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Cherry Jam Recipes – Cherry, Cherry Amaretto, Cherry Berry

Whether you like a smooth spread or big hunks of fruit, these homemade cherry jam recipes are sure to please. We start with an easy cherry jam, and then mix it up a bit with cherry amaretto and cherry berry. All the recipes are safe for canning, so you can enjoy them year round.

homemade cherry jam
Homemade cherry jam – top left, cherry berry; right – tart cherry; bottom left, cherry amaretto

We live near Door County, Wisconsin, which produces about 4% of the tart cherries in the United States. For year we visited the cherry orchards, but this year we had our own cherries and cherries from a friend. We canned cherries, froze cherries, and made up cherry jam.

Learn how to can cherries for pie fillings and desserts here.

family cherry picking
Blast from the past – the year we went cherry picking with my sister and her grandkids

For those who don't have fresh cherries available, it's fine to use frozen cherries to make jam. In fact, I'll often freeze fruit during harvest season and make preserves later in the year when the temps drop.

Cherry Chemistry 101

Cherries and other stone fruits (like peaches) are low in natural pectin. This means that for jam making, we need to add a source of pectin, or cook the jam longer to thicken it. Some recipes use sugar and lemon juice, or apple juice, for sweetness and pectin. (Sugar and pectin work together to provide gelling.)

I like to use Pomona's Universal Pectin for jams and jellies. With Pomona's, I can use less sugar, and less cooking time. You can find Pomona's Pectin at natural food grocers or with canning supplies, or buy it online here.

The pH of cherries is between 3.1 and 4.5. This means that they are safe for water bath canning or steam canning. (Tart cherry pH ranges from 3.1 – 3.6, while sweet cherry pH ranges from 3.7 – 4.5.) Botulism spores need a pH of over 4.6 to grow, so they won't find a good home in your cherry jam.

Both sour and sweet cherries are high in anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant, but tart cherries have more. Tart (sour) cherries are also lower in sugar. Cherry pits contain cyanogenic glycosides, but only in minute amounts. You'd need to eat a LOT of cherry pits to see toxic effects.

tart cherries on tree
This tree was loaded with Montmorency tart cherries.

Prepping Your Cherries for Jam

Before you get started, wash your cherries and remove the pits. If you don't have a cherry pitter, there are several options to get the pits out.

Tart cherries are soft, so we scoop out the pits with a paper clip. Some people squeeze the pits out, or pry them out with their fingers. Sweet cherries are firmer, so you may need a knife.

See “How to Pit Cherries without a Cherry Pitter” for more pitting options.

If you're working with frozen cherries, thaw them before starting. Don't let tart cherries sit too long after thawing, or the color will start to fade.

filling canning jars

How to Make Cherry Jam

I'm including instructions for canning, but if you prefer, you can store the finished jam in the refrigerator. Because it's a low sugar jam, it's best used within a month if not canned. It's okay to make a half batch, or a double batch.

Tools you will need:

  • A water bath canner or steam canner
  • Sterilized jars and lids*
  • Medium stockpot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Jar lifter
  • Lid lifter

*If you're canning your cherry jam, the canning process will sterilize the jars. Clean them and keep them warm before filling. I put mine in the canner water, or run them through the dishwasher to warm them up.

tart cherry jam
Tart cherry jam
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Easy Cherry Jam (Low Sugar)

Try this easy cherry jam recipe with sweet or tart cherries. It's wonderful on toast or pancakes, or spooned over ice cream or yogurt.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 45 cups 1x
  • Category: jam

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 cups mashed cherries, tart or sweet (roughly 2 pounds of whole cherries)
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup honey or 1 cup to 2 cups sugar (honey is sweeter than sugar)*
  • 2 teaspoons pectin
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water (included with Pomona's Pectin)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)

*Use less sugar for sweet cherries, more for tart cherries, or vary the amount of sugar to taste.

Instructions

  1. Wash and rinse jars and keep warm. Bring lids to simmer, then turn off heat and let stand in hot water.
  2. Prepare calcium water (included with Pomona's Pectin). Put 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder and 1/2 cup water in a lidded jar and shake well.
  3. Measure out 4 cups of pitted cherries. (I pack them into the measuring cup.) Pour the cherries into the stock pot. Use a stick blender or potato masher, if desired, to smash the fruit.
  4. Add the calcium water to the cherries and stir well.
  5. Measure out the sugar or honey into a separate bowl. Stir the pectin into the sugar or honey.
  6. Bring the cherries and calcium water to a rolling boil. Combine the cherries, sugar (honey), and pectin. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin and return to a full boil. Boil one minute and remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract, if desired.
  7. Fill canning jars to 1/4″ headspace (1/4″ from the top of the jar). Wipe the rims clean and screw on the lids and rings. Place the jars in the canner and boil for 10 minutes. (Add 1 minute more for every 1000 feet above sea level.)
  8. Remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel on the counter top. Let jars cool completely. Check the seals, remove rings, date and label. Store in a cool, dark location and use within 18 months for best quality.

