Presidential Cherry Pie

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Yield: 9" pie, 8 to 10 servings

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In honor of George (of course), the following recipe uses canned, frozen or bottled sour cherries. Canned cherry pie filling is a bright-red, gelatinous substance that bears only faint resemblance to the fruit from which it supposedly springs. Bakers who've used sour cherries know they're well worth the effort. Hopefully your store carries these cherries; they're a tawny red, rather than neon-colored. Many coops carry individually quick frozen sour cherries, which have a beautiful bright red color and unforgettable flavor.

Presidential Cherry Pie

star rating (27) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 9" pie, 8 to 10 servings
Published: 10/26/2010


  • One prepared double pie crust or your favorite recipe
  • 5 to 6 cups sour cherries, packed in water or individually quick frozen
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca or 1/2 cup Pie Filling Enhancer
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, optional


1) Divide the dough in half, and roll one half into a 13" circle. Transfer the circle to a 9" pie pan.

2) Drain the cans of cherries, reserving 2/3 cup of water from one of them. Place the cherries and reserved liquid in a large mixing bowl.

3) Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and tapioca or Pie Filling Enhancer. Stir this into the cherries until everything is evenly combined.

4) Stir in the almond extract and salt. If you're using tapioca, let the filling sit for 20 minutes before using it to fill the pie shell.

5) Spoon the filling into the pastry-lined pan, and dot with butter, if desired.

6) Roll out the second crust and place it on top of the filling. Cut a design (two cherries? a hatchet?) into the top to vent steam, and squeeze/seal the top and bottom crusts together, fluting with your fingers or a fork. You may also choose to make a woven lattice crust.

7) Place the pie on a parchment-lined (to catch any spills) baking sheet, and bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

8) Remove the pie from the oven, and cool it on a rack before slicing, so the filling can set.


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  • star rating 02/02/2015
  • JamieD from Tucson, AZ
  • Awesome recipe! This was my first time using tapioca starch - it worked like a charm! I'm curious if my clearjel would work just as well but this came out so nice I don't want to chance it. I used frozen tart cherries from Costco - let them thaw a bit in a bowl but got impatient and ended up heating the cherries with the sugar and almond extract until soft and juicy. I strained the cherries out, leaving the juice and I set that to a boil until I had a very reduced syrup. I used this syrup and the cherries tossed in tapioca to make my filling. The only major change I would recommend is to up the amount of cherries. I measured 6 cups of still frozen cherries - seemed light so I added a 7th cup. Then once the cherries were cooked and softened I felt like I needed to add another cup. Even still - my pie is a little skinny. But the taste is amazing - I mean just kick-you-in-the-face incredible! A be repeated over and over! Thank you King Arthur!!
  • star rating 01/27/2015
  • Angie from Lebanon, oh
  • Yum Yum Yum the best cherry pie recipe. Thanks King Arthur.
  • star rating 01/08/2015
  • Elizabeth from Poynette WI
  • I just made this pie yesterday with frozen WI Montmorency cherries picked last July. These were not individually frozen, and there was lots of juice from the cherries as they thawed, but I used all the fruit and a little of the "extra" juice and prepared the pie filling as written. Delicious! A perfect cherry pie!!
  • star rating 07/10/2014
  • Molly from Long Beach, CA
  • I made this last summer and it got rave reviews. I have been dreaming about it all year! I'd like to make it as a slab pie for a large BBQ we're hosting. Any thoughts as to necessary adjustments, or do ya'll think the filling would work as written for a slab pie? Thanks!

    Hi Lana- I think you would be alright to use this for a slab pie as long as you have a nice sturdy crust. If you have a particularly wet filling after it sits, you could drain off a bit of the extra liquid, but otherwise you should be all ready to make another delicious pie for your summer BBQ! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  • star rating 07/04/2014
  • Edith Ann from Hobe Sound, FL
  • "Amazing", "Awesome", "Devine", "Stupendous", "Quintessential", "Ultimate" and "The (bleeping) bomb" are all words or phrases I've heard from anyone eating this pie. To me, is it simply best ever cherry pie recipe EVER. Comes out perfect every time.
  • star rating 06/21/2014
  • Cindy from Stuttgart
  • This pie is AMAZING! The flavor is great, not unlike frozen cherry pie or the mystery "cherry" goop in the canned aisle. I will definitely be making ahead. I also used tapioca beads and added about a tablespoon of cornstarch in case the tapioca wasn't enough. My filling set-up nicely without any mess or soggy crust.
  • star rating 02/20/2014
  • Foodiewife831 from KAF Community
  • Here's the thing... I used canned Oregon sour cherries and drained them, just like your recipe said. I reduced the cinnamon to 1/4 tsp. I didn't have your pie enhancer but your Baking Hot Line said I could use 7 1/2 tsp of Clear Jel, which I did. I made an all-butter pie crust, and wish I had used 4 cans, instead of 3 cans of cherries....not taking into account that I have a deep dish pie pan. I cut my pretty lattice strips, and make a pretty weave. I use an egg wash, and am ready to pop the pie in the oven-- and there's the cherry juice. D'oh! I forgot to put it in. When I removed the pie, from the oven, I was relieved to see juices bubbling. After letting the pie cool, for 4 hours, I cut into it. I was absolutely perfect! The cherries held together, and were shiny and juicy. I mean, picture perfect (which I will post on my blog in a day or two). I couldn't wait to tell you that this puts canned cherry pie filling to shame. The cinnamon was so subtle, and the almond is a "must" when it comes to cherries. I had such a tender pie crust, and that filling.... my son deemed it the best pie I've ever made. Love this recipe, KAF, as much as I love all of your products.
  • star rating 11/20/2013
  • laverne from wright city, mo
  • this is the best cherry pie I have ever made. I have used both frozen and canned. some canned is better than others. frozen sour cherries are hard to find around here so I usually use the canned ones. just get a good brand. and I do use the cinnamon. have not had any complaints. and definatly use pie enhancer because I have never had luck with tapioca.
  • star rating 11/17/2013
  • Sharon from New Mexico
  • Great, except for the cinnamon. Doesn't go with cherries, in my humble opinion. In early June you can sometimes get fresh sour cherries at Farmers' Markets. I know that I sell my excess in good years there. You can also quick-freeze these fresh cherries. The Elton Brown Method: pit the cherries. Acquire dry ice. Carefully, wearing gloves, break up the dry ice into small pieces and place in a clean cooler. Throw in the cherries and gently agitate the cooler. Quickly remove the now hard-frozen cherries, bag and freeze them.
  • star rating 07/08/2013
  • Ilene from Vienna, VA
  • Best cherry pie ever. Also works well with Moreno cherries in a jar packed in juice. This has become a family favorite!
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