clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Closeup of a slice of Sour Cherry Pie on a white plate on a light grey surface.

The Perfect Sour Cherry Pie

  • Author: Sabrina Russo
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pie, 8 servings 1x


This is the perfect Sour Cherry Pie with a balanced tart and sweet filling. Plus, I provide tips to achieve a flaky all-butter crust.




  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or vodka, chilled in fridge (or more ice water)
  • 7 tablespoons ice water, or as needed

Filling and Assembly:

  • 2 pounds sour cherries, halved and pitted (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes, chilled*
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for brushing
  • Demerara sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Mix dry ingredients: Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Work in butter: Toss in butter to coat. Rub butter into flour using fingertips to create some large, irregular pieces up to the size of walnut halves, and some thin, flat pieces. Work quickly to avoid overheating butter. Place in fridge for several minutes, as needed, if butter gets too warm.
  3. Add liquids: Drizzle over vinegar or vodka, if using, and 4 tablespoons of the ice water. Mix with fork or gently toss with your fingertips to create a shaggy mixture. Add remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. Lightly knead and push together to form a dough. The dough should not be sticky nor dry. Do not overwork.
  4. Laminate dough: Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 3/4 inch thick block. Divide 1 half into 4 equal pieces. Stack pieces on top of each other and press down to shape into a 3/4 inch, thick disc. This will create layers of butter that become flakey when baking. Repeat with second half of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 4 or 5 days.
  5. Macerate and thicken juices:  Place cherries in a bowl and coat with granulated sugar. Macerate for 20-30 minutes. Place cherries in a sieve over a bowl to strain out juices. Place juice in pan and simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 to 1/3 cup. Whisk 3 tablespoons cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of cherry liquid in a small bowl, and stir into juice mixture. Transfer to bowl with cherries and stir to combine. Stir in lemon zest, vanilla and salt. Cool completely to room temperature.
  6. Roll out dough: Remove dough from fridge and allow to sit on counter for 5-15 minutes or until warm enough to work with. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick into a 13-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and chill in fridge. Repeat with second half of dough, and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill in fridge.
  7. Create “circular lattice”: When dough on baking sheet is chilled, transfer to a lightly floured surface. Punch out circles spaced 1 inch apart using an Ateco 808 round tip (or pastry tip of choice), leaving a 2 inch border. Otherwise create a traditional lattice, or keep whole and cut slits in before baking. Return to baking sheet and chill in fridge.
  8. Heat oven and assemble: Place a baking sheet in the oven. Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove both pieces of dough from fridge. Trim excess bottom dough so overhang is 1/2 inch. Sprinkle remaining 2 tsp of cornstarch directly on bottom dough. Pour in fruit mixture. Scatter over cubes of butter. Gently cover with top dough. Trim any overhang in excess of 1 inch from top dough. Fold top under bottom dough and pinch edges together. Mark rim of pie with tines of fork or crimp, as desired. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes or until dough is firm.
  9. Bake pie: Remove pie from freezer and brush top with egg wash. Sprinkle generously with demerara sugar. Bake in center of oven on preheated baking stone or sheet tray for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375°F and continue to bake for 60-70 minutes or until bottom and top crust are well browned and filling is bubbling rapidly. Tent when needed to avoid over-browning the crust. Place on cooling rack and cool completely uncovered at room temperature. Slice and enjoy.


I suggest freezing the butter for the dough for 5 –10 minutes after cutting for the best results.

If you use regular sweet, red cherries instead of sour cherries, reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons.

To create ice water, simply place cold water and ice cubes into a measuring cup and let stand in fridge until ready to use.

It’s actually better to slightly overhydrate the dough than underhydrate it. You can add a little extra flour while rolling, but it’s difficult to add extra liquid later. An underhydrated dough will crack and be difficult to work with.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 slice (1/8 of pie)
  • Calories: 525
  • Sugar: 34g
  • Sodium: 161mg
  • Fat: 24g
  • Saturated Fat: 15g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 72g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 84mg

Keywords: sour cherry pie, cherry pie, flaky crust