Maraschino Cherry vs Bing Cherry

When you think of cherries, the image that comes to mind is likely that of the vibrant Bing cherry. Renowned for its deep red color and juicy sweetness with a hint of tartness, the Bing cherry is a staple in fresh fruit offerings and a favorite for eating out of hand.

Contrasting these natural treats are maraschino cherries, which you may recognize as the glossy, candied cherries that garnish cocktails and desserts.

Bright red and sweet, maraschino cherries undergo a process of preservation and flavoring that sets them apart from their fresh counterparts.

A maraschino cherry and a bing cherry sit side by side on a white plate, showcasing their vibrant red colors and contrasting sizes

Understanding the differences between maraschino cherries and Bing cherries is crucial if you’re keen on using the right cherry for your culinary endeavors.

Maraschino cherries originated as a delicacy in Europe, where they were made from marasca cherries preserved in liqueur. Today, they’re typically made from various kinds of sweet cherries, such as Royal Ann or Gold, which are then pitted, soaked in a brine solution, and later sweetened.

Bing cherries, however, are enjoyed for their natural flavor and are most commonly found fresh during their peak season between May and August.

Selecting between Bing and maraschino cherries isn’t just a matter of taste, but also presentation and texture.

The maraschino’s firmness and candy-like sweetness make it a bold addition to sweet dishes and drinks, offering both a splash of color and a familiar sugary flavor.

Bing cherries provide a more nuanced flavor profile and a softer, juicy texture, bringing an element of freshness to your dish.

Whether you’re baking, garnishing, or snacking, knowing these differences ensures that you make the perfect choice for your cherry-inspired creation.

Overview of Cherries

A pile of bright red maraschino cherries contrasts with a cluster of deep red bing cherries, set against a white background

When exploring the world of cherries, you’ll discover a vast array of varieties, each with distinct characteristics and cultivation areas.

The seasonal availability and the nutritional profile of cherries further enhance their uniqueness, offering you a rich palette of flavors and benefits.

Cherry Varieties

Your awareness of cherry types can greatly enhance your culinary experiences.

Sweet cherries include popular varieties like Bing, Rainier, Tulare, and Chelan, all known for their juicy and rich flavor.

On the other hand, sour cherries such as Montmorency and Morello bring a tartness that is ideal for cooking and baking.

Special cultivars like Luxardo Maraschino and Amarena have unique processing that emphasizes their sweetness and deep flavor profiles.

Cultivation Regions

Cherries thrive in specific regions that meet their climatic needs.

Washington State in the United States, especially the Pacific Northwest, is renowned for high-quality sweet cherries like Bing and Rainier.

The Dalmatian Coast of Croatia is historically known for the Luxardo Maraschino cherries.

Eastern Europe also plays a significant role, with its conducive climate for sour cherry varieties, offering a spectrum of cherry tastes across the globe.


Your enjoyment of fresh cherries is typically confined to summer months, which is the peak of cherry season.

Sweet cherries like Bing and Chelan usually ripen in early summer, whereas sour cherries often arrive a bit later, ensuring a continued supply throughout the warm months.

TypeTypical Ripening Period
SweetMay – August
SourLate June – July

Nutritional Profile

Cherries are a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals beneficial to your health.

They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, critical for immune system function, and potassium, which is essential for heart health.

Cherries also provide a good amount of fiber, supporting your digestive system.

Furthermore, they are endowed with Vitamins A and certain minerals like calcium and iron.

Vitamin CImmune system, skin health
PotassiumHeart function, muscle health
FiberDigestive health
Vitamin AVision, immune function
CalciumBone health
IronBlood oxygen transport

Maraschino Cherries

Maraschino cherries are a popular cocktail cherry, known for their bright red color and firm texture. These cherries are processed in a way that allows them to retain their color and flavor, making them an ideal garnish for a variety of cocktails and desserts.

Production Process

Maraschino cherries begin as light-colored varieties like the Royal Ann cherries. They are harvested, de-stemmed, and pitted before undergoing a brining process in a solution that typically contains water, sulfur dioxide, or calcium chloride.

This brining stage results in their loss of natural color and flavor.

