Easy Cherry Sauce Recipe
This homemade Cherry Sauce is loaded with sweet juicy cherries. Quick and easy to make, we love serving this cherry topping on Cheesecake, pancakes, waffles, vanilla ice cream, and pound cake. Cherry Sauce tastes like the filling for Cherry Pie.
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Homemade Cherry Sauce Recipe:
Fruit toppings are the perfect complement to many desserts, and this Cherry Sauce definitely can’t be beaten. I find that cherries make the perfect fruit topping for decadent desserts like cheesecake because the tartness of the cherries balances the indulgence of the dessert.
Nothing beats homemade sauces, be sure to also try our Strawberry Sauce and our Caramel Sauce as toppings for desserts or breakfast foods like pancakes and waffles!
How to Make Homemade Cherry Sauce:
This Cherry Sauce couldn’t be easier! All of the ingredients are cooked together in one saucepan and you are left with an irresistible sauce you’ll want to eat with a spoon!
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together water, lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar.
- Put the saucepan over medium heat and stir until it starts to thicken. Add cherries and continue stirring occasionally until sauce is at a light uniform boil and has thickened.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
Should I Use Sweet or Tart Cherries?
I love making this sauce with sweet cherries. Using sweet cherries means less added sugar is needed – only about 2 tablespoons. Tart cherries also work very well for cherry sauce, however, if using tart cherries I recommend adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar (or add sugar to taste) so the sauce isn’t too tart.
Can I Use Fresh or Frozen Cherries?
This Cherry topping recipe is so versatile – either fresh or frozen cherries work. Fresh cherries are perfect in the summer at the peak of their growing season.
Frozen cherries are a great choice when fresh cherries are out of season and are typically pre-pitted which can save you the step of removing cherry pits. Keep in mind, frozen fruit release more juice so add a little less water with frozen cherries.
Can This be Used as Cherry Pie Filling?
With a few modifications, this Cherry Sauce makes a delicious cherry pie filling! Simply double the recipe and add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken the sauce to allow your cherry pie to set up more firmly.
Since the Cherry Sauce is usually served over a sweet dessert, we love that it is a little tangy. If you prefer a sweeter cherry pie filling, be sure to add a little more sugar to sweeten the mixture.
How to Store Cherry Topping:
If you have leftovers of this delicious Cherry Sauce or need to make it in advance, the sauce will store well in the fridge for about 3 days. Let the sauce cool completely to room temperature then store in a glass mason jar or Tupperware container. This recipe also freezes well for future use.
Love Cherries? More Cherry Desserts:
- Classic Cherry Pie – with the best crust
- Cherry Upside-Down Cake – the fluffiest cake
- Cherry Crumble – delicious almonds on top
- Pineapple Cherry Dump Cake – quick and easy dessert
Easy Cherry Sauce
This quick and easy homemade Cherry Sauce is loaded with sweet juicy cherries. We love this cherry topping on cheesecake, waffles, ice cream, and cakes!
- 4 cups sweet cherries, (fresh or frozen), pitted*
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp sugar
In a medium saucepan (off the heat), add water (use 1/3 cup for fresh cherries and 1/4 cup water for frozen cherries). Whisk in 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp sugar.
Place over medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture starts to thicken.
Add cherries and cook stirring occasionally until sauce is at a light boil (about 6-10 minutes for fresh cherries and 12-15 minutes for frozen). The sauce should be thickened and uniformly bubbling, not just at the edges, then remove from heat.
Cool to room temperature then cover and store in the refrigerator in a glass mason jar or Tupperware container until ready to use. It will thicken more as it stands.
*1 lb of stemmed and un-pitted cherries equals 2 1/2 to 3 cups of cherries, so you will need about 1 1/3 lbs of cherries.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
Can I freeze the cherry sauce in a mason jar I have?
Hi Ruth, yes this recipe freezes well, however, I have not tried storing this sauce yet for more than a coupe of days.
