Hot Pack Spiced Cherry Preserves

July 6, 2017(updated on August 30, 2021)

These spiced cherry preserves are a tasty way to put up this most precious of summer fruit. Sweet, spicy, and tender, they’re a good companion for breakfast, cheese plates, and dessert!

Last Thursday, a big box of sweet cherries arrived from the nice folks from the Northwest Cherry Growers. I’ve slowly been working through them (look for black raspberry and cherry jam, cherry and meyer lemon marmalade, and more coming at you soon) and on Monday night, I used three pounds for my Facebook Live demo.

These preserved cherries (pitted but left whole) are simmered in a syrup that’s been spiced with cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and black peppercorns. They soften and slump, but retain enough texture that they’re a good companion for cheese plates, yogurt parfaits, and damp slices of buttery poundcake. I think you’ll like them!

5 from 1 vote

Hot Pack Spiced Cherry Preserves

These spiced cherry preserves are a tasty way to put up this most precious of summer fruit. Sweet, spicy, and tender, they're a good companion for breakfast, cheese plates, and dessert!
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes


  • 3 pounds cherries washed, stemmed and pitted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon stick bits buy them from Penzeys or crush a cinnamon stick with a rolling pin
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 star anise pieces


  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 2 pint jars.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, lemon zest and juice. Place the cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and star anise in a non-reactive tea ball or bundle them in a length of cheesecloth. Add the spices to the pan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Once the syrup reaches a boil and the sugar is fully dissolved, add the cherries. Return the liquid to a boil and reduce the heat to medium high.
  • Cook the cherries for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are fully cooked with liquid. Remove the spice bundle.
  • Using a slotted spoon, evenly divide the cooked cherries between the jars. Top with liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a wooden chopstick to remove any trapped air bubbles and adjust the headspace, as necessary.
  • Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process the jars in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
  • When time is up, remove the jars from the canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. Let them rest for a few days before eating, so that the flavors can mellow and mingle.

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10 thoughts on "Hot Pack Spiced Cherry Preserves"

  • Oh, these sound wonderful. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I’m hoping to come across some cherries here soon. I’d love to try this, and make some of my grandma’s pie filling and brandied cherries. Starting a jar of tutti frutti with them would be a fun project as well. The cherries I found earlier in the summer got eaten so fast, that nothing got made!.

  • They sound yummy! Love the star anise. If I wanted to process them in half pints, would the time be 10 minutes?

  • Just made this recipe. It’s not your grandma sauce. It’s so yummy and upscale taste. Can hardly wait to try on pound cake. Love the spicey fruity taste.

  • I can’t wait to try this, just need to get a cherry pitter. You mentioned you use the Oxo brand in your Facebook live on this topic, I love Oxo! Hoping my local store has one or else, to online shopping I go. 🙂 Thanks for continuing to do the Facebook Lives, I’m really enjoying them.

  • I’ve been looking forward to the Cherry & Meyer Lemon marmalade recipe since you posted this- will it be coming soon? I have pitted cherries in the freezer ready to go for it. Always love your recipes! 🙂

  • I made this yesterday, and I can’t wait to break them out at christmas and make some black forest cake/brownies. I had left over syrup after I filled my jars, I strained it and have been mixing it with club soda as a homemade spiced cherry soft drink (would work as a great mixer too!).

  • Would it be safe to make the recipe as written and add a couple of tablespoons of brandy or bourbon to make a cocktail cherry? We love brandied cherries in old fashioned’s and I was hoping to make something similar that is shelf stable.

  • I was really looking forward to making this recipe – to use for a cheese board. It tastes great but I think I must have missed something in the translation. Are you supposed to drain the syrup and then pick out the woody pieces of cinnamon stick, the whole black peppercorns and whole cloves and then pour the syrup over the cherries? I’d like some direction on how to preserve the 3# of cherries. I can’t see serving this to anyone and watch them pick out the solids. Thanks.

    1. Hi Paula. It’s been several years since I last made that recipe, but you’re right that there should be a step that instructs you to put the cinnamon, black peppercorns, and cloves in a tea ball or length of cheesecloth for easy removal. I am so sorry for that omission. I will fix it right now so that it isn’t an issue for anyone else in the future.