Homemade cherry pie filling beats any canned pie filling! This cherry pie filling recipe uses fresh sweet cherries that are sweetened with honey. With no preservatives in this cherry pie filling, you’ll taste nothing but pure, delicious cherries!

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:

  • Mixed with yogurt (try Jocelyn’s recipe for cherry Greek yogurt parfaits)
  • On top of oatmeal (Kalyn has a recipe for crock pot steel cut oats!)
  • Spooned over a scoop of ice cream (bonus points if you add hot fudge)
  • Spread on graham crackers with Nutella (HEAVEN)
  • Baked in pie crust pockets to make a homemade Poptart
  • On top of cheesecake
  • These incredible cherry bars

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.

Sweeteners for Cherry Pie Filling

Most homemade cherry 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.

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

Storage Recommendations for Homemade Cherry Pie Filling:

This cherry pie filling will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. 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. 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, 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.

Tools I 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
5 from 9 votes
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Easy Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

Yield: 2 heaping cups (enough for a 9-inch pie)
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
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!

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

  1. 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.

Recipe 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.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Easy Dessert Recipe, Easy Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (0.25 cup (generous)) — Calories: 128, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 1mg, Carbohydrates: 33g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 27g, Protein: 1g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

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