Cherry Pie Filling Recipe From Scratch (with Fresh Cherries)

This delicious homemade cherry pie filling started as a creation to celebrate our marriage and is now cherished throughout the year. With only 6 wholesome ingredients, the fresh cherries get a chance to shine through.

Adding a little cane sugar helps draw out the cherry juices and a squeeze of lemon brightens the flavor profile. To finish it off, add the filling to a homemade sourdough pie crust and you’ve got the perfect dessert for any occasion.

large cherry pie in a dish
Source: Plum Branch Home

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If I had to choose a pie flavor, the cherry would be my favorite. I not only love the taste of cherries, which I get from my mom, but also the memories it brings. Growing up my family had fruit trees on our hobby farm. Within the trees, we had a cherry tree, and every time I take a bite of cherry pie my mind goes to those summer days back home.

Recipe Inspiration

When I met my husband, we quickly discovered our mutual love for cherry pie, and it felt like a sign that he was the one! For our 3rd wedding anniversary, I created this cherry pie filling recipe to celebrate our special day. Every bite of this filling reminds us of our early days together making it even more special to share with you all. As with all my Plum Branch Home recipes, I prioritize wholesome, natural ingredients, and this cherry pie filling contains only 6 simple, non-artificial ingredients.

Why You’ll Love This Cherry Pie Filling

  • Pie filling is made with fresh cherries
  • The sourdough crust gives this pie gut health benefits
  • All wholesome ingredients, no fake or artificial additives
  • Tastes super delicious and is simple to whip up
  • Perfect for weekend treats, birthday party desserts, and even fall football parties
  • Healthier dessert idea that tastes like you bought it

Wholesome Cherry Pie Filling Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups sweet cherries (see notes for more varieties)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup pure cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

How to Make Cherry Pie Filling From Scratch

  1. First, rinse cherries in water, pat them dry with a kitchen towel, pit them using a cherry pitter (or drinking straw), and cut each one in half.
  2. Next, add the pitted, sliced cherries, vanilla, and sugar to a medium-sized saucepan and heat on medium heat for 18 minutes stirring occasionally. This filling mixture should start to bubble and come together as a sauce.
  3. Then, in a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water, then add the mixture to your filling pan to thicken. Stir constantly until thickened (about 3-4 minutes), add lemon juice, and remove the heat.
  4. Finally, pour the filling into a homemade crust (bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes) or let the filling cool and store it in the fridge or freezer.

Best Sourdough Pie Crust To Use

My all-time favorite pie crust to use is my Homemade Sourdough Pie Crust here at Plum Branch Home. It is so simple and tastes amazing! Before you begin this filling recipe, go whip up our pie crust to make the most delicious homemade pie.

Best Cherries To Use

  • sweet cherries
  • bing cherries
  • rainier cherries

Tips to Make Cherry Pie Filling with Fresh Cherries

  • Make sure your fresh cherries are ripe for the best flavor and texture.
  • By cutting your cherries in half after pitting they cook down easier.
  • While cooking your cherries in the saucepan use your spoon to mash them down for smaller pieces.
  • Adding cornstarch in with a little water thickens your filling to ensure it sets up while baking in the crust.

Prep and Make Ahead Tips

If you’re looking to save time or make part of this recipe ahead you can wash, pit, and half the cherries. Store them in the fridge for up to 2 days or freeze them for up to 3 months before using. You can also make your sourdough pie crust ahead of time and freeze that for up to 3 months as well.

Cherry Pie Filling Freezing and Storage

You can store this pie filling in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container or freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer bag. If you bake an entire pie, it can be left on the counter for up to 2 days then needs to be refrigerated. This entire pie will last up to 4 days in the fridge.

Recipe FAQ

  • Can I use honey in place of the cane sugar? For sure! Just use half the measurement of cane sugar for honey and adjust to your taste preferene.
  • Can I use regular sugar? You can but I don’t recommend it. Pure cane sugar is healthier and so much better.
  • Can I use frozen cherries? You may need to add a little more cornstarch due to the cherries being frozen but they should work great.
  • What does the lemon juice do? Can I leave it out? The lemon juice balances the sweetness and brightens the flavor of the filling. You can leave it out just know it will change the flavor a little.
  • How do you pit fresh cherries? You’ll want to use a cherry pitter or you can use a metal drinking straw and stick it through the center.
  • For cherry pie do I have to prebake the crust? Not for this recipe if you’re using our PBH Homemade Sourdough Pie Crust.
  • What cherries are best for making homemade pie? Bing cherries, sweet cherries, or rainier cherries are best.

Kitchen Tools You’ll Need for This Recipe

Try these PBH Dessert Recipes

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cherry pie filling

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling (with Fresh Cherries)

Molly LaFontaine of Plum Branch Home
This homemade cherry pie recipe made with fresh cherries combines the sweetness of fresh cherries with a flaky homemade crust, resulting in a delicious and irresistible dessert for any occasion.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Baking Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine Baked Goods
Servings 1 pie (8 slices)

Equipment

  • 1 pie pan
  • 1 cherry pitter
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • 1 Wooden Spoon
  • 1 pairing knife

Ingredients
  

  • 4 1/2 cups sweet cherries (see notes for more varieties)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup pure cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • First, rinse cherries in water, pat them dry with a kitchen towel, pit them using a cherry pitter (or drinking straw), and cut each one in half.
  • Next, add the pitted, sliced cherries, vanilla, and sugar to a medium-sized saucepan and heat on medium heat for 18 minutes stirring occasionally. This filling mixture should start to bubble and come together as a sauce.
  • Then, in a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water, then add the mixture to your filling pan to thicken. Stir constantly until thickened (about 3-4 minutes), add lemon juice, and remove the heat.
  • Finally, pour the filling into your crust (bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes) or let the filling cool and store it in the fridge or freezer.

Notes

CHERRY VARIETIES TO USE
  • sweet cherries
  • bing cherries
  • rainier cherries
BEST HOMEMADE PIE CRUST FOR THIS FILLING
  • My all-time favorite pie crust to use is my Homemade Sourdough Pie Crust here at Plum Branch Home. It is so simple and tastes amazing! Before you begin this filling recipe, go whip up our pie crust to make the most delicious homemade pie.
Keyword cherry pie filling, cherry pie recipe, cherry pie recipe with fresh cherries, homemade cherry pie, homemade cherry pie filling, plum branch home cherry pie

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