This was okay. nothing outstanding about it. I cut my fresh cherries in half. Had to go back and quarter them. I had to add way more sugar as the lemon juice was overwhelming.
Hi Natasha. This recipe sounds so yummy. Is it possible to can the sauce instead of freezing. I bought 15 lb of cherries to make awesome desserts and sauces. Thanks
Hi Maureen! I haven’t tried canning this sauce but I think it could work well. You might add a little more sugar though for preserving the cherry sauce.
Made this tonight with two batches of cherries. One that has been in the fridge for a while so isn’t as fresh, and the remains of a fresh bag my kids had already eaten most of. When I tasted the cherries in the sauce that were not as fresh, they lacked really delicious cherry punchiness, but they were still pretty good with the added sugar.. However, when I tasted one of the cherries from the fresh bag (yellow ones, so I knew which were which) the flavor was outstandingly, amazingly delicious. So, I would recommend using the freshest cherries that you can, but if you have a bag that’s been in the fridge for a while don’t hesitate to use them up in this sauce. It’s a wonderful, easy recipe. Thanks for sharing it!!!
Hi Susanna! Thank you for the feedback and tips. So glad you enjoy this recipe.
This cherry sauce was not sweet at all,I put almond extract in to try to give it flavor but still not sweet.Iam disappointed that it was tasteless and it looked good on my cheesecake but flavor was awful.Waste of money and time.
Just made this sauce with my kiddo, it’s so good! Used fresh cherries & added a little almond extract. Using it for a funnel cake topping. So yummy and super easy!
Hi Leanne, nice one! Thanks for the good review, we’re so glad you and your family enjoyed thie recipe.
Do you think this could be canned and stored? I would like to make it and give as gifts during the holidays
Hi Gail, I haven’t tried canning this sauce but I think it could work well. You might add a little more sugar though for preserving the cherry sauce.
so excited to try this… looking for an alternative to storebought cherry sauce ! Will this recipe be ok if I store it overnight in the fridge?? Planning to use as a mini cheesecake topping
Hi Kristee, you can make this ahead and store it in the fridge.
Nice flavor! I used 1/4 cup sugar with tart cherries and also added 2 Tbsp bourbon. Will use as topping on pound cake and ice cream
So glad you love this recipe!
With the cherry sauce can you
leave it in the mason jar to freeze?
Then when needed thaw in the
Hi Byron, yes this recipe freezes well.
Hi Natasha! I plan to use this to top a cheesecake. Would you recommend just cooling to room temperature prior to topping the cheesecake, or fully chilling it first? I wasn’t sure if it would be too stiff to spread, if I chilled it all the way.
Hi Nikki, we prefer it chilled, but it should work both ways! I hope you love it!
I may not have read closely enough, but I can’t find mention of using canned cherries (NOT cherry pie filling, just plain, canned cherries, tart or sweet, in water. I’ll be using them for a cheesecake topping and I think they’ll be fine but wondering if there was a reason for not mentioning them?
They may work, I just haven’t tested it to advise.
I added 1/2 cup of sugar. 2 tablespoons was just not enough. I like it sweet!
Do you have a recipe for chocolate cheese cake my husband only likes chocolate thank you. And thank you for all the wonderful recipes you post.😋💜
Hi Helen, I don’t have a recipe for that yet. Thank you for suggesting that, I’ll make sure to share it if I find a great recipe for Chocolate cheesecake.
Hi Natasha! I love ALL your recipes! I made the cherry sauce by the letter but I don’t seem to have enough “juice”. I used fresh cherries. How can I make more juice? Thank you!
Hi Debbie, you could add a splash of water if the sauce seems too thick and that should work well.
Has anyone ever tried making this recipe any other way besides on the stove top? The kitchen I’m using doesn’t currently have a stove but I love this cherry topping for my cheesecakes! Any help is greatly appreciated!
