Homemade Cherry Pie

slice of cherry pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a silver plate with a fork

Today is all about the summertime essential. And no, I’m not talking about sunscreen. Though sun safety is equally as important as dessert, right?

Anyway. We’re all making a big ol’ cherry pie.

  • Zero canned filling.
  • Zero store-bought pie crust.

All from scratch because YOU CAN DO THIS.

cherry pie in a glass pie dish

I love baking pie. You already know this. But this wasn’t always the case. Up until 4 years ago, baking pie from scratch was foreign to me. Something for the bakeries, certainly not me. Pie crust? Forget about it. Homemade filling? Nope. It’s all too complicated and scary.

But guess what? Baking pie is nothing to fear. In fact, after having lots of practice, I now think of baking pie as my own little cheap therapy session. Something about mixing that pie dough by hand, rolling it all out, making cute pie crust designs, and smelling that glorious fresh-baked pie in the oven is therapeutic for me. It’s my me time and something I enjoy doing just because. No other baked good gives me the content satisfaction that pie does. Plus it tastes pretty awesome no matter which flavor is on the menu. (Apple Pie, anyone?!)

And that’s why I wanted to share this cherry pie recipe with you. Out of all pie flavors and varieties, I feel like cherry pie is where most depend on canned filling. Which is certainly delicious and convenient! But that’s the challenge– making it with fresh cherries.

See how approachable it is in this quick video!

cherries on a wood cutting board with a cherry pitter

cherry pie filling in a glass bowl

Which Cherries to Use

The cherry filling can be made with your favorite cherry variety. I chose a mix of rainier cherries and dark sweet cherries. You can use all rainier or all dark sweet– or if you opt for sour cherries, add a little extra sugar. See my recipe note below.

Pitting Cherries is Definitely the Pits

You’ll need to pit your cherries and if you feel like spending 3 hours doing this without a pitter, go right ahead. But let me tell you– you will save so much time (and headache!!!) using a cherry pitter.

What Else?

Not much goes into the filling besides sweet cherries. Some sugar and cornstarch to sweeten and thicken, respectively. Since we use enough cornstarch for stability, this homemade cherry pie is the perfect amount of juicy. It’s solid enough that you’ll be able to cut some gorgeous slices, but still tender and oh-so-juicy. Also inside? A squeeze of lemon juice, a bit of vanilla, and my favorite addition of all: almond extract. Cherry and almond extract are a power flavor duo!! A pairing you most certainly need to try in this homemade cherry pie.

pie dough rolled into a circle with a wood rolling pin

I encourage you to use a quality pie dough and recommend my dependable pie crust recipe. As the base of pie, pie crust is in every single bite. So it’s pretty important to use a pie crust recipe that not only WORKS, but tastes pretty epic as well.

My recipe makes 2 pie crusts: one for the bottom and one for the top. I wrote and filmed an entire tutorial on this buttery flaky pie crust a couple years ago. Warning: that’s a very long post! But it discusses common questions, issues, and solutions for making pie crust from scratch. A must read if pie crust intimidates you!

latticing pie dough on top of cherry pie filling

I made a simple lattice pie crust design, but decorate the pie however you’d like.

Don’t Forget the Extras!

Butter: Dot the pie filling with little cubes of butter before baking. Why? Um, because butter is delicious. No but seriously, a little butter enriches the flavor of the pie filling. And it also helps prevent the formation of lots of bubbles on the surface of the filling.

Egg wash: The egg wash is brushed on top of the pie crust. Do you know the point of an egg wash? It’s to help develop a gold brown crust. Without it, the pie crust will brown but will look quite dull and lackluster. An egg wash, which is a mix of milk and egg, creates that golden sheen and even gives the crust a little extra crisp flavor.

Coarse sugar: Because doesn’t everything deserve a little sparkle?! You can totally skip the coarse sugar but I’m partial to sparkly pies. 🙂

cherry pie with lattice pie crust before baking

Marbles and speckles of butter in the homemade pie dough = layers and layers and layers of flakiness!! I promise you don’t get this level of flakiness with store-bought.

Bake the pie until golden brown. I prefer to use a glass pie dish so I can see when the sides/bottom of the pie crust are browning. Whichever pie dish you use, the pie will take about an hour. The downside? Waiting for the cherry pie to cool.

But it’s all so worth it. You’ll see!

cherry pie in a glass pie dish with a slice removed with a pie server

slice of cherry pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a silver plate with a fork

Print
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slice of cherry pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a silver plate with a fork

Homemade Cherry Pie

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

Description

Homemade cherry pie features a buttery flaky pie crust and juicy cherry filling.