Next, the cherries are soaked in a sugar syrup and then flavored with maraschino liqueur or other natural flavorings. The final product is pasteurized to enhance preservation.

Flavor and Texture

The taste of maraschino cherries is distinctively sweet due to the sugar syrup. Their texture is characteristically firm compared to other cherry varieties, owing to the production process.

While maraschino cherries lack the natural sweetness of fresh cherries, their bright flavor profile makes them a staple in numerous recipes.

Common Uses

Maraschino cherries are widely used as a cocktail garnish in drinks such as the Shirley Temple, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Mai Tais.

Aside from cocktails, they are a popular topping for ice cream sundaes and are often an ingredient in desserts.

Their visual appeal and sweet flavor also make them suitable for snacking and cooking applications.

Artificial Additives

These cherries are commonly infused with artificial colors, like red dye, sourced from substances such as beet or radish juice, to achieve their bright red appearance.

To preserve their firm texture and prolong shelf life, additional substances like alcohol or liqueur can be added.

Renowned brands like Luxardo are recognized for producing high-quality maraschino cherries that may use natural colorings and a real maraschino liqueur.

Bing Cherries

A bowl of plump Bing cherries sits next to a jar of maraschino cherries, contrasting their natural and preserved states

Your exploration of Bing Cherries reveals a picture of deep red, almost purple cherries known for their natural sweetness. These cherries serve as both a favored snacking fruit and a staple in various culinary creations due to their tempting flavor and health benefits.


Bing Cherries boast a distinctive heart shape and a vibrant, deep red hue that may nearly appear black at peak ripeness.

Renowned for their sweet flavor, Bing Cherries are typically larger and firmer compared to other sweet cherry varieties. In peak season, you’ll find them to be juicy and bursting with natural sweetness.

Uses in Culinary

For your culinary experiments, you’ll find Bing Cherries to be incredibly versatile.

They are a popular choice for:

  • Snacking: Enjoy them raw for a quick and sweet treat.
  • Baking: Their firmness and sweetness enhance pies and tarts.
  • Desserts: Incorporate them into cakes or use as toppings for a natural cherry taste.
  • Preserves: Create jams and jellies with their deep red color and full flavor.

When cooking, the natural sugars of Bing Cherries caramelize beautifully, adding complexity to your dishes.

Health Benefits

Bing Cherries are more than just a tasty snack; they’re packed with nutrients that benefit your health such as:

  • Fiber: Aiding in digestion and promoting satiety.
  • Vitamin C: Essential for immune support and skin health.
  • Antioxidants: Protect your cells against free radical damage.

Enjoying Bing Cherries can help support your overall well-being while satisfying your sweet tooth.

Comparative Analysis

A bowl of maraschino cherries next to a bowl of fresh bing cherries, highlighting their color, size, and texture differences

Within this section, you’ll uncover specific details contrasting Maraschino and Bing cherries, from their distinct flavor differences to their use in cooking and preservation methods.

Taste Profile

Maraschino Cherries: Typically, these are sweet cherries that have been preserved in a brine solution and then soaked in sugar syrup, leading to a sweeter and candy-like flavor. They are often dyed red, imparting a vibrant appearance.

Bing Cherries: In contrast to Maraschinos, Bing cherries are one of the most popular varieties of sweet cherries. They present a natural sweetness accompanied by a touch of tartness, which gives them a well-balanced and juicy flavor, often enjoyed fresh.

Health Implications

Maraschino Cherries: Due to added sugars and food coloring, Maraschino cherries typically contain more sugar per serving — a substantial 38.77g of sugar compared to Bing cherries’ natural sugar content. This may affect your dietary choices, especially if you’re monitoring sugar intake.

Bing Cherries: Bing cherries offer a richer supply of vitamins, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A RAE. They are more aligned with an organic approach to diet, being free from artificial flavors and colors and providing a healthier snacking option.

Shelf Life and Preservation

Maraschino Cherries: Their preservation in sugar syrup extends their shelf life considerably.

Maraschino cherries can be safely stored in their syrup at room temperature until opened and then require refrigeration.

Bing Cherries: Fresh Bing cherries have a shorter shelf life and need to be kept refrigerated.

They can also be preserved as jams or frozen to extend their usability in desserts and other culinary uses.

