This cherry pie filling is made with fresh sweet cherries that are simmered with a little sugar for a thick and rich filling. Use your pie filling for baked goods, breakfast pastries, as an ice cream topping or in a parfait.

Cherry pie filling can be used in so many different ways! Aside from the classic cherry pie, I use my homemade filling to make cream cheese danishes and cherry bars which are both always a hit.

Cherry Pie Filling Recipe #pie #cherries #dessert #sweets #dinneratthezoo #summer Cherry Pie Filling Recipe #pie #cherries #dessert #sweets #dinneratthezoo #summer

Cherry pie filling inside of an unbaked pie crust.

There’s nothing better than a fresh cherry pie! Canned pie filling has its uses, but homemade cherry pie filling is SO much better than the store bought kind. This filling will take your homemade pies over the top, and everyone will be coming back for seconds.

How do you make cherry pie filling?

Cherry pie filling with fresh sweet cherries is surprisingly easy to make. All you have to do is pit some cherries and place them in a pot with water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch. Bring that mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for 8-10 minutes while stirring occasionally. When the filling has finished simmering, pour in a little vanilla extract and stir everything together. Cool the filling and serve it as a topping or use it in a pie.

Fresh cherries spread out on a sheet pan.

How to pit cherries

The easiest way to pit cherries with a cherry pitter. That’s what I use. Most cherry pitters cost less than $10 and are very easy to use. With many cherry pitters, you just place the cherry in the pitter and squeeze until the pit pops out.

If you don’t have a cherry pitter, you can push a skewer or a chopstick through a cherry to remove the seed. You can also remove the stem and insert the rounded end of a paperclip that is bent in an “S” shape in that hole to pull the pit out.

A bowl of pitted cherries.

Tips for cherry pie filling

  • Be careful not to overcook your pie filling – the cherries should mostly be intact, as they will continue to soften when baked inside a pie.
  • This recipe is written for sweet cherries, but will also work for sour cherries. If you’re using sour cherries, increase the sugar by 1/4 cup, or you can add even more than that if you prefer a sweeter filling.
  • You can store your pie filling in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. If you’re freezing the filling, you’ll want to thaw it before it’s added to a pie.
  • This recipe can be made with either fresh or frozen cherries. If you’re using frozen cherries, you’ll want to add 1 additional tablespoon of cornstarch, as frozen cherries will release more liquid than fresh cherries.
  • You can add other flavors to your pie filling such as almond extract or lemon zest. You can also make a mixed berry pie filling by using a blend of cherries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

Cooked cherries in a skillet.

Does cherry pie filling need to be refrigerated?

This filling needs to be refrigerated. Store your filling in a sealed jar or airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cherry pie filling in a mason jar.

Homemade cherry pie filling is leaps and bounds above canned pie filling. When you see how easy it is to make this delicious pie filling, you will want to pour it over every dessert.

More great cherry recipes

5 from 12 votes

Cherry Pie Filling

AuthorSara Welch
Cherry pie filling inside of an unbaked pie crust.
This cherry pie filling is made with fresh sweet cherries that are simmered with a little sugar for a thick and rich filling. Use your pie filling for baked goods, breakfast pastries, as an ice cream topping or in a parfait.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Serves 8


  • 6 cups sweet cherries pitted
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Place the cherries, water, lemon juice sugar and cornstarch in a large pot. Stir to combine.
  • Bring the cherry mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract. Cool, then serve, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


If you're using sour cherries, increase the sugar to 1 cup.


Calories: 154kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 230mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 8.3mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Recipe Rating


  1. It sounds great. Are the cherries placed in a pre-baked pie crust and what are the steps?
    Thank you.

    1. You do not have to pre-bake the crust for a standard double crust pie. You’d just add a top crust, brush with an egg wash and add a sprinkle of sugar, then bake at 375 degrees F for an hour.

  2. I’ve never made cherry pie filling from scratch and think I’ll give this a try while cherries are in season!

  3. 5 stars
    I don’t know why it never occurred to me before to try making my own cherry pie filling, but after trying this I am never going back to the canned stuff!

  4. 5 stars
    I love cherry pie filling! This is so delicious and easy to make, so much so that I wish it was easy to make homemade filling all year long, alas I’ll just make and enjoy it while I can!

  5. 5 stars
    Bring on all the cherries! Love this recipe so much; I can’t wait to make this over the weekend! I will impress my family, indeed!

  6. 5 stars
    I love how versatile this filling is. I would use it over ice cream or eat it straight from the jar.

    1. This looks amazi g and so simple to do. Wondering if I can use cherries that I froze and will I need to afjust water in recipe. Thanks Noelle