This cherry crisp recipe is the dessert of your dreams! The pan of sweet and tart cherries is topped with cinnamon-spiced butter crumbles.
Welcome to the dessert of your dreams: this Old Fashioned cherry crunch recipe! Most summers we go cherry picking in Michigan and bring back a mound of the dark, sweet fruit. One of the best ways to use it? Bake a crisp, of course! This one is perfect in our book, with tart sweet, juicy red fruit topped with cinnamon-spiced crumbled butter. (We also like to add a touch of ground cardamom for a bit of intrigue!) Either way, served with homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, it’s a nice next level.
Ingredients for the Crisp Cherry
Cherry crisp is the perfect dessert to bring out the sweetness of cherries! Everyone likes it and it’s very simple to make, with basic ingredients that you probably already have on hand. It is also versatile for different types of diets! Here are the ingredients for a basic cherry crisp:
- Sweet cherries, fresh, frozen, or canned (see notes below)
- granulated and brown sugar
- Grated lemon
- Vanilla extract
- Old fashioned oat flakes
- all purpose flour
- salted butter
types of cherries
This cherry crisp is best made when cherries are in season – which is summer here in the Midwest! We love going cherry picking in Michigan and we got a huge bowl of cherries for only a few dollars (a tiny fraction of what you’d pay at the store!). You can of course buy your own at the supermarket or even use frozen or canned cherries! Here are some types of cherries you can use in this cherry crisp:
- sweet cherries: The most popular types of sweet cherries are Bing (dark red) and Rainier (gold and red), but you can find other varieties that are similar in color and flavor. Bing cherries are easy to find at the grocery store, and you can often find them fresh or frozen. They are very sweet, firm and juicy.
- cherry tart: Montmorency cherries are sour cherries that are grown in Michigan. They are more fragile to transport, so most of the time you will find them dry or sometimes frozen. You can use them here if you can find them fresh, but add about 2 tablespoons of extra sugar to the filling (then taste and add more if you like).
- frozen cherries: Frozen cherries work well in crisps! Please note the notes on sweet vs tart above.
Can you use canned cherries?
Canned cherries also work; it is better if they are packed in water and without sugar. We don’t suggest using cherry pie filling here because it tastes artificially sweet. A 15-ounce can of cherries holds about 2 cups of cherries, so you’ll need 2 ½ cans here.
Tips for Pitting Cherries
The most time consuming part of a cherry crunch recipe is pitting the sweet cherries! There are a few methods to do this, but we’ve found one in particular that’s the easiest: with a straw! This is what you should do:
- Remove the stem from the cherry.
- Place the straw where the stem was. and hold the cherry with one hand.
- Press the straw firmly but gently into the fruit.and the hole will come out the other side.
- Please note that this is a complicated process. Wear an apron and you may want to wear plastic gloves to prevent cherry juice from staining your hands.
Flavor Additives for Crisp Cherries: Cardamom and More
This Cherry Crisp recipe tastes amazing just as written, but we like to add an extra ingredient to bring the flavor to the top: ground cardamom! Add floral notes that provide a touch of complexity. Here are some more flavor additives:
- Ground cardamom: Use ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom in the topping, or just sprinkle with a touch of ground cardamom when serving
- Orange peel: Substitute orange zest for the lemon zest for an even more citrusy twist.
- Almond extract: If you love cherries and almonds, add ¼ teaspoon of almond extract to the filling.
- Amaretto: Why not? Stir in 1 tablespoon amaretto for a crisp amaretto cherry
- Walnuts, pecans or almonds: For added crunch, add ¼ to ½ cup of chopped walnuts to the crispy topping.
This cherry crisp recipe is versatile and works for many types of diets! Here are some ways to modify the recipe for dietary preferences:
- vegan: Use vegan butter or refined coconut oil (unrefined works too; it just tastes more like coconut!).
- Without gluten: Use almond flour instead of all purpose – its crunchy texture works perfectly in a crisp.
More cherry recipes
Do you love cherries? Here are some fun ways to use them in desserts, drinks, and more:
This crispy cherry recipe is…
Vegetarian. For vegans, use coconut oil or vegan butter. For gluten free, use almond flour.
This Crisp Cherry recipe is the fruit dessert of your dreams! The pan of sweet and tart cherries is topped with cinnamon-spiced butter crumbles.
- 5 cups pitted sweet cherries (1 3/4 pounds)*
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- zest of 1/2 lemon (or ¼ teaspoon Orange peel)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats**
- ¾ cup all purpose flour (or almond flour for gluten free)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Optional: ground cardamom (¼ teaspoon in the crisp or for serving)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons cold salted butter (or coconut oil or vegan butter for vegans)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pit the cherries. In a medium bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and vanilla extract in a bowl, then pour the filling into a 9-inch round pie pan, 9 x 9-inch baking dish, or 7 x 11-inch baking dish.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and kosher salt. Cut the butter into small pieces, then use your hands to mix it into the oats until fully distributed and no dry crumbs remain. It can take a while, so be patient; You can also use a fork or pastry cutter if you prefer. (If you use coconut oil, it can be at room temperature; use the same method to add it.) Crumble the dough with your fingers and place it in an even layer on top of the cherries.
- Bake: Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is evenly browned and the filling is bubbly. Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days (reheat at room temperature if desired). This crumble also freezes well for several months in a sealed container; Reheat in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the topping is crisp.
*Frozen cherries work too. If you use sour cherries instead of sweet, add a few more tablespoons of sugar to the filling – to taste. Canned cherries also work; it is better if they are packed in water and without sugar. We don’t suggest using cherry pie filling here because it tastes artificially sweet. A 15-ounce can of cherries has about 2 cups of cherries, so you’ll need 2 ½ cans for this recipe.
**If desired, you can add ¼ to ½ cup of chopped walnuts, walnuts, or almonds to the topping.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Kitchen: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: cherry crunch recipe, cherry crunch, cherry crunch recipe