Homemade Cherry Pie with Three Kinds of Cherries
This delicious homemade cherry pie recipe combines sour cherries, sweet cherries & dried cherries in a flaky, sugary crust with a lattice top.
True confessions: Up until a few years ago, most of the cherry pies I'd baked in my life were made with canned cherry pie filling. I could lie and say it was the thought of pitting all those cherries that kept me reaching for the can opener instead of the cherry pitter. But, the truth is...
I really kinda like canned cherry pie filling.
I'm not talking about those beautiful jars of cherry pie filling you find at farmer's markets, that are made by real people (in my imagination, this is always someone who looks like my grandmother), with pronounceable ingredients and gorgeously ripe, whole fruit. Unfortunately, that's not the kind of cherry pie filling I'm talking about.
The kind I'm taking about is those cheap cans of cherry pie filling in the baking isle of supermarkets everywhere. You know... the kind where corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors are sometimes listed before actual cherries.
Sigh. I know I shouldn't... and yet, store bought canned cherry pie filling is a little like a hostess chocolate cupcake for me - way too sweet and totally artificial tasting, and yet, somehow, soooooo freaking delicious.
When I was a child, my grandparents lived in a house situated in the middle of an old sour cherry orchard. Most of the cherry trees were long gone, but on the side of the house, a few rows remained. Every year, when the cherry tree branches were heavy with ripe cherries, we would visit my grandparents and pick buckets of cherries.
After hauling them home, my mom would go to work pitting pound after pound of cherries, sealing them in bags for the freezer so that we could have homemade cherry pie year round.
Then my grandparents moved cutting off our supply of free sour cherries, and my mom started making her cherry pies with canned pie filling. So, my love of canned cherry pie filling is her fault really. You see that, don't you?
There's nothing better than a homemade cherry pie
Having confessed my ridiculous love of canned cherry pie filling, I also want to make it perfectly clear that it doesn't hold a candle to THIS homemade, 100% from scratch cherry pie. This pie is much, much better and 100% worth the extra effort. It's like comparing a fast food hamburger to a really good steak. The hamburger might be your guilty pleasure, but there's no contest about which is better.
Here's what I like about this Cherry Pie Recipe: it contains frozen sour cherries, fresh sweet cherries, AND dried cherries. The combination of all three kinds of cherries gives the pie is a contrast of flavors and textures that's absolutely delicious. But as always, you have options...
- Use only sour or only sweet cherries
- Omit the dried cherries altogether
- Use fresh OR frozen cherries.
- Use a combination of fresh and frozen cherries.
As long as the quantity of fruit is the same the combination and type of cherries is entirely up to you.
The Secret to Making Really Good Cherry Pie Filling
This recipe calls for cooking the filling before pouring it into the pie shell, which gives you the opportunity to taste the filling before baking the pie and adjust as you like.
For example, if you choose to use all sour cherries, you might want to add a bit more sugar. Taste and adjust. Likewise, if you choose to use all sweet cherries, you might want to start out with ¼ cup less sugar. Again, cook the filling as directed, taste, and add more if you like.
The other major advantage to cooking the filling before pouring it into the pie shell is the ability to adjust the consistency before the pie is baked. If your cherries happen to be extra juicy, you might need to add a bit more tapioca and corn starch. If you want a runnier filling, use a bit less.
I like the fruit in my pie to mostly stay in the shell after slicing. If you prefer a more liquid consistency to your cherry pie filling, just reduce the amount of tapioca and corn starch by about ⅓.
If, after cooking the filling, you're not sure if it's the consistency you like, just remove a small amount to a bowl and place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to cool. Once cool, check to see if the filling is of the consistency and sweetness you prefer. The bottom line: err on the side of too little sugar and too little thickener. You can always add more of both.
Cook the filling, taste and adjust.
A few words about cherries
Pitting cherries is kind of a pain in the you-know-what. I was lucky enough to find pre-pitted frozen sour cherries at my local farmer's market. But, I still had to pit the sweet cherries. The easiest way to do this is with a cherry pitter.
My favorite cherry pitter is the OXO Good Grips Cherry and Olive Pitter. It has a splatter shield that helps contain cherry juice splatters. “Helps” is the key word in that last sentence. There will still be some splattering and cherry juice has a remarkable ability to stain anything it touches. My suggestion is to pit the cherries over a deep bowl so that the sides of the bowl catch most of the errant splatters.
You also might look at the cost of dried cherries and reconsider including them at all. You can actually leave them out all together and your cherry pie will still be delicious. They are also often more affordable on Amazon.
But, I urge you to make this pie once with the dried cherries before deciding if the extra cost is worth it. The dried cherries add an unexpected chewiness to the filling that I love. I think you will too.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Scroll down to rate this recipe and leave a comment for me, or take a picture and tag it @ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
BEST Homemade Cherry Pie with Three Kinds of Cherries
This fresh homemade cherry pie recipe combines sour cherries, sweet cherries & dried cherries in a flaky, sugary crust.
- 1 recipe Fool Proof Pie Crust, chilled for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator
- 2 ½ cups (350g) pitted sour cherries
- 2 cups (280g) pitted sweet cherries, fresh, canned, or frozen and thawed
- 1 cup (138g) dried sour cherries
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoon quick cooking tapioca
- 1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon (14g) salted butter
- 2 tablespoon milk
- 2 tablespoon (42g) granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- Roll out and partially pre-bake the bottom pie crust according to these instructions. Set aside to cool while you make the cherry pie filling.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degree C).
- In a medium size, heavy bottom saucepan, add the sweet, sour and dried cherries, sugar, tapioca, cornstarch and nutmeg. Stir gently with a wooden spoon to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened and boiling.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the almond and vanilla extracts. Pour the filling into the partially-baked bottom pie shell. Dot the surface of the cherry pie filling with small pea-size pieces of the butter.
- Remove the remaining pie dough from the refrigerator and, on a well floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough into a large circle, about 18 inches. With a pizza wheel, fluted pizza wheel or paring knife, cut the disk into 12 ½-inch wide strips.
- Starting in the center of the pie, lay half the strips across the top of the filling in one direction, than lay the other half of the strips across the pie, perpendicular to the first. Trim the edges of the strips so that they are even with the edge of the bottom crust.
- Roll a section of the remaining pie dough into a thin, ½-inch thick rope, about 32 inches long. Lie the rope around the edge of the pie, covering the edges of the lattice strips completely. Press the rope gently onto the edge of the pie. With one hand on the inside of the edge and one hand on the outside, use the index finger of your inside hand to push the dough between the thumb and index finger of your other hand to form a U or a V shape. Continue this crimping motion around the entire edge.
- Using a pastry brush, gently brush the crust with milk and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Put the pie on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) and place in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Rotate the pie in the oven and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes. The pie is done when the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before slicing. The pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but is best served slightly warm or at room temperature.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 196mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 3g
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Love this recipe and have made it several times but I’m wondering how it would be if I canned it, or froze the filling after making it? Have you had any experience or suggestions?
Rebecca Blackwell says
I'm so happy to hear that you like this recipe, Karen! I don't see any reason why canning the filling for this pie would be a problem, but I wouldn't try freezing it because of the cornstarch. Cornstarch typically doesn't freeze well, resulting in a kind of gluey, gloppy mess after it's been thawed. The one exception is when you add gelatin to the mix. My all-time favorite pastry cream recipe includes both cornstarch and gelatin and freezes beautifully. So, if you wanted to try and freeze it, I would suggest taking a cue from that recipe and adding about 1 1/2 tsp of powdered gelatin. Put the gelatin in a small bowl and stir in 3 tsp water to moisten. After making the filling, while it's still hot, break the gelatin into pieces and sprinkle them over the top of the filling. Stir to dissolve the gelatin in the filling.
A quick disclaimer - I haven't tried this myself. But, I do think it would work. 🙂
Please let me know if you ever have any other questions! xo
I’m obsessed with cherry things. I’m so excited to try this!! It looks insane!!
Rebecca Blackwell says
I'm so excited for you to try this as well, Ashley! It's my all-time favorite cherry pie. Cherries are my husband's favorite fruit, so I make at least one of these every year. Since you're obsessed with cherries, there are two more recipes you might like: Cherry Turnovers and Black Forest Cake. Turnovers are relatively quick and easy, so we make them around her more often than cherry pie and Black Forest cake. But, I have it on good authority from my cherry loving husband that all three are worth making. (Well, for him, worth eating.😊) Please let me know if you have any questions! And, I'd love to know what you think about this pie after you make it! xo
I'm not a big pie maker 😬 but I have some frozen sour cherries I picked. Could I use a premade crust? Would I still pre bake it?
Thank you! This recipe sounds great!!!
Rebecca Blackwell says
Hi Chelsie! Yes! You can definitely use a pre-made crust. I would still pre-bake it, just watch it carefully. The ingredients used in the crust will affect how quickly it bakes. You want the crust to look "set", but not bake it to the point that it's getting really brown. Does that make sense? This is one of my favorite pies of all time. I hope you love it too! Please let me know if you have any other questions and I'd love to hear how it comes out for you. xo
Breezy Winkle says
I am going to make this pie for family at Thanksgiving. My issue is that it is hard to source any frozen or fresh cherries, so for the fresh sour cherries I would like to use dehydrated as well. Can you give me any pointers on how to modify this recipe to accommodate for all of the sour cherries being dehydrated? Thank you.
Rebecca Blackwell says
Hi Breezy! My first suggestion, since it sounds like your local market doesn't stock frozen or canned cherries, is to look online for places that might ship frozen or canned cherries to you. If you live in an area that Amazon ships to, they have several options for canned cherries, and even a few for frozen cherries. I did a quick google search to see if there are other options, and several companies came up.
If you do end up making this pie entirely with dried cherries, I'd suggest adding 1 cup of water to the saucepan at step #3 in the recipe instructions. 1 cup of water should be enough to replace the liquid contained in fresh, canned, or frozen cherries. I say "should", because I've never tried to make this pie with only dried cherries... so 1 cup is only my best educated guess. 🙂 You also might want to increase the amount of sugar a bit - perhaps, to 1 cup.
I hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions. And, regardless of whether you decide to try and order canned or frozen cherries or make this pie with only dried cherries, I'd love to hear how it turned out for you! Happy baking! xo
This recipe popped up when I did a search for "frozen block of cherries", which is what I have on hand...I bought a bag last summer from an old-style produce store's freezer items. They are pitted, frozen sour pie cherries, 4 pounds worth. I intend to make an awesome pie with them, and will try your recipe, sans fresh cherries as there aren't any at the moment.
What I was trying to find out was, should I thaw and drain these first. But I think not.
Rebecca Blackwell says
Hi Amy! It's not necessary to thaw the cherries first. They will thaw as you cook them and the tapioca and corn starch should thicken the juice as they cook. If the mixture looks too runny after it comes to a boil, add in a bit more cornstarch. Let me know what you think after you make this pie! It's one of my family's favorite recipes!
Abbe @ This is How I Cook says
Outstanding! Love the use of the three kinds of cherries. Can't wait to try.
This pie is delicious! Spot on with the flavor combo of sweet, sour, and dried cherries.
Sam @ SugarSpunRun says
Yum, what a tasty looking pie! Some of my favorite recipes as a child were made by my grandmother using boxed mixes/canned fillings, so I totally understand why you might be inclined to favor canned filling, but this recipe sounds INCREDIBLE!
Rebecca Blackwell says
Thanks Sam! I have to say, I do prefer this pie to the canned-filling version. But, I think I'll always have a soft spot for that sticky sweet terrible-for-you canned filling. 🙂 Also - not quite cooked all the way through boxed mix brownies are kinda hard to beat.