How to Make Canned Cherry Pie Filling Taste Better? – This is What You Can Do

How to Make Canned Cherry Pie Fillings Taste Better

When you desire a cherry pie in the middle of winter, but you want it to have the summertime cherry flavors, you have the option of using canned cherries. 

Canned pie filling also comes to the rescue for quicker preparation any time of the year.

Often, canned cherry pie fillings don’t always taste great right out of the can. But, with a few not-so-secret tweaks, you can get that pie filling to taste the same or better than the homemade one.

How to Make Canned Cherry Pie Filling Taste Better

A jar of pie filling comes filled with pitted cherries and sweet syrup. The cherries are either soaked in this syrup soon after being picked or partially dehydrated and drenched in the thick, succulent syrup.

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Disappointingly, there’s something amiss with such canned fillings from taste to texture. 

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It can be quite unsatisfactory to use this directly in your pie. But, with a few ingredients right out of your pantry, you can have the perfect pie filling.

Add in some love and try out these super simple options to improve that filling out of the can.

The Fruitier, The Merrier

A good cherry pie needs to be crammed with cherries. Unfortunately, most canned fillings have tons of syrupy gel and fewer cherries than you would’ve wanted. Here’s a list of fruits that you could add for a better pie filling:

  • More cherries While you could go with frozen or canned cherries, you could also use sweet cherries, sour cherries, or tart cherries from any local grocery shop.
  • Berries – The small and sweet succulent blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, and boysenberries complement the flavors of the classic cherry pie.
  • Pineapple – Pineapples are sweet and slightly tart-like cherries, making them a favorite. Take your pick from frozen or canned pineapple or even pineapple juice.
  • Other Fruits – The range of complementary fruits for a hybrid cherry pie includes canned or frozen apricots or peaches, canned apples, diced mangoes, litchi, and peeled grapes.

If you’re making a no-bake pie, only use canned fruit, not frozen or fresh fruit. This maintains the consistency of the fruits. You can mix fresh, frozen, or canned fruits if you’re making a baked pie.

Nuts Work Great

If you’re fond of a hint of crunch in your pie, you could add whole or crushed nuts. 

Of course, you could always use nuts as a topping over your pie. But, when mixed in, they easily absorb moisture and flavor in heated liquids like cherry syrup.

They may not retain much of their crunch when moist, but they do give the syrup a nutty blend.

Make It Sweet

Since cherry is a naturally tart fruit, most canned pie fillings may not be sufficiently sweet. 

To sweeten the pie filling, you could start with a tablespoon of any sweetener, adding more if needed.

The obvious sweetener is brown sugar or white sugar for handling tartness. If you’d like something with less sugar, liquid sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, corn syrup, or agave syrup work well. 

However, liquid sweeteners make the filling thinner; you’ll have to get the filling thickened later.

Alternatively, you could use cherry jam or jelly, cherry glaze, or concentrated juice (orange, apple, or pineapple juice). Using sweetened condensed milk could make the filling creamy and mute the bright dyed-red color, but if you don’t mind that, add it in.

A Dab of Spice or Extract

Dried spices add a twist and depth to the flavor of the pie. 

If you’d like to jazz up your cherry filling, you could use spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, or allspice. All you need to do is add the spice of your choice to the filling and heat it in a saucepan before placing it in the pie crust.

Flavor extracts are a good choice if you’d like to up the flavor but use less sugar in your pie filling. The obvious choices are almond extract and vanilla extract. With lemon juice, the flavor of the cherries is enhanced; it also tones down overtly sweet pie filling.

Thicken the Filling

Using fresh, frozen, or canned fruit is one way of thickening the filling. 

Other thickening agents are corn starch, tapioca, arrowroot, or flour. Don’t forget to add sugar to the corn starch; this prevents the chalky taste in your filling.

One of the hacks is to simmer the pie filling in a saucepan gently; the moisture releases as it heats and it thickens. Another hack involves buttery goodness; top the pie filling in the crust with small butter cubes for a rich, thick texture.

Cream It Up

Unless you’re into the traditional version of baked cherry pie, you could consider adding some creaminess. Sour cream mixed with sugar gives you a tart cherry pie and works great for extremely sweet canned filling.

The other options are stirring in creme fraiche, whipped cream, or softened cream cheese mixed with the pie filling. Adding these to the filling when heating or serving gives the cherry pie a lush smoothness. 

Since they have a high percentage of fats and (or) oils, you’ll see a glossy sheen in the end result.

If you’re making a no-bake cherry pie, add some mascarpone cream to the pie crust and then top it with the filling.

For the ultimate satisfying dessert, serve warm pie and a side of a vanilla ice cream scoop. Your taste buds are sure to drown in the delicious goodness!

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Final Thoughts

A warm homemade cherry pie reminds most of us of our childhood or happier times in our lives. 

The pie-making process is a labor of love, and with canned cherry pie filling and perhaps a prepared pie crust, the preparation gets easier.

A few additions can make the pie filling taste better and enhance the deliciousness of the dessert. You don’t need to settle for what’s in the can; tweak it to create a delicious pie of warmth!


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