Homemade Cherry Pie

This recipe is better than ever. Our homemade cherry pie is perfectly sliceable with a thick almond-hinted cherry pie filling and a golden brown buttery flaky pie crust. The ingredients are exactly the same as when I originally published the recipe in 2017, but quartering *some* of the cherries instead of just halving and reducing some juices on the stovetop both guarantee that the pie filling will set up perfectly. As always, wait for the pie to cool completely before slicing, which is another non-negotiable that helps avoid a soupy pie filling.

homemade cherry pie

No store-bought pie filling or pie crust because today we’re making cherry pie completely from scratch. Does making homemade pie intimidate you? I promise this dessert specialty is nothing to fear and that’s exactly why I’m sharing my recipe with you. Out of all pie flavors, cherry pie is where most bakers depend on canned filling, but I’m going to teach you how to make the most of fresh cherries and a delicious crust.


Cherry Pie Details

  • Flavor: While the cherry flavor is front and center in this pie, you’ll enjoy the notes of vanilla and almond as well. Vanilla and almond extracts add richness and depth and a touch of lemon juice keeps the overall flavor fresh and bright. (Without it, the filling can taste a little flat.)
  • Texture: If you follow the recipe closely, this cherry pie filling is buttery, jammy, sturdy, and sliceable. You can use your favorite pie crust recipe, but I encourage you to try ours linked below. We use a mix of shortening and butter because they work together to make the BEST crust. Butter adds flavor and flakiness, while shortening’s high melting point keeps the crust tender and workable. If you don’t want to use shortening, try our all butter pie crust recipe instead.
  • Ease: It goes without saying that homemade pie is a labor of love, especially if you’re a beginner. Consider this recipe an activity– hopefully fun and definitely satisfying– and set aside several hours from start to finish. My time-saving tip is to prep the pie dough ahead of time because it needs to chill for at least 2 hours before you can roll it out.

slice of cherry pie

Best Cherries to Use for Cherry Pie

If you’re making cherry pie from scratch, it’s helpful to know which cherry variety works best. I usually choose a mix of rainier cherries and dark sweet cherries, but opted for all dark sweet cherries in the pictured pie. You can use all Rainier or all dark sweet. If using sour cherries, add a little more sugar as referenced in the recipe note below.

You can also use frozen halved or quartered cherries. Follow the recipe as written below and don’t skip the reducing step on the stove.


Pitting Cherries

Pitting fresh cherries is always a tedious and messy task, so if you want to save time and prep work, pick up a cherry pitter. If you’re anything like me, you don’t like stuffing your kitchen drawers with endless gizmos and gadgets, but a cherry pitter is most definitely an exception. I don’t bake with cherries often, but when I do, I’m VERY thankful for this tool.


Reducing the Cherry Juices on the Stove Takes Less Than 10 Minutes

After you combine the filling ingredients together, set it aside and roll out the pie dough for your pie dish. During this time, your filling is already working as the sugar pulls juices from the cherries. Normally I discard all this juice, but it’s where a lot of the cornstarch ends up and that’s what helps thicken the filling in the oven.

Instead, use a slotted spoon to transfer the fruit into your crust, then pour the leftover juice into a small saucepan. You’ll only have a few Tablespoons, but this juice is pure GOLD as it holds our thickening agent and a lot of flavor. Reduce on the stove over low heat for about 3-4 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then pour over the cherries and toss gently (in your pie dough!) to combine.

Here’s the filling in the mixing bowl. You can see all the juices at the bottom. Spoon cherries into the pie dough:

cherry pie filling in a bowl and spooned into the dough

Reduce the excess juice on the stove until it has thickened:

cherry filling juice in bowl and in a pot

Let it cool for a few minutes, then toss into the cherries. The sugars in the reduced juice will harden and you’ll notice this “juice” become almost caramelized and stringy once it hits those cold cherries. This is NORMAL and totally fine! The “juice” will melt down in the oven, but keep the filling thick.

cherry filling in pie dough

Don’t Forget the Extras

  1. Butter: Dot the pie filling with small cubes of butter before applying the top crust. Why? It adds buttery richness and actually helps prevent the formation of bubbles on the filling’s surface.
  2. Egg wash: An egg wash is egg mixed with milk (or water) and you use it pretty much whenever you’re baking pie dough or baking other shaped dough such as stromboli, vanilla biscotti, bagels, choux pastry, croissants, etc. Egg wash promises a crispier crust and helps develop that signature golden sheen. Without it, dough is dull and lackluster.
  3. Coarse sugar: This is optional, but I love finishing sweet pies with coarse sugar because it adds a little crunch and sparkle. I usually use Sugar in the Raw or these coarse sugar sprinkles, both of which can be found in the baking aisle of major grocery stores.

