Make canned cherry pie filling taste better by following a few important tips and tricks for a great homemade flavor! I've compiled all of my favorite baking hacks right here for you! This is the ultimate guide to making your canned pie filling as tasty as possible!
How To Make Canned Cherry Pie Filling Taste Better
Sometimes we are too busy or don't have the ingredients to make some homemade cherry pie filling and have to use the canned variety instead. Regardless, there are plenty of ways to make your canned cherry pie filling taste as if it was (almost) made from scratch!
I put together 6 baking hacks to elevate your canned cherry pie filling for any recipe! Let's get started!
1. Sweeten The Pie Filling
To get started, you might want to sweeten up your canned cherry pie filling. Each can of pie filling you pick up from the store could actually vary in how sweet (or tart) the pie cherries are!
This is, in part, simply due to different brands. However, there are many instances in which the cherries used were not at their absolute peak of freshness!
Therefore you could end up with some slightly tart canned cherry pie filling that would taste much better if it were sweetened.
Sweeten With Sugar
Of course, sugar would be the most common option for adding some sweetness back into the pie filling. Simply add 1 tablespoon of white sugar, mix it up, and then taste it. Adjust the sweetness to suit your needs by adding more in small, 1 teaspoon increments!
Sweeten With Jam
Jam and jelly have the perfect consistency for combining with pie filling! You won't have to worry about it altering the texture.
Of course, cherry jam (or jelly) would be preferable, as the flavors would match. However, you could also make some unique flavor combinations by testing out other fruit jellies!
To sweeten your canned pie filling using jam or jelly, simply begin by adding about 4 tablespoons of the jam into the filling. Mix it well and then taste it. You can add more if you need some more sweetness.
If you feel that your pie filling is now too thick after adding jam, you can add a splash of fruit juice to thin it out.
Sweeten With Honey Or Syrup
Most canned pie fillings already have a syrupy consistency. Therefore, adding another syrup-type substance won't alter the texture.
You can sweeten your filling with honey, maple syrup, agave, or corn syrup! All of these items are sweet and thick, making them a perfect match for your filling.
To sweeten your filling, add your chosen sweetener in 1 tablespoon increments making sure to mix it really well. Generally, you could add anywhere from 1 - 3 tablespoons per every 12 ounces of canned filling.
2. Add Some Spices
Spices are a fantastic way to add some extra flavor to canned pie filling! There are many different spices that would taste fantastic with cherries.
- Cinnamon is the most common spice used in pies! Start by adding just ½ of a teaspoon.
- Cloves are a wonderful match with cherries! This is a relatively strong spice, so start with only ⅛ of a teaspoon.
- Allspice is a fantastic addition to any pie! It is a great catch-all spice that showcases hints of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Start with ¼ teaspoon.
- Apple pie spice is a blend consisting of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, and cardamom. Yum!
3. Add More Fruit
Sometimes you need to bulk up the actual fruit content in the pie filling. A lot of the time, the canned filling consists largely of a syrupy gel and is lacking in real fruit. Feel free to add some tasty variety by using fruit other than cherries!
- Cherries will be an obviously great option! Make sure you pick up the best varieties for cherry pie. You can use fresh, canned, or frozen cherries!
- Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries all complement cherries.
- Apples will add a tasty variety and wonderful flavor! Feel free to use canned apples to make your job easier!
- Peaches taste great with cherries. Pick up a can at the store to avoid having to chop them!
- Mangos are sweet and delicious. You can buy precut mangos or use frozen ones!
4. Add Extracts
Extracts are a fantastic way to add some flavor to your pie filling! A canned filling can be a little bland or flat tasting. Try out these awesome flavors!
- Vanilla is a classic addition to any pie filling, even cherry! Use ½ to 1 teaspoon.
- Almond extract is the most popular addition to cherry pie filling! It can be strong, though, so start off with only ½ teaspoon. If you are not going to be baking the filling, only use ¼ teaspoon.
- Lemon juice or zest add a great tartness to balance out the sweetness of the cherries. Start off with 1 tablespoon.
5. Make It Creamy
This is an optional addition, simply depending on your preferences. However, if you want to shake things up a bit, try making your canned filling nice and creamy!
