8 Ways to Upgrade Your Cherry Pie Filling

Canned cherry pie filling is the best invention since sliced bread, especially to those who love baking at home. It is a genius way to cut corners and save time while baking up some desserts, taking away the need to cut and prepare a bunch of cherries.

8 Ways to Upgrade Your Cherry Pie Filling

The only issue with canned cherry pie filling is that, more often than not, the flavor is not quite up to scratch. This is especially prominent to those who are fans of homemade cooking.

Canned cherry pie filling can be a little sickly at times, filled with far too much sweetness. This can overpower the pie, ruining the finished result.

If you are wondering how you can fix this issue, look no further. In this guide, we have listed 8 foolproof ways to improve your cherry pie filling. All you need to do is add a couple of ingredients to upgrade the quality!

So, let’s jump straight into it. Here are 8 ways to upgrade your cherry pie filling.

Start With The Tastiest Cherry Pie Filling

You should begin your quest towards creating a cherry pie with the best cherry pie filling available. The base of your pie shouldn’t be a bland pile of cherry goo.

You might be asking at this point which brand of cherry pie filling is the tastiest. The victor was apparent to us after trying and comparing a number of widely available tinned cherry pie fillings.

The canned pie filling containing sour red cherries from Target’s Market Pantry, in our opinion, had the finest flavor and presentation.

The cherry flavor was consistently stronger. The Market Pantry cherries’ color was similarly excellent, but the cherry appearance is attributed to artificial coloring.

All in all, you should avoid cherry pie fillings with a diluted, watery feel that come from certain manufacturers. It is possible to improve these weaker fillings by adding additional ingredients (more on that later). 

However, if you ask us, it would be a good idea to begin with a good quality cherry pie filling to start with. From there, you can build flavor, and create the tastiest homemade cherry pie ever!

Add More Fruit To The Mix

Something else to consider when searching for cherry pie fillings – aside from the overall quality, including flavor and texture – is the amount of content found in each can. By ‘content’, we mean fruit. 

While most cans of cherry pie filling will come in the same sized cans, you will find that some brands contain a lot less fruit than others.

Even though canned fruit may have the same number of ounces, there is fewer fruit and too much syrup.

For instance, even though the product may indeed weigh 21 ounces, the bulk of its weight will be composed of syrupy liquid rather than fruit. The ideal can would have a balanced fruit to syrup ratio.

If you open up a can and find that there are only a tiny amount of cherries, and a large amount of syrup, you are going to be extremely disappointed. But not all hope is lost; you can fix this issue.

The key is, of course, adding more fruit to the mix. This means that you will need to purchase some cherries ahead of time to add to the filling as you are assembling the pie.

Even if the can contains a lot of fruit already, you could always add some more to fill it out. The more cherries, the better the flavor!

When making a cherry pie, most people prefer to use sour cherries in comparison to sweet cherries. The most popular kind of cherry to use in a pie are Morello cherries, although black cherries are also a popular choice.

Add More Flavorings And Extracts 

While some may be happy enough to stick to their canned cherry pie filling, you will want to add a couple more ingredients to ensure that your pie is the tastiest that it could possibly be. Cherries and syrup are not enough on their own, if you ask us. 

Cherry pie filling alone can taste rather bland, and you want to avoid this if you want to impress others with your baked dessert.

Aromatic flavorings and extracts are a delightful solution to add a range of tastes and scents to your plain canned pie filling.

8 Ways to Upgrade Your Cherry Pie Filling

Now, you may be wondering what additional flavors would be suitable to add to a cherry pie. After all, you don’t want to add flavors necessarily; instead, you want to enhance the flavors that are already present.

Without a question, the most recommended essence to add to cherry pie filling is almond extract. The extract’s subdued nutty flavor wonderfully balances the tart fruity flavors without being overpowering.

For a cooked pie, use ½ to 1 tsp of almond extract; for a no-bake cherry pie, only ¼ to ½ tsps per 21 oz. can is required. 

Cherry pie, like other desserts, tastes fantastic when vanilla extract is used as a flavor. You might want to incorporate both vanilla and almond extract, as they go so well together and complement cherry so wonderfully. We advise using between ½ and 1 tsp of vanilla.

We also recommend lemon juice, which is also excellent at discreetly drawing out fruity aromas.

By reducing the sweetness of the cherry pie filling’s syrup, lemon juice will enhance the flavor of the fruit without overpowering them. You can add 1 tbsp at first, sample, then add extra juice as necessary.

Add Some Spices

Now that you have added extra fruit and some flavorings and extracts to your pie filling, you may be wondering how you can improve it any further. Well, keep reading, because we are only halfway through our list!

There is nothing more pleasant than the aroma of a baking fruit pie softly permeating your house from your oven. In addition to the aroma of baking crust and fruit, there is another aroma that gives baking pies its distinctive, cozy scent: the fragrance of spices.

Spices are such a simple way to add dimension and charm to canned cherry pie filling. You might want to go easy on the spices, depending on your own preferences, as they can become rather overpowering if added in high quantities.

The key is to add in small applications to create a subtle flavoring, rather than overwhelming the taste buds.

