Simple and quick homemade cherry sauce made with either sweet or sour cherries, fresh, canned, or frozen cherries.
I am still trying to get through the last of my sweet cherries… So many of them this year, and I picked as many as I could reach.
I preserved countless jars of cherries, made cakes like this Swiss cherry tart or Cherry Brownies that I would like to post during the next days, roasted cherries on top of strained yogurt, and so on.
And this cherry sauce to serve on waffles as well. I’ve made this sauce so many times I could make it in my sleep.
Table of contents
What cherries to use for making sauce?
As mentioned above, this cherry sauce can be made either with fresh, frozen, or canned cherries.
Fresh or frozen cherries
- The procedure is pretty much the same; the only difference would be that when using fresh or frozen cherries, I would simmer the cherries for 2 or 3 minutes to soften them lightly or to allow them to defrost and get warm if frozen.
- If you use canned cherries, this step is not necessary; canned cherries have already gone softer during the process of preservation. All you have to do in this case is to give them to the thickened liquid in the saucepan.
Sweet or sour cherries
- Usually, I use the sweet cherries from our cherry tree to make the sauce. When cherries are not in season, I use the cherries I preserved in summer.
- If I don’t have any preserved cherries anymore, I either buy frozen cherries (mostly sour cherries) or canned cherries, which are always sour cherries.
How to make cherry sauce?
- Pit fresh cherries. Using a pitter works best (Amazon affiliate link) (1).
- Strain the liquid if using canned cherries (2). Reserve about 4-5 tablespoons of juice (or use water) to mix with the cornstarch.
- Pour about 180 ml/ ¾ cup of the cherry liquid into a saucepan. If there is more than ¾ cup of juice in the can, you can use it all; just think of adjusting the cornstarch quantity needed to thicken the juice accordingly.
- If using fresh or frozen cherries, pour about 180 ml/ ¾ cup of water into the pot.
- Add sugar to the pot.
- About 1-2 tablespoons for canned fruit, which already contains some sugar.
- 2 or 3 tablespoons for fresh or frozen sweet fruit and maybe 1 tablespoon more for sour cherries. It all depends on your taste. If you like, use less sugar or make the sauce sweeter.
- Whisk the reserved juice or water (4-5 tablespoons) with the cornstarch. You should have a smooth, thick, yet still pourable paste (3).
- Bring the liquid to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
- Add the cherries to the sauce and stir well. Return the pot to the heat, turn the heat down and simmer the fresh or frozen cherries for 2 or 3 minutes or until slightly softer (4).
- If using canned cherries, it is enough to let them bubble once or twice until the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Add flavors. You can leave the cherry sauce plain, and it will still be delicious.
- However, to make it even better, add some fresh lemon or lime juice.
- Alternatively, you could flavor it with ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract or, in winter, with a pinch of cinnamon.
If you make the sauce with canned fruit and you use the juice, be careful with the sugar; depending on the brand you are buying, canned fruit is often heavily sugared.
You can add more sugar if you like (or other sweeteners). As we serve it on top of a sweet dessert most of the time, we prefer it a bit tarter to balance the sweetness of the dessert. However, especially if making the sauce with sour cherries, you can add sugar to taste.
The cherry sauce keeps well in the fridge. Place it in an airtight container; it will keep for about a week.
Sure. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water and reheat on low heat while stirring often.
How to serve?
- You can serve the cherry sauce either warm or at room temperature.
- A typical German way of serving the cherry sauce is on Belgian waffles. Waffles with cherry sauce and whipped cream are a classic of German cuisine.
- Otherwise, you can have the cherry sauce on crepes or pancakes. You can have it with vanilla ice cream or with strained yogurt. You can top milk rice or semolina pudding with it.
- You can make a delicious and good-looking dessert by layering mascarpone/cream cheese/Greek yogurt mixed with whipped cream and cherry sauce.
- Or you could serve it with the Yogurt Bomb instead of berries. And, by the way, this Yogurt Bomb is really the best dessert ever; you should definitely try it!!!
- You can thicken the cherry sauce with a little more cornstarch and use it as a cake filling or cake topping.
More cherry recipes
Cherry Sauce – With Fresh, Canned or Frozen Cherries
- 350 g cherries 12.5 oz/ about 1 ½ cups, pitted but left whole, Note 1
- 180 ml juice from the canned cherries OR water if using fresh or frozen cherries 6 fl. oz/ ¾ cup
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar Note 2
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice freshly squeezed
- Other flavors are optional: ½ teaspoon vanilla extract OR ½ teaspoon almond extract OR a pinch of cinnamon
- Pit the cherries and set them aside. If using canned cherries, drain them and keep the juice.
- Juice: Pour 4-5 tablespoons of the canning juice into a small bowl. Pour the remaining juice, about 180 ml/ 6 oz/ ¾ cup juice, into a saucepan. If using fresh or frozen cherries, replace the juice with water.
- Cook: Add sugar to the pot with the juice. Bring the liquid to a boil.
- Cornstarch slurry: In the meantime, whisk together the reserved 4-5 tablespoons of juice (or water) with the cornstarch. You should have a thick yet still pourable paste.Remove the pot from the heat. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Whisk well.
- Add the cherries and stir well. Return the saucepan to the hob and simmer the cherries for 2 or 3 minutes if they are fresh or frozen. If using canned cherries, let them bubble once or twice, then remove them from heat.
- Flavors: Stir in the lemon juice and either one of the flavors: vanilla extract, almond extract, or cinnamon.
- Serve warm or at room temperature as suggested above.
- You can use sweet or sour cherries, fresh, frozen or canned cherries.
- Add more sugar if using sour cherries or to taste.