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.
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.
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 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:
Reduce the excess juice on the stove until it has thickened:
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.
Don’t Forget the Extras
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.Print
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.
- 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
- The crust: Prepare either pie crust recipe through step 5.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- 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.
- Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar, if using.
- 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.**
- 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.
- Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- 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.
- Special Tools: Cherry Pitter | Rolling Pin | Pie Dish | Pastry Blender | Pastry Brush
- 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