Sour cherry season is short, so you have to make the most of it! A fantastic way to do it is to turn your sour cherries into a batch of versatile sour cherry syrup that you can enjoy all Summer long.

This delicious syrup is perfect for pouring on pancakes, drizzling on waffles, and making a mocktail you’ll be craving every day this summer. It’s also a classic topping on Faloodeh.

Large jar filled with cherries and dark syrup.

Why This Recipe Works

The cherries are cooked just until soft, then removed so they don’t become mushy. The whole cherries left in the syrup are such a treat.

Using sour cherries instead of sweet cherries balances the sugar just perfectly for a syrup that isn’t overly sweet. Remember that you can always substitute the sour cherries out regular cherries, but know that your syrup will end up on the sweeter side if you do that.

This recipe works with fresh or frozen sour cherries as long as they were not processed before freezing. See ingredient notes.

My favorite way to use this syrup is as a sharbat or mocktail, but it is much more versatile than that. You can enjoy it on pancakes and waffles, drizzled on ice cream, when making Albaloo Polo, and so much more. See more recommendations below.

Ingredients and other cherries

Sour cherries, sugar, and water on a white countertop.

Sour cherries – Sour cherries, tart cherries, bitter cherries, or pie cherries can be used in this recipe. My preference is the small, dark, sour cherries. You can use fresh cherries for this recipe, but it will result in a much sweeter syrup.

Note: If using frozen sour cherries, you want them whole, pitted, and still firm.

Sugar – You can use any granulated sugar in this recipe and I usually use cane sugar.

How to Make this Recipe

Pit and stem 1 pound of sour cherries. Add the cherries to a pot with 2 cups of water and 1 pound of sugar. Turn heat to low and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes until cherries are soft.

Cherries simmering in a pot on a cooktop.

Take cherries out of the syrup, and boil the syrup until it is thick enough to stick to the back of your spoon. Turn the heat off and add cherries back in.

Let it cool to room temperature. Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

How to use this syrup

This syrup is very versatile, and you can enjoy it as a topping on pancakes and ice cream, in mocktails, and even salad dressings. Try one of these:

  • Sharbat or a mocktail: Add 1-2 tablespoons of the syrup and a few of the whole cherries to a glass and topping it off with sparkling water. I grew up drinking this treat with flat water, and that works, too.
  • Syrup topping: Pour the syrup and cherries directly over pancakes, waffles, faloodeh, or ice cream.
  • Salad dressing or marinades: This syrup works as a great emulsifier in salad dressings. Use 4 parts oil, 2 part vinegar, and 1 part syrup.

FAQs

Where can I find sour cherries?

Try your local farmers’ market or your local middle eastern grocery store. If you can buy in bulk and store them for later in the year you can enjoy sour cherry season for longer!

When are sour cherries in season?

Sour cherries are in season in the summer, with June being the best time to eat them.

Do sour cherries taste sour?

Sour cherries to have a tart, tangy flavor that makes it difficult to eat them raw. However, their flavor profile pairs brilliantly with sweet elements so they’re great in desserts and sweet recipes.

What can I substitute for sour cherries?

Sour cherries can be substituted with tart cherries, pie cherries, or bitter cherries.

Can I make a sour cherry cocktail?

Absolutely! Sour cherries are a popular addition to cocktails and mock-tails alike. My favorite way to enjoy them is with gin in a Sour Cherry Gin Limeade.

Do sour cherries work in cherry pie?

You can use a wide variety of cherries in pie, but you’ll commonly see tart or sour cherries used in pie recipes as they balance out the sugar in the filling. If you’re ready to make your own pie, try my cherry pie filling.

Top view of a jar filled with sour cherry syrup and cherries.

Craving more sour cherry recipes? These dessert recipes and beverage options will help you make the most of sour cherry season. Check out all the summer recipes on the blog here.

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Top view of cooked sour cherries syrup.

Sour Cherry Syrup

5 from 15 votes
Print Recipe Save
Make the most of sour cherry season with this sour cherry syrup you can enjoy for months!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Persian
Diet: Gluten Free, Kosher, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 20
Calories: 104kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. sour cherries stemmed and pitted
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb. sugar granulated, cane, or turbinado

Instructions

  • Pit and stem 1 pound of sour cherries.
  • Add the cherries to a pot with 2 cups of water and 1 pound of sugar. Turn heat to low and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes until cherries are soft.
  • Take cherries out of the syrup, and boil the syrup until it is thick enough to stick to the back of your spoon. Turn the heat off and add cherries back in.
  • Let it cool to room temperature. Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Video

Notes

Sour cherries, tart cherries, bitter cherries, or pie cherries can be used in this recipe. My preference is the small, dark, sour cherries. You can use fresh cherries for this recipe, but it will result in a much sweeter syrup.
Sour cherries can be substituted with tart cherries, pie cherries, or bitter cherries.
If using frozen sour cherries, you want them whole, pitted, and still firm.
This syrup is very versatile, and you can enjoy it as a topping on pancakes and ice cream, in mocktails, and even salad dressings. Try one of these:
  • Sharbat or a mocktail: Add 1-2 tablespoons of the syrup and a few of the whole cherries to a glass and topping it off with sparkling water. I grew up drinking this treat with flat water, and that works, too.
  • Syrup topping: Pour the syrup and cherries directly over pancakes, waffles, or ice cream.
  • Salad dressing or marinades: This syrup works as a great emulsifier in salad dressings. Use 4 parts oil, 2 part vinegar, and 1 part syrup.

Nutrition

Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Did you try this recipe?I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a Review to let us know how it came out, if you have a successful substitution or variation, or anything else.

This post was originally published in August of 2018 but was republished with new photos, step-by-step instructions, FAQs, additional sugar and cherry options, and tips in August of 2022.

7 Comments

  1. Hi there I’m just gonna give this a try gonna double the recipe but I was wondering have you ever froze this or canned this recipe? Just wondering how long it stays good for thank you hope it turns out.

    Rhonda

  2. Hello! How many cups would you say is equal to 2 lbs? I don’t have a kitchen scale. Love to try the recipe but I think I have less than 2 lbs. Thanks!

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