January 8, 2023

Cherry Mash Candy

Cherry candy is nostalgic for me because I always used to try and sneak one into the grocery cart during checkout when I was a kid. Every kid does that, right? There were a few different versions I would choose from, whether it be Cherry Mash or Big Cherry candy, but they both have the iconic hot pink center. The original Cherry Mash is made by the Chase Candy Company and is popular in the Midwest.

This copycat cherry mash candy recipe tastes just like the store-bought version. It has a chocolate shell with crunchy peanuts to reveal a soft sweet cherry center. The pink color makes this candy perfect for Valentine's Day or adds a pop of color to any dessert table or Christmas treat platter. This no-bake candy is easy to whip together and it is okay if the chocolate coating is a little sloppy. It adds to the charm!

Recipe Source: Recipe adapted from Joanna Gaines's recipe for Aunt Mary’s Cherry Mashers

Cherry Mash Candy

Copycat cherry mash recipe. Tastes just like the store-bought version!


Anne Voss

  • 1 pound powdered sugar (~4.5 cups or 453g)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (85g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (64g)
  • 1 10 ounce jar of maraschino cherries, drained and chopped (cherries only = 133g)
  • 20 ounces total of chocolate (I use 10 oz almond bark and 10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/4 cup cocktail peanuts, chopped (180g)
  1. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, almond extract, sweetened condensed milk, and chopped cherries to the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix filling slowly at first, for about 30 seconds, until powdered sugar is mixed into the butter.
  3. Increase the speed of your mixer and mix the filling on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Stop mixing and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Continue to mix for 2 more minutes or until ingredients are well combined and fluffy. Filling will be thick but should have a fluffy texture. If needed, mix on high for one minute.
  5. Scoop filling onto the prepared baking sheet and freeze for one hour.
  6. Remove cherry filling from the freezer. Peel frozen cherry filling off the parchment paper and roll it into a smooth ball using the palm of your hand. Place smooth center back on the parchment paper. Continue until all candy centers have been rolled. Return the baking sheet to the freezer for 30 minutes.
  7. Chop the chocolate and add it to a separate microwave safe bowl.
  8. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals. Stir after each interval.
  9. Stir chopped peanuts into the melted chocolate.
  10. Dip frozen candy centers into the chocolate using a fork. Work quickly so the warm chocolate does not warm the candy centers too much or distort the shape.
  11. Place dipped candy onto a clean piece of parchment paper and allow the chocolate to harden.
  12. Store homemade cherry mash candy in an airtight container.

Makes ~3 dozen candies

This website contains affiliate links to Amazon. This means that I may make a small commission if you purchase a product using these links. This is no way affects my opinion of these products. Links are provided to share products I have used when making this recipe.

Recipe Notes

Below you will find tips and tricks to help achieve the best results possible!

How To Make Homemade Cherry Mash Candy?

This recipe is pretty easy. You make the cherry centers by mixing up ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer to make the filling. Once nice and fluffy, you scoop out the filling onto a cookie tray and freeze. Once the centers are frozen you will roll the centers into a smooth ball and dip them in chocolate. There are a few steps to making the candy, mostly working on the cherry fondant center, but overall they are not too hard to make.

ingredients needed to make cherry mash candy


Butter – use butter that is softened, but not melted. If you were to press your finger on the butter, it should leave a slight indent without sinking into the butter. Softened butter is important in this recipe because there is not a lot of liquid in the filling and the butter is the ingredient that will bind everything together.

The original recipe called for margarine, but I have adapted it to use butter. I think the butter helps the candy center setup easier and makes the centers easier to roll into balls.

Maraschino cherries – one 10-ounce jar of cherries is needed for this recipe. Make sure to drain the cherries and remove any stems. Chop the cherries, but don’t dice them too small.

Chocolate – there are many chocolate options to use in this recipe. I used some chocolate almond bark that I had on hand, as well as some bittersweet chocolate chips. Since the candy center is very sweet, I like the bittersweet chocolate coating.

Peanuts – I use salted cocktail peanuts that are chopped in my food processor.  You can also chop them by hand. You want the peanuts to be finely chopped so there are not big pieces of nuts in the candy coating

step by step candy making photos

Supplies Needed

Stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer

Microwave-safe bowl for melting chocolate

Mixing spoon or spatula

Cookie scoop, optional

Baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Tips and Tricks

Once the cherry fondant filling is made, use a cookie scoop or spoon to drop the filling on a parchment lined sheet. I used a #50 cookie scoop for this recipe. The candy center is very sweet, therefore you could also make them a little smaller so the candy contains less filling.

After the centers have been in the freezer, you want to shape them into balls using the palm of your hand. The heat from your hand will warm up the centers a little bit, so work quickly or return the centers to the freezer if needed. I also find that my hands start to get a little messy after rolling a few centers and then the balls might not roll as smoothly. You may have to wash and dry your hands if rolling the centers becomes difficult.

The easiest way to melt chocolate is in the microwave. Only melt in short 30-second intervals until almost all the chocolate is melted. The remaining pieces will melt from the residual heat as you stir the chocolate together. Also, be careful to use a completely dry spoon. Water and chocolate are not friends and this will cause many problems. After the chocolate is melted, then stir in the peanuts.

I have found the best way to coat the candy center is to use a fork. Tap off any access chocolate coating and place on a tray to dry. When separating the fork from the candy, some chocolate may remain on the fork or you will see some pink candy center peaking through. The chocolate coating is very forgiving since the peanuts give it a bumpy texture anyway, so just quickly dap a little chocolate on any spots of the candy that need covering. Nobody will be able to tell, I promise!

If you find it hard to dip the candy centers, then place the chocolate back in the microwave for a few seconds. You can also add a little bit (~1/2 teaspoon) of coconut oil to the chocolate to help thin it out and make it easier for dipping.

Depending on the chocolate used, it may take 30-45 minutes for the chocolate coating to harden.

cherry mash candy cut in half with hot pink cherry center visible


The peanuts make the candy more like the original, but you can omit them if you prefer.

You can also omit the almond extract.

You can add decorations or sprinkles to the top of the candy while the chocolate is still wet. I like to add a little bit of course sea salt.

How to Store Cherry Mash candy?

Store candy in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I prefer to eat mine at room temperature, so I set a few out ahead of time.

Did you make this?
Please rate the recipe below

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest


Did you love this? Let me know!

Thanks for the feedback! Your comment will appear shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
May 3, 2024
Why use peanuts? Why not almonds? Or at least pecans...