Canning Cherries

Canning cherries gives you convenient jars of cherries to have on hand for cherry pie, pouring over ice cream or in a cherry cobbler.

Cherries are an acid food and can be safely water bath canned.  

These directions are for either sweet cherries like bing cherries (this is what you see in the pictures) OR sour cherries that you use for pies.  

Canning plain cherries in a light syrup makes it easy to create desserts of your choice later. I like simplicity!

I made a few jars of pie filling and I canned some cherry jam this year too. 

My husband is a big fan of frozen cherries so I also froze 5 - 1 gallon bags of those as well.

He says they are just like popsicles.  I say they are much better for you too. 


Gather your canning supplies


  • Cherries -as many as you can stand to pit!  (we had a LOT of cherries!)
  • sugar - for the syrup (optional)

Syrup for Packing

Prepare light or medium syrup. I prefer light syrup. Simply heat water and sugar in a sauce pan until sugar dissolves. 

  • Light – 2 cups sugar to 1-quart water
  • Medium -3 cups sugar to 1-quart water

You can also make a syrup with honey if you don't want to use processed sugar.

  • light - 1 1/2 cups honey to 4 cups water
  • medium - 2 cups honey to 4 cups water


Wash and pit cherries. Pitting is the most challenging part.  :0)

But if you just sit down and DO IT, you can make some delicious dishes.   Have a friend come over and visit while you pit. 

My husband likes cherries enough that he gets my boys going and they all have a sit down and pit cherries party. 

They make a mess but the cherries are pitted when they are done.  I love it.  I certainly don't want to pit all those cherries if I don't have to.  

Actually canning cherries with the pits is perfectly acceptable.  It just makes them quicker and easier to use if you go ahead and pit them now.  If you want to can them with the pits just prick each cherry with a sterilized needle to prevent it from bursting.

Make syrup of your choice to pour over cherries. If you are doing sour cherries you may want a medium or heavy syrup. 

I prefer extra light syrup. You could use just water if you don't want to add any sweetness.  

  • extra light - 1 cup sugar to 4 1/2 cups water
  • light - 2 cups sugar to 5 cups water
  • medium - 3 cups sugar to  5 1/2 cups water
  • heavy - 4 3/4 cups sugar to 6 1/2 cups water

Place cherries in jar.  I have found it works to add 1/2 cup or so of syrup to the jar, then fill half way with cherries.

Tap the bottom of the jar on a pot holder laid on the counter to settle contents. Fill the rest of the way tapping to settle without smashing.  

Cover cherries in jar with syrup leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Remove air bubbles and clean rim of jar.  

Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles and place your lids.

For more details follow water bath canning instructions.


pints or quarts for 25 minutes.

Be sure to adjust processing time according to your altitude.

Altitude Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner

Altitude in Feet- Increase processing time

1001-3000- increase 5 minutes

3001-6000- increase 10 minutes

6001-8000- increase 15 minutes

8001-10,000- increase 20 minutes

For more information on why this is important see this altitude adjustments page.

Canning Fruits

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Canning Books by Sharon