Cherries Jubilee

published Aug 10, 2023
Cherries Jubilee Recipe

Cherries Jubilee is an easy yet ultra-impressive dessert that comes together in just 20 minutes on the stovetop.

Serves4

Makes1 1/3 cups

Prep10 minutes

Cook10 minutes

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Credit: Kelli Foster

When stone fruit season rolls around, my go-to dessert is cherries jubilee. It’s an old-school classic featuring deeply sweet, lightly caramelized cherries in a glossy syrup that’s spooned over vanilla ice cream. Best of all, this 20-minute dessert is quick, easy, and guaranteed to impress — and it doesn’t require turning on the oven. 

What Is Cherries Jubilee?

Cherries jubilee is a classic dessert that gained popularity centuries ago, and earned its name when it was served at Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in the late 1890s. It’s an easy yet ultra-impressive dish that flambés sweet cherries that have been simmered in a sweetened syrup. 

It’s traditionally spooned over vanilla ice cream, which is our absolute favorite way to serve cherries jubilee. You could also serve it over pound cake, cheesecake, or a no-bake cream cheese pie.

Credit: Kelli Foster

Ingredients in Cherries Jubilee

  • Sweet cherries. You’ll need one pound (about 3 cups) of pitted and halved dark sweet cherries for this dessert.
  • Orange juice. You’ll need just a couple tablespoons from a 1/2 medium orange. The acidity lends a subtle contrast to the sweetness.
  • Butter. A couple of tablespoons of unsalted butter add a hint of richness to the sweet cherry syrup.
  • Sugar. A few tablespoons of granulated sugar is the key to getting some nice caramelization.
  • Kirsch, brandy, or bourbon. This dessert traditionally calls for kirsch, a cherry liqueur, but you can substitute with brandy or bourbon. Any one of these will work well; the finished dessert won’t taste boozy. The liquor is the key ingredient that allows for the flambé. Add it around the outside of the pan for the best results.
  • Vanilla extract. Be sure to wait until you pull the skillet off the heat at the very end to add, so you capture the full flavor.

Types of Cherries You Can Use for Cherries Jubilee

The best type of cherries for cherries jubilee are dark sweet cherries, such as deep red Bing cherries, which are commonly available throughout the summer months. Fresh cherries are your best bet if you can find them in season. Frozen cherries work just as well for this dessert, though. Just be sure to thaw the cherries completely and drain any liquid before getting started.

Cherries Jubilee Recipe

Cherries Jubilee is an easy yet ultra-impressive dessert that comes together in just 20 minutes on the stovetop.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Makes 1 1/3 cups

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    fresh or frozen dark sweet cherries (about 3 cups)

  • 1/2

    medium orange

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons

    kirsch, brandy, or bourbon

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Instructions

  1. If using frozen cherries, thaw 1 pound. Drain off the liquid and halve the cherries. If using fresh cherries, pit 1 pound, then halve the cherries. Juice 1/2 medium orange until you have 2 tablespoons.

  2. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and cook, stirring regularly, until the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Add the cherries, orange juice, and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are just tender, release their juices, and the mixture looks syrupy and slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Drizzle 3 tablespoons kirsch, brandy, or bourbon around the edges of the pan. Using a long match or utility lighter, light the alcohol until it ignites and flames. Let the cherries flambé until the flame dies out, about 30 seconds. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and stir to combine. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.