Easy Cherry Compote

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This sweet Cherry Compote is the best Instant Pot dessert sauce you can make for ice cream, cheesecake, sweet breads, and more.  

A mason jar filled to slightly overflowing with cherry compote, with a silver spoon ready to scoop.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This cherry compote is perfectly balanced—not too sweet and not too sour! Plus it’s mostly hands-off and comes together with just a few simple ingredients.

We love making all kinds of fruit compotes, toppings, and sauces in the Instant Pot pressure cooker!

It is a great way to use fresh and frozen fruit, plus it’s an easy way to dress up desserts like Instant Pot cheesecake or breakfasts like steel cut oats.

We’ve been making this cherry recipe for years, and we decided it was time to update it with fresh new pictures, tips, and tricks.

Once you try this easy recipe, you’ll always want to have a supply of sweet fruit sauce on hand.

a horizontal shot of the ingredients required to make cherry compote, including lemon juice, frozen cherries, sugar, almond extract, and cornstarch

Ingredients for Cherry Compote

Grab these ingredients to make Instant Pot cherry sauce:

  • Frozen dark cherries. Look for dark sweet cherries if you can for the best flavor. 
  • Sugar. You can use regular granulated sugar to sweeten your compote.
  • Lemon juice. Fresh lemon juice is the best for adding brightness.
  • Cornstarch. This thickens your sauce right up.
  • Almond extract. We love the combination of almond and cherry flavors, but you could omit the extract if you like. 

How to Make Cherry Sauce in an Instant Pot

This easy recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

This recipe is quick and easy to make. Take about half of the cherries and pour them in the pressure cooking pot. (You don’t have to measure an exact 8 ounces.) Then add the sugar and lemon juice. Cook at high pressure for 3 minutes. When the cook time ends, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then finish with a quick pressure release. 

Next, make a cornstarch slurry, which is my favorite thickener for fruit sauces. Use cold water when making the slurry to make sure it combines smoothly with the cornstarch. Use the Saute button and bring the sauce to a simmer. Make sure to stir constantly until the cornstarch activates to thicken the sauce. Then gently stir in the remaining cherries and almond extract, if using. 

Serve the compote warm or cool it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. 

I really love the warm sauce served over ice cream. However, I like to serve it cold when using it to top cheesecake or warm steel cut oats.

A wooden spoon that is scooping out a nice, thick cherry topping, with a cherry and a drip ready to drip back into the cooking pot.

Important Tips for Making Cherry Compote

This is a straightforward recipe, but there are a few handy things to keep in mind:

  • It’s important to bring the mixture to a full simmer after you add the cornstarch. Otherwise, your compote may taste like uncooked starch.
  • Whisk constantly when bringing the mixture to a simmer after adding the slurry to avoid lumps of cornstarch in your compote. 
  • Adding some of the cherries at the end of cooking adds some nice texture to the sauce, but if you prefer a smooth compote, you can add all of the cherries at the beginning.
a mason jar filled with Instant Pot cherry topping sitting on a wooden plate with a silver spoon propped along the left side of the jar.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cherry Compote

Do I have to use almond extract?

No, if you’re not a fan of almond, you can omit the extract in this recipe. Or try replacing it with vanilla if you like.

Can I use fresh cherries?

We haven’t tested this recipe with fresh cherries, but if you’d like to use fresh instead of frozen fruit, we recommend adding about ¼ cup more liquid. This is because the fresh cherries may not break down quickly enough to release liquid to come to pressure. You could try adding half water and half lemon juice.

Can I make this with canned tart cherries in water?

You can, but since the cherries are cooked when canning you can skip the pressure cooking process. We’d drain the water into a saucepan, sweeten it to taste, and then follow the recipe to thicken it with the cornstarch slurry.

How long can I store homemade fruit compote?

Store the compote in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. 

How should I serve cherry compote?

The great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is! Try these favorite ways to serve cherry compote:

a mason jar sitting on a white plate, filled to the brim with cherry compote. An Instant Pot, lemons, and fresh cherries are out of focus along the top background.

More Instant Pot Compote and Fruit Topping Recipes

Try these other delicious fruit compote recipes to make in your Instant Pot:

Do you LOVE this recipe?
Leave us a review below to tell us why!

An overhead shot looking into the a jar of cherry sauce, with a wooden background and resh cherries scattered alongside the dish.

Easy Cherry Compote

Yield: 6 - 8 servings
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

This Instant Pot Cherry Compote is a quick and mostly hands-off recipe that starts with frozen cherries and cooks at high pressure for just 3 minutes. It's the perfect topping for cheesecake, ice cream, and other desserts, breakfasts, and more.


  • 1 package (16 oz) frozen dark cherries, divided in half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


  1. Add about half (8 oz) of the frozen cherries, sugar, and lemon juice to the pressure cooking pot; stir to combine. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 3 minutes cook time. When the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then with a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add to the compote in the cooking pot. Select the saute function and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in remaining cherries and almond extract.
  3. Put in a storage container and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 82Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 0gSugar: 19gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.


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