Easy Canned Cherry Pie
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Now let’s talk about this easy canned cherry pie recipe. Because real talk: I love making cherry desserts. But you know what I don’t love? Pitting cherries to use in the recipes. Doing so is a messy process that takes FOREVER. So what if I told you there was a better way?
Enter this easy canned cherry pie recipe. I swear that this recipe is one of the easiest cherry pie recipes you’ll ever try on my blog. Why? The all-butter pie dough is made in a stand mixer and makes a flaky, crisp pie shell with almost no mess. The sweet and tart cherry pie filling is made with canned cherries, eliminating the need for you to individually pit fresh cherries. You cut down on SO much prep time (which, as you all know from my cookbook, I’m all about).
But don’t worry! Despite this ease and convenience, you still end up with the classic and comforting cherry pie you know and love. For me, that’s a cherry pie filled with a slightly gloopy, sweet AND tart cherry filling, all encased in a buttery, crispy pie shell. Yes and yes.
Why You Should Make This Canned Cherry Pie Recipe
In addition to being extremely delicious, here are all the reasons why you should make this easy canned cherry pie recipe:
This cherry pie recipe uses convenient yet delicious ingredients for its filling.
I’ve already talked about how using canned cherries eliminates SO much prep time from this recipe. But did you know that there are a ton of other benefits that come from using canned fruits and vegetables?
For instance—I learned recently that, to make canned fruits and vegetables, manufacturers harvest the produce at their peak of ripeness. They then can these fruits and vegetables within four hours, locking in all that nutrition and flavor from their peak. Often times, no preservatives or additives are used in the process. It’s a super efficient process, especially when compared to fresh produce (which can sometimes take up to 24 days to get into the store). As a result, canned foods have a similar—or better!—nutritional profile as their fresh or frozen counterparts. Pretty amazing, right?!
But what does that actually mean for us home cooks? That means that using a can of fruit or vegetables in your recipe guarantees year-round access to seasonal fruits and vegetables. I can make this exact cherry pie recipe in the dead of winter and still get the flavors and nutrition of peak cherry season in the summer time.
This cherry pie recipe uses an unusual yet efficient way to make pie dough from scratch.
Most pie dough recipes instruct you to make pie dough in a handful of ways: by hand (either with tools like a pastry cutter, or without them), or in a food processor. I have never, ever recommended making pie dough by hand. It’s too messy and time-consuming! And while using a food processor is faster, it’s far too easy to overwork the butter and end up with a flat, dense, crust.
So in my recipe below, I instruct you to make the pie dough with a STAND MIXER. The pie dough recipe is from my cookbook, Weeknight Baking. In Weeknight Baking, I instruct you to make your pie dough using a STAND MIXER. After chilling the ingredients for five minutes or so, you throw everything into the stand mixer and mix it on low speed like you would a cookie dough. It takes less than 5 minutes to come together and eliminates TONS of mess and work. Furthermore, unlike a food processor, a stand mixer allows you more control and visibility as the dough comes together—no flat, dense crusts here folks!
This canned cherry pie recipe is flexible and can fit into any schedule.
Because this canned cherry pie recipe is all about ease and convenience, there are several components in the recipe that you can make ahead. Doing so allows you to fit baking into your schedule more easily. It also ensures that you’re not stuck in the kitchen all day!
In general, it’s rare that I actually bake a pie all in one day. That’s because making pie requires a lot of chilling and re-chilling of the dough to keep it workable. First, pie recipes instruct you to make the pie dough, chill it for at least an hour, then roll it out and fill it, then chill it again, and so on and so forth, lol. If you follow these kinds of recipes to a tee, it quickly turns into an all-day-long kitchen project. So be sure to check out my tips below on how to make this pie fit into your schedule!
Canned Cherry Pie Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
Now that I’ve convinced you to make this canned cherry pie recipe, let’s talk about some of its key ingredients:
All-Butter Pie Dough
This canned cherry pie recipe instructs you to make an all-butter pie dough for both its top and bottom crust.
Can I use store-bought frozen pie dough instead?
Yes, absolutely! Store-bought pie dough usually comes in two varieties: the kind that’s already pre-molded onto a disposable pie pan, and the kind that the baker needs to roll out and fit onto his or her own pie pan. I recommend using the latter so that you can cover your canned cherry filling with pie crust, too.
To use store-bought frozen pie dough in this recipe, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on thawing the dough and fitting it onto a pie plate. Then, proceed with the directions in my recipe for making the filling and baking the assembled pie.
This cherry pie recipe needs 2 to 3 (14- to 14.5- ounce) cans of pitted, whole cherries to make the pie filling.
Wait, why do I need 2 OR 3 cans of cherries?
Good question! You may need more cherries depending on the kind of pie pan you use for baking pies. In general, I like to bake my pies in thin, shallow metal pans (like this one!). I find that doing so makes the pie crust more crispy and lowers the risk for a soggy-bottomed pie. Shallow metal pie pans usually have a depth between 1 ¼- and 1 ½-inches.
However, many people bake their pies in deep-dish pie pans. In contrast, these deep-dish pie pans typically have a depth between 2- and 2 ½-inches. As a result, this greater depth enables the pie to hold more filling. If you have one of these kinds of pie pans, I recommend using 3 cans of cherries as opposed to 2.
Okay, makes sense. Now what canned cherries do you recommend for this canned cherry pie recipe?
In general, most canned cherries come pitted and whole. Some are preserved in syrup, while others are preserved in water. Either works for this recipe.
Canned cherries are also available in different varieties. You can get dark, sweet cherries, or red, tart cherries (also known as pie cherries). Either works in this recipe, but I especially recommend using 1 can of each since I love the mix of sweet and tart together. If you have a deep dish pie plate and need to use 3 cans of cherries, you can pick which variety to double down on. Choose a second can of dark, sweet cherries if you prefer your pies on the sweet side; choose a second can of red, tart cherries if you like your pie a little tarter.
For my canned cherry pie recipe below, I used 1 (15-ounce) can of Oregon Fruit Dark Sweet Cherries and 1 (14.5-ounce) can of Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries.
Fresh Lemon Juice and Zest
This cherry pie recipe needs the fresh zest from a small or medium lemon and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice to make the pie filling.
I don’t have lemons. Can I use another kind of citrus instead for this canned cherry pie recipe?
Yes, absolutely! Other great citrus to use in this canned cherry pie recipe include limes and oranges.
I only have pre-squeezed lemon juice. Will that work in this canned cherry pie recipe?
Yes, absolutely! In that case, don’t worry about using any lemon zest in the recipe. Just use the 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice instead.
I don’t like lemons, or any other kinds of citrus. Is it okay to just skip the lemon zest and juice completely?
Yes, absolutely! Proceed with the recipe below, but omit both the lemon zest and lemon juice. Your pie will still be plenty tasty, I promise.
How To Make Cherry Pie with Canned Cherries
Here are the basic steps to make this canned cherry pie recipe from scratch:
First, make the pie dough for the canned cherry pie.
- Prep the ingredients for the pie dough. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)
When making pie dough, it’s important to pay attention to the temperatures of the ingredients listed in the recipe! If you make pie dough with butter or water that’s too warm, the dough will be too sticky and hard to work with. It’s best to use ingredients that are straight from the fridge, or even frozen in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes beforehand. In this case, that means slicing the cold butter and freezing it for 5 minutes while you work with the rest of the ingredients. Mix the water, vinegar, and ice mixture and keep it refrigerated while you measure out the dry ingredients.
- Make the pie dough. (Work Time: <10 minutes)
Because of my stand mixer technique, this pie dough comes together fairly quickly. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter all at once and beat on low until the mixture has the texture of cornmeal for about 3 minutes. Add 6 Tablespoons of water from the water-vinegar-ice mixture and beat until the dough clumps around the paddle. That’s it!
- Refrigerate the dough while you make the pie filling. (Chill Time: 1 hour minimum)
Divide the dough into two even halves, forming them into a flat disc. One of these discs will be for the bottom crust, while the second will be for the top crust. In either case, the dough needs to chill for 1 hour (but preferably longer, overnight if you can spare it!) before using. While you wait, make the canned cherry pie filling!
Next, make the cherry pie filling for the canned cherry pie.
- Prep the ingredients for the canned cherry pie filling. (Prep Time: <5 minutes)
Because you’re using canned cherries, prep for this recipe is pretty minimal! All you need to do is have your cans ready and open, measure out ingredients like the sugar and cornstarch, and prep your lemon accordingly.
- Drain the cherries and reduce their juice. (Work Time: 10 minutes)
Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Pour the canned cherries on top of the sieve so that their juices drain into the sauce pan. Set aside the cherries (you’ll need them for later, so don’t throw them out!), and cook the juices, over medium-high heat, until reduced to ¼ cup. Pro-tip—this step is what makes the most flavorful cherry pie!
- Add the cherries, sugars, cornstarch, lemon zest and juice, and salt and cook until thickened. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
Add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes until the cherries have released their juices and the mixture has thickened. Your goal here is to get the filling close to your ideal texture for pie filling. It should be thick and slightly glossy, like jarred cherry pie filling!
- Let the filling cool completely before using it in the pie. (Cool Time: 1 hour minimum)
Under no circumstances can you use the filling in your pie before its cooled. If you use it while it’s still warm, it could potentially melt the pie dough that you worked so hard to bring together! To cool the filling faster, transfer it to another bowl and set it on a wire rack. If you leave it in the pan you cooked it in, the filling will take longer to cool.
Then, assemble your canned cherry pie.
- Form one of the pie dough discs into your pie plate to make the bottom crust. (Work Time: 10 minutes)
Roll out the dough into an even circle about 1 to 1 ½ inches larger than your pie pan. Fit it onto your pie pan, trimming off any excess overhang, and using a fork to seal the crust around the edges of the pan.
- Fill the bottom crust with the canned cherry pie filling. (Work Time: <5 minutes)
Scoop the cooled canned cherry pie filling into pie crust. Use a rubber spatula to spread the filling into an even layer.
- Form the remaining pie dough disc into the pie’s top crust. (Work Time: 10 to 15 minutes)
For this canned cherry pie recipe, I rolled out the remaining pie dough into a slab and used a cherry-shaped cookie stamp (from this set!) to cut out cherry-shaped pie dough cutouts. I then positioned the cutouts on top of the pie filling. Together, they make the pie’s top crust!
- Freeze for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. (Chill Time: 4 hours minimum)
Freezing the pie for a few hours ensures that it keeps its shape in the oven while it bakes. You don’t want that fancy pie crust you worked so hard on to melt away, right? For best results, I recommend freezing the pie overnight!
However, that being said, if you’re using a glass pie plate, DO NOT FREEZE THE PIE. Simply refrigerate it instead. Glass bakeware is sensitive to sudden changes in temperature. If you place a frozen glass pie plate in the hot oven, it might potentially shatter!
Finally, bake the canned cherry pie.
- Bake the pie for 60 minutes. (Bake Time: 1 hour minimum)
At this point, all that’s left to do is bake the pie. Bake the pie at 375℉ for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the top crust is a pale, golden brown. The filling should be bubbling slowly along its edges and in the center of the pie.
- Cool for at least 1 hour before serving. (Cool Time: 1 hour)
Although you can serve pie while it’s warm, allowing the pie to cool for at least 1 hour on a wire rack works magic. Why? This cooling time “sets” the canned cherry pie filling, ensuring that filling won’t get leaky and run when sliced.
How To Make This Canned Cherry Pie Recipe Fit Your Schedule
Okay, you read everything above and thought to yourself: “Wow! Making pie is a PROJECT.” I’m not going to argue with you—it is a project! For a long time, I avoided making pies because they took ALL day.
But what if I told you there was another way?
I mentioned this earlier, but in general, it’s rare that I make and bake all the different components for pie in a single day. I usually break it up over a series of days instead. That way, I’m only in the kitchen for an hour or so over those days. It gives me more control over my time and schedule. With this canned cherry pie recipe, I broke it down over 3 days:
Day 1: Make the Pie Dough and the Canned Cherry Pie Filling (Total Time: 25 minutes)
First I make the pie dough, dividing it into two discs per the recipe. I wrap the discs tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Then I make the canned cherry pie filling. After making the cherry pie filling, I let it cool completely then scrape it into an airtight container. I also refrigerate the filling overnight.
Day 2: Assemble the Canned Cherry Pie (Total Time: 30 minutes)
After assembling the pie, I cover the entire thing in a loose sheet of plastic wrap. I then freeze it overnight. Instead of waiting the 4 hours or so to bake the pie, I can spend the rest of my day worry-free!
Day 3: Bake the Canned Cherry Pie (Total Time: 60 minutes)
The best part? This last day of “work” is pretty low effort on your part. Why? You’ve already done all the hard work! At this point, all you need to do is preheat the oven and bake the frozen pie. There’s no need to thaw it beforehand.
FYI — if this sort of “recipe time management” is your jam, I highly encourage you to check out my cookbook. I break down elaborate recipes for layer cakes and other pies in this way, too!
Canned Cherry Pie Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ
FAQ: Baking Equipment To Make Canned Cherry Pie
Help! I don’t have a stand mixer. Can I still make this canned cherry pie recipe?
Yes, absolutely! If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can make the pie dough in a food processor. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it has the texture of coarse meal. Add 6 Tablespoons of the water-vinegar-ice mixture, pulsing once or twice after each addition. Now pick up a pinch of the mixture and squeeze it. If it stays together, you’re good to go! Dump it into a large bowl and press the mixture together to form a small mound of dough. Follow the rest of the recipe as directed.
And don’t forget! If the food processor method sounds like too much work for you, you can use store-bought frozen pie dough. Check out the Ingredients section above for more info!
Help! I don’t have a cherry-shaped cookie cutter. What can I use instead to make this canned cherry pie recipe?
You don’t need a cherry-shaped cookie cutter to make this canned cherry pie recipe. You can use other cookie cutter shapes to make pie dough cutouts. Some examples: I used leaf-shaped cookie cutters in this black bottom oatmeal pie, round cookie cutters for this blueberry cream cheese pie, and star-shaped cookie cutters for this tayberry pie. Don’t be afraid to get creative with what you have!
In my opinion, using cookie cutters is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make a fancy pie crust without too much effort on your part. However, if you have another method you prefer—say, a simple lid (like this one!), or a traditional lattice—feel free to shape the dough that way instead! Just make sure to leave “vents” to allow steam to escape from the pie filling as it bakes.
FAQ: Canned Cherry Pie Storage
How To Store Canned Cherry Pie
The pie can be stored at room temperature, under a cake dome or large bowl turned upside down, for up to 1 day. After that, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Can you freeze the UNBAKED canned cherry pie?
Yes! You can absolutely freeze the unbaked canned cherry pie. In fact, you can do so in multiple ways:
- Freeze the unbaked, UNASSEMBLED pie components like the pie dough and canned cherry pie filling.
To freeze the pie dough, tightly wrap each disc in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil (the foil prevents the dough from absorbing flavors or odors in the freezer). Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
To freeze the cherry pie filling, cool it to room temperature and then scrape it into an airtight container with a lid. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
- Freeze the entire unbaked, ASSEMBLED canned cherry pie.
After assembling the pie, freeze for 1 to 2 hours, or until frozen solid. Wrap tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, follow the recipe instructions below to bake the pie. If you’re using a metal pie pan, there’s no need to thaw it beforehand!
However, if you’re using a glass pie plate, transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Preheat the oven per the recipe’s instructions. As you do, set the cold pie on your kitchen counter for a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes to thaw slightly. Like I said before—glass bakeware is sensitive to sudden changes in temperature. If you skip this step, there’s a chance your glass pie plate will explode if you put it directly in the oven!
Can you freeze the BAKED canned cherry pie?
Yes! Tightly wrap any leftover slices in plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Rewarm in the microwave or in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes, or until warm and crisp once more.
Best Canned Cherry Pie Recipe Tips
Best Equipment Tip
- For this canned cherry pie recipe, I recommend using a shallow, metal pie pan similar to this one. In general, I recommend metal over glass or ceramic pie plates. Why? First, metal pans make crispier pie crusts. Second, metal pie pans are safer. Most pie recipes instruct you to chill or even freeze the assembled pie before baking. Glass bakeware is sensitive to sudden changes in temperature. If you place a frozen glass pie plate in the hot oven, it might potentially shatter!
If you only have a glass or ceramic pie plate, no worries! I’ve incorporated several tips throughout this post that helps you adjust for your equipment. Similarly, if you only have a deep-dish pie pan or plate, you may need to increase the amount of cherries in the canned cherry pie filling. That’s why there’s an optional, additional can of cherries in the Ingredients list. You won’t need to use this additional can with a shallow pie pan.
Best Ingredient Tips
- In the ingredients list below, I’ve made sure to note the temperature of specific ingredients needed for the recipe. Pay attention to these temperature cues. In general, when making pie, you want your ingredients to be as cold as possible. Cold ingredients make the resulting dough easier to work with!
- Most pie recipes instruct the baker to brush the pie with an egg wash before baking. This egg wash makes the pie extra crispy and golden-colored. However, I skip doing so in the recipe below. Why? I find that egg washes can hide and distort the shapes on my pie crust lid.
But if an egg wash is your jam, go for it! To make an egg wash, whisk together 1 large egg white and 1 teaspoon water. Right before baking the assembled pie, use a pastry brush to coat the top of the pie with a thin layer of egg wash. If desired, sprinkle with coarse sugar, too. Bake as directed in the recipe.
Best Recipe Technique
- If you find that your pie dough is sticking—either to the counter after rolling it out, or to the cookie cutter when stamping out shapes for the lid—don’t panic! Simply use more flour underneath the pie dough when rolling it and on the cookie cutter. If the additional flour doesn’t help, that likely means the pie dough has gotten too warm. Simply refrigerate the rolled out dough for 10 to minutes before trying again.
Easy Canned Cherry Pie Recipe
For the Stand Mixer All-Butter Pie Dough:
- 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) very cold unsalted butter
- 6 Tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) very cold water
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup ice
- 2 ½ cups (11.25 ounces or 319 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Canned Cherry Pie Filling:
- 1 (15-ounce or 425 grams) can pitted dark sweet cherries
- 1 (14.5-ounce or 411 grams) can pitted red tart cherries
- ¼ cup tightly packed (1.85 ounces or 52 grams) brown sugar
- ¼ cup (1.75 ounces or 50 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (1 ounce or 28 grams) cornstarch
- Zest of 1 small lemon (about 1 Tablespoon)
- 1 Tablespoon strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 (15-ounce or 425 grams) can pitted dark sweet cherries OR 1 (14.5-ounce or 411 grams) can pitted red tart cherries, drained (optional—see Ingredients section for more info)
Easy Canned Cherry Pie Recipe
- First, make the pie dough. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and place them in a small bowl. Freeze while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the water and vinegar. Add the ice and whisk. Refrigerate while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Beat on low until just combined, about 15 seconds. Add the butter all at once and beat on low until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal, with pea-sized pieces of butter throughout, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the ice water mixture from the refrigerator. With the mixer on low, add 6 tablespoons of liquid from the ice water mixture in quick succession. Beat on low for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough clumps around the paddle and/or the sides of the bowl. If the dough seems too dry, add more liquid from the ice water mixture 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured counter with the spatula. Quickly knead the dough into a rough ball. If making a double-crust pie, divide the dough in half with a bench scraper and shape each half into a rough ball (each should weigh about 11 ounces). Wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap and flatten into a small disc. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
- Then, make the canned cherry pie filling. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Pour the canned cherries on top of the sieve so that their juices drain into the saucepan. Set aside the cherries (you’ll need them for later, so don’t throw them out!), and cook the juices, over medium-high heat, until reduced to ¼ cup.
- Lower the cooking temperature to medium and add the cherries, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cherries have released their juices and the mixture is thick and glossy. Use a rubber spatula to scrape into a medium glass bowl and cool completely before using in the pie.
- Now, make the pie's bottom crust. Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a 10- to 11-inch circle. If the dough is too hard to roll out, give it a few whacks with your rolling pin, rotating the disc after every whack to ensure that it flattens evenly.
- Fit the bottom crust onto your pie pan. Transfer the dough circle onto your pie pan to make the bottom crust. Use kitchen shears to trim off any excess pie dough overhanging from the pan, making sure that the edge of the bottom crust aligns with the edge of the pan. Dust a fork with flour and press its tines into the dough all around the edges of the pan to seal the crust onto the pan.
- Fill the bottom crust with the canned cherry pie filling. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the canned cherry pie filling into the bottom crust, spreading the filling evenly across the pan. Refrigerate the filled bottom crust while you make the pie's top crust.
- Make the pie's top crust. Remove the second dough disc from the refrigerator and follow the instructions above to roll it into a 10- to 11-inch circle. Use a floured cherry-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out shapes in the dough. Arrange on top of the canned cherry pie filling. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Bake the pie. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Remove the frozen pie from the freezer, discard the plastic wrap, and place the pie in the center of the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling slowly in the center of the pie. Check the pie 45 minutes into the Bake Time— if the crust is browning too quickly, loosely cover the top of the pie with a sheet of foil.
- Serve and store. Cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature. The pie can be stored at room temperature, under a cake dome or a large bowl turned upside down, for up to 1 day. After that, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
This post was last updated 8/18/2020.
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NO TIME TO BAKE?!
Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.