The team, originally called Yanmar Diesel, started in 1957 as the company team of Yanmar and was an original founder of the now-disbanded Japan Soccer League. With four Japanese league titles to its credit, it was a mainstay of the JSL First Division until 1990 when it was first relegated, and thus joined the former Japan Football League in 1992.
In 1993, the club incorporated as Osaka Football Club Ltd., and adopted the name Cerezo after a public contest. In 1994, it won the JFL championship and was promoted to the J1 League in 1995. This also coincided with a run to the finals of the Emperor's Cup, which they lost to long-time league rivals Bellmare Hiratsuka.
In 2001, it finished in the last spot and was relegated to the J2 league. It managed to finish second in the 2002 season and returned to J1 in 2003.
In 2005 they came close to becoming J-League champions, and topped the league into the last match day. In their final match, they led F.C. Tokyo with minutes to go and were on course to win the title. However, Tokyo equalized in the 90th minute, and a number of other late goals around Japan meant they finished 5th. Arch-rivals Gamba Osaka, ended up winning the title. Cerezo returned to J2 for the 2007 season after finishing second to last in 2006. In 2009 they were promoted and returned to the top division, where they have been ever since. On 26 July 2013, Cerezo Osaka face off against Manchester United which ended 2-2.
Cerezo's basic kit color is pink, like the cherry blossom flowers the name is based on. Combination colors have been navy blue and black. Currently their kit is Pink with Purple vertical strips, made by Mizuno.
During the Yanmar Diesel days in the late 1970s to mid-1980s, the kit was an all-red reminiscent of Liverpool F.C.