Suuuuuuuuuuummmer! That’s what cherry pie screams to us. In particular, that’s what sour cherry pie screams to us given that the bewitchingly tart little lovelies are in season for only a fleeting second from late June to early July. When life hands you sour cherries, make pie.–Anne Collins

When Can I Find Sour Cherries?

Montmorency is the most common variety available although North Stars or English Morellos can sometimes be found. Depending on where you live, look for them at farmers markets, specialty stores, and, occasionally, your regular grocery store.

A slice of sour cherry pie on a white plate.

Sour Cherry Pie

5 from 1 vote
This sour cherry pie has a flaky crust made of flour, butter, and water, and, yes, fresh sour cherries. No goopy filling that comes out of a can here.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories377 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 double pie crust
  • 2 pounds sour cherries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) salted butter , cut into small pieces
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional but STRONGLY encouraged)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • Pit the cherries and measure 4 cups. Nibble the rest of the cherries out of hand.
  • In a large bowl, mix the sugar and the flour. Drain the cherries of any accumulated juices, toss them atop the sugar and flour mixture, and gently mix everything until combine.
  • Pile the sour cherry mixture in the pie crust so it's slightly mounded in the middle. Dot the cherries with the butter. You can top this pie with either a solid pastry crust or a woven lattice. If making a solid crust, place the top crust over the filling and, using your fingers or the tines of a fork, crimp the edges of the pie well. With a sharp knife, cut vents in the top crust. If making a lattice crust, cut 3/4-inch-wide strips of crust, weave them over the filling, and with your fingers or the tines of a fork, crimp the edges of the pie well.
  • Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and slide it in the oven. Bake until the filling is thick and bubbly, about 75 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool slightly prior to slicing and serving, preferably with a scoop (or more) of vanilla ice cream.

Adapted From

Vintage Pies

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Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 377 kcalCarbohydrates: 60 gProtein: 4 gFat: 14 gSaturated Fat: 5 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 6 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 8 mgSodium: 200 mgPotassium: 298 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 33 gVitamin A: 161 IUVitamin C: 8 mgCalcium: 24 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Anne Collins. Photo © 2014 Balfour Studios. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

If you don’t have a good sour cherry pie recipe, this pie would definitely do.

Pitting the cherries takes a long time and is the bulk of the hands-on time. I purchased a wonderful cherry pitter last year and it makes quick work of pitting cherries with very few missed pits. If you’re going to make a lot of cherry dishes and aren’t purchasing pitted cherries, consider investing in one.

I would recommend checking the pie at around 45 minutes and, if it’s getting too dark, cover it with foil.

This sour cherry pie received rave reviews from my family. My husband said this was the best cherry pie he’s ever tasted!

Sour cherries were not available but organic Red Rainier cherries were available at my local Costco. I almost felt guilty using the first of the season’s perfectly sweet cherries to make a cherry pie, but I’m sure glad I did. This was my first attempt at making a cherry pie with fresh cherries.

The pitting process of removing the stem and gently squeezing the pit out didn’t work so great for me. I guess it may work better with cherries that are softer or closer to overripe; my cherries were still at the firm but ripe stage. I used a plastic protective cover from a thermometer probe, removed the stem, and poked the pointy tip of the plastic into the bottom of the cherry through the stem area and out popped the pit. This technique was a bit quicker than the first attempt to remove the pits and didn’t require purchasing a cherry-pitting gadget (as long as you don’t mind a little cherry juice on your hands).

The filling was a cinch to put together once the cherries were pitted. I barely had any cherry juice at the bottom of the bowl. Since my cherries were a sweet variety and not sour, I reduced the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup but kept the amount of flour the same.

I mounded the sugar-and-flour-coated cherries into the crust-lined pie dish and dotted them with 2 tablespoons butter before putting on the top crust and placing it in the oven. My pie started to bubble and was finished at the 75 minute mark. With my adjustments using sweet cherries and less sugar, the pie was sweet enough and happily devoured. We served the pie à la mode with some nice vanilla ice cream.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. Any advice for making a pie with frozen sour cherries? A friend gave me several quarts of cherries from her backyard tree, which I promptly pitted & froze, but I know they will ooze lots of juice when I defrost them. Would the above recipe work, using the cherries in their frozen state?

    1. Rebecca, there are two basic camps about this. Some people say that you can use the cherries right from the freezer. Just make sure to coat them in flour and add extra thickener. The other camp says that you should first defrost the cherries in a colander set over a bowl to collect the juice. Reduce the collected juice, cool it, and add it and some extra thickener to the filling. Hope this helps.