Fresh Cherry Bread

Fresh Cherry Bread makes the PERFECT breakfast or sweet treat in the summertime! Easy to make and prepare, this dairy free quick bread is destined to become a classic. Makes 1 loaf.

Love quick summertime baked goods like this cherry bread? Be sure to check out Lemon Blueberry Bread, Blackberry Peach Hand Pies and Fresh Strawberry Scones.

A loaf of Fresh Cherry Bread in its pan on a blue and white striped towel, next to fresh cherries

The photos and recipe for this Fresh Cherry Quick Bread were originally published on July 5, 2017. The images and text were updated and republished on August 3, 2020.

I never ate a fresh cherry until last summer, and it was all out of laziness.

I know. My laziness knows no bounds.

Let’s be real: Pitting cherries is a time-consuming task, and it’s messy to boot.

join our party!

get our latest recipes delivered to your inbox every week — plus all my entertaining tips and tricks!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Since I love lots of other fruits, I just never took the time to give fresh cherries a go. After all, my favorite fruits require little-to-no hands on time, and I like it that way. #lazy

    In fact, the only reason I tried cherries last summer was because my friend was pitting them for our children. (Because she’s the good friend in this crowd.) And if Lady A is going to eat something, I want to know what it tastes like, too.

    Once I bit into it, I knew I’d made a mistake in never trying fresh cherries before, and I quickly went about remedying that.

    Other cherry recipes we love in the summertime: Cherry Bourbon SlushCherry Overnight Oats / Cherry Lemonade MargaritasMini White Chocolate-Cherry Bundt Cakes (Instant Pot Cake)Honeysuckle Cherry Smash / Dr Pepper® Cherry Cupcakes with Grenadine Whipped Cream

    Want more warm weather food inspiration? Check out my Summer Recipe Index.

    Ingredients for the cherry bread in bowls on top of a blue striped towel on marble

    Fresh Quick Cherry Bread Essentials

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here’s what you need:

    • Fresh cherries — probably around half a pound to get the ¾ cup needed for the recipe, but I always err on the side of having too many. If you have extra, you can learn How to Freeze Cherries.
    • All-purpose flour — we keep unbleached flour in our house, but you can use the regular kind, too.
    • Baking powder and baking soda — these ingredients are going to give your bread its rise. Make sure yours are fresh.
    • A pinch of salt — medium-grain kosher salt is my go-to.
    • Coconut oil — or another light, unflavored oil. You can also use unsalted melted butter in its place.
    • Graulated sugar — also known as white sugar, this is our sweetener.
    • Egg — this provides some structure, as well as helps with the rise of the bread. There is no substitute.
    • Vanilla extract — the real stuff, please and thank you
    • Unsweetened applesauce — if you’re not an applesauce fan, you can replace this with the same amount of oil or melted butter. I like how the applesauce keeps this bread light and fluffy while also wonderfully moist.
    • Lemons — we need them for both their juice and zest.

    How to make Fresh Cherry Bread

    Preheat the oven, and spray a loaf pan with nonstick baking spray. If you want to do this without the baking spray, you can line your loaf pan in parchment paper. It’s kind of a pain, but it can be done!

    If you haven’t already, pit and dice the cherries. Place ’em in a bowl.

    In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients. This means you’re throwing in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt. Whisk ’em together, and set aside.

    Sorry, I know we’re using a lot of bowls. I promise it’s worth the hassle.

    In another glass bowl, measure out the melted coconut oil and granulated sugar for the quick bread. Using a hand mixer or a rubber spatula, cream them together.

    What does it mean to cream oil and sugar together? This is a method where you essentially mix the oil and sugar together really well. They’ll look light and fluffy once you’ve finished.

    Once the oil and sugar have been combined, add the egg. Beat the egg into the mixture until just incorporated, and then drizzle in the vanilla and applesauce.

    Mix ’em some more, then in goes the lemon zest and lemon juice. Blend them together until smooth.

    Now, it’s time for the cherries to go into the dry ingredients. Stir until the cherries are coated so they don’t all sink to the bottom of your baking dish.

    Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to stir until they’re just combined.

    Once the batter is together, pour it into the prepared loaf pan.

    Decorate the top with additional halved cherries before transferring to the oven.

    Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

    Once out of the oven, let the loaf cool before slicing and enjoying!

    Close up of just-baked Cherry Bread, from above

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    Fresh Cherry Bread is what summertime breakfast (and brunch) dreams are made of! This easy peasy bread is a wonderful baked good to share with others.

    It’s been the centerpiece of more than one at-home brunch of ours, and I suggest making it for yourself, too!

    Here are some things you can do when using this quick bread recipe as an entertaining centerpiece:

    • Bake the bread in advance. If you’re hosting folks relatively early in the morning, make the bread the night before. Before it’s time to eat, slice the bread and toast in your toaster oven.
    • Double the recipe for a crowd! You’ll need two loaf pans to make this happen if you want them to bake at the same time.
    • Serve it with a Mimosa Bar and other tasty brunch items, like this Brunch Salad, Fresh Fruit Salad, Everything but the Kitchen Sink Breakfast Casserole and more!
    Slices of cherry bread on a marble tray over a blue and white striped towel

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why should you try this fruit bread recipe?

    The fresh cherries add a brightness to this quick bread and a lovely sweetness without being saccharine. And that’s a win in my book.

    Lemon zest and juice add gorgeous, acidic notes, balancing out the natural sweetness of the cherries beautifully.

    And this bread? It’s fluffy and light as all get out. The crust that forms on the outside has the loveliest crunch and mouth feel.

    I want to eat this daily for breakfast. Honestly, that’s something we should ALL do since it’s cherry season!

    What’s the easiest way to pit cherries?

    Cherries, as previously mentioned, are a hassle to pit and prepare. However, they’re worth the hassle!

    A cherry pitter will make your life a lot easier if you make lots of dishes with cherries during the summer months.

    Why do you use applesauce in your recipe?

    I use applesauce to add a little bit more moisture without adding additional fat. This is something I started doing years ago in an attempt to cut some of the fat out of recipes that seemed a little too decadent. (It tends to work well for baked goods, in my experience, so long as you don’t replace all the fat with applesauce!)

    That said, if you’d rather use oil in place of the applesauce or don’t have applesauce on hand, you can, and there shouldn’t be much of a difference in the final texture or flavor.

    I don’t like the taste of coconut oil. What can I use in its place?

    Coconut oil can give the bread a slight coconut taste. If that’s not your jam, you can use canola or vegetable oil instead.

    If you’re not dairy free or serving people who eat a dairy free diet, you can substitute butter in its place, too.

    Can I use another stone fruit in this recipe?

    I think another stone fruit like a nectarine or a peach would work beautifully in place of the cherries in this recipe, though I have not tried it. Nectarines and peaches are more soft than cherries, so it might change the texture of the bread.

    Can I use dried cherries in this bread?

    I would assume those would work, though I have not tried them in this recipe.

    cherry bread pinterest pin

    Now who’s ready for a slice or two of this fresh cherry bread?

    Scroll on down to learn how you can make it for yourself!

    Sliced cherry bread on a marble tray

    Fresh Cherry Quick Bread

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    Fresh Cherry Quick Bread makes the PERFECT breakfast or sweet treat in the summertime! Easy to make and prepare, this quick bread is destined to become a classic recipe. The pitted, fresh cherries are highlighted and balanced with lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Between the crunchy crust, the bread’s fluffy texture and the cherry-lemon flavors that sing inside the baked good, Fresh Cherry Quick Bread is sure to become a new favorite!
    4.36 from 28 votes
    Servings 1 loaf bread
    Calories 194 kcal
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 45 minutes
    Cooling Time 30 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


    • ¾ cup cherries plus extra halves for the top of the bread
    • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ cup coconut oil melted and cooled slightly (can use the same amount of any other flavorless oil)
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • ¼ cup applesauce unsweetened, if possible
    • 1 lemon zested (about 1 tablespoon zest)
    • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1-2 lemons

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.


    • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick baking spray, then set aside.
    • Pit and dice the cherries, then place in a glass bowl. Set aside. Make sure to have a few cherry halves to place on top of the bread before it bakes as a garnish.
    • In a large glass bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt. Whisk together until combined, then set aside.
    • In another large glass bowl, cream together the melted coconut oil and granulated sugar using a hand mixer.
    • Once the coconut oil and sugar are a smooth mixture, crack the egg into the mixture.
    • Pour in the vanilla and applesauce to the wet ingredients, too. Beat with the hand mixer until combined.
    • Add the lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and mix with the hand mixer until combined.
    • Toss the pitted and diced cherries in the dry ingredients.
    • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, gently stirring with a rubber spatula until just combined.
    • Carefully pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use the additional halved cherry to decorate the top of the loaf, then transfer to the oven.
    • Bake at 375°F for 45-55 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
    • Let the loaf cool for 15-30 minutes, then remove it from the loaf pan, and slice.
    • Enjoy at room temperature or toasted!


    Adapted from my Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins.
    Acceptable substitutions:
    • Applesauce: You can use the same amount of mashed banana in place of applesauce if you don’t have it on hand.
    • Coconut oil: Any unflavored oil would work here. You can also use melted unsalted butter, too.


    Serving: 1sliceCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 3gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 132mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12g
    Keyword baking recipe, bread, Breakfast, cherries, quick bread
    Course Breakfast & Brunch
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

    Do you like fresh cherries?

    Would you like a slice of this lemony, cherry-y quick bread?

    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

    Similar Posts

    Before leaving a comment or rating, ask yourself:

    • Did you make the recipe as directed? If you didn’t or made an ingredient swap, please do not leave a rating. Recipe results are not guaranteed when changes have been made.
    • Is your comment helpful to others? Rude or hateful comments will not be approved. Please remember that this website is run by a real person.
    • Are you complaining about ads? I develop these recipes and provide them to you for free. Advertising allows me to continue to do so at not cost to you. It is also unavoidable on the internet and in everyday life. If you want recipes without ads, please purchase a cookbook or borrow one from your local library.


    1. I can never get enough of cherries in the summer! I need to freeze some so I can make this bread anytime! It looks amazing!

    2. I have never had or never thought of making cherry bread…it’s a must now, this looks perfect.

    3. I LOVE baked goods with cherries, and this bread looks like perfection! Such lovely texture and I bet it’s just the perfect amount of sweet. I’m thinking this is perfect for all my afternoon snacking needs 😉

    4. I happen to have some fresh cherries in my fridge right now! I think I know what I will be baking up this weekend. 😉

      1. Hi Stephanie. I use applesauce in this recipe to add a little bit more moisture without adding additional oil/fat. This is something I started doing years ago in an attempt to cut some of the fat out of recipes that seemed a little too decadent. (It tends to work well for baked goods, in my experience, so long as you don’t replace all the fat with applesauce!)

        That said, if you’d rather use oil in place of the applesauce (or don’t have applesauce on hand), you can, and there shouldn’t be much of a difference in the final texture or flavor. Happy baking!

      1. Hi Jim. Pears sound like they would be DELICIOUS in this bread, though I’m not sure how they would affect the texture. Since pears have more liquid, they might end up making the final bread a little too wet. That said, it would probably still be delicious!

        If you give this a try, please let me know how it turns out. And since you’ve asked this question, I’m thinking I need to develop a fresh pear quick bread recipe for the fall, huh?

    5. I really like this recipe because she gives several options for the ingredients you may have on hand. I had the applesauce but not a fresh lemon, so I used dried orange zest and bottled lemon juice. I also used frozen (thawed) cherries and added chopped walnuts. The neatest substitute I did was using part all-purpose flour and part lupin flour to lower the carb count – it was delicious! So this recipe is very flexible and you can add or substract different things and still come up with an awesome loaf. I’ll make it again!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating