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Super FUN Cherry Surprise Cookies Recipe

These cherry surprise cookies are perfect for the holidays or any time of year. Some links are affiliate link that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.

Cherry surprise Cookies with a bite taken out

We love cookies around here. I adore baking, and the wee ones love helping me – and eating our yumminess.

These cherry surprise cookies were a special cookie for Santa my son came up with, but they’re great for Valentine’s Day and more. Why? There’s a gorgeous red surprise inside, and it’s one of the sweetest treats the wee ones have imagined yet.

These remind me somewhat of the cherry jelly topped shortbread cookies my mom used to keep in the house when I was a kid. I can’t find them anymore, but shhhh I like this version better.

It’s a sugar cookie base, and it stays soft without crumbling when you eat it. These cherry surprise cookies not overly sweet, and of course, we love the surprise inside.

Plate of cherry surprise cookies

When we serve these, I often don’t tell people there’s anything inside, and it’s so fun to see their reactions. Needless to say, these cookies always disappear quickly.

To dress them up a little, my son likes to dip them in colored sugar. If you choose to do this, make sure you dip it after you’ve formed the cookie balls just before you bake them.

Cookies with green sprinkles option

Looking for even more fun cookie ideas? Check out my favorite cookie recipes at the end of this article.

Do I need to use maraschino cherries?

I always use the grocery store maraschino cherries for this. However, if you don’t have them, there are a couple alternatives.

You can use the candied cherries like the ones you find in fruit cake, but I find they are a bit too sweet for me in this recipe. If you do use them, you can skip the step of straining them.

Alternatively, you can also use the fancy Luxardo maraschino cherries. These taste so different from the grocery store ones, but they’re relatively expensive and sort of wasted in these cookies.

Definitely use those Luxardo cherries when you make cocktails with cherries and other uses like this. I also use them whenever I’m making these for someone who has food dye allergies.

Why do I need to dry the maraschino cherries?

Maraschino cherries straight from the jar have juice on and in them. Try to wrap them inside dough, and it simply won’t work.

The dough will become wet, and it won’t seal. You’ll also end up with soggy cookies in spots after you bake them, which is just no good.

Instead, dry them before you start your dough. Trust me.

What’s the best way to dry marashino cherries before baking with them?

Rather than dry each individual cherry, I let them drain and sit before I use them. It’s way less labor intensive.

Simply line a small bowl with a paper towel (or two) folded in half. Use a fork to scoop the cherries from the jar, and place them over the paper towel.

drying maraschino cherries on a towel

Let them sit on the paper towel while you prep everything else, and you’re good to go. I try to do this early and let them rest for at least a half hour.

And if you have cherries with stems, don’t forget to remove the stems when you put them in the bowl.

How to Make Cherry Surprise Cookies

Are you a visual learner? Make sure to watch the video tutorial.


Drain cherries as described above and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookies sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until they are creamy and have come back together and the color is lightened. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and mix to combine.

Once it’s mixed together and won’t splatter liquid out, turn it up to high again for another thirty or so seconds to get it nice and fluffy. This is one of the secrets of light cookies.

Add the salt and baking powder, and mix well. Then add the flour, and stir slowly until it’s combined.

Use a cookie scoop to drop roughly formed balls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Placement and looks don’t matter at this point.

Scoops of cookie dough

If you don’t have a cookie scoop, aim for about two tablespoons of dough per cookie ball. You should end up with 30 about to be cookies.

Pick up a dough mound and carefully flatten it in your hand. You want it to be a little over two inches in diameter, but they don’t have to be perfect circles.

flatten dough into a circle

Place a cherry in the center of your flattened disc and fold the edges up around it. Crimp and seal the opening and roll the balls in your hand until they are completely sealed and nicely rounded.

fold cherry inside the cookie dough

Place on a cookie sheet, and yes, you will use both cookies sheets for the whole batch. Make sure they are a couple inches apart, though they don’t spread as much as many other cookies and can be a little closer than normal.

Rolled balls of cookie dough

If you’re dipping them in sugar, now is the time to do it. Place your sugar or sprinkles in a small dish and gently press the top of your cookie into the sugar before placing the cookie onto the cookie sheet.

Bake in your 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden around the edge and the outside is starting to crack. Cool on your cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then move to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week – if they last that long!

Who will you share your cherry surprise cookies with?

Try more of my favorite cookie recipes:

Cherry surprise Cookies with a bite taken out

Cherry Surprise Cookies

These cookies are a fun twist on the classic sugar cookie - with a fun sweet surprise inside. These are soft and chewy cookies perfect for any occasion.
4.83 from 23 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 95kcal
Author: Michelle


  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 30 maraschino cherries


  • Line a small bowl with paper towel and place cherries inside to drain.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and mix to combine. Once combined, beat for 30 seconds.
    10 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Add salt and baking powder, and mix well. Then add the flour, and stir slowly until combined.
    1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 cups flour
  • Scoop out cookies and drop onto cookie sheet.
  • Pick up a dough mound and carefully flatten into 2" disc.
  • Place a cherry in the center and fold edges up around it. Crimp and seal, then roll until nicely rounded.
    30 maraschino cherries
  • Place on cookie sheet, and repeat for each mound. Place on two cookie sheets.
  • If dipping them in sugar, do so now.
  • Bake at 350 degrees 12-15 minutes until lightly golden around the edge and the outside is starting to crack.
  • Cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week.



  • This easily becomes a dairy-free cookie using coconut oil and rice, soy, or almond milk.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 39mg | Sugar: 7g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

Single cherry surprise cookie in hand

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  1. Val says:

    Made these tasty treats but they did not stay round in oven?? They came out like flying saucer cherry surprise cookies – What went wrong I followed per instructions. Help please. Love these little beauties

    • Michelle says:

      I have (thankfully) not run into this issue, but there are a few reasons your cookies may not have stayed round. I’ve got some tips, and I hope some of this may ring a bell or help you đŸ™‚
      1) Yes, you want the butter softened, but not too soft that it’s closer to melted. If it’s warm where you are, watch how much your butter softens, and consider sticking the dough in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to keep it from getting too soft.
      2) Try adding just a little more flour – a couple tablespoons (but I’d go with this as a last resort).
      3) You didn’t grease your baking sheets, right? Use parchment paper or a silpat, but don’t grease them.
      4) Make sure your oven isn’t running hot – do you have a thermometer you can use to check it (especially if you regularly have flatter cookies), or try turning the oven down 15-25 degrees to see if that makes a difference if (again) you’ve tried the other tips and don’t have a way to check or calibrate your oven.
      5) Make sure you aren’t going hard on the sugar (which melts), and verify you’re measuring it accurately and not being generous.
      6) Ohhhh I forgot about the cherries, too – are you making sure they’re drained and truly dry before you roll them? You don’t want to add any extra moisture to the dough.

      I hope this helps! They are tasty and so much fun to make and eat!

  2. 15 Cookies Perfect for Valentine's Day - Reinventing This Journey says:

    […] Love Bug/Ladybug Cookie Balls Treat | Red Velvet Cupcake Cookies | Cherry Surprise Cookies | Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies | Valentine’s Day […]

  3. […] a little bit of a cherry kick. I’m enjoying cherry smoothies in the morning most days, I made cherry surprise cookies last week, I made cherry syrup for the food swap in December, and of course there was the cherry […]

  4. Cathy says:

    Thanks for sharing up at Tasty Tuesdays. Can’t wait to see what you link up next week! Pinning!

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