Cherry Crumb Pie (with frozen tart cherries)

Cherry Pie With Crumb Topping is such an easy pie recipe for any time of the year. Frozen tart cherries are the star of this cherry pie crowned with a wonderfully crisp buttery crumb topping. Bring on the vanilla bean ice cream!

If you love pie as much as I do (I’ll choose pie over cake any day!), you’ll want to try the popular Upside-Down Apple Pecan Pie, Easy Pumpkin Pie, Blueberry Galette, and everyone’s favorite….. Peach Cobbler.

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A bite of cherry pie on a fork

Why You’ll Love This Crumble-Topped Cherry Pie Recipe With Tart Cherries

There’s no doubt about it; cherry crumb pie using frozen tart cherries is a timeless treat reminiscent of country fairs and blue ribbons! Sour cherries fuse with vanilla and almond notes for a  classic tart-sweet filling nestled in a flakey crust. But it doesn’t stop there! The crunchy golden crumb topping complemented with nutty oats and cinnamon is the perfect sweet contrast to tart cherries.

Here are some other great reasons to love cherry pie with crumb topping:

  • Sweet, crunchy golden crumb topping makes a delicious contrast and texture to luscious tart cherry pie filling. 
  • Store-bought pie crust is an easy time-saver.
  • Frozen or canned sour cherries, work great in this pie recipe! 
  • No top pie crust is needed thanks to the easy crumb topping.
  • Cherry crumb pie with tart cherries will bring you back to when life seemed less complicated, and nobody’s cherry pie was as good as grandma’s
  • Using frozen tart cherries gives you all the nutrients of the fresh-picked fruit. 

Cherry Crumb Pie ingredients

Grab These Ingredients For Cherry Pie And Crumble Topping With Oats 

(full printable recipe at the end of this post)

Did you know that less than 1-3% of sour cherries grown in the U.S. are available to be purchased fresh? Go straight to the freezer section for tart cherries, my friends!

Tart Cherry Pie Crust And Filling 

  • Pie Crust for the bottom of the pie can be a homemade crust or store-bought refrigerated.
  • Tart Cherries – this cherry pie recipe calls for frozen pitted sour cherries (aka tart cherries) thawed and drained. You can also use canned (sour) cherries if you can’t find frozen. 
  • Granulated Sugar 
  • Cornstarch – the thickening agent to meld all of the pie-filling ingredients into a delicious cohesive cherry bite.
  • Lemon Juice – helps cause the sugars to invert during baking which keeps it from crystallizing once the pie cools. Fresh or bottled is fine.
  • Vanilla Extract – pulls the cherry fruit forward and softens the flavor profile by aromatically enhancing the sweetness.
  • Almond Extract – lends warm, nutty notes to cherry pie filling and elevates the vanilla and cherry combination to the next level.

Cherry Pie Crumble Topping With Oats

  • Classic Crumb Topping Trio: sugar, flour, and butter
  • Brown Sugar is also included in this crumb topping for a warmer, caramel finish.
  • Oats added to the topping trio are called a “crisp” topping when using a fruit or cherry pie filling, and there is no bottom crust. It gives the topping an oatmeal cookie-like texture and appearance.
  • Cinnamon adds a warm, woody, and spicy aromatic punch to the cherry crumble topping.  

how to make Cherry Crumb Pie photo steps collage

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How To Make A Cherry Pie With Crumb Topping

Things you’ll need to throw together this de-lish crunchy, gooey, bright cherry pie de-light: a lined baking sheet and 9-inch pie plate, medium saucepan, rolling pin, mixing bowl, and a cooling rack.

The Cherry Pie Filling:

  • Gently simmer tart cherries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice until the cornstarch and sugar dissolve and the mixture thickens.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.

The Pie Crust:

Roll out a 12-inch round pie crust, put it into a 9-inch pie plate, and crimp.  

The Crumb Topping With Oats:

  • Mix oats, sugars, flour, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. 
  • Add cold butter cubes and crumble into the dry ingredients until butter is the size of peas.

Make And Bake: Cherry Crumb Pie

  1. Pour the cherry pie filling into the crust.
  2. Sprinkle the crumble topping with oats over the cherries.
  3. Place pie on a lined baking sheet and bake in a 375 F oven.
  4. Cool for a few hours on a rack to allow the tart cherries to set up. 

cut Cherry Crumb Pie in a white pie dish

Notes For Cherry Pie Made With Frozen Tart Cherries:

  • If your cherries are frozen, be sure to completely thaw and drain off most of the liquid. A little left behind is ok, but you want barely any.
  • Be sure to stir cherries ever so gently, you don’t want to bust them while stirring.
  • Always place a baking sheet under your pie in the oven just in case your pie drips –trust me, you don’t want that mess in your oven.
  • If you’re worried about a soggy bottom crust, bake the pie at 425° F for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375°F to finish baking.
  • Check your pie about halfway through the baking time. Once the crust or crumb topping browns, cover with aluminum foil until the filling is done.
  • You can use canned sour cherry pie filling instead of canned or frozen tart cherries for a quick, no-cook filling. Gently stir the extracts into the pie filling, but skip the lemon juice sugar, and cornstarch.  
  • You can actually skip the bottom crust completely, and make this recipe as a cherry crisp. Simply eliminate the pie dough and pour the filling into an 8×8-inch baking dish, and sprinkle on the topping. Then bake until it’s bubbly and lightly browned on top.
  • If you just can’t find sour/tart cherries, using sweet cherries for this crumb pie recipe will require extra lemon juice and cutting back on the sugar. 

*Chef’s Quiz: Do you know the one type of recipe where bottled lemon juice excels over fresh lemon juice? Answer at the end of “Tart (Sour) Cherries FAQs.”

Cherry pie slice with vanilla ice cream on top

How To Store Cherry Crumb Pie

You can keep a cherry crumb pie at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for 4 days.

To FREEZE: Wrap the pie tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for up to 4 months. Allow cherry pie to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then come to room temperature before serving.

Uncut Cherry Crumb Pie in a white pie dish

Tart (Sour) Cherries FAQs

What is the difference between tart cherries and sour cherries?

Not a thing. Some highly paid marketing company probably did a study that determined the word “tart” appealed more than “sour” when trying to sell cherries that aren’t of the “sweet” variety. 

Why can’t I find fresh sour cherries at the market?

Tart cherries are small and delicate stone fruits that do not stand up well to shipping or being sold fresh. 97-99% of the sour cherry crops grown in the U.S. are sent directly for processing: freezing, juicing, canning, drying, etc. 

Why are sour cherries used for cherry pie recipes and baking?

Tart cherries are preferred in baking and pie fillings due to the higher malic acid content and lower sugar* compared to sweet cherries. When cooked, the sugars in sour cherries concentrate and become sweeter. The higher acidity level balances the sweetness and teases out all the complex cherry deliciousness.

*Sweet cherries are already high in sugar without the high acidity naturally present in sour cherries. They tend to cook down to a bland, overly sweet, flat taste.

What can I do with leftover tart cherry juice?

I’m glad you asked! I’ve got a few suggestions for all that leftover tart cherry juice goodness, like Cran-Cherry Whiskey SourRudolph’s Tipsy Spritzer, or a Honey Glazed Ham Recipe.

*Chef’s Quiz Answer:  When preserving fresh fruits, bottled juice is optimum because the acidity of fresh lemons can vary greatly per lemon. Jams, jellies, compotes, and preserves require consistent acidity levels to set up correctly, like this Strawberry (No-cook) Freezer Jam recipe. Bottled lemon juice pH is standardized, so you will get a consistent result every time.

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Cherry pie with ice cream and crumb topping on a white plate

A bite of cherry pie on a fork

Cherry Pie With Crumb Topping

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Frozen tart cherries are the star of this cherry pie crowned with a wonderfully crisp buttery crumb topping. Bring on the vanilla bean ice cream!

Ingredients

For the Pie

  • 6 cups (32 ounces) frozen pitted tart cherries, thawed
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 pie crust (homemade or store-bought refrigerated)

For the Crumb Topping

  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • 4 tablespoons cold salted butter cut into ½” cubes
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Add the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice to a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, gently stirring, until the cornstarch and sugar dissolve, and the mixture is thick (7-10 minutes). Do not over-stir, or it will break up the cherries. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and almond extracts and set aside.
  3. Roll out pie crust to a 12-inch round. Place the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate, crimp the edges, and set on the prepared baking sheet. 
  4. For the crumb topping: Using a medium bowl, add oats, sugars, flour, and cinnamon; stir until well combined. Add in the butter pieces and use your fingers to crumble the butter into the oat mixture, until clumps form and butter is the size of peas. 
  5. Pour the cherry pie filling into the crust-lined pie plate (on prepared pan). Sprinkle with the crumb topping and bake until the filling is bubbling and the crust is browned about 50 minutes. If the top becomes too brown, cover with aluminum foil for the remaining cooking time.
  6. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool at least 1-2 hours before serving to allow the juices to gel together. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Notes

  • If your cherries are frozen, be sure to completely thaw and drain off most of the liquid. A little left behind is ok, but you want barely any.
  • You can use canned cherry pie filling instead of frozen cherries if you prefer, simply stir in extracts. No need to heat if using canned pie filling.
  • This pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  To FREEZE: Wrap the pie tightly in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for up to 4 months. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then let come to room temperature before serving.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 153mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 3gSugar: 35gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used and are just estimates. We encourage, especially if these numbers are important to you, to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.

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A scoop of ice cream on top of a slice of cherry crumb pie