Are you looking for a delicious and easy cherry compote recipe? If so, you've come to the right place! This cherry compote is made from fresh cherries, lemon juice, and sugar, all of which combine into an amazingly delicious compote that's sweet and tart.
This summer, I had the pleasure of creating a cherry compote recipe, and it was amazing! Not only is it super easy to make, but it's also versatile and a great way to enjoy cherries.
If you've ever found yourself with a surplus of fresh cherries and a craving for something sweet and tart, you're in for a treat. Today, we're diving into the delightful world of homemade cherry compote.
It may sound fancy, but it's easy to make. With a few simple ingredients like fresh cherries, sugar, and a touch of lemon juice, you'll be on your way to creating a mouthwatering cherry compote that's perfect for drizzling over ice cream, topping pancakes, or adding a burst of flavor to your overnight oatmeal or cream of wheat.
In this post, I'll walk you through how to make your cherry compote and share some ideas for how to use it. So, if you're looking for a sweet and delicious way to enjoy cherries this summer during cherry season or year-round, keep reading!
What is compote made of?
A fruit compote is a chunky sauce made from cooked whole fruits or pieces of fruit, typically simmered in their juices with sugar, water, and other flavors such as vanilla, citrus zest, nuts, raisins, or spices. Dried, frozen, fresh fruit or canned fruit can be used to make a compote.
Try my Poached Pears in Red Wine for a variation on a fruit compote.
When the fruit compote is pureed, it is called a coulis.
When are cherries in season?
Cherries grow well on the west coast. Those living in California, Washington, Idaho, and Oregon typically have access to cherries before the rest of the USA, with Washington producing the highest quantity of sweet cherries.
Cherries are in season from April through August, although I also saw them in the stores in early September. In Colorado, the season lasts from mid-June through October.
Sweet, fresh cherries (Bing cherries, Lambert cherries, or Rainier cherries) are firm and are typically available at grocery stores when in season and are perfect for eating out of hand.
Sour cherries are softer, tart, and acidic (Balaton cherries, Montmorency cherries, and Morello cherries), which makes them perfect for making cherry pies, jam, or dried cherries.
How to choose fresh cherries
Choose shiny cherries that do not have bruising on them. It does not matter if they have stems on them or not. If they have stems, it means they were probably hand-picked. They are machine-picked if they have no stems (the cherries get shaken from the trees).
Once you bring fresh sweet cherries home, they should be okay on the counter for a couple of days. Otherwise, refrigerate them for up to a week. If you find sour cherries, they do not last as long as sweet cherries on the counter or in the fridge; find a use for them promptly!
These are the simple ingredients to make this homemade cherry compote:
- Pitted cherries - You can use black cherries, sweet cherries, Rainier cherries, or sour cherries, fresh or frozen. I used whole cherries; you can halve the cherries or halve a portion and leave the rest whole.
- Organic cane sugar - this is vegan. The amount of sugar used will vary depending on the sweetness of the cherries. You will likely need to add more sugar if you use sour cherries.
- Lemon juice - freshly squeezed is best. Lemon juice provides acidity to balance the sweetness of the cherries. You may need to adjust the amount of lemon juice depending on the variety of cherries.
Sweet cherries will need more lemon juice than sour cherries. Sour cherries have a higher acidity than sweet cherries, so they need less lemon juice and more sugar. Start with a small amount, taste, and adjust to your liking.
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to make this easy cherry compote recipe
It is easy to make this simple cherry compote, even if it is your first time.
Add the cherries, organic cane sugar, and water to a heavy, wide saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the cherries soften and release their juices, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust lemon juice and sugar if needed.
Be careful not to add too much water since the cherries release cherry juice as they cook. Stir occasionally while cooking, being careful not to crush the cherries.
Hint: Allow the cherry compote to cool before transferring it to a clean glass jar. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Fresh cherries - You can use frozen cherries to make this recipe year-round.
