Making mornings better with alllll these cherry donuts.

cherry donuts with bourbon glaze

I’ve wanted to make these for years and finally! Here they are!

chopped maraschino cherries

Today is unofficially but officially national donut day! I think it was started by Dunkin a few years ago? Either way, I’m into it! 

For today’s donuts, I made what is probably my favorite donut of all time. If you follow our adventures in northern michigan, then you know that every summer we wait and wait for cherry donuts. They are the best ever. My favorite – nothing compares. Except maybe apple cider in the fall, but you know.

Cherry in the summer for sure! Yes.

So I made ‘em!

cherry donut batter

I even went as far as actually frying them, which I rarely do these days because KIDS, and they are worth it. So so so worth it. 

Of course, that comes with its own set of issues – you have to pretty much each the donuts right after frying. I always think of the donut experiment in The Five Year Engagement when it comes to fried donuts. And the people who would eat the day old doughnuts before the new ones were delivered.

Sort of like that, these need to be eaten soon after making to enjoy the fresh, cakey bite. 

raw cherry donut dough

Though I must say that I have been known (in fact, all of my family has) to eat the cherry donuts on vacation for a day… or even two… after we buy them.

YES I’m admitting it.

They are cakey and wonderful and can actually hang for a day or two!

Oh and here’s the other thing – for that classic cherry flavor, you have to use maraschino cherries. If regular maraschino ingredient lists freak you out, try these merry maraschino cherries. We LOVE these and have been using them for years. Perfect for cocktails but also desserts. 

Another ingredient that helps with flavor is cherry extract. It’s not totally necessary, but it does make these extra cherry-like and delish. 

cherry donuts with bourbon glaze

We aren’t sure yet if we will get to go on that family vacation this year due to the pandemic, but if we do, I might go in and ask for the secret cherry donut recipe to compare!?

Oh and I almost called these manhattan donuts. You know, the cherry and the bourbon! There is just a touch of bourbon in the glaze, and if you don’t drink or don’t want to use it, you can use all cherry juice! 

If you need a few more donut ideas to make for national donut day, we have salted dark chocolate fudge donuts! Strawberry sprinkle donuts! Or chocolate pistachio donuts?! I could go on and on.

Donuts for everyone! 

cherry donuts with bourbon glaze

Cherry Donuts with Bourbon Glaze

Cherry Donuts with Bourbon Glaze

These are my favorite cherry donuts! Cherry cake donuts covered in a cherry bourbon glaze make for the perfect weekend treat!
5 from 9 votes
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cherry bourbon glaze

  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon


  • Whisk together the milk, butter, cherry juice, egg and vanilla extract until combined.
  • Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, then sift it into the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add in the milk mixture and pour it into the dry ingredients with the mixer on medium speed. Mix until combined, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the chopped cherries into the dough and mix until combined. The dough will be sticky but you want it to start to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Place the dough on a floured surface. Roll it out until it’s about ¼ to ½ inch in thickeness. Use a round biscuit cutter (about 2 ½ inches in diameter) to cut out rounds. Use something smaller, like the wide end of the frosting tip, to cut out the center. Place the dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.
  • Heat the oil in a pot fitted with a candy thermometer over medium heat until it reaches 375 degrees F. Add 2 to 3 donuts at a time and cook until golden about 2 minutes per side. Remove the donuts with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain excess grease. Repeat with remaining donuts.
  • Dip each donut in the glaze and let them sit for 5 minutes. Eat!

cherry bourbon glaze

  • Whisk together the ingredients until a smooth glaze forms. If it’s too thick, add more cherry juice 1 teaspoon at a time. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time, whisking after each addition. Dip each donut in the glaze and place it on a wire rack or parchment paper to set.


lightly adapted from cooking channel

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cherry donuts with bourbon glaze

Plus, they’re pink!