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Sour Cherry Pie

Sour cherries make THE most delicious cherry pie!  The homemade cherry pie filling in this recipe is sweet, tart, flavourful and tastes just like a classic cherry pie! This Sour Cherry Pie will quickly become a family favourite.

Making a cherry pie from scratch is easy and definitely worth it!  You really can’t beat homemade cherry pie filling in a flaky tender pie crust.  Yum.  Cherry pie is what summers are made of.  The cherry pie filling recipe that I am sharing here can be made in two ways: cooked before baking, or fresh before baking.  The choice is yours.  Read below for more cherry pie tips, and of course the delicious recipe!

Summer Cherries for the Best Cherry Pie!

We live near a wonderful U-Pick farm that I like to visit several times over the summer months to pick fresh summer berries. There’s just something so great about picking your own food…I love this experience so much. I usually go to pick Saskatoon berries for Saskatoon Pie and Saskatoon Berry Butter Tarts.  And most recently we’ve visited to pick big buckets of beautiful fresh sour cherries to make into pie!

Sour Cherries

How to Pit Sour Cherries

Pitting the cherries is the hardest part of this recipe. Mind you, it’s not really that hard, it’s just tedious.  And there’s no trick to it.  If you have a cherry or olive pitter use that. If you don’t, pit them by hand…all you have do is just push your thumb into the cherry and push out the pit.  This is the most quick and easy method…I tried cutting the cherries in half, then removing the pit, but this drove me bonkers and was taking waaaaay too long.  Just get your fingers in there and push out those pits.  Tip!  Make sure you wear an apron that you aren’t worried about staining, cherries are very juicy.

Pitting Sour Cherries

2 Ways to Make Sour Cherry Pie Filling:

As I mentioned there are 2 basic ways to make the sour cherry pie filling:  a cooked or no-cook method.  I have done both, and I prefer the cook method.

#1 No-Cook Sour Cherry Pie Filling Method:

This method is as simple as mixing together the ingredients for the pie filling, letting it sit for about 10 minutes, then putting the mixture directly into the pie shell for baking (you can see what the filling looks like when it’s not cooked, in the image below).  The pros to this method are that it’s easy and a little faster.  The cons are that the filling may be runny even after baking, and the texture of the cherries are more dense rather than soft like when cooked.

Sour Cherry Pie Filling
This is what the cherry pie filling looks like when it is NOT cooked.

#2 Cooked Sour Cherry Pie Filling Method:

With this method you cook the filling before adding it to the pie shell for baking.  The pros to cooking the filling first are that the filling isn’t runny, it’s more like a jam.  And the cherries are nice and soft.  You can even eat the cooked filling like a dip…yum!  You can see what this dip looks like in the picture below (it’s in the bowl)…I served it with little pie crust cookie dippers.  The cons are…well I’m not sure there are any, other than it takes a little more time.  Cooking the filling is my preferred method.

Sour Cherry Pie

Let’s get back to the cherry pie dip for a minute.  If you end up with a little extra cooked pie filling (that doesn’t fit into your pie), you can eat it like a dip.  Use the extra pie crust pieces that were trimmed off your pie while you were putting the pie together, bake them and make pie crust cookie dippers.  To do this I just use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes in the crust, then I brush them with milk, sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar and bake them on a cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.  This makes a fun dessert.

Sour Cherry Pie Filling Dip with Pie Crust Cookies
This is what the cherry pie filling looks like when it’s cooked.

Make a Fancy Pie Crust

Now back to the pie.  I love to have fun with the top crust of my pies.  I used to make all my pies with a classic pie crust top, which I like, but I really enjoy using small cookie or pie crust cutters to make shapes for the top crust.  For the top of this pie I did something a little different and actually cut shapes out of the crust instead of adding shapes onto the crust.  I used a little circle cookie cutter to cut out the shapes, then I laid the crust over the pie.  I love the look of the polka dots!

Sour Cherry Pie

It doesn’t have to be perfect!

Don’t worry if the pie filling comes out of the holes/vents.  Pie filling that bubbles it’s way out of a crust just means it’s bursting with flavour!  😉

Sour Cherry Pie

Sour Cherry Recipe Pie Tips

  • Cherries:  This recipe was made for sour cherries only.  They are NOT the same as Bing Cherries.  Sour cherries require much more sugar than other cherries.
  • Pie Filling Options:  You can use uncooked filling or cooked filling for this pie.  Read above for more details.
  • Baking Tip:  While your pie is baking, and you see that the outer edge of the crust is starting to get darker than the rest of the crust, you can cover just the edges with tin foil to prevent burning.
  • Put a cookie sheet under your pie while it is baking.  Trust me.
  • Thickener:  Make sure to thoroughly mix the sugar and cornstarch before you add it to the simmering cherries. Mixing these 2 ingredients well will ensure that the cornstarch does not clump.
  • Let it rest:  Before you serve this pie, let it rest for about 30 minutes.  This will help to set the filling


Sour Cherry Pie

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This Sour Cherry Pie recipe is made by first cooking the pie filling, before it is added to the pie crust for baking.

  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pie 1x
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking


Units Scale

Sour Cherry Pie Filling:

  • 4 cups of pitted fresh sour cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp corn starch

Pie Crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening (lard)
  • 1/4 cup water


Cooking the Pie Filling:

  1. Place the pitted fresh sour cherries into a saucepan over low-medium heat and simmer until the cherries release their juices.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring often.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the sugar and cornstarch, until it is thoroughly combined. Mixing these 2 ingredients well will ensure that the cornstarch does not clump.
  3. Stir the sugar/cornstarch mix into the cherries while you continuously stir.  Simmer the mixture until the filling has thickened. This won’t take very long at all…about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the filling from the heat and let cool.

Making the Pie Crust:

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. With a pie cutter, cut in the shortening until the particles are like coarse oatmeal.  Sometimes I use my hands to do this part. Yes, you can use your hands!
  3. Sprinkle in the water, 1 tsp or so at a time, mixing lightly with a fork.
  4. Press the mixture into a ball. It is okay if it is crumbly. In fact crumbly makes for a tender, flaky crust!
  5. Separate the ball into 2 balls: one for the bottom crust and one for the top.

Baking the Pie:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Using a rolling pin, roll out one ball of pie crust dough into a circle big enough to fit a 9 inch pie plate.  Press this crust into your pie plate.
  3. Add the cooled cooked sour cherry pie filling.
  4. For a Regular Pie Crust:  Roll out the other ball of dough and place it over the top of your pie. Press together the edges of the crust (I used a fork to seal the edges). Then trim off the extra dough.  Then use a knife to make air vents by cutting slits in the crust.
  5. Making a Cut Out Crust:  If you want to make a fancy crust like the one I made here, use a small circle cookie cutter and randomly cut out little circles.  Then gently lift the pie crust dough, popping out any circles still hanging on, and lay the crust over the top of the pie filling.  (Refer to the pictures above)
  6. Brush the crust lightly with milk, then generously sprinkle the crust with a cinnamon and sugar mix.
  7. In your preheated 425 degree F oven, bake your pie for 20 minutes (this will ensure that you don’t end up with a soggy bottom crust).
  8. Then after this time slip a cookie sheet onto the rack below your pie, and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for 25-30 minutes more. Bake until the crust is golden brown and your filling is bubbling in the vents.
  9. Serve with vanilla ice cream!

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Have a delicious day!

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