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Easy homemade cherry fritters are light, sweet, and come together in just 30 minutes! Packed with sweet cherry flavor and topped with a vanilla glaze, it’s the perfect summer dessert – but also tastes great year round! Feel free to customize these fresh cherry fritters with your favorite glazes and toppings too. It’s an easy treat to whip up during peak cherry season!
It’s cherry season, so it’s time to whip up a batch of sweet cherry fritters! This classic fritter recipe yields golden, crispy pastries bursting with juicy cherry flavor.
A fresh baked cherry fritter is a classic summertime dessert for a reason. The crispy exterior gives way to pockets of juicy cherry goodness. I love using ripe, fresh cherries when they are in season for the best flavor and for a yummy chunk of cherry in each bite, but this recipe also works with frozen cherries so you can enjoy it year round!
Feel free to have fun experimenting with add-ins and different glaze ideas. This is a fun recipe to make with kids too — they will love helping out with mixing the batter and frying.
Preparing these sweet treats at home is simple. This easy recipe only takes 30 minutes from start to finish. The prep time is just 10 minutes, and they fry up in only 20 minutes. Learn how to make perfect cherry fritters using just a few basic ingredients! I’ve also included tips for frying, storing, and serving these tasty cherry treats!
👩🏽🍳 Why This Recipe Works
- Cherry Burst In Every Bite: Diced cherries stirred into the batter provide sweet cherry flavor in each fritter.
- Crispy Outside, Soft Inside: These fresh fruit fritters fry up with a deliciously crispy outer coating enveloping a soft, cake-like interior.
- Simple From-Scratch Batter: The batter comes together quickly in a blender with basic pantry ingredients like flour, baking powder, sugar, and eggs.
- Drizzled With Sweet Glaze: A simple vanilla glaze adds the perfect finishing touch by drizzling over the cooled fritters.
- Make-Ahead Friendly: Fritters can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days, perfect for enjoying later.
- Festive Color: The deep red of the cherries speckled throughout makes these fritters as fun to look at as they are to eat.
- Kid-Friendly Favorite: Little ones will love these handheld cherry-studded treats hot from the fryer.
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To create these glazed cherry fritters, you will need the following simple ingredients:
- All-Purpose Flour: The all-purpose flour forms the base of the fritter batter, giving it structure so the fritters hold their shape when fried.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder helps the batter rise and puff up when fried, creating airy, light fritters.
- Sugar: White sugar adds sweetness to balance the tart cherries and makes the fritters perfectly sweet-tart.
- Eggs: Eggs help bind the batter together and provide richness. Be sure to use large eggs.
- Milk: The milk contributes moisture to keep the fritters tender and cake-like. Whole milk works best.
- Cherries: Fresh cherries provide bursts of sweet-tart cherry flavor and visual appeal when baked into the fritters.
- Butter: Melted butter enriches the batter and ensures the fritters get crispy and golden brown when fried.
- Vanilla Extract & Cinnamon: Vanilla extract enhances the sweet flavors and aromas of the batter. Use real vanilla, not imitation. Cinnamon is great for adding warm spice notes.
- Oil For Frying: Frying in hot oil is key to getting these red tart cherry fritters ultra-crispy on the outside. Use a neutral oil with a high smoke point.
- Glaze: You’ll need powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract and water. If you don’t want to make a vanilla glaze, you can also just use the powdered sugar to lightly dust these cherry fritter donuts when they come out of the fryer.
- Flour: All-purpose flour can be replaced with whole wheat flour or a gluten-free flour blend for variation. Keep in mind, it may change the texture of these treats.
- Baking Powder: If you’re out of baking powder, baking soda plus cream of tartar can be substituted in the same proportions.
- Sugar: Brown sugar or coconut sugar can be swapped in for a deeper, richer sweetness.
- Eggs: Replace the eggs with a flaxseed egg for vegan fritters.
- Milk: Non-dairy milk like almond or oat milk can be subbed in for regular milk. Reduce any added liquids to account for extra moisture.
- Cherries: Try substituting chopped strawberries, blueberries, or peaches for different fruit flavors. You can also use frozen cherries, but make sure you thaw and drain any excess water from the frozen cherries before adding them to the batter.
- Butter: Vegan butter or coconut oil can replace butter for vegan cherry fritter batter. Reduce milk to adjust moisture.
- Vanilla Extract: Try almond extract with the vanilla for a vanilla-almond glaze, or you can also use maple extract instead of vanilla extract.
- Cinnamon: Nutmeg, allspice, or cardamom also pair well with cherry old fashioned donut recipe flavors!
🔪 How To Make Cherry Fritters
These cherry pie filling fritters come together in just 20 minutes and will be devoured within minutes of being fried!
Prepare Cherries: Roughly dice the washed and pitted cherries, and set them aside in a bowl for later.
Make Fritter Batter: Place the milk, vanilla, egg, butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a high-speed blender or food processor.
Blend Until Smooth: Blend until a smooth batter has formed. Scrape down the sides several times to ensure all of the batter ingredients have been combined.
Add Diced Cherries: Transfer the batter to a large bowl and stir through the diced cherries.
Prepare Oil: Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. The pot should have high sides to catch any oil splashes. (If you have a deep fryer, you can use that too). Test the temperature of the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil, and if it starts to bubble immediately, then it is ready. You can also use a candy thermometer to test the heat of the oil.
Add Batter: Drop large spoonfuls of batter into the oil using a metal spoon or ice cream scoop. Add as many as you can fit without overcrowding the pot. The first fritter batch should cook quickly.
Fry Until Golden: Allow the fritters to cook for 1-2 minutes or until lightly golden brown; gently turn and continue to cook until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a kitchen paper towel.
