A cherry filling is a simple and easy recipe that gets done in minutes and is an absolute treat. You can also use it in so many different ways. And, try a spoonful over your breakfast yogurt, a stack of pancakes, or waffles. Layer it between cake layers like a cake filling. Spread it in a pre-baked crust as a cherry pie filling or use it on your favorite desserts and ice creams, or desserts.
Table of Content
One of the best things about fresh cherries is that you can eat them as is, while you can also make so much more with them. For example, you can make a cherry compote. You can also make cherry crumble, cherry pie, and cherry jam. Speaking of which, have you tried my cherry jam yet? There is a reason why it's among my most popular recipes on this blog. You will love it.
Why make this filling?
- Whether it's a homemade pie filling or a homemade cake filling, fresh cherries fillings are a lot different when you prepare them at home as compared to buying a ready-made filling in a can. Don't believe me? Try it just once and I promise you will see that it's a big difference. For one, the homemade pie filling is not loaded with starch. In addition, it's also not loaded with sugar. Rather, it's packed with fruity goodness. So even if your kids eat a few extra spoons you won't complain.
- It does not need much! Just a few ingredients. And I mean like five simple ingredients, including the cherries and water.
- The only difficult part of this cherry-filling recipe is pitting the cherries. So, I use a simple tool like this one. And yet, I must admit, I am quite fascinated with this tool on the market that looks so much more efficient.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Fresh cherries - I'm using fresh cherries here. And yet, I have also used frozen before. The fresh ones need to be de-seeded of course. You can use sweet or sour cherries and adjust the sweetness accordingly.
- Frozen cherries - You can also make a cherry pie filling from frozen cherries. And, if you do use frozen cherries, make sure to check if they are sweetened or unsweetened. Since some frozen brands have sugar added as a preservative. You can still use them, just reduce the sugar in the recipe.
- Cornstarch - I think this is by far the most commonly used ingredient. And yet, if for some reason, you cannot use cornstarch - try arrowroot powder or potato starch. I have used both on two different occasions - and there is not much difference.
- Sugar - I prefer to use a fine grain sugar for this so I get a nice thick syrup consistency.
- Lemon juice - Helps cut the sweetness and also brings out the flavor.
Step by step instructions
- Wash and deseed cherries (remove seeds from the cherries).
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, add the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and ¼ cup water. Cook on low to medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Use a vegetable masher to mash some of the fruit.
Pro tip - Mashing will add a nice thicker consistency to the topping but make sure to leave some cherries whole.
- Combine the remaining water with cornstarch. Add it to the saucepan. Continue to cook on low heat until the filling is thick and glossy. When thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon or spatula it's ready.
Pro tip - Cornstarch can settle to the bottom of the water. So, you must stir it just before adding it to the saucepan.
- Remove and pour into a mason jar. Let cool completely or use as directed in your recipe.
Pro tip - The filling will thicken as it cools so keep that in mind when you take it off the heat.
How to use this cherry filling?
- Cake filling - Have you ever tried a simple vanilla cake with cherry filling? Or perhaps a chocolate cake with cherry filling. Make sure you use a buttercream dam on the edges of your cake layers since this is a soft filling. Watch my cake decorating tutorials on how to fill and frost cakes.
- Cherry topping for cake - You don't always need to use it between layers as a filling. When I make a dessert cake, I love to show off the filling because it has such a gorgeous color. See my moist Chocolate Cherry Cake.
- Pie or tart filling - Spread it on a prebaked crust with or without vanilla pastry cream as a base and topped with whipped cream.
- Homemade cherry dessert toppings - A fruit filling can take any dessert to the next level. Remember my Classic Vanilla Pound Cake with Blueberry Filling and Strawberry Filling. You can also use a good cherry filling exactly the same way.
- Try a homemade no-churn cherry Ice Cream topped with more filling.
- Try my pink cherry cupcakes with cherry filling and whipped cream buttercream - another great recipe that uses this filling.
Frequently asked questions
This cherry filling will last at room temperature for two days if stored properly, covered with plastic wrap in a cool dry place. The filling can also be kept in the fridge for 4 to 5 days or frozen for up to a month. Simply thaw in the fridge overnight for a nice creamy consistency.
You will need twice this recipe for a cherry pie. You can also use fresh or frozen cherries. And if you have fresh cherries save some for garnish.
Cherry filling is a classic combination with a chocolate cake like my chocolate cherry cake and chocolate cherry cupcakes. So, it's often used in a black forest cake. And yet, it can also work well with a vanilla cake or cupcakes like my fresh cherry cupcakes. Cherries also pair well with almond cake, or fruit cakes, such as apricot, nectarines, or plums. Also, try my cherry crumble bars.
You can use any cherries you want from Bing cherries to Rainier cherries. If you use sour cherries, make sure to adjust the filling. The best way is to taste and add sweetness by a tablespoon or two.
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- 7 oz (200 g) Cherries
- ¼ cup (50 g) White sugar
- 1 tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- ½ cup (120 ml) Water (divided)
- ¼ tsp Salt (optional)
- Wash and deseed cherries (remove seeds from the cherries).
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, add the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and ¼ cup water. Cook on low to medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Use a vegetable masher to mash some of the fruit. Pro tip - Mashing will add a nice thicker consistency to the topping but make sure to leave some cherries whole.
- Combine the remaining water with cornstarch. Add it to the saucepan. Continue to cook on low heat until the filling is thick and glossy. When thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon or spatula it's ready.Pro tip - Cornstarch can settle to the bottom of the water. So, you must stir it just before adding it to the saucepan.
- Remove and pour into a mason jar. Let cool completely or use as directed in your recipe. Pro tip - The filling will thicken as it cools so keep that in mind when you take it off the heat.
- You can use fresh or frozen fruits. Make sure to check if the fruits are sweetened and adjust sweetness accordingly.
- Also, if the fruits are frozen you may need a little less water. You can omit the additional water and add only sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Once the sugar dissolves adjust water if necessary.
- Use fine-grain white sugar so it dissolves easily and does not affect the color of the filling. For example, brown sugar can give a very dull red color.
- Overcooking the fruit filling causes the cornstarch to become lumpy. If that happens just add a little water and cook to the right consistency.
- This filling will stay in the fridge for a week but can be frozen in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- This batch would be enough a
- You can use this same recipe to make any other fruit filling such as blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, mango, cherry, etc.
- Doubling the recipe - If you double the amount do not double the amount of water and cornstarch. You can add ½ cup water with 1 tbsp of cornstarch for up to 500 grams / 15 oz of fruit. Otherwise, it takes longer to reduce the water.
- The cornstarch needs to be activated for the filling to thicken up. Otherwise, it will be very syrupy with a starchy taste.
- If the filling is too thick means the water is reduced considerably, you can add a little more to bring it to consistency. Add regular water when still hot or warm water when the filling has cooled.
- When cooled, if the filling is too thick, first give it a good mix, only then add a few tablespoons of water as necessary.
- If used to fill a cake, make sure to fruit filling make so to make a frosting dam around the edges of the cake. This will prevent the filling from coming out of the sides of the cake. See my video, how to level, fill, torte a cake
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you