Gluten Free 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 gluten-free pie filling using canned or frozen cherries. 

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling recipe using frozen cherries. #TexasHomesteader

Cans Of Pie Filling Are Expensive & Disappointing

In the past I’d simply buy a can of pie filling to make my sweet no-cook cherry dessert or for topping other fun desserts.

But I was often very disappointed at the abundance of filling and significant lack of actual cherry in those expensive cans. 

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

Homemade Gluten-Free Cherry Pie Filling Ingredients

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).

It's easy to make thick cherry pie filling yourself using this simple recipe. #TexasHomesteader

Here are the simple ingredients for my homemade pie filling:

    • 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 extract

    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Really, that’s it! Simple ingredients without the preservatives found in the commercial stuff. And it’s even faster than running to the store and plunking down hard-earned money for canned pie filling.

What Recipes Use Pie Filling?

There are several of my favorite recipes that use pie filling.

Family favorite Cherry Schtuff dessert I make during the holidays. I always double the pie filling recipe for the most cherry flavor for this dish.

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

A dollop of homemade cherry pie filling on my Homemade Cheesecake adds a little fruity flavor and a nice presentation too.

Mason jar jar wide mouth canning cheesecake with cherry pie filling. #TexasHomesteader

Sometimes I add pie filling in my Homemade Yogurt to add a thick fruity sweetness. 

Homemade yogurt with cherry pie fruit on the bottom is a delicious zero-waste treat. #TexasHomesteader

I can use cherry pie filling in the place of Apple Pie Filling when making a quick Fruit Crumble.

Simple apple crumble an easy, delicious dessert. #TexasHomesteader

Or the fastest dessert recipe of all – Cherry Pie Tortilla Rolls! Just roll pie filling inside four tortillas, top with melted butter & bake.

Tortilla rolls are made from pie filling rolled into a flour tortilla. Delicious and fast dessert. #TexasHomesteader

You can use this homemade pie filling anywhere that topping a dessert with cherry pie filling adds a little sumpin’…

So versatile, so EASY!

How Much Pie Filling Do You Need?

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

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

How do you know how much pie filling you need? Here are some tips:

There are 1½ cups in a 21-ounce can of pie filling.

3-4 cups of pie filling is needed for a cherry pie

5-6 cups of pie filling is needed for a deep-dish cherry pie.

When making pies, you’re just wanting to fill it to approximately 1/2″ to 3/4″ from the top so it’s full without bubbling over. 

Make Your Own Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

So if you’re tired of plunking down the cash for that can of 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 pie filling.

You know, the filling that contains LOTS of cherries!

It's easy to make your own cherry pie filling using frozen or canned cherries. #TexasHomesteader

Here’s the small 1-cup recipe I use when I need just enough for topping desserts. Double or triple (or more) the recipe if you need more pie filling.

Did you make this Cherry Pie Filling? Please rate the recipe in your comment below!

5 from 2 votes

Small 1-Cup Cherry Pie Filling Recipe:

I'm often disappointed at the abundance of filling and lack of actual cherry in purchased cans of pie filling. I've found it's cheaper to make homemade gluten-free cherry pie filling using canned or frozen cherries. #TexasHomesteader

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple pie filling, cherry, cherry pie, Gluten Free
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
  • ½ cup Reserved drained cherry juice
  • cup Sugar
  • 1 HEAPING Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice


  1. WHISK together ½ cup cherry liquid, ⅓ 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, about 3-4 minutes.

  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.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: This recipe makes approximately a cup of pie filling. Multiply based on how much you need for your recipe, whether just a dollop on top of a dessert or an actual cherry pie.

There are 1½ cups of pie filling in a 21 ounce can.

3-4 cups of pie filling is needed for a cherry pie

5-6 cups of pie filling is needed for a deep-dish cherry pie.

When making pies, you want to fill it to approximately 1/2" to 3/4" from the top so it won't bubble over. 


This post categorized in  

Tagged in  All our favorite cherry flavored recipes. #TexasHomesteader    Our favorite dessert recipes and posts. #TexasHomesteader        Our best holiday tips. #TexasHomesteader    

Want More Holiday Cooking Tips & Recipes?

Kitchen Hacks







C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our Facebook Page. It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea.  There are lots of good folks sharing!  And you can also follow along on Pinterest, on Instagram and on Twitter

If you’d like to receive an email when a new blog post goes live, subscribe to our Blog!



10 thoughts on “Gluten Free Cherry Pie Filling Recipe From Frozen or Canned Cherries

  1. Thelma Briggs

    5 stars
    I made this cherry pie filling to go with one of my holiday desserts. It was perfect! I’ll make my own from now on.

  2. Sharlene

    How long will this last in the fridge?

  3. 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~

  4. Sondra Langle

    Did I miss the recipe for the cherry shruff?

  5. 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

  6. 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~


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

* Please enter the Biggest Number

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.