Old-fashioned Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream Recipe


Marachino cherry ice cream picture 2

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day in years gone by was often celebrated by parades and local festivals – and incredible homemade ice cream. An old-time favorite was Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream.

I tend to think of Maraschino cherries as a cocktail garnish (or an ingredient in canned fruit cocktail), but Maraschino cherries were a popular recipe ingredient in the early 1900’s. Back then the cherries were a pricey delicacy, and a popular ingredient that hinted of sophistication and class.

The recipe I adapted was in a hundred-year-old Pennsylvania church cookbook, and it was incredibly easy.  This ice cream recipe didn’t require any cooking; I only needed to combine cream, sugar, and lemon juice, and then chill for a few minutes before putting the mixture into the ice cream maker  (the cherries are added after the ice cream is frozen). I actually worried that the recipe was too easy, but my fears were totally unfounded. The ice cream was awesome.

The festive Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream  was sooth and creamy, and oh so rich, with embedded pieces of  Maraschino cherries adding a fun texture and the wonderful nuanced tartness.

My husband and I did not eat all of the ice cream on the day we made it, so we put it into the freezer in our refrigerator – and had a wonderful treat for the next several days. The ice cream texture remained smooth (and unlike what happens when some homemade ice creams are stored, no large granules of ice developed).  The inclusion of lemon juice in fruit-flavored ice creams like this one is an old-fashioned way of minimizing the likelihood that large ice granules will develop – and it worked perfectly.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 1/ 2 cups sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 quart (4 cups) half and half

1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream

1/2 cup Maraschino cherries, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, stir the lemon juice into the sugar. Add 2 cups of the half and half, and stir until the sugar is dissolved, then add the heavy cream and the remaining half and half. Stir to combine. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator (or put into the freezer for 15 minutes), then put the mixture into the ice cream maker, and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

After the ice cream is frozen, stir in the chopped Maraschino cherries. Repack in ice in ice cream maker (or put in the freezer) for two hours.

Note: This recipe is for a 4 quart ice cream maker. Adjust amounts if another size of ice cream maker is used.

And, here is the original recipe:

Source: Lycoming Valley Cook Book, Compiled by the Leadies of Trout Run M.E. Church, Trout Run, PA (1907)
Source: Lycoming Valley Cook Book, Compiled by the Ladies of Trout Run M.E. Church, Trout Run, PA (1907)

67 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream Recipe

  1. Yum that looks beautiful and delicious! I shall have to get an ice cream maker and try your recipe out! Happy Memorial Day wishes sweetie! Hugz Lisa and Bear

  2. All right! You post the BEST stuff. I never cared For Maraschino cherries, but this looks sooooo good and totally reminds me of my grandparents. 🙂 Thank you for writing it!

    1. I have a lot of fun doing this blog – and it’s wonderful to hear that this post brings back some good memories of your grandparents.

      1. It certainly does. Yesterday must’ve been a grandparent day! I had a post about my grandma pop up on Facebook from 2 years ago. And, I wrote a story about her yesterday, too. Your ice cream put me back in her kitchen. They had all kinds of fruit trees, cherry trees included!

        1. I just went over to your blog, and read your post. Your grandmother sounds like a very special woman – and it was fun to see a couple of her recipes.

            1. You’re welcome to reblog it. Thanks for asking. I’m honored that you think this post is worthy of reblogging.

            2. There’s a lot of yours I’d love to reblog. I kind of want to do the dried beef one since my cookbooks are jammed packed with dried beef! 🙂

            3. Do you have any jello posts? If so, that’d be fun to share. Jello was like a staple in Iowa. My Iowa cookbooks are filled with jello recipes. 🙂

            4. It’s fine if you also reblog the dried beef one. Jello was around a hundred years ago, and I’ve seen ads for it in old magazines, but I don’t think that I’ve ever done a jello recipe – though I did do an aspic one once that used gelatin.


              I also don’t think that I’ve ever posted a bar recipe. You’ve now got me thinking about why I’ve never done a bar recipe, since I love to make bars. Off the top of my head, I don’t think that I’ve seen very many bar recipes in hundred-year-old cookbooks – though the next time I browse through old cookbooks and magazines I’m going to specifically look for bar cookies. Maybe I just somehow never happened to select them when choosing recipes.

            5. Oh! I’ve never done aspic. Was it tricky?

              I think I’ll do some research about Jello and bars. I know bars were a big thing in the 1950’s and 1960’s. And, is the best invention ever, in my opinion! Ha!

              Why would anyone want to bake 6 dozen pans of cookies in 90 degrees back in the days when air conditioning was a luxury?! 🙂

              I hope you find some! That’d be really fun!

            6. The aspic recipe I used called for cooking several vegetables and then straining the juice – so the aspic had kind of a V-8 flavor. It wasn’t hard to make- just a little tedious.

      2. You seem like a really nice person but you have misunderstood the original recipe. It does not mention cherries. The maraschino it calls for is the liqueur (a gill is a liquid measure as you know). There are no cherries involved.

