Cherry Pick

Published Oct 20, 2023
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The cherry-pick command entails picking individual commits from one branch to another.


git cherry-pick <commit>

<commit> is the commit hash and can be found using git log. Below are a couple of optional flags that can be used with the cherry-pick command:

  • edit: allows edits to the commit message prior to committing.
  • signoff: add a ‘signoff’ signature line to the end of the cherry-pick commit message.


Below is a short example of how to use git cherry-pick. The developer copied and pasted the commit sha 2f410g1 on GitHub from a branch called pets:mainto the branch adding-content-about-dogs after typing cherry-pick.

# Switch to the `adding-content-about-dogs` branch.
git checkout adding-content-about-dogs
# Cherry-pick the commit with the SHA `2f410g1`.
git cherry-pick 2f410g1

To complete this command, the developer then pushes the changes to the adding-content-about-dogs with the following commit message:

commit -m "feat: cherry-pick content about poodles"


A common disadvantage of using the cherry-pick command is that it creates duplicate commits to the desired branch. In the example below, there are now two commits with the same message. This can make it difficult for other developers to track the codebase’s commit history and understand why certain changes were made.

commit 3456789
Author: Dang Smith <[email protected]>
Date:   Fri Aug 8 16:27:04 2023 -0700

    Cherry-picked commit with SHA 2f410g1

commit 2f410g1
Author: Ooh Doe <[email protected]>
Date:   Fri Aug 8 16:29:04 2023 -0700

    Added content about poodles

Prevention Strategies

A common way to prevent the creation of duplicate commits is using --no-commit in the cherry-pick command. In the example below, The --no-commit option will apply the changes from the cherry-pick to the working directory, but it will not create a new commit. This allows developers to inspect the changes and make any necessary edits before committing the final changes to the main branch.

# Switch to the `adding-content-about-dogs` branch.
git checkout adding-content-about-dogs
# Cherry-pick the commit with the SHA `2f410g1`, but do not commit the changes.
git cherry-pick --no-commit 2f410g1

# Inspect the changes made by the cherry-pick.
git diff HEAD

# Commit the changes with your own message.
git commit -m "Added content about poodles"

The following is the commit history after the cherry-pick:

commit 23289
Author: Ooh Doe <[email protected]>
Date:   Fri Oct 8 16:29:04 2023 -0700

Added content about poodles

As shown above, there is only one commit in spite of cherry-picking it from SHA 2f410g1 due to the use of --no-commit.

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