Cherry Garcia Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

Thick, golden Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies are stuffed with maraschino cherries and chocolate chips for a classic flavor combo. These Cherry Garcia chocolate chip cookies are a must-try for any cookie lover.

Chocolate and cherry are two flavors that are just meant to go together! Whether it’s Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake, Brownie Bottom Cherry Cheesecake, or these Cherry Garcia Cookies, the classic flavor pairing is always a hit!

Be sure to sign up for my email… to get new recipes and ideas in your inbox!

a stack of four chocolate chip cookies with maraschino cherries

Maraschino cherry chocolate chip cookies, also known as Cherry Garcia cookies, are modeled after the similarly flavored ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s. The combination of candied maraschino cherries and rich dark chocolate chips in a simple-to-make drop cookie is irresistible. A straightforward recipe, easy to follow, and makes five dozen cookies, so it’s perfect for gatherings or parties. Be sure to give them a try!

Cherry chip cookies are packed with flavor. Maraschinos add a singular almond sweetness, and the chocolate provides that classic comfort chocolate chip cookie flavor that we all know and love.

  • Quick and Easy drop cookie with little explosions of cherry and chocolate in every bite! 
  • Takes the ordinary chocolate chip cookie and transforms it into the extraordinary cherry chocolate chip cookie.
  • This drop cookie recipe means no rolling or cutting required; just mix, scoop, and bake!
  • If you’re a Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream fan, you will love these cherry Garcia chip cookies!
Cherry Garcia cookies on a cooling rack

What Are Maraschino Cherries?

Ready? It’s simpler to tell you what they are not and work from there; maraschino cherries are not fruit. What?! Aren’t maraschino cherries made from real cherries? Yes, but stick with me here.

Maraschino cherries start with real cherries (and their stems) primarily grown and processed in Oregon; they end up a firm, bright red piece of sweet candy. The cherries are immersed in a brine solution, bleached, dyed, and then flavored with a syrup usually made from sugar, almond extract, and sometimes cherry juice. This process completely changes the fruit’s properties and consistency, transforming it into the bright red beloved jarred candied cherries. 

A stemmed maraschino cherry on a mountain of ice cream or floating atop a cold beverage always adds a touch of “special!’ These perfect red orbs are key ingredients in many recipes, like this cherry chip drop cookie, and have been delighting people for ages.

So Why Do People Ask, Are Maraschino Cherries Bad For You?

Because maraschino cherries go through a long process that involves bleaching and dyeing, health-conscious consumers often wonder if they are bad for you. Also, knowing that the syrup used to flavor the cherries is often high in sugar and calories, adding to the concern of how they are processed, some people prefer to avoid them. 

I think maraschinos as an occasional treat are wonderful and give these cherry chip cookies just the right amount of sweet cherry flavor. (And Cherry Garcia Drop Cookies ARE a treat!) You could worry they may not be the most nutritious cherry chips, but if viewed as candy, not as fruit, maraschino cherries are perfectly fine when consumed in moderation.

ingredients needed to make cherry chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients For Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Maraschino Cherries – a ten-ounce jar drained, stems removed, chopped, and dried.
  • All-Purpose Flour – don’t scoop and pack the flour in the measuring cup; use the spoon and level method.
  • Salt
  • Softened Butter – Room temp butter will leave a small imprint when pushed with a finger. Butter should not be warm enough to get a shiny sheen.
  • Sugar-white granulated.
  • Vanilla Extract – warms and enhances the almond flavors and sweetness with soft vanilla notes. Always use real vanilla extract when you can. 
  • Almond Extract – intensifies and amplifies the almond flavoring from the maraschino cherries.
  • Large Egg & Egg Yolk – should be at room temperature (around 70°F) before adding the eggs to the cherry chocolate chip cookie batter for the best results.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips – or full-size chunks will work in this cherry chocolate chip cookie recipe. Creamy chocolate adds a heightened intensity and offsets the sweetness of the cherries.
Maraschino Cherry cookie with chocolate chips on a cooling rack

How To Make Cherry Garcia Drop Cookies

The beauty of drop cookies is you don’t have to spend a lot of time shaping the dough into balls or worrying about them spreading too much in the oven.

Tools You’ll Need To Make Cherry Chip Cookies

Cookie sheet pan, parchment paper, bowls, electric mixer, flat bottom glass, cookie scoop (optional) wire cooling rack.

how to make cherry chocolate chip cookies photo collage

Quick & Easy Steps For Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

(full printable recipe at the end of this post)

Step 1: Drain, chop, and dry maraschino cherries. (complete instructions in the recipe card)

Step 2: Beat butter on medium until smooth and fluffy. Add sugar and extracts and continue beating until light and fluffy.

