Cherries are one of my favorite fruits to have stashed in the freezer! Frozen cherries work beautifully in smoothies, pies, crisps, and crumbles. Freezing helps lock in the tart flavor of fresh cherries and the powerful nutrients packed inside.
Our method for freezing cherries works for both sweet cherries and sour cherries, and for many uses you don’t need to defrost the cherries before using them in a recipe. A bag of cherries in the freezer is such a wonderful taste of summer—all year long! Let’s show you how to do it.
Are frozen cherries good for you?
Freezing is one of the best ways to preserve foods if you are interested in locking in the nutrients. Cherries are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, and freezing them keeps all the nourishing goodness there until you’re ready to use them.
Should cherries be washed before freezing?
Yup! It’s always a good idea to wash produce before freezing—just make sure you dry them thoroughly before freezing, because extra moisture on produce can contribute to freezer burn.
Can I freeze cherries with pits?
You can, although we highly recommend pitting cherries before freezing, just for convenience’s sake. Since frozen cherries can be used as is, without thawing, you’ll thank yourself later for doing the pitting work ahead of time.
Pitting cherries beforehand is also just a lot safer. Once things go into the freezer, it’s easy to forget how you prepared them. I could see someone tossing a handful of cherries into a blender thinking they were pitted—and they weren’t! Considering cherry pits (and other stone fruit pits) contain cyanide, you definitely don’t want those blended into your smoothie.
Teach me how to freeze cherries!
Freezing cherries is pretty straightforward. Here’s what to do:
Prep your cherries. Wash your cherries and remove the stems. Pit the cherries using one of our methods on how to pit cherries.
Freeze! Spread the cherries out on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer, and stick that baby in the freezer. They should be frozen solid after a few hours.
Move the cherries to freezer containers. Squeeze out as much air as you can if you use freezer bags. Label your bags or containers and store in the freezer.
Freeze the cherries on a baking sheet before putting them in containers, and you’ll be able to measure out small amounts at a time (like for overnight oats or baking!) later.
How do you store cherries in the freezer?
I typically use a mix of containers and bags for frozen cherries, depending on what space looks like in my freezer and how I plan to use the fruit. Here are the ways I store frozen cherries:
- Glass Food Storage Containers—These containers stack nicely, making them a good choice for a chest freezer. However, they do take up the most space out of all the options.
- Glass Canning Jars—I always have plenty of jars on hand, so naturally, this is one of my go-to freezing options. Make sure you choose jars that have straight sides, instead of curved, because they are safer for the freezer. The downside of using canning jars for freezing? They take up more space than bags.
- Zip-top Freezer Bags—Freezer bags are affordable and space-saving, but they are also single-use plastic.
- Vacuum Sealing Bags—You’ll need to make an initial investment in a vacuum sealer for this one, but these bags are definitely the biggest space saver. If you plan to just grab a handful of frozen cherries at a time, you’ll want to skip this one, as it is hard to reseal the bags.
How long do cherries last in the freezer?
If you vacuum seal cherries, they will last as long as 2-3 years. Otherwise, you’re looking at 8-12 months—the perfect amount of time to use them up before cherry season rolls around again!
Okay, I know how to freeze cherries—but what do I do with them?
Now that you have a stash of cherries in your freezer, what do you do with them? Here are a few of our ideas:
- Cherry Smoothies. Whip yourself up a delicious cherry smoothie using one of our simple smoothie base recipes.
- Tart Cherry Smoothie Bowls. Blend up your cherries into these Smoothie Bowls for a light summertime breakfast.
- Mixed Berry Agave Jam. Our naturally-sweetened jam calls for berries, but cherries are an excellent addition! Use them straight from the freezer.
- Overnight Oats. Top your favorite overnight oats recipe with some chopped thawed cherries.
- Green Juice. Drop some thawed cherries into one of our reader favorite juicing recipes for some added nutrition and amazing cherry flavor.