Sweet Cherry Compote with Rosemary and Lemon

August 12, 2016(updated on December 16, 2023)

This sweet cherry compote, flavored with fresh rosemary and plenty of lemon zest, is the perfect way to extend the deliciousness of cherry season. And if cherry season is already past in your area, try it with frozen cherries! 

A gif featuring the steps of making sweet cherry compote.

Many years ago, I teamed up with the folks at Ball Canning to develop a series of small batch recipes in order to spread the word about the many pleasures of home canning.

The were designed to live on a Tumblr that they created for the project, but that site no longer exists. And so I’ve brought some of those recipes, including this one for sweet cherry compote, back over to this site so that they can continue to provide inspiration and guidance.

Now, I realize that fresh sweet cherries aren’t available year round. The good news is that this preserve can be made with frozen cherries just as easily as fresh. These cherries are delicious with roast meat or spooned over homemade ice cream. They’re also terrific paired with soft, slightly stinky cheeses and a ginger cookie.

For more cherry recipes, make sure click here. You will find a wide world of jams, jellies, butters, and other preserves to inspire your next canning project.

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Sweet Cherry Compote


  • 4 pounds sweet cherries, pitted and cut in half
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary


  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 6 half-pint jars.
  • In a large, non-reactive pot, combine the cherries, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and rosemary sprigs.
  • Give the contents of the pot a good stir and let it macerate off the heat for about an hour.
  • When you’re ready to cook, put the pot on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Once it starts to roll, reduce the heat to medium-high.
  • Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the liquid in the pot thickens and the cherries soften.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and fish out the rosemary stems. Ladle the compote into the prepared jars. Wipe the rim, apply the lid and band, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
  • When the time is up, remove the lid from the pot and turn off the heat. Let the jars rest in the cooling water for five minutes. When that time is up, remove jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
  • When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

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One thought on "Sweet Cherry Compote with Rosemary and Lemon"

  • this looks fabulous! when looking at recipes that call for fresh Cherries by the cup, how do you transfer that amount to frozen cherries?