Step 3: Beat egg and egg yolk on low speed until just combined. Add flour and salt and continue beating until combined.

Step 4: Stir in chocolate chips and cherries.

Step 5: Drop rounded tablespoons* about 2” apart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a flat bottom glass, flatten cookies slightly.

Step 6:  Bake for 9-12 minutes. Cool on a baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*Want a larger cookie? Use 2 tablespoon scoops = 30 cookies (baking time may need to be slightly longer, just look for lightly browned edges.

a stack of three chocolate chip cookies with maraschino cherries

Recipe Notes and Variations

  • A cookie scoop does quick work of portioning out cookie dough. 
  • To slightly flatten the drop cookie batter, I use the flat bottom surface of a glass dipped in sugar.
  • Press extra chocolate chips on top or sprinkle with coarse sea salt for bakery-style cookies.
  • If your kitchen is warm, place flattened cookie dough balls in the freezer (or fridge) for 5 minutes before putting them in the oven for thick cookies.
  • Bake cherry chocolate chip cookies until the edges are lightly browned.
  • For a fun twist, try using white chocolate or butterscotch chips.
  • Add a tiny bit of pink or red gel food color for pink cookies, this is a great idea for Cherry Christmas Cookies or Valentine’s Day cookies.
  • If you’re feeling particularly mischievous, you can sub in green maraschino cherries for a mint chocolate chip-flavored cookie!
  • Add chopped pistachios for spumoni-flavored cookies.
Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies on a cooling rack

How to Store Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

At Room Temperature

You can store these cherry chocolate chip cookies in an airtight container, on the counter, for up to 5 days. Storing in the refrigerator is not recommended.

How to Freeze

These cookies freeze well. First, be sure they are completely cooled. Then place in an airtight container or zip-top plastic bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Make-Ahead Cherry Garcia Drop Cookies

To make-ahead cherry chip cookies, scoop cherry chip dough and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for 30 minutes, then put in a freezer-safe container or plastic bag and store for up to three months. 

When you’re ready to enjoy another batch of cherry chocolate chip cookies, preheat the oven and allow dough balls to thaw on a parchment-lined baking sheet until they can be slightly flattened. Bake for one to two minutes longer than this recipe. Cool on the baking sheet for three minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

chocolate chip cookies with maraschino cherries
  • GIFTING: Package cookies in a cellophane bag, tie with ribbon, and add a pretty tag for a yummy gift idea.
  • Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies make a great addition to a holiday cookie tray– add a little food color to make them pink/light red.
  • Crush cookies over vanilla ice cream for Cherry Garcia flavored ice cream.

Serve as a treat with a glass of cold milk, hot coffee, or tea.

Like This Recipe? Pin It!

pinterest-image
Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies photo collage
a stack of three chocolate chip cookies with maraschino cherries

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 5 dozen small or 30 large
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

Chocolate and cherry are two flavors that are just meant to go together! Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies are stuffed with maraschino cherries for a delightful burst of cherry flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 (10-12 ounce) jar of maraschino cherries
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (full size or chunks work too)

Instructions

  1. Drain all of the juice from the cherries. Using a sharp knife finely chop cherries into small bits.  Place chopped cherries on a thick stack of paper towels, pat and squeeze cherry pieces with paper towels to remove as much excess juice as possible. Place cherry pieces on a paper towel-covered plate and set aside to continue drying.
  2. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium until smooth and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add sugar and extracts and continue beating until light and fluffy (another 2-3 minutes).
  4. Beat in egg and egg yolk on low speed just until combined. Add flour and salt and continue beating on low just until combined. Stir chocolate chips and cherry bits.
  5. Drop by 1 rounded tablespoons (I like to use a cookie scoop) onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Roll into balls and flatten cookies slightly (I just use the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar) - be sure to just slightly flatten. (Press extra chocolate chips on top for bakery-style, if desired)
  6. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on a baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes

Want larger cookies? Use 2 tablespoon scoops = 30 cookies -- baking time may need to be slightly longer, just look for lightly browned edges.

Store cookies in an airtight container, on the counter, for up to 5 days. Or in the freezer for up to 3 months

If your kitchen is warm, place flattened cookie dough balls in the freezer (or fridge) for 5 minutes before putting them in the oven for thick cookies.

Optional Additions:  

  • 1 cup chopped shelled, roasted, and salted pistachios for a spumoni flavor profile
  • Drizzle cookies with melted chocolate
  • Add a drop or two of pink gel food coloring if you’d like to have pink cookies.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 60 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 84Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 45mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used and are just estimates. We encourage, especially if these numbers are important to you, to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.

Making this recipe? Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #TidyMom so we can see what you're creating in the kitchen!

a stack of Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies