Sweet Cherry Pie with Toasted Almonds

Here’s how to make a classic fresh cherry pie completely from scratch. Add a little sprinkle of toasted almonds to amp up the flavor!

cherry pie in a glass pie dish with toasted almonds on top

Happy almost 4th of July!! I’m taking this seriously patriotic time of year as an excuse to get down to business in the kitchen and bake up some all American classics.

When summer hits, I rush to my rolling pin in delight. “It’s time for fruit pie! It’s time for fruit pie!” I don’t say to myself. But you know. I’m really excited. The first pie I make every season is apple pie. Runner up is cherry. Cherry pie always makes an appearance on my table in July. There’s no denying the indulgence of this brightly-hued delicacy. In fact, it’s one of summer’s finest rewards.

Cherries are in their peak season right now and rather than eating them by the fistful as per the usual, try today’s recipe.

slice of cherry pie on a white plate with a fork

For a complete pie dough guide, check out my favorite pie crust. This page has all the information and tips you need to become a PRO at pie crust this summer.

Thanks to the short ingredient list, this homemade cherry pie filling is a cinch to prepare.

Start with cherries. You can use sweet or sour cherries, just adjust the sugar in the filling as needed. I always use sweet cherries and around 2/3 cup of sugar. This makes the filling just sweet enough; a squeeze of fresh lemon juice balances things out and adds flavorful depth.

pitted and halved cherries in a green bowl

As Cooking Illustrated Baking Book (bible) suggests, I cut my cherries in half when making a from-scratch cherry pie filling. Why? This encourages the cherries to soften and release their juice. Prior to slicing in half, use a cherry pitter (the one I own) to fish out all those pits. And make your husband do it. Haha? Uh, his reward can be cherry pie.

A splash of vanilla extract adds flavor to the filling while cornstarch thickens it up.

Something Unusual

You might notice a few smashed raspberries in that bowl. Your eyes are not deceiving you. I add a small handful of a juicy fruit, like raspberries or sliced strawberries, to “fill in the gaps” between all the rounded cherry halves. It’s optional, but I find the filling is much more compact with this small addition. Try it, it totally works.

cherry pie filling in a pie dish

A lattice pie crust shouldn’t intimidate you! It actually comes together rather quickly: using a pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or a sharp knife, cut strips of your pie dough 1/2 – 1 inch wide. Carefully thread the strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. For this pictured pie, I used my trusty fluted pastry wheel (similar one here) to cut the pie dough strips. Pretty stuff, right?

Here is my full tutorial on how to lattice pie crust.

lattice pie crust on top of cherry pie

latticing pie crust on top of cherry pie

And now the best part. Drumroll please…

Sliced almonds!! A sprinkling of Diamond of California sliced almonds on top turns the pie’s flavor profile up a notch. As the pie bakes, the almonds become toasty and even more crunchy. If you’re a texture freak like I am, you will LOVE this addition.

They’re the “cherry” on top. Get it? Get it?

cherry pie with lattice pie dough and topped with toasted almonds before baking

“The best pie I’ve ever had” was the reply I got from my friend after dropping off a few leftover slices. No argument necessary. This is the cherry pie of your dreams.

Oh. You don’t dream about cherry pie?

overhead image of cherry pie with toasted almonds

Print
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cherry pie in a glass pie dish with toasted almonds on top

Sweet Cherry Pie with Toasted Almonds

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours, 50 minutes
  • Yield: one 9-inch pie
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Here’s how to make a classic fresh cherry pie completely from scratch. Add a little sprinkle of toasted almonds to amp up the flavor!


Ingredients

  • Homemade Pie Crust (my recipe makes 2 crusts; 1 for bottom 1 for top)
  • 4 cups halved pitted fresh cherries*
  • 1/2 cup (38g) fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries*
  • 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup (100-150g) 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, lightly beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
  • 1/3 cup (28g) sliced almonds
  • optional: coarse sugar for garnish

Instructions

  1. The crust: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5.
  2. Make the filling: In a large bowl using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the cherries, raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract together until thoroughly combined. Set filling aside as the oven preheats. This gives the filling a chance to rest.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  4. 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 some of the leftover juices in the bottom of the bowl. Dot the pieces of butter on top of the filling.
  5. 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 1/2 – 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. Crimp the edges with a fork, if desired. (Alternatively, you can simply cover the filling with the 12-inch pie dough circle. Cut slits in the top to form steam vents. Trim and crimp the edges.)
  6. Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg/milk mixture. Sprinkle the top with almonds and a little coarse sugar, if using.
  7. 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.
  8. 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: This a great pie to make 1 day in advance since it is so juicy – the filling will have time to “set” overnight. 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 freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving. Prepared filling can be frozen up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
  2. Special Tools: Pastry cutter for crust, cherry pitterpastry wheelpie crust shield
  3. Cherries: Pre-pitting and slicing, this is a little under 2 lbs of fresh cherries. Measure 4 cups after slicing in half. Use sour or sweet cherries, just adjust the sugar according to the sweetness of them. I use sweet cherries in their peak season and 2/3 cup of granulated sugar. You can also use frozen cherries. Thaw completely before using and make sure you discard the juice in step 4.
  4. Berries: The very small amount of an additional fruit like raspberries or sliced strawberries helps to “fill in the gaps” between all the rounded cherry halves. Try it!

Keywords: cherry pie, sweet cherry pie

slice of cherry pie on a blue floral plate with a fork

28 Comments

  1. Hi Sally! Have you ever tried freezing the fresh cherries prior to making the filling? The ice crystals that form help break down the structure of the fruit so they give up their juices easier and cook down easier. The pie looks and sounds amazing!

