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Easy Cherry Sauce Recipe

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This homemade cherry sauce is loaded with juicy cherries. This Cherry Sauce Recipe is easy to make with fresh or frozen cherries.

It’s cherry season here in northern Michigan. In fact, Michigan is home to the “Cherry Capital of the World”.

If you’ve ever visited northern Michigan, you may have noticed cherry trees and cherry orchards galore! Traverse City actually claims the title of Cherry Capital of the World as it plays host to the annual National Cherry Festival.

bowl of cherry sauce

Cherry Capital of the World

Like I said, Traverse City, Michigan hosts the annual National Cherry Festival. You can find out more information about the festival here. The festival in 2022 was held July 2-9 and plans are already underway for July 1-8, 2023 for the festival.

You might be wondering why or how Michigan got to be the cherry capital. Well, I’m not an expert on the subject, but here’s what I’ve read on the subject.

A Presbyterian missionary named Peter Dougherty planted the first cherry trees in the Old Mission Peninsula of the Grand Traverse region Lake Michigan. The orchard flourished and the region quickly became popular for growing cherries. The sandy soil, rolling hills, along with the cooling and heating effects of Lake Michigan in summer and winter proved to be the ideal conditions for growing cherries.

bowl of cherry sauce

You’ll also find plenty of fruit stands and farmers market where you can purchase fresh cherries beginning in June and running all summer long. If you love cherries, you’ve gotta visit the “Cherry Capital of the World!”

How to Make Homemade Cherry Sauce

This Cherry Sauce recipe couldn’t be easier! You simply put all the ingredients in one pot, cook it for a few minutes, then pour into a jar for serving or storage.

Of course, once you taste this Cherry Sauce, you’ll fall in love with the flavor and you’ll be wanting to make more!

Step One: Start with Cold Ingredients

Because we are using cornstarch as our thickening agent in this recipe, you’ll want to start with cold water. Why? Because cornstarch dissolves better in cold liquid. So, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water in your saucepan until completely dissolved.

Then add the lemon juice and sugar and whisk to combine.

Step Two: Add Heat

Once you have the cornstarch dissolved and added the lemon juice and sugar, place the saucepan on your stove over medium heat and stir until it starts to thicken.

Step Three: Add Cherries

Then add the pitted and chopped cherries to the saucepan. Stir occasionally so the cherries don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Continue to heat over medium heat until the sauce is at a light uniform boil and has started to thicken more.

Step Four: Let Cool

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.

Step Five: Store

You can now opt to pour the Cherry Sauce into a clean jar, secure the lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Just remember that the sauce will actually continue to cool as it thickens.


Should I Use Fresh or Frozen Cherries?

Actually, the choice is yours! I like to use fresh cherries when they are in season (like now) and frozen cherries at other times. Frozen cherries do have a higher water content due to being frozen, so you may need to use less water.

Should I use Sweet or Tart Cherries?

You can use either sweet or tart cherries. My preference is to use sweet cherries because then you don’t have to use as much sugar. If you use tart cherries, you’ll want to increase the amount of sugar you use so the sauce isn’t tart.

Can the Cherry Sauce be Frozen?

I do NOT recommend freezing this sauce. Remember we are using cornstarch in this recipe and cornstarch does not freeze well.

This homemade cherry sauce is loaded with juicy cherries. This Cherry Sauce Recipe is easy to make with fresh or frozen cherries.

Easy Cherry Sauce

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This recipe makes a small batch of cherry sauce. You can use fresh or frozen cherries. If using fresh cherries, you may need to adjust the amount of sugar based on the sweetness or tartness of the cherries.


  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup water (see notes)
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 lb unsweetened cherries (approx 3-1/2 cups)


  1. Add water, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice to a small pot. Whisk ingredients until all lumps are removed.
  2. Place the pot over medium heat and whisk continuously until the mixture starts to thicken - about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add cherries and stir.
  4. Once the mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer 5-7 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally so the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Continue simmering until the sauce has thickened and starts to look glossy.
  5. Remove pot from the stove and allow to cool completely in the pot.
  6. Once cooled, pour sauce into a glass jar, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.


  • This recipe makes 2 cups of cherry sauce.
  • The sauce will thicken more as it cools and will thicken more after being refrigerated.
  • USING FRESH CHERRIES: Remove all pits first. Then use only 1/3 cup water. You may want to start with less sugar, too.
  • USING FROZEN CHERRIES: Use 1/2 cup water.
  • Store airtight jar in refrigerator for up to 7 days.
  • Do not freeze as products containing corn starch do not freeze well.
  • Nutrition info is only to be used as a rough guide.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 2 tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 34Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 0g

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bowl of cherry sauce

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