Cherry Frozen Yogurt

Every year about this time my neighbor Pat comes by with a bag of fresh Bing cherries from her tree and a plea to come pick more before the birds get them. That’s the thing about cherry season, the trees seem to ripen all at once and for a week or two you have bucketloads. This spring the season is kind of funky. The cherries have come late, and with all the rain, they’re not lasting long. Last week I made cherry ice cream and this week cherry frozen yogurt. What I love about the frozen yogurt is that the yogurt is naturally tart. Bing cherries are sweet and they need something tart to intensify their flavor (which is why you typically use sour cherries for cherry pie). Also frozen yogurt is a lot easier to make than custard-based ice creams, but can still be quite creamy and smooth. This frozen yogurt will last several days in the freezer without getting too hard (which happens often with homemade ice creams).

Cherry Frozen Yogurt Recipe

  • Yield: Makes a little more than 1 quart.

A cherry pitter comes in handy when making dishes with fresh cherries. You can also use a paring knife to cut out the pit.



  • 3 cups pitted fresh cherries
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar (more or less depending on how sweet the cherries and how sweet you want your frozen yogurt to be)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (can substitute half-and-half or cream for creamier version)
  • 1 1/2 cups full fat yogurt (if you are using non or low-fat yogurt, add 2 Tbsp heavy cream)
  • 2 Tbsp almond liqueuer such as Amaretto (optional)


1 Place the pitted cherries, lemon juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. While the mixture is heating, use a potato masher to mash up the berries in the pot which will release some of their moisture. When all of the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Place contents in a blender and pulse until smooth.

2 Mix cherry purée, milk, and yogurt together in a bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour; the longer the mixture chills the better (can chill overnight).

3 Right before processing in an ice cream maker, add the almond liqueur if using. The alcohol in the liqueur will help keep the frozen yogurt smooth, but it is not necessary. Process the mixture in your ice cream maker for 25 minutes.

You can eat it right away (it will be rather soft) or put it in the freezer for a few hours to harden up a bit.

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How to make ice cream without an ice cream maker - tips from David Lebovitz
Coconut Pinkcherry Yogurt from Deb of Smitten Kitchen
No recipe cherry jam - from David Lebovitz (no recipe because it's that easy)


  1. Albicocca

    mmm, interesting! I think it can also be prepared without an icecream maker: keeping the mixture in the freezeer and stirring it energically every hour for 3-4 times usually does the trick!

  2. Hannah

    *sigh* There’s nary a fruit tree to be found anywhere in my suburb! What I wouldn’t give for a kind neighbour such as yours… and your ice-cream maker… oh my, I might as well just ask for the bowl of delicious ice cream, mightn’t I?! :D

  3. yasaman

    Can I do this with out ice cream maker?

    See the link to making ice cream without an ice cream maker in the link section below the recipe. ~Elise

  4. Kristy

    I am so glad you shared this recipe, I will definitely try it. Where do you find full fat yogurt? I have looked since my sons dr. said he should eat it, but have not been able to find any. Is there a certain brand?

    I use Strauss family organic yogurt. It’s a local brand, the dairy is north of San Francisco. You might try looking for a brand of Greek yogurt which is creamier than regular yogurt. ~Elise

  5. Sharon T. Farrell

    I have a Montmorency Cherry tree…do you have any suggestions for adapting this recipe for these bright red, tart (pie) cherries? Living in Upper Michigan, I have a while before they are ripe; they have just dropped their blossoms and tiny green cherries are just starting to form, but any ideas for using these, besides pie, cobbler and jam would be greatly appreciated!

    How lucky! I haven’t worked with tart cherries yet, so don’t know what to suggest. ~Elise

  6. Jackie

    I don’t have space for another gadget, so I don’t have an ice cream machine. But I have made gelato a few times now by putting everything in the blender til it gets good and mixed, with some “air foam” on top. Then I pour that mix into a quart sized plastic container with a good fitting top and put it in the freezer. Periodically, say every 20 – 30 minutes, I take it out and SHAKE IT UP AND DOWN LIKE MAD!!! Then once it starts to freeze, I do it a little less often. After it starts to really set up, I open it and stir in all the slushy stuff forming along the top and sides and let it freeze. It tastes great, and I use it when I need ice cream for other recipes. Of course it doesn’t get as smooth as regular ice cream but it does taste good. I might try making this frozen yogurt this way.

  7. Rebecca

    I’m so jealous, all of our cherries were picked by some horrible person who came into our back yard and raided our tree. Tell your neighbor that if she needs to get rid of more we will gladly take them at my house! The recipe looks great and I’m going to have to check out making ice cream without the ice cream maker.

    They raided your backyard? Wow, that’s ballsy. So sorry. ~Elise

  8. Amber

    Can I use cherries that I froze?

    I don’t see why not. ~Elise

  9. my little expat kitchen

    What a lovely recipe. Can I make this with Greek strained yoghurt?

    I don’t see why not. ~Elise

  10. Virginia May

    This sounds wonderful but I need imperial or metric measurements. Just about to find a good site for conversions then off to buy the ingredients!

    Hi Virginia, there is a measurement converter on the left side of the recipe page. It uses Google conversions. There’s a link with an explanation of how it works too. ~Elise

  11. Karen

    This is the third recipe I’ve tried from your site (mint julep ice cream and almond cookies previously, YUM!) Double YUM on this one! DH will not eat this, and I didn’t want to eat the whole tub myself, so I took it to work today as the “frozen treat of the day”. Everyone loved it. Not enough to go around. I will have to make more ;-) Will also try the blueberry. More, more, more frozen treat recipes, PLEASE!

  12. Ronnie

    Can I use skin/fat free milk in making frozen yogurt?

    Yes, but it will taste better if you use whole milk. Better yet use 1/4 cup of cream. ~Elise

  13. Kirstin

    We made this recipe today but aren’t sure what kind of cherries we were using…cherries don’t grow here, so we bought whatever variety the grocery store sold us. :D

    The consistency of the frozen yogurt turned out perfectly, but it was very very sweet. Can we lessen the amount of sugar added, or will that change the properties of the end product?

    I haven’t tried it with less sugar, but I’m guessing that it will turn out fine. ~Elise

  14. Amanda

    Very delicious!

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