    1. Interesting! I need to try it! Thanks Laura.

  2. I made this for our BBQ yesterday and was told “the is the best pie that I’ve ever had!”

    Thanks for sharing, Sally!

  3. Sally – This pie looks absolutely delicious.  I was wondering if the recipe can be made exactly as is except substitute cherries with peaches.  

  4. Could I use blackberry instead of raspberry?

    1. Definitely.

  5. Could I use frozen cherries? As they aren’t in season in Australia at the moment. 

    1. Yes. Thaw completely before using and make sure you discard the juice in step 4.

  6. Natalie Munroe says:

    Cherry pie has always been my least favorite kind–the cherry filling was always so gloopy and gross and I couldn’t imagine how anyone would like it. But when I saw this post a couple days ago, it looked so nice I thought maybe I’ve been missing something and should try it out. Bonus: cherries were on sale at the market.

    My husband was dubious as he’s never had a good cherry pie either. I said, “Look, maybe we always had the junk from the can. This one is made with fresh cherries, and those I love. I want to taste what a quality cherry pie tastes like. It’s a Sally recipe so we know it’s good. But if we don’t like this one, we can say honestly it’s just not our thing.” I pitted those cherries by hand (a pitter is one of the few tools I don’t own) and added some fresh strawberries like you suggested to fill up the spaces (what a clever tip) and topped it with the almond slivers (great addition) and I had a slice for dessert. And what do you know? Turns out I DO like cherry pie! I had a second slice just to make sure. 😉 Thanks for another winning recipe. I may’ve doubted cherry pie, but I didn’t doubt YOU for a minute.

    1. Ahhhh I’m so happy that this pie made you realize that you like cherry pie. So much better than that bright red canned gooey cherry pie filling! Thanks Natalie!

  7. I made this exactly as written, using your pie crust recipe and it was AMAZING…I posted a picture on Instagram and linked your site to it…it was the best pie I ever had!

  8. We tried this the other day and it was overall really good 😀
    Since I’m gluten free and I forgot to add xantham gum to the pastry :/, the crust turned out quite crumbly and turned almost ash grey at the edges (???). However the taste was still amazing, I loved the idea of adding other berries to fill out the filling!
    Can’t wait to try this again, this time with xantham gum in the crust!
    Thanks for the amazing recipe and best wishes from the UK x

  9. This pie is absolutely amazing… I highly recommend it. I made it for Christmas 2015 the day before and left it in the fridge overnight to set. It’s very easy to make and Sally’s instructions and very clear and helpful! Everybody loved it. Thanks, Sally 🙂

  10. I made this pie AND your amazing pie crust recipe last night and everyone loved it! The almonds made for a nice addition as well as gave it a beautiful presentation. My filling was slightly more than I would have liked but that’s just baker error. Will definitely make this again! I’m currently making a few batches of your pie crust to stockpile in the freezer for future pies and quiches! Thanks for never disappointing Sally!

  11. Holy wow, Sally, this pie and your crust are both winners! I found a fruit vendor selling luscious sweet cherries, and to me that says PIE. Even my friend who normally doesn’t like sweets loved this pie. Now she wants me to make her one to take to a family gathering! Keep the recipes coming, your blog is now my go-to when I feel like baking something new.

  12. Hi Sally,
    I would like to make this pie for Easter next week. I have a vintage 12 inch ceramic pie plate with a lid. Should I use 1 and half of the filling or double it?
    Never made a pie, this sounds good!
    Thank you!

    1. 1 and 1/2 should be plenty. Enjoy!

  13. michelle brown says:

    Hi Sally! thanks so much for this post, i am super excited to make my first no apple pie with amazing california cherries i just picked this week!

    my plan is to have the pie after tomorrow night, but planning to make the pie tonight.. you mention that its a great pie to make a day in advance, great! my question though, is how best to store it tonight/tomorrow until we are ready to eat it? fridge? counter? freezer?

    Thanks!!
    Michelle

    1. Refrigerator is best! (But room temperature– covered tightly– works too)

  14. Nancy Carlson says:

    If I wanted to replace the cornstarch with tapioca flour would that work.
    If so how much would I use?
    Thank you.  What a great idea!!

    1. Though I haven’t tested it this way, I’d use about 1/3 – 1/2 cup tapioca flour instead.

  15. Jennifer Gregg says:

    Tried this pie and it was very good!! Used fresh cherries
    According to recipe. Cherries were a little crunchy when  pie was done. Any suggestions to get them softer. 

    Jennifer

  16. Hi Sally! I want to make a peach-cherry pie. Do you think the other ingredients/flavored (namely, the almond extract) in this recipe would work well with half peaches? Or should I follow a peach pie recipe and add some cherries in? I’m thinking of doing 60/40 peach/cherries. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Andrea! I would follow the peach pie recipe and sub in some cherries. Enjoy!

  17. My daughter and I made this pie (with the pie crust recipe!) for my dad for his 75th birthday; cherry pie is his favorite. He loved it, and it was a big hit with the whole crowd, even people who don’t like most cherry pies.
    Since it is winter we had to use frozen cherries- 1 sweet and 1 tart- and had strawberries on hand, it was fantastic. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  18. I always use Minute Tapioca for pie thickening. It’s not as sticky and really allows the fruit flavor to be front and center.

  19. Michelle D Lang says:

    I have 5!! Cherry trees and am always looking for recipes. This is the best pie I’ve ever made. Sorry Mom.

  20. Recipe was really easy to follow! Made your pie crust and used canned cherries cos frozen Cherries are hard to come by in Singapore! Forgot to place the butter before i baked but still came out extra delicious!

    Off to try another one of your recipes! You never let me down with your step by step tutorial and explanations!

    THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME FEEL LIKE A MASTER CHEF!!!

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