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How to make Cherry Cordials

You can make classic Cherry Cordials at home. Cherries, Kirschwasser, and dark chocolate come together for the ultimate candy treat. Learn how to make the real cordial-syrup filling.

learn how to make cherry cordials

When you bite into a true Cherry Cordial candy you get the snap of real chocolate and a burst of sweet and slightly boozy syrup.

Admittedly, this is a bit of a fussy recipe. Homemade candy will take a little time and attention to get it just right. But, if you’re going to put the time in to make these gems from scratch, you might as well use real chocolate and create the oozy syrupy center that sets this candy apart.

But, if you really want to take a little bit of a shortcut, you can skip the chocolate tempering process by using “candy melts” or “coating chocolate”. I think real chocolate is worth the extra work, but I’m not the recipe police, so take the shortcut if you are so inclined!

Tips for making real Cherry Cordials at home:

  • Soak the cherries in liquor and make the fondant the day before making the candies.
  • The alcohol in the Kirschwasser is what turns the fondant into a syrup. If you don’t want to use alcohol, add 1/4 teaspoon Invertase to the fondant. The invertase will break down the crystals in the fondant, turning it into a syrup just like the alcohol does.
  • Try to wait 2-3 days before serving the Cherry Cordials. This time is needed for the fondant to become a syrup.
  • I truly believe the candies taste best made with real chocolate. But the chocolate must be “tempered” for the best texture. If you want a shortcut, you can use “candy coating” or “coating chocolate” which does not need to be tempered.

Watch the recipe video to see how to make Cherry Cordials:

cherry cordials

Cherry Cordials

Yield: 36 candies
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

You can make classic Cherry Cordials at home. Cherries, Kirschwasser, and dark chocolate come together for the ultimate candy treat.


  • 16 oz jar maraschino cherries, with stems
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) Kirschwasser or liquor of your choice (see note)
  • 2 cups (15 oz, 420g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (3 oz, 84g) light corn syrup
  • 16 oz (448g) tempered dark chocolate


  1. Drain the maraschino cherries, reserving 2 tablespoons of the liquid. Place the cherries back in the jar and pour the Kirschwasser over the cherries. Close the jar and set it aside for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
  2. Have a food processor set up near the stove. Combine the sugar, reserved maraschino cherry liquid, water and corn syrup in a saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Do not stir the syrup once it begins to boil. Reduce the heat to medium high. Dip a pastry brush in water to clean any splatters from the inside of the pan. Place a candy or probe thermometer into the syrup and boil until the temperature reaches 240°F.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the syrup into the food processor. Rinse the thermometer to remove any sugar crystals and set the thermometer into the syrup. Do not disturb the syrup as it cools.
  4. Allow the syrup to cool to 120°F. Remove the thermometer. Process the syrup for 3-4 minutes until it thickens and becomes opaque.
  5. Pour the fondant into a microwave safe container. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of water over the fondant to cover the surface. This will prevent it from forming a crust. Cover the container and set aside for several hours or overnight.
  6. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Drain the cherries and blot them dry with paper towels.
  7. Warm the fondant in 20 second increments until it is a little warmer than body temperature and loosens up enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon. Don't let the fondant get warmer than 160°F or you'll loose the crystals.
  8. Use the stem to lift a cherry and dip it into the fondant, covering the cherry up to the stem. Hold the cherry over the bowl to allow the excess fondant to drip back into the bowl. Set the cherry onto one of the lined sheet pans. Continue dipping all the cherries. You may need to rewarm the fondant if it becomes too thick to dip. You can sprinkle a few drops of water to loosen up the fondant if needed. Don't add too much water or the fondant won't stick to the cherries. Set the cherries aside to dry while you temper the chocolate. Visit this post to see how to temper chocolate.
  9. Lift a cherry by the stem and dip it into the chocolate, covering all the fondant and going a little up the base of the stem. Hold the cherry over the bowl to allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl.
  10. Set the cherry onto the other lined sheet pan. Continue dipping all the cherries. Allow the chocolate set completely before packing the cherries into a covered container. Store at room temperature. The fondant layer needs a couple of days to melt and become the cordial syrup. Wait at least 2 days before serving


The Kirschwasser not only adds the "cordial" to the candy, but it also turns the fondant into a syrup. If you don't want to use alcohol, add 1/4 teaspoon Invertase to the fondant. The invertase will break down the crystals in the fondant, turning it into a syrup just like the alcohol does.

Did you make this recipe?

