No pitter? No problem.

By Karen Gaudette Brewer
March 23, 2015
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If all that stands between you and your favorite cherry dessert are scores of cherries that need pitting — and you don't have a cherry pitter — here are three ways pit cherries using ordinary objects. Find the method that works best for you.

How to Pit Cherries With a Cherry Pitter

The rock-hard pit or seed in the the middle of a cherry is the last thing you want to bite into when you're eating a luscious cherry pie or cherry cobbler. And it will be the last thing you bite into, right before you make an emergency call to your dentist.

Pitting cherries with a cherry pitter (like this top-rated cherry pitter from OXO) is easy as you please: place cherry in pitter, squeeze handle, pit pops out. If you're working with large quantities of cherries, there are gadgets that can handle multiple cherries at one time (with this $23 cherry pitter you can pit up to 25 pounds of cherries per hour).

If you don't have a cherry pitter, you can use a sharp paring knife to cut the cherry all the way around from top to bottom, then twist the two halves apart in opposite directions. If you're lucky, the cherry pit will pull away neatly from one half, but you'll still need to use the point of your knife to dig it out from the other half of the cherry. Leaving you with two halves. That's fine for most recipes, but what if you want whole pitted cherries? Try these clever solutions for pitting whole cherries without a cherry pitter.

How to Pit Cherries Without a Cherry Pitter

1. Use a Cheap Fork and Pliers

You know you've got your hands on a cheap fork when you can easily bend it with a pair of pliers. But it does have its uses.

To remove a cherry pit with a fork, start by bending the two outside prongs all the way down using a pair of need-nose pliers. Next, bend the two middle brings down just at the tips to create a hook.

To pit the cherry, push the hook into the bottom of the cherry and pull it out. It's as simple as that! But the real genius of this is you can use it to pull out the cherry pit from the bottom of the cherry, leaving the stem attached. Perfect for making Chocolate-Dipped Bing Cherries.

2. Use a Paper Clip

Jason Donnelly/Meredith

Who knew a common office supply could be used as a kitchen gadget? To do so, simply unfold the paper clip so you have a hook on both ends. Insert one end into the cherry and dig around until you are able to pop out the pit.

3. Use a Chopstick and a Soda Bottle

Kritsada Panichgul/Meredith

Grab an empty bottle (beer, soda, whatever), put a cherry on it stem-side-down (remove the stem first) and use the flat end of a chopstick to push the pit through the cherry and into the bottle. Makes for minimum clean-up and a pretty cool bar trick.

Related: Explore our collection of Cherry Recipes.