30 Sour Cherry Recipes Sure to Make Your Summer Sweeter

sour cherries
Spencer Staats

Sour cherries are rounder, softer, and smaller than their sweet counterparts. And unlike other cherries, which can be eaten out of hand, sour cherries are best when sweetened and cooked. We're showing you how to incorporate them into a number of delicious dishes and use them to create new favorites.

Before diving into some of our preferred sour cherry recipes, first you must learn how to choose and store the fruit. They have an exceptionally short season and are usually only available in June and July. Picking the right ones is an important step if you hope to have success with any sour cherry recipe. Choose ones that are bright scarlet, plump, and firm—avoid soft, bruised fruits and those with brown stems. Unwashed sour cherries should keep in your refrigerator for up to a week, but be sure to wash your fruits right before eating, as water can cause them to soften and split.

After they're properly cared for, cooking with sour cherries is simpler than you might think. Incorporate them in drinks, soups, entrées, and desserts for a delicious sweet and tangy surprise. Sip on our Sour Cherry Mojitos for a tart drink, or spoon small servings of Sour Cherry Soup into bowls for a refreshing starter. As the main meal, make our Sour Cherry-and-Five-Spice-Lacquered Ribs.

Of course, sour cherries also take center stage in many of our favorite desserts. Sbriciolata di Millefoglie with Sour Cherry Preserves sounds complicated, but it actually starts with store-bought puff pastry. Martha's Sour Cherry Pie is another tasty option, and the result is a showstopping creation that puts the sour cherries on full display thanks to the simple-yet-detailed crust.

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Garden Salad with Herbs and Sour Cherry Dressing

garden salad with herbs and sour-cherry dressing
Mikkel Vang

Tart cherries are swiftly marinated in an easy sherry vinaigrette then placed atop this salad full of greens and fennel.

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Sbriciolata di Millefoglie with Sour Cherry Preserves

sbriciolata di millefoglie with sour-cherry preserves puff pastry and cream
Mikkel Vang

Layered between spoonfuls of preserved sour cherries and pastry cream, the light, flaky pastry completes a delicious summertime dessert.

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Homemade Cocktail Cherries

homemade cocktail cherries
Courtesy of Nikka

Soak sour cherries in a mixture of tart cherry juice, sugar, and maraschino liqueur, then add a vanilla bean and a bay leaf and let the flavors meld in the fridge for at least one week. Any cocktail enthusiast will love the resulting treat, especially when paired with a bottle of nice whiskey.

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Martha's Sour Cherry Pie

Yossy Arefi

Sour cherries have a satisfying tartness and depth that their sweet counterparts can't imitate, making them a classic choice for pies. Small holes cut into the top crust give a sneak peek of the delicious filling underneath.

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Sour-Cherry Mojitos

Marcus Nilsson

Macerate sour cherries and fresh basil with simple syrup and lemon juice, then combine with vodka and sparkling water for the ultimate big-batch summer cocktail.

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Sour Cherry and Rosemary Focaccia


This sweet, crisp-crusted version of everyone's favorite Italian bread combines fresh sour cherries with fragrant rosemary. The result is a summertime treat that works well as an appetizer or as a slightly savory dessert.

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The Firecracker

Johnny Miller

With a blend of gin and rosé wine, this festive summer drink packs a real punch. Tart cherries liven up the mix.

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Cherry Gelee

Jonathan Lovekin

We love the combination of sour cherry and rich, lightly sweetened vanilla cream in this gelee. It's as refreshing as it is elegant.

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Chilled Sour Cherry Soup

chilled sour-cherry soup flecked with dill and cilantro
Mikkel Vang

This dish is best served in small portions and as an appetizer. It's refreshing but jam-packed with that delectable sour cherry taste.

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Yeasted Cheese and Sour Cherry Coffee Cake


In a nod to the cheese Danish, this coiled loaf is bursting with swirls of sweetened cream cheese and tart cherries.

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Sour-Cherry and Lemon-Verbena Sherbet

Naho Kubota

A cup of milk adds just the right amount of richness to this tart, refreshing summer treat.

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Albaloo Polo

albaloo polo saffron-infused rice topped with preserved cherries
Mikkel Vang

This Persian side dish features saffron-infused rice layered with sour cherry preserves.

