When you think of the Kentucky Derby, you think about horses, hats, and…bourbon. While traditional mint juleps, made with bourbon, take several hours to perfect this pie can be done in a jiffy. Inspired by a Bon Appetit cherry pie recipe, I’ve reduced the amount of sugar while keeping all the yum!


For the Topping

  • 1/2 cup Oats, old-fashioned, rolled
  • 1/4 cup Flour, unbleached
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed (I used dark)
  • 1/4 cup Almonds, raw, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt, ground
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Butter, unsalted, chilled cut into 1/2″ pieces


For the Filling

  • 1 pie crust, homemade or store-bought
  • OR Nilla Wafers if making mason-jar sized mini pies
  • 4-15oz cans Cherries in syrup (about 5 cups)
  • *not canned cherry pie filling
  • 1/2 cup Sugar, raw
  • 1/4 cup Bourbon
  • 3 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp Orange Juice, fresh
  • 1 Tbsp Orange Zest, grated

NOTE: Frozen cherries will work too, just be sure they are pitted. If you use canned cherries, look at the ingredient label. Some manufacturers add Red Dye to the cherries to keep the color. Don’t buy that. Look for a brand that avoids additional chemicals. When you drain the cherries, collect the juice for another purpose like smoothies or mixed with sparkling water.

Cook’s Note: You can make one pie with this recipe or try individual pies. The benefit for individual pies is storage (eat one now, and freeze the other for later). I was able to make two individual pies about 5 inches in diameter and two mini mason jars (about ½ cup portions) which I froze for later. I used crushed Nilla Wafers in the mason jars rather than pie crust.


Step 1: Prepare the topping

  1. Put all dry ingredients in a bowl and combine.
  2. Add butter cubes. Using a pastry tool or your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients to form a crumble mixture.
  3. Cover the mixture and place in the fridge until your ready to use it. You can make this ahead.

Step 2: Prepare the Pie Filling

  • In a mixing bowl, combine cherries, sugar, bourbon, corn starch, orange juice and orange zest. Gently mix this so you don’t break up the cherries too much.
  • Prepare the pie crust and line your pie dish.
  • Pour the mixture into the pie pan (which, of course, has your pie crust), mason jars, or individual casserole dishes, whichever you are using.
  • Top the pie with the crumble mixture, pressing down just a little as needed.

Step 3: Prepare Baking Pan and Bake
Preheat oven 350°F

  • As the pie bakes, the juices will ooze out. And, because there is bourbon and sugar in the mix, the “ooze” will be sticky. To make cleanup easy and avoid spills in your oven, line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Place your pie(s) on the baking sheet.
  • Bake in heated oven for 60-90 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the topping is a deep golden brown and the juices are spilling out. For smaller pie dishes and mason jars, set your time for 1 hour and check. Continue to cook until done.
  • Once baked, remove from oven and let stand at room temperature for at least two hours. You want to give the pie filling time to set, otherwise it will be too watery.