Rainier Cherry Crisp

This Rainier cherry crisp was made for the reddit 52 week baking challenge: week 27 (local favorite). Fruit crisps are great because they require little preparation. So they’re ideal for a weeknight dessert or a casual weekend dinner with friends.

The Rainier cherry was developed in Washington State in the 1950s as a cross between the Bing and the Van. It’s a yellowish cherry and one of the sweetest. Unfortunately, Rainier cherry season is relatively short – just a few weeks – so get them while you can!

rainier cherry crisp topped with vanilla ice cream on a plate with spoon.

This cherry crisp with Rainier cherries will make you fall in love with Rainier cherries. If you aren’t already, that is.

Tips and tricks

Tools: the cherry pitter

If you make a lot of cherry desserts, or if you have a young child who loves cherries, I’d recommend buying a handheld cherry pitter (see below). I remove the stem and then pit the cherries over a strainer in the sink to be sure I’ve removed the pit.

7 panels showing steps in pitting rainier cherries.

Bonus: a cherry pitter will double as an olive pitter for large olives.

Making the cherry crisp

The general recommendation is to use about one cup of fruit per person. You can use less if you are serving the crisp with ice cream or whipped cream.

pitted and halved rainier cherries on cutting board and in measuring cup.

Put the pitted and sliced fruit into a shallow baking pan. There’s no need to grease the pan for a cherry crisp.

cut and pitted rainier cherries in a shallow baking dish.

Top the fruit thickly with the crisp topping. This is the same topping as in my breakfast apple crisp.

Bake until the crisp has browned. For cherry and berry crisps, the juices will be starting to bubble thickly through the crisp topping. If the topping is browning too quickly, cover the crisp loosely with foil.

baked cherry crisp on a cooling rack.


Where do Rainier cherries get their name?

The cherries are named after Mount Rainier (“ray-neer”), which stands at 14,410 feet and dominates the Western Washington skyline. Mount Rainier (aka Tahoma) has the most glacial volume in the lower 48 states and is often used for practice for folks training to climb Denali in Alaska.

How do I make sweetened whipped cream?

You’ll need a hand mixer or stand mixer unless you have some good arm strength (or a lot of friends). Combine 1 cup of cold heavy cream with 2 tablespoon powdered (confectioner’s) sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Mix on high with a hand mixer or medium speed with a stand mixer to your desired consistency, anywhere from soft to firm peaks (when the cream stays in a peak when you lift the beater out and turn it over). But be careful not to overmix or you will have butter!

Could I use frozen cherries in this recipe?

If you need to have a cherry crisp in the wintertime, yes, you could substitute frozen cherries in this recipe. Just bake them from frozen. Or you could use this recipe to substitute a fruit that might be in season.

How long will this crisp last?

Baked crisp can last for a few days in the fridge. While you can freeze any extra crisp topping for up to 6 months, I personally wouldn’t freeze a fruit crisp. If you really want to freeze your cherry crisp, it would be better to freeze it prior to baking.

Can I substitute other nuts for the almonds?

Yes. This recipe would also work well with pecans or hazelnuts. You’ll just want to sub vanilla for the almond extract.

Can I add spices to this recipe?

Sure, a smidge of cinnamon would work in this recipe to bring out the taste in cherries that aren’t the most flavorful.

What can I substitute for almond extract?

You could use vanilla extract or a small amount of bourbon or Grand Marnier or other liqueur.

Related recipes

If it’s not 100 degrees where you are, check out some of my pie and pastry recipes like this blackberry curd tart or strawberry apple pie. Or use Rainier cherries in this rainbow fruit tart.

Or, if you just like the combination of cherry and almond, check out these cherry Bakewell blondies or this cherry almond cocktail.

Rainier Cherry Crisp

5 from 1 vote
Category: Dessert
Cuisine: Unspecified
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 2
Calories: 483kcal
This Rainier cherry crisp will make you fall in love with Rainier cherries. They are sweet cherries and work perfectly with the almond crisp topping.
Print Recipe


  • Food processor


Almond crisp topping

  • ½ cup toasted almonds
  • ¾ cup (94 grams or 3.3 ounces) all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (50 grams or 1.8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams or 3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes

Rainier cherries

  • 2 cups Rainier cherries, pitted and halved
  • ¼ cup (50 grams or 1.8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract


Almond crisp topping

  • Using a food processor, pulse the nuts about 10 times until chopped. Empty about half of the nuts into a small bowl and set aside.
    ½ cup toasted almonds
  • Add the flour, sugars, and salt to the food processor and process until fine.
    ¾ cup (94 grams or 3.3 ounces) all purpose flour, ¼ cup (50 grams or 1.8 ounces) granulated sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 pinch salt
  • Add the butter and pulse until the butter has been chopped to the size of small peas and the mixture clumps together between your fingers.
    6 tablespoons (85 grams or 3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • Add the mixture to the bowl with the nuts and mix.

Rainier cherry crisp

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Mix the cut cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and almond extract in a small bowl or directly in the baking dish.
    2 cups Rainier cherries, pitted and halved, ¼ cup (50 grams or 1.8 ounces) granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Crumble small handfuls of crisp topping over the cherries in the baking dish.
  • Bake until the topping has browned and the cherries are bubbling thickly, about 40 minutes.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • This recipe will make lots of extra almond crisp topping. Just store the extra in a freezer bag for up to 6 months for future fruit crisps.
  • If you want to make this Rainier cherry crisp for more people, estimate 1 cup of fruit per person or perhaps less if you are serving with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.


Calories: 483kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 87mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 64g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
Love this recipe?Mention @Uglyducklingbakery or tag #uglyducklingbakery!

What’s next

If you make this cherry crisp with Rainier cherries (or any other cherries), please leave a comment or rating.

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Previous challenges:
Week 1: New Year new recipe – blueberry galette
Week 2: seasonal – Smitten Kitchen’s grapefruit pound cake
Week 3: Great British Bake Off – Kate’s sticky toffee apple caramel cake
Week 4: Australia – sausage rolls
Week 5: bite sized – bite-sized cookies
Week 6: Chinese New Year – mushroom bao
Week 7: new tool – baguette baker
Week 8: chocolate – chocolate peanut butter bonbons
Week 9: timed bake – under 1 hour! chocolate chip scones
Week 10: allergy/diet restriction – macarons
Week 11: quick breads – kale bread
Week 12: signature bake – purple cow bread
Week 13: enriched breads (kale and cheese babka fail)
Week 14: childhood favorite –fudgy triple layer chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting
Week 15: decorating challenge – purple velvet cake
Week 16: crispy crunchy – bacon cheddar popcorn
Week 17: p52 of a favorite cookbook, or your favorite blog – chocolate peanut butter drip cake
Week 18: pâte à choux – bacon cheese puffs
Week 19: veggies turned sweet – red velvet beet waffles
Week 20: plating – mini chocolate chip cookies
Week 21: Birthday Party! – chocolate orange cake
Weed 22: Scandinavian – Swedish apple cake v sourdough apple cake
Week 23: Layers – Pecan apple oat bars (post is pending)
Week 24: Tarts – rainbow fruit tart
Week 25: Bagels and donuts – maple donut cake
Week 26: Surprise inside – surprise heart yeast bread (pending)

Next week: Seasonal ingredients 2

a serving of rainier cherry crisp in a small bowl.

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