The Best Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

This small batch homemade cherry pie filling is a recipe that my Mother-in-law passed on to me and it makes the best tasting cherry pies and cherry desserts! This recipe uses cherry Jello and sour cherries, but also includes our favorite way of making it with a hybrid cherry that is dark in color and half sweet/half sour. This cherry pie filling is excellent in Amish oatmeal cherry bars and in cherry pie, using our favorite flaky pie crust. This cherry pie filling recipe makes enough for 4 quarts of cherry pie filling, which can refrigerated for up to a week or keep scrolling below the recipe card for notes on canning this cherry pie filling.

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The best cherry pie filling

The Best Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

This cherry pie filling makes a delicious cherry pie, but is also great in oatmeal cherry bars, as an ice cream topping, for cobblers, crisps and more!
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4 quarts


  • Large Pot (linked below)
  • Canning Funnel (linked below)
  • Quart Jars with Sealable Lids (linked below)


  • 8 cups water
  • 3 cups granulated sugar *see note
  • 6 oz. cherry Jello 2, 3 oz. packages or 2/3 cup cherry gelatin
  • 1 cup quick cook Clear Jel *see note
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 cups sour cherries, washed and pitted *see note if using half sweet cherries


  • Combine the water, sugar, cherry jello and clear jel in a large 6-8 quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring constantly to eliminate clumping. Cook until thickened and clear, then remove from heat.
  • Stir in the salt and almond extract, then gently fold in cherries, adding until the filling/cherry ratio is to your preference.
  • Ladle the pie filling into jars, and use immediately, keep refrigerated or can in hot water bath for 20 minutes (see more detailed instructions on hot water bath canning this filling below).


If using a half sweet half sour variety of cherries, you will want to reduce the amount of sugar added to the filling. We use a hybrid cherry which has a nice dark color, but only takes 1 3/4 cups of sugar instead of the amount listed in the recipe card. Sugar can be adjusted to taste. 
If the pie filling is not thick enough to hold while being baked in a pie, cobbler, crisp etc. Then you can make a slurry with additional clear jel and water. Add the slurry and bring the mixture back to a boil. Cook and stir until clear and thickened. 
Additional notes below. 
Keyword Cherry pie filling, sour cherry filling, Cherry Jello, Clear Jell
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Equipment needed for this Homemade Cherry Pie Filling:

  • Large Pot I like to use a large 6-8 quart pot for making this filling. Because of the bubbling and splattering of the filling that can occur while cooking, it is best to use a large pot to contain it.
  • Canning Funnel A large canning funnel is useful for transferring the filling from the pot into glass jars.
  • Quart Jars with Sealable Lids Quart jars are optional if you plan on using the filling right away or within a few days, but they are definitely a must if you plan on canning the pie filling.

Canning this cherry pie filling:

Disclaimer: Since hot water bath canning is not as common as it once was, I highly suggest asking for expert advice before using this method, or finding a pressure cooker recipe for canning the cherry pie filling if you are not acquainted/comfortable with hot water bath canning.

For the hot water bath method, be sure to clean the rims of the jars well before sealing, and also use new or untainted lids. Please Note: Fill the jars only 3/4 full as some expansion may occur while the pie filling is canning. Place the jars with hot pie filling into a canner, then fill the canner with enough water to leave just an inch of headspace on the jars (or up to the neck of the jars). Bring to canner to a full rolling boil, then process the jars for 15-20 minutes. Remove the jars using a jar lifter and allow to set on a tea towel without moving for 18-24 hours. If a jar does not seal within the first several hours it must be refrigerated and used within a week.

Note* This recipe can be doubled, tripled quadrupled etc. for canning.

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Ingredients needed for this homemade cherry pie filling: Sugar, cherry Jello, almond extract, salt, cherries and clear jel.


If you do not have almond extract on hand, you can also use vanilla extract or cherry extract (add to taste). You can use sweet cherries for this pie filling or a sweet/sour hybrid as mentioned above. Be sure to adjust the sugar to taste if using a sweeter cherry variety.

Canned cherry pie filling is a great thing to have on hand throughout the winter months, because you can grab a jar and whip up a fresh cherry cobbler or pie any time! I find canned cherry pie filling lasts better than peach or even apple pie fillings, so it is one homemade pie filling I like to make every year or every other year when possible.

Ideas for using this cherry pie filling:

These are just a few of my favorite ways of using cherry pie filling, but you can certainly use the filling in more ways than listed. We enjoy this cherry pie filling in oatmeal cherry bars, cherry pie, using our favorite flaky pie crust recipe and baking it at 350 for around an hour, cherry cobbler, cherry crisp, or as a topping for ice cream. You can also use it on pancakes, waffles or oatmeal!

Feel free to pin this recipe for later and tag me on Instagram to show off your own creation using this homemade cherry pie filling. Thank you for your support!

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