Cherry pie filling is super easy to make at home, and perfect to have on hand or stored away in the freezer for whenever you need it. This recipe is perfect for pies, desserts, or any other sweet treat that calls for cherry pie filling.
Homemade Cherry Pie Filling
Let's just say it like it is: there is never an excuse to buy a canned cherry pie filling when it's so easy to make and keep on hand at home, especially during cherry season! This recipe is made with sour cherries, so it has that sweet and sour thing going on that makes it so good!
Premade sour cherry pie filling is perfect for all kinds of baked goods, such as cherry crisp, cherry puff pastries, pies, a cherry galette or, even as a cake filling. It's also delicious all by itself, or with a scoop of ice cream.
It freezes well too, so this recipe is one of the best ways to use up any large quantities of cherries you might have when they are in season.
What Kind of Cherries To Use
There are quite a few types of cherries out there, and many of them will work for this recipe. Most cherries can be categorized as either sweet or sour. This recipe calls for sour cherries. The reason this matters is because the amount of sweetener called for is based on the cherries being sour.
You can use fresh or frozen sour cherries. Some common varieties that are good for pies are Montmorency or Morello. I love using frozen cherries personally, because they're already pitted and taste just as good. But this recipe is great with fresh cherries too.
Want to make this recipe but have sweet cherries? That's fine! You can use this recipe, but reduce the amount of sugar to ½ cup.
The Best Tool For Pitting Cherries
While some may not be bothered by pitting cherries, I find it quite annoying. I do not enjoy the task at all! So, years ago I purchased an inexpensive cherry pitter (affiliate link) to make the job go by quickly.
It works much faster than manually removing them with a knife. But the downside is that it still takes time.
How to Make Cherry Pie Filling
This is a very simple recipe. Essentially, cherries are mixed together with sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch and then cooked. There are a few tricks you should follow to ensure you get the best flavor in your filling.
The first is that the recipe calls to macerate the cherries for about 15 minutes. This helps dissolve the sugar before cooking. If you are using frozen cherries, let it sit for an additional 15 minutes.
Secondly, there is tart cherry juice added to the mixture. This serves three purposes. The first is that it gives some extra juice to the filling. The second is that it gives the filling another layer of flavor, and the third is that it adds a nice color to the filling.
At the very end of the cooking process, some butter and almond extract are folded into the hot mixture. The butter adds a delicious richness, and the almond adds a depth of flavor that complements the cherries very nicely.
Ways to Use Cherry Pie Filling
Okay, now you've got your cherry pie filling. What should you use it for?
- pies (duh!)
- cherry crisp (use this crisp recipe or this pie crumble recipe for topping it)
- filling for a cake
- in a pastry
- in a galette (use this butter dough)
- in pop tarts (use this pop tart dough)
- hand pies (use this dough)
- over waffles or pancakes
- with oatmeal
- plain served with ice cream
How to Store Cherry Pie Filling
Because it has a high sugar content, it will keep for quite a while in the fridge. I've never kept it for more than 7 days, as I've always used it up, but it likely could last a little bit longer than even that.
It will last for a minimum of 6 months in the freezer. After three months it will start to lose some of it's potent flavor, but it's still safe to eat for up 12 months, though it's not ideal.
I don't recommend canning this. Canning is so specific and I have not tested this to make sure it passes the amount of sugar and acidity needed to make it safe for canning. I'd recommend freezing it instead, for long term storage.
More Fruit Recipes:
I am so honored when you make a recipe from my site! If you make this Cherry Pie Filling, please leave a comment and a star rating with your experience! If you have any questions about this recipe, feel free to comment here, too!Print
- 2 pounds (32 ounces or 905 grams) pitted sour cherries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (28 grams) cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup (60 grams) tart cherry juice (see note)
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) cold unsalted butter, diced (optional)
- Add cherries, sugar, and cornstarch to a large bowl and toss to coat. Mix in lemon juice and cherry juice. Let sit until the sugars have started to dissolve, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer all ingredients to a large pot.
- Turn the heat on to medium and cook, stirring frequently until the filling is bubbling throughout. Off of the heat, stir in almond extract and butter.
- Pour into jars, and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to 7 days. Or in the freezer, for up to six months.
If you don’t have cherry juice, you can substitute it with water, though it will have a little less cherry flavor and will be lighter in color.
The butter is optional, but it adds a subtle richness to the filling.
Keywords: Cherry Pie Filling
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