- Add in some sour cream. This creates a nice and creamy base while also adding in some tartness. Sour cream is a fantastic option if you feel that your filling is already too sweet. Add in ½ cup of sour cream (plus 2 tablespoons of sugar, if needed) and then mix it thoroughly.
- Use cream cheese. Gently fold in some softened cream cheese to make a decadently creamy filling!
- Add whipped cream. If you aren't planning on baking the filling, fold in some homemade whipped cream (or Cool-Whip) for an extra special dessert!
6. Thicken It
Sometimes canned pie filling just doesn't meet our needs in terms of thickness. Don't worry, you have a few simple options for thickening it up!
- Add more fruit. We discussed adding fruit above, but it also works great for thickening up the filling.
- Use cornstarch. Combine 2 tablespoons of cold water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Stir them together to make a slurry and mix it into the filling. This will thicken it as it bakes.
- Add in tapioca flour. This is a great pie filling thickener and can be used as a 1:1 substitute for cornstarch!
- Use butter. If this filling is specifically meant for a cherry pie, try adding in some butter! Once the pie is filled, add some pats of butter on top of the filling before adding the top crust. It will melt, adding a rich flavor!
These are the best tips & tricks for a tasty upgrade to some canned cherry pie filling. Leave a comment down below and let me know your favorite canned pie filling hacks!
Just like most canned goods, cherry pie filling isn't completely natural. It contains cherries, water, sugar (or high fructose corn syrup), modified corn starch (for thickening), citric acid, erythorbic acid (helps color retention), and red dye. You'll notice that if you add in more cherries, the colors most likely won't match.
Nope! It is entirely pre-cooked so you can use it for any recipe you like, even if it is no-bake.
Typically, you want your pie filling to be nice and thick. However, If you are wanting to thin out your pie filling, you can always add a splash of fruit juice.
🥧 More Helpful Baking Guides
- Best Apples For Apple Pie - For a perfect homemade apple pie, make sure you use the right kind of apples!
- Best Chocolate For Melting - Different types of chocolate melt differently, which one should you use?
- How To Measure Butter - Butter is used in a countless number of baked dishes, make sure you are using the right amount!
- Cake Types - Check out this guide on all the different varieties of cake!
- Sweetened Condensed Milk vs Evaporated Milk - Read this post to find out all about the key differences between sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk!
- Pie Crust Alternatives - Sometimes you don't have time to make a pie crust. Here are some other options!
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How To Make Canned Cherry Pie Filling Taste Better
- 21 oz canned cherry pie filling (1, 21-ounce can)
- 15.25 oz canned cherries (1, 15.25-ounce can - *see note)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or honey, +more if needed)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice (or apple pie spice)
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup sour cream (optional)
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch (+1 Tablespoon of water, optional - *see note)
- To get started, add your can of cherry pie filling into a large mixing bowl. Pour in the canned cherries and mix well.21 oz canned cherry pie filling, 15.25 oz canned cherries
- Next, taste your filling to get an idea of how sweet it is. Add in your sugar (or honey), stir, and taste again. You can continue to add more sugar in 1 teaspoon increments if needed.1 tablespoon sugar
- Once you are satisfied with the sweetness of the filling, add in the lemon zest, vanilla, allspice (or apple pie spice), and almond extract. Mix well.1 tablespoon lemon zest, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- You can go ahead and use your pie filling, or store it now. However, if you are wanting to make your filling creamier, gently mix in the optional sour cream. Taste it, and add more sugar if needed.½ cup sour cream
- If you feel that your pie filling is not thick enough (*see note), mix the cornstarch and water together into a small bowl to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the pie filling and gently mix to incorporate it. Use immediately or store for later.2 tablespoon cornstarch
- This recipe is for enhancing 1 can of cherry pie filling. If you are needing more than 1 can for your recipe, go ahead and adjust the ingredients as needed.
- If you are using this pie filling for a no-bake dessert, make sure to use canned cherries so that the consistency matches. If this dessert will be baked, you can use canned, fresh, or frozen!
- Adding in the extra cherries will naturally thicken your pie filling! However, if you find that it is still not as thick as you would like, you can make a slurry of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water and mix it into the filling. It will thicken while it bakes.
- For a clear glossy pie filling thickener, use 4 ½ teaspoons arrowroot powder combined with 3 tablespoons cold water. Mix until smooth then add to your filling as instructed for the cornstarch.
- To store: You can store this pie filling in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!