Healthy Homemade Maraschino Cherries made without Artificial Food Dye!

Healthy Homemade Maraschino Cherries

Ever wondered how to make maraschino cherries at home?  YES, you can make them at HOME!  Here’s a recipe for deliciously Healthy Homemade Maraschino Cherries made all natural, fat free, refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan!

These Healthy Homemade Maraschino Cherries are perfect in drinks like shirley temples and boozy cocktails, on desserts like banana splits, parfaits, and Healthy Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, and even yogurt or parfaits.

It goes without saying that these cherries are delicious straight up.

No need for the artificial food dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, or preservatives whatsoever.

YES, you can make Maraschino Cherries at HOME! Here's a recipe for deliciously Healthy Homemade Maraschino Cherries, made all natural, fat free, refined sugar free, gluten free, and vegan -- Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

Did you ever look up exactly how storebought Maraschino Cherries are made?  It’s actually a complicated, multi-step, utterly horrifying process.  Turns out, the cherries are bleached white, and then dyed artificial red and soaked in high-fructose corn syrup.


This recipe takes two weeks to make as the cherries need to soak in a mixture in order to fully infuse with flavor.  Even if you’re impatient (like me), this recipe is SO so worth the wait.  Every cherry is sweet and bursts with flavor with every bite.  The boozy finish just brings it over the top!

Healthy Homemade Maraschino Cherries
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
14 d

These Homemade Maraschino Cherries are sweet and full of flavor, yet they're all natural, fat free, refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan!

Course: Drinks, Snacks
Cuisine: Candy
Keyword: DIY, Fat Free, Gluten Free, Paleo, Sugar Free, Vegan
Servings: 5 cups
Calories: 90 kcal
  1. Wash the cherries and remove their stems. Pit the cherries (I don't own a cherry pitter so I used a boba straw...  hence why my cherries look like olives lol) and place them in a container big enough to hold 64oz (preferably a container where the cherries will be fully submerged once you add the rest of the ingredients).
  2. Pour in the water, vodka, stevia extract, cherry flavor, and almond extract. Gently give it a stir. Seal the container tightly and refrigerate for 2 weeks.
  3. After the 2 weeks, you can portion the mixture into jars, making sure to keep the cherries fully submerged in the cherry liquid.
Recipe Notes

Here's a Non-Alcoholic version for these Maraschino Cherries:

  • 2½ cups (13.5oz) Frozen Cherries, pitted with stems removed
  • ½ cup Lemon Juice
  • ½ cup Water
  • 2 tsp Stevia Extract
  • 2 tsp Natural Cherry Flavor
  • ½ tsp Almond Extract
  • Natural Red Food Coloring (I used 40 drops; optional)
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  1. In a container, add the frozen cherries, lemon juice, water, stevia extract, cherry flavor, almond extract, natural food coloring, and salt.  Gently give it a stir. Seal the container tightly and refrigerate for 1 week.
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Homemade Maraschino Cherries
Amount Per Serving (1 serving = ½ cup)
Calories 90
% Daily Value*
Total Carbohydrates 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 5g
Protein 0.5g 1%
Vitamin A 15%
Vitamin C 10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

I like this ingredient list much better than the jars you can get at the store.  Storebought Maraschino Cherries are typically made with the following ingredients:  Cherries, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate (Preservatives), FD&C Red 40, and Sulfur Dioxide (Preservative).

Basically:  Sugar, Preservatives, Food Dye.

Hmmm…  I’ll skip all that, thanks.  Not only because it’s unhealthy but because the process of making your own Maraschinos is fun!  And super easy, too.

Making a recipe healthier isn’t all about calories, fat, carbs, and sugar, it’s about the quality of the ingredients used.  Oh, and the flavor of course!  This recipe wins in all aspects.