Repeat As Needed: Repeat with the remaining batch of fritters. The batter makes about 12-14 fritters. Allow the cooked fritters to cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.
Make & Drizzle Glaze: Prepare the cherry donut glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla together in a small bowl until smooth. Adjust the thickness by adding some water if needed. Drizzle the glaze over the fritters and allow the glaze to set before serving and enjoying.
💭 Expert Tips
- Use Cold Milk: Using cold milk rather than warm for the batter helps prevent the fritters from absorbing excess oil when fried.
- Gently Fold In Cherries: Once added to the batter, gently fold in the cherries rather than over-mixing to prevent damaging the cherries.
- Maintain Proper Oil Temperature: Keeping the frying oil at a steady 350°F ensures the fritters cook evenly and develop a crispy exterior. To make sure the oil is hot enough for frying, drop a small bit of batter into the oil. If it immediately starts bubbling, the oil is ready. Note: if your oil is not hot enough, or doesn’t stay hot, you’ll end up with greasy, soggy fritters.
- Fry In Small Batches: Frying in smaller batches, rather than crowding the pan, allows the fritters to fry properly without dropping the oil temperature.
- Drain Fritters Properly: Draining fried fritters on paper towels removes any excess residual oil after cooking.
- Cool Before Glazing: Allowing the fritters to cool completely before glazing prevents the warm fritters from melting the glaze.
- Don’t Over-fry: Fry the fritters just until golden brown, not dark brown, to prevent burning or overcooking the outside before the inside cooks.
- To Bake Instead Of Fry: Make a baked cherry fritters recipe by placing batter by tablespoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 12-14 minutes until cooked through.
📖 Flavor Variations
Here are 5 ways you can customize this cherry fritter donut recipe and pack them with flavor!
- Chocolate Cherry Fritters: Fold in chocolate chips along with the cherries for a chocolate-cherry flavor combo.
- Other Fruit: Try adding diced apples into the batter with the cherries to make cherry apple fritters, or replace the cherries with your favorite mixed berries to make berry fritters!
- Chai Spiced Fritters: Add spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg to the batter for a chai twist.
- Lemon Cherry Fritters: Use lemon zest instead of vanilla extract and lemon juice in the glaze for a bright citrus flavor.
- Coconut Cherry Fritters: Fold shredded coconut into the batter and use coconut milk for a tropical twist.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
This cherry fritters recipe is best served warm! While waiting for the fritters to cool slightly, why not make yourself a hot beverage to enjoy with them? Here are some ideas:
At Room Temperature: Store completely cooled fritters in an airtight container or wrapped with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. Store completely cooled fritters in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. To refresh stale fritters, place in a 300°F oven for a few minutes until warmed through and crispy.
In the Freezer: For longer storage, freeze baked fritters in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw before enjoying or reheat frozen fritters in a 300°F oven until warmed through for about 10 minutes.
Reheating: To reheat leftovers, place fritters on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven for 5-10 minutes until heated through. You can also reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals, checking frequently for doneness.
A neutral oil like canola, vegetable, or peanut with a high smoke point works best. Avoid olive oil as it can impart strong flavor.
No, the batter itself will create a nice crispy exterior when fried. Do not coat in flour or breadcrumbs.
Typically yes, fritters are considered either a snack or junk food, since they’re deep fried treats that are high in calories, sugar, and fat. Enjoy these treats in moderation!
A typical cherry fritter has anywhere between 350-500 calories. But our slightly healthier recipe has only 300 calories per fritter!
There are a few reasons why your fritters may not be crispy:
1) Oil Temperature: This is typically the #1 cause behind soggy fritters. If your oil isn’t hot enough, the fritters will absorb too much oil and will become soggy instead of crispy.
2) Batter: Using too much batter or a batter that contains too much water can lead to soggy treats.
3) Overmixing: This can cause too much gluten to develop, resulting in a rubbery and tough texture.
If undercooked, place back into the hot oil for another 1-2 minutes until the center is cooked through.
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📋 Recipe Card
Indulge in crispy, fresh cherry fritters! These easy fried fritters are filled with tart cherries and doused in a sweet vanilla glaze. The perfect summertime treat, but also delicious year round!
Servings: 12 servings
Roughly dice the washed and pitted cherries, set aside in a bowl for later.
Place the milk, vanilla, egg, butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a high speed blender or food processor.
Blend until a smooth batter has formed. Scrape down the sides several times to ensure all of the batter ingredients have combined.
Transfer the batter to a bowl and stir through the diced cherries.
Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium heat. (Test the temperature of the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil, if it starts to bubble immediately then it is ready).
Using a metal spoon, drop tablespoon amounts of batter into the oil. Add as many as you can fit without overcrowding the pot.
Allow the fritters to cook for 1-2 minutes or until lightly golden brown, gently turn and continue to cook until golden.
Remove and drain on kitchen paper towel.
Repeat with remaining batter. Batter makes approx 12-14 fritters.
Allow to cool completely.
Prepare the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, cream and vanilla together in a small bowl until smooth. Adjust the thickness by adding some water if needed.
Drizzle the glaze over the fritters and allow the glaze to set before serving and enjoying.
- The batter can be prepared by hand by whisking the ingredients together until smooth if you do not have a food processor or blender.
- Make sure the oil isn’t too hot, if the fritter brown too quickly reduce the heat to ensure the fritter cook all the way through.
- Fresh cherries are best in this recipe.
- Substitute all-purpose flour for gluten free flour for gluten free fritters.
- Drain on paper towl after cooking to remove as much oil as possible.
- Make sure the fritters have cooled before adding the glaze otherwise the glaze will melt when added to hot fritters.
- Brown sugar or coconut sugar can be used instead of white sugar.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 3 days.
Serving: 1fritter | Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g