Savory Cherry Compote

Savory cherry chutney-like compote made with fresh cherries, walnuts, shallots, rosemary, honey, and Port, perfect with pork, chicken, or duck.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 cups, enough to accompany meat dish for 4 to 6 people


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (can sub red onion)
  • 2 1/2 cups pitted sweet cherries, quartered
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Port, red wine, kirsch, cassis, or cherry juice (or water)
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Special equipment:


1 Cook the shallots: Heat the olive oil in a pan in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook them until they just begin to color on the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Stir a few times while they’re cooking.

2 Add the walnuts, rosemary and cherries and stir everything to combine. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until the cherries are soft, about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little black pepper and taste for salt.

3 Pour in the Port, wine, kirsch or cassis and the honey, and stir again. Boil this down slowly until the softening cherries and the liquid cook down to a syrupy texture.

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  • Linda Preminger

    Made with sour cherries, this is also excellent on grilled or pan-fried salmon. Tried some last night on wild, fresh Copper River salmon, and it was excellent. Will try it later on local red-meat trout.

  • Melissa

    How long would you process in a pressure canner? I was thinking of canning this recipe as well as it is DELICIOUS and I want to share some with everyone I know. Thanks!

    So glad you like it! No idea how long to process in a pressure canner. ~Elise


  • her ladyship

    fantastic website and lovely recipe – is it suitable for preserving in a jar?

    Looking at the recipe it doesn’t have enough acid and/or sugar to can unless you use a pressure canner. In that case I think it would be fine for canning. But if you are just doing a water bath, I would keep it refrigerated. ~Elise

  • berkeley girl

    What an easy, brilliant recipe! I made this today and put it on tea sandwiches w/ spicy seitan “lunch meat,” mustard, and spinach, and my guests loved it. I substituted the alcohol with 1 Tbsp apple juice concentrate, 1 Tbsp sake, and 2 Tbsp water. Boiled it down for 20-30 min for it to be syrupy.

  • Jane

    I had a fantastic crop of cherries last year and froze them. Good thing, since this year they almost all rotted due to late rain.

    Do you think this recipe would work with thawed, pitted cherries from last year?

    Yes, I think it would work with defrosted cherries, given you’re going to cook them up anyway. ~Elise

  • mantha

    Oh, my goodness, with a nice young duck . . . Can you use the rosemary fresh or dried? We’re just coming into black cherries now where I am, and I am so primed for a good luscious dish like this.

    You get such beautiful photos with those pretty blue dishes and counter.

    Thanks! Use fresh rosemary. Dried will have the texture of twigs. ~Elise

  • Katja

    Are these sweet Bing type cherries, or sour pie cherries (of which I still have gallons from last year)?

    Bing cherries, or other sweet cherries. ~Elise

  • Liane

    Can you sub in cranberries? I have a bunch in the freezer from Thanksgiving.

    Cherries are sweet; cranberries are sour. If you want to make a cranberry sauce, you will need to add a lot of sugar. ~Elise