Cherry Simple Syrup

Fresh Cherry Simple Syrup is full of that summertime flavor! Sweet and tart, this perfect syrup can be mixed into cocktails and mocktails or drizzled over desserts and pancakes.

a gold spoon in a jar of cherry simple sytup

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Cherry Simple Syrup recipe

For the July 4 holiday this year, we traveled to visit some friends.

We cooked out at her parents’ house and I made a cherry sangria (I definitely need to make that for the blog soon!). Her mom remarked that she hadn’t had fresh cherries in years, which was too funny to me.

Whenever I first see cherries in the store each summer, a bag is coming home with me. So juicy and succulent.

One thing is for sure, I will probably make Cherry bounce. And there will be cherry cocktails and cherry cobbler.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Cherry syrup has so many uses, and I am pretty sure you are going to love trying them all.

  • You can make it with fresh or frozen cherries, which is great for when they are out of season but you are craving that cherry flavor.
  • With just three ingredients, it comes together in less than 20 minutes.
  • It’s an inexpensive and healthier alternative to store-bought cocktail syrups.
  • Because it’s made with real fruit, it doesn’t have a fake or medicinal taste.

That last one is important to me — I hate anything artificially cherry-flavored because it reminds me of cough medicine. No thank you! Fresh cherries all the way. This cherry syrup recipe fits the bill completely.

a spoon dripping cherry syrup into a jar

What is simple syrup?

Have you ever tried to stir pure sugar into a cold drink? Good luck — you’ll probably be stirring until you fall asleep.

Simple syrup is the solution to this problem. It’s a liquid sweetener made by combining sugar and water.

You can use simple syrup to sweeten any kind of beverage, like iced tea or lemonade. And cocktails of course!

You can also drizzle it over breakfast foods or desserts. Bakers even use it to moisten cake before decorating.

Most simple syrups are made with granulated white sugar, but other types of sugar can be used, including honey and brown sugar.

Once you’ve figured out how to make classic simple syrup, there are tons of recipes to try. Some of my favorites include infusing herbs like rosemary, basil and mint or spices like cinnamon and vanilla.

Syrups can also be made with fruit like strawberries, peaches or pumpkin. Or veggies, too! Jalapeño syrup is one of my favorites for spicy drinks.

cherry syrup in a jar with fresh cherries


You only need three ingredients to make cherry syrup. If you’d like to mix things up, check out the section below called Variations & Substitutions.

Fresh cherries

Fresh cherries will work best in this syrup, but you can also use frozen ones. Any kind of sweet and sour cherries will work — Bing cherries and Rainier cherries are both popular ones.

If you’ve got some cherries that will need to be tossed soon (aka they’re slightly bruised), simple syrup is a great way to eke out the last of their flavor!

Fresh cherries are sooo juicy with a ton of tart, sweet flavor. Cherry season takes place between May and August in parts of the United States, so if you can find fresh cherries from a local grower, please do — I’ll be so jealous!

No cherries? This Cheerwine simple syrup uses cherry soda to make an easy cherry syrup. You can also use ¾ cup of tart cherry juice instead of fresh cherries to make this fruity syrup.


Granulated sugar and cane sugar are what I usually use to make simple syrups.

However, feel free to use brown sugar, agave nectar, maple syrup or honey instead. Since the cherry juices are so dark, it won’t affect the color of this syrup.


Filtered water or distilled water will give you the best, purest-tasting results and it will help your syrup last a little longer, but tap water will work.

For simple syrup, you typically need as much sugar as you do water, but this recipe is a little different.

We will first boil water and cherries together to get a reduced cherry juice, then strain out the solids with a fine mesh sieve. Then we will stir in the sugar to make the syrup.

a jar of cherry syrup with a spoon

How to make Cherry Syrup

Though you can buy cherry simple syrup, this is an easy recipe that is also inexpensive to make. It tastes so much better with fresh fruit! In my opinion, it is just not worth buying.

First, wash and dry the cherries, then pit them. You can use a straw if you don’t have a cherry pitter. I use this cherry pitter by OXO.

In a medium saucepan, bring water and fruit to a boil. Lower the heat and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Use a fine mesh sieve to remove the solids and strain the hot liquid into a bowl or jar.

While still warm, stir in sugar until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

Store in a food-safe, airtight container, such as a mason jar, for up to two weeks.

Uses for Cherry Simple Syrup

Cherry syrup has so many uses! Here are a few ideas:

Cherry Cocktails

Add the flavor of sweet cherries to your favorite drink recipes with this homemade cherry syrup! The deep crimson color can’t be beat.

a bowl of cherries with cherry syrup

Variations and substitutions

  • Cherry Thyme Syrup: Add thyme sprigs to the syrup while it cools to infuse thyme flavor (see this mint syrup recipe for details).
  • Spiced Cherry Syrup: This one is great for the holidays, with flavors similar to cherry bounce. Add some whole cinnamon sticks, cloves and ginger to the cherry-water mixture while it cooks to infuse spiced flavor.
  • Mixed Berry Syrup: Use a mixture of berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, in addition to the cherries.
  • Cherry Lime Syrup: Stir in 2 tablespoons lime juice to add some tart lime flavor à la cherry limeade. (Or lemon juice for cherry lemonade flavor!)
  • Sugar-free Cherry Syrup: Substitute your favorite sugar substitute, such as stevia or coconut sugar, to make a sugar-free syrup.

More simple syrup recipes

a bowl of cherries with cherry syrup

Cherry Simple Syrup

Yield: 6 ounces
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Tart cherries make a tasty addition to drinks and desserts with this easy syrup recipe.
5 from 47 votes
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  • 1 cup cherries pitted
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar


  • Cook cherries and water 15 minutes over medium heat. Strain out cherries.
  • While still warm, stir in sugar.
  • Store in an airtight, food-safe container such as a mason jar.

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nutrition information

Yield: 6 ounces

amount per serving:

Serving: 1ounce Calories: 79kcal Carbohydrates: 20g Protein: 0.2g Fat: 0.1g Saturated Fat: 0.01g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g Sodium: 2mg Potassium: 51mg Fiber: 0.5g Sugar: 20g Vitamin A: 15IU Vitamin C: 2mg Calcium: 4mg Iron: 0.1mg
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