Lattice Pie Crust

Note that our pie crust recipe yields enough dough for a double crust pie– one for the bottom and one for the top. If you’re new to working with pie dough or need a little troubleshooting, our pie crust tutorial walks you through each step in thorough detail and includes a video, step-by-step photos, and all my tips and tricks for pie crust perfection.

I made a simple lattice pie crust design with thick and thin strips, but decorate the pie however you’d like. You could even skip the top crust and use the crumble topping from our blueberry crumble pie!

two photos showing how to lattice pie dough

cherry pie with lattice pie crust

cherry pie slice with vanilla ice cream on top

Start the Pie at a High Oven Temperature

Why do some pie recipes call for an initially hot oven temperature that you eventually lower? Baking this pie at 400°F (204°C) for 20 minutes helps the pie dough set and activates the cornstarch in the filling (as does heating it on the stove). After that, reduce oven temperature down to 375°F (190°C) to continue baking the pie.


Do I Need to Par-Bake The Crust for This Cherry Pie?

Before you begin, let me answer a FAQ we receive on this recipe. You do not need to par-bake or blind bake this bottom pie crust. Reducing the filling’s juice on the stove keeps excess liquid off the bottom pie dough, plus we bake the pie for long enough that the bottom crust sufficiently cooks through. It’s helpful to use a glass pie dish so you can see when the sides/bottom of the pie crust has browned.

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slice of cherry pie

Homemade Cherry Pie

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 7 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: 8-10 servings
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This homemade cherry pie is perfectly sliceable with a thick almond-hinted cherry pie filling and a golden brown buttery flaky pie crust. The ingredients are exactly the same as when I originally published the recipe in 2017, but quartering *some* of the cherries instead of just halving and reducing some juices on the stovetop both guarantee that the pie filling will set up perfectly.


Ingredients

  • Homemade Pie Crust or All Butter Pie Crust (both recipes make 2 crusts, 1 for bottom and 1 for top)
  • 4 and 1/2 cups halved & quartered pitted fresh cherries (see note)
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (28g) cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 Tablespoon (14g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
  • optional: coarse sugar for sprinkling on crust

Instructions

  1. The crust: Prepare either pie crust recipe through step 5.
  2. Make the filling: In a large bowl, stir the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract together until thoroughly combined. Cover filling and place in the refrigerator as you roll out the pie dough or for up to 24 hours.
  3. Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9×2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Use a slotted spoon to spoon and spread the cherries into the crust. Reserve the juice for the next step. Refrigerate pie, uncovered, as you reduce the juices in the next step.
  4. Pour the few Tablespoons of leftover juice into a small saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until juice has slightly reduced and thickened. Cool for 5 minutes, then pour over cherries in filling. Do your best to gently toss together– doesn’t have to be perfect. The reduction will harden and thicken as a result of mixing with the cold cherries. This is normal and it will melt again in the oven. Dot the pieces of butter on top of the filling.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  6. Arrange the lattice: Remove the other disc of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a circle that is 12 inches diameter. Using a pastry wheel, sharp knife, or pizza cutter, cut strips of dough– I cut four strips 2 inches wide and two strips 1 inch wide. Carefully thread the strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. Press the edges of the strips into the bottom pie crust edges to seal. Use a small paring knife to trim off excess dough. Flute or crimp the edges with a fork.
  7. Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar, if using.
  8. Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown and the fruit’s juices have been bubbling up around the edges or through the lattice/vents for at least 5 minutes. **After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I recommend placing a pie crust shield on the crust’s edges to prevent it from over-browning too quickly.**
  9. Remove pie from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and cool for at least 3-4 hours before slicing and serving. Filling will be too juicy if the pie is warm when you slice it.
  10. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead / Freezing Instructions: There are a couple ways to make this pie ahead of time. Prepare the pie in full 1 day in advance– after pie cools, cover tightly and keep at room temperature. The pie crust dough can also be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Baked pie also freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving. Prepared filling (with juices) can also be frozen up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before spooning into dough and reducing the juice.
  2. Special Tools: Cherry Pitter | Rolling Pin | Pie Dish | Pastry Blender | Pastry Brush
  3. Cherries: You need about 1.5 lbs of cherries for this recipe. Cut half of the cherries into halves and the remaining half of cherries into quarters. Using a mix of halved and quartered cherries helps keep the baked filling in tact. You can use any variety of cherries. I use all dark sweet cherries in the pictured pie, but also enjoy using a 50/50 combination of dark sweet and Rainier cherries. Feel free to use all Rainier cherries if desired. If using sour cherries, increase sugar to 3/4 or 1 cup depending how sweet you like your pie. You can also use frozen cherries. Halve/quarter them while they’re frozen, then toss with other filling ingredients as instructed. Reduce the juices as instructed as well. Bake time may be a few minutes longer.

