Classic Cherry Pie

What is it about a classic dish? That no-frills, no surprises, genuineness about it. A humbleness of sorts. That comfort knowing exactly what to expect. And then, that satisfaction when it actually tastes even better than what you expected. 

I'm all about the classic pie. I mean, why mess it up? You spend the time to make the crust, roll it out delicately, get a TON of berries... and you wait and wait for it to bake. And wait and wait for it to cool. 

It's time to make a classic dish that you just know will be amazing. That you know will wow a crowd. (Or will have your healthy-eating husband get out of bed at night for a piece or pack a slice in his bag for work... trust me on this one.)

Okay. Convinced yet? This summer I sure am. I mean, it's fruit season, people! Which means it's pie season. And since it's July, it's pretty much a given that you will need a pie at some point - for a pool party, birthday party, or at a cook-out...

So here you go. A classic sour cherry pie recipe. One my mom makes. One that I make. And one you all should make! I also threw in some lemon zest to the usually-average pastry dough because, why not. 

Classic Cherry Pie

(makes one 9 or 10-inch pie) 

Pastry Dough for a double crust: 

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • zest from 1/2 lemon

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

  • 6-8 tablespoons cold water

Cherry Pie Filling: 

  • 6 heaping cups of frozen sour pie cherries, slightly thawed (you can also use fresh sour cherries, pitted - about 6 cups)

  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup white sugar (plus extra for sprinkling over the top of the pie before baking)

  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces

  • Egg wash: 1 egg slightly beaten (optional)


  1. Make the pie dough: Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor to combine. Add in the lemon zest. Then, add in the butter and pulse to combine and butter is crumbly. Slowly add in the water and pulse. If the mixture is too dry and won't come together when you pinch it, add more ice cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

  2. Pour dough onto clean surface and form into two round discs. Wrap with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. I make the pie filling while I am waiting.

  3. Make pie filling: In a large bowl, combine the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. Toss to combine.

  4. Roll out one of the discs of dough on a floured surface until it is about 1 inch larger than the pie pan. Take the rolling pin and roll up the dough and then unroll it into the pie dish. Press down the edges so it fits in the pan with overhang.

  5. Pour the cherries into the pie dish (I used a 9 or 10-inch pie dish). Dot the top with the small pieces of butter.

  6. Make the top crust: Take out the second disc of dough and either roll it out and place it over the cherries, or make a lattice top. Here, I rolled it out and then used a small lid to cut small circles all over the top.

  7. Take the egg wash and brush it over the top, if desired. Sprinkle the top of the unbaked pie with sugar or sanding sugar.

  8. Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 hour. Check after one hour, and if it is turning too brown too quickly, tent foil over the top. If you are using frozen cherries, it may take over an hour, so keep checking. The cherry juices will bubble and the top of the crust should be golden brown.

  9. Let set at room temperature for at least 4 hours to let the juices set. You can let it set up to overnight. Then, it will keep at room temperature up to 1 day. After that, I will either refrigerator leftovers or freeze.