Fresh Cherry Sauce (cherry compote!) is one of my favorite way to cook with fresh cherries. It's a super easy to make and versatile summer recipe that is delicious spooned over everything from grilled meat to ice cream.

Cherry sauce in a glass jar.

There are few things better than fresh summer fruit. On a recent visit, my dad showed up with a big box of tree-ripened bing cherries. They're my favorite. After living off of nothing but cherries for a few days, I made my once a year cherry pie. With a still half-full box I knew that this sauce was next on the list of cherry recipes I had to make.

Why we love this fresh cherry sauce

  • Sweet summer cherries = little bites of magic.
  • Ridiculously easy to make.
  • It's a super versatile sauce. We love it spooned over vanilla ice cream the best, but it's also delicious with grilled or baked meat.
  • I like to make it with fresh summer cherries, but the recipe works just as well with frozen cherries.
  • A refined sugar-free treat that puts a smile on your face every time you eat it. ♥
Fresh cherries in a box ready to be made into cherry compote.

How to make cherry compote?

Making cherry compote (or cherry sauce) is super easy. Are you ready for it?

  1. Put the cherries in a pot with some (coconut) sugar, water, and a tiny pinch of salt.
  2. Simmer the cherries for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir a little tapioca starch or cornstarch mixed with water in the cherry sauce to thicken it just a little.

What if I don't have fresh cherries?

While I love fresh cherries, frozen cherries work just as well in this recipe. The only thing you'll need to do is add a couple of minutes to the cooking time.

Fresh pitted cherries in a glass measuring cup ready to be made into fresh cherry sauce.

Should I add butter to my cherry sauce?

Many cherry sauce recipes call for butter. But here's the thing … I think that fresh cherry sauce is better with no butter. And this is coming from someone who LOVES butter. When you add butter to cherry sauce it becomes less fresh tasting.

Cherry sauce is one of the very few examples of recipes that are better without the richness of butter.

Does the cherry sauce need water?

Yes! Unlike some fruit, cherries release very little liquid when they're cooked. As you want this to be a sauce (and not cherry jam) you'll need to add some water to the pot.

A wooden spoon taking a scoop of cherry sauce out of the pot.

How to serve this fresh cherry topping recipe?

Our favorite way to serve this cherry topping is to spoon it over vanilla ice cream. We often eat it with Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream. It's delicious!

Spoon some cherry sauce over top of these desserts:

  • Panna cotta
  • Chocolate pie
  • Creme brulee
  • Cheesecake

Or serve this cherry sauce with these savory recipes:

Fresh cherry sauce over a bowl of melting vanilla ice cream in a white bowl.

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Favorite Cherry Recipes

Cherry sauce in a glass jar.

Fresh Cherry Sauce Recipe

Fresh Cherry Sauce (cherry compote!) is one of my favorite way to cook with fresh cherries. It's a super easy to make and versatile summer recipe that is delicious spooned over everything from ice cream to grilled meat.

If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!

4.93 stars (27 ratings)
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  • 2 packed cups of pitted cherries, 1 lb.
  • ½ cup water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, or prefered sweetener
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch or cornstarch


  • Cut half the pitted cherries in half. Leave the other half whole.
    2 packed cups of pitted cherries
  • Add the pitted cherries, ¼ cup of the water, sugar, and salt to a small pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the cherries are soft.
    2 tablespoons coconut sugar, A pinch of salt
  • Whisk the tapioca starch with the remaining ¼ cup of water and add it to the pot. Stir until it thickens then remove the pot from the heat.
    1 teaspoon tapioca starch or cornstarch


The easiest way to pit fresh cherries is to use a cherry pitter. This is the one that I have. The other option is to cut around the cherry to remove the pit. You won't end up with whole cherries if you cut around the pit, but the cherry sauce will still be delicious!
Serving: 2 tablespoons, Calories: 16kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 6mg, Potassium: 38mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 11IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 2mg, Iron: 1mg
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Fresh cherry sauce in a glass jar with the recipe title on top of the picture.