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How To Make Canned Cherry Pie Filling Taste Better

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We all love the smell of fresh-baked pie in our homes. Pies can be easy to make when you use the canned filling options also.

You simply need to add the crust and there are pre-made options for crusts too if you really want the easiest solution possible. The problem is those canned fillings don’t always taste amazing right out of the can. 

When it comes to cherry pie filling, this is perhaps one of the most noticeable pie fillings that needs just a little bit of love to make it taste perfect.

You may have noticed that right out of the can, cherry pie filling just doesn’t have as much sweetness and sometimes even is just a little bit tart too. 

How do you make canned cherry pie filling taste better? Canned cherry pie filling can often be made tastier and sweeter with the simple addition of white sugar, usually by adding 1 tablespoon at a time. Alternatively, you can use pineapple juice or another kind of sweet syrup, such as agave or honey.

In this guide, we will walk you through how you can make your canned cherry pie filling taste better.

These options are super simple and use ingredients that you most likely already have on hand in your pantry. Sometimes, a pinch of sugar can go a long way. 

Stick with us to learn how to improve your canned cherry pie filling and more!

How To Improve Canned Cherry Pie Filling

When you taste cherry pie filling from a can, what is your first thought? For most of us, it is either that it is too bland or that it is too tart and needs to be sweetened. 

So, what do you do? 

Some people will just bake the cherry pie filling that way and hope that when it’s all said and done it tastes fine. We like to take action though and improve the pie filling from the get-go so we know that our cherry pie will be absolutely perfect!

The good news is that you can sweeten up cherry pie flavoring pretty easily with some simple steps or additions to the filling.

Don’t worry, you’re not going to end up wishing you’d just made your own filling. These changes are minor and very simple to make! 

Why Is Canned Cherry Pie Filling Tart?

Unfortunately, most canned cherry pie filling comes from cherries that simply aren’t at their peak ripeness.

Even when they are at their peak, they still may be tart. For some brands, it simply could be their process for the filling that affects the flavor. 

For the most part, you will find that canned cherry pie filling varies and the levels of tartness may vary too. You might find a brand that really has the process down pat and their cherries are always perfectly sweet. 

However, when it comes to canned items, it’s safe to say that you won’t always get cherries that are the perfect ripeness and this is what leads to most canned cherry pie fillings being a bit tart. 

Thankfully, there are several ways to save your cherry pie filling. Some of these you can combine together or you can use them individually and any approach will be successful. 


You can use a simple addition of any white sugar to sweeten up your cherry pie filling. This is probably one of the most common and easiest ways to sweeten cherry pie filling.

There is more than one approach that you can take here. Some people would tell you to add the sugar with a bit of water and simmer that to create a syrupy mixture. 

Most pie fillings already have that syrupy mixture in them so you really can just add the sugar to the pre-made pie filling.

If your pie filling really doesn’t have the syrupy mixture, feel free to create it with syrup and water and then mix that with your cherry pie filling. 

For the purpose of this guide, we are going to assume your cherry pie filling has a syrupy mixture as part of the filling. 

Here are your steps to sweetening your canned cherry pie filling with sugar. 

  1. Open the canned cherry pie filling and pour it into a mixing bowl. 
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the cherry pie filling and mix it well. 
  3. Taste a small dab of the filling to see if it is sweet enough. 
  4. If your filling still seems too tart, continue to add sugar in 1 teaspoon increments.
  5. Stir it well each time and test it again before adding more sugar. 

As you can see, this process is quite easy and it will get your cherry pie filling tasting amazing in no time! 

Now, let’s check out some alternative options. 


If you have a jam or jelly that you think will pair with cherry pie filling (preferably cherry) then this could be a good solution for sweetening up your cherry pie filling.

Jam and jelly are already naturally sweetened and the texture will mix fine with pie filling so you shouldn’t have any issues. 

This is another simple process but if your jam or jelly is really thick, you may also need a little bit of fruit juice in order to thin it out a bit. Check out these steps for sweetening canned cherry pie filling with jam or jelly. 

  1. Pour the canned cherry pie filling into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add about 4 tablespoons of jam or jelly to the mixture.
  3. Stir this in really well. 
  4. If the mixture seems too thick after adding the jam or jelly, add a small amount of a coordinating fruit juice. 
  5. Again stir well. Test the flavor to be sure it is sweetened and meets your approval on flavor. 

Don’t rush out and buy jam or jelly if you have other ingredients on hand. This particular option will have some effect on the overall texture of your mixture.

However, if you have jam or jelly on hand and this is what you prefer, it certainly makes a great option! 


If you looked at that heading and instantly almost skipped this section, WAIT! We know it sounds strange but it really does work.

The good news is that cherry and pineapple are complementary flavors and so these work together nicely to make it sweet. It will not make your cherry pie taste like pineapple unless you overdo it. 

Some people would also recommend trying something like canned peaches, cooked apples, or even just some mixed berries as well if any of those sound better to you. 

Here are your steps to sweetening canned pie filling using pineapple or another sweet fruit. 

  1. Pour your canned cherry pie filling into a mixing bowl. 
  2. Use either a small amount of pineapple juice, pineapple bits, or even pureed pineapple to add to the cherry pie filling. We recommend adding about 4 tablespoons per can of cherry pie filling. 
  3. Mix together well. 
  4. Test the flavor! 

This is another very simple process. You can use pineapple juice, fresh pineapple, or canned pineapple for the process and any of them will work just fine.

If you do use pineapple juice instead of tidbits or chunks, you may want to start with about 2 tablespoons rather than 4 and then you can adjust from there if you need to


Canned cherry pie filling is made to be syrupy in most cases so it makes sense to add an ingredient that is syrupy when you need to sweeten it up just a tad bit more. 

In this case, you have several options to choose from. You can use any thick, syrupy sweetener to make this work.

Try something like corn syrup, maple syrup, agave, or honey. All of these are thick and syrupy in nature and they are all very sweet as well. 

Follow these steps. 

  1. Open your cherry pie filling and pour them into a mixing bowl. 
  2. Add your syrupy sweetness of choice to the pie filling, measuring out 1 tablespoon at a time. 
  3. Mix it in really well. 
  4. Do a taste test. If you need some additional sweetness, you can add another tablespoon of your additive. In most cases, you will add anywhere from 1-3 tablespoons of syrup for every 12 ounces of canned cherry pie filling. 

Most of us have one or all of these items in our pantry and they make a great addition to cherry pie filling.

The sweetness and the syrupy texture work really well to give you the desired results and not dramatically alter your cherry pie filling. 

Additional Options

If you’re still looking for an alternative and just not sure any of these options we’ve shared are quite what you want, here are a couple more options you can try! 

  • Cherry glaze—¼ cup per 12 ounces of pie filling
  • Whipped topping—1-2 cups per can of pie filling
  • Sweetened condensed milk—1 small can, cooked with the cherry pie filling on low to get the right thickness. 

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