These Bing cherries with wine syrup are a bit zingy, plenty sweet, and just the right amount boozy. Together with vanilla ice cream, they make a great adult ice cream sundae. Don’t ice cream? (wha’?!) Spoon them directly into your piehole or slather them on warm Brie cheese.

A rocks glass filled with bing cherries with wine syrup and vanilla ice cream

Adapted from Elizabeth Heiskell | Come On Over! | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021

When we were little, we never had dessert at home. Momma didn’t eat desserts, so I guess she figured no one else needed them. She was a health nut before there was such a thing. Had she not been born in the Mississippi Delta, I am pretty sure she would have joined a commune and lived on granola, hemp, and alfalfa sprouts. The one exception was on our birthdays. But I honestly cannot think of a better way to liven up a boring weeknight than serving dessert. Let’s end this meal with an exclamation point, not a period! This dessert couldn’t be simpler. The ice cream man did half the work, all you have to do is make the sauce.–Elizabeth Heiskell

A rocks glass filled with bing cherries with wine syrup and vanilla ice cream

Bing Cherries with Wine Syrup

5 from 1 vote
This is a New Orleans favorite. Of course, in NOLA even the fruit gets tipsy!  Cherries with wine syrup are delicious on their own, but they make for a to-die-for ice cream sundae. Prep is easy since it takes just 10 minutes of hands-on work.
Servings6 servings
Calories344 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 13 ounces pitted frozen dark sweet cherries thawed and drained, juices reserved
  • 1/4 cup Kirsch or clear brandy
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 1/2 pints store-bought or homemade vanilla bean ice cream


  • In a glass measuring cup, combine the juices from the cherries with the Kirsch and red wine.
  • In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Gradually whisk in the wine mixture.
  • Add the cherries. Cook over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the almond extract, if using. Let cool slightly. Taste and add more sugar, if needed. Serve the warm sauce over the ice cream.


What's the difference between cherries?

The easiest way to categorize cherries is by geographic location and sweetness. Sweet cherries, which include BingUlster, and Rainier, are grown mostly in Washington, California, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Sour cherries, such as MontmorencyMorello, and Early Richmond, are primarily from Michigan, New York, and Utah.

What are the best uses for sweet and sour cherries?

Sour cherries are great for baking. Because you can fiddle with the amount of sugar you use, you can customize the elusive once-a-year sour cherry pie, tarts, cakes, and bars to suit your pucker quotient. Also, sour cherries are said to improve sleep and endurance, reduce systolic blood pressure, and minimize muscle soreness and inflammation. Be forewarned: The season for sour cherries is short: June and July, mostly.
Sweet cherries have a longer season--May to August--so no need to rush and make every cherry dish you have.  Sweet cherries are great in syrups like this recipe, glazes, rice puddings, ice creams, liqueur, and baked into dishes such as clafouti.

Adapted From

Come on Over!

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 344 kcalCarbohydrates: 45 gProtein: 5 gFat: 13 gSaturated Fat: 8 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gCholesterol: 52 mgSodium: 95 mgPotassium: 372 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 39 gVitamin A: 537 IUVitamin C: 5 mgCalcium: 159 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Elizabeth Heiskell. Photo © 2021 Angie Mosier. All rights reserved.

Originally published July 10, 2021

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These Bing cherries with wine syrup are an easy elegant dessert that elicits oohs and aahs. The recipe came together in no time and was so good. I made it in the morning, then warmed it slightly before I served it later that evening. The combination of dark, sweet cherries, Kirsch, and wine made the perfect after-dinner treat. I served it with vanilla ice cream one night and the next night with pistachio ice cream. Both were wonderful.

These Bing cherries with wine syrup are so dang simple and really delicious! This took no time at all to put together. During Bing cherry season, I always pit a bunch of Bing cherries and freeze them to use for muffins or other recipes during the off-season. This made the preparation super quick. The wine and Kirsch are the perfect additions to make this a show stopper. Delicious on ice cream, but do try it on ricotta-filled crepes or pancakes/waffles! Pure goodness! In addition to trying this on crepes and pancakes, (without the extra sugar) add a splash of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and try it on pork tenderloin. Delicious!

We have a cherry festival in a nearby town every year, so I’m always excited to find new ways to use them…Especially Bing cherries! This recipe for Bing cherries with wine syrup was an effortless, impressive way to use them and reap their benefits any time of year. The contrast of the sweet cherries, dry wine, and earthy almonds against the rich, cold ice cream was just perfect. It also didn’t leave me with the guilt and heaviness of hot fudge or caramel, it still felt really light and fruity.

This recipe for Bing cherries with wine syrup is a delicious little sauce. It was indulgently wonderful over chocolate ice cream and pretty darn delicious with a grilled, herb-marinated chicken thigh. And, I must admit, I did sneak a little for breakfast with my Greek yogurt. I love having options.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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