This easy cherry sauce is sweet, tart, and perfect for topping a cheesecake, chocolate cake, and other desserts! Use any type of cherries, fresh or frozen, for this easy cherry topping! If you're looking for a thicker version that can be used as a pie filling, try my cherry pie filling recipe.
Best of all, it's incredibly easy to make and requires just four ingredients and ten minutes. This recipe works with all kinds of cherries, sweet or sour, and can be made with fresh or frozen cherries!
- Mix together the cornstarch and water to create a cornstarch slurry.
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add the cornstarch slurry, cherries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
- Once the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat and adjust to taste. Add more sugar or lemon juice as needed. Sour cherries may need more sugar and sweet cherries may need more lemon juice.
- For a thinner sauce, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until your desired consistency is reached. Note: the sauce will thicken as it cools.
Ways to Use Cherry Sauce
- Topping for cheesecake - wait for the sauce to come to room temperature before topping the cheesecake.
- Pound cake
- Chocolate cake and cupcakes
- Chiffon cake
- Sponge cake
- Ice cream
- Pancakes, waffles, crepes - serve the sauce warm on the side of these breakfast items.
- Scones and muffins
- Savory dishes - Cherry sauce makes a great substitute for cranberry sauce during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays! Serve with rib roast, ham, roasted turkey, chicken, or lamb, duck, or pork.
- 1 lb pitted cherries - fresh or frozen; about 3½ cups
- 3 to 6 Tablespoons sugar - start with less and adjust
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice - freshly squeeze
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- Cornstarch slurry: In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water. Set aside.1 Tablespoon cornstarch, ¼ cup water
- Cook cherries: Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch slurry. Bring to a boil, stirring to avoid burning.1 lb pitted cherries, 3 to 6 Tablespoons sugar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Taste: Once the sauce thickens up, reduce the heat and taste. Adjust with more lemon juice or sugar as needed. Sour cherries may need more sugar and sweet cherries may need more lemon juice. If needed, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until it reaches the right consistency. Note: sauce thickens after it cools.
- Serve: Wait for the sauce to reach room temperature before topping cold desserts like cheesecake and ice cream, or serve it warm over pancakes, cakes, and waffles. See Note 1 for storing.
✎ Recipe Notes
- Storing - To store, keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days. It will become thicker once cold.
- Microwave: Add the sauce to a microwave-safe container and heat for 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each time.
- Stovetop: Add the sauce to a pot and reheat on medium heat stirring occasionally.
- Type of cherries - You can use sweet or sour cherries for this recipe. If using sour cherries, increase the amount of sugar to balance out the tart flavors. Keep in mind that fresh cherries release less liquid than frozen cherries so you may need to add more water to reach a thinner sauce if using fresh cherries.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.
I don't recommend freezing this sauce as the cornstarch will lose its integrity once frozen and it will lose its viscosity. But you can make this 3 days in advance and reheat it on the stovetop of the microwave.