homemade maraschino cherries

Gone are the days of bright pink maraschino cherries. You know, the ones that topped your Shirley Temples when you were a kid.  Now is the time to graduate to the big leagues of adult maraschino cherries for your grown up drinks and sophisticated sundae toppers. 

A while ago I discovered Luxardo cherries. They’re a giant step up from the aforementioned neon pink orbs that are found everywhere. However, at $20 a jar, they’re ridiculously expensive.  This summer I decided to try my hand at making my own Luxardo style maraschino cherries. While I didn’t use special Maraska cherries found in Croatia and Italy, I think my Pacific Northwest cherries held up well.












I’ve made three batches of maraschino cherries this summer, and I have pink-hued fingers to prove it. The cherries are delicious and nowhere near the expensive sticker price of the Italian imported Luxardo cherries.


My kitchen notes

I like to use firm cherries that won’t get too mushy after they cook.

Luxardo liqueur can be found at most liquor stores.

If you’re not into canning, you can simply fill your own jars and skip the hot water processing step. Cherries will be fine in the refrigerator for a month.


Maraschino Cherries

4 eight-ounce jars with rings and lids

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 vanilla bean, scraped

1 cinnamon stick

Juice from 1 lemon

1/2 cup water

1 pound cherries, pits removed

1 cup Luxardo liqueur



  1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and scraped innards from vanilla bean. Rub the vanilla bean with the sugar until it’s evenly distributed throughout.

2. Turn the heat on medium, add the cinnamon stick, lemon juice and water. Bring mixture to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Turn the heat to low and add cherries. Cook at a simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly softened.


4. Remove from heat and stir in Luxardo liqueur. Allow mixture to cool. Remove cinnamon stick.


5. Fill four sterilized jars with cherries and liquid so cherries are submerged.

6. Process jars in large stockpot of boiling water for 10 minutes.

7. Remove jars from water and allow to cool completely. Lids will seal as the jars cool.


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