Our easy homemade cherry pie filling recipe is made with just 5 simple ingredients and comes together in minutes. You can even make it ahead of time and use it in all your favorite recipes that call for cherry pie filling.
I love finding fresh cherries on sale at the grocery store. The problem is that I buy too many bags at a time, and my family never eats them fast enough.
So a few years ago I decided to use them up in a homemade cherry pie filling.
Why Make This Cherry Pie Filling Recipe
Our cherry pie filling is easy to make on the stovetop in minutes. It turns out sweet and delicious every single time! One bite and you will never want to buy canned pie filling again.
Plus, there are so many benefits to make homemade pie filling. Not to mention it tastes so much better than the stuff in a can.
- Uses fresh fruit. Fruit that is in season is generally cheaper and tastes better.
- Control over ingredients. This way you know exactly what you are eating. You can skip the artificial flavors, colors, or additives when making homemade.
- Easy to adjust the sweetness. You can add more or less sugar according to the sweetness of the cherries and your taste preference.
- Can add other flavors. Vanilla extract, almond extract, and cinnamon are natural ingredients that add a warmth and flavor you will love.
Of course, my favorite way to eat this homemade cherry filling is with a big spoon. Trust me...once you taste our cherry pie filling recipe, you will never buy canned fruit fillings again.
This cherry pie filling recipe is easy to make with just a few simple ingredients from your pantry, plus fresh fruit. Buy a bag of frozen cherries, if fresh cherries are not in season or available.
- Fresh Cherries - Bing or dark sweet cherries are great in this recipe. They really do make a difference in the taste of the pie filling. Use a cherry pitter to remove the pits.
- Granulated Sugar - Used to sweeten the mixture. You can use more or less depending on how sweet or tart your cherries are.
- Cornstarch - Helps to thicken the filling.
- Lime Juice - The acidity and tartness in the juice balances out the cherries and the sugar. You can also use lemon juice if you have that on hand.
- Almond Extract - Adds an incredible flavor to cherry desserts. Feel free to use vanilla extract, if you prefer that instead.
How to make Cherry Pie Filling
Making a batch of cherry filling from scratch will only take you about 30 minutes. This recipe produces a sweet pie filling that is delicious and loaded with fresh cherries.
- Stir together ingredients. Stir together sugar, cornstarch, lime juice, water, and salt in a saucepan. Add the pitted cherries and stir.
- Bring to a boil. Place the pan over medium/high heat. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Simmer until reduced. Reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- Add extract and cool. Remove the from the heat and stir in almond extract.
In the Refrigerator - Keep this cherry pie filling in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
In the Freezer - Freeze cherry pie filling in freezer safe bags or containers where it will keep for 3-4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.
Tips and Tricks
- Use fresh or frozen cherries. You can use frozen, pitted cherries, if fresh cherries are not available. Thaw and drain them first, then follow the directions.
- Try sweet or sour cherries. Either one can be used to make this cherry filling recipe. Bing cherries are a popular choice during the summer months.
- Adjust the sugar. If you are using tart cherries, add ¼ cup more sugar. If you are using very sweet cherries, feel free to reduce the sugar by half.
- Chill to thicken. Once you refrigerate the cherry pie filling, it will thicken more.
- Make it thicker. Add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch, if you want a slightly thicker filling.
- Add spices or extracts. Vanilla extract or almond extract are great for flavor. Try adding a little bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger to add some warmth.
- Make brownie sundaes. Serve room temperature pie filling over vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip brownies.
You can use frozen, pitted cherries, if fresh cherries are not in season or available. Thaw and drain the cherries first, then follow the directions. Drained canned cherries are another option.
You can use flour, tapioca, or arrowroot starch to thicken a pie filling instead of cornstarch.
For every tablespoon of cornstarch, you will need to use 2 tablespoons flour, arrowroot, or tapioca starch. Another option is to use 3 tablespoons instant clearjel in the filling.
Use your favorite sweetener such as Monk Fruit or stevia in place of the sugar. You can also use ½ cup of natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup if you like.
Way to Use Cherry Pie Filling
- Cherry Coffee Cake
- Cherry Filled Cupcakes
- Oreo Icebox Cake
- Cheesecake Brownies
- Cherry Swiss Roll Cake
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*This post was first published July 2020. It was updated and republished June 2023.