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This recipe is better than ever. My 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.) A scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dollop of homemade whipped cream pair perfectly on top of a slice.
  • 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 mine 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 this 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. We do the same thing when we make peach pie.
  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, homemade 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. We use this same trick when we make blueberry 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.

See Your Homemade Cherry Pies!

collage of cherry pie photos

Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂

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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: 810 servings 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 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 filling 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. My 17 yo son made the pie to exhibit as a 4-H project today. Blue Ribbon with Honor Group selection. Judge was impressed with the flavor, slice ability and such a tender crust. Thank you!

    1. Congratulations to your son, Peggy! We’re so glad the pie was a hit.

  2. Delish! I used sour cherries. I’m still struggling with dough but it tastes really good. When I roll it out it cracks but I’m able to make it look presentable. Crust is delicious and you can hide imperfections

    1. I’m about to make this pie, and I’m also using tart cherries. How much sugar did you end up using?

  3. Love this pie! Would like your input on a brandied cherry pie filling. I recently went to a reception where it was served and it was deelish! Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Janice, We haven’t tested it but you should be able to replace both the lemon juice and almond extract for the same amount of brandy (we would still use the vanilla extract). You may also like this Bourbon Cherry Crisp and use brandy in place of bourbon for a different flavor. Let us know what you try!

  4. Love a cherry pie and am looking forward to making my question could you totally assemble pie and freeze then bake when ready to serve it. Your recipe stated to bake then freeze but i was thinking of assembling freezing then baking. Thank you

    1. Hi Trish, we recommend freezing the baked pie for best results. But you can also freeze the pie dough and the filling separately. See the recipe notes for details.

  5. Would you consider this a versatile enough filling that would work for tarts as well? Not a lot of cherry fans in my house but I deny myself nothing when it comes to baked goods. Lunchbox treats forever!

    1. Hi Robyn, we haven’t tried this filling with a tart — it may be a bit messy for slicing, but if you’re making individual tarts that should work. If you’re looking for individual servings, you might enjoy these cherry hand pies too!

  6. I made this with a gluten-free crust and it’s wonderful! Thank you!

  7. My husband said it all – “This is the best cherry pie I’ve had in 70 years!” Absolutely delicious Cherry pie AND a perfect pie crust – no soggy bottom!! Your recipes are my ‘go to’, thanks so much!

  8. I just made this recipe twice. Once with tart cherries and again with sweet cherries. Both came out wonderfully! I am new to baking and following these instructions was easy and the results are amazing. I preferred the taste of the tart Cherry pie while my wife liked the sweet pie better. The only comment on the sweet pie is next time I will quarter all the sweet cherries as I didn’t care for the texture of the larger halved cherries in the sweet Cherry pie- I ready to try a blueberry pie now!

    1. John, did you adjust the sugar when you made the pie with tart cherries? If so, what amount did you use?

  9. I came to this site to find the temperature to bake a cherry pie. I had just put one in the oven. I was delighted to see the picture of the lattice cut imperfectly. I swear you cut and placed your lattice exactly like mine. It looks like real homemade! Now I’ll have to come back and follow your recipe!

  10. I’ve made this recipe a dozen times over the last few years and it is absolutely perfect every time. My family begs me to make it!

  11. Fresh cherries are super expensive at the moment, but I have a big bag of frozen cherries from Costco. Can you recommend a method for making this pie with frozen cherries please?
    P.S. just made your blueberry pie recipe (with plant based butter and veg shortening for the crust), came out perfectly! It’s now my go to pie recipe.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Kathryn, see recipe notes for using frozen cherries. Enjoy!

      1. I don’t see where it says how much to reduce the liquid for filling if using frozen cherries?

    1. Hi, my husband is making a cherry pie for me for my bday, it’s my favorite. Bakery we go too is unable to make as they cannot get the cherries. We’ll get the frozen cherries from Costco. I did not see which liquid to reduce and how much. Please advise. Thank you.

  12. Can I use fresh jarred cherry preserves as pie filling? And is there anything I would need to add (cornstarch, lemon juice, etc)?

    1. Hi Abby, While you could use canned cherry pie filling, preserves are different and we don’t recommend using those in a pie.

  13. This pie is absolutely fantastic! Everyone I’ve served it to loves it. One of my friends can’t eat dairy and I would like to make a pie for her. The crust is easy enough to make without butter, but I was wondering if I needed to substitute the butter in the pie filling. Or should I omit it entirely?

    1. Hi Gill, so glad you enjoy this recipe. You can skip the little butter topping that goes on the filling.

      1. You can also use dairy free butter! I’ve used it before and you can’t taste the difference one bit! IJust make sure it’s in stick form so that it has the same consistency as regular butter. I’ve seen brands at both Whole Foods and Target!

  14. This turned out great! I cut the sugar in half since I used sweet cherries and was worried about that impacting it setting but had no issues. I will definitely make this again!

  15. Perfect pie every year for my Sweet Husband’s birthday! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Brianna, We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. Thank you!

  16. I adore pie!! Cherry is my favorite!! This is spectacular!! Can you use minute tapioca instead of cornstarch? My Amish friends do and we have a corn allergy in the family.

    1. Hi Bruce, you can use tapioca instead — we would increase amount to 1/3 cup. Hope you love this pie!

  17. Great recipe, I think the method of pre coating the cherries is genius and works just as well for canned because it allows much better control over the liquid, which there is always too much of. I would add just a pinch of salt at this step as well.

    My deduction is the almond flavor, it’s unnecessary at best and honestly ruins the pie at worst because even at 1/4 tsp, it overpowers everything. Even real almond gives it that distinct bitter almond maraschino flavor that pushes through everything else.

    5 stars on everything else though.

  18. Sally, I’m a lifelong baker since I won my neighborhood block “pie contest” when I was 10 years old. I’m now 34 and your recipes and instructions have been a game changer for me. It’s brought me so much joy! Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you so much for making and trusting our recipes, Jack!

  19. Hi! I have a question. In the recipe notes it says that you need about 1.5 lbs of cherries for this recipe. Is that the weight of the cherries already pitted? or is more of an aproximation of the weight of the whole cherries.

  20. My husband said this was the best pie I ever made! And I attribute that to this solid recipe. I discovered Sally’s pie crust recipe last year, and I’ll never use another! The hardest part is waiting to let the pie set up- but so worth it! (I did fridge for 2 hours and it was set)

  21. I really want to try this recipe, since cherry pie is my favorite, but I’m allergic to lemons (all citrus fruits, actually). Can I omit the juice or is there a replacement I can use? Thank you!

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