How to Make Easy Maraschino Cherries

Maraschino Cherries
S&C Design Studios
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 30 servings
Yield: 1 quart
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
42 Calories
0g Fat
10g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 30
Amount per serving
Calories 42
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 37mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Yes, you can buy a jar of maraschino cherries, but the standard process of making maraschino cherries today leaves a lot to be desired. They're often bleached then filled with artificial colors and sweeteners. Why ruin a perfectly good cocktail with an inferior garnish? Garnishes are supposed to enhance drinks, not bring them down. Rather than indulge in these mutant cherries, think about making your own at home. It's incredibly easy and these boozy little cherries are ones you're going to want to nibble on!

This method is similar to the original way that maraschino cherries were made. It uses maraschino liqueur as the preservative and your cherries will be ready in just a couple of weeks. A batch will last quite a long time and you can make as few or as many as you like.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh cherries, pitted

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups maraschino liqueur​

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add the cherries and sugar to a 1-quart (or two 1-pint) jars with tight sealing lids. The cherries should fill the container but should not be crammed inside.

  3. Pour enough maraschino liqueur into the jar(s) to cover the cherries completely.

  4. Shake well to dissolve the sugar, about 30 seconds. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 weeks, gently shaking each jar twice a day.

  5. After 1 week, test the cherries to see if they have reached your desired taste. Once ready, use the cherries to garnish your favorite drinks or desserts.

Tips

  • If you have more cherries than comfortably fit in the jar, use a second jar for the remainder. How many jars you end up needing is going to vary based on the size of the cherries as well as the jars you use.
  • Store your finished maraschinos in the original jars and keep them refrigerated. The liqueur will continue to preserve them, so they should be good for quite a long time.

Many Ways to Make Homemade Maraschinos

Maraschino liqueur is just one of the many spirits you can use to make maraschinos at home—though note that the liqueur is pronounced mare-uh-SKEE-no and the cherries are pronounced mare-uh-SHEE-no. Maraschino liquer a nice option because it naturally enhances the flavor of the fruits. Brandy, vodka, and rum are other popular liquors to use as well.

There are many homemade recipes for maraschino cherries and this is one of the most basic and easiest. Other methods include adding different coloring agents or require traditional canning methods, longer preparation times, excess flavoring ingredients, and other variations on the factors involved. You can certainly employ any of those and create your own custom cherries.

If you want to make an alcohol-free maraschino, you will need to do a little more prep work. Since there's no alcohol to act as a preservative, this recipe requires a traditional canning approach. They're quite tasty and cherries that everyone can enjoy.

Choosing and Pitting Your Cherries

The sour Marasca cherry is the original "maraschino" and remains an excellent choice. Feel free to use any variety of cherry you desire. Bing cherries are a good option among the sweet cherry varieties.

Many cherries come into season in the spring and summer, but keep an eye out in the markets throughout the year. When you do find great cherries at a good price, consider stocking up. A large enough batch of maraschinos may even last you until the next cherry season.

While frozen cherries can make acceptable maraschino cherries, you will find it better to stick with fresh cherries. Even the best looking frozen cherries do not look great in a cocktail glass. 

Take the Pain Out of Pitting

If your cherries are not pitted you will want to invest in a cherry pitter. Pitted cherries (stem or no stem) are expected in cocktails. While you can pit cherries with tools that are already in your kitchen, you will find that a good pitter makes this task go much faster.