A novel method for performing color image recognition by the use of the coherent joint-transform correlator is introduced. The input plane of the proposed method is a spatial rearrangement of the separation into color channels of both the color input scene and the color target. This input plane is gray scaled and monochromatic, thus it can be displayed by the use of amplitude spatial light modulators to achieve real-time operation. The system provides a single output-plane result of the optical coherent addition of the separate channels’ correlation outputs. At the output plane no electronic postprocessing is needed, and the detection decision is achieved simply by the application of threshold detection. Experimental results and computer simulations are presented to demonstrate the abilities of this system.