Canning Cherry Pie Filling

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Cherry pie is a snap if you can cherry pie filling ahead of time. Cherries are an acid food and can be safely water bath canned.

These directions are for canning cherry pie filling, using either sweet cherries like bing cherries (this is what you see in the pictures) OR sour cherries that you traditionally use for pies.

This Page Includes

Canning Cherry Pie Filling: Extended, Step-By-Step Directions

Gather your canning supplies


  • 6 quarts cherries (usually sour is preferred for pie filling, but I also use sweet cherries)
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups Clear Jel
  • 9 1/3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon – optional
  • 2 tsp. almond extract – optional
Autumn Sullivan says I found this recipe last month and canned 8 pints of pie filling. I used sweet black gold cherries (they are what I had access to) and it turned out amazing! I was so happy to have come across the recipe and to have had such great success with it.

Wash and pit cherries. This is the most challenging part. :0) But if you just sit down and DO IT, you can make some delicious dishes. Have a friend come over and visit while you pit.

Boxes and boxes of fresh cherries.

Plus, look at this cherry pitter (video below). I’ve tried many cherry pitters with disappointment. This is the one I like and…the best part is, the workers in the house (my sons) approve too. They are the ones who did most of the pitting here while they were growing up.

Place cherries in boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Drain. Keep warm. I do this simply by covering the pot until I am ready to mix in sugar mixture.

Deep red cherries and a few cherry leaves floating in a pot of water.

Combine sugar and Clear Jel in a large pan. Add water and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Add cinnamon and almond extract if using.

When mixture begins to thicken and bubble, add the lemon juice and boil for 1 minute.

Add cherries, stirring gently to mix.

Fill hot jars with hot cherry pie filling, leaving 1″ headspace. Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles, and place your lids.

An oozing cherry pie sitting in front of cherry pie filling in jars.

For more packing details, follow water bath canning instructions.

Pints and quarts are processed the same for cherry pie filling: 30 minutes.

Please remember to adjust for altitude using the chart below. Read Altitude Adjustments to learn more.

Sharon standing on top of a ladder and pointing to a cherry on the tree.
Me, being silly with our brand new tree. The birds ate all of what we got that first year.

Pinnable Recipe Card

Cherry Pie Filling

Here's a cherry pie filling recipe for canning. Once in jars, making homemade cherry pies later couldn't be easier!
Print Recipe
A pie plate filled with cherry pie filling and dotted with butter.
Prep Time:1 hour 30 minutes
Processing Quarts (adjust for altitude):30 minutes
Total Time:2 hours


  • 6 quarts Cherries 
  • 7 cups Sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups Clear Jel
  • 9 ⅓ cups Water
  • ½ cup Lemon Juice 
  • 1 teaspoons Cinnamon optional
  • 2 teaspoons Almond Extract optional


  • Start by preparing jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.
    See full water bath canning instructions here.  

Prepare Cherries

  • Wash and pit cherries.
  • Place pitted cherries in boiling water. Boil 1 minute.
  • Drain, but keep warm.

Prepare Clear Jel

  • In a separate pot, cook sugar, Clear Jel, and water over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Add cinnamon and almond extract (optional).
  • Once thick and bubbling, add lemon juice. Boil for 1 minute.

Prepare Filling

  • Add warm cherries to filling mix and stir gently to combine.
  • Fill hot jar with hot filling, leaving 1" headspace.
  • Remove air bubbles, wipe the rim clean, and place seal and ring.
  • Place jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars.
  • Process according to chart below.


Processing with a Water Bath Canner
Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the canner.
When all the jars are filled, bring the water in the canner to a boil.  When a boil is reached that is when you’ll start your timing.   Process for the length of time on the chart below.  Adjust for your altitude. 
 After your time is over, turn the heat off remove the lid and allow the canner to rest for about 5 minutes. Then bring your jars up out of the water.  Allow them to rest for another 5 minutes. Then remove the jars and place them a few inches apart on a thick towel to cool completely.  Leave them alone for about 12 hours.  
When they are cooled remove the metal bands, check the seals, label the jars and store them away! 
Processing Times for Water Bath Canner (Hot Pack)  
Altitude – Pints and Quarts are Processed the Same   
0-1,000 ft – 30 minutes  
1,001-3,000 ft – 35 minutes 
3,001-6,000 ft – 40 minutes 
Above 6,000 ft – 45 minutes
Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation
Servings: 7 quarts

Canning Cherry Pie Filling Tips & FAQs

Cherry Pie Filling Without Cornstarch or Flour: Use Clear Jel!

A jar of pie filling made with cornstarch or flour compared to a jar of pie filling made with Clear Jel.

Back in the day, it was considered acceptable to use flour for a thickener in pie fillings. Switch to Clear Jel!

It is not only safer, it will give you a nicer filling with more consistent results when you are canning.

If you use Clear Jelm be sure you purchase the non-instant or regular type. Click here for more information: Clear Jel.

Here’s a link explaining the difference between Clear Jel and Sure Jell.

Cherry Pitter Video

Cherry Rhubarb Pie

I really love a cherry-rhubarb flavor combination. To make a cherry-rhubarb pie, simply add a cup or two of chopped rhubarb when you open the jar of cherry pie filling to make your pie. You can use fresh or frozen rhubarb. Proceed to fill your crust and bake as usual.

Related Pages

Canning Cherries

Canning Cherries

Canning cherries is a good alternative to freezing cherries and adds some bright color to any pantry. Use them for making quick cobblers, pies, or candied cherries.

Freezing Cherries

Freezing Cherries

Freezing cherries to preserve them is easy and gives you a taste of summer, even when there’s snow on the ground. Sweet and delicious!

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Cherry Pie Filling

Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation

Page last updated: 7/9/2021

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Barbara Marucci
Barbara Marucci
2 months ago

Hi Sharon,

I followed you instructions and yet each jar that I removed from the canner, some filling oozed out. I will let them sit, as I have had this happen before and they still sealed. Do you know what causes this?


3 months ago

If I were to use frozen cherries, would you equate one pound for each quart or would it be more? I made some apple pie filling & saw this. I love cherries, so it’d be wonderful to be able to convert & get recipe right. Thanks for sharing.

2 years ago

I’ve been canning this season using honey instead of sugar. Can I do this with the pie filling as well?