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Cherries are a popular fruit—but those pits! They can be a choking hazard for small children, and for sure you wouldn’t want a beautiful cherry pie filled with hard pits. While there are methods for pitting cherries using common household or office supplies, it’s a lot easier—and probably safer—to use a tool designed specifically for the task. Plus, olives and cherries are about the same size, shape, and texture, so you can use most cherry pitters to pit your olives, as well. We’ve compiled our favorites, whether you just need to pit a few cherries for snacking or you’ve got a tree full of fruit that’s ready for canning.
Here are the best cherry pitters.
Best Overall: OXO Good Grips Cherry and Olive Pitter
For cherries and olives of various sizes
Does not require a lot of pressure
Plastic hinge is delicate
Still some splash from juice
While this cherry pitter looks simple, it’s got features that boost its performance. The clear shroud keeps cherry juice from splattering sideways, so the kitchen counter won’t look like a crime scene. The holder holds large Bing cherries easily, while the recessed area cradles small cherries or olives securely. The curved spike moves easily in an arc to slide through the pitter and the cherry for perfect pit removal, and the handle is comfortable to hold, no matter how many cherries need pitting for your pies.
The plastic shroud is removable for easier hand washing, and the whole tool is dishwasher safe for even easier cleaning. For storage, the pitter locks closed, so it will stay neat in a drawer.
Best for Large Quantities: Leifheit Cherry Pitter with Stone Catcher Container
Easy to operate
Pits large quantities at once
Attached container keeps mess away
Easy to clean
Cherries sometimes stick
Requires heavy pressure to pit
Great for pitting a lot of cherries for jams, pies, and salads, the LEIFHEIT is designed to make it easy to keep pitting without stopping. The top holds cherries before they drop into the pitter. The pits fall into the large clear container that won’t need to be emptied very often, while the cherries roll out the chute where they can be caught in your favorite bowl. The plunger pits the cherries easily with a simple push, and the manufacturer says that pitting as many as 25 cherries per hour is possible. When the work is done, this is dishwasher safe.
Best for No Mess: Chef'n QuickPit Cherry Pitter Preserve Prep Lid
Attaches to Mason jar for mess-free pitting
Easy to use
Top-rack dishwasher safe
Not as good for larger cherries
Sometimes misses pits
The entire cherry pitting process is kept contained with this pitter, so there’s virtually no mess. The plunger grabs and holds multiple pits that can be emptied as needed, while the cherries fall into the jar so it’s easy to see how many you’ve collected. Since there’s no need to grab or hold the pitted cherries, it keep hands clean, too. The jar holds a pound of cherries and comes with a lid so you can store the pitted cherries in the jar until you need them. This is dishwasher safe, so cleaning is simple once the pie is in the oven.
Best for Manual Pitting: Triangle Germany Cherry Pitter
Can be messy with extraction
Sometimes difficult to gain purchase on pit
When you’re pitting cherries for snacking, for jam, or for a pie, they don’t need to be pretty—they just need to have the pit removed. But when you want a pretty cherry for a garnish or an elegant dessert, you want a nicer-looking fruit. That requires a bit more manual work. This pitter makes that work a bit easier, since it’s designed to neatly cut out the pit without crushing, bruising, or breaking the fruit, and it leaves a neat hole.
Whether you plan on stuffing the cherries or leaving them whole, they will look attractive on the plate. When you’re done pitting, this tool is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Best Budget: Mrs. Anderson's Baking Cherry Pitter
Works on cherries of various sizes
Locking handle makes tidy storage
Removes pit quickly
Better for cherries than olives
Only handles one cherry at a time
Grip can slip
The simple design of this pitter makes the operation obvious while keeping the price affordable. The scissors action sends the plunger through the cherry, removing the pit neatly. When pitting is done, this is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. The pitter locks with a simple latch on the end of the handles, so it will stay neatly closed in the gadget drawer. It's chrome plated so it should be sturdy and durable.
Best for Kids: Talisman Designs Chomper Cherry Pitter
Container to catch pit and residual juices
Slow extraction rate
A friendly design that kids will love, the Talisman Designs Chomper also helps keep them safe from accidental pinches since the plunger is hidden and the front tooth on the chomper acts as an extra guard to keep fingers out of the way. It’s easy for kids or adults to place a cherry in the chomper’s mouth before pushing down on the top of its head to pit the cherry and watching the pit fall into the clean base. This device comes apart easily to empty the accumulated pits, and it’s dishwasher safe for easy cleaning when all the cherries have been chomped.
Best for Small Cherries: Cuisipro Cherry Pitter
Easy to store
Can be awkward to use
The Cuispro pitter features a silicone cup that cherries of any shape or size fit perfectly, while the scoop front allows one-handed use. Just scoop a cherry from the bowl and tilt it into the cup, then squeeze to push the plunger through the cherry to send the pit out of the bottom. Then, just tip the pitter to drop the pitted cherry into a bowl. The deep bottom keeps cherry juice from splattering, for neater pitting. This is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning when the pitting is done, and a lock keeps the pitter closed for neat storage in the kitchen gadget drawer.
Best Design: Prepworks by Progressive Cherry-It Cherry Pitter
Pits up to four cherries at once
For small and large cherries
Has white exterior that can stain easily
Requires heavy pressure for pitting
Cherry pitters with a scissors-style design can be hard for cooks with weak grip strength to handle, and they can be messy for kids to use. This pitter works much like a wide stapler, so there’s plenty of room to push down with one or two hands, making it easy for kids or adults to use. It holds four cherries at a time, and the pits fall into the base for neat, easy collection. Meanwhile, the shroud helps keep spattering juices contained for less mess.
What to Look for in a Cherry Pitter
Handheld: These work very much like a stapler or one-hole punch. They have minimal parts and are easy to use. Usually, you can only pit one cherry at a time.
Tabletop: These models are placed on a table or counter and often have non-slip attachments to secure them during the process. Rather than a squeeze, these typically require a hand plunge to operate. Most can accommodate multiple cherries at a time.
An important consideration is the number of cherries you will destone. If you're an avid baker that pits pounds of cherries to store for pies and preserves, you want a pitter that does multiple cherries at a time. This will decrease prep time considerably. If you only want enough cherries for a single pie or some other discrete product, a handheld option is more than adequate. With a handheld pitter, you also have more control over quality. Another factor may be the size of the foods you plan to destone, as some pitters can only handle small cherries and olives, while others can take on the bigger ones.
Ease of Use and Cleaning
It is always important to consider how easy the cleanup will be when embarking on a kitchen tool purchase. Many of the tabletop systems have attached containers or guards that contain the juice spillage to those areas. There's also the consideration of how quickly something disassembles for cleaning and whether it's dishwasher safe. The handheld pitters are small and easy to give a quick hand wash, while the tabletop varieties have separate parts, but are mostly dishwasher safe.
This is really a question of whether the quantity or quality is most important to you. If you're destoning 5 pounds of cherries for a neighborhood pie swap, you want the fastest, most efficient model—probably a tabletop design. If you're more concerned with aesthetically pleasing cherries for garnishing plates or topping cakes, you need a tool that has optimal control. This is where the compact handheld models perform best. You can easily decide where to plunge the pitter and adjust pressure if they're smushing.
Are cherry pits harmful?
