Cherry Mostarda

Cherry mostarda

Cherries are the It fruit right now, and I know you could easily just kick back on a hammock and eat a bowlful of them on a summer’s day, but why not jazz up your life a little and make a mostarda?

Making condiment sauces with seasonal, ripe fruit can a creative way to use up what doesn’t get eaten straight out of the fridge. Fresh fruit mustards taste so much better than the usual mustard or ketchup you can buy and squeeze out of a plastic bottle.

This recipe is a riff on a traditional Italian condiment, mostarda di frutta, a sweet-hot-tangy preserve. Most versions of a mostarda, like Mostarda di Cremona, tend to consist of whole pieces of fruit in a mustard and vinegar-laced sugar syrup, served with meats in northern regions of Italy like Tuscany and Piedmont.

cherry mostarda

My recipe is very much inspired by Madeleine Kamman, the amazing French cooking teacher and food scholar. Her book In Madeleine’s Kitchen includes some recipes for “Italian-style fruit puree mustards”.

Here are some ideas for what to do with your Cherry Mostarda (because believe me, after pitting a few pounds of cherries you will not want to waste a bit!) :

  • Use cherry mostarda in place of Dijon mustard in a salad dressing to make a cherry vinaigrette.
  • Spread a charcoal-grilled burger with mostarda – I seasoned chicken burgers with fennel and fresh rosemary and topped them with goat cheese and mostarda. Yum.
  • Glaze a pork tenderloin or some chicken wings with mostarda.
  • Put some on a ham sandwich.

** Thanks to Ruthie from The Twice Bitten for her idea of another way to enjoy this mostarda – on a cheese board. Yes!

Cherry Mostarda


  • 1 pound Bing cherries, pitted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup full-bodied red wine, such as zinfandel or malbec
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard


  1. Combine everything except the Dijon in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer then lower heat and cook until reduced to a thick puree with the consistency of ketchup, about 1 hour over low heat. Stir in the Dijon off the heat and season if needed.
  2. Crush the cherries with a potato masher or pulse in a blender or food processor if you prefer a smoother texture.
  3. Keep in a covered jar in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.


  1. Super photos.

    I know cherries with manchego is a popular combination in the Basque country. Do you think this Cherry Mostarda would work with the cheese? Maybe be go on a cheese board?


  2. This is such a cool recipe. I’ve never heard of a mostrada before, but I like the idea of combining sweet fruit with more tart vinegar and mustard in a spread. If you’re interested, I’d love it if you would share this recipe in my summer recipes blog hop:

  3. Wow, this looks so unique and ecclectic! I’m not a mustard fan, but I wonder if I’d nevertheless end up liking this cherry version. Quite intriguing.

  4. I love the idea of this! I need to get my hands on some cherries!

  5. Did you pit your cherries by hand? I’m impressed! I did 1.5 cups the other day for some cherry ricotta muffins and was all pitted out after that… 🙂

  6. Thank you for posting this recipe! I was trying to find something to spice up an appetizer for a dinner party tomorrow and this will work perfectly! Toast triangles with goat cheese, smoked duck breast and cherry mostarda. Yum!

  7. Any tips for pitting the cherries?? This looks beautiful, by the way!

  8. Hey Karen! I love this recipe and adore the idea of adding it to a chicken burger. What a way to go from ho-hom to haute!

  9. I am so glad you posted this! I have had cherry mostardo on cheese plates and charcuterie plates, but never have tried making it, myself. But I just pitted and froze a pound of cherries. Might just have to put them to use in this. Yum!

  10. I am so excited about this idea!!! I made cherry preserves that were incredible with a cheese place and just about everything else (I looove cherries) but the idea of making mostarda is something new to me. Thanks so much for sharing this! 🙂

  11. Jack Stoessel says:

    Can this recipe be adapted for dried cherries?

    • Jack, no I would wait until you can find fresh cherries in season. On the other hand, if you do make this with fresh cherries, a small handful of dried ones mixed in too would be great, I think.

  12. Sounds lovely. I’m allergic to grapes… Any thoughts on substitutions for the vinegar and red wine?

    And yes, I realize that I can never live in Italy/France… The food would literally kill me. Sigh.

    • Oh, Clothespin I feel for you! You’re right it could be very hard to avoid the temptation of grapes in Italy or France. As for the mostarda, you could try omitting the wine in the recipe and using rice wine or apple cider vinegar instead of the balsamic. Let me know how it goes!

  13. I had to come back and let you know Ill be making this for my 5th year now and love it! I can never can enough of it to make it through the year!

    This makes a wonderful sauce for meats, great salad dressing and I love it smeared on a toasted brioche roll with a juicy hamburger, touch of blue cheese and grilled mushrooms and onions.

    Thank you so much for sharing it!

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