Home-made Cherry Pie Filling

There was a time, when I was a youngster, I didn’t like cherry pie. Or pretty much cherry anything. I couldn’t really “get it” because I love cherries. If you’ve noticed the same thing, this is going to rock your world.

Cherry Pie Filling

It wasn’t until a neighbor dropped off a huge paper grocery bag of cherries that I figured out what was going on. Seriously, I was like 20, but even then I wasn’t going to waste something. I pitted all those cherries by hand with a knife, cooked them slightly, added some sugar and froze them.

When I made a cherry pie with them, it was an absolute revelation! It was amazing. l loved it and everyone else did, too. Turns out it wasn’t cherry pie I didn’t like – it was the  “cherry pie filling” that people used.

I was recently faced with cherries about to go bad (I got excited when I saw them at the store and over bought – oh cherries I missed you all winter!) and I decided I wanted to make Cherry Cheesecake Bars. The recipe calls for Cherry Pie Filling, so I made my own. It’s easier than you’d think.

Cherry Cheesecake Bars

I’ve learned a few lessons over the years:

  • If you want your cherries to be slightly cooked, you’ll have to simmer them before adding the cornstarch.
  • Most of the filling recipes are based on canning recipes and require a certain amount of sugar. If you’re just cooking some up to use, the amount of sugar is up to you. Sour cherries may need more sugar than sweet.
  • If you wish to multiply to portion & freeze, make the filling but don’t add the cornstarch. It doesn’t hold up when frozen. Add in the cornstarch after thawing and bring to a boil for a quick minute.
  • Do get a cherry pitter – a little hand-held one is cheap and if you don’t want purple fingers, use a pair of medical type or food service gloves.
Cherry Pie Filling

Cherry Pie Filling

  • Servings: makes abt 4 cups
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • about 2 pounds fresh cherries, about 4 cups pitted
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, water, lemon juice and sugar.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for several minutes or until cherries are at desired doneness.

Add cornstarch mixed with a little water and bring to a boil. The filling will thicken almost immediately.

Remove from heat, cool slightly and add the extract.

May be used as a topping or a pie filling. Keeps well for several days in the refrigerator, If stored too long, it may get watery.

Yield: 2 cups is about the same as a 21 ounce can of pie filling.

adapted from taste of home


I’ll be bringing this recipe to Fiesta Friday 178. Stop by and see all the fun posts and recipes (hint: you may find something for the 4th of July) and stop back on Tuesday to vote for you favorites.

11 thoughts on “Home-made Cherry Pie Filling”

  1. The first cherry I have tasted was the one on top of a sundae and I told myself ‘no to cherries’… until I get to taste fresh cherries & I loved them. And I am sure I am going to love this pie filling. 😀 Thanks for sharing, Mollie & happy Fiesta Friday!

      1. That was the reason why I tried them at first. So when I am asked now if I want cherry on top, I get this ‘Thanks, but not thanks’ face. Haha!

  2. Wish I’d had this recipe yesterday. I did a cherry recipe myself and the homemade cherry filling would have been perfect! This looks delicious! Take a look at my blog post, if you’d like. I’d love your opinion on it.

  3. I’ve always loved cherry pie filling. It’s the blueberry that I had to rediscover after thinking I didn’t like it for years. I think I had a bland/tasteless blueberry pie once that turned me off it.

    A bit of maple syrup added to the filling is a surprisingly delicious touch.

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