- Organic cane sugar - use coconut sugar, agave syrup, or maple syrup instead. You can use regular white sugar instead of organic cane sugar. I mention organic cane sugar because it is vegan, and whether regular white sugar is vegan depends on the brand. Some brands filter cane sugar through a charcoal filter made of bone char so that the sugar may have been in contact with the bone char, which is not vegan-friendly. However, beet sugar is always vegan-friendly because it is not filtered through bone char since it doesn't need to be filtered through charcoal to whiten it.
To reiterate, choose organic cane sugar or beet sugar for vegan-friendly white sugar.
Here are some delicious variations on this cherry compote recipe:
- Deluxe - add a tablespoon of brandy or stir in a tablespoon of kirsch or Amaretto while cooking.
- Flavor - add a small amount of almond extract or vanilla extract to the cherry compote while cooking
- Fruit - add blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries to the compote as it cooks.
- Lemon juice - use balsamic vinegar or orange juice instead.
- Thicker - mix a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch with the water before you start cooking for a thicker compote, similar to cherry pie filling.
- Zest - add the zest of one lemon or one orange.
Try this easy Apple Compote for another tasty variation!
- Cherry pitter - If you don't have one, place the cherry on an empty wine bottle and use a chopstick to push the pit through into the bottle.
- Large, heavy saucepan - if you have a small or medium saucepan, you will need to cook the cherries in batches since they need to be in a single layer.
- Glass jars - I like to use these glass jars for storage with these plastic lids.
How to serve
You may be wondering how to eat this cherry compote. The options are endless!
There are so many ways to enjoy this delicious compote! It's the perfect topping for dessert or breakfast, or you can enjoy it on its own.
Serve this cherry compote on top of:
- chocolate cake
- pound cake
- vegan cheesecake
- French toast
- vegan vanilla ice cream
- whipped coconut cream
- vegan yogurt in a parfait
- mix a portion of it into popsicles
- add the cherry compote syrup to club soda, iced tea, prosecco, or sparkling wine.
If you have extra cherries, try this homemade double-crust vegan cherry pie.
Should this compote be warm or cold?
You can enjoy this cherry compote either way! If you wish to enjoy it warm, gently reheat it on the range until it is warmed through.
Refrigerate: Store this compote in the fridge for up to one week in an airtight container.
Freeze for up to six months in a glass container or freezer-safe ziplock bag; thaw overnight in the fridge.
Reheat the cherry compote in a small saucepan on the stovetop on low heat until warm.
Choose a large saucepan to cook the cherries in a single layer, as shown in the photo above. If your pan is smaller, you will need to do several batches.
Yes, you can use frozen cherries. There is no need to thaw them overnight in the fridge before cooking them. Skip adding water to the compote since frozen cherries have more water than fresh cherries. They may take a little longer to cook.
You can serve this cherry compote warm, at room temperature, or chilled. It's the perfect topping for dessert or breakfast, or you can enjoy it as is.
Are you looking for more recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite recipes to enjoy with this easy cherry compote recipe:
I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as we did! If you make this recipe, please take a moment to ★★★★★ star rate it and leave a comment below. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook, and share your creation with me! Tag me @resplendentkitchen and hashtag #resplendentkitchenrecipes.
Easy Cherry Compote Recipe
- 1 pound cherries pitted, fresh or frozen
- ¼ cup organic cane sugar adjust to taste
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice adjust to taste
- Add the cherries, organic cane sugar, and water to a heavy, wide saucepan and cook over medium to medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved and cherries soften and release their cherry juice, approximately 15 minutes. If you are using frozen cherries it will take a little longer to cook them.1 pound cherries, ¼ cup organic cane sugar, 2 tablespoons water
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Taste, adjust lemon juice and sugar if needed.1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Allow the cherry compote to cool before transferring to a clean glass jar. Store in fridge for up to 1 week.
- This recipe makes approximately 2 cups of cherry compote. For 8 servings, each serving is ¼ cup.
- Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
- Store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Resplendent Kitchen offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site as a courtesy. Although resplendentkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information from online calculators, these figures are estimates.