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Cherry Pie Filling Recipe (Canning Instructions)

Melissa Norris
Homemade cherry pie filling is delicious and easy, perfect in pies, cobblers, on top of cheesecakes, ice cream, swirled into yogurt or oatmeal. Make this with fresh or frozen cherries for a treat all-year-round!
4.43 from 40 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 37 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Quarts


  • Cherry pitter
  • Water bath canner
  • Quart or pint sized canning jars


  • 12 cups fresh or frozen then thawed cherries
  • 4 cups water or cherry juice from thawed cherries
  • 2.5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup ClearJel (optional)
  • 1/3 cup bottled lemon juice


  • If using fresh cherries, put 6 cups at a time in 1 gallon boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Drain and process next batch of cherries. Keep boiled cherries in a bowl or pot with lid to keep warm.
  • For frozen cherries: In a colander over a large bowl, drain thawed cherries until you have 4 cups or more cherry juice (you can use the extra for whatever your heart desires but I recommend using it for homemade fruit vinegar) https://melissaknorris.com/how-to-make-homemade-fruit-vinegar/
  • Get your water bath canner ready with rack and water. Wash jars in hot soapy water and place in canner rack (in lifted position) to keep warm with canner on medium heat.
  • In a large stainless steel pot, whisk together 4 cups cherry juice, sugar, and ClearJel (and cinnamon if using). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring almost constantly until its thick and bubbling (about 5 minutes or less). Add lemon juice, stir, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add your cherries and fold in gently, stirring constantly, until it reaches a boil. Remove from heat.
  • Place warm clean jars on a towel and using your canning funnel (highly recommended) ladle hot pie filling into jars to a 1 inch head space (if NOT using ClearJel Ball recipe states 1/2 inch headspace). Remove air bubbles and recheck headspace, add more filling if needed. Wipe rim of jar clean and put on lid and band. Tighten to finger tip tight and place into canner.
  • Make sure jars are fully covered with water and bring to a boil. Process jars (both pints and quarts) for 30 minutes. If above 1,000 feet see notes for adjusting processing times to altitude.


  • for altitudes 1001 to 3000 feet above sea level process for 35 minutes, if 3,001 to 6,000 feet above sea level process for 40 minutes and if above 6,001 feet process for 45 minutes.
  • you can add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (1/8 teaspoon per quart jar)
  • if NOT using ClearJel Ball recipe states 1/2 inch headspace
  • Recipe adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Keyword homemade cherry pie filling, how to can cherry pie filling
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