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Easy Cherry Compote Recipe

This homemade cherry compote recipe has just 3 simple ingredients, can be made with fresh or frozen fruit, and is ready in 15 minutes. It’s the perfect topping on desserts, pancakes, waffles, vanilla ice cream, and more. 

At the beginning of every summer, I anxiously wait for cherry season to roll around. There’s nothing quite like the sweet flavor of juicy, plump, fresh cherries.

They’re not cheap though, and if you find that you can’t eat them all in time due to their short shelf life, homemade compote is the perfect solution.

What Is Compote?

Compote is a fruit sauce made with whole or large pieces of fresh, frozen, or dried fruit cooked with sugar on the stove until the fruit has broken down.

It’s more of a chunky sauce with pieces of fruit whereas jam has much more sugar and is more of a spreadable consistency. Because compote is less sweet, it allows the sweet flavor of the cherries to really shine through.

Ingredients

Just 3 simple ingredients are needed for this easy cherry compote recipe.

  • Whole cherries – any variety of cherries such as Rainier cherries, black cherries, sweet cherries, sour cherries, bing cherries, etc. If you don’t have fresh fruit, use frozen cherries. The advantage of using frozen fruit is that it doesn’t need to be thawed and you don’t need to remove the cherry pits, which can be tedious.
  • Fresh lemon juice – helps add brightness to the sauce and balances out the sweetness from the cherries and raw honey.
  • Raw honey – the added sugar helps bring out the cherry flavor and balances out the lemon juice without making the compote too sweet. Depending on the tartness of the cherries, you may need to add a little extra.

How To Make Sweet Cherry Compote

Step 1. Combine cherries, lemon juice, and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Step 2. Once the cherry mixture comes to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature before transferring the thick cherry sauce to an airtight container or mason jar. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point

How can you make this cherry compote using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • No cherries? – Use another type of fruit such as stone fruit or tropical fruit. You can also make strawberry compote or raspberry compote.
  • No lemon juice? – use lime juice.
  • No honey? – you can also use other sweeteners such as maple syrup, coconut sugar, or brown sugar.
  • Prefer a thicker compote? – add chia seeds to the cherry mixture or make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of cold water. Stir into the hot compote.
  • Make cherry coulis – puree the sauce and then strain it through a fine mesh sieve for a smoother sauce.
  • Add-ins – vanilla extract, orange juice or orange zest, lemon zest, lime zest, lime juice, etc.

Helpful Tips

  • Frozen cherries make a delicious fruit compote and are a great option if you don’t have access to a cherry pitter or fresh cherries aren’t in season. If you use defrosted cherries, add in the cherry juice as well.
  • If you’re using tart cherries, you may need to add a little more sweetener.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cook cherries without pitting them?

Unfortunately, no. You have to remove the pits before cooking fresh cherries.

How do you remove cherry pits?

Remove the pits by either using a cherry pitter tool or a sharp paring knife.

If using a sharp knife, make a slit through the center until you hit the pit, and then continue all the way around it. Once it’s cut all the way around the pit, pick up the cherry with your hands and twist in opposite directions to pull each half apart. Remove the pit that’s still stuck in one of the cherry halves and repeat the process.

How To Serve

There are so many ways to enjoy this chunky cherry sauce. It can be enjoyed warm or cold and in desserts or for breakfast.

Serve it with oat flour waffles, French toast, matcha chia pudding, or decadent desserts such as angel food cake or chocolate cake, on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream, stirred into plain yogurt and peanut butter granola, or for a cherry pie filling.

Like This Recipe? Try These Next

Easy Cherry Compote Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Jars of homemade chunky cherry compote.
This homemade cherry compote recipe has just 3 simple ingredients, can be made with fresh or frozen fruit, and is ready in 15 minutes. It's the perfect topping on desserts, pancakes, waffles, vanilla ice cream, and more. 
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups frozen or fresh pitted cherries see notes
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Combine cherries, lemon juice, and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Once the cherry mixture comes to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature before transferring the thick cherry sauce to an airtight container or mason jar. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Notes

Using frozen cherries? No need to thaw them first. If you use defrosted cherries, add in the cherry juice as well.
Using tart cherries? You may need to add a little more sweetener.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

No cherries? – Use another type of fruit such as stone fruit or tropical fruit. You may also like strawberry compote or raspberry compote.
No lemon juice? – you can also use lime juice.
No honey? – you can also use other sweeteners such as maple syrup, coconut sugar, or brown sugar.
Prefer a thicker compote? – add chia seeds to the cherry mixture or make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of cold water. Stir into the hot compote.
Make cherry coulis – puree the sauce and then strain it through a fine mesh sieve for a smoother sauce.
Add-ins – vanilla extract, orange juice or orange zest, lemon zest, lime zest, lime juice, etc.
5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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