How to Make Easy, Flavorful Candied Cherries

Candied cherries have real flavor when made this quick and easy way.

 candied cherries

Every year I make candied cherries for fruitcake season. The process is usually long (see this older post). The cherries are candied, and they don’t have that fake neon color that you see in store-bought candied cherries, but they still have absolutely no flavor.

So I decided to experiment a bit and came up with this much quicker process that results in a tasty candied cherry – a little bit sweet, a little bit syrupy, with a real cherry flavor.

Now I am not sure if they will stay “good” until fruitcake season. They aren’t as full of sugar as the longer process. But, I see no reason why this quicker method won’t work using frozen cherries too. So if I need to make more at a later date, I should be able to, even though the cherry season will be long over.

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How to Make Easy, Flavorful Candied Cherries
Candied cherries have real flavor when made by this easy method.
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 3 cups pitted, halved sweet cherries
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • additional sugar as needed
  1. Combine 1½ cups of sugar and the 1 cup of water in the saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes, or until it reaches the soft thread stage (232 degrees).
  3. Add the cherries and continue simmering gently, stirring just enough to cover the pieces with syrup.
  4. Cook for 50 - 60 minutes. Don't stir while cooking.
  5. Drain and cool slightly. Roll cherries in additional sugar.
  6. Let dry overnight. Store in an airtight container.
  7. Note: Save leftover syrup for another batch of cherries or add to iced tea or sparkling water.

Candied cherries can be used in fruitcake, in salads, to decorate tarts or fancy cakes, or eaten as snacks.


by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at Find her professional food writing info at

June 13, 2015

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  1. Terri L Duffy

    Whole Foods carries dried sour cherries in their Bulk Foods section. I wonder if they’d work.

    And thank you for posting this. I just made candied orange peel last night for the first time. I’m going to go get a Buddha’s Hand and make candied citron from it tonight. Your post answers my question – whether i can do the same thing with fresh cherries.

    • admin

      Terri, if you try the dried cherries let me know how they turn out. I imagine they can be candied, since they were most likely already macerated in sugar before drying. So the candying process shouldn’t take as long. Wondering about the texture though. They may be a little tough. Good luck!

  2. rose

    great recipe! if you can find sour cherries, they will make a much more flavorful candied cherry. you can also get away with using a little more sugar and not worry about whether they’ll keep or not.

    • admin

      Rose, I love sour cherries! But not very many people grow them in my area, and the season is only about 1 week. Sadly I missed it this year, maybe next year.

  3. Adam

    Hi, thanks for the tip on such a quick and easy way of making candied cherries! I was looking for some way of stocking up for my homemade Christmas fruitcake :-) I was wondering, did they preserve well in the end? How did you store them (dry in a jar, frozen,…?)

    • admin

      Adam, yes they were perfect. I kept them in a plastic storage container. In fact, I have a few left and they are still perfect.

      • Adam

        Thanks for the info! I’ll try them out this summer if possible :-)



  1. 10 Ways to Preserve Fresh Cherries | Seed to Pantry - […] « How to Make Easy, Flavorful Candied Cherries […]

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