Notes

Recipe will make between 4 and 5 1/2 cups of cherry jam, depending on amount of sweetener used and how much you pack your cherries.

Keywords: cherries, summer recipes, preserves

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

cherry amaretto jam
Cherry Amaretto Jam
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Cherry Amaretto Jam

Accentuate the delicate almond flavor of cherries with a dash of amaretto liqueur. The alcohol cooks off, leaving behind a hint of almond.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 45 cups 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 cups mashed cherries, tart or sweet (roughly 2 pounds of whole cherries)
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup honey or 1 cup to 2 cups sugar (honey is sweeter than sugar)*
  • 1/2 cup amaretto liqueur (I use Disaronno.)
  • 2 teaspoons pectin
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water (included with Pomona's Pectin)

*Use less sugar for sweet cherries, more for tart cherries, or vary the amount of sugar to taste.

Instructions

  1. Wash and rinse jars and keep warm. Bring lids to simmer, then turn off heat and let stand in hot water.
  2. Prepare calcium water (included with Pomona's Pectin). Put 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder and 1/2 cup water in a lidded jar and shake well.
  3. Measure out 4 cups of pitted cherries. (I pack them into the measuring cup.) Pour the cherries and amaretto into the stock pot. Use a stick blender or potato masher, if desired, to smash the fruit. 
  4. Add the calcium water to the cherries and stir well.
  5. Measure out the sugar or honey into a separate bowl. Stir the pectin into the sugar or honey.
  6. Bring the cherries and calcium water to a rolling boil. Combine the cherries, sugar (honey), and pectin. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin and return to a full boil. Boil one minute and remove from heat.
  7. Fill canning jars to 1/4″ headspace (1/4″ from the top of the jar). Wipe the rims clean and screw on the lids and rings. Place the jars in the canner and boil for 10 minutes. (Add 1 minute more for every 1000 feet above sea level.)
  8. Remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel on the counter top. Let jars cool completely. Check the seals, remove rings, date and label. Store in a cool, dark location and use within 18 months for best quality.

Notes

If you don't have amaretto (or would prefer not to use it), add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to the jam after it's removed from the heat.

Recipe will make between 4 and 5 1/2 cups of cherry jam, depending on amount of sweetener used and how much you pack your cherries.

Keywords: cherries, almond, summer recipes, preserves

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

cherry berry jam
Cherry berry jam with tart cherries and juneberries
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Cherry Berry Jam

Combine cherries with your favorite berries in this bright and fruity jam.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 45 cups 1x
  • Category: jam

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups mashed cherries, tart or sweet (roughly 1 pound of whole cherries)
  • 2 cups berries – your choice of juneberries, blueberries, or raspberries, or a mix
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup honey or 3/4 cup to 1 1/2 cups sugar (honey is sweeter than sugar)*
  • 2 teaspoons pectin
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water (included with Pomona's Pectin)

*Use less sugar for sweet cherries, more for tart cherries, or vary the amount of sugar to taste.

Instructions

  1. Wash and rinse jars and keep warm. Bring lids to simmer, then turn off heat and let stand in hot water.
  2. Prepare calcium water (included with Pomona's Pectin). Put 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder and 1/2 cup water in a lidded jar and shake well.
  3. Measure out 4 cups of pitted cherries. (I pack them into the measuring cup.) Pour the cherries into the stock pot. Use a stick blender or potato masher, if desired, to smash the fruit.
  4. Add the calcium water to the cherries and stir well.
  5. Measure out the sugar or honey into a separate bowl. Stir the pectin into the sugar or honey.
  6. Bring the cherries, berries, and calcium water to a rolling boil. Combine the fruit, sugar (honey), and pectin. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin and return to a full boil. Boil one minute and remove from heat.
  7. Fill canning jars to 1/4″ headspace (1/4″ from the top of the jar). Wipe the rims clean and screw on the lids and rings. Place the jars in the canner and boil for 10 minutes. (Add 1 minute more for every 1000 feet above sea level.)
  8. Remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel on the counter top. Let jars cool completely. Check the seals, remove rings, date and label. Store in a cool, dark location and use within 18 months for best quality.

Notes

Recipe will make between 4 and 5 1/2 cups of cherry jam, depending on amount of sweetener used and how much you pack your cherries.

Keywords: cherries, berries, summer recipes, preserves

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

More Homemade Jams

We have dozens of homemade jams, jellies, marmalades, and fruit spread recipes om the website, including:

Seedless Raspberry jam

Blueberry Jam

Peach Jam 2 Ways

jars of cherry jam
This book will help you bake a amazing homemade bread, even if you've never baked before. Includes online baking tutorial and best bread storage tips.

This article is written by Laurie Neverman. Laurie grew up in the kitchen, learning baking and home cooking from her momma. At age 15, she and her mom and two sisters created Irene’s Custom Cakes & Catering, which was her summer job through most of high school and college.

Now she combines old fashioned recipes, garden fresh produce, and cooking for special diets to make tasty, easy to prepare foods. Along with her passion for growing nutrient dense food, she also enjoys ancient history, adorable ducks, and lifelong learning.

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