Cherry Pie Filling {Unthickened}

A home canning recipe for preserving cherry pie filling. It may take a bit of time but it is well worth it. Note: This is for an unthickened pie filling where the thickening agents are added when you are ready to use a jar.

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 14 pint jars
Author Amanda


  • 22 cups pitted sour cherries
  • 6 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 2/3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 6 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 tsp almond extract


Cherry Pie Filling Instructions:

  1. First, pit the cherries. You can soak them in some cold water with lemon juice to keep them from browning. Do not dump the water, you will use this later when forming the syrup.

  2. Sterilize 14 pint jars and rings.

  3. Place sugar, reserved cherry water, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a pot. Stir mixture and heat over medium-high heat.

  4. While waiting for the mixture to boil, cold pack the cherries evenly between 14 pint jars (ensure they are sanitized). Stir the syrup mixture throughout this process.

  5. Boil the lids/seals for 5 minutes. (Make sure they are in the boiling water before you start to fill the jars with syrup).

  6. When the syrup mixture is boiling and the cherries are packed in the jars, fill each jar. Make sure you leave a 1/2 inch to 1 inch headspace in each jar.

  7. Place the lids on the jars and secure them in place with the rings. The rings should be finger tight.

  8. Process immediately in a boiling water bath canner. For processing times, you need to know your altitude. Find the processing time at the link below. Use the boiling water canner raw pack processing times, but add an additional 5 minutes to the time; the added 5 minutes will help soften the cherries a little more.

  9. Remove the jars from your canner and let cool. Wait for the sweet sounds of the jars sealing. If any do not seal, place in your fridge to use.

  10. Label your jars. Make a note to add 1 1/2 tsp corn starch when ready to use the pie filling.

Using the pie filling:

  1. Place a strainer over a pot.

  2. Dump the contents of one jar into the strainer.

  3. Set the cherries aside for now.

  4. Add 1 1/2 tsp of cornstarch to the syrup. Whisk well.

  5. When the mixture is mixed, turn on the heat to medium-high. Mix continuously until the mixture thickens.

  6. Fold in cherries.

  7. Either let the mixture cool to use in icings (amazing for black forest cake) or pour into a pie crust for an amazing pie.

  8. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Read all instructions as this process goes really fast and there are times you need to multitask. If you haven't water bath canned before, please read about sterilizing your equipment and processing before you begin.