Learn to make the perfect cherry topping for your desserts in just a few easy steps! This step-by-step guide will show you how to make a simple cherry sauce using either fresh or frozen cherries.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe for cherry dessert sauce
- It's versatile: A simple cherry sauce can add flavour and interest to many dishes, from waffles at breakfast time to ice cream or cake for dessert.
- Cherries are a healthy choice: Cherries are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C, fiber, potassium and anti-inflammatory compounds. Cherries also contain melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. They just might help you sleep!
- Use fresh or frozen cherries: While I love snacking on fresh cherries, I like cooking with frozen cherries, as they come pre-pitted. They're so handy to have in the freezer.
- Also known as cherry compote, it freezes well too.
You'll find my obsession with cherries in this collection of 8 Fabulous Recipes for Fresh or Frozen Cherries.
🛒 Ingredients and substitutions
You'll find a complete list of ingredients with amounts in the recipe card below. But before we get to the full recipe, here are a few notes about the ingredients.
- cherries: You can use either fresh or frozen cherries. Frozen cherries come pre-pitted, making this a simple recipe to make. You can use any type of cherries: bing cherries, rainier cherries or even tart cherries.
- lemon juice: a small amount of fresh lemon juice will enhance the flavour of cherries.
- sugar: if your cherries are very ripe, you'll only need a small amount of sugar.
- cornstarch: mix with water to make a slurry to thicken the sauce.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, water, and cornstarch, then add sugar.
Stir the mixture over medium heat until it begins to thicken a little.
Add the cherries and continue to stir occasionally until the sauce boils uniformly, not only at the edges (about 10 minutes when using frozen cherries.)
Remove the thickened sauce from the heat and let it cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
👍🏼 Helpful Tips
This simple cherry sauce recipe calls for a small amount of sugar. If you prefer, you can substitute another sweetener. I've made fruit sauces with 0-calorie monkfruit sweetener, but it tends to crystallize once it cools. If this crystallization doesn't bother you, you can make this a sugar-free cherry sauce!
If you're using fresh cherries, you'll have to pit them first. Save yourself the headache of fussing with them and use a cherry pitter.
🔁 Possible flavour variations
You can enhance cherry sauce by adding one of the following flavourings after you remove the sauce from the heat.
- ¼ teaspoon of pure almond extract
- ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
- a couple of tablespoons of Amaretto or brandy.
Sour cherries make a delicious sauce, but you will likely want to increase the amount of sugar or other sweetener.
Cherry pie filling must be thicker than cherry sauce, so you would have to double the amount of cornstarch.
🍽 Ways to use cherry sauce
Cherry sauce can be used in many recipes, from breakfast to dinner! Try it on pancakes or waffles, with cherry baked oatmeal cups, stirred into oatmeal, or on top of granola. But don't stop at breakfast!
Can you imagine how delicious cherry topping would be on pavlova?
⏰ How long will cherry sauce last?
Stored in a glass jar with a lid in the fridge, cherry sauce will last for up to 2 weeks.
🥶 Can I freeze cherry sauce?
Cherry sauce freezes well. Freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months or more. I like to freeze it in ½ cup or 1 cup portions so I can thaw only what I need.
🗒 More recipes for seasonings and sauces
When you make this recipe for cherry topping, please leave a comment and a star rating below. I love hearing from you! Thanks in advance. Subscribe to my newsletter and receive new recipes delivered straight to your inbox once a week.
How to make a simple cherry sauce
- 4 cups 1.6 lbs or 725 gm. pitted cherries, fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, water, and cornstarch, then add the sugar.
- Stir the mixture over medium heat until it begins to thicken a little.
- Add the cherries and continue to stir occasionally until the sauce boils uniformly, not only at the edges (about 10 minutes when using frozen cherries.)
- Remove the thickened sauce from the heat and let it cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools.