Amarena Cherry Recipe

Make this Amarena Cherry Recipe and you will have the same delicious cherries you love for your cocktails for way less than buying them at the store. This cherry recipe is so easy to make, only has 2 ingredients, and tastes just like the cherries you find in a fancy jar.

homemade amarena cherries in a jar and as a garnish for a cocktail
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I have been searching FOREVER for a recipe that comes close to the cocktail cherries in a jar from the grocery store. I finally found one!! This recipe is from the book Drinking French by David Lebovitz. My friend gifted me this book and I couldn’t believe that on the VERY LAST PAGE was a recipe for Amarena Cherries!!

This recipe isn’t made from actual Amarena cherries, but comes really close to the dessert cherries found in ceramic jars.

What are Amarena Cherries?

Amarena cherries are a variety of sour cherry that is small and dark with a tart and delicious flavor. They are a summer fruit usually picked in July and are high in vitamins A, B1, and C.

According to Wikipedia, “The Amarena cherry (Italian: amarena) is a small sour dark colored Italian cherry grown in Bologna and Modena, two cities of Italy. It is usually bottled in syrup and used as a decoration on rich chocolate desserts”.

In today’s modern world, the Amarena cherry has become known in cocktail bars as the luxury cherry on top! They are firm, sweet, and are stored in delicious syrup. Amarena cherries can now be found in most grocery stores and liquor stores.

Ingredients Needed to Make This Amarena Cherry Recipe

This recipe only has TWO ingredients. That’s right. Two ingredients. All you need is canned sour cherries and sugar. You can find canned sour cherries at your local supermarket, and even better, they are pretty inexpensive. I used regular white sugar but you could also use turbinado sugar if you wanted to.

sour cherries in a can

How to Make Amarena Cherries

  • Add the cherries and sugar to a saucepan. Attach your candy thermometer if you have one and bring the mixture to a boil over med-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer with bubbles until the mixture becomes foamy. You want the temperature to be at 225° and you don’t want the syrup to carmelize. The cherries start out a bright light red/orangy color but will slowly turn a dark red color and shrivel slightly. This is what you want! Whether you are using a thermometer or not, you are looking for a honey-like consistency and the color change to know when the cherries are done. This took about 35 minutes for me.
  • Transfer the cherries into a sealable jar and allow them to cool. You can refrigerate the cherries for up to a year (if they last that long!).
homemade amarena cherries in a jar

What To Use These Cherries For

These cherries are perfect for cocktails because they are firm, sweet, and taste amazing. Try them in my Elderflower Gin Cocktail or the Last Word Cocktail and you will not be disappointed. You can also use these cherries for desserts or just a quick sweet treat.

More Homemade Recipes to Try

homemade amarena cherries in a jar
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Amarena Cherry Recipe

This recipe makes sweet, firm, and delicious cherries that are perfect for a cocktail garnish or a dessert. These cherries are very similar to the one's you find in jars at the store, but cost a lot less.
Course Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine American, Croatian, Italian
Keyword amarena cherries, cocktail cherries, homemade cocktail cherries, luxardo cherries
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Author EmilyFabulous
Cost $3

Equipment

  • medium saucepan
  • candy thermometer (optional)
  • sealable glass jar

Ingredients

  • cups sour cherries (from a can or a jar)
  • ½ cup sugar

Instructions

  • Add the cherries and the sugar to a saucepan. Attach your candy thermometer if you have one. On med-high heat, bring mixture to a boil.
    sour cherries in a can
  • Reduce the heat and simmer with bubbles until the mixture becomes foamy. You want the temperature to be at 225° and you don't want the syrup to carmelize. The cherries start out a bright light red/orangy color but will slowly turn a dark red color and shrivel slightly. This is what you want! Whether you are using a thermometer or not, you are looking for a honey-like consistency and the color change to know when the cherries are done. This took about 35 minutes for me.
  • Transfer the cherries into a sealable jar and allow them to cool. You can refrigerate the cherries for up to a year (if they last that long!).
    homemade amarena cherries in a jar

Do you want a Boozy Cherry Instead?

If you want more booze in your cherries for cocktails or desserts, check out my Luxardo Cherries Recipe. You can make boozy little treats with fresh cherries and Maraschino Liqueur. That is to say, these are another way to get cherry flavor into your favorite drinks or desserts.

More Cocktail Recipes to Make at Home

homemade dessert cocktail cherries in a jar with a spoon
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