This Rainier Cherry Crisp is made with sweet, juicy Rainier cherries and a golden, almond topping. Fruit crisps are easy and require little preparation. So they’re ideal for a weeknight summer dessert or a casual dinner with friends on the patio.
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!
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.
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 or Grand Marnier or other liqueur in place of the almond extract.
- This cherry crisp would also work well with a topping containing pecans or hazelnuts in place of the almonds.
- A smidge of cinnamon would work to bring out the taste in 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’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.
Bonus: a cherry pitter doubles as an olive pitter for large olives.
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.
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.
What to serve with a Rainier cherry crisp
This cherry crisp calls out for vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 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 overmix or you will have butter!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Related summer fruit recipes
Check out some of the other Ugly Duckling Bakery summer berries and cherry recipes like:
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.
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
- 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
- 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) 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, 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.
This Rainier cherry crisp was originally posted July 2, 2021 for the reddit 52 week baking challenge: week 27 (local favorite). It was last updated June 21, 2023.
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