If life is a bowl of cherries, these individual cherry tarts are the best way to use up all the fruit.
Cherry Tarts Recipe photo by Taste of Home

When you want a juicy, fruity dessert made ahead of time, these cherry tarts fit the bill. Just bake the pastry shells, and make the filling. Then assemble when ready to enjoy—so easy!

If you’re like us, you love baking with cherries. Whether a classic cherry pie, crumbly cobbler, or bite-sized cherry tart, the stone fruit is a dessert star. You can use canned, frozen or fresh cherries for most cherry recipes, so they’re perfect to serve any time of year.

Among with our other classic tarts, such as our vanilla cream fruit tart or tangy lemon tart, these cherry tarts are one of the prettiest tart recipes around. Here’s how to make them.

Ingredients for Cherry Tarts

  • Flour: Good ol’ all-purpose flour is best for this recipe. If you need to steer away from gluten, here are some of our favorite gluten-free flour blends. Most are good as a one-to-one swap.
  • Shortening: This classic tart pastry uses shortening, but it’s fine to use a classic butter pie pastry instead. If you’re unsure which fat to use, take a peek at our guide on which makes the best pie crust.
  • Cherries: This recipe calls for canned tart cherries, which are generally Montmorency cherries packed in water with no added sugar. If using other types of cherries, opt for a tart or sour variety over sweet. If you only have sweet cherries on hand, reduce the sugar and add a little lemon juice. You can also use fresh or frozen cherries for this cherry filling. If using fresh, here’s a primer on how to pit cherries. If using frozen, you don’t need to thaw them first.
  • Almond extract: Almond flavoring and cherries are a match made in fruit-filled heaven. But if you’re not a fan, try using vanilla or omit altogether.


Step 1: Make the dough

In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add just enough water until the dough forms a ball. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to settle and so it’s easier to roll out.

Editor’s Tip: When making a pastry dough, add water just a little at a time. You can always add more water, but you can’t take it away once it’s been added! If you add too much moisture, the pastry will be too sticky to handle and roll out, and it won’t develop that coveted flakiness as it bakes.

Step 2: Make the tart shells

Preheat the oven to 450°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out eight 5-inch circles. Place each pastry disk over an inverted custard cup on an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan, and flute the edges. Bake the shells for 10 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove the tart shells from the custard cups, and let them cool completely on wire racks.

Editor’s Tip: Since you’re cutting 5-inch pastry disks, you can use custard cups of any size, even 8-ounce cups. The larger size may result in a slightly flatter tart shell, however. Here’s a standard oven-safe custard cup that’s handy to have in every kitchen.

Step 3: Make the filling

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Drain the cherries, reserving 1 cup juice, and set cherries aside. Stir the reserved juice into the sugar mixture until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in the cherries, butter, almond extract and, if using, the food coloring. Let the filling cool to room temperature.

Step 4: Fill the tarts

Cherry Tarts Served in a Plate on Wooden SurfaceTMB Studio

Spoon about 1/4 cup filling into each tart shell. Serve.

Cherry Tart Variations

  • Make rustic cherry tarts: If you don’t have custard cups to make the shells, simply make rustic tarts. Spoon the cherry filling onto the middle of each pastry round, then fold and pleat the pastry edges around the fruit. Brush the edges with an egg wash, and bake in a 400° oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool the cherry tarts on a wire rack.
  • Use canned pie filling: Skip making your own cherry filling altogether, and use canned pie filling instead. Omit Step 3 and go right to Step 4. After the tart shells have cooled, spoon cherry pie filling into the shells, and serve.
  • Use a different dough: Instead of a dough made with shortening, you can make a classic butter pie pastry for the shells. Fresh or frozen pie crusts are perfectly fine to use, as well. Or use premade tart shells.

How to Store Leftover Cherry Tarts

You can store these cherry tarts in an airtight container for two to three days, or in the fridge for up to one week.

How to Freeze Cherry Tarts

To freeze the cherry tarts, wrap in storage wrap, and store in a freezer-safe container or bag in the freezer for up to one month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then let them sit on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Cherry Tart Tips

Cherry Tarts on Cooking / Cooling Rack on Wooden SurfaceTMB Studio

Can I make cherry tarts ahead of time?

To make the cherry tarts in advance, make the shells and filling separately a few days in advance, then fill and serve when you’re ready to eat. Assembling right before serving keeps the pastry from getting soggy.

How do you serve cherry tarts?

Serve cherry tarts with a dollop of whipped cream. A small scoop of vanilla ice cream wouldn’t be so bad, either.

Cherry Tarts

At our house, we celebrate George Washington's birthday with this cherry dessert.
Cherry Tarts Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time

Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min. + cooling


8 servings


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) pitted tart cherries
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 to 5 drops red food coloring, optional


  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add enough water until dough forms a ball. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut out eight 5-in. circles. Place each over an inverted custard cup on an ungreased 15x10x1-in. baking pan; flute edges.
  3. Bake 10-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes before removing tart shells from custard cups; cool completely on wire racks.
  4. For filling, in a large saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Drain cherries, reserving 1 cup juice. Set cherries aside. Stir reserved juice into sugar mixture until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in cherries, butter, almond extract and food coloring if desired. Cool to room temperature. Spoon about 1/4 cup filling into each tart shell.

Nutrition Facts

1 each: 331 calories, 14g fat (4g saturated fat), 4mg cholesterol, 166mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.