Keywords: cherry pie

148 Comments

  1. I made mistakes and it still came out great! I dumped the ice water in all at once, I didn’t have almond flavoring, so used amaretto, and I forgot to add the juice in until I had the lattice crust on top, so I poured it in between the lattice crust! I probably should have rolled the crust thinner, but despite everything it tastes wonderful …..and looked good too!

  2. There was something missing with the flavor of this recipe, and I can’t quite pin it. I used sweet cherries, and followed the recipe exactly the first time I made it. I found the filling to be too solid! I prefer a cherry pie filling that is oozing a bit out of the pie, but not runny, kind of like a thick syrup. Also, the amount of cherries, as well as your recipe for pie crust, is not enough for a 9.5 inch pie dish. I made this a second time, but increased the amount of cherries slightly, added 1 extra teaspoon of vanilla, only 1/8 cup of cornstarch, and some lemon zest. I also used an 8-inch pie dish the second time. The consistency of the filling was much nicer in my opinion, more like the thick syrup I was after, but it still lacked the rich flavor I recall from my Aunt’s homemade cherry pie from my youth. I am wondering why you need to halve/quarter the cherries, when most of the other recipes I see online depict whole cherries? Also, have you ever used sour cherries? Maybe the flavour I’m missing is the tartness of sour cherries. I am in Canada, and we don’t get Rainier cherries up here, not that I’ve ever seen.

    1. Hi Dylan, thank you for trying my cherry pie recipe and taking the time to leave a review. As you mention, this recipe doesn’t fit into a 9.5 inch pie dish. Use a 9-inch pie dish. I’m glad you found an 8-inch better. I recommend halving/quartering the cherries so the filling stays thicker and intact. If using sour cherries, I recommend increasing the sugar. (See note.) Thanks for the feedback!

    2. I just brought home about 20 lbs of Rainier cherries; fresh picked from orchard between Lake Country & Oyama (Okanagan, BC). I am going to see if this filling will work for a layer cake filling. Definitely don’t want it to be runny so while I’ve already baked the cake layers (SBA 6” Vanilla recipe); I want it to still be substantial enough between those layers. In my head it all makes sense, lol.

      1. Hi Bernadette, that seems like a great idea. How did it turn out?

  3. Myra Spijer says:

    I normally wouldn’t leave a comment but your recipe instructions are the best! Made the pie with sour cherries from our tree. Pitting them aside, this was as easy as pie! I’ve made all sorts of home made pie crusts throughout the years. Yours is the easiest. Great results. I used 1c sugar and it wasn’t too sweet. I anticipated a lot more liquid from these cherries. There was. Used a netted scoop to remove them from the juices. This was essential. Used the same ingrds. as your recipe to thicken the juice MINUS the lemon. Spooned only some over the cherries (7 desert sps?) and saved the rest. Turned out perfect. Not often you get a really well-thought out recipe. You did it! Wonderful explanations and details.

  4. I always triple any extract, vanilla, almond etc. The cherries stayed too chewy for my taste however the flavor of this pie is fabulous. The pie crust is to die for and is my go to for any pie, berry or otherwise.

  5. I loved how gooey this pie filling is! I did cheat and used store bought pie dough for the crust. I read a lot of the reviews and made many of the suggestions listed: I brushed bottom of crust with egg whites to keep it from getting soggy, added a tsp. of cinnamon, dash of nutmeg, and tbs. of vanilla to the syrup (and took out a tbs. of the water to make up for adding the vanilla), poured the syrup over the apples before putting the lattice crust on, and baked on the bottom rack of the oven to keep the crust from getting too brown. I also ended up cooking it a little longer because when I stabbed the apples in the center with a knife they were still a little crispy. You will love this apple pie!

  6. This pie is fabulous! My family loved it! I did use a store-bought crust and frozen cherries to simplify. I also followed some other readers’ suggestions and brushed the bottom of the crust with egg white (and sprinkled a little bit of cornstarch on it as well) to keep the crust from getting soggy. This recipe is a keeper!

  7. Going to make this pie tomorrow, prayers please. Love your recipes!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We hope you love it, Jackie! Happy baking!

