Most commercial cherry pies, and the cherry pies my grandmother used to make for us growing up, are made with sour cherries, which are bright, bright red, and almost impossible to find fresh.
But if you have access to fresh sweet cherries when they are in season (or even frozen out of season), you can easily make a pie with them, too!
What makes the recipe work is to not add too much sugar. The cherries are already naturally sweet. We also add some almond extract to the filling.
There's something magical about the flavors combination of cherries and almonds (see our cherry clafouti), and they work great in the pie.
The Best Cherries for Pie
Look for dark, sweet Bing cherries for this pie. Yellow-red Rainier cherries will also work just fine, but they have a milder flavor than Bings and will therefore make a more mild-tasting pie.
Make sure your cherries are firm and plump. Avoid cherries that look shriveled or blemished.
Frozen cherries can also be used to make pie. Just let them thaw completely in a colander before making your pie.
How to Pit Your Cherries
As Elise says, "It does help to have a good cherry pitter. Those pits can be rather time consuming to remove." If you don't have a cherry pitter try one of these options:
- Hit the cherry with the flat of a knife and remove the pit
- Use a bamboo chopstick to poke out the pit
- Use a paperclip to snag the pit
- Push the pits out using a pastry tip.
Read more about these methods here: 4 Ways to Pit Cherries if You Don't Have a Cherry Pitter.
The Best Pie Crust for Cherry Pie
Want to make a lattice top crust for your pie? Follow the steps and photos laid out in this post.
Make Ahead Instructions for Cherry Pie
Good news! Cherry pie is best made ahead and cooled completely to room temperature before serving. As tempting as it is to slice into the pie fresh out of the oven, you'll get cleaner slices if you wait.
Your baked pie will keep at room temperature covered with plastic wrap for about three days. You can also store it in the fridge for up to 5 days, but the crust tends to stale more quickly.
You can also freeze the entire pie. Let it cool completely, then wrap tightly in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to three months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Love Cherries? Try These Recipes!
Sweet Cherry Pie
- Pie dough for top and bottom 9 or 10-inch pie (see pie crust recipe)
- 5 cups sweet cherries, pitted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons of butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg
- Coarse sugar for sprinkling
Make the cherry filling:
Place the pitted cherries, sugar, almond extract, lemon juice and cornstarch in a large bowl. Toss until the cherries are well coated with the sugar and other ingredients.
Roll out bottom crust:
On a lightly floured clean surface, roll out the bottom crust. Form it into a 9- or 10-inch pie pan. Using kitchen scissors, trim the edges so that they extend beyond the edge of the pie pan by 1 inch. Place in the refrigerator while you roll out the top crust.
Roll out top crust:
Roll out the top crust to about the same size as the bottom crust. If you want to make a lattice top (it's pretty and it's easy to do) follow these instructions for making a lattice pie crust.
Fill the pie:
Use a slotted spoon to lift the cherries out of the bowl and put them in the pie plate. (Leave any excess liquid behind.) Dot with small dabs of butter. Cover with the top crust. Trim the edges. Crimp to seal the edges together.
Score the pie and chill:
Score the top crust with several cuts so that the steam can escape while the pie is cooking (unnecessary if you are making a lattice crust). Chill the pie for 30 minutes before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 425°F
Brush with egg wash (optional):
In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water or milk. Use a pastry brush to brush over the top crust. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar.
Place the pie on the middle rack, with a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any pie drippings.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temp to 350°F and cook for 45 to 55 minutes longer, or until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is thick and bubbly.
Allow to cool completely before serving:
Store pie covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for 3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.