Luxardo Cherries - Homemade Cocktail Cherries Made with Cherry Liqueur
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Luxardo Cherries

Luxardo Cherries are a grown-up version of maraschino cherries. Whether you buy them or make homemade Luxardo cherries using Luxardo liqueur, they are the perfect cocktail cherries made with liqueur!

Jar of homemade Luxardo cherries

What Is a Luxardo Cherry?

Today’s most popular maraschino cherries are typically made with high fructose corn syrup and red dye. Luxardo cherries are something else entirely.

Store-bought Luxardo cherries are made made using a cherry syrup. They have a rich, natural cherry flavor.

Jar of store-bought Luxardo cherries

While the store-bought version is wonderful, homemade Luxardo cherries are perfect for cocktails because they are made using Luxardo liqueur. And, you can experiment with different spices.

These cherries taste like tiny shots of liqueur encased in a piece of fruit.

What is Luxardo?

Bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueurLuxardo is liqueur made from Marasca cherries, a Croatian sour cherry variety. The cherry pits are also used in the making of the alcohol, which gives it a bit of an almond taste due to their cyanogenic glycosides.

How to Make Luxardo Cherries

To make Luxardo cherries, first steep pitted cherries in a syrup of sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. 

Remove from the heat and add in the cherry liqueur.

Once cool, jar the cherries and syrup and refrigerate.

They can last for up to one month in the refrigerator.

Recipe Ideas

Other than using the cherries on cocktails, you can use them to top cupcakes like vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, or black forest cupcakes.

The cherries would also be wonderful in these Maraschino cherry chocolate chip cookies from The First Year Blog. 

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A jar of homemade Luxardo cherries
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4.2 from 5 votes

Luxardo Cherries

Luxardo cherries are a grown-up version of maraschino cherries. These Luxardo cherries are made with cherry liqueur and spices and are perfect for cocktails and as dessert toppers.
Course Condiments, Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword cocktail cherries with liqueur, Luxardo cherries
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 32
Calories 41kcal
Author Stef


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound sweet cherries pitted
  • 1 cup maraschino cherry liqueur I use Luxardo.


  • Wash and pit the cherries.
  • In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cherries and liqueur and bring to a rolling boil.
  • When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add the cherries and simmer for 5–7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, add the liqueur, and let cool.
  • Transfer the cherries and liquid into clean jars and refrigerate, uncovered, until cherries are cool to touch.
  • Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to two weeks.


If you don't own a cherry pitter, you will definitely want to invest in one.
Sour Marasca cherries are the traditional ones used to make maraschino cherries. Since most of us don't have access to them, any cherry will do - the redder the better. I typically use Rainier cherries.
I used Luxardo brand cherry liqueur. Serious Eats tried this with a regular brandy and they were not as happy with the results. eGullet has an interesting discussion thread on types of cherry liqueur that is worth a read.
I found the recipe for homemade Luxardo cherries on Serious Eats, which was adapted from a recipe found in Imbibe Magazine. This recipe includes my modifications and notes.


Nutrition Facts
Luxardo Cherries
Amount Per Serving
Calories 41 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 31mg1%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 9IU0%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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44 comments on “Luxardo Cherries”

  1. Sylviasays:

    Family lore has it that some French ancestors of mine made something akin to this, but it wasn’t cooked. Basically just cherries soaked in some sort of alcohol for a long time. One jar had some bad cherries in it that ruined the flavor, so they threw the cherries out in the yard for the chickens to eat. Next thing they knew all their chickens were passed out cold from over imbibing!

  2. Jen Hsays:

    I might be making pina colada cupcakes soon and was cringing at the idea of having to top them with a fake red maraschino cherry. I’ll have to try this!

  3. i always hated those cherries too. they totally tasted like cough medicine. that is awesome that you made your own. i’m sure they tasted much better.

  4. Ivysays:

    No I did not come here looking for results but now that you mention it…
    Ugh. Friday. The suspense is killing me!

    Love the cherries!

