Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

by Jamie on May 30, 2011

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I’m on a pretty serious cherry kick, meaning I have a bag on hand at all times. And although eating them by the fistful is certainly satisfying, I’ve decided to use this gorgeous summer fruit for more than just snacking.

First I made Frozen Cherry Mojitos that were knock your socks off good and I then I got the hankering for cherry pie. But anyone who knows me well, knows that I have an adverse reaction to anything cherry flavored.

Cherry flavoring or perhaps the red dye, makes me cough like crazy which then triggers a sneezing fit, like 15 sneezes in a row…I kinda like to sneeze though. Anyway, canned cherry pie filling is pretty much out of the question. I have the same reaction to banana and green apple flavored things as well. Weird, I know.

I set out to turn the huge bag of cherries that I purchased into a homemade cherry pie filling. I used a recipe from About.com as a guide, but of course threw in a couple of extra ingredients to create an incredible cherry pie filling that left me super happy and free of any crazy coughing fits.

Stay tuned in coming weeks to see what deliciousness I have in store for you using this simple homemade cherry pie filling recipe.

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Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

May 30th, 2011


5 to 6 cups fresh pitted cherries, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds ( I used Bing)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon almond extract


In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Stir in almond extract. Cool slightly before using as a topping.


- If using sour cherries, you will need to adjust the amount of sugar. I’d recommend starting about ¾ cup and working your way up if more sweetness is needed.
- Refrigerate leftover fresh cherry pie filling in a sealed container for up to 2 days.
- I have not tried freezing this cherry pie filling, but if you do, please let me know.
- Recipe adapted from about.com

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{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Sam April 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Hi, I just stumbled across this and wanted to share my tip for pitting cherries without buying a pitter: Just stick the round end of a bobby pin into the top after you pop the stem off. You should be able to wiggle the pit out pretty easily.

I know this from pitting thousands of cherries from my parents’ Montmorency cherry tree every summer. I adore cherry pie, and my mom’s recipe always had almond extract in it, too.

Lovely site!


avatar Mckinzy June 17, 2012 at 9:47 am

Thank you so much for the recipe and directions. I used sour cherries and it turned out fantastic! The only modification i made to the recipe, was that i used lime juice instead of lemon (i was all out of lemons). This Recipe is one for the book!


avatar Anita June 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I made this cherry pie for my father this past father’s day and it was a total hit! It was my first cherry pie, my husband helped by pitting two bags of fresh bing cherries. I realized once I had the cherries on the stove that I didn’t have corn starch on hand, so I used a quarter cup of instant tapioca instead. It came out perfectly! I will make it again and may use a little bit more almond extract (1/2 teaspoon instead of 1/4)….thank you so much for sharing, it is really a great recipe!


avatar Carrie July 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Great recipe! I added a little bit of cinnamon – only about 1/4 teaspoon or so – to give it a little “something.” I had absolutely no problems at all, it was easy and tasted delicious!


avatar Jamie July 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for reporting back!


avatar Ami July 11, 2012 at 10:00 am

Stumbled upon your blog looking for cherry pie, right now in India we are getting cherries(yay), love them but no one has heard of cherry pie!!!! Its also raining so the cherry pie craving goes through the roof. Anyways to get that bright cherry color try beet water(boil beets in water and the water turns beautiful red) but don’t use more than a spoonful because it will add a beety flavor.


avatar Stephanie M July 26, 2012 at 10:28 am

Thank you for the recipe. It was so easy and delicious!!! I actually combined it with another pintrest recipe and made personal cherry pies. Everybody loved them.

I thought it was intersting how you talked about your food allergy to all things cherry. I was watching Rachael Ray and they were talking about additives in food. One was a red food coloring called cochineal extract. It is made from crushing up beetles. Yuck! They said it won’t hurt you unless you have an allergy. Anywho I just thought that it was interesting to hear after I had read your blog.

Thanks for sharing the recipe!


avatar netty August 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Absolutely awesome recipe, never made anything with cherries before this and I would recommend this recipe to everyone it is Amazing!!!! Thanks


avatar Jamie August 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the cherry pie filling recipe. Thanks so much for coming back and telling us your thoughts! Have a great day.


avatar Sarah September 2, 2012 at 12:32 am

I was a little skeptical about this recipe and I knew from the start that I was going to have to change a key ingredient. I am pre-diabetic and have been instructed to stay away from any type of refined sugar in favor of something with a better glycemic index. After looking around, I decided to try blue agave sweetener instead of sugar in this pie filling. It does require more for the same level of sweetness (about 3/4 a cup to a whole cup depending upon how sweet you like your cherry pie), but it works beautifully and is a huge favorite with my boyfriend and our friends over this weekend long party (Labor Day celebrations!).


avatar Jenifer November 22, 2012 at 11:45 am

OH MY GOODNESS! This is so good. I live overseas and don’t have canned cherry pie filling. So, I tried this for a cheesecake topping. IT IS SOOOOO GOOD! Thanks for the simple recipe.


avatar MBA November 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for stopping by and providing your feedback – have a great day!


avatar Kaitlin December 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I froze this this summer and I’m making the crust for a Christmas pie right now… Exciting!


avatar Sharon March 17, 2013 at 10:51 am

Thank you, over here in Italy they don’t have canned cherries and it’s years that I’m dying for a homemade cherry pie!! Can’t wait to for summer to come!!!!! :) YEAH!


avatar Becky March 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I’ve got a situation…this upcoming December my son is getting married and has asked me to bake 5 Cherry Pies for the wedding reception..yes..reception is the word. We live 2 hours away from where the wedding is to take place…can someone please help me here. Can I make a cherry pie and freeze it without baking it? There is a church kitchen I will use to bake the pies….If there is a recipe for frozen cherry pies using canned cherries as I’m in Texas and Fresh cherries are hard to come by and costly….I’d appreciate any help or input. Thank you.


avatar Deborah May 30, 2013 at 9:36 am

Can I use vanilla extract if I don’t have almond?


avatar Jamie September 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Hi Deborah,
You absolutely can, but the flavor will definitely be different. Lemon extract would be good too, but cherries and almonds are a classic combination.
- Jamie


avatar Rosa July 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Super easy and came out perfect!


avatar Jamie August 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm


That’s great to hear! Thank you so much for stopping back to let us know and have a wonderful day!



avatar Stacey July 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Fantastic recipe! It made amazing beautiful pie filling! Thank you for sharing


avatar Jamie August 19, 2013 at 10:14 am


You’re welcome! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe. Have a fantastic day and thank you for following MBA!



avatar Anne Stabile November 25, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Hi, there. Used this recipe this summer and made a pie for my husband, then froze the leftovers. About a month ago I used what was left for a cobbler. Every bit as good! Thanks so much for this delicious recipe. About to make another cherry pie for Thanksgiving, and no doubt I’ll have leftover for a Christmas cobbler. Terrific!


avatar Jamie November 27, 2013 at 11:21 am


Sounds fantastic! I’m thrilled that you loved the recipe. Have a wonderful holiday season and thanks so much for following MBA!



avatar mary December 27, 2013 at 6:27 am

hello. I just want to ask can I use maraschino cherries in the bottle? Thank you. I want to try this recipe to put on my black forest cake.


avatar Jamie January 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

Mary, Maraschino cherries in the bottle are pre-sweetened, so I don’t think they’d work well in this recipe.
- Jamie


avatar Kellie smith January 3, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Has anyone ever canned the pie cherries?


avatar sally April 19, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Did anyone can this? That is what I ant to do. Please let me know. Thank you


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