Craving a slice of sour cherry pie this summer?  It’s easy to make this old fashioned dessert from scratch with canned cherries—just like Mom does.  The flaky crust and sweet, juicy pie filling make this cherry pie a simple but delicious treat.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
slice of cherry pie on a plate with a fork
Pies & Tarts

Sour Cherry Pie from Scratch

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Cherry pie has been my favorite kind of pie ever since I was a small child.  Fortunately, it’s a super easy dessert to make from scratch, and never fails to be a crowd pleaser.  Let’s learn about this old fashioned classic and get baking!

holding a baked cherry pie

What kinds of fresh cherries are best for cherry pie?

  • Sour cherries are my personal favorite.  They perfectly complement the almond extract and flaky pastry.  If you’re using fresh sour cherries, look for Morello or Amarella cherries.
  • Sweet cherries are used by many people.  If you’re using sweet cherries, cut down the sugar in the recipe to 1/2 cup.  (Do not use canned sweet cherries for cherry pie.  They don’t taste good in a pie!)

Canned vs. Fresh vs. Frozen Cherries

  • Canned cherries are quicker and easier to use.  They are also available year round.  I prefer to use canned sour cherries in my pies–canned sweet cherries lack the tang that makes cherry pie great.  Don’t use the canned sweet cherries.
  • Fresh cherries provide a different color, texture, and flavor than canned ones.  However, you need to pit them before using them, and they are only available for a short time during the summer.
  • Frozen cherries are a compromise between fresh and canned cherries.  Use them straight from the freezer–there’s no need to defrost or drain them first.

slice of cherry pie on a plate

How to Thicken Cherry Pie Filling

  • The best way to thicken cherry pie filling is with cornstarch.
  • Start by whisking the cornstarch with some water, sugar, lemon juice, and salt over medium heat until dissolved.
  • Keep whisking and cooking until the mixture just comes to a boil and thickens.  Be patient–it will take a few minutes!
  • Don’t have cornstarch?  Try using all-purpose flour, arrowroot, or quick-cooking tapioca.

How do you heat up a cherry pie?

Place the pie in a 200 F oven until warmed through, about 20 minutes.  Just be aware that warm/hot cherry pie will have a runnier filling than a room temperature/refrigerated pie.

holding a slice of cherry pie with a fork

Can I make cherry pie the day before?

Yes, you can make cherry pie the day before.  It’s actually nicer to make it ahead of time, because freshly baked cherry pie takes about 4 hours to cool before you can slice it without having the filling leak out.

How do you store cherry pie?

  • Cover the cooled pie with aluminum foil.
  • Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge for 4-5 days.
  • Wrap the pie in plastic wrap and foil or place in a freezer bag and freeze for longer storage.

Should cherry pie be refrigerated?

Cherry pie doesn’t need to be refrigerated; it doesn’t contain egg or cream that could spoil at room temperature.  If you want to store it in the fridge, make sure it’s well covered with foil first.

How long can you keep a cherry pie?

Homemade cherry pie will keep for 2 days at room temperature and 4-5 days in the fridge.  Make sure to keep it covered with aluminum foil to seal in the freshness and keep out odors.

slice of cherry pie on a plate with a fork

Can you freeze cherry pie?

  • Yes, you can freeze cherry pie before or after baking. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Before Baking: wrap it in plastic and aluminum foil and freeze.  Unwrap the pie and re-cover with fresh plastic.  Defrost in the fridge, then let it sit on the counter for an hour or so before baking.
  • After Baking: let the pie cool completely, then wrap in plastic and aluminum foil and freeze.  Unwrap and re-cover with fresh plastic wrap.  Defrost at room temperature, then serve.  Refrigerate leftovers.

How do you bake a frozen cherry pie?

  • Make sure the pie has defrosted before baking.
  • Remove the frozen pie from its wrappings and cover with fresh plastic wrap.  Let it mostly defrost in the fridge, then finish the defrosting at room temperature.
  • Bake according to the recipe instructions.  You may need to bake for additional time.  If the pastry is getting too dark, cover it with aluminum foil.

