How to Make Homemade Cherry Pie Like a Professional Baker
Skip the canned pie filling! We'll show you how to make a homemade cherry pie from scratch. Ice cream on top is optional (but encouraged).
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Looking for a taste of summer? You can’t do much better than a cherry pie. For many of us, fresh cherries remind us of family vacations, trips to the orchard and the delicious, messy affair of pitting and eating these stone fruits. When you fold cherries into a delicious pie crust, that’s pure nostalgia (and a phenomenal treat).
While making your own cherry pie takes a little time with the picking and the pitting, the recipe itself is straightforward. So grab a pal to help you prep the cherries and make a cherry pie from scratch.
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Types of Cherries for Cherry Pie
There are quite a few types of cherries to choose from when baking. Like apple pies, though, choosing the right cherry can turn an average pie into a delicious summertime staple. Tart cherries like Montmorency or Morello cherries are the best type to use in pies.
While we used fresh cherries in this recipe, you can also use frozen cherries that are pitted and thawed. Be sure to measure the cherries while frozen to get the proper volume. You’ll use the same amount—4 cups—and follow the recipe as normal. Often, frozen cherries come pre-pitted, meaning less work for you!
While there are ways to make canned cherry pie filling taste homemade, we don’t recommend using canned cherries for this recipe. It will take away from the fresh-tasting, homemade feel of this pie. If you’re all out of fresh cherries and canned is all you have, we have plenty of recipes that use cherry pie filling.
The Best Cherry Pie Recipe
This recipe from Josie Bochek of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin makes eight servings.
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup cherry juice blend
- 4 cups fresh tart cherries, pitted
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup shortening
- 5 to 7 tablespoons cold water
- 1 large egg, beaten, optional
- Stainless steel saucier: The walls of sauciers are more sloped than the walls of saucepans, making this the perfect tool for reducing liquids and allowing the cherry mixture to thicken easily.
- Metal cooling grid: When your pie comes out of the oven, you’re going to want to let it cool before slicing into it. This cooling grid is round—perfect for pies and cakes!
- Stoneware mixing bowls: These microwave- and dishwasher-safe mixing bowls are as durable as they are beautiful. Get in the spirit of spring baking with these pretty nested bowls.
Step 1: Pit the cherries and create the filling
Preheat your oven to 425°F. In a large saucepan or saucier, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in the cherry juice until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cook and stir until thickened, about two minutes. Remove the mixture from heat. Add the cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg and almond extract; set aside.
Step 2: Form the dough
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until crumbly. Gradually add cold water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. Divide the dough so that one ball is slightly larger than the other.
Editor’s Tip: One of the pie crust secrets to get that perfect flaky consistency is to work with cold dough. Make sure the water you use is very cold, and if you feel the dough is too warm, place it in the fridge for a little while to chill.
Step 3: Prep the crust
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger dough ball to fit a 9-in. pie plate. Transfer the dough to the pie plate, and trim even with the edge of the plate. Add the filling. Roll out the remaining dough to make a lattice crust. Trim, seal and flute the edge of the pie. Brush the lattice with egg wash if desired.
Step 4: Bake the pie
Bake for 10 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 375°. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
Tips for Making Cherry Pie
Should you use homemade pie dough for cherry pie?
Homemade pie dough is one of the easiest ways to make your pie look and taste homemade. You have the freedom to create fun, braided lattice toppings or cutout double crusts, and you can crimp the edges in any design you like. We have quite a few tips on how to make perfect pie crust, but if you’re running short on time, store-bought works here too. Don’t forget to check out our collection of delicious cherry desserts.
Can you make cherry pie ahead of time?
There are a few ways you can prep this pie ahead of time. A cherry pie will last for up to 3 days at room temperature and up to 5 days in the fridge. If you’re baking for an event, bake the pie a day ahead, store at room temperature and serve as normal.
You can also prep the pie in parts. If you need to split your time between 2 days, make the dough and refrigerate it overnight. Let it rest for a while before rolling into a flat crust. All you’ll need to do on the day-of is make the filling and bake.
Can you freeze cherry pie?
Cherry pie can be frozen for a few months. Once you’ve baked the pie, allow it to cool completely before tightly wrapping and freezing. Make sure you date the pie so you remember when to take it out and enjoy.