Juicy, buttery and utterly delicious, this pie screams summer fruit and fun days. A layer of cherry filling, a golden brown crumb topping, and a bottom crust (we love our homemade Flaky Pie Crust recipe for this one) make this a great dessert that everyone loves. Though we are partial about fresh, sweet cherries, it can be made with frozen ones.
It's cherry season! And I have to admit that eating fresh cherries straight from the fridge is probably my favorite way.
I was very skeptical of baking pies during the Summer as it implies turning on the oven, making homemade pie dough, and all those tasks that I don't exactly thrive on during hot days.
But how will we eat homemade fresh fruit pies if we don't get into the kitchen?
So here we are, making and sharing a fantastic cherry crumb pie recipe that can be a part of your 4th of July desserts, among other outdoor celebrations.
I'm a huge advocate for easy fruit desserts like the cherry crisp or old fashioned peach cobbler, but a pie is a pie, and we might go as far as to say that nothing compares.
- Homemade crust: if using our flaky pie dough recipe you'll also need shortening. Alternatively, use your favorite easy homemade pie crust recipe or a good quality store-bought one.
- Cherries: I love to use fresh fruit whenever possible. Tart cherries are my first choice but they're hard to find, so I usually make this pie with sweet ones. But know that frozen cherries work just fine.
- Unsalted butter.
- All-purpose flour.
- Brown sugar: the crumble topping or streusel is made with brown sugar to give it a more golden look and add a caramel undertone.
- White granulated sugar.
- Cornstarch: it’s used as a thickener for the filling. Argo 100% pure cornstarch is a popular one.
- Lemon juice: enhances the flavor of the rest of the ingredients and adds an acid tone needed to balance out the butter and sugar.
- Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract or pure vanilla paste when available, but a good vanilla essence (artificially flavored) also works and is infinitely cheaper.
I will always favor a homemade crust if I want to make the best cherry pie I can, like our Perfect Flaky Pie Crust (which can be made in advance and has videos to guide you), over a commercial one.
BUT, know that a good dough from the bakery will work very well also. Sometimes we need shortcuts and hot days require them more than others, right?
Blind baking: this is a necessary step where the pie crust is half-baked or pre baked so that it doesn't lose its shape and get soggy after the cherry filling is piled up and the whole pie is fully baked.
To prepare the crust for blind baking, cover with a large piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil, add pie weights (or unbaked rice, chickpeas, flour, anything that doesn't burn and that will weight the paper and crust down) and bake for 15 minutes before removing the paper.
The crust will have dried in parts and the paper will be easily removed. If it's stuck, bake it 5 minutes more.
- Cherries: as discussed in other parts of this post, you can use sweet or tart cherries. In both cases sugar is added, but I recommend a smaller amount if using sweet cherries. Unless you want a very sweet cherry dessert.
- Pitting cherries: it's the only part of this recipe that takes a little patience and an apron. Make sure your clothes are covered as this step means drops of cherry juice will be flying around. You can buy pitted frozen cherries for convenience.
Cherry pitter: one of my most loved gadgets, it makes pitting cherries so easy and fast. And it also works for pitting olives, in case you wanted to know. You can easily buy them online, and I love the OXO Cherry and Olive pitter.
Filling: the cherries are mixed with the rest of the ingredients and then poured into the pre-baked crust. Make sure all the fruit is well coated.
It's the classic mixture of butter, sugar, and flour. Very traditional, very simple.
It's super easy, and can be made in advance and kept refrigerated or frozen (always with plastic wrap or in an airtight container). Simply sprinkle crumb topping over the cherries when it's time to bake the pie. You don't need to defrost it or bring it to room temperature.
- By hand: use a large bowl and mix all ingredients together, either with your hands or with a pastry blender. I find that this is the best way if making it only for this pie because it's a small amount.
- With the food processor: this is a great alternative if you're making a large batch of crumble. Mix a few times the flour with the sugar and then add the cold butter in pieces. Process with on/off pulses just until the butter is the size of peas. Don't overprocess! It's a granular mixture.
Combine all spices into a large bowl and mix thoroughly into lean ground beef
Form into ball shape with your hands
- Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier.
- Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Sweetness: if using sweet cherries I recommend ⅓ cup sugar, and if using tart cherries I recommend ⅔ cup of sugar.
- Pitting cherries: you can buy pitted frozen cherries, but need to do it manually is using fresh ones. There are many types, for just one cherry, or for pitting multiple cherries at once. You do need pitted cherries for this recipe.
- Serving it: I love this cherry pie plain, at room temperature. But many of my friends ask for it to be served barely warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the pie, they say it's the perfect dessert because the ice cream starts to melt a little but not completely. Whatever way you like it will be the best one.
Related recipes you might like:
Let me know in the comments below if you made this recipe and loved it and if you had issues so we can troubleshoot together. I love to hear what you think, always. Thanks for being here. It's much appreciated.
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For the crust:
1 recipe for homemade Perfect Flaky Pie Crust recipe (or use a good quality store-bought)
For the crumble:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, diced and cold
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
For the filling:
- 27oz (about 5 cups) pitted cherries
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract or ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract (or both)
For the crust:
- Roll the crust on a lightly floured surface and line a 9-inch pie plate following the instructions on the pie crust recipe card linked above.
- Blind bake the pie crust according to the directions in the recipe. Reserve.
For the crumble:
- In a bowl mix flour, salt and sugar.
- Add cold butter in pieces and integrate with your hands until grainy and the butter is the size of peas. You can do this in a food processor; make sure you stop processing when it still has butter bits. Don’t turn it into a paste.
- If not using immediately, cover and keep refrigerated for up to a week. Or frozen for a month.
For the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Pit cherries and put in a medium bowl.
- Add sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well until the cherries are coated.
Assembling the cherry pie:
- Make sure the oven is already preheated and the crumble ready to sprinkle. You don't want the juices to start seeping into the crust or to spend time breaking up the crumb mixture if it's frozen.
- Transfer the filling to the half-baked pie crust.
- Immediately top the cherry filling with the crumble mixture.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
- Let cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour.
- Eat at room temperature or barely warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Refrigerate leftovers covering them with plastic wrap.
always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes are as accurate as I they can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
Sweetness: you can use a few more tablespoons of sugar if you like sweeter pies or your cherries are too tart.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cooling time: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Pies & Tarts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: cherry crumb pie