I made your no-bake cheesecake with strawberries, it’s to die for. I also made it last week and wanted to eat the whole thing by myself in one sitting. My husband loved it too and asked me to make it again. So, I did. We’ll enjoy having it this week for dessert. This NY style cheesecake looks good too and the cherry sauce is what I can’t wait to make next. Thank you so much for making these videos. I really enjoy watching you cook, and love the easy and thorough way you teach us all.
Hello Vicky, thank you for sharing that with us. I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipes that you tried so far. I hope you love it all!
i see you on facebook ilove to watch you you look so happy
Thank you for watching our recipes, Mattie!
Just made this to use up the Hood River cherries I had before they started to go bad. So darn easy and it will top my homemade mini cheesecakes perfectly! Thank you so much!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Hayley!
Hi! I made this sauce for my mini cheesecake & didn’t use it all. I was wondering how long this sauce can be stored in the fridge? Also it is delicious!!
Hi Crystal, we usually try to use it up within a week of making the cherry sauce.
Hi Natasha!! We love your recipes! Our cheesecake is cooling now…. When making the cherry sauce do you boil for 12 – 15 minutes for frozen cherries or are you saying that’s how long it should take to reach a light boil all over? Can hardly wait for the cheesecake to cool😁.
Hi Kim, it will take about 6-10 minutes for fresh cherries and 12-15 minutes for frozen with a lightly boil-down.
I just made this sauce, and I’m going to top a bought New York style cheesecake from a very good bakery. I bought plain cheesecake purposely so that I could top it as desired. I had wonderful, fresh sweet cherries. In addition, I added about 1/3 cup dried, sour cherries, which reconstituted nicely, and added a fuller, rounder flavor along with the sweet. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. Fabulous!
That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Laura!
This was insanely easy and delicious! I had no idea it was this easy to make homemade cherry topping! I used fresh cherries and followed the recipe exactly. It turned out fantastic. Thanks for the great recipe, I will not be going back to the canned stuff:)
YASS! Isn’t it so yumm! I’m so happy you enjoyed that.
Could I skip cornstarch in this recipe ?
I haven’t tested this recipe without cornstarch to advise.
I do not care for the consistency cornstarch makes. I’d rather have a messy, runny pie, but if I’m concerned about appearance, I add just a bit of flour. That thickens it a bit without making it gloppy.
Corn starch is what thickens the juices of the cherries otherwise it would just be runny. You could try swapping out for tapioca flour/starch.
Can I add amaretto liquor to this will it still set for a topping?
Hi Amarri, I haven’t tested that but here is what one of our readers wrote: “I used frozen cherries and it turned out perfectly. I did add a splash of amaretto ….just because. It made it more Christmassy..lol”
Could this be used as a filling in a cake?
Hi Laura, I think that would be delicious to use this cherry sauce as a cake filling.
Hi Natasha – Big fan, your page has really got me into cooking this lockdown.
I have the cheesecake in the over as I type. Notice a couple of things:
1. The cheesecake has many brown circles around the cheescake, not smooth 1 colour. Any though why this would happen?
2. Your cheesecake is flat end to end whilst mine looks more of a dome, a little more risen around the centre. Not sure why 🤨
Hope you get a chance to see this and drop me a pointer if possible.
Thanks – Sh4mz
Hi Shamir, 1. I wonder if it has to do with hot spots in your oven? I haven’t had that experience. 2. Again, it sounds like maybe there are inconsistent heating going on – maybe your oven is running too hot?
Think the cornstarch measure should be a tspn rather than a tblspn. Was very thick and had to add more water.
Hi Christine, we used TBSP, and it turned out great. I hope you give this another try.
I agree with this. Should have been a teaspoon. Its super thick.
When using sour cherries, how much extra sugar should I add? The paragraph about using tart cherries says to add “1/4 to 1/4 cup” which is clearly a typo. Thx!
