Sweet and spicy pickled cherries

A versatile and delicious condiment!

It’s no accident that there is a whole subsection of my website devoted to pickles, preserves and condiments. My siblings and I were always expected to help with the vast amounts of canning that went on in our home and I have kept up the tradition, albeit in much smaller quantities. I love making single jars of a tasty preserved treat because they’re so fast and easy, yet can be enjoyed for weeks to come. These pickled cherries are a great case in point – you can serve them over yogurt or ice cream for a simple dessert, toss them in a cocktail, slice them and add to a salad, or use them to perk up a cheese or charcuterie board. If you’re a fan of pickled fruit you might also enjoy my pickled melon, pickled blueberries or pickled apple slices.


  • 3 cups (750 mL) sweet cherries (approximately 1lb / 454 g) *
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) cider or rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract

*substitute with 2 cups (500 mL) of pitted, frozen sweet cherries if you like (do not thaw)


  • If using fresh cherries, wash them then use a cherry pitter or small, sharp knife to remove the pits and stems from the cherries. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, maple syrup, salt, red pepper flakes and vanilla. Place over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the pitted cherries to the brine in the pot and simmer until cherries are just tender, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • With a ladle (and a canning funnel if you have one), transfer the cherries and most of the brining liquid to a clean 2 cup (500 mL) canning jar, filling it to 1/4 inch (.6 cm) from the top with the liquid. Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature until cool, then refrigerate.
  • Pickled cherries are ready to enjoy after 24 hours. They can be kept in the fridge for up to a month. For longer storage, process via traditional hot water canning methods and use within one year.

Makes one 2 cup / 500 mL jar.


Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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