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Make Cherry Cordials at home for a special treat. Real dark chocolate, Kirschwasser and cherries make a perfect Cherry Cordial with a syrupy center.  #candy #how to #video #homemade #liquor #boozy #maraschino #real #classic


Saturday 4th of December 2021

I do not own a food processor. Would I be able to do this using a blender or hand mixer? I have a ninja nutriblender and a hand mixer. Would I just use a normal blend setting if I used the blender? Thank you!

Eileen Gray

Saturday 4th of December 2021

What the food processor does is pulverize the sugar crystals as they are forming. This is why fondant has a creamy texture rather than a coarse texture. A mixer wouldn't make the crystals small enough and I think as the sugar crystalizes you might burn out the motor of the mixer. It's gets quite thick very fast. I haven't used a ninja blender but I believe they are quite powerful, right? The ninja might be worth trying. Let us know if it works out.


Friday 2nd of April 2021

This is going to be my 3rd time making these and I was wondering if I can dip after the processing part?

Eileen Gray

Saturday 3rd of April 2021

Do you mean dip the cherries as soon as you finish processing the fondant? If so, yes. If you find it's too thick you can warm if briefly in the microwave to loosen it up.


Monday 22nd of March 2021

Hi! In the prep time listed it says 2 hours, but the recipe asks to soak the cherries for at least 12. Does the time soaking make a huge difference, or can I just do 2 hours? Thanks!

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 23rd of March 2021

By "prep time" I mean the active time making the candies. The soaking time is passive so I don't list it in the prep time. The soaking does make a different for the flavor of the cherries.

Morgan Shia

Saturday 13th of March 2021

Hi Eileen! I'm actually doing a Chemistry project for school on Cherry Cordials and I was wondering if you have to do number 7? In other words, could I wrap the cherries in the fondant right after I've made it?

Thank you! Morgan

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 17th of March 2021

Sorry for the delayed response, somehow your comment ended up in the spam folder. You could try to use it right away, but it does firm up pretty quickly since it cools quite a bit as your process the syrup. If the fondant is too thick to dip the cherries you will need to reheat it briefly to get it thin enough to dip the cherries.

Jean Browne

Thursday 18th of February 2021

Hello, TY 4 this delish recipe. Two attempts down and still not correct--that's my problem, what does correct look like when you haven't made it before.? Of course, my using different brand and size of maraschino cherries is complicating the process. I'm using a 13.5 oz jar of Bada Bing Cherries. So immediately I've got a problem-how much more liquid would I need to meet recipe requirements? (I didn't add any additional liquid.) I'm interested in making these as gifts, not knowing my full audience, I've decided to go non-alcoholic. When do you add the invertase? (Be careful folks, invertase is 1/4 tsp not 4 oz if using liquor). Most recipes say to add after the cooking step. What do you cover the cherries with if not using liquor/Kirschwasser?

For the cooling before processing step. I cooled the recipe to 120 using Polder instant read thermometer. Soon as it started processing, I could see the mixture was still quite hot, I stopped processing and waited for it to cool back down to 120. Was this OK? It never turned opaque.

Is it the processing step that creates the crystals? Is turning opaque the signal its processed enough? This might help figure out how long to process or whether or not the batch is a fail.

My second batch was much closer but was never going to work since I overcooked it but it turned nice opaque color but got way too stiff to work with. Very fun stuff, it was like taffy and such a beautiful color.

What is the reserved 2 T of cherry juice used for?

I've googled around and can't find answers sooo please help I really want to make these! TY! jean

Eileen Gray

Thursday 18th of February 2021

I'll try to address as many of your issues as I can. Do you think you need more liquid because the cherries are bigger? That shouldn't matter and adding more liquid won't change the final fondant. Fondant is a candy. Candy is made when crystallized sugar is boiled to a certain temp. The higher the temp, the less water in the mix and the harder the candy. For fondant, the syrup is boiled to "soft ball" stage. That is, when the candy crystallizes it will still be pliable. Yes, invertase after cooking. If you're not using the liquor, the cherries aren't soaked in anything other than the syrup they came in. That soaking step is to infuse the cherries with Kirschwasser. When you process the fondant, it turns opaque because the sugar is crystallizing into teeny tiny crystals. It may not have crystallized properly if you added something other than what is in the recipe. If the fondant becomes too stiff after processing, that's ok. Fondant will stiffen up as it cools and if you processed it until it cooled down quite a bit, that can happen. You can gently warm it (don't let it become completely melted) until it's pourable. That's why the recipe instructs you to warm the fondant in 20 second increments in the microwave. You can even thin it down with a little corn syrup or water if it's too thick to work with. But, less is more when thinning. Add just a few DROPS at a time. The reserved 2T cherry juice is used to flavor and color the fondant. Candy making is a bit finicky and can take some practice. Good luck.

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