Cherry Pie

I’ve made some delicious pies with bright and bold flavors lately (see coconut cream and key lime), but there’s one main problem. Those pies only have one crust, on the bottom, and in both cases it was made of graham cracker crumbs. Now, I love a graham cracker crust as much as the next person, but I’ve been seriously craving some honest-to-goodness flaky, buttery pie crust. Top and bottom preferred. I’ve done a lot of baking with blueberries and strawberries, and have even dabbled with raspberries and blackberries, but aside from the cherry crisp that I made last summer, my cherry baking has been lacking. Given my urge to eat pie crust and my desire to delve into some cherry baking, I decided that it was high-time I made a cherry pie.

I love pretty much all fruit, including cherries, however on my quest to make my first-ever cherry pie I quickly found out what a cherry novice I am. I’m very familiar with the Bing cherry (nice, dark and sweet – a favorite for snacking), as well as the Rainier cherry, which is more yellowish-orange in color, but still sweet. I figured I would pop into the store, buy a bag or two of cherries, and be on my merry pie-making way. Not so fast. I hit up almost 10 (yes, 10!) cookbooks scoping out cherry pie recipes and called for tart or sour cherries. Whaaaaat?! I’m obviously in a cherry bubble. So, I went to multiple stores looking for fresh sour cherries. No dice. Then, I looked for frozen sour cherries. I couldn’t find those either. Finally, in one of the books they laid it on me that sour cherry season lasts only a couple of weeks, and so it’s likely that jarred or canned cherries would need to be used for a good cherry pie. I headed to the canned fruit aisle and found canned sour/tart cherries that were packed in water, which is what I used for this recipe.

Along with needing pie crust in my belly and wanting to bake with cherries, I thought I was about due to re-visit the beauty that is a lattice-top pie crust. I’ve only made one once before, waaaaaay back in the dark ages of 2008 when I made a blueberry pie, but I just adore the look. It feels like a throw back – retro, vintage, very 1950’s and Donna Reed – when you had the extra few minutes to do something fancy with the top of your pie. It really does only take a few extra minutes of time and isn’t difficult (I included a series of step-by-step photos below in the recipe), but gives a pie that extra kick of pizzazz. Who doesn’t love pizzazz?

This pie is packed with cherries, which are sweetened just the right amount, kicked up a bit with a splash of almond extract and thickened with cornstarch. It’s a quintessential summer pie and would be perfect served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or a tower of whipped cream (or both!).

One year ago: Angel Food Cake
Two years ago: Monster Cookies
Three years ago: No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies

Cherry Pie

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 50 to 60 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours


For the Pie Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
7 tablespoons vegetable shortening
10 tablespoons ice water

For the Pie Filling:
1¼ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
6 cups sour cherries, pitted (See note below.)
¼ teaspoon almond extract

For the Topping:
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar


1. Make the Pie Dough: Process the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the shortening and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle 8 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Press down on the dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if the dough will not come together. Divide the dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. (If possible, weigh the pieces; they should weigh 16 ounces and 14 ounces.) Flatten the larger piece into a rough 5-inch square and the smaller piece into a 4-inch disk; wrap separately in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days, before rolling.

3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Roll the larger piece of dough to a 15x11-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick; transfer the dough rectangle to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With a pizza wheel, fluted pastry wheel or paring knife, trim the long sides of the rectangle to make them straight, then cut the rectangle lengthwise into 8 equal strips.

4. Next, roll the smaller piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate. Working around the circumference of the pan, ease the dough into the pan corners by gently lifting the edge of the dough with one hand while pressing into the pan bottom with the other hand. Leave the dough that overhangs the lip of the pie plate in place. Place the baking sheet with the strips of dough in the freezer and the dough-lined pie plate in the refrigerator; chill for 30 minutes.

5. Make the Pie Filling: Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on it and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

6. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt; set aside. Place the cherries in a large bowl and stir in the almond extract. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the cherries and using a rubber spatula, gently mix together until combined.

7. Turn the cherry mixture into the dough-lined pie plate, remove the strips of dough from the freezer (if they are too stiff to be workable, let stand at room temperature until softened slightly but still very cold) and top with a lattice design as described below:

8. Lay 4 strips of dough, evenly spaced, across the pie horizontally. Fold the first and third strips back, then place a strip of dough slightly to the right of the center, perpendicular to the others. Unfold the first and third strips over the perpendicular strip and fold the second and fourth strips back. Add a second perpendicular strip. Now unfold the second and fourth strips. Repeat this process with 2 more perpendicular strips (you will have 4 strips of dough running in each directions).

9. Trim the lattice strips and crimp the pie edges. Lightly brush the lattice top with the water and sprinkle with sugar.

10. Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the crust is set and begins to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Rotate the pie and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue baking until the crust is deep golden brown and the juices bubble, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool the pie on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before serving.

Note: Sour cherries are only season for a couple of weeks during the summer for most places, so if you blink you could miss them. If you can't find fresh cherries, you can substitute frozen (not thawed), as well as jarred or canned sour/tart cherries. If you buy them jarred or canned, you will need 72 ounces total; be sure to drain them very well and pat them dry with a paper towel before using them in the recipe.

(Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)


58 Responses to “Cherry Pie”

  1. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on June 29, 2012 at 1:33 am

    I had no idea there were sour cherries either! My hubby would love this, he’s a big fan of cherry pie 🙂


  2. Katrina on June 29, 2012 at 6:21 am

    For such a classic, I’ve never even tried cherry pie! Your recipe looks fabulous. Yum!


  3. Elly @ Nutmegs, seven on June 29, 2012 at 6:23 am

    I’ve never made cherry pie before, but something about its American/retro nature really appeals to me! Seeing as it’s cherry season I think I might have to give it a go!


  4. Erica on June 29, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Hi there!
    I, too, live in the Pittsburgh area and the only place I’ve ever been able to find fresh sour cherries is from a friendly vendor at the North Side Farmer’s Market. They are open on Friday’s only from 3:30 to 7:30 pm. I was thinking of heading over there today, actually, to scope them out! Good luck!


    • Michelle on June 29th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Oooh, thanks for the tip, I’ll have to check it out! Stay cool!


  5. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on June 29, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Simple Sweet and All American!! Love it!


  6. Carol F. on June 29, 2012 at 7:58 am

    We are lucky enough to have a sour cherry tree in our yard. The season was a little early this year here in Nebraska, so we picked our cherries a few weeks ago. I’ve never seen sour cherries fresh in the grocery store, so I’m glad I can just pull a bag out of the freezer whenever we need our fix. Cherry pie is a favorite at our house, along with sour cherry jam and pie bars.


  7. Sprigs of Rosemary on June 29, 2012 at 8:01 am

    As a child, I always asked for cherry pie for my birthday, instead of cake. (And even though my birthday is in September.) And for the life of me I can’t remember what kind of cherries my mother used; I just know it wasn’t canned filling. This pie screams “Happy Birthday” to me! (And reminds me of my mom, the best pie baker.)


  8. Marla on June 29, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Fresh Montmorency Cherries are the all time best for cherry pies, in my opinion.

    I would love to plant one of these trees, but then we move! My dad has a couple of these trees, but unfortunately they did not produce fruit this year because a freeze we had right after they bloomed.

    But if you can get some fresh Montmorency cherries, I guarantee you will fall in love with them! 🙂



  9. Eileen on June 29, 2012 at 9:17 am

    That is one darn good looking pie. I love the lattice crust! I don’t think mine would turn out quite that pretty – lol.. Have a good weekend!


  10. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction on June 29, 2012 at 9:19 am

    That is one beautiful pie! Love it!


  11. sally @ sally's baking addiction on June 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

    GORGEOUS pie Michelle! I think making a pie look that beautiful would take me hours beyond hours. Cherry pie is my favorite kind, too 🙂


  12. SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen on June 29, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Delicious pie!! We LOVE cherries & yes, tart or sour cherries are really hard to find. So hard, in fact, that when we recently visited Michigan (tart-cherry capitol of the world!) we stocked up – our entire large cooler was full of bags of tart frozen Montmorency cherries (8 bags)!! Now I have the perfect use for them.


  13. Maria on June 29, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Will you come teach me to make pie? Pretty please:)


    • Michelle on June 29th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Yes! That would be fun! 🙂


  14. Laura Dembowski on June 29, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I love cherry pie! And yours looks fabulous! I have yet to make a sour cherry pie because they are so difficult to find, though a few orchards around me have them for a couple of weeks. They are not at all tasty eaten as is and have many more flaws than Bing or Rainier, but they do bake up nicely in cakes and muffins. I have found that Bing and Rainier cherries also make excellent pies. Love that you use butter and shortening in your crust; together they make the best crust.


  15. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on June 29, 2012 at 11:37 am

    This pie is absolute perfection! 🙂


  16. DB-The Foodie Stuntman on June 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you for the note regarding sour cherries. I didn’t know…


  17. Debra Kapellakis on June 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    That looks amazingly good. I lived in Oregon for many years. I miss it.


  18. Mal @ The Chic Geek on June 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Such a classic! I love cherry pie!


  19. Restaurant supply gal on June 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Sour cherries? Never heard of them! I love learning about new fruits 🙂 Thanks!


  20. living_insanity on June 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    We just bought sour cherries at the farmers market last weekend. They are in season now 🙂 The pie looks great! You did a beautiful job with the crust.


  21. Rougemaple on June 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Sour cherries are not something we find fresh here in Quebec (Canada) although I would LOVE to try this recipe! (I’ll try with canned cherries I guess) It looks amazingly good!


  22. Shannon on June 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Hey brown eyed baker…I love your recipes! I just shared your link on my blog after making three of your terrific cupcake recipes. Please visit my blog sometime for some great ideas and recipes as well! Happy graceful living!!!


  23. Amanda on June 30, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Thanks so much for this, I LOVE cherry pie and the step-by-step lattic guide is a great idea!!


  24. Coleens Recipes on June 30, 2012 at 4:59 am

    It is definitely pie season, what great photos.


  25. Ana on June 30, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Very nice! I got a great deal on some fresh sweet cherries and made a pie recently. It definitely see the wisdom in using tar cherries; mine was more like blueberry pie.


  26. Riley on June 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I’m so jealous of your crust, it’s perfect! There will definitely be cherry pie involved on my 4th of July!


  27. Maribeth on June 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Looks wonderful!!!


  28. Cathy on July 2, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Hello Michelle
    Thanks for the cherry pie recipe.
    I’ll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it 🙂
    If you don’t mind, can you submit your cherry pie photo in ?
    It’s a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. submit by yourself and let me know when you did, so I can share it.


  29. Mandi on July 2, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    This looks fantastic! I just attempted my first pie a couple weeks ago, and the crust didn’t come out as one would hope. Been looking for different crust recipes to try, and this one looks so beautiful in your photos – will be trying this one soon!


  30. Concrete Illinois on July 3, 2012 at 11:35 am

    didn’t realize there was such a thing as sour cherries… seeing as I’ve never heard of them, I will be on the prowl now to find them!


  31. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on July 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Stunning pie! Cherry is one of my favorites. I have actually made pie with bing cherries in the past… just cut back on the sugar, and it will work out beautifully!


  32. Debra Kapellakis on July 12, 2012 at 10:02 am

    That is perfection!


  33. Jane on July 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Cherry is my husband’s favorite type of pie and this is the exact brand of canned cherry I have been using for almost 20 years. It will be in the canned fruit section of your grocery, not in the baking/pie filling section. I just use the recipe on the back side of the label, which uses flour for thickener. I leave out any red food coloring (which some versions call for) but also use almond extract. Dead easy and always gets rave reviews from people who really like cherry pie.


  34. Allie on August 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    My husband and I were just in Door County, WI for a few weeks–the pinky-finger sticking out into Lake Michigan, if you will. This is tart cherry country out here–they’re everywhere! Pies, salsa, barbeque sauces, mustards, wines, and, of course, pie fillings. The weather was rough on them this year, though. If you’re ever looking for a tart cherry haven, though, this is a GREAT place to be!


  35. Annie on October 4, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    America’s Test Kitchen just came out with a new recipe for cherry pie using sweet cherries! See:


    • Michelle on November 21st, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Oooh, thank you Annie!


  36. Trish Natale on November 21, 2012 at 6:14 am

    10 tablespoons butter??????


    • Michelle on November 21st, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Yes, it’s a double crust.


  37. Anita on February 12, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I have made this pie twice and it has been a huge hit. I used jarred sour cherries and just cut out the pie crust into shapes for the top (stars for Christmas and poka-dots for my sisters birthday) Suburb pie, the combination of cherries with the Almond is truly delicious!


  38. Kathryn on February 20, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Can a differrent fruit filling be substituted for the cherries, to make say a raspberry pie?


    • Michelle on February 20th, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Kathryn, I usually stick to substituting the same types of fruit – i.e. berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), stone fruits (peaches, cherries, plums, apricots), etc. You could try raspberries here, but I’m not sure how it would work out.


  39. Caitlin on July 3, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Here’s an excellent sweet cherry pie recipe for you to try — a bit sweeter than a traditional tart recipe but not cloying. It was a huge hit with my cherry pie-loving family this past weekend.

    Good luck!


  40. denise on August 26, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    In your recipe you say to use “frozen” not thawed cherries. Can you elaborate here? I actually bought sour pie cherries from local farmers. I pitted and froze them with my food saver. I packaged between 6 -7 cups per bag as I prefer deep dish 10″ pies and like a nice “full” pie. So what do you mean by “not thawed”? Thank you in advance for your timely response and or advice.


    • Michelle on August 27th, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      Hi Denise, I just mean do not thaw them. The cherries should still be frozen when you use them for the recipe.


  41. Chris on December 9, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Amazing recipe! Was tasked with making a cherry pie for my boyfriend’s thanksgiving. Cherry is his dad’s favorite so I wanted to impress. Mind you I’m not a huge baker- I only really started in the past year and normally stick to cheesecakes, cookies, etc. To be honest I never baked pies because I never really liked them (never had a good one til now!) Anyways I was tasked with making my first pie from scratch. Thankfully I stumbled upon your site. The recipe was amazing! Since it’s fall, I used canned cherries. I accidentally grabbed 2 cans of sweet cherries to 3 cans sour so I reduced the sugar to taste. I also added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a little zest. Even though I was incredibly nervous and second guessing myself, the pie turned out amazing! It was the first dessert to go and My bf’s dad hid a piece for himself for later;). My bf’s grandmother who is an amazing southern cook & baker (and the standard by which all all other pies are judged) had a big slice and gave her stamp of approval. The crust and filling turned out perfect! (my lattice work wasn’t as pretty as yours but it wasn’t bad for my first pie crust either). Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe. I Bookmarked your site and am looking forward to expanding my baking repertoire! Thanks!


  42. Michelle on February 6, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Hi, I am planning on making this pie this weekend. Just so I am clear… 72 ounces would be 5 cans of cherries, right? It just seems like a lot! Thanks!


    • Michelle on February 7th, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Hi Michelle, It depends on the size of the jar or can! Just make sure they add up to 72 ounces 🙂


  43. Jean on June 13, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    This is why we planted six sour cherry trees in our front yard–not only yummy for pies but also lovely trees with thick white spring blossoms, attract all kinds of birds–(yet there are always enough cherries for everyone,birds and people alike)! Plus, easy to care for!


  44. Jazz on July 17, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Hi, I am just wondering if you can tell me which is your favourite pie crust recipe? You always seems to make small alterations to the pie crusts for different recipes. I notice that you used vegetable shortening in the crust for this cherry pie recipe and I wanted to know if that makes the crust taste better or makes it more flaky as opposed using only butter.


    • Michelle on July 18th, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      Hi Jazz, I like both for different reasons – I love the flavor of an all-butter crust, but the vegetable shortening does add some tenderness, which I like sometimes, too. If I had to pick one favorite, foolproof crust, it would be this one, which uses the vodka trick (and also includes both butter and shortening):


  45. Adrien on November 22, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Does the bottom crust come out crispy without baking it before adding the filling?


    • Michelle on November 24th, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Hi Adrien, Yep, it does!


  46. Lili on February 22, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Hey — I found a 5 lb bag of them frozen at Gordon Food Service. So you can make this year-round!


  47. sally on March 22, 2015 at 10:16 am

    is it ok if i used strawberry filling instead ????


  48. Tim fleming on May 22, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Yeah I was looking at your recipe for sour cherry pie and you do not give any directions on how to make the pie filling all you want to do is give directions on how to make the pie crust. Your page says you can take and use can cherish packed in water but other than that you don’t give any directions on how much water to drain or anything else by that way anyway I find it irritating I’ll try in the future not to get on your website


    • Michelle on May 22nd, 2015 at 10:21 pm

      The instructions for the pie filling start at #5.


Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)