  5. Amandasays:

    I’m with you – I had no idea that maraschino cherries could be homemade!

  6. Susan Csays:

    Once in a while, I’ll find a bar that serves these kind of REAL maraschino cherries on their Manhattans. I always feel like asking for a bowlful. They are that good.

    Can’t wait to try this. (And, hopefully, I won’t pass out cold like Sylvia’s family lore chickens.)

  7. See, I love cherry coke. And fake, plastic maraschino cherries.

    Tehy remind of being a “big girl” and finally getting to order a “drink” with my folks when we went out to dinner.

    But, this sounds like a really COOL recipe to try this weekend. If it works out, then I’d love to gift them in little baby jars next weekend at my birthday party :)

  8. laurasays:

    these look great. will definitely have to try them.

  9. Thanks! There seemed like there was no work-around except buying the processed crap when I make my pineapple upside-down cake, now I can make it so much healthier thanks to you!!!

  10. Joycesays:

    Tried the cherries this weekend, they are great, thanks! Can’t say enough about wearing gloves to pit the cherries. I didn’t and my hands are a mess.

  11. Did you leave the cinnamon stick in the jar or remove it after the mixture cooled?

  12. Stefsays:

    I left the stick in the jar.

  13. Annasays:

    I went on a wild goose chase round London on my bike to find Maraschino liquor. It was well worth it. The sour cherries I got from a friends front garden now taste amazing. They didn’t right away… but after a a few days in the fridge – YUM! Thank you.

  14. Annasays:

    Oh yes, I’ve saved and cleaned the cherry pits/stones for baking blind. Less of a mess than dried pulses and way cheaper than those ceramic beads.

  15. Stefsays:

    Anna – So glad to hear that it worked well for you!! Thanks for letting me know. Great idea using the pits for pie weights. Never heard of that before.

  16. I also make my own maraschino cherries, but I use dehydrated cherries so I don’t have to pit them.

  17. DaveMTxsays:

    I find that canned (comes in a glass bottle) sour cherries in light syrup soaked in Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur for a few weeks work well. Much less expensive than the Luxardo version. The cherries I find are from Iran or eastern Europe.

  18. Many thanks for this – finding a recipe that doesn’t involve red food colouring is worryingly difficult. Mine are now cooling and I’m looking forward to a nice cocktail or two in a couple of weeks.

  19. Anonymoussays:

    Talking about tying knots in the stems. My daughter, Lana, has been doing that since she was in her teens. Barbara FB.

  20. Ishsays:

    Hmmm, I wonder if you could add some beet juice to pump up the red color. That stuff seems to stain ANYTHING!

  21. if you want a non-alcoholic version try this:
    No-Booze Maraschino Cherries
    from Raising the Bar by Nick Mautone

    1 1/2 cups water

    1/2 cup red grape juice (use 100 percent juice)

    1 cup sugar

    3 1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice (from approximately 3 lemons)

    Pinch of salt

    1 whole piece star anise

    1 pound sweet cherries, pitted

    1 teaspoon almond extract

    In a nonreactive saucepan, add the water, grape juice, sugar, lemon juice, salt and star anise. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture until the sugar has dissolved.

    Add the cherries and almond extract. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or until the cherries have exuded some of their juice and the syrup has taken on a distinctly cherry flavor. Be careful not to overcook. The point is not to actually cook the cherries, but to heat them in the syrup just long enough to bring out their essence.

    Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the cherries and the syrup to a bowl, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover tightly, and refrigerate. The longer the cherries steep, the more flavorful they will become.

  22. Anonymoussays:

    Thank you to dweeb_girlie and the cupcake project for the recipes!!! I didn’t realize there was alcohol in the recipe and was sad because I can’t have alcohol because it really irritates up my digestive system! so thank you for the non-alcholic version that I can have!

  23. I notice you use sweet cherries. I was reading online that Marasca cherries are a “sour cherry.” How do you think it would play with a tart cherry? I am going to give it a try cause that’s what I have available, but I was wondering if you thought it would have that delicious tension of sweet and tart you get with cherry pie.

