When summer fruit hits its prime, I’m powerless to resist. Every year without fail, in a moment of fruit hysteria, I buy an oversized crate of cherries. The first order of business for my sweet surplus: easy homemade Cherry Pie Filling!
Cherry pie filling is made of simple ingredients that are designed to thicken the cherries and help their flavor star brightly.
The idea: stay out of the cherries’ way and help this precious red summer jewel taste its best.
Old fashioned cherry pie filling uses sugar, but I prefer to sweeten my filling with honey.
I was a little concerned that the honey’s flavor would overpower the cherries, but the two taste wonderful together.
The cherries shine brightly, while the honey adds light background notes of floral sweetness.
This cherry pie filling recipe turned out to be so tasty and so easy, I made a second jar the very next day and tucked it into my freezer for a later day.
Even if you don’t bake a pie, there are many, many delicious ways to use homemade cherry pie filling.
Serve it over pancakes (like Banana Oatmeal Pancakes), mix it into a bowl of Steel Cut Oats, use it to top ice cream (like Oat Milk Ice Cream), and more!
5 Star Review
“Thank goodness for this recipe! I’ve always hated canned pie filling, and I’ve never found a recipe for a homemade version that I liked. Now I found one yay!!!”
— Marina —
How to Make Cherry Filling From Scratch
No more wondering which is the best canned cherry pie filling. The answer is the filling you make yourself from scratch!
This is a breeze to stir up. The hardest part is waiting for fresh, in-season cherries to arrive.
- Cherries. A precious gift of summer! Cherry season is short (a few weeks in July). Making pie filling is one of the bests ways to make the most of them.
- Honey. For a naturally sweet cherry pie. Using honey instead of sugar (or worse, high fructose corn syrup from cherry pie filling in a can) makes me feel all the more redeemed when I spoon this onto my breakfast parfait.
- Lemon Juice. Essential for brightening up the pie filling.
- Cornstarch. To thicken the cherry pie filling without cornstach, swap in arrowroot starch.
- Pure Almond Extract. Cherries and almonds are a lovely flavor combination (have you ever noticed that cherry pits smell a little like almonds?). DO NOT use imitation almond extract, which tastes artificial.
- Add all of the filling ingredients to a saucepan.
- Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until thickened. Taste (be careful, it is hot!) and add additional honey if you’d like the filling sweeter. Let cool and enjoy!
How to Use Cherry Pie Filling
This recipe will yield 2 heaping cups, which is enough for a regular (non-deep dish) 9-inch pie.
That said, cherry pie is certainly not the only option! I encourage you to try:
Two Great Pie Crust Recipes
- Whole Wheat Pie Crust is classically flaky. The food processor makes it easy.
- Oil Pie Crust. No rolling required! It’s ideal for pie crust newbies (or anytime you need pie in a hurry).
- Store Bought Pie Crust. You made your filling from scratch. I won’t tell if you don’t!
- To Store. This cherry pie filling will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- To Freeze. Because it is made with honey, it does congeal somewhat when frozen and thawed. I found it worked best to let the frozen filling thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, to smooth it out a little.
If you are going to use the cherry pie filling in a classic cherry pie or as a sauce on top of ice cream, I would not recommend freezing, since in these cases, you’ll want the smoothest texture possible.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
Pit more cherries in less time with this sturdy, easy-to-store cherry pitter. It accommodates almost all cherry sizes too!
Pie, a breakfast treat, or straight from the jar. However you eat this cherry pie filling, it’s a taste of sweet summertime!
- 4 cups whole pitted fresh sweet cherries about 2 pounds with pits or 1 ½ pounds pitted or frozen, thawed pitted cherries
- 1/2 cup honey plus additional to taste (if using tart cherries, you may need to add a bit more)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract optional or substitute ¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Place cherries into a large saucepan. Add ½ cup honey, lemon juice, cornstarch, and almond extract (if using), then stir to coat. Turn on the heat to medium. Cook the filling, stirring often, until glossy and thickened, about 5 – 10 minutes.
Very carefully so as not to burn your tongue, taste the mixture. If you desire additional sweetness, add more honey a few teaspoons at a time. Remove pan from the heat and let the filling cool completely. Transfer to a storage jar.
- TO STORE. This cherry pie filling will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- TO FREEZE. Because it is made with honey, it does congeal somewhat when frozen and thawed. I found it worked best to let the frozen filling thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, to smooth it out a little.
Serving: 0.25cup (generous)Calories: 128kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 1gCholesterol: 44mgFiber: 2gSugar: 27g
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