Hi Karen, thank you for catching that – it should be 1/4 to 1/2.
If I’m using frozen cherries, would I use the lesser 1/4 cup of water?
Frozen cherries are a great choice when fresh cherries are out of season and are typically pre-pitted which can save you the step of removing cherry pits. Keep in mind, frozen fruit release more juice so add a little less water with frozen cherries. I imagine that should work,
I have just made your perfect cheesecake and was wondering if I could use cherry pie filling for the real cherries ; as they are now out of season The cheesecake looks fab and I don,t want to ruin it by using something that will be not a good sub
Hi Ronald, I imagine that should work! I would love to know how you like that combination!
I used frozen cherries and it turned out perfectly. I did add a splash of amaretto ….just because. It made it more Christmassy..lol
Sounds great! I’m happy that you liked this recipe.
Hi Natasha, I love your videos. I find that your recipes are delicious and easy to follow, as well as adaptable to my families tastes and dietary restrictions. I do have one very important question, lol, just how many stand mixers do you have? It seems as though you use a different one for every video.
Hi Wendy, we are actually down to one red 6 Qt stand mixer. The videos were filmed over time and we have gone through a few in time.
If you use frozen cherries, do you have to defrost the cherries any before you start making the sauce? Thanks!
Hi Audrey, Fresh cherries would be perfect for this recipe but frozen or canned would work too. It might just release more juice so you might want to add a little less water and defrost them.
can you use canned cherries? if so, should I use the syrup in any way? or just drain it?
Fresh cherries would be perfect for this recipe but frozen or canned would work too. It might just release more juice so you might want to add a little less water.
Can I Use Blueberries Or Strawberries Instead Of Cherries For The Sauce
I have another recipe for the Strawberry Sauce.
If using ClearJel so that this could be water bath canned, how much ClearJel would be needed (how much ClearJel equates to the amount of cornstarch recommended)? Would it be 1 tablespoon ClearJel per batch or more? Or less?
Hi Elizabeth! I don’t have any experience with ClearJel to advise to be honest. If you happen to try that please let me know how you like that
I am NOT a cook but recent event has found me baking with my daughter. This recipe was easy to follow and tasted GREAT. Thanks for the inspiration.
My pleasure and I am so glad to hear that you are more inspired now to bake and cook more. Keep it up!
Absolutely delicious. I only used 2 cups of fresh cherries, with 1/3 cup water, 1 tblspn corns starch/sugar/lemon juice and I also added 1 tblspn honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
I’m so happy you enjoyed that!
Hi- can I use apple cider vinegar instead of Lemon Juice?
Hi Irina, I haven’t tried that but I think vinegar would be a little harsh and unpleasant with the cherries.
can you freeze this sauce? if so, for how long? i have read that cornstartch in food does not freeze well so I am apprehensive about this. thanks!
Hi Laura, yes this recipe freezes well, however, I have not tried storing this sauce yet for more than a coupe of days.
Any chance this recipe would work with peaches? I’m thinking about making cheesecake from scratch and offering a couple sauce choices (cherry and peach).
Hi Kevin, I haven’t tested with peaches but I think it would work. Depending on how juicy they are, they may need a little less time on the stove.
Just made this, and it’s unbelievably good! Much tastier than I imagined! The only thing is, I doubled the starch (hoping to mimic the store bought cherry pie filling) and it’s too thick…
How can I thin it out so it’ll flow nicely on a slice of cheesecake??
Hi Julia, if you warm it up a little bit, it will help to loosen it up. I tried the sauce with more starch when testing also and felt it was too much.
i just made her easy cheesecake and clicked the notes to find out that it was only 5 ingredients. it tasted way better than it looked and Natasha if you see this, what is your superpower? i need that too!
You’re so nice! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe!
i love making all your recipes with my mom because that is something i share with her. BTW i just made your sandwich and elote corn and it was sooooooooo tasty.
