Homemade Cherry Pie Filling {Fresh or Frozen}


Learn how to make quick and easy homemade cherry pie filling recipe from scratch, with 6 simple ingredients. Can be used in pies, crumbles, cakes and more.

Today, I am showing you how to make my Mom’s recipe and it’s the best filling ever! There are only six ingredients, making it simple to whip up, and the perfect addition to this Easy Cherry Pie {With Homemade Pie Filling} and these Gooey Chocolate Cherry Brownies.

Easy Homemade Cherry Pie Filling With Fresh Cherries in Glass Jar

How to make easy cherry pie filling recipe from scratch with fresh cherries?

  1. Boil ingredients– Including cherries, water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.
  2. Reduce liquid– Until it becomes thick.
  3. Add remaining liquids– Vanilla and red food coloring.
  4. Cool– Then use in treats.

Key ingredients for best cherry filling

  • Cherries– Fresh is best.
  • Sugar– To sweeten the filling
  • Cornstarch– To thicken the filling.

How to make cherry pie filling better?

You can add various extracts, spices and zests to create a whole range of delicious flavors. Also, the longer this filling sits in the fridge, the flavor deepens and tastes even better.

How do you pit fresh cherries?

You can use special cherry pitter tools. They are cheap and easy to use.You can also use a chopstick or straw and push the seed out through the center.

Which type of cherry is considered ideal for pie fillings?

Sour cherries or tart cherries are used  in pies and baking, in general. However, sweet cherries can be used but since they are naturally sweeter, you would have to adjust the amount of sugar accordingly.

Should I thaw frozen cherries for pie?

No, this is not necessary at all.

Is canned pie filling already cooked? 

Yes, it has already been cooked and can be eaten without heating.

Ways to use cherry pie filling

  • Tarts
  • Galettes
  • Crumbles
  • Cobblers
  • Crisps
  • Bars
  • Cakes
  • Cupcakes
  • Puff pastries
  • Crepe, waffle or pancake filling or topping
  • Pies
  • Scone topping
  • Ice cream topping
  • Trifles
  • Yogurt topping
  • Cheesecake topping
Homemade Cherry Filling in Glass Jar on Green Leaf


Make it without cornstarch– You can use Clear Jel instead of cornstarch OR you can also use tapioca flour.

Make it with canned cherries– Use the same quantity of canned cherries. Make sure they are unsweetened and drain the liquid.

Make it with frozen cherries– Use the same quantity of frozen cherries. You will have to cook them a little longer so as to reduce the liquid and make the filling thick.

Make it with maraschino cherries– Use same quantity of maraschino cherries but be sure to drain the liquid/cherry juice. I am not particularly fond of this cherry filling flavor.

Make it with tapioca– You can use tapioca powder instead of cornstarch to thicken the filling. Use it as a 1 to 1 substitution ratio.

Add it to a black forest cake– You can use this for other cakes too as a scrumptious filling.

Add zests– Such as a little lemon or orange zest to give this filling a zesty kick.

Add spices– Such as a 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder to give it a subtle spiced flavor.

Try another extract– Such as almond. I love almond extract with cherries!

Tips and techniques

How to make filling more tart? You can add less sugar, add some lemon juice or use really tart cherries.

How to make filling from dried cherries? Yikes! This does not yield good results and I don’t recommend it.

Can I can this? Yes, this is a great canning recipe, if you are into canning.

What to do if you are not fond of pitting cherries because it is messy? Use frozen pitted cherries. It’s faster too!

How to sweeten filling? You can add more sugar.

I like to add some red food coloring– Because it makes the color even more vibrant but this is optional.

Make sure you are using a non-stick pan– Because this prevents the filling from sticking and burning.

How to thicken filling? This filling will thicken a bit more, as it’s cooling down. Adding a little more cornstarch can help but can alter the flavor or make it super gooey.

How to thin? Simply add more water.

How much does this make? This filling is enough for a 9 inch pie.

Closeup Shot of Red Pie Filling in Glass Jar

Storage of homemade pie filling

Refrigerate– In a sealed container or jar for up to 5 days.

Freeze–  In a sealed freezer bag for up to 1 month.

More pies and fillings recipes

Easy Homemade Cherry Pie Filling With Fresh Cherries in Glass Jar
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Easy Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Learn how to make quick and easy homemade cherry pie filling recipe from scratch, with 6 simple ingredients. Can be used in pies, crumbles, cakes and more.
Yield: 6 Servings



  • In a non-stick saucepan, add cherries, water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch and cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook and for 10 minutes, while stirring, until it becomes thick and liquid is reduced.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and red food coloring.
  • Let it cool down and then use it in pies, tarts, cakes e.t.c. Enjoy!


  • Read all my tips above.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container or jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Leftovers can also be frozen in sealed freezer bags for up to 1 month. 


Calories: 189kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 306mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 40g, Vitamin A: 90IU, Vitamin C: 11.6mg, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 0.5mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 189
Author: Abeer Rizvi

20 comments on “Homemade Cherry Pie Filling {Fresh or Frozen}”

  1. Very Good! Used it for Black Forest Cupcakes5 stars

  2. This recipe is delicious!  Used fresh cherries and also decided to add about a tablespoon of butter at the end for a little more silkiness, cooked it for two minutes longer.  Can’t wait to use it for hand pies.5 stars

  3. Awesome recipe. Followed every step. Made with Michigan sweet cherries. YUM5 stars

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