Dessert | Farm To Table

Canning Cherry Pie Filling

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Canning Cherry Pie Filling is incredibly easy. Use fresh or frozen fruit. So many uses for this versatile ingredient. Homemade is so much better!

Quart jars of cherry pie filling on a white board.Pin
Cherry Pie Filling

The best reward when you learn how to can and preserve seasonal fruits and vegetables is that you can enjoy the fresh flavors all year long!

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It is best to source sour cherries for pie filling. You can use sweet cherries, but I always add a lot less sugar and some more lemon juice.

Cherry pie filling in bowl, with whole jars in background.Pin

This recipe only has 5 ingredients, but you need one specialty ingredient, if you are canning with a water bath canning pot. Namely, ClearJel starch, which is a modified cornstarch specifically designed for canning.

It is not recommended to use flour or cornstarch (corn flour) thickeners when canning with a water bath. There are 2 reasons for this.

Thickeners can prevent the ability of the ingredients in the jar to heat through consistently, according to Iowa State University.

The other reason it is not suggested is that thickeners have a tendency to clump, when they are heated in the water bath, therefore, you will end up with lumpy pie filling.

If you don’t have enough time to make the cherry pie filling right after picking, just freeze the cherries. Then thaw in the refrigerator and proceed with the recipe.

Cherry pie filling in bowl.Pin

What you need

  • tart cherries
  • sugar
  • Clearjel
  • lemon juice (use bottled lemon juice, not fresh)
  • cinnamon (optional)
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How to make it

Cherries draining in colander. Clear jel and sugar in bowl. Stiring in sugar mix. Stirring. Thicken juice in pan. Adding warm cherries. Filling jars. Wiping rims. Lids added to jars. Jar processing in canning pot.Pin
  1. Pit cherries.
  2. Heat cherries in juice, if frozen and thawed, or water, if fresh. Separate juice from the cherries, by draining in a colander. Keep cherries warm in covered bowl.
  3. Add juice to large pan with Clearjel mixed with sugar.
  4. Stir to remove lumps.
  5. Constantly stir, until thickened.
  6. Stir in cherries. Heat through on low heat.
  7. Fill quart jars with pie filling.
  8. Wipe edges clean with paper towel.
  9. Top with lids. Tighten bands fingertip tight.
  10. Add to water bath canning jar. Process on a low boil for 30 minutes.

Pro tips for success

  • It’s best to use sour cherries for this recipe. If using sweet cherries, reduce the sugar and increase the lemon juice, to taste.
  • Use a cherry pitter to speed up the pitting process.
  • Use ClearJel, a modified cornstarch, instead of cornstarch, if canning.
  • If you don’t want to can this cherry pie filling, it lasts 2-3 days or freeze it up to 1 year.
  • If you are not canning, the surejel can be substituted with cornstarch.
  • Use proper canning techniques, if canning, to make the product shelf stable.
  • Pack into quart jars. A quart is the perfect amount for a 9″ pie.
Close up of bowl of cherry pie filling.Pin

How to use Cherry Pie Filling

Other dishes made with fresh cherries

Tools I Use

Want to learn how to grow your own cherries? These articles are packed full of information about how to get that big harvest by the end of the season!

Don’t miss How to Start a Garden Series! The first part is Planning Your Garden!

Second is Preparing the Garden Site. The third is Choosing Plants and Planting Your Garden

The fourth is Garden Maintenance

The last is Harvesting a Garden and Preserving the Harvest, this post has over 100 FREE recipes for preserving your harvest!

3 bowls of vanilla ice cream topped with cherry pie filling.Pin

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today!

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Canned cherry filing in glas bowl.Pin

Canning Cherry Pie Filling

Canning Cherry Pie Filling is incredibly easy. Use fresh or frozen fruit. So many uses for this versatile ingredient. Homemade is so much better!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: canning, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 32 servings
Calories: 38kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $12

Ingredients

Instructions

For Fresh Cherries

  • For fresh fruit, add cherries to large pot. Cover with about 1/2 gallon of water.

For Frozen Cherries

  • Thaw cherries in refrigerator.
  • Add cherries and juice to large pan. Just barely cover cherries with water.

For fresh and frozen cherries

  • Bring to boil. Once boiling, boil for 1 minute.
  • Strain liquid from cherries. Keep cherries warm in covered container. Reserve water and juice.
  • Combine sugar, clear jel and water back to large pot.
  • Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture starts bubbling.
  • Add lemon juice. Boil for 1 minute.
  • Fold in cherries.
  • Pack immediately into hot jar. Reserving 1" headspace.
  • Wipe edge of jar clean. Place lids. Screw on bands fingertip tight.
  • Process 30 minutes, for sea level. Increase processing time for 5 minutes, for every 3000 feet in elevation.
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Notes

  • It’s best to use sour cherries for this recipe. If using sweet cherries, reduce the sugar and increase the lemon juice, to taste.
  • Use a cherry pitter to speed up the pitting process.
  • Use Clear Jel, a modified cornstarch, instead of cornstarch, if canning.
  • If you don’t want to can this cherry pie filling, it lasts 2-3 days or freeze it up to 1 year.
  • If you are not canning, the clear jel can be substituted with cornstarch.
  • Use proper canning techniques, if canning, to make the product shelf stable.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg
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18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I highly recommend using half tart cherries with chopped rhubarb–Oh! My! This year I added a vanilla bean….Off the charts for deliciousness! We used the cherry/rhubarb for everything–waffles, pancakes, yogurt, ice cream….I would say it makes a lovely gift, but it’s one that everyone becomes so sad when we don’t have it on the shelf!

  2. Is there a reason you use bottled lemon juice? I l prefer fresh lemon juice. Will it provide the same result?

    1. It is recommended to always use bottled lemon juice when canning because the pH of bottled lemon juice is consistent and the pH of fresh lemons varies.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve just saved a fantastic strawberry filling recipe – so glad that I’ve stumbled upon your cherry pie filling, too. My two favorite flavors that I would eat all year long, if that was even possible!

    1. I am confused about the amount of water. Recipe says 1 1/3 cup but direction says 1/2 gallon. Please explain. Thank you

      1. When you boil the cherries to heat them, you will use about 1/2 gallon of water to cover them. Then drain them, reserve the water/ juice. Keep the cherries warm in a covered bowl and use 1-1/3 cups of the reserved water/juice to make the 1 pint of pie filling, which is what the recipe is written for. Does that straighten it up.

  4. 5 stars
    This is a great way to preserve extra cherries when they are in season. It’s so delicious, especially with ice cream and waffles. 🙂

        1. I would say by at least half. Mix everything together, except the Clear jel. Then taste it. It will depend on how sweet the cherries are. Measure out 1/2 cup. Maybe don’t add that all. Just keep tasting until it is sweet enough for you. I prefer tart pies, so our tastes may differ. Thanks for checking out the recipe Matthew!

  5. 5 stars
    I love canning and have never canned pie fillings, I can’t wait to try this for the cherries so I can have that fresh taste for my baked goods.

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