Culinary Applications

Maraschino Cherries: Typically found as a garnish in cocktails or atop desserts for a touch of sweetness and color.

Their preservation and sweetness make them less suitable for recipes where the natural flavor of cherries is the focus.

Bing Cherries: You can enjoy Bing cherries fresh, but they’re also versatile in the kitchen.

Utilize them in baking, where their natural sweet and tart flavors can shine, or include them in homemade preserves or as natural garnishes for a more nuanced taste.

Cultural and Regional Significance

A maraschino cherry and a bing cherry sit side by side, each representing cultural and regional significance. The maraschino cherry is bright red and artificially flavored, while the bing cherry is deep red and naturally sweet

Cherries hold a storied place in cultural and culinary traditions around the world, with maraschino and Bing cherries representing distinct histories and regional practices.

Dive into their unique backgrounds, local variants, and widespread popularity in the world of beverages and cocktails.

Historical Background

The maraschino cherry originates from the Dalmatian Coast, where it’s been a delicacy since the 16th century.

Monks first distilled the sour Marasca cherry into a clear liqueur, giving rise to the maraschino cherry.

In contrast, the Bing cherry, a sweet variety, traces its roots to the United States in the late 19th century.

It was named after Ah Bing, a Chinese horticulturist who worked in Oregon.

Local Variants and Tradition

Several local variants of cherries highlight regional preferences and traditions.

For instance, the Rainier and Royal Anne (also known as Royal Ann) cherries are often used for making modern maraschino cherries, while varieties like the Morello and Montmorency are typically regarded as sour cherries.

In Italy, the Luxardo and Fabbri families have become synonymous with high-quality maraschino cherries.

The former uses the traditional Marasca cherry, and the latter offers Amarena Fabbri cherries, a type derived from dark, sour, and slightly bitter wild cherries.

Popularity in Beverages and Cocktails

Maraschino and Bing cherries are integral to a myriad of classic and contemporary drinks.

The maraschino variety serves as a staple cocktail garnish, enhancing drinks like Mai Tais, Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and the non-alcoholic Shirley Temple.

Conversely, Bing cherries are often associated with sweeter profiles and can be found in concoctions like the Mt. Rainier or even infused into cherry brandy.

Specialty cherries like the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries or Spiced Brandied Cherries demonstrate the cherries’ versatility and enduring popularity in the cocktail scene.

Frequently Asked Questions

A jar of maraschino cherries next to a pile of fresh bing cherries, with a sign reading "Frequently Asked Questions: Maraschino Cherry vs Bing Cherry"

When considering maraschino cherries and Bing cherries, it’s important to understand their distinct characteristics, uses, and preparations. This section will answer some of the common questions to clarify these points for you.

What distinguishes maraschino cherries from other preserved cherries?

Maraschino cherries are unique due to their preservation process which typically involves sweetening, coloring, and flavoring with almond oil. Other preserved cherries might be canned in water or syrup without these additional flavorings.

How do the flavors of Bing cherries compare to other sweet cherry varieties?

Bing cherries are known for their deep, rich flavor which is more robust compared to the lighter taste of other sweet cherry varieties. They are often described as pleasantly sweet with a vibrant, tangy undertone.

What are the key differences between Bing cherries and Luxardo cherries?

Luxardo cherries are a type of maraschino cherry that are preserved in a syrup made from cherry juice and sugar rather than alcohol.

This gives them a rich, sweet, and slightly bitter flavor profile that is different from the sweet and tangy profile of fresh Bing cherries.

Are there any suitable substitutes for maraschino cherries in recipes?

In recipes, dried cherries soaked in a sweet juice or liquor can be used as a substitute for maraschino cherries to approximate their sweetness and texture.

What characteristics set Bing cherries apart in terms of taste profile?

Bing cherries have a sweet, yet slight tartness, and a juicy, meaty texture that sets them apart. They are often considered to be the benchmark for evaluating the taste profile of other sweet cherry varieties.

How does the preparation of maraschino cherries differ from that of Bing cherries?

Maraschino cherries undergo a process of pitting and then soaking in a flavored syrup which often contains almond flavor.

Bing cherries are typically consumed fresh or used in recipes without this type of processing.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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