  8. I just baked this cherry pie today, and it turned out great! It was my first time making a homemade crust (also your recipe) and a fruit pie so I was worried a little. Your instructions were spot on and thorough! I didn’t do the lattice on the top but just rolled the top dough with a vent in the middle since I figured that was easier, especially with this being my first fruit pie. Thank y’all so much for these great recipes as well as some others on here I’ve used and loved! ❤️

  9. Cheryl Price says:

    Delicious! I used 2# of sweet red cherries and about 3/4 cups of sugar. I also skipped reducing the juice, there really wasn’t much at all. I did half/quarter the cherries, loved how that worked. I baked about one hour total & let it cool for 4 hours. It sliced PERFECT! I will definitely use this recipe again, thank you Sally!

  10. First time making a pie from scratch and was terrified . It was for my resident in a assisted livings 92nd birthday .(it’s her favorite ). After making Sally’s cheesecake I knew she would have the perfect recipe. Love the step by step instructions and neat tricks . Needless to say everyone said it was the best cherry Pie they ever had !

  11. Holy moly! I made this pie a couple of days ago. I intended to share it. I did not. Why? Because it was so delicious that I just couldn’t part with it. Except by eating it, of course. Best cherry pie EVER. Thanks for sharing this!!

  12. I made this cherry pie this morning before realizing I actually need it for a BBQ 5 days from now. Can I freeze the baked pie? How do I reheat it after? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ingrid! Baked pie freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

  13. Hi Sally,
    I have never commented before but I discovered your website at the beginning of Covid when I was looking for a soft pretzel recipe (delish!). I have made so many of your recipes but this one needed a comment. I was hesitant in making this pie as cherry is one of my fav pies, but I have to admit, I love the canned cherry pie filling. I tried this recipe and I have to say that I may never make another one with the canned stuff. This was truly delicious. I followed the recipe as is and it was perfect. For those in my family who did not care for cherry pie because of the canned filling, are already requesting that I make this one again. Thanks for all of the beautiful recipes- you make us home bakers look good!!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re thrilled you love this cherry pie recipe, Rachel! Thank you so much for making and trusting our recipes.

  14. Made this for the second time today! Turned out perfect again. I use Rainier cherries since I live in Oregon and we can get them at the Farmers market here. My 8-yr old daughter pit and cut up the cherries so that reduced my workload considerably. This is a great recipe! Thank you Sally!

  15. I made this pie yesterday for a get-together with friends. It turned out great! They all loved it. I used the buttery flaky crust recipe (and watched the video which was very helpful!), and about half and half of dark sweet cherries and Rainier cherries. I was concerned about the potential for a soggy bottom, but the filling set up so nicely and my crust was tender and flaky and delicious! Thank you Sally for your recipe modifications and excellent instructions. 🙂

  16. Oh. My. God. My husband and I just wolfed down two pieces and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking of having one later today. This is now the only cherry pie recipe I’ll ever use for fresh sweet cherries. For those who have asked: DON’T use canned pie filling! I beg! Just wait until cherries are in season and get yourself a cherry pitter and go to town. I also did alter it a bit and only used one crust on the bottom, and a crumble on top. 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup flour-I’ll ad 1/2 cup of oats to the crumble for the next one. I also used monkfruit instead of white sugar and besti brown sugar substitute for the crumble topping. The consistency was PERFECT and that almond extract just really adds such a nice cherry flavor. We served it with ice cream and I’m DYING! Thank you so much for this delightful recipe. I have another bag of cherries that I can clearly see will only be used in pie form.

  17. Great recipe.

    I used 5# fresh cherries and followed recipe otherwise.

    I used 2 Marie C. pre-made frozen pie crust. Inverted one crust to make the top crust and made slits. Used egg wash and sprinkled sugar. The pie was left open to air during the 400 deg phase, but when it had to cook for 40 mins on 375 deg phase, I placed aluminum foil for the entire duration.

    Wish I could attach a photo because it’s photo worthy!

    This was my young son’s first pie that he made, and it tastes wonderful (which motivates him) Repeatable recipe.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kim, We are glad that you and your son both enjoyed the pie! Happy baking!

  18. Wow, this pie is a total winner! I used frozen cherries so my expectations were not super high, but the filling turned out fabulously. It sliced neatly and tasted delicious– I love the hint of almond. I wasn’t super confident going into reducing the juices on the stovetop (how to tell when they were reduced enough?) but it thickened up in a really obvious way and there was no question when it was ready to come off the stove. This was a super simple recipe with major payoff. Thank you Sally!!

  19. I’m baking this for someone at work but they can’t have the almond extract due to a nut allergy. Will it make a big difference without it?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Codi! You can use vanilla extract instead – it will still be delicious!

    2. I have a nut allergy and use ARTIFICIAL extracts. Just triple check the entire label for possible listed allergens.

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