Best Cherry Substitutes 7 Ideas To Try Next

Cherry is a fruit that has been around since ancient times. It was first cultivated in China and then spread throughout Asia and Europe. Cherry trees are native to North America and were introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages.

Today, there are hundreds of varieties of cherries grown worldwide. The most popular types of cherries are sweet cherries, sour cherries, and tart cherries. Sweet cherries have an intense flavor with hints of vanilla or almond while sour cherries taste like grapefruit juice. Tart cherries can be found as either dark red or yellow-red depending on their ripeness level. They also contain more sugar than other cherry varieties.

The best way to enjoy fresh cherries is by eating them straight from the tree when they’re ripe. You’ve discovered the ideal dessert recipe, and it includes cherries. Cherries that are heavenly and delectable! Isn’t this one of your top three fruits? So, what do you do if you can’t seem to find any?

If your dish is hopeless, what should you do? Is it possible to save it? Is there anything that can be used in place of cherries? It turns out that there are. Several, in fact! So don’t worry, we’ve got you covered and will tell you everything we know about every cherry alternative available. We’ll also show you how to obtain that gorgeous red hue, as well as a few more flavor-masking tricks.

Best cherry substitute

Cherry juice is delicious and healthy, but it also has a lot of calories. If you want to enjoy the taste of cherries without the added sugar, try these alternatives.

Some of these alternatives may work better than others, or you may need to mix several depending on what you’re preparing and what you need cherries for. If the color of your cherry-based meal isn’t quite as red as you’d like, we’ll provide some suggestions for improving it. Now let’s look at all of the alternatives and how to apply them!

Dried, frozen, or canned cherries

You might think dried cherries would make the perfect replacement because they’re already cooked. However, they still retain too much water and won’t give off enough aroma.

Frozen cherries are great because they’re ready to use right away. But they lack the sweetness of fresh ones. Canned cherries are good options because they’re easy to store and transport. Just keep in mind that they tend to lose their shape after being stored for long periods of time.

When compared to fresh cherries, both frozen and canned cherries are pale and unappealing. Dried cherries, like dried cranberries or raisins, are delicious in a savory salad.

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If all you wanted was the cherry juice (to moisten a cake, perhaps? ), buy some canned cherries. If you’re making a cherry sauce or incorporating cherries into a cake batter, a cherry filling, or anything, all three varieties of cherries will work nicely.

Cherry preserves or jam

This option works especially well for pies, cakes, and cookies where you want something sweet. Jam made from cherries contains less sugar than jams made from strawberries or raspberries. This means that it doesn’t add extra weight to baked goods. And since it tastes so similar to real cherries, people who aren’t fans of fruit usually love it.

To get the same amount of sweetness as regular cherries, double up on the amount of sugar called for in recipes. Try the preserves and jams area if you can’t find a single cherry in the freezer or canned food section. It’s already sweetened, and the cherries have been cooked and may have become mushy. However, they are genuine, luscious cherries.

If you’re creating a pastry filling or a cherry sauce, they are excellent as a foundation. There are several brownie recipes that ask for the cherry jam to be incorporated into the batter. If you’re making that, you’re good to go!

Maraschino cherries

These candied cherries have been around forever. They were originally created in Italy during the Renaissance era. Maraschino cherries come in two flavors: dark chocolate and vanilla. The latter variety is often mixed with other ingredients such as almonds or hazelnuts. These maraschinos are very popular in desserts and cocktails.

They do not really substitute for fresh cherries, though. Their intense flavor makes them an excellent addition to many dishes. Maraschino cherries, oh my! You’ve probably seen them before; they’re the bright red cherries that occasionally appear on desserts! Yes, they’re brilliant red, and you can always plop them on a cake after removing the stem. In a fruit salad, for example, or whatever you’re preparing.

Amarena cherries

The Amarena cherry is actually a cross between a plum and a cherry. Its name comes from its reddish-orange color. Amarena cherries are available year-round but peak season runs from May through August. They’re also known by another common name: Italian sour cherry.

Like most fruits, these cherries contain lots of natural sugars. That said, they don’t taste overly sweet. Instead, they offer a tartness that complements any dessert. Amarena cherries are a little bitter kind, but they’re usually sweetened and have the deepest, darkest crimson color conceivable.

These bad guys are usually always found in preserves or jams, or maybe canned. They’re difficult to come by in the fresh vegetable department on their own. Nonetheless, they have a lot of taste and look fantastic. They’re the largest cherry around, and they’re virtually always pitted. As a result, that’s a positive!

