Cherry Pie Filling


Quantity: 7 quarts

Quality: Select fresh, very ripe, and firm cherries. Unsweetened frozen cherries may be used. If sugar has been added, rinse it off while the fruit is still frozen.

Jar size: Quarts


6 quarts fresh or thawed sour cherries 

7 cups granulated sugar 

1 3/4 cup Clear Jel 

9 1/3 cups cold water 

1/2 cup bottled lemon juice 

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) 

2 teaspoon almond extract (optional) 

1/4 teaspoon red food coloring (optional) 


1. Rinse and pit fresh cherries, and hold in cold water. To prevent stem end browning, use ascorbic acid solution.

2. Place 6 cups of fruit at a time in 1 gallon boiling water. Boil each batch 1 minute after the water returns to a boil.

3. Drain but keep heated fruit in a covered bowl or pot.

4. Combine sugar and Clear Jel® in a large saucepan and add water.

5. If desired, add cinnamon, almond extract, and food coloring.

6. Stir mixture and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.

7. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

8. Fold in drained cherries immediately and fill jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1 inch headspace.

9. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.

10. Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations. Let cool, undisturbed, 12-24 hours and check for seals.

Processing time:

Processing Times for Boiling Water Canner



Process Times at Altitudes of:

Style of Pack

Jar Size

0-1000 ft

1001-3000 ft

3001-6000 ft

Above 6000 ft


Pints or Quarts

30 min

35 min

40 min

45 min

Source: National Center for Home Food Preservation