are maraschino cherries gluten free

Yes, maraschino cherries are generally considered gluten free. Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and maraschino cherries do not contain any of these ingredients. However, it is important to note that different brands and manufacturers may have varying ingredients and processing methods, so it is always advisable to check the label for any potential sources of gluten.


Maraschino cherries are typically made from cherries, sugar, water, flavorings, and food colorings. The key ingredient, cherries, is naturally gluten free. However, some brands may add additional ingredients or flavorings that could potentially contain gluten.

Here are some common ingredients found in maraschino cherries:

  • Cherries
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Corn syrup
  • Artificial flavorings (e.g., almond, vanilla)
  • Food colorings (e.g., Red #40)
  • Preservatives (e.g., sodium benzoate)

While none of these ingredients inherently contain gluten, it is essential to thoroughly read the labels or contact the manufacturer to ensure there are no hidden sources of gluten in the specific brand of maraschino cherries you are considering.

Cross-Contamination Risks

Although maraschino cherries themselves may be gluten free, there is a potential risk of cross-contamination during the manufacturing process. Cross-contamination occurs when a gluten-free product comes into contact with gluten-containing ingredients or surfaces.

Manufacturing facilities that produce a variety of food products may handle gluten-containing items, and traces of gluten could unintentionally end up in products that are naturally gluten free. Cross-contamination can also occur through shared equipment, storage, or transportation.

To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, many manufacturers implement strict protocols such as using separate equipment or dedicated production lines for gluten-free products. However, it is important to check the packaging or contact the manufacturer to ensure the maraschino cherries you choose have been produced in a gluten-free facility or follow rigorous gluten-free procedures.

Label Reading and Certifications

When determining the gluten-free status of maraschino cherry products, reading the labels is crucial. Manufacturers are required to disclose any ingredients derived from wheat or other gluten-containing grains. Look out for wheat, barley, rye, malt, or any other gluten-related terms in the ingredient list.

In addition to reading the labels, some brands choose to obtain gluten-free certifications from third-party organizations. These certifications provide an extra level of assurance that the product has been tested and meets specific gluten-free standards. Look for logos or statements indicating gluten-free certifications on the packaging.

Gluten-Free CertificationsDescription
Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO)A leading gluten-free certification program that requires products to meet strict standards of less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.
Canadian Celiac Association’s Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP)A certification program used in Canada that follows rigorous standards and requires products to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten.
European Union Organic CertificationProducts with this certification meet organic farming standards, which also include gluten-free requirements.

Homemade Maraschino Cherries

If you have concerns about the gluten content in store-bought maraschino cherries or want to avoid potential cross-contamination, making your own homemade maraschino cherries is a great alternative. This way, you have complete control over the ingredients and the manufacturing process.

To make homemade maraschino cherries, you will need fresh cherries, sugar or a natural sweetener, water, and a flavoring of your choice (if desired). Simply wash and pit the cherries, then follow a recipe that suits your preferences. Making them from scratch allows you to create a personalized gluten-free version that meets your dietary needs.

Other Gluten-Free Alternatives

If you are unable to find gluten-free maraschino cherries or prefer other options, there are alternative ways to enjoy a similar flavor in your recipes:

  • Use fresh or frozen cherries: Fresh or frozen cherries are naturally gluten free, and you can add them to your desserts, cocktails, or recipes to achieve a similar taste.
  • Make your own cherry syrup: Create a gluten-free cherry syrup by combining cherries, sugar or another sweetener, and water. Simmer the mixture until it thickens, and you’ll have a delicious syrup to use as a topping or ingredient.

In conclusion, while maraschino cherries are generally considered gluten free, it is essential to be cautious and read the labels or contact the manufacturer for any potential sources of gluten or cross-contamination risks. Homemade options and alternative fruit choices are also available for those adhering to a gluten-free diet.