Boozy Cherry Sherbet

Early Saturday morning, in the sticky depths of July, I loaded up on cherries. A local produce co-op was selling Washington cherries, and I lugged the 20-lb box to my car with glee. The smile disappeared when I got home and realized the cherries were less than ideal. They were marred from weather damage and not sweet. Still, I pitted and froze them, wondering what exactly I’d do with all these cherries.

I found some creative uses. One pound I soaked in brandy for several months for a Black Forest cake. I dressed some up with fruit salad or added them to greens.

Then, I stumbled up on frozen desserts, and I knew I had my answer. Sherbet is one of my favorite summertime treats. It’s sweet and creamy like ice cream, yet fruit-forward like sorbet. This recipe for cherry sherbet adds one of my favorite baking ingredients – kirsch – to boost the cherry flavor. The alcohol softens the sherbet a bit, making it easier to scoop.

I added a big scoop of Bonne Maman cherry preserves to improve the flavor of the frozen cherries. If you have fresh, succulent cherries, feel free to skip that step.

I tossed in some frozen cherries during the blending stage to cool the mixture and add some fruity chunks. Since it’s already cold, it can be transferred to the ice cream maker immediately.

This recipe can be made with fresh cherries, but you will need more cherries. A pound of fresh cherries yields about 1.5 to 2 cups, after the pits and stems are removed. So consider buying 1.5 to 2 pounds of fresh cherries if you plan to make sherbet with them.

I like to enjoy this in a fancy dish and savor it slowly. Cherry sherbet is a delicious treat with a spoonful of hot fudge and a dollop of whipped cream.

Inspired by Pioneer Woman and Serious Eats

Boozy Cherry Sherbet


  • 3 c. frozen cherries, about 1 lb., divided
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 to 2 shots of kirsch
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 T. Bonne Maman cherry preserves (optional)


  1. Combine 2 1/2 cups of cherries and the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the cherries are soft.
  2. If you have a high-powered blender, like a Blendtec or Vitamix, transfer the mixture to your blender, add the reserved 1/2 cup of cherries, and blend. If not, please allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then add the reserved 1/2 cup of cherries and blend. (I used my Blendtec, and it did and it did an excellent job of incorporating the frozen cherries.)
  3. Add the milk, kirsch, lemon juice, and cherry preserves (if using) to the blender. Blend briefly to combine. If the mixture is cold, transfer to your ice cream maker and freeze according the manufacture’s instructions. If the mixture is room temperature or warm, chill for a few hours before transferring to your ice cream maker.
  4. After the sherbet is processed in the ice cream maker, transfer to an airtight container. Freeze the mixture at least four hours before serving, with the freezer set on the coldest setting. Depending on how cold your freezer gets, it may take up to 24 hours for the mixture to freeze firmly. Enjoy!
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Sherbet is one of my favorite summertime treats. It’s sweet and creamy like ice cream, yet fruit-forward like sorbet.

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