Easy Cherry Sauce

Easy Cherry Sauce

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
35 Calories
0g Fat
9g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 35
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 3mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 51mg 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.)

Cherries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and packed with vitamin C and fiber. When in season, plump and sweet cherries are wonderful treats eaten raw, but they also make wonderful jellies, sauces, syrups, pie fillings, and great additions to frozen desserts.

While most cooks gravitate towards more common sauces like strawberry, making a cherry sauce is simple and will give you a versatile ingredient to add to many sweet treats. Use the type of cherries that you like the best; Bing cherries are one of the most common, but a sour cherry makes an interesting sauce as well, as the sour taste plays nicely against the sweetness of the sugar.

Our recipe can be made with fresh or frozen cherries, the latter being super simple to work with as they come pitted. Just keep in mind that frozen fruit yields a lot more water than fresh, so you'd have to cut the water amount in half and check the texture, adding extra water to suit your preferred thickness. For fresh cherries follow the recipe as is, and give yourself extra time to pit them, always being careful of hard-to-wash cherry juice stains.

Recipes like this are a great way to use up cherries if you have trees that are overproducing or when they are in season and inexpensive at the farmers market. The sauce keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

"If you are looking to amp up your store-bought cheesecake or bring your vanilla ice cream to the next level, this is all you need. This super easy and fast recipe will make an excellent cherry topping or sauce." —Tracy Wilk

Cherry Sauce Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 16 ounces cherries, fresh or frozen

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cherry Sauce Ingredients (cherries, lemon, sugar, water, corn starch)

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. If working with fresh cherries, wash them thoroughly and carefully remove all the stems and pits.

    remove the pits and stems from the cherries in the bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. In a medium saucepan, place the cherries (fresh or frozen), sugar, and water. If using frozen cherries, add just half the amount of water to begin with. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.

    Cherry mix cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. In a small bowl, stir the lemon juice and cornstarch together until smooth.

    Cornstarch and lemon juice in a cup

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the boiling cherry mixture.

    cornstarch mixture combined with the cherry mixture in the pan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. If working with frozen cherries, check on the texture of the mixture and add one tablespoon of water at a time if too thick.

    cherry mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Return the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. Don't let the sauce scorch on the bottom.

    Stirring cherry sauce in a pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. Cook until the liquid has properly thickened, about one more minute.

    cherry sauce cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  9. Remove the pot from the heat and taste. Add a little extra sugar or lemon juice if needed at this point, depending on your personal preference. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before using it.

    Easy Cherry Sauce in a pot with sugar

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

How to Use Cherry Sauce

This flavorful cherry sauce can be used in a number of ways. Here are some tasty suggestions:

  • Cakes, cupcakes, and pie filling: to top cakes and cupcakes, or to use as a pie filling, double the amount of cornstarch to make the sauce very thick.
  • Cheesecake and poundcake: top cheesecakes and serve alongside pound cakes for a perfect contrast to the silky desserts.
  • Pancakes, crepes, waffles: top homemade pancakes, crepes, or waffles with cherry sauce, and serve with a spoonful of whipped cream.
  • Ice-cream: top ice cream bowls and cones, or mix 1 cup of cherry sauce with 1 pint of vanilla ice cream, and freeze again for a homemade cherry ice cream.
  • Pork, lamb, and cooked ham: serve alongside roasted pork, a leg of lamb, and cooked ham to contrast the bold savory flavors with the sweet and tangy cherries.

Can I Use Canned Cherries?

Canned cherries are a great last-resort type of fruit. Although most are heavily sugary, some organic brands have less added sugar, or are processed without syrup, the ideal kind for our sauce. If they are canned in syrup, either use the syrup instead of water and reduce the sugar amount by half or rinse them in water before using.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cherries, Raw. FoodData Central.