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Cherry pie filling on a spoon being held above the pot of homemade cherry pie filling.

Double Cherry Pie Filling (Using Dark Cherries and Sour Cherries)

This cherry pie filling recipe uses a combination of both sour cherries and sweet dark cherries and it’s delicious!  It’s perfect for cream cheese pies, no-bake cheesecakes, regular cheesecakes, an ice cream topper, and cherry hand pies. And the best part — it takes less than 10 minutes to make and you can use frozen or fresh cherries. Once you’ve made it, it’ll be really hard to go back to the canned cherry pie filling ever again.

What’s in Homemade Cherry Pie Filling?

For this homemade cherry pie filling recipe, I’ve used tart sour cherries and sweet dark cherries, pure cane sugar, a little fresh lime juice, a few drops of pure almond extract, and a pinch of cinnamon. And I can tell you this recipe produces an intense natural cherry flavor.

Cooking the pie filling for only a few minutes helps maintain the real cherry flavor in this homemade pie filling and keeps the cherries from being mushy.

Why We Love this Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

  • It takes 10 minutes to make
  • It’s so easy even your kiddos can make it
  • You can use frozen or fresh cherries
  • It’s a make-ahead-and-freeze cherry pie filling
  • There are no preservatives and it doesn’t taste like a tin can
  • Using both sour cherries and dark cherries balances the flavor really well
  • Using fresh lime juice, a hint of almond extract, and a tiny pinch of cinnamon intensifies the cherry flavor

Should You Use Fresh or Frozen Cherries to Make Cherry Pie Filling?

Not everyone has access to fresh cherries where they live, so for this recipe, as you’ll see by the photos, I’ve used a combination of frozen unsweetened sour cherries and frozen dark sweet cherries. Using frozen cherries has its benefits because there’s no need to wash or pit them before you get started. But you will need to make sure you buy cherries without added sugar.

The combination of sweet cherries and sour cherries in this recipe creates a well-balanced tart and sweet cherry pie filling (with excellent flavor).  If you want an all-sour cherry pie filling hop over here for that recipe (it’s my favorite). And definitely feel free to use fresh cherries when they’re in season. I’ve used both and they produce the same results.

Homemade Tart and Sweet Double Cherry Pie Filling Ingredients

With just a few ingredients you can have homemade cherry pie filling that’s so much better than store-bought and you know exactly what’s in it.

  • 12 1/2 ounces (or about 3 cups) sour cherries, fresh or frozen (350g)
  • 7 ounces (about 1 cup) dark sweet cherries (200g)
  • 3/4 cup pure cane sugar (or granulated sugar) (165g)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice, freshly squeezed (6g)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch (16g)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (approximately 3 drops)
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon (optional but recommended)

How To Make Sweet Cherry Pie Filling — From Scratch  

This cherry pie filling takes (literally) just a few minutes to prepare. And because the cherries cook for such a minimal amount of time, they maintain an intense cherry flavor that we think you’re going to love.

  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 prep 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 (just a couple of minutes). Remove from heat, add almond extract, and all 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 a Cornstarch Slurry for Homemade Pie Filling

If you’ve ever wondered how to make sure the cornstarch slurry remains lump-free when adding it to homemade pie filling follow the tips below:

  • Always add cornstarch to a cool or cold liquid and stir until the mixture is completely smooth without lumps or cornstarch streaks of any kind. See the photos below of a well-incorporated cornstarch slurry.
  • Always remember that a cool or cold slurry added into a hot liquid = no lumps. This is why I have you remove the cherry-sugar-lime juice 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 cooking berry mixture is not yet hot at this point. So, when you add the cool/cold slurry to an almost boiling cherry-sugar mixture later on, it incorporates seamlessly.

A Tale of Two Cherry Pie Fillings — What Kind of Cherries to Use For Cherry Pie Filling?

If you’ve seen my Numero Uno Sour Cherry Pie Filling post, then you know this is the second cherry pie filling here on the site. I like to use the all-sour cherry pie filling for lots of recipes like fried pies. But sometimes a sweeter (less tart) cherry flavor works better for desserts like my favorite Marie Callender’s copycat cherry crumb crunch pie recipe).  Below, you’ll find a few of our favorite ways to use either one of these delicious homemade cherry pie fillings.

Cherry FAQ’s

  1. It’s believed that the sweet cherry originated in the area between the Black and Caspian Seas in Asia Minor around 70 B.C. The Romans introduced them to Britain in the first century A.D.
  2. Marostica, Italy (about 20 minutes from where we live in the province of Vicenza), (Veneto) is a medieval town in the hills where you’ll find the Ciliegia di Marostica, or “Marostica cherry”. This cherry was the first to be awarded a Typical Geographical Indication in 2001. There are two main varieties of cherries grown here:  sweet (or “duracine”) and sour (“lustine tenerine”). Since 2006 the Cherry of Marosica has been protected and promoted by a consortium.
  3. Tart cherries are very juicy and pleasantly acidic which makes them perfect for baking, making beverages and condiments and preserves, etc.
  4. Dark sweet cherries are perfect for use in combination with tart cherries or eating raw, using in cocktails and juices, and for making marinades, etc.
  5. Some of the top cherry-producing countries in the world— Turkey, USA, Iran & Italy, but lots of other countries are known for their high-quality cherries.
  6. Tart cherries are classified into two main groups, amarelle and morello.
    • the amarelle variety has only red skin, but not red flesh
    • the morello variety has both red skin and red flesh

Access to Cherries Around the World

In Italy, we have access to the geographically protected (IGP) tart and dark sweet Amarena Italian Marostica cherries.  In China, I could find the special Wenchuan area highland sour cherry which has been given its own “preserved agricultural geography” status by the government (similar to the honor given to the Italian Marostica cherries by the Italian government). Growing up in Arkansas, we had a single sour cherry tree in our back yard. And nowadays you can frozen cherries in just about any grocery store which make this recipe for homemade cherry pie filling as easy as ever.

Let’s get started!

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Dark sweet cherries combined with bright red sour cherries in this very deep berry colored cherry pie filling on a spoon.

Double Cherry Pie Filling (Using Dark Cherries and Sour Cherries)


  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 Cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This tart and sweet cherry pie filling is just slightly sweeter with a little less “punch” than my homemade Numero Uno Sour Cherry Pie Filling and it’s so delicious. The best part — it takes less than 10 minutes to make (really) and you can use frozen or fresh cherries. After making this recipe you can say goodbye to canned and jarred cherry pie filling forever. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 12 1/2 ounces (or about 3 cups) sour cherries, fresh or frozen (350g)
  • 7 ounces (about 1 cup) dark sweet cherries (200g)
  • 3/4 cup pure cane sugar (or granulated sugar) (165g)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice, freshly squeezed (6g)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch (16g)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (approximately 3 drops)
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon (optional but recommended)


Instructions

  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 prep 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 (just a couple of minutes). Remove from heat, add almond extract, and all 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!

Notes

  • 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: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Keywords: sour cherry pie filling, fresh cherry pie filling, tart cherry pie filling, homemade cherry pie filling, tart cherry pie filling recipe, best cherry pie filling, easy cherry pie filling, frozen cherry pie filling recipe, fresh cherry pie filling recipe, cherry recipes, cherries, tart cherries, dark sweet cherry recipe, sweet cherries, sweet cherry pie filling, black cherries

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