Awww that’s the best! Thank you so much for sharing that with me! I’m all smiles
i just made your chicken sandwich and you elote corn and it tasted so good. i made it with my mom becuase that is something we have a connection in.
That’s so nice! Great idea! Thank you for sharing that with us!
Just made this sauce today and it is so good and easy to make! Sharing with my friends!!
That’s just awesome Sarah! Thank you for sharing!
I’ll be making this cherry sauce and your cheesecake recipe this week and can’t wait! Can the Cherry sauce be canned to preserve longer?
Hi Sarah, I haven’t tried canning this sauce but I think it could work well. You might add a little more sugar though for preserving the cherry sauce.
If you are meaning to can this in a water bath canner you shouldn’t. The cornstarch will start to break down and/or form a congealed mass in the middle of the jar. Yuk! It is also not considered food safe. I use instant ClearJel if I am going to can a fruit sauce or fruit pie filling.
Sorry. I meant the cook type of ClearJel NOT the Instant!
Hi Leslie…….I hope you don’t mind if I ask a technical (to me, as I’m new to fruit sauces) question. Your great comments to Natasha’s Kitchen leads me to believe you know your way around sauces.
We had 14.8lbs of wonderful sour cherries from our tree here in St. Albert, Alberta. I’ve just finished making jam using the Certo pectin recipe and the 500ml. jars are here beside me on the counter. The heat of the jam into the hot sterilized jar (kept hot in the oven at 225*F until ready to fill) snaps the Bernardino top with the screw lid in about 8 to 10 minutes. I’ve used this method from Certo for 30 hrs. or more with no problem and nobody has croaked yet!
Question: If I was to use the tapioca flour/starch instead of cornstarch for the sauce thickening, wouldn’t it be just like the hot Certo jam labeled into the hot, sterilized jars and go rib onto the “canned item” shelves until the cheesecake or vanilla ice cream/yogurt comes to the table bare naked? Would you think using the cornstarch in Natasha’s recipe NOT degrade or jell in the middle using my jam method and NOT killing the sauce in a hot water bath canner?
If this makes any sense at all to you, plz email your thoughts back. Thank you so much and I hope I have not stepped on any toes that I shouldn’t have! Stay safe and well in these COVID-19 times and I look forward to hearing from you if at all possible………Bobbie Nicholson
This recipe was extremely welcome as my husband came home from a grocery run with some cherries from a store having misread the list. The cherries were well past their prime and the store has a no return policy! No more fresh produce from them! The cherries were a bit tart so I added a bit more sugar and used most of the cherries rather than having to toss them. Thank you for a most excellent save!
You’re very welcome Carol. Thanks for giving this recipe a try and for your great feedback!
I always add 1/2 tsp of almond extract to any fresh cherry recipe…my preference
Thank you so much for sharing that with us!
I am really wanting to try this and was wondering if the recipe would work with other fruit also? Possibly raspberries, strawberries and/or blueberries? In the recipe notes it says something about steamed and pitted cherries, did you mean stemmed? Just asking so I do this correctly. You rock and I love your videos.
Hi Tony, we have our easy raspberry sauce linked in the recipe also. Yes, we meant stemmed. Thank you.
This cherry sauce looks amazing. So good to have on hand for all kinds of yummy ways to eat it. I am going to make some this weekend. I know it will be a hit!
I hope you love this recipe! We look forward to your feedback!
Yummmm! I can’t wait to slather this all over everything.
Seriously the best! Thank you for sharing that great review with us!
Our cherries were a little tart, so I added a couple more tablespoons of sugar. So yummy over cheesecake!
I’m so happy you enjoyed that! Thank you, Kara!
My kids loved this! We used frozen cherries and it came out perfect!
I’m so happy to hear that you all loved the cherry sauce! Thanks for sharing your great review.
thank you Natasha for your delightful site, recipes, videos and person. thank you with best wishes.
You’re so welcome. Enjoy the recipes!