YES, you can make Maraschino Cherries at HOME! Here's a recipe for deliciously Healthy Homemade Maraschino Cherries, made all natural, fat free, refined sugar free, gluten free, and vegan -- Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits



– Jess


PS:  If you start a batch these Healthy Homemade Maraschino Cherries soon, they’ll be in PERFECT condition come Valentine’s Day!


29 comments on “Healthy Homemade Maraschino Cherries”

  1. Haha such a great idea! Your pictures are beautiful, as always 🙂

  2. Shandra Grace

    Yum, they look so good! Not gross like those maraschino cherries.

  3. What a great idea; so simple but so much better than store bought. Do you know if these could be preserved longer than a week in the frig if a sugarfree liqueur was added? If not, that gives me more of an excuse to gobble them up like I’m prone to do anyway. Love this blog and thanks so much for this excellent recipe; I’ve already pinned it to my sugarfree toppings board!

    • Good idea! I’m sure the alcohol would help preserve the cherries. Next time I make this I’ll try out Skyy’s Cherry Vodka… it’s all natural and I’m pretty darn happy with their Strawberry Vodka 😉
      And I’m so happy to hear you like my blog! You just made my day 😀

  4. Do you have a suggestion for an alternative sweetener I can try? I can’t use stevia. It’s a migraine trigger 🙁

    • I wouldn’t recommend using a bulky granulated sweeter like white sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar, etc. because it won’t dissolve, it’ll stay crunchy and sink to the bottom :/
      I can’t really think of a good substitute for the liquid stevia because it’s a pretty unique ingredient. For the Stevia in the Raw, though, you can try out Monk Fruit in the Raw. I haven’t tried this, but it’s by the same company and it looks pretty much the same:
      Hope this helps! 🙂

      • I’ve tried monk fruit before. I can try that. What do you think about honey? Asking your opinion and suggestions so I don’t waist 😉 Thank you for the information. I’m new to trying alternative sweeteners beyond using fruit in baking. Besides our organic chocolate or bunny snacks I’ve pretty much eliminated our white sugar.

      • Kasey-
        Hmmm, I haven’t thought about using honey… but now that you mention it, it might work! However, it might sink to the bottom when the cherries sit in the fridge, and I wouldn’t recommend shaking the container because the cherries might tear apart :/ So just try to whisk the mixture well in the beginning until the honey gets fully incorporated. I hope this works out for you! 🙂

  5. I just stumbled upon your blog while researching red walnuts and just wanted to say how inspiring and beautiful your blog and story are! Keep up the awesome work.

  6. What kind of cherries were the frozen ones? Sweet or sour cherries? They look like sweet cherries by the size, but I am not sure. Thanks

  7. I am wanting to make big cherry candies. Would you know how I could make the pink soft goo made with stevia on the inside along with the cherry? It’s covered with chocolate and peanuts. Tia. Audrey

  8. Perfect! I can’t stand the store bought cherries because they’re so bad for you so this is just the recipe I need! They’ll be perfect for drinks and ice cream and it’s even easy enough for me to tackle. <3

  9. Store bought maraschino cherries have always freaked me out a little and they taste so rubbery, ick! I never actually knew how to make them so I’m glad you put this recipe together.

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  12. Glenda R Grimes

    I am a diabetic vegetarian who happens to love maraschino cherries. Thanks.

  13. neil kennedy

    Interesting recipe. Perhaps maple syrup as a substitute for the sweetener……it might be easier to dissolve in the mixture compared to honey or regular sugar.

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  16. Are there other options for the Natural Cherry Flavoring? Thanks so much!

  17. I’m thinking about making this soon. Is there a reason you used fresh cherries for you alcoholic version and frozen for the non-alcoholic? I want to do the vodka recipe, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to find quality fresh cherries in March. Thanks!

    • I used fresh and frozen because that’s what I had on hand. I wanted to use fresh both times but honestly, I was just too lazy to run to the grocery store and already had frozen cherries in the freezer 😉
      But I also wanted to try using frozen because if the recipe worked out, then that means you can make Maraschino Cherries at any time of the year! 🙂

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