Ingredients

  • Homemade Pie Crust (my recipe makes 2 crusts; 1 for bottom 1 for top)
  • 4 and 1/2 cups halved pitted fresh cherries*
  • 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 (it’s delicious!)
  • 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. My #1 tip? Keep the dough, filling, and prepared (unbaked) pie as cold as you can at all times. Refrigerate (or freeze) the prepared pie before baking for up to 1 hour. Refrigerate the filling before you need it. Keep everything cold cold cold– always.
  2. The crust: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5.
  3. Make the filling: In a large bowl, stir the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract together until thoroughly combined. Set filling aside in the refrigerator as the oven preheats. This gives the filling a chance to rest.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  5. 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. Spoon the filling into the crust and discard any leftover juices in the bottom of the bowl. Dot the pieces of butter on top of the filling.
  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. (See video above!) 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, if desired.
  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 30-35 minutes. After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I place a pie crust shield on top of the pie to prevent the edges from browning too quickly.
  9. Allow the pie to cool for 3 full hours at room temperature before serving. This time allows the filling to thicken up. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead / Freezing Instructions: A couple ways to make ahead of time! Make 1 day in advance– after it 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 fillings can also be frozen up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
  2. Special Tools: Cherry Pitter | Rolling Pin | Pie Dish | Pastry Blender | Pastry BrushEat Dessert First Fork
  3. Cherries: You can use any variety of cherries (about 1.5 lbs)– I use a combination of dark sweet and rainier. If using sour cherries, increase sugar to 3/4 or 1 cup depending how sweet you like it. I do not suggest using frozen cherries. The filling will turn out quite liquid-y and soupy.

slices of cherry pie on silver plates with forks

234 Comments

  1. OMG made this and the crust for 4th of July. It was absolutely the best pie and crust I’ve ever had. Thank you! It was perfect.

  2. Kathrine Johnson says:

    We made this recipe and it had fantastic flavor but the filling was very runny and made the bottom crust quite soggy. We love your other pies so we were surprised that it was so liquidy. Is there anything we can do to prevent this in the future?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katherine, You can blind bake the crust to ensure that it won’t be overly soggy. If you try it again, drain the juice a bit before adding to the pie crust. I hope this helps!

      1. I’ve tried different pie crust recipes through the years and your flaky pie crust is the best!!!!
        My husband loves your sour cherry pie! It’s his favorite! Thank you so much❤️

  3. I have tried all my life to make a decent pie crust to no avail with everything from a concrete crust to a sponge crust until I tried your recipe. It is amazing and so is the fresh cherry pie recipe. So glad I found you website and thanks for the great recipes.

  4. Dianne Johnson says:

    My son, a traveling nurse just sent me some cherries and by Gods blessings I found your recipe, I’m 76 years old and up to now had not made a good pie really liked them, because my husband loves pie I gave it a try. A great and easy crust – I’m hooked and anxious to look at your recipes, The pie was not runny and the crust was flaky – oh I forget I did use 1/2 vodka, 1/2 ice water – I did say I’m 76 (77 in Aug) – still 76

  5. Turned out great. I used an oversized Pyrex pie dish so I probably could have rolled out the (store bought dough) base layer a little more but I did for top. I baked base for 10 min anyway, no rice weight. I did not do lattice but I did add the butter and pricked with a fork plus added egg wash. Oh I forgot, I added 3 cups cherries……LOVED IT! Was too lazy to make dough..LOL

  6. First time making a cherry pie with fresh cherries. This one was simple and delicious- worth the extra time of pitting all of those cherries. I loved the use of almond extract. I used the pie crust recipe that was linked and that turned out great as well. Thank you!

  7. Marcel Lamoureux says:

    Good morning Sally.

    I made this cherry pie yesterday and also used your all butter pie dough recipe and it was incredible. My one concern was the juices in the pie while cutting it. I’ve done a bit of research online and some say that tapioca flour added to the mix could work. Do you recommend this?

  8. Awesome recipe! Thanks so much! My only substitutions were using 1/3 cup of flour instead of cornstarch, and my own shortcrust pastry recipe. Husband said it was the best pie ever! I’ve got it written down for next cherry season, thanks again!

  9. First time ever making a pie from scratch and it came out great despite my trepidation. Thanks, sally, your recipes are not just amazing, they’ve given this pastry neophyte the confidence to keep making pies.

  10. suzanne O'Brien says:

    It came out very runny and too sweet for my personal taste

  11. Are you supposed to use or discard the juices that come off the cherries while they are macerating? It’s confusing to me, since on the one hand they would contain good stuff like the vanilla and almond extract, and cornstarch, but on the other I would imagine they could make the filling soupy.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ro, When you spoon the filling into the crust you will discard any leftover juices in the bottom of the bowl, you don’t want them in your pie or it could be too soggy.

  12. Melanie Peter says:

    Is there any way to reduce the juices from bubbling up onto the crust?