Of course, we’ll start off this list with cinnamon. We think that cinnamon elevates all baked delicacies to a higher level.

For this reason, the majority of fruit pies and other sweet desserts most frequently include cinnamon as a spice. To begin with, we advise adding only ½ tsp of cherry pie filling.

You should definitely consider incorporating cloves in your cherry pie filling as an additional spice. Cherry pie is simply amazing with cloves, and just a tiny bit makes a huge difference. We suggest adding only ⅛ to ¼ tsp if you’re looking to subtly spice up your pie.

You may also just add a dash of allspice. Using allspice in your cherry pie, you must be ready to be astounded. With undertones of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg, it has a cozy, warming flavor that should not be missed out on.

If you’re going to add any spices to your pie filling, it should be allspice. We advise using only ⅛ to ¼ tsp.

Add Some Sweeteners

You may have read this subheading and become a little confused. We have already talked about adding flavorings and extracts, and the cherry pie filling is already pretty sweet, so why would you want to add more sweeteners?

Well, if your pie filling is already sweet enough, you don’t have to think about sweetening the mixture even further. This option is simply for those who believe their pie filling is tasting a little sharp and sour, and needs a little extra sweetness.

You may want to add just 1 tbsp of sweetener since some canned cherry pie fillings are a little bitter, and might benefit from it.

After applying, taste a little to test the sweetness, and apply more as necessary. Making the cherry filling excessively sweet is the most detrimental thing that could happen, as it will completely ruin the flavor overall.

So, which sweeteners do we recommend? Foremost, we recommend using a tbsp of honey to sweeten your filling. Honey is basically a healthier alternative to sugar, yet it adds sweetness just as easily.

While honey is an additive that holds the most health benefits, you could still consider using something similar – but less healthy – like maple syrup.

8 Ways to Upgrade Your Cherry Pie Filling

The simplest solution is to include some sugar. The best way to lighten pie filling is to add brown or white sugar, as most households already have these types of sugars on hand.

Although the quantity of sugar used is a choice that is entirely yours, we advise beginning with 2 tbsps.

Other options include adding some concentrated fruit juice, jams, preserves, or glazes, preferably cherry flavored. If you desire to add some additional flavors, however, you can always experiment with other options.

You should be mindful that adding liquid sweeteners may dilute the filling, necessitating the need for additional thickening steps.

Moreover, to determine how much extra sugar to add, you might want to first check the sugar content of the cherry pie filling.

Add Some Butter

This tip is one that will add additional flavor and texture, and adding to the overall quality of the cherry pie filling itself.

Just a few slabs of butter can make a huge impact in your filling, and once you’ve tried it once, we doubt you will ever go back.

The butter will melt into the syrup as it bakes, creating a rich, creamy coating to the already delicious pie filling, which is why it makes such a difference to your pie filling.

The best part is that it doesn’t even require you to whisk the butter in manually, so it takes very little to no work.

All you need to do is simply place a few pieces of butter on top of the cherry pie filling after spooning it into the crust. The butter will then dissolve into the cherry mixture once the pie has been baked. Give it a try!

Thicken The Mix To Make It Creamier

Another option to completely upgrade your cherry pie filling is to make it a little creamier, thickening the filling to create a more luscious texture. You don’t want your mixture to be too thin or runny, so thickening the filling can make all the difference.

Traditional cherry pies have a creamier interior, so if that is the kind of texture that you are aiming for, you may want to give the options below a try.

Incorporating sweetened condensed milk works excellent as a 2-in-1 choice for sweetening and strengthening, although it’s not the best for stiffening a filling on its own.

This choice will also diminish the color, so you might wish to avoid it if you’re interested in a cherry pie with a vibrant red core.

If you enjoy tart pies, sour cream can also be rather tasty. If the initial canned filling is too sugary for you, this is a great way to fix it, combining the canned cherry pie filling with ½ cup sour cream and 2 tbsp sugar.

As opposed to sour cream, crème fraîche does a similar job, but is much lighter and less tart.

For a pie that isn’t being baked, you could also incorporate freshly whipped cream.

This can be accomplished by adding 2 cups (0.47 liters) of cream to the cherry pie filling before layering mascarpone cheese across the base of the pie crust and then adding the cherry pie filling.

A fantastic alternative that gives the pie a cheesecake-like texture and flavor is cream cheese. However, for a more inventive and delectable option, you could simply add a scoop of ice cream to the top of your finished pie to give it a luxurious touch.

Add A Crumbly Streusel Topping

Even though this particular advice might not have a direct impact on the cherry pie filling itself, it will enhance the overall flavor.

If you are unable to alter the flavor of the pie filling, you should definitely consider adding a lovely streusel on top.

The tasty crumbled streusel will hide the fact that the cherry pie filling is canned if you don’t possess the additional ingredients to make it taste any better.

Also, the cherry filling and streusel will perfectly overpower your taste receptors as you take a huge mouthful of the finished pie, creating a wonderful blend of flavors.

So, for cooked cherry pies, we strongly advise using a streusel covering to enclose the filling. Streusel should not be eaten raw because it contains flour, so keep that in mind.

