Homemade Maraschino Cherries (Alcohol Free)

Homemade maraschino cherries like the ones you buy from the market.

You know those bright red cherries that look like Rudolph’s red nose and are sickly sweet? The ones full of high fructose corn syrup, red food coloring and preservatives. All the things I try to avoid.

I used to love those. When I was like 5. They were the first things I looked for when I went to my Grandma’s house. Back then they were probably made with real sugar. You’d be hard-pressed to find them being made with sugar today. A fact of life I find frustrating.

So what’s a girl to do but make her own.

They couldn’t be simpler with only four ingredients: water, honey, cherries and vanilla extract.

Honey, cherries and water simmer together to make the syrup then is strained to remove the mushy cherries. The sweetened cherry syrup and more fresh cherries (whole or pitted) are slowly simmered for 10 minutes to soften the cherries a bit and infuse some flavor into them. A dash of vanilla extract and you’re good to go.

These aren’t exactly like store-bought maraschinos. How could they be? They’re better. And different. They have impeccable flavor and are soft but still firm with the just the right amount of sweetness to not be cloying. And that cherry syrup? You’ll want to drink it as is or make cherry limeade or cherry iced tea with it.

These are best after sitting in the syrup for 24-48 hours and need to be eaten with a week or two unless you go through the process of canning them.

Homemade Maraschino Cherries (Alcohol Free)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Homemade Maraschino Cherries (Alcohol Free)

Homemade maraschino cherries like the ones you buy from the market.


3 cups bottled water
1 cup honey
1/2 cup bing cherries, chopped (pits and stems removed)
6 cups whole or pitted bing cherries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. To a large saucepan add water, honey and chopped cherries. Bring to a slow simmer and cook 15 minutes. Strain the mixture through a wire strainer fitted over a large, heat-proof bowl. Discard the cherries.
  2. Add the sweet syrup back to the pan along with the whole cherries. Bring to a slow simmer and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Allow to cool. Store in glass jars refrigerated. Eat within 1-2 weeks.

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  1. Sara says

    We live in VT and just went cherry picking at a local farm…we have TONS of cherries…lol. My 7 year old would love these – do they have to be canned in a pressure canner, or would regular canning work? I’d love to make some for the winter months! Thanks ~ Sara

    • says

      Hi Barb! No. Those are already maraschino-ed! If you can find a different type of fresh cherry that would be ok. Otherwise you may have to wait for cherry season to come around again.

  2. says

    love this (of course!) I used to love them too – my sisters and I always got Shirley Temple drinks the few times our parents took us out to eat at our local chinese restaurant. So cool!

  3. says

    I had a real maraschino cherry in a drink just once, and I loved how dark and real tasting it was. So nice to know they’re this easy to make at home!

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