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MY hand holding a widemouth Mason Jar filled with sweet bright red cherry pie filling.

Numero Uno Sweet Cherry Pie Filling (From Scratch)

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This is the easiest and BEST cherry pie filling recipe (ever).  It’s incredibly straightforward and takes less than 10 minutes to make. The best part? You can use frozen or fresh cherries for this pie filling. I get a lot of requests for this recipe and once you’ve made it, you will never buy the canned stuff again.


  • 24 ounces pitted tart sour cherries, fresh or frozen (673g)
  • 1 cup sugar (200g)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice, freshly squeezed (6g)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (20g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (approximately 6 drops)
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon, or more to taste


  1. Cook the cherries. Add cherries, lime juice, sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon to a saucepot and cook over medium heat just until sugar is dissolved and the cherries release some of their juice (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and pour off approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup cherry juice mixture and place it into a small heat-proof bowl.
  2. Prepare the cornstarch slurry. Add cornstarch to the small bowl with the cherry juice mixture and use a fork to mash and stir the cornstarch until no visible lumps or flecks of cornstarch remain, set aside.
  3. Combine the cherry mixture and cornstarch slurry. Next, return the pot with cherries back to medium-high heat. Just BEFORE the cherry mixture starts to boil, add the slurry whisking constantly as the mixture comes to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, add almond extract, and let the mixture cool.
  4. Cool and use or store the filling. Place the hot filling into glass canning jars and let cool to room temperature before using.  Once it’s room temperature, you can put a lid on it and place it into the refrigerator or freezer.  Enjoy!


  • How to make sure the cornstarch slurry remains lump-free even after adding to the cherry mixture. Always remember that a cool or cold slurry being added into a hot liquid = no lumps. This is why I have you remove the cherry mixture from the heat after cooking for just 2 minutes.  At this point, the cherries will have released enough juice to allow you to make a very cherry slurry (no water needs to be added!) and the mixture is not hot at this point. So, when you add the cool/cold slurry to an almost boiling cherry-sugar mixture, it incorporates seamlessly.
  • Taste the cherry mixture as it’s cooking and feel free to increase the sugar or lime juice to suit your taste.  Sugar can be increased by 1/4-1/2 cup or more if you prefer a sweeter pie filling, or if your cherries are really tart.
  • Substitute lemon juice for lime juice if you prefer.
  • Add more almond extract if you prefer a stronger almond, or “cherry” flavor, or use Luxardo cherry liqueur, or Kirsch if you have it on hand.
  • Substitute other fruits for the cherries (especially stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, apricots, and blueberries).
  • If you are looking to can (preserve) the pie filling, then you’ll need to omit the cornstarch and use ClearJel and follow the instructions provided in the main post.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Southern


  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
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