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Sour Cherry Preserves

sour-cherry preserves in a glass jar
Mikkel Vang

A dash of sugar makes this sour cherry preserve the perfect level of tart. Stir it into yogurt or add it to your vanilla ice cream for a delicious surprise.

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Sour Cherry-and-Five-Spice-Lacquered Ribs

sour-cherry and five spice lacquered ribs garnished with scallions and cilantro
Mikkel Vang

Baby-back ribs are glazed in this gingery soy glaze featuring sour cherries.

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Sour Cherry Lemonade


Fresh sour cherries get simmered in a sweet syrup that's then stirred into tart sparkling lemonade.

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Cherry Pie with Almond Crumble


No top crust here! This sour cherry pie is crowned with a sweet, buttery mixture of almonds instead.

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Sour Cherry Cordials


We look forward to making this cocktail every summer. Tart cherries are simmered with sweetened Muscat wine until syrupy, then topped with gin and seltzer. Garnish with fresh cherries and lemon zest.

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Black Forest Upside-Down Cakes


Sour cherries are the perfect way to cut the richness of this decadent chocolate dessert.

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Sour Cherry Frangipane Tart

sour-cherry frangipane tart topped with powdered sugar
Mikkel Vang

In the style of French country tarts, fresh fruit is arranged in a filled tart shell before baking. The almonds in this frangipane-style filling complement the flavor of cherries perfectly. This is an easy summer tart to make; the crumbly crust doesn't require any rolling. Dust with confectioner's sugar just before serving.

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Sour Cherry-Pistachio Crisp

sour cherry pistachio crisp
Dana Gallagher

Our crisp has more than a pound and a half of pitted sour cherries crowned with a brown-sugar-dusted oat-and-pistachio topping for lots of crunch.

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Sour Cherry Crumb Cakes

sour cherry crumb cakes
Simon Watson

This picnic-perfect handheld dessert combines tender buttermilk cake dotted with fresh sour cherries, topped with a sweet cinnamon-kissed crumble.

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Cherry Orange Bourbon

cherry-orange bourbon
Emily Kate Roemer

Bourbon infused with tart cherries and a strip of orange zest makes a delicious cocktail base. Simply add seltzer or ginger ale or use it in our Sour Cherry Old-Fashioned.

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Rustic Three-Cherry Tart


Take advantage of cherry season with this easy-to-make tart that calls for three different varieties: Bing, golden, and sour cherries.

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Cherry-Vanilla Milkshake with Root Beer Granita

cherry vanilla milk shake with root beer granita
Victoria Pearson

Take your vanilla milk shake from plain to next-level by adding sour cherries to the mix and topping with shards of frozen root beer.

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Sour Cherry Pie

Kenji Toma

The perfect combination of tart and sweet, this familiar dessert—crowned with an old-fashioned lattice crust—evokes an era when every afternoon included pie and coffee.

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Sour Cherry-Infused Vodka

Jen Causey

Infusing vodka with sour cherries lets you savor the flavor year-round. Wash and dry a bunch of cherries; slash the bottom of each with the tip of a paring knife. Fill a resealable jar with them; top with vodka, fully submerging the fruit. Store in a cool, dark place for at least a month before taking a sip. The vodka will keep for up to a year.

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Sour Cherry Savarins

sour cherry savarins
Yunhee Kim

Take this classic French dessert for a summery spin by mounding plump sour cherries simmered in a sweet wine syrup on top of the airy, ring-shaped cakes.

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Sour Cherry Preserves

sour cherry preserves
Maria Robledo

The season for sour cherries is short, but with this preserve recipe you can enjoy their tart flavor year-round.

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Sour Cherry Charlotte

sour cherry charlotte
Sang An

Thinly sliced bread is used instead of the traditional ladyfingers, and it's baked in a jumbo-muffin tin instead of a special mold. Fill it with all the sour cherries you can get your hands on and serve with a balsamic-laced cherry compote.

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Sour Cherry Bounce

cherry bounce cocktail garnished with frozen cherries
Mikkel Vang

A rumored favorite of George Washington, the cherry-infused spirit needs to sit for at least a week and up to one month before being chilled and served ice-cold.

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