My mom absolutely LOVES cherry pie, as does Tony’s family, so a few years ago I decided to make a tart cherry pie with a dutch topping crumble. Since then, I’ve spent the past few years tweaking the cherry pie recipe until I found that it was absolutely perfect.
Fast-forward to today, and this incredible tart cherry pie is FAMOUS thanks to The Kitchn! The writers from The Kitchn did a cherry pie showdown to find the best one on the internet, and after pitting my recipe against 3 others, they wrote an article called “I Tried 4 Cherry Pie Recipes and I Can’t Stop Thinking About the Winner.”
If that isn’t any indication that this pie is a MUST make, I don’t know what is.
So here it is in all its glory: from the butter pie crust, to the perfect cherry pie filling and dutch topping, this truly is the BEST cherry pie you’ll ever eat! The Kitchn said so with their review here 🙂
I hope you’ll give it a try — it makes the perfect Fourth of July or summertime dessert and it’s well worth the effort!
What’s the difference between regular tart cherry pie and dutch tart cherry pie?
Regular tart cherry pies are made with a lattice or regular crust on top, while dutch tart cherry pie is traditionally made with a streusel topping made up of butter, flour, brown sugar and sometimes, nuts or oats. The dutch crumb topping bakes up golden brown and is slightly sweeter than a regular crust top. Both are delicious but I love the way the dutch topping is almost like a tart cherry crumble!
What kind of cherries are good for pies?
Cherries come in two broad categories: sweet cherries and “sour” or tart cherries.
Sweet cherries are the ones you’ll find fresh in the produce section of the grocery store, whereas tart cherries are more likely found canned or frozen.
In this cherry pie recipe, we’re using frozen tart cherries to give the pie a wonderful flavor that balances with the sweet crumb topping. Tart cherries are packed with antioxidants and also brighter in color, giving this tart cherry pie a gorgeous, bright red look.
Ingredients in tart cherry pie
This wonderful tart cherry pie recipe is made with frozen tart cherries and delicious flavors from almond extract, amaretto and some good old sugar & butter. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Homemade pie crust: we’re using my homemade butter pie crust in this recipe to make it extra special. You can also use store bought crust or your favorite pie crust!
- Frozen tart cherries: our filling is made of lots of gorgeous tart cherries. No need to thaw them before using, as you’ll cook them on the stovetop with the other ingredients. If using dark sweet cherries, we recommend reducing the sugar to 3/4 cup and reducing the cornstarch to 1 1/2 tablespoons.
- Organic cane sugar: give the filling the perfect amount of sweetness with some organic cane sugar. You can also use regular, granulated sugar.
- Cornstarch & flour: to thicken the tart cherry pie filling you’ll need to add a bit of cornstarch and regular flour.
- Almond extract & amaretto: I love adding both almond extract and a bit of amaretto to give the filling and amazing, cozy flavor.
- Butter: you’ll also need a bit of butter in the filling to deepen the flavors.
- For the crumb topping: you’ll need all-purpose flour, brown sugar, rolled oats and butter to make that delicious dutch crumb topping.
How to make homemade tart cherry pie from scratch
- Make your crust. Roll out your dough, place in the pie pan, shape your crust as desired and then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until you are ready to add your tart cherry pie filling.
- Make your tart cherry pie filling. Add frozen tart cherries, sugar, cornstarch, flour and almond extract to a large pot and place over medium heat. After 5 minutes or so, the cherries will thaw, begin to break down and the sugar will melt. Stir frequently during this time. Add in butter and amaretto and continue to stir. After another 5-10 or so minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken and start to bubble along the edges. Once the filling begins to stick slightly to the back of your spoon, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool off.
- Make the dutch crumble topping: in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar and oats. Add in the melted butter and stir together with a fork until it begins to form into crumbles and resembles clumpy wet sand. You may need to use your hands/fingers to form into nice crumbles. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 5 minutes or until ready to use.
- Add pie filling to pie crust, top with dutch topping and bake! I recommend baking your tart cherry pie on a baking sheet just in case the filling bubbles over. The pie is done when the filling is bubbly and the topping is slightly golden brown.