        1. You may be right. I may have misinterpreted the recipe. Now that I reread the original recipe, your interpretation makes a lot of sense. That said – I really like this recipe when it is made with Maraschino cherries. I bet that I’ve made this recipe 8 or 10 times in the four years since I’ve posted it. It is my “go to” homemade ice cream recipe.

    1. I also was surprised by the lemon juice, so I researched it a little and discovered that it was a fairly common ingredient in fruit-flavored ice creams because (for reasons too complicated for me to understand) it improved the texture of the frozen ice cream. I couldn’t taste the lemon; and, it definitely seemed to work. The ice cream didn’t get large ice granules even though it took my husband and me several days to eat it all.

    1. We generally make ice cream once or twice each summer. Sometimes we have friends over when we make it, and it’s a fun cooking activity.

    1. I also was surprised that it didn’t require cooking – yet it turned out to be one of the best ice creams I’ve ever made. The next time I want to make ice cream, I definitely would consider trying another no-cook recipe.

  3. Oh how I miss homemade ice creams. Yours looks delicious. I bet it tasted like a smile in Summer. Happy Memorial Day! 🙂

  4. I loved cherry ice cream when I was little but you rarely see it anymore. It’ll be nice to have this recipe, for when the temptation gets strong!

    1. It seems like there are fewer fruit-flavored ice creams now than there were in the past. When I was a child, peach ice cream was my favorite. Whenever I go to an ice cream shop I look for it, but it’s been years since I’ve seen it. . . hmm. . . I may have to try making peach ice cream when peaches are in season. 🙂

      1. The best (i.e., the closest to homemade) I know of is Bluebell Ice Cream’s Peaches and Homemade vanilla. It’s a seasonal favorite, like their blackberry cobbler. Yum!

  5. I was reading along, happily remembering all the uses for maraschino cherries, and suddenly thought: “What ARE maraschino cherries?” Well, goodness. I found this explanation of how they’re made. It was…. interesting. There are links within the article to two other blogs that have recipes for making your own maraschino cherries. They take a little time, but aren’t hard. It almost would be worth making a batch, just to compare the taste.

    There was a frozen “salad” that used maraschinos, too. It may have had them as a result of using fruit cocktail. I always was very careful to be sure no one got more than their share of cherries from one of those cans.

    1. Thanks for information and the link. I can remember wanting my fair share of the cherries in fruit cocktail when I was a kid – though I was willing to trade my cherries for the grapes. 🙂

  6. This looks so refreshing!! I’ve never tasted maraschino cherry ice cream before,but I do remember eating the bing cherry ice cream that my Father would get for special occasions in a tub from Schwan’s . It will soon be peach ice cream time around here as the peaches will soon be ripe.😋 This would work great for peaches. It probably isn’t cooked with the lemon because it might would curd the cream.

    1. It would be wonderful with peaches. I hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned it, but I think that you’re probably right that one reason this ice cream mixture isn’t cooked is because of the lemon juice.

  7. Nothing is quite as good as homemade ice cream, and a recipe that doesn’t require cooking is certainly worth trying! I’m not a fan of maraschino cherries, but I can try this recipe with other fruit. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I have lots of fun trying old recipes – especially when it gives me an excuse to make a delicious dessert like this ice cream. 🙂

  8. This sounds delicious! We used to have an ice cream maker but passed it along to one of the kids. I remember when we had ice cream cones in the 1950s at my grandparent’s house, they would add a marichino cherry on top. And of course I remember those totally tasteless fruit cocktails where we all wanted the cherry. I guess because they were the only colorful thing in the can.

  9. Reblogged this on Unmeasured Journeys and commented:
    Any ice cream fans here?

    Mmmmm! We are definitely ice cream lovers! There is always a half gallon in our freezer and cones in the pantry. With summer only a few weeks away, I’ve been thinking about when I was a kid and having homemade ice cream.

    I saw this post by Sheryl at A Hundred Years ago, and my mind automatically went straight to childhood. I love how she describes how families celebrated holidays in the past. How fun!

    Her recipes always remind me of my grandparents because they are from 1916. My grandpa Abbe was born in 1916, which means his siblings were little kiddos when someone put their Maraschino recipe into a cookbook! How cool is that?

    Cherries in every form remind me of all the stories Dad has told me about the cherry trees of his childhood. Grandma Wilma had lots of cherries!

    Here’s to summer, family celebrations, potlucks, and of course, ice cream! Thank you for letting me share, Sheryl! Can’t wait to make this!

    1. I enjoyed reading your wonderful description about why you decided to reblog this post. It’s wonderful to hear that the recipes bring back warm memories of your grandparents.

  10. This looks just perfect! We were back in Michigan for Memorial Day and enjoyed some of my favorite ice cream at a local ice cream place.. this definitely looks like something they would serve 🙂

  11. This sounds delicious! I’m totally sold- what a wonderful idea for a blog. Can’t wait to read more of your posts (and maybe try making some ice cream of my own this summer!)

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