Cherry Pie Filling Recipe From Frozen or Canned Cherries

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Sometimes I need a can of cherry pie filling for a recipe. But DANG have you priced that little can of filling? And there’s often lots of filling but precious little actual cherry in those cans. But it’s simple to make your own cherry pie filling using canned or frozen cherries. 

I've found it's cheaper and more delicious to make my own cherry pie filling using canned or frozen cherries. #TexasHomesteader

Holiday Food Favorites

For each major holiday gathering – whether Thanksgiving or Christmas – the non-negotiable dishes my family requests of our household is that we bring  RancherMan’s Famous Green-Bean Casserole and my sweet, desserty no-cook Cherry Schtuff.

This no-cook dessert stirs together in minutes. Cherry pie filling, Cool whip, crushed pineapple and sweetened condensed milk. #TexasHomesteader

Now in the past I’d simply buy a can of cherry pie filling to make my sweet no-cook cherry dessert. But I was often very disappointed at the abundance of filling and significant lack of actual cherry in those cans. 

So these days I’ve found it’s often cheaper and always oh-so-much-more delicious to make my own cherry pie filling. I use either canned or frozen cherries and BOOM!

Single Pie Filling Recipe Or Double?

For smaller cherry pie filling needs such as for topping desserts for instance, I’ll use the quick & easy recipe below to make a small 1-cup recipe of cherry pie filling. That gives me plenty of filling to use for those desserts.

But sometimes I need more pie filling for a recipe. I’ll often double the recipe below when I’m making my Cherry Schtuff dessert so it will be even more cherrylicious. 

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

Making this cherry pie filling is beyond simple. I’m basically just thawing frozen cherries and reserving the juice that drains away. (or reserving the juice from a drained can of cherries).

Then I’m adding some sugar & thickening the juice with cornstarch. A tiny amount of lemon juice & vanilla extract and I’m done!

Really, it’s faster than running to the store and plunking down hard-earned money for canned cherry pie filling.

And as I mentioned I use it for more than just the Cherry Schtuff dessert I make during the holidays. I often plop a dollop of homemade cherry pie filling on my Homemade Cheesecake too.

Or anywhere that topping a dessert with cherry pie filling adds a little sumpin’…

So versatile, so EASY!

So if you’re tired of plunking down the cash for that can of cherry pie filling which contains precious few actual cherries, consider buying cherries when they’re in season & cheap.

Pit them and then toss them in the freezer. That way they’ll be ready and waiting for you to use them down the road for making your own homemade cherry pie filling. You know, the filling that contains LOTS of cherries!

Here’s the recipe I use for topping desserts. Double the recipe if you need more.

5 from 1 vote

Small 1-Cup Cherry Pie Filling Recipe:

I was often very disappointed at the abundance of filling and lack of actual cherry in those purchased cans of cherry pie filling. So these days I've found it's cheaper and preferable to make my own cherry pie filling. I use canned or frozen cherries. #TexasHomesteader

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple pie filling, cherry, cherry pie
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup


  • 1 cup Frozen or canned red tart cherries thawed for 24 hours in the refrigerator
  • 1/2 cup Reserved drained cherry juice
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 HEAPING Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice


  1. WHISK together 1/2 cup cherry liquid, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 HEAPING Tablespoon cornstarch in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil until thickened and mixture begins to bubble.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Return to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add reserved cherries all at once. Return to a boil, stirring constantly but gently.
  5. Remove from heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.


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9 thoughts on “Cherry Pie Filling Recipe From Frozen or Canned Cherries

  1. Sharlene

    How long will this last in the fridge?

  2. Nana

    5 stars
    Tammy, when you can this filling do you use pints (2c.) and water bath them for how long?
    So tired of the high prices for less cherries.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Ya know Nana, I’m not sure. But I’ve read that you can water-bath can cherry pie filling – either pints or quarts – at 35 minutes or so (depending upon your altitude). I’m totally with you though, I’m so tired of paying that high price for a can of cherry pie filling and then getting lots of filling but precious few actual cherries in that can! ~TxH~

  3. Sondra Langle

    Did I miss the recipe for the cherry shruff?

  4. ColleenB.

    Cynthia ; never hurts to make extra. :} Normally for a deep dish pie it takes right around 6 cups.
    Tammy; this is right up my alley. I think with all the cans of cherry pie filling I have bought in my life time I should own stock in the company. :}
    Wish a person could water bath can this stuff. Just wondering how long this would keep in the fridge.
    Thanks for this easy peasy recipe along with the Cherry Schtuff salad recipe as well.
    Having light rain here and is really an overcast kinda day

  5. Cynthia D

    This looks so simple. I am going give this a try. How many cups do you need for a pie filling?

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Well Cynthia, when I’m making a standard apple pie I use a quart of my apple pie filling – that’s 4 cups. I’d think deep dish pie would use a cup or so more depending upon the depth of your pie plate. ~TxH~


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