How to Make Sour Cherry Pie

Gather the ingredients for cherry pie.

cherry pie ingredients

Whisk together the 1/2 cup of liquid from the canned cherries, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and cornstarch.

whisking cornstarch mixture in a saucepan

Place over medium heat and keep whisking until the mixture has thickened and just begins to boil.

whisking thickened cornstarch mixture

Whisk in the butter and almond extract, then fold in the canned cherries until evenly mixed.  Let the filling cool some.

folding canned cherries into pie filling

Dump the cooled filling into a 9-inch pie crust.  (Warning: if you put hot filling on top of the pastry, it will melt the butter/lard in the pastry, making it greasy and soggy.  Give the filling a 10-20 minutes to cool before putting it in the pie.)

spreading cherry pie filling in pastry shell

Cut strips of pastry with a ruler and paring knife.

cutting pastry strips with a ruler and paring knife

Lay a few of the strips horizontally across the pie, then weave a few of the other strips over and under them to create a lattice.  Crimp the edges of the pie by pinching it with your thumb and index finger.

making the lattice top for a cherry pie

Brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle liberally with demerara sugar.

sprinkling demerara sugar on top of a cherry pie

Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 F and bake for another 20 minutes.  Cover the pastry with foil if it’s getting too dark.

Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving, about 4 hours.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.

baked cherry pie on a wire cooling rack

Pro Tips for Making Cherry Pie

  • Always use sour cherries.  Canned sweet cherries just don’t taste as good in a pie as the tart ones.
  • Speed up the process by using canned cherries.  It’s much quicker and easier than pitting fresh cherries!
  • Adjust the amount of almond extract to taste.  It’s always good to taste and see how you like it.
  • Watch the pie carefully towards the end of the baking time.  The filling can bubble and discolor the pastry, or the pastry can burn.
  • Let the pie cool completely before slicing and serving.  Otherwise, the filling will be runny.

kitchen tools for making cherry pie

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Cherry Pie

Looking for more summer pie recipes?  Check out these yummy ideas.

holding a slice of lemon meringue pie on a plate key lime pie with fresh limes slice of blueberry frangipane tart on a plate

The pleasure of a 5-star review for this sour cherry pie would be greatly appreciated.

slice of cherry pie on a plate with a fork

Sour Cherry Pie from Scratch

  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Craving a slice of sour cherry pie this summer?  It’s easy to make this old fashioned dessert from scratch with canned cherries—just like Mom does.  The flaky crust and sweet, juicy pie filling make this cherry pie a simple but delicious treat.



For the Cherry Pie Filling

  • 2 15-ounce cans sour cherries in water (544g)
  • 1/2 cup liquid from canned cherries (125 ml)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (21g)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (14g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For the Pastry & Decoration


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
  2. Open the cans of cherries and drain them, reserving the juice from one can.  You’ll need 1/2 cup of liquid.
  3. Pour the liquid, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt into a 2-quart saucepan and set over medium heat.  Whisk constantly over the heat until the mixture is boiling and has thickened.  This will take a few minutes, so be patient.  You’ll know the mixture is thickening when globs suddenly appear in the mixture.
  4. Remove from the heat and whisk in the almond extract and butter until smooth and well blended.  Gently fold in the drained cherries with a flexible spatula, then set aside to cool.
  5. Roll the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 1/8 inch thick.  Use it to line a 9-inch metal pie plate, then trim off the excess pastry with a knife.  Gently spread the cooled cherry filling in the pie.
  6. Wad up the remaining pastry and re-roll it to about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into strips, using a ruler for straight lines.  Lay several of the strips horizontally across the pie, then weave the remaining strips under and over the other ones to create a lattice top.  Cut off the excess pastry, crimp the crust, and brush the pastry with beaten egg.  Sprinkle the top of the pie liberally with demerara sugar if desired.
  7. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 F and bake for another 20 minutes.  The crust should brown beautifully and the filling should bubble gently.
  8. Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for 3-4 hours on a wire cooling rack to allow the filling to cool and set.  Cutting it too soon will make the pie runny.
  9. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this cherry pie recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • Category: Pies
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cherry pie recipe, sour cherry pie

2 thoughts on “Sour Cherry Pie from Scratch

  1. Cherry 🍒 pie is so good! I think that the demerara sugar adds a bit of crunch to the top of the pie. The tart cherries are really good! I like them almost as much as I like fresh cherries. The lattice on yours looks amazing 😉😊.

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