Baking with Rainier Cherries

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2016

Can Rainier cherries be substituted for Bing cherries in recipes?

These spectacular yellow cherries with their distinctive red-pink blush are the stars of the late spring/early summer produce section. But how do they taste, and can they be used as a substitute for Bing cherries in recipes?

Eaten out of hand, tasters found that large, meaty Rainiers were noticeably sweeter, more floral, and less acidic than Bing cherries. Baked into a pie, however, the Rainier cherries made a filling that tasted a bit flat, and their golden color, unexpected in a cherry pie, was off-putting to some. In our recipe for Cherry Clafouti, where a contrast between creamy custard and bright-tasting fruit is vital, the pale, sweet Rainier cherries also failed to measure up.

Seeing that Rainier cherries can cost 20 to 50 percent more than common sweet cherry varieties like Bing, we recommend reserving them for eating raw, not cooking.