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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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Notes:

- 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


{ 130 comments… read them below or add one }

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!

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adamrovich July 23, 2014 at 11:36 pm

use a plastic straw to pit cherries works great!!!!!!!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Jamie July 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm

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

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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.

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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!
Stephanie

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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

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Jamie August 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Netty-
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.
-Jamie

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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!).

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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.

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MBA November 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm

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

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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!

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Tina June 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm

How did it work out?!

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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!

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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.

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Deborah May 30, 2013 at 9:36 am

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

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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

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Rosa July 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Super easy and came out perfect!

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Jamie August 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Rosa,

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

Jamie

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Stacey July 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm

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

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Jamie August 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

Stacey,

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

Jamie

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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!

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Jamie November 27, 2013 at 11:21 am

Anne-

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

-Jamie

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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.

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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

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Kellie smith January 3, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Has anyone ever canned the pie cherries?

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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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lori June 20, 2014 at 9:38 am

I can apple and peach pie fillings, so I will be trying this one and canning it.

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angela July 13, 2014 at 9:30 am

Did canning this recipe work?

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Jamie July 13, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Angela-
I have never attempted to can this recipe, so I am unsure how it will perform. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Jamie

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Jamie July 13, 2014 at 10:52 pm

I have never attempted to can this recipe, so I am unsure how it will perform. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Jamie

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Nadyne Carpenter July 26, 2014 at 11:04 pm

The family story is that my grandmother made a cherry pie everyday for thirty years and since it was before freezers I’m guessing that she had to can them. I know if I had a supply of tart cherries I would be canning them. Cherry pies are my favorite.

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stef June 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Just made this! Amazing! I only had enough to make half a recipe and it was so good it didn’t make it to a pie…just ate it with a spoon!

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Heather June 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm

First time making scratch cherry pie filling. It turned out so thick and yummy! I can’t wait to make it into a pie for my Hubby :) Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

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Katie July 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Can I use frozen cherries for this recipe?

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Jamie July 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Katie-
I have not tried this recipe with frozen cherries, but I’m thinking it will be just fine. Enjoy!
-Jamie

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Viki July 4, 2014 at 8:30 am

Happy 4th!

After browsing around a couple of weeks ago for a cherry pie filling from scratch, I found myself here.

As an American living in Germany, I sure miss the 4th and my Mom’s “Oh My Cherry Pie” dessert. I’ve never seen the canned pie filling here. :) And since I celebrate it anyway, I wanted to make that dessert this year.

My search is over! This is it for homemade cherry pie filling!

I made it exactly as stated (except I ended up pitting more cherries than I thought and wound up with about 9 cups instead of 6. Whoops! Lotsa pie and cheesecake in my future!) and it went together simply, easily, fuss-free, and tastes delicious!

The only thing I had to adjust was about a cup more water (and after tasting it, a tad more almond extract for my own personal taste..it’s really perfect as stated). I think it’s due to the corn starch here. I’ve experienced the same thing with other recipes calling for corn starch or a slurry of corn starch and milk/water.

Thanks for sharing this! You’ve saved my 4th of July party :)

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Poopie July 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I am about to make this filling today…but I realize I don’t know how to make a pie!
I bought a crust at the grocery store…do I just fill it and bake?
What temperature?
How long??
Help!!!

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Jamie August 12, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Yes, just fill the crust and bake. I would suggest 400 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven. Good luck!

-Jamie

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angela July 13, 2014 at 9:31 am

Did anyone ever have success in canning thus recipe? It seems like a good one.

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Luci July 20, 2014 at 5:06 pm

In regards to canning this recipe. I have 30 lbs of cherries to use up and am getting ready to can pie filling…all I have read is that cornstarch should not be used in canning because of the heat (it isn’t stable). There is a product called clear gel(also a food thickener) to use instead.. I can get at local country kitchen store so just “google” it and see where you can get local. Hope this helps. Don’t want to invest in the rest of the recipe if it gets ruined because of cornstarch.

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Kay July 20, 2014 at 6:22 pm

This was perfect till I froze it…..something happens to the liquid mixture, the cornstarch separates. Wish I would have just made the pie when I made the filling. It is a great recipe.

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Mona July 24, 2014 at 10:01 pm

LOVE this recipe… it was just the right amount of everything. Mind you I mixed all the sugar, lemon juice, starch & water first and cooked just until the sugar melted and made sure there wasn’t any lumps THEN added the cherries (each were cut in half) and carried on… delish…. I made the cherry pie yesterday and had rave reviews. Had to go and by more cherries today for a do-over….!
thank you!

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Sharon July 27, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Found myself with way too many cherries in my fridge. So even though there were Bing and dark sweet varieties, I made this recipe to use them up. I’ve never made anything with cherries and I was pleasantly surprised. This was very tasty. Will use it over angel food cake or cheesecake. Thanks!

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:54 am

I’m so glad that you liked the recipe! Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

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Family of 8 July 28, 2014 at 1:53 am

Thanks so much for this simple, yet tasty and quick recipe. I made this today, and used it in a dump cake recipe. It was AWESOME ! Now I will be making more and canning it, because I went to my local Kroeger’s today, and what do I see sitting front row seat, Bing Cherries for 99cents a pound. Yay! I’m so glad I tried the almond extract, as it does give a kick to the cherry-like taste of the cherry pie filling.

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Robyn H. July 29, 2014 at 10:12 am

Absolutely delicious! And so easy, too! Thank you for sharing.

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Eddie P August 2, 2014 at 10:08 pm

In Australia we have tinned Black cherries all they are is cherries in light syrup (not cherry pie filling like the US) can I use this method?, also I’d like to mix jarred (European sour cherries) how would this turn out?

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Jamie August 12, 2014 at 10:48 am

I don’t have any experience with the jarred European sour cherries but I think that it would be worth a shot if you have them on hand. Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

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Nadine August 7, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Hi,
I am going to make this on the weekend. I am not a seasoned baker so when I do bake I like measurements to be precise , especially when working with expensive ingredients. So when you say 5 or 6 cups of cherries….did 5 work better for you or did 6? I just don’t want to mess it up.
Thanks,
N

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:37 am

Either will work fine. Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

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Ginger August 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I am using frozen cherries that have thawed. Can I use the juice from cherries in place of water, or just add the water to everything?

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:33 am

If you use the juice from the cherries, make sure to use the same measurement for the water and omit the water. Good luck!
-Jamie

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Krystal Wight Armstrong August 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Do you think this could work as nicely as a blueberry filling, specifically for your cherry crisp recipe ( http://www.mykitchenaddiction.com/2011/06/cherry-crisp-in-a-jar-from-my-baking-addiction/comment-page-1/#comment-54441 )?
I have a bunch of blueberries I’d like to use up, and this looks easy and tasty…but I wasn’t sure if it would work with another berry.
Thank you for your time and help! : )

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:32 am

I bet it would work with blueberries as well. Let me know if you try it!

-Jamie

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Megan M August 9, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Is this recipe enough for just one pie? or does it do more than that?

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:36 am

This should make one pie. Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

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oldina August 10, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I was going to suggest not to use cornstarch if you were going to freeze the cherries. If just making the filling leave cornstarch out until you need to use and then add or there are other thickeners that will freeze well. I think tapioca might

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Jamie August 11, 2014 at 11:22 am

Thanks for your suggestions.

-Jamie

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