This Cherry Pie recipe is easy to make from scratch. With a flaky pie crust and a sweet fresh cherry filling, this homemade pie is completely irresistible!
When cherries are in season, it’s time to make pie! Fresh cherries make the best pie filling in this homemade cherry pie. It’s sweet and juicy with a delicious hint of vanilla.
Making this cherry pie is easy. Once you have the cherries pitted (I’ll share my tips for pitting cherries below), the pie comes together quickly, even if you make a homemade crust.
What Cherries are Best for Cherry Pie
I prefer to use fresh sweet cherries for pie. You can also use tart or sour cherries in this recipe, but you will want to add more sugar to the filling. If you’d like to use frozen cherries, let them thaw before using, and drain off any juices that are released as they defrost.
How to Pit Cherries
My favorite way is to use a cherry pitter, an inexpensive kitchen gadget that quickly and easily removes the pits. To pit cherries without a cherry pitter, you can use a chopstick to push the cherry pits out. Or, just halve the cherries and pull the pits out.
How to Make Cherry Pie
Making a cherry pie is as simple as:
- Mix together the cherry pie filling.
- Make the crust.
- Assemble the pie.
Sweet Cherry Pie Filling
You don’t need much to make the flavor of fresh cherries shine! The cherry pie filling is made with just a few ingredients:
- Fresh Cherries: Remove the stems and pits and halve the cherries.
- Granulated Sugar: Sugar is used to sweeten the filling. You can use more or less sugar, depending on your tastes and how sweet or sour your cherries are.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is an essential ingredient because it helps the pie filling to thicken.
- Lemon Juice: A little fresh lemon juice brightens up the flavors.
- Vanilla Extract: The vanilla complements the flavor of the cherries and adds a touch more sweetness.
- Salt: Salt is an important ingredient in baking because it enhances the other flavors.
I like to make the cherry filling before preparing the pie crust so that the cherries have time to release some of their juices while I make the crust. This keeps the pie filling from turning out too liquidy.
To make the filling, combine the halved cherries and other filling ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to mix, but don’t worry if you still see a few bits of cornstarch or sugar on the cherries. You’ll be able to more fully combine the filling ingredients after it rests for a few minutes and the cherries start to release their juices.
Flaky Butter Pie Crust
I love to make a homemade pie crust for this pie because you can’t beat the taste and texture of a flaky, buttery from scratch crust. My method for making homemade crust is really easy and doesn’t require you to chill the dough before rolling it out. Even if you are new to making pie crust, I promise you can make this pie crust recipe!
The key to a good pie crust is to keep the ingredients cold. Keep your butter in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it, and use ice cold water.
This pie crust recipe makes enough for both a bottom and top pie crust. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a round disk. Refrigerate one of the disks to use in a few minutes when you make the top pie crust. Roll the other disk out for the bottom crust. Wrap it around your rolling pin and transfer it to your pie dish.
The Finishing Touches (and a Lattice Crust!)
Give the cherry filling another stir. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries to the pie crust, leaving any juices in the bowl to discard. Leaving the juices behind ensures that the filling sets up without being too liquidy.
- Dot with Butter: I like to dot the pie filling with a little bit of butter before baking. Just one tablespoon, cut into small cubes, is all you need. This step is optional but adds to the overall flavor of the pie.
- Lattice Crust: Roll out the other disk of dough for the top pie crust. You can place the top crust on whole, cutting a few slits in the top crust to let steam escape as it bakes. Or you can make a lattice pie crust. See my Apple Pie Recipe for a step by step photo tutorial of how to make a lattice pie crust. If you prefer to use a store-bought bottom pie crust, you can make a crumble topping for the top of the pie, using my Cherry Crumble Pie recipe.
- Egg Wash: Combine one egg with one tablespoon of milk (or water) to brush on the pie crust before baking. The egg wash helps the top crust to become golden brown as it bakes.
- Sugar Sprinkle: After brushing on the egg wash, I like to sprinkle the top crust with a little bit of coarse sugar or granulated sugar. It adds a pretty sparkle and an extra touch of sweetness to the pie.
How Long to Bake Cherry Pie
After assembling the pie, refrigerate it for 20 to 30 minutes while your oven preheats. This chilling time helps to make sure the crust is cold when it goes into the oven, which will give you a flakier crust.
You’ll start by baking the pie at 400° F for 20 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350° and continue baking the pie for 40 to 50 more minutes. About halfway through the baking time, start checking on the pie and loosely cover it with foil once the crust has browned to your liking. If you do not cover the pie, the crust can brown too much. The pie is done when the filling is bubbly.
Be sure to let the pie cool for at least 2 hours after it bakes before slicing and serving. I know it’s hard to wait, but the pie needs to cool so that the filling can set up.
You’re definitely going to want to add this fresh cherry pie recipe to your summer baking plans. It’s especially delicious served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
More Summer Dessert Recipes
For the Cherry Filling
- 6 cups sweet cherries (2 pounds, pitted and halved*)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (see note)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the Pie Crust
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
- 7 tablespoons ice cold water
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- coarse sugar or granulated sugar (for sprinkling, optional)
Make the Cherry Filling
- Place the pitted, halved cherries in a large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside while you prepare the crust. The cherries will release some of their juices as they rest.
Make the Pie Crust
- Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. (Alternatively, the pie crust dough can be made by hand in a large bowl using a pastry cutter to cut in the butter.)
- Pulse to combine the dry ingredients. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse 8 to 10 times, until the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas.
- Add the ice cold water and pulse just until the dough comes together.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form it into a ball. Cut the ball in half and shape each half into a round disk. Wrap one of the disks in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the second disk of dough out into a 12-inch round and transfer it to a pie dish. (To transfer the rolled out dough easily, wrap it around your rolling pin to help move it.)
Assemble the Pie
- The cherries will have released some of their juices. Stir the cherry mixture to make sure everything is well combined. Use a slotted spoon to spoon the cherries into the pie crust, leaving most of the juice in the bowl to be discarded (if you pour all of the juices into the pie the filling will be very liquidy).
- Cut the 1 tablespoon of butter into small cubes and scatter them over the top of the cherry filling.
- Take the remaining dough disk out of the refrigerator and roll it out to a 12-inch round. You can place the dough round on top of the pie as is, or you can make a lattice-top crust. If putting the full dough round on top of the pie, be sure to cut a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape as the pie bakes.
- To make a lattice-top pie crust: Cut the second dough round into ¾-inch strips. Place the longest strip down the center of the pie. Reserving every other dough strip to go in the other direction on the pie, lay strips across the pie with a little space in between. Then weave in the remaining strips of dough going the opposite direction on the pie. (See my apple pie recipe for step by step photos.)
Brush with Egg Wash & Bake
- Beat the egg and milk together in a small bowl. Lightly brush the top and edges of the pie crust with the egg wash. If desired, sprinkle coarse sugar over the top of the pie.
- Place the pie in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before baking. While the pie chills, preheat the oven to 400° F with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
- Bake the pie at 400° for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and continue baking the pie for 40 to 50 minutes more, until the filling is bubbly. Check on the pie about halfway through the baking time and tent it with foil as needed to prevent the crust from over-browning.
- Let the pie cool to room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the filling to thicken.
- If you are using a large, deep dish pie dish you may want to increase the cherries to 7 cups.
- If making the pie with tart cherries, increase the sugar in the filling to 1 cup.
- Store pie at room temperature for up to 8 hours, or in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days. Once completely cool, the baked pie can also be frozen, wrapped tightly, for up to 3 months.
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