Fresh sour cherries

Sour cherries are one of those things that everyone loves. But when you buy them at your local grocery store, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be ripe enough to eat right away. So what should you do? Well, you could just wait until they ripen naturally over time. Or you could pick some yourself.

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You might think picking wild berries would be hard work, but it isn’t. Sour cherries grow all over North America. What if you can’t find delicious cherries in any manner, shape, or form for whatever reason? Then there are sour cherries, their lesser-known and less-loved sisters.

They are, after all, sisters. They’re smaller and have a similar flavor, but they must be sweetened. They’re tart for a reason, and they may taste like cranberries. Remember to sweeten them whether you obtain them fresh, canned, jammed, frozen, or in any other form. They’ll look the same, act the same, taste largely the same, and for those who can’t tell the difference, they may pass for real cherry.

Prunus fruits like plums, apricots, nectarines

There are so many different kinds of prunus fruits out there. Some people call them stone fruits because they resemble stones. Others refer to them as soft fruits because they lack seeds. Still, others prefer to use the term "dessert" instead of "fruit." Whatever you want to call them, we know that they’re great additions to salads, soups, sauces, cakes, pies, and more.

In fact, the makeup about half of our total daily intake of vitamin C. If you can’t find cherries or sour cherries, try their cousins. Any fruit related to cherries that has a big, hard pit within. Plums, cherries, sour cherries, nectarines, apricots, peaches, mirabelles, and almonds are all members of the Prunus genus.

With the exception of almonds, any of the fruits listed in that genus will work in your recipe. They’re fundamentally the same thing, yet the flavors are vastly different. The plum is the only fruit that comes close, especially if you locate some gorgeous red plums.

Cherry liqueur or extract

If you’ve got access to an alcohol distillery, then you probably already know how easy it is to make your own cherry brandy. It doesn’t take much effort, either. You simply need to add sugar and water to pureed cherries. Afterward, let the mixture sit for several weeks before straining off the solids. Finally, filter the liquid through cheesecloth or cotton cloth into bottles.

The resulting liquor tastes amazing, and it makes a wonderful addition to cocktails. Although cherry liqueur isn’t the strongest, it’s used in a variety of recipes. The benefit is that you can really taste the cherries, which is fantastic. The only drawback is that it cannot be served to children. Cherry extract, on the other hand, is non-alcoholic. It’s not as simple to come by as cherry liqueur, and it might not be the proper hue, but it’s worth a go. If your recipe doesn’t require you to include genuine cherry texture, only flavor, and perhaps some color, then any of these will suffice.

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How to get that cherry color

When using cherries in baking, you don’t necessarily need to buy them from a store. Instead, you could just pick up a bag at home. However, this won’t give you the right shade of pink. That’s where food coloring comes in handy. There are two types: natural and artificial. Natural colors aren’t always safe for consumption, whereas artificial ones are perfectly fine.

Add cranberries

Try cranberries if you want to add additional color to your dish. These are quite similar to dried cherries in taste and texture, and they will release a lot of red into the syrup or batter.

Allow them to boil for at least half an hour to reduce the amount of liquid and increase the color. The color will deepen, but it will turn red when mixed with frosting or batter. You can also substitute dried cranberries for cherries. This works well when making pie crusts, muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies, bread, cobblers, crisps, and even ice cream.

Add beetroot

Beetroots have been around since ancient times. In fact, they were one of the first vegetables cultivated. Today, we still use them in many dishes because of their unique properties. One of those properties is its ability to change the color of whatever it touches. When cooked, the root turns bright orange.

The rescuer of anything pink, red, or somewhat purple, to be precise. Yes, there is some flavor here, but the benefit is that you don’t need much to create a lot of colors. Because beets have an incredible ability to stain things, their color is intense, and you won’t need more than a few pieces to get a vibrant crimson.

Add red hibiscus flowers

Hibiscus flowers are actually edible blossoms. They’re often found growing wild along roadsides throughout Mexico and Central America. Their name means "hibiscus" in Spanish, so they’re sometimes called Mexican rose petals.

Hibiscus flowers or hibiscus tea are usually good options. Hibiscus, like beets, absorbs a lot of colors and is one of the most frequent ways to bulk up and color tea. Get yourself a couple of hibiscus-based teabags or hibiscus flowers. To achieve a brilliant hue, steep in hot water and make sure it’s concentrated. It will leave a little sour and bitter aftertaste, but it will be masked by the cherry flavor.


In conclusion, I hope that you’ve learned how to find substitutes for cherries. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savory, you’ll probably find what you’re searching for. Now all you have to do is try out each idea and see which one suits your needs best!

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