  13. Finally a cherry pie filling that completely gels up. Every summer I buy a 22 lb tub of pitted fresh Door County Cherries and they are so juicy, even though I drain them first, my pie always comes out a little runny. This year I finally ditched my aunt’s filling recipe and tried yours, with great success. After reading your tips, I actually let the pie sit overnight to make sure it was completely cooled. As always, I used my favorite Martha Stewart Pate Brisee recipe because I prefer all butter crust. I served the pie a la mode with homemade sour cherry ice cream. Perfection!

  14. Absolutely great recipe! First Pie I ever made, followed the dough and filling recipe precisely, and it came out delicious. Beginners luck I suppose but didn’t even get a “soggy bottom” as mister Bruno Feldeisen would say. Would recommend to anyone!

  15. First timer here and OMG, this cherry pie was off the hook. I opted for a store bought dough this time though, but the filling…. just omg. I cant stop thinking about it. It was perfection with the almond extract, when I tasted it, i was like “how did she know….”
    Anyway, thank you for a magical recipe!

  16. Gretchen Thomas says:

    Can you use frozen cherries Gret

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Unfortunately we do not suggest using frozen cherries.WeI found the filling turns out quite liquid-y and soupy.

  17. Hi. Can I use canned cherries?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ami, Canned cherries are packed in a very sugary syrup so we recommend sticking to fresh for this particular recipe.

  18. A little trick I use for frozen fruit. Thaw on the counter, and then I toss it in a salad spinner and spin the excess juice out. It takes care of the excess juice without squishing the fruit.

  19. I’m wanting to make this as a mini pie (5.5 inch). How would I downsize the filling to match the pie pan?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We haven’t tested this as a mini pie, but you can try cutting the filling recipe in half. Let us know if you try it!

  20. Don’t understand positive reviews. Crust awesome but pie terrible. There was no “filling” to gel just bunch of cherries. Was not sweet enough and didn’t taste as if cherries were cooked. I followed directions exactly. Will keep looking for GOOD recipe.

  21. I would love to make this pie, but the only cherries I have at the moment are dark morello cherries in a jar. Do you know if these are okay to use? Do I need to drain them out of the syrup/juice?

    1. Hi Lucy, you could use those but they’re softer than fresh cherries. Drain them, then use in the filling. You may want to use more than 4 and 1/2 cups to beef up the filling because they’ll cook down a lot. For best results, however, I recommend using fresh.

  22. Please help! I know in the notes of the recipe you don’t recommend using frozen cherries but my family is asking for homemade cherry pie for thanksgiving! Obviously cherries are not in season so frozen cherries are my only option. Could you think of a way to make those work? You would be a life saver!!!

  23. Going to make this as well as other pie recipes from your site for Thanksgiving! can’t wait!!!

  24. I love your website- your recipes never fail me! I made this for Thanksgiving and even though you don’t recommend frozen cherries they were all we could find. I completely defrosted them and drained them well. Then I added the cherries and sugar to a sauce pan and heated until bubbly – about 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile I combined the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a small bowl. After the cherries/sugar were bubbling I added the cornstarch/lemon juice mixture and stirred continuously until thickened – about 2 minutes. I removed the cherry mixture from the heat & added the vanilla & almond extracts. I left it to cool, made the pie crust dough & refrigerated both the crust & pan of filling overnight. The next day I assembled & baked – the pie was a Thanksgiving hit! Everyone loved it… the best homemade cherry pie we’ve ever had! Thank you for your wonderful recipes!

  25. Rated best cherry pie in the world by my grandchildren! Thanks for the recipe.

  26. Was very nervous as I have never made a pie let alone my own pastry. Followed the recipe precisely (note to self will get pastry cutter next time!) and made sure to drain the cherries well. Base and crust was perfect- filling was amazing. Was an absolute hit thank you !

  27. Hi Sally! I have never come back to a website to leave a review of a recipe but I saw in one of your videos that you love hearing from us. I recently made this recipe with your pie crust as well. I made it for Christmas and everyone loved it! I ended up not having enough cherries (i used frozen dark sweet- thawed them in water and squeezed them out.) I only had about two cups after draining them so I added my frozen mixed berries. It was a fantastic variation and I recommend trying it with mixed berries as well as cherries! I also added half as much sugar since I used sweet cherries. Thank you for sharing your talent with the world. 🙂

  28. Made this pie with the all butter pastry.
    100% recommended.
    No soggy bottoms here!
    Perfect amount of sweetness in the pie.

  29. Read and followed the steps in the instructions, same result as one of the other comments – no gooey filling, just cherries in water. Maybe don’t lead with refrigerating the pie for an hour before putting it in the oven, since those are several steps (and screen scrolls) apart. That’s the only thing I can think of that ruined this. Or perhaps it was the corn starch discarded in the juices of the filling mix. Anyway, total bummer and waste of time.

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