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  • Writer's pictureTerri Windover

Cherry Pie Filling -homemade vs store bought. Plus a Cherry Bar recipe.

Cherry pie is my FAVOURITE pie. Like hands down, top of the list. However the ingredients in the store bought versions is not. Here's an easy to make homemade cherry pie filling recipe and a look at both types ingredients lists. I've also included a simple and delicious cherry bar recipe!

E.D. Smith Cherry Pie Filling:



corn syrup


modified corn starch

carob bean gum


natural flavour

citric acid


Potassium chloride 

NEED I say more?

Terri's Homemade Cherry Pie Filling:

4 cups whole pitted fresh sweet or tart cherries (about 2 pounds with pits or 1 1/2 pounds pitted) or frozen, thawed pitted cherries

1/2 cup honey, plus additional to taste (if using tart cherries, you may need to add a bit more)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup cornstarch


Place cherries into a large saucepan. Add 1/2 cup honey, lemon juice, cornstarch, and almond extract (if using), then stir to coat. Turn on the heat to medium.

Cook the filling, stirring often, until glossy and thickened, about 5 – 10 minutes. Very carefully so as not to burn your tongue, taste the mixture. If you desire additional sweetness, add more honey a few teaspoons at a time.

Remove pan from the heat and let the filling cool completely. Transfer to a storage jar. 

Cherry Bars



1 batch homemade cherry pie filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute all purpose flour)

1/3 cup sliced almonds


1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 tablespoon milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper so that you have some over hanging two sides, then lightly grease again. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the baking powder and salt over the top than mix to combine. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low and, with the mixer running, slowly add in the flour, mixing just until it disappears. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed to make sure the ingredients are evenly blended. The dough will be very moist and sticky.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the dough for the topping, then scrape the remaining dough into the bottom of the prepared dish. With a knife, the back of a spoon, or an offset spatula, spread the dough into an even layer, smoothing it all the way into the corners. The layer will seem thin, but it will rise and thicken as it bakes.

Spoon the cooled pie filling over the top, spreading it into an even layer. Mix the sliced almonds into the reserved dough, then drop it by small spoonfuls over the top. Some of the cherry pie filling will be showing through.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until lightly golden on top and set. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool completely. To remove the bars from the pan, use a dull knife to loosen the sides, then gently lift them out using the overhanging parchment paper like handles.

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk until smooth. Drizzle over the bars, slice, and serve.

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