Rainier Cherry Crisp

This Rainier Cherry Crisp is made with sweet, juicy Rainier cherries and a golden, almond topping. Fruit crisps are easy and require little preparation and so ideal for a weeknight summer dessert or casual dinner with friends.

This cherry crisp with Rainier cherries is certain to make you fall in love with Rainier cherries, a sweet yellow cherry that was developed in Washington State in the 1950s as a cross between the Bing and the Van. 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.
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The general recommendations for making crisp is to use about one cup of fruit per person. You can use less if you are serving the Rainier cherry crisp with ice cream or whipped cream.


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

Love cherries? Use fresh or frozen cherries in my cherry vinaigrette or cherry ketchup. Or, if you have to have the combination of cherry and almond, check out these cherry Bakewell blondies or this cherry almond cocktail.

Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and substitutions

  • Sub in vanilla extract or a small amount of bourbon, Grand Marnier, or other liqueur in place of almond extract.
  • Sub pecans or hazelnuts in place of the almonds.
  • A smidge of cinnamon can help out cherries that aren’t the most flavorful.

Recipe 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 recommend buying a cherry pitter. I remove the stem and then pit the cherries over a strainer in the sink to be sure I’ve removed the pit.

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

seven panels showing how to pit a rainier cherry using a handheld cherry pitter.

Making the Rainier cherry crisp

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 glass baking dish.

Top the fruit thickly with the crisp topping, and 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.

What to serve with a Rainier cherry crisp

This cherry crisp calls out for vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to balance out the sweetness. To make sweetened whipped cream, you’ll need a mixer, some good arm strength, or a lot of friends.

Combine 1 cup of cold heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, and a half teaspoon of 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). Be careful not to over mix or you will have butter!

Recipe FAQs

Where do Rainier cherries get their name?

The cherries are named after Mount Rainier (“ray-neer”), aka Tahoma, which stands at 14,410 feet and dominates our Western Washington skyline.

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. Just bake them from frozen. But I’d recommend instead using this recipe to substitute a fruit that’s 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.

Do you have any other Rainier cherry recipes?

Well, I mostly just eat them by the handfuls when they’re in season, but if you have to make something, you could use Rainier cherries in this rainbow fruit tart.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.


Rainier Cherry Crisp

4.34 from 6 votes
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.
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  • Food processor


Almond crisp topping

  • ½ cup toasted almonds
  • ¾ cup (94 grams) all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (48 grams) brown sugar unpacked
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) 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 use more or less depending on the sweetness of your Rainier cherries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ 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) all purpose flour, ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar, ¼ cup (48 grams) 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) 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, ¼ 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. Cover with foil if the topping is browning before the cherries are bubbling.
  • 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.
  • Rainier cherries can vary quite a bit in their sweetness. If yours are quite sweet, you might consider reducing the sugar in half.


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!

This Rainier cherry crisp was originally posted July 2, 2021 for the reddit 52 week baking challenge: week 27 (local favorite).

Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking? Get inspiration here:


  1. 5 stars
    I need this cherry pitter. It’s so tempting not to eat this all day long;) Thank you for all the tips and tricks, Joanne! I will definitely try the Grand Marnier option!!!

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe! I love toppings on crisps and the almonds are the perfect complement to the cherries in this Rainier crisp recipe! Obsessed! Thanks for all your detailed notes and tips too!

    1. Hi Bev, I’m sorry you felt that way about this Rainier cherry crisp. I made the crisp again tonight to make sure there wasn’t a typo somewhere, and we all loved it as much as ever. I’m going to throw out a couple thoughts: 1) Rainier cherries are candy-like cherries, so you will get a different flavor if you’re used to baking with sour cherries, 2) I hadn’t put the weight of brown sugar (48 grams), so if you packed it in the quarter cup measure, you might have ended up with too much sugar, or perhaps 3) almond extract can be very strong and some people dislike that flavor. Regardless, I suspect I’ve lost you, but if others make this Rainier cherry crisp, please feel free to reduce the sugar in the fruit mixture if you prefer sour cherries.

4.34 from 6 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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