Streusel goes well with practically every type of pie crust, but it tastes particularly delicious as a topping on a crumbled cookie crust.

8 Ways to Upgrade Your Cherry Pie Filling

You only need some flour, brown sugar, and a little bit of cold butter to make the streusel. To begin, combine the flour and brown sugar.

Meanwhile, cut the chilled butter into chunks. After that, combine the butter and flour by rubbing them together until they are granular. 

Finally, before baking the cherry pie, top it with streusel; it will then bake along with the other ingredients, creating an extra tasty cherry pie for you and your loved ones to enjoy (once it has cooled down).

The Contents Of A Can Of Cherry Pie Filling 

Cherry pie filling in a can is a very helpful ingredient to have stored in your kitchen cupboards. It is a terrific tool to use while creating cherry pies because it streamlines the procedure and saves you time by eliminating the requirement to make the entire filling from scratch at home.

There are a number of ingredients, including cherries among them, in a can of cherry pie filling. While other brands are less descriptive, Market Pantry and Kroger specify using red tart cherries in their cans.

Water is also listed as an ingredient, along with sugar or corn syrup. Sugar is used in higher-end types of canned cherry pie filling because it has a less overwhelming sweetness than corn syrup. Compared to plain granulated sugar, syrup typically tastes a little less natural and more processed.

Corn starch is used to thicken the mixture, which is what gives the red syrup its sticky, gooey consistency.

Some brands will use citric acid to boost the flavor and the bright red hue of the filling, but this ingredient is not required, and is therefore not used by all brands.

The remaining ingredients are erythorbic acid, which helps colors stay vibrant, and red 40 dye, a synthetic coloring that gives the product its signature brilliant red cherry hue.

How Many Calories Are In A Can Of Cherry Pie Filling?

In a typical 21 oz (793.79 g) can of cherry pie filling, you can expect to find an average of 684 calories. ⅛ of the pie filling will contain around 85 calories.

This means that, within a small slice of your finalized cherry pie, the cherry pie filling alone will come to around 85 to 90 calories. The calorie intake from a slice of pie will be higher, due to the inclusion of the pie crust.

The Ideal Ratio Of Cherries To Syrup In A Can Of Cherry Pie Filling

There should be 9 1/8 ounces of fruit and 11 7/8 ounces of the red, syrupy liquid in each 21-ounce can of cherry pie filling. So, in a can of cherry pie filling, around 56% will be made up of syrup, while 43% will be made up of cherries.

This percentage is not particularly large, but this is just a rough average. Regardless of whether you weigh by volume or weight, all cherry pie filling brands include more gelatinous gel than cherries, with some cans containing a very little amount of cherries.

The tastiest cherry pies are stuffed full of cherries, as everyone is aware. However, it might be challenging to estimate how much fruit will be included in a can of cherry pie filling. As a precaution, you should buy some extra cherries to add to the combination.

It should be noted that only canned fruit should be added to a no-bake pie. Organic or frozen fruit should not be added since the texture will be off and the fruit will feel excessively solid in comparison to the canned cherries.

Depending on your desire, you can add tinned, frozen, or fresh fruit to baked pies.

Sour Morello cherries are typically used in cherry pie fillings. Other brands might utilize black cherries, while yet others might not say which variety of cherry they’re using. Ultimately, it is up to you which kind of cherries you want to include in your cherry pie filling.

What Other Fruit Can I Add To Cherry Pie Filling?

While it is called a ‘cherry’ pie, there is no reason that you should only stick to using one kind of fruit in your baked dessert.

Supplementary fruit used alongside the cherries will give you different varieties of cherry pie filling, and who knows? Some variety may make your pie taste even better.

2 21-ounce containers of cherry pie filling and two cans of cherries are required to make a 9-inch pie. This will yield approximately 4 cups (0.95 liters) of fruit filling, which you can then add to the pie pan’s bottom crust.

In addition to the additional cherries, you could also add some other berries into the mix. This may include blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, or even some chopped up strawberries. 

If you want your cherry pie filling to remain its bright red color, you may want to stick to red fruits. If you wouldn’t mind a mix of colors, knock yourself out with some blueberries!

Apples may also prove to be a fantastic addition to your cherry pie. Cherry apple pies are so delicious, and will be enjoyed by anyone who is a fan of both cherry pies and apple pieces. 

Your pie-making task just became a little bit more difficult, or you may prefer to use some jarred apples. You won’t likely want to slice up a bunch of apples, since utilizing a canned cherry pie filling will have already saved you a lot of time and effort.

Since the texture of the fruit complements and blends in with the cherries already there, canned peaches and apricots will indeed taste remarkable in a cherry pie. Diced mangoes give the traditional cherry pie recipe an exotic flavor for the same reason.

Final Thoughts

So, there we have it. Now that you know all the tricks, you can almost entirely alter the recipe to make canned cherry pie filling taste better. 

The best on the market of filling should be the starting point, and some additional fruit, extracts, and spices should be added.

Prior to adding streusel and baking, adjust the filling’s sweetness and thickness as necessary. Also, don’t forget to add small pieces of butter on top of the filling to add to the creamy texture.

Mark Williams
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