  24. Stefsays:

    Matt – I bet it would be great. How did it turn out?

  25. Looks pretty tasty. Luxardo’s Maraschino Liqueur is so darn delicious. I added bourbon to my combo, but many of the components are similar otherwise.
    Bourbon Spiked Cocktail Cherries

  26. Jodisays:

    Will these work as chocolate covered cherries? My main concern is whether they need to be refrigerated after they are preserved. My cherries sit for two weeks at room temp to allow the fondant to liquefy. Then I give them as Christmas gifts. I’d love to make my own cherries, but will they spoil at room temp?

  27. Joelsays:

    I thought I’d heard that jarred maraschino cherries were done with unripe cherries, then cured like olives are (wikipedia confirms, Then artificial colors (red or green), sweetener, and voila.

  28. Hmmm, just realized the only cherry liquor our local liqour store had was red….oh well. If they turn out well I can always track down the good stuff to repeat the experiment. With tart cherries, cause I am so finding some this year if it kills me. Thanks for the recipe and an excuse to buy a cherry pitter, plus something crafty to do on my day off.

  29. Annasays:

    Would it be possible to can these so that they last longer??

  30. Rosesays:

    Great idea, and thank youu for sharing (those store boughts are disgusting). Anyways, I’m not sure how to say it w/o sounding like a troll, but honestly there are so many grammer and sentence structure mistakes (using “they” instead of “them” I assume), and the the directions, step 2 is missing most of it… oh, there, is Step 4 the other half of Step 2?
    Again, thanks for the ingreds, ill be makng this & sharing w/my muminlaw, however, I wont be sharing your site due to the amazing amount of confusing sentences (thelast thing I want is to confuse a senior).
    Thanks, and again, sorry if I sound like a dbag.

    • cherrycherry28says:

      Now, that’s funny, Rose! You have spelled ‘grammar’ incorrectly, typed ‘the the’, forgot the punctuation and capitalization for the word ‘I’ll’ and ran the words, ‘the last’ together. Might I add that you spelled ‘you’ incorrectly, added an unnecessary ‘s’ to the word ‘anyway’ and your punctuation sucks overall. Thanks for the laugh.

      • Katsays:

        I find it hilarious when the holier-than-thou grammar police can’t spell and use words that don’t exist like “anyways.” I’m surprised she didn’t pull out all the stops and say “irregardless,” too.

    • rosacherrisays:

      Why do Americans always use “anyways”? This is NOT grammatically correct – so please Rose change your speech to “anyway” and that way we won’t think that you sound like a ‘dbag’ nor a ‘troll’

      • Katsays:

        Where did you get the idea she’s American? My guess would be that she is a Brit since she used the term “muminlaw.” Brits tend to use the word mum where Americans use mom. And from my experience, I’ve only heard one American say ‘anyways’ but an Iraqi I know says it all the time.

    • Stefsays:

      Woah – I had no idea that my post had gotten so messed up. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. It has been fixed and I hope that you will understand that it was a formatting error, not something indicative of my writing abilities.

  31. Sethsays:

    Just for clarification- the cherries will start to go bad in the fridge after 2 weeks?

  32. Dana Cashinsays:

    Loved the sounds of these – is there any way I can can these for future use and how?

  33. Sarasays:

    Thanks for the recipe + notes! I am trying it out now and all my cherry skins seem to have split. Is that normal? Or is there a way to prevent it?

  34. Sarasays:

    Oops just realized you left the stems on, but my cherries didn’t have stems. So maybe that has something to do with it.

  35. Robsays:

    I can surely agree with simmering the cherries, but i should wait with adding the alcohol utnil everything has cooled down to room temperature.
    When you put the alcohol into the hot fluid all the alcohol will evaporate.

  36. Tomsays:

    5 stars
    I live in a community that has cherry orchards and most folks have a cherry tree in their yard. This recipe is a great way to use some of our bountiful harvest. I’ve tried it with both Bings and Rainier cherries and it was excellent with either.

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