How to Make Homemade Canned Cherry Pie Filling

When you have tart cherries on hand, there's only one thing to do: Make your own canned cherry pie filling.

Homemade pies are an extra special treat, especially when they’re made entirely from scratch. (Here are 50 of our faves.) While we love any flavor of pie, cherry has a special place in our hearts. Today, we’re going to show you how to make your very own canned cherry pie filling!

This filling not only makes delicious pies, it’s also a thoughtful housewarming, holiday or birthday gift for pie-loving friends and family members. And they don’t even have to be a baker: The cherries also taste divine on top of ice cream sundaes, pound cake, waffles, toast and even by the spoonful. Ready to get started?

How to Make Homemade Canned Cherry Pie Filling

Our Test Kitchen’s cherry pie filling recipe yields one quart. That’s enough for a 9-inch pie (which would look lovely in one of these pie plates).

What You’ll Need

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups fresh tart cherries, pitted
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Editor’s Tip: Fresh tart cherries are available for only a few months a year. We love them because they’re tasty, but they have some awesome health benefits, too! If it’s off-season, you can use frozen unsweetened tart cherries; they’ll just take longer to cook down.


Step 1: Prep the filling

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the cherries, water and lemon juice.

Step 2: Cook it down

Bring the mixture to a boil. Carefully stir and cook for about 2-5 minutes or until thickened. (Your kitchen is going to smell wonderful!) Remove the pan from the heat.

Editor’s Tip: If you want to put your filling straight into a pie, it’s ready to go. But if you’re in preserving mode, read on. (If you’re new to the process, check out our handy Canning 101 guide.)

Step 3: Jar it up

Using a plastic ladle, carefully scoop the pie filling into a hot, sterilized quart jar, leaving about half an inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary. Wipe the rim, then center a lid on the jar, screwing on the band until it’s fingertip tight.

Step 4: Preserve it

Place the filled jar into a boiling water bath canner, ensuring that it’s completely covered with water. Process the jars for 30 minutes. Remove from the canner and let it cool on a wire rack. (This is when you’ll hear that gratifying sound of the lid popping shut!)

Technically, you can store the sealed jar for up to a year, but with pie filling this good, we predict you’ll be digging in the first chance you get.

Still hungry? Check out even more delicious cherry recipes.

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Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.