with a passion. I am probably way too old to order one without being hella judged, but I really, really want one. I'll settle for a cherry or seven though. My friend has made these before but I don't have her recipe. This seems like a fun project!

    1. Haha yes, I feel like that too--they're just so tasty :'( Glad you like the cherries though!

  4. I will have to try these ... they look perfect for a Manhattan! Thanks for sharing at Best of the Weekend:)

    1. I imagine they would be! Thanks for stopping by :)