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Classic Tart Cherry Pie with Canned Cherries

Can a tart cherry pie with canned cherries really hit the tangy-sweet pie bullseye? It can! And you can do it all without artificial red food coloring or pre-made fillings. Get the steps for the real-deal right here. 

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How many times have you slid a pre-made store pie from it’s box, taken a look at the perfectly made rock-hard crust in its aluminum tin and asked yourself “Is this how all pies are?”

No.

No it’s not at all, and I’d rather eat the sole of my shoe than one of those flavorless, red-dyed, factory imposters.

And the truth is, you can trot three aisles over from the bakery and get a can of tart cherries and a refrigerated pie crust (if you want to avoid making one) and make something so much better.

Assembly on this tart cherry pie with canned cherries takes about 30 minutes and if you have a store bought crust you can probably do it even faster.

a tart cherry pie on a table with a slice missing, one slice cut and a pie server

Start with a great crust

A good buttery pie crust isn’t a supporting character in your tart cherry pie recipe. When done well, a buttery, flaky crust makes the filling taste even better. You have a few options for your crust:

  • An all butter crust This one is my favorite and I feel like it has the most flavor.
  • A crust made with shortening Vegetable oils are inflammatory and we don’t use them anymore but this is a classic crust with a neutral flavor.
  • A store bought one. They aren’t that bad–they do use shortening in those as well so keep that in mind
  • A crust made with lard. This goes way back, but the flaky texture can’t be beat.

If you need help making a homemade pie crust, watch me to do it here on YouTube.

Choose the right tart cherries for your pie

Tart cherries come in a can and you’ll find them in the canned fruit aisle. Imagine that. Usually on the top shelf where the food that nobody’s looking for gets placed.

You can also used home canned cherries (pictured below) but just make sure your cherries are in water and unsweetened.

two cans of cherries on a table; one store bought and one home canned

How to make a tart cherry pie

Your tart cherry pie with canned cherries starts with a cup of liquid from the can. There’s lots of flavor there so don’t throw it out! If you run short on liquid you can add a bit of apple or cherry juice to top it off.

Heat the liquid with cornstarch and sugar until thickened and translucent. Add the cherries, almond extract and butter.

Transfer to your pie shell and top with a lattice or your choice of top crust. You might like these pie crust design ideas.

Looking for more pie recipes? Check these out:

a slice of tart cherry pie on a plate with a fork

Classic Tart Cherry Pie with Canned Cherries

No red food coloring-filled canned pie crust necessary in this homemade cherry pie. Learn to kick the processed stuff out and make yours with just a few simple ingredients. Tangy, sweet and wrapped in a classic crust, you'll never let this recipe go!
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 340kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

  • 2 14-ounce cans pitted tart cherries in water not pie filling
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup honey would substitute
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts one box, or make a crust from scratch, see Notes

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Remove pie crusts from box and allow to warm slightly on the counter--about 10 minutes before unrolling. See notes for the link to my homemade crust.
  • Into a measuring cup, drain liquid from cherries to make 1 cup of liquid.
  • Transfer to a saucepan and add sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk well to combine before heating.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring often.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer about 3 to 5 minutes until thickened.
  • Turn off heat and add butter, almond extract, and cherries. Set aside.
  • Unroll one crust into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Fold or crimp edges of the crust.
  • Add the filling.
  • Unroll the second crust and slice into 1" wide strips.
  • Place half of the strips across the pie vertically and half horizontally.
  • Brush with the egg mixture and bake 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake 35 to 40 minutes more, tenting with foil if the crust begins to get too dark.
  • Cool before serving for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Notes

To make your own crust: https://feastandfarm.com/all-butter-pie-crust/

Nutrition

Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 244mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
Recipe Rating




Melody

Thursday 8th of July 2021

Hi Rachel !

I am not a fan of almond extract so could I use vanilla instead? Would it change the pie flavor too much?

Rachel Ballard

Thursday 8th of July 2021

Yes Melody that's just fine!

Rachel Ballard

Thursday 9th of March 2017

I love this pie!

Wayne Nagata

Sunday 12th of July 2015

I never baked before, but I am a Cherry Pied lover: ) I didn't wash the crust but it still turned a golden color. I let the crust warm up to much and it crumbled. The filling was pink like your picture but it was a little runny. I should have drained it a little more. All in all it tasted wonderfully yummy; ) Thanks for a first time baker, Wayne Nagata

Rachel Ballard

Monday 13th of July 2015

Wayne I am so proud of you! First I'm glad the flavor worked and I'm even more glad that you persisted and made your pie even after your crust fell apart. Did you know pies are one of the most difficult things to make and you started as a new baker right out of the gate with it! Certainly the colder the crust, the easier is (usually) is to work with. If it's too cold it can crack, so there's a happy medium there you have to grab. You can cook your filling longer next time and thicken it or add a little less of the cherry liquid to your pan when you heat it. I'm a cherry pie lover from way back too--nothin' stops us! Haha! Give it another try sometime and THANK YOU for letting me know.

Wendy

Monday 29th of June 2015

Hi Rachael this recipe sounds and looks amazing but do you or anyone have one using fresh picked cherries as I'm going cherry picking soon and would like to try making cherry pies this year. Thanks Wendy.

Rachel Ballard

Monday 29th of June 2015

Don't worry Wendy! You can use this recipe with no trouble. All you will need to do is wash, stem and pit your fresh cherries then cook them in a pot over medium heat for 15 minutes or so until they are soft then continue with the recipe. The cherries I use are just canned in water so they are basically fresh cherries--just cooked a little. ;) You would need 2 1/2-3 cups of cherries and enough liquid to just barely cover them. Should work fine!

Kim Lackey Honeycutt

Monday 9th of June 2014

Rachel, did I mention this is especially funny (about the pie crust) since you posted back near the beginning about how to make pie crust. LOL :-)

29 is a good number...no reason to ditch it yet! I hope it was a great birthday!

I like how you keep things simple. Also, I've been with you for a good while now. I'm glad to be a part of your past year. I wish you the very best!!

Rachel Ballard

Tuesday 10th of June 2014

It's true--not everything works for me every time. This particular day I was being too impatient and I didn't want to let it chill enough so it wanted to stick to everything but my mama and fell apart as soon as you looked at it. Not my day!

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