Cherry Pie with Crumb Topping

4.80 from 5 votes

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This All-American Cherry Pie with Crumb Topping is the perfect dessert, nostalgic to me, in that it reminds me of a dessert choice you’d order at a diner. Tender, flaky crust loaded with juicy cherries in a thick sauce and buttery crumbles of sugary dough on top baked to a golden brown. It’s perfect for any family dinner, BBQ or holiday get together!

slice of Cherry Pie with Crumb Topping

Cherry Pie with Crumb Topping

Summer time means lots of fresh fruit desserts and this is one of my favorites. I thought about calling this favorite pie of mine just Cheery Pie, but it didn’t use a top layer of dough and then Cherry Crumb Pie came to mind, but settled on Cherry Pie with Crumb Topping because that perfectly describes exactly what it is.

I make this cherry pie from scratch with a homemade pie crust (yes, you could buy a frozen one if it’s not your thing), fresh or frozen pitted cherries depending on what’s available, a kiss of balsamic vinegar for a slight orange flavor and acid to counter the sweetness, and a buttery crumb topping.

We’re talking dessert comfort food right here!

Crumb Topping or Streusel?

They’re both the same to me, but I get an instant dessert image from crumb topping and danish image calling something with streusel.

It’s a crumbly topping made of flour, butter, and sugar that is baked on top of pies, cakes, muffins and breads. I add a little more texture by tossing in some oats.

pie dough, crumb topping, pie pan

Why vodka in pie dough?

I first read about adding alcohol to dough after being asked to test a pie recipe for Irvin over at Eat the Love. He was writing his cookbook, Marbled, Swirled and Layered and graciously asked me to go over his recipe for Lemon-Blackberry Chess Pie. It was outrageously delicious. A must try!

Anyways, I did some research and found this reason on Cooks Illustrated:

Unlike water, alcohol does not contribute to the formation of gluten, the network of proteins that can cause a crust to turn leathery. Because the alcohol burns off quickly in the oven, drying out the crust, we could add enough vodka to keep the dough wet and extremely supple.

Interesting no? I’ve always said baking is a science and cooking is an art. 🙂

cherry pie with streusel crumb topping

Kitchen Tip

One kitchen tip I wanted to share with all of you was NOT to make the crumb topping first and leave it near you as your working. You will want to nibble and eat it like I did, and by the time it was ready to be added to the cherry pie I needed to make more as half was gone. Good stuff. 🙂

Other summer time dessert to try:

  • Key Lime Bars
    These Key Lime Bars have a puckery curd, no cream cheese filling, layered on a tender graham cracker crust for that refreshing, Miami Beach summer dessert!
  • Gramma’s Easy Berry Cobbler
    A tasty, buttery batter gets poured over fresh seasonal berries of choice, is baked to a golden brown and is ready for a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream!
  • Texas Sheet Cake
    Texas Sheet Cake is a thin, flat chocolate cake baked in a large sheet pan topped with a thick, sugary icing and chopped pecans.
  • Shortbread Lemon Bars
    With a buttery shortbread crust and puckery, sweet lemon curd, these are a great way to use up some of Summer’s citrus.
  • Old Fashioned Cherry Crisp
    Bing cherries covered in a simple flour, sugar, oat and egg crumble that gets melted butter poured on top and baked to a golden brown.

I’m hoping you give this cherry pie recipe a try, whether using a homemade crust or frozen, it’s delicious! Enjoy!

pie with dripping cherry filling

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A close up of A plate of Cherry Pie with crumb topping

Cherry Pie with Crumb Topping

4.80 from 5 votes
My Cherry Pie with Crumb Topping has a tender, flaky crust loaded with juicy cherries in a thick sauce and buttery crumbles on top baked to a golden brown.
Servings: 8
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Chill Dough: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes


Pie Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp cold unsalted butter cubed
  • 8 tbsp cold vegetable shortening
  • 6 to 8 tbsp chilled vodka (See Note 1)

Crumb Topping

Cherry Filling



  • Add the flour, sugar, salt, butter and shortening to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add the chilled vodka, a tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together (don’t add any more vodka). You want just enough to bind the dough together.
  • Remove dough from processor and form into 2 flat oval discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze one (for up to a month) for later use. Chill other in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Crumb Topping

  • Make the crumb topping by combining all ingredients in a small bowl, mixing to create coarse crumbles with a fork. Set aside.

Cherry Filling

  • In a bowl, combine the cherry filling ingredients, tossing to mix thoroughly and cherries are coated.


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. On a floured work surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick, working from the center outwards.
  • I carefully roll the dough back onto the rolling pin, lift up and unroll it into a 9 inch pie pan. Gently press dough into pan bottom and up sides. Trim excess dough from the edges and crimp.
  • Pour cherry filling into pie shell and sprinkle the crumb topping over all. Bake for 35-40 minutes on a lined baking sheet. Top should be golden brown and fruit bubbling.


  1. Unlike water, alcohol does not contribute to the formation of gluten, the network of proteins that can cause a crust to turn leathery. Because the alcohol burns off quickly in the oven, drying out the crust, we could add enough vodka to keep the dough wet and extremely supple.
  2. Fresh or frozen cherries can be used, just drain excess water from thawed frozen. Using the canned version with the "sauce" is pretty flavorless and just a sauce thickened by cornstarch. I find the ratio of cherries to sauce in those 1 part cherries to 2 parts sauce and go for the fresh or frozen. If you do use them, double up after draining the sauce to get the right amount of cherries needed.


Calories: 613kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 264mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 410IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Western
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!




Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. I want to use the cherries with two cans of cherries would I use 2 parts of sauce? I like the idea of the crumb topping. I will be waiting for a reply. Thanks .

    1. If using the canned variety of cherries Eunice, I would suggest as written in the Notes to use 2 cans and drain the sauce (discard). You will need 5 cups total so plan accordingly depending on can size. I hope this helps.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi, again. I made when fresh cherries were available and it was a big hit. I’d like to try it again with frozen cherries. Does note 2 mean I’ll need 10 cups of thawed, frozen cherries?

    1. Just be sure to have 5 cups total. Sorry for any confusion, I was talking about after rinsing the syrup off the canned the amount lessens and you would need more cherries.

  3. I’m hoping to try this recipe this weekend. What size pan should I use, and is it deep. Dish or regular? Thanks a bunch!

  4. 5 stars
    Before, I have never made this recipe…I tried many times to make this cherry pie crumb topping recipe, but not come with the actual taste, and then I have followed your instruction, Atlast the dish came with the exact taste…So thank you very much for your guidance.

  5. 5 stars
    I have a serious weakness for cherry pie, Kevin, and yours looks amazing. Loving that crisp, buttery crumb topping!!

  6. 5 stars
    Great name for a delicious pie! Is it too early, I wonder, to have a slice for breakfast…it is Friday after all 😉