Sometimes, after trying a recipe, I think…well, hello, why haven’t I been making this for years! This Homemade Cherry Pie Filling was exactly that way. I’m not a big pie baker, and when I do bake a pie, it’s usually chocolate with meringue, so I guess that might be why I never really made my own.

But, that’s not to say that I haven’t used canned cherry pie filling many times, primarily for my absolute favorite flavor combination: chocolate and cherries for the most recent baking adventure… Black Forest Cupcakes!

One of the best things about making your own pie filling, besides making a yummy pie, of course, is that the pie filling can be used on many different dishes. Here are some we like…

homemade cherry pie filling on a table

Using canned cherries, makes this recipe easy to whip up any time of year, but you can certainly use fresh cherries as well, you will need to add juice though.

cherries on top of the cupcakes

And before I share the recipe, I just had to tempt you with these Black Forest Cupcakes!

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Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

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  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x


Cherry Pie Filling to use in desserts, on meat or even whipped into a milkshake. Recipe from


  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Oregon Pitted Cherries, dark sweet {you can also use tart cherries, just add more sugar to taste}
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract


  1. Drain cherries, reserving the liquid
  2. Add water to measure 1 1/4 cups, add to small saucepan
  3. Add cornstarch and sugar to saucepan, and heat, whisking occasionally until mixture comes to bubble and thickens.
  4. Continue whisking so no lumps form and filling is smooth
  5. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and almond extract, fold in cherries.
  6. Cool completely. Store leftovers in fridge


You can also use fresh cherries, you will need to add juice

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes


How Do You Make Cherry Pie Filling Taste Better?

One of the top ways to make cherry pie filling taste better is to add flavor extracts or dried spices. It will help you enhance the taste without boosting the sugar content. For example, you can add almond extract, vanilla extract, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and more.

What Are The Best Cherries For Homemade Cherry Pie Filling?

The best cherries for a pie filling are Amarelle cherries, and they are also the most popular. These cherries have yellow or clear flesh, and they are incredibly flavorful.

Can I Use Canned Cherries Instead Of Fresh For Cherry Pie Filling?

Yes, you can use canned cherries, as they prove to be a great substitute for fresh cherries. Keep in mind to rinse or drain the syrup from the can before you start making the cherry pie filling.

How Do You Thicken Cherry Pie Filling Without Cornstarch?

One of the best substitutes for cornstarch is all-purpose flour. You will find it in your pantry, and it can make the cherry pie filling thick with ease. However, you will have to use more of it as it is thinner than cornstarch.

Will Cherry Pie Filling Thicken As It Cooks?

As you cool the cherry pie filling, it will solidify because it takes time for the filling to cool down and thicken evenly. You must let it rest and cool down for a few hours.

How Do I Fix A Runny Pie Filling?

If your cherry pie filling is runny, you can use a teaspoon of cornstarch to fix it. The rule is to use a tsp of cornstarch for every cup of cherry that you have in the pie.

What Desserts Can I Make With Cherry Pie Filling?

You can make a lot of creative desserts with cherry pie filling. These include cherry pie bars, cherry crisp, cherry pie Danish, cherry pie filling dump cake, and much more. Just be sure to follow the guidelines for a perfect dessert.

How Long Does Cherry Pie Filling Last In The Fridge?

When you keep the cherry pie filling in the fridge, it will last for two days if you store it properly. We recommend that you cover the pie filling with plastic wrap not to let any air in. It will last a month in the freezer.

How Long Can You Leave Cherry Pie Filling At Room Temperature?

The cherry pie filling will last for two days at room temperature. Of course, if you want to store it for longer, you need to wrap it up and put it in a refrigerator to extend its life for two more days.

Should A Pie Filling Be Hot Or Cold Before Filling The Cherry Pie?

The cherry pie filling needs to be at room temperature and not cold before you fill the pie. That is because a cold filling will make it difficult for you to pack the pie.



  1. Beth Foster Reply

    Hi- Im afraid for me this has way too much almond extract. I used 2 cans of cherries and only put in 1.5 tsp, and all I can taste is almond. 🙁 Next time for my taste, I’ll do 1/4. Bummer that I lost 2 cans of expensive cherries. The consistency of the filling is great…we were going to use for hobo/campfire pies.

  2. Delia Papa Reply

    I just went cherry picking today so I don’t want to use canned. If I am using fresh cherries, how many ounces? do I boil them down with sugar and water? I ready something about adding juice (cherry juice, I’m guessing??, If so how much?

    Thank You!


  3. What should I do with the liquid drained off the canned cherries? Thank yo

    • Chef Reply

      Hi Connie,
      You can use the leftover juice to thin out your pie filling as needed or try one of these:
      -add it to a cocktail or make cherry lemonade
      -add it to your favorite meat marinade for a sweet fruity note
      -mix with vinegar and olive oil to make a vinaigrette for salads
      -use the liquid as a substitute for water when making oatmeal

      Happy cooking!


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