This is because tart cherry juice contains melatonin, a hormone our bodies produce naturally that helps signal that it’s time for bed. “Some research shows that tart cherry juice improves sleep duration and quality,” Carleara Weiss, PhD, MS, RN, a behavioral sleep specialist, previously shared with Well+Good. What’s more, studies show that consumption of tart cherry juice can help elevate melatonin levels, leading to increased time in bed, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency.
That said, drinking tart cherry juice can be, well, very tart on its own—as I quickly learned while consuming it nightly for two weeks straight while assessing its ability to help me snooze. The answer? Incorporating tart cherries into recipes, which is a great way to both give a dish a boost of sleep benefits and delicious flavor. Here are several easy tart cherry recipes that take minutes to make and are a win for both R-E-M and Y-U-M.
5 easy tart cherry recipes loaded with sleep-boosting benefits
1. Vegan Cherry Pie
If pie is one of your all-time favorite desserts, this vegan cherry pie recipe by My Vegan Minimalist certainly won’t disappoint. It has all the qualifications for making an award-winning pie: a flaky crust, a sweet and fruity filling, and it’s vegan-friendly. With just seven ingredients, you can be on your way to baking (and biting into) a homemade pie in under two hours total—of which only 30 minutes are hands-on. Almost like you could make it in your sleep, right?
Get the recipe: Vegan Cherry Pie
2. Cherry Pie Bars
If the thought of making an entire pie from scratch sounds like a slightly intimidating endeavor, these cherry pie bars by Ambitious Kitchen will undoubtedly do the trick without the need to have previous baking experience. Made with a crumbly, crunchy oatmeal topping and filled with an ooey, gooey cherry-filled center, these cherry pie bars are what dreams are made of (literally). Whether you’re snacking on these throughout the day or just before bedtime, a one-way ticket to the relaxation station is definitely on your itinerary with every bite.
Get the recipe: Cherry Pie Bars
3. Vegan Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins
This vegan cherry dark chocolate chip muffin recipe by Minimalist Baker pairs two of our favorite ingredients: tart cherries and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. Perfect for pairing with an ultra-calming cup of chamomile tea ahead of bedtime, these muffins will give sweet dreams a whole new meaning. Plus, it takes only 15 minutes to prep and a short 25 minutes to bake these to perfection.
Get the recipe: Vegan Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins
4. Cherry Chia Jam
This easy five-ingredient cherry chia jam recipe by Abbey’s Kitchen is perfect for spreading on crispy toast, dolloping on top of crunchy waffles, or swirling into a bowl of melatonin-rich oatmeal before bed. Not to mention, one serving of this tasty jam is packed with five grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, 468 milligrams of potassium, and 152 milligrams of calcium. Your biggest issue will be wanting to add it to just about everything you eat until you run out.
Get the recipe: Cherry Chia Jam
5. Vegan Chocolate Cherry Loaf Cake
Whoever said you couldn’t have your cake and eat it too was clearly mistaken, because this vegan chocolate cherry loaf cake by Nourishing Amy is the definition of “having it all.” First off, it’s stunning to look at, which is a big win in and of itself. What’s more, it’s topped with a forest of chocolate-dipped cherries and has a thick layer of creamy dairy-free icing. But, like most things in life, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. On the inside of this loaf, you’ll find that it’s speckled with chunks of tart cherries and chocolate chips. Okay, now I’m just confused why my eyes are closing.
Get the recipe: Vegan Chocolate Cherry Loaf Cake
Can’t get enough tart cherry? This gluten-free, vegan cherry pie has your name written all over it: