Canning Cherry Pie Filling the Easy Way

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For those of you that love to cook and bake, canning cherry pie filling is an easy way to enjoy a slice of home-baked deliciousness anytime. Canning your own homemade cherry pie filling not only gives you the satisfaction of knowing it was made with love, but also saves money in the long run when compared to store bought varieties. From sourcing the perfect cherries to creating a beautiful finished product, this post will walk you through all the steps necessary to make a delicious batch of canned cherry pie filling right at home!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 


  • 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

canning cherry pie filing


Must Have Kitchen Tools


Wash and pit cherries.  Pitting cherries can be tricky, so invite someone over to chat while you tackle this time consuming task – with patience and focus you’ll be done in no time.

Want to speed the process along? Check out this cherry pitter. This is the one I like and…the best part is, my kiddos love to use it too! Making it a win win for me. 

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.

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.

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

Please remember to adjust for altitude using the chart below.

canning cherry pie filing

Processing Directions

  1. Place the jar in the warm canner.
  2. When all the jars are in the canner, bring the water in the canner to a boil.
  3. 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.
  4. After your time is over, turn the heat off remove the lid and allow the canner to rest for about 5 minutes.
  5. Then bring your jars up out of the water. Then place them a few inches apart on a thick towel to cool completely.
  6. Leave them alone for about 12 hours.
  7. 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
Last Updated: 4/8/2021

Canning Cherry Pie Filling Tips & FAQs

Do cherries need to be pressure canned?

A pressure canner is not necessary for canning cherries—water bath canning is a DIY way to preserve your fruit. In a stockpot, bring water to a boil. There should be enough water to cover your jars with a two-inch headspace as you will eventually submerge them in your water bath canner.

Why is corn starch not approved for canning?

Cornstarch clumps when canning and may interfere with heat being able to reach throughout the jar. Without heat penetrating throughout the jar, yeast, mold, or other harmful bacteria can form.

What is an alternative for cornstarch or flour when canning pile filing?

Clear Jel

What is Clear Jel?

Clear Jel® is a chemically modified corn starch that produces excellent sauce consistency even after fillings are canned and baked. Other available starches break down when used in these pie fillings, causing a runny sauce consistency.

canning cherry pie filing

Follow these simple steps and you’ll have delicious cherry pie filling to enjoy all winter long. If you have any questions or need help troubleshooting, be sure to check out our FAQ section below. With just a little time and effort, you can create homemade cherry pie filling that will make all your pies taste even better. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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