This Homemade Cherry Filling is made with just 4 ingredients. Perfect for cherry pie or cheesecake or as a topping on ice cream sundaes and more.
Making homemade pies from scratch doesn’t need to be hard and this cherry filling proves it! All you need is cherries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and water to make the best cherry pie filling you’ve ever tried. Bake it in a homemade pie crust and you have a dessert worthy of any holiday dessert table.
The best part is that this fresh cherry pie filling takes just 20 minutes to make and there are no difficult or complicated steps. You can whip it up anytime!
But don’t limit yourself to just pie. This cherry filling is the perfect topping for cheesecakes, ice cream sundaes, yogurt parfaits, and more.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cherries – Fresh sweet cherries make the best cherry pie filling!
- Sugar – Balances out the tart flavor of the cherries and sweetens the filling.
- Lemon juice – Freshly squeezed is best but bottled will work in a pinch. It enhances the other flavors in the cherry filling.
- Cornstarch – Thickens the filling.
- Optional add-ins – If desired, you can add vanilla extract, almond extract, or a pinch of cinnamon for extra flavor. Almond extract will add a stronger cherry flavor to the pie filling.
Tips for Picking & Storing Fresh Cherries
When selecting fresh cherries at a store or off the tree for your cherry filling, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Color. You want to select cherries with a deep red color and bright green stem.
- Texture. The cherries should be firm and smooth. Wrinkles indicate that the cherries are not the freshest.
- Stem. If the stem is flexible, it’s a sign that the cherries have been picked recently.
Once you get the cherries home, refrigerate them immediately. A glass bowl is best. If you want to rinse them first, be sure to dry them off completely. While some retailers keep cherries at room temperature, the fridge is the best way to keep them fresh.
How to Make Homemade Cherry Filling
To make cherry pie filling with fresh cherries, begin by washing and pitting the cherries.
Combine the cherries, lemon juice, and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the cherries cook for about 3 minutes.
Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch and water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot and stir. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cherries have released their juices and softened and the sauce has thickened.
Remove the pot from heat and cool to room temperature before storing or using.
Ways To Use Cherry Pie Filling
The most obvious way to use this cherry filling is, of course, to make a homemade cherry pie. All you need is this homemade cherry pie filling and this pie crust recipe for a show-stopping dessert.
Fresh Cherry Pie Filling FAQs
Fresh sweet cherries make the best cherry filling. You can also use tart cherries but you may want to increase the amount of sugar in the recipe.
Yes, but you will need to boil them for a bit longer. Frozen cherries have a higher water content than fresh cherries, so if you don’t boil it enough then you’ll have a runny filling.
You probably didn’t add enough cornstarch and/or the cherries were extra juicy. All you’ll need to do is add a few minutes to the boil time or add a bit more cornstarch to the mixture. (Just always combine the cornstarch with water first!)
Homemade cherry pie filling will last for about 5 days in the fridge, in an airtight container. A glass jar with a lid is perfect.
Or once completely cooled you can freeze the cherry filling for up to 4 months. Let thaw in the fridge before using.
Depending on how you want to use it, you may want to reheat it gently on the stovetop so that it regains the glossy texture.
More Desserts To Try
- 5 cups fresh sweet cherries
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- Wash and pit the cherries
- Add the cherries, lemon juice, and sugar to a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 3 minutes.
- In a cup, mix the cornstarch with the water to remove any lumps. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot and stir. Reduce the heat to low an continue simmering for 5-7 minutes or until the cherries have released their juices and softened and the sauce has thickened.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let cool to room temperature before storing or using.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.