- Allow tart cherry pie to cool for at least 4-6 hours, but preferably overnight. This is necessary to help the filling set. If you cut into it earlier, it’s likely to not be ready and the filling may not hold up as well. The longer the pie rests, the easier it is to serve! See below for making it ahead of time.
Make this tart cherry pie ahead of time
If you’re prepping this for the holidays or a special occasion, feel free to bake this pie 2-3 days ahead of time. It will hold up well at room temperature, then after a few days should be transferred to the fridge for optimal freshness.
Can you make tart cherry pie filling ahead of time?
Yes! Simply cook your tart cherry pie filling on the stovetop, cool it to room temperature and then place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
How do you store tart cherry pie?
After baking and cooling completely, you can keep the tart cherry pie covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, then it’s best to transfer to the fridge and store for up to 3 extra days.
How to freeze cherry pie
You can freeze tart cherry pie after baking by wrapping the pie tightly with aluminum foil and placing it in a heavy freezer bag. Pie can be frozen for up to 3 months. Once ready to eat, defrost the pie in the fridge and then reheat at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until warm.
More summer desserts you’ll love
Get all of my dessert recipes here, and desserts using fresh fruit here!
I hope you love this homemade tart cherry pie! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
The Best Tart Cherry Pie You’ll Ever Eat
Gorgeous tart cherry pie with a wonderful, golden crumb topping. This homemade dutch tart cherry pie has a perfectly sweet filling with hints of amaretto and is absolutely delicious served with a scoop of ice cream. This will be your new favorite cherry pie recipe!
- For the crust:
- 1 recipe for butter pie crust (or use store bought crust or your favorite pie crust)
- For the filling:
- 6 cups frozen tart cherries (about 24 oz tart cherries)*
- 1 cup organic cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon amaretto
- For the topping:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
Make the pie dough and shape the crust in a pie pan ahead of time, then store covered in the fridge. You can follow my recipe for an all butter flaky pie crust, use your favorite recipe, or a store-bought crust.
To make the tart cherry pie filling: add frozen tart cherries, sugar, cornstarch, flour and almond extract to a large pot and place over medium heat. After 5 minutes or so, the cherries will thaw, begin to break down and the sugar will melt. Stir frequently during this time. Add in butter and amaretto and continue to stir. After another 5-10 or so minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken and start to bubble along the edges. Once the filling begins to stick slightly to the back of your spoon, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool off.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
While your oven preheats, make the dutch crumble topping: in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar and oats. Add in the melted butter and stir together with a fork until it begins to form into crumbles and resembles clumpy wet sand. You may need to use your hands/fingers to form into nice crumbles. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 5 minutes or until ready to use.
Remove pie pan with pie crust from the refrigerator and place pie pan onto a large baking sheet. I do this to avoid any spillage that may happen as the pie filling bubbles and bakes. Pour cooled tart cherry pie filling into the crust, then top filling with the dutch crumble topping.
Bake for 1 hour-1 hour 15 minutes or until the filling is very bubbly and the crumble is slightly golden brown. Check pie after 30 minutes to make sure the crust isn’t burning. If it is getting too golden brown, simply cover pie edges with foil or pie shield.
Allow pie to cool on a wire rack until completely cooled before cutting into it (this is annoying, but if you cut into it before then the pie filling won’t be set). The longer the pie rests, the easier it is to serve! Can be made a few days ahead of time. Pie is best served at room temp or just slightly warm. Serves 9. Great with vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy!
Feel free to make this pie with a store-bought crust instead of homemade. It will still be delicious.
Check out the full post for instructions on making the filling and/or the whole pie ahead of time.
To store: after baking, you can keep the tart cherry pie covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, then it’s best to transfer to the fridge and store for up to 3 extra days.
To freeze: you can freeze tart cherry pie after baking by wrapping the pie tightly with aluminum foil and placing it in a heavy freezer bag. Pie can be frozen for up to 3 months. Once ready to eat, defrost the pie in the fridge and then reheat at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until warm.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on November 13th, 2020, and republished on June 18th, 2023.