If you were to open my refrigerator door right now, you might mistake my top three shelves for a roadside fruit stand. Summer fruit is in its prime, often on sale, and I’m powerless to resist. Last week, in a moment of fleeting fruit hysteria, I bought SIX pounds of cherries. The first order of business for my sweet surplus: easy Homemade Cherry Pie Filling.

Ditch the can and make your own homemade cherry pie filling. This EASY recipe will have you eating straight from the jar! Simple ingredients and naturally sweetened with honey. Anyone can make this! @wellplated

This cherry pie filling recipe turned out to be so tasty and so easy, I made a second jar the very next day and tucked it into my freezer for a later day.

Even if you are not a fan of cherry pie, there are many, many delicious ways to devour this jar of homemade cherry pie filling:

And, if you are a fan of sweet cherry pie, this recipe will be a favorite of yours too!

Easy recipe for homemade cherry pie filling that’s naturally sweetened with honey. Great for cherry pie, on top of ice cream, or eat it right of the jar with a spoon! @wellplated

Although I adore fresh cherries, I used to shy away from cherry pie, because most I tried were cloyingly sweet and syrupy, or the cherries were unpleasantly mushy. What a great injustice to one of summer’s most precious gifts!

bowl of fresh sweet cherries for making homemade cherry pie filling

Still, six pounds of cherries are six pounds of cherries, and since I’m not planning on raising a fruit bat anytime soon, I knew I needed a way to use them up as efficiently as possible. Homemade cherry pie filling it would be, but done better.

How Do You Make Cherry Pie Filling From Scratch?

Most pie fillings call for gobs of granulated sugar, which I feel doesn’t allow the natural sweetness of the cherries to shine. Plus, the excess sugar made me feel less empowered to mix pie filling into my yogurt at breakfast.

I am by no means arguing that pie filling is a health food, but I do think that it can be more wholesome, without sacrificing the homey comfort that makes us crave a slice of cherry pie in the first place. My solution: naturally sweeten the cherry pie filling with honey instead.

Pouring honey into a pot of fresh sweet cherries to make cherry pie filling

I was a little concerned that the honey’s flavor would overpower the cherries, but the two taste wonderful together. The cherries shine brightly, while the honey adds light background notes of floral sweetness.

I finished off the homemade cherry pie filling with almond extract. Cherries and almonds are one of my favorite flavor combinations, but if it’s not your jam (er, pie filling) you can replace it with vanilla extract or omit it completely.

How to Store and Freeze

  • To Store. This cherry pie filling will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • To Freeze. Because it is made with honey, it does congeal somewhat when frozen and thawed. I found it worked best to let the frozen filling thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, to smooth it out a little.
  • If you are going to use the cherry pie filling in a classic cherry pie or as a sauce on top of ice cream, I would not recommend freezing, since in these cases, you’ll want the smoothest texture possible.

Make the most of summer with this easy homemade cherry pie filling. This tastes SO much better than canned cherry pie filling and is better for you too! @wellplated

Tools Used to Make This Recipe

Make the most of summer with this easy homemade cherry pie filling. This tastes SO much better than canned cherry pie filling and is better for you too! @wellplated

Easy Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

5 from 11 votes
Ditch the can and make your own homemade cherry pie filling. EASY recipe naturally sweetened with honey. So good, you'll be eating it straight from the jar!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins

Servings: 2 heaping cups (enough for a 9-inch pie)

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups whole pitted fresh sweet cherries about 2 pounds with pits or 1 1/2 pounds pitted or frozen, thawed pitted cherries
  • 1/2 cup honey plus additional to taste (if using tart cherries, you may need to add a bit more)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract optional or substitute 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Place cherries into a large saucepan. Add 1/2 cup honey, lemon juice, cornstarch, and almond extract (if using), then stir to coat. Turn on the heat to medium. Cook the filling, stirring often, until glossy and thickened, about 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Very carefully so as not to burn your tongue, taste the mixture. If you desire additional sweetness, add more honey a few teaspoons at a time. Remove pan from the heat and let the filling cool completely. Transfer to a storage jar.

Notes

  • Store in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.
  • NOTES ON FREEZING: Because the pie filling is made with honey, it does congeal somewhat when frozen and thawed. I found it worked best to let the frozen filling thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, to smooth it out a little. Done this way, the previously frozen filling was perfect for baking these cherry pie bars. When the bars came out of the oven, the filling was smooth and you couldn't tell it was frozen at all!). If you are going to use the cherry pie filling in a classic cherry pie or as a sauce on top of ice cream, I would not recommend freezing, since in these cases, you'll want the smoothest texture possible.
  • Need a great pie crust? Try my low maintenance Whole Wheat Pie Crust.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup (generous)Calories: 128kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 1gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 1mgFiber: 2gSugar: 27g

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Make the most of summer with this easy naturally sweetened homemade cherry pie filling. SO much better than canned cherry pie filling and this pie filling has no refined sugar! @wellplated #pie #dessert

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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59 Comments

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  1. I canned cherry pie filling using this recipe. Very good. Tastes much better than store bought. I used a little less honey. I will use this recipe again. Thank you for sharing.5 stars

  2. My first pie ever… my little boy of 4 and I made it using cherries we froze from the backyard cherry tree this summer. It is a yummy addition to our Thanksgiving dinner this weekend in Toronto. Thanks Erin!5 stars

  3. Hi, Erin,

    Would love to make a pie with your filling recipe. Nutrition question — are there actually 28 grams of sugar in a serving if you use only 1/2 cup of honey? I’m trying to make a pie with less grams of sugar, and your recipe really sounds good with the almond extract, etc. Thank you for any advice!

    1. Hi Helen, the nutrition information is just an estimate, but yes, it’s around 28 grams of sugar due to the sugar in the cherries as well as the honey. You could try experimenting with less honey to taste, but I haven’t tried that myself, so I can only vouch for the recipe as written!

  4. Thank you, Erin!

    I found beautiful frozen, pitted tart cherries with low sugar content at the grocery store, and I’ll add just a bit more honey to the recipe. Can’t wait to try this out!

  5.  Hi Erin,
    Just wondering, could this recipe be canned?
    And would it be water bath canned or pressure 
    canned?

    1. Kim, I am a very novice canner, so I can’t give you any guaranteed info, I’m sorry! I intended this to be more of a refrigerator/freezer jam.

      1. Well thank you just the same Erin. I appreciate your timely reply! And, more than likely will use it for a nice fresh pie! 
        If, I should run across the answer, I’ll be sure to
        let you know : )

  6. Hello Erin!  I’m looking to make a cake with a filling and was wondering if this might work as such?  It doesn’t use granulated sugar and that’s exactly what I’m looking for.  Thank you. 

    1. Hi Liz! I have not tried this as a cake filling, but you could experiment with it. If you do try it, please let me know how it works out. I hope you love it!

  7. OMG I am obsessed with this cherry pie filling!  I made it with frozen cherries from Trader Joe’s, and half the recommended amount of honey, and it was SO EASY and tastes amazing!  I will bake my first cherry pie for Thanksgiving!  I am going to freeze a second batch in silicon 2″ ice cube trays so I can thaw a cube and eat it with Greek yogurt.  Thank you for another great recipe!5 stars

    1. Hi Tonna! Unfortunately, I don’t have specific directions for making this into a pie. However, I suggest swapping it in any cherry pie recipe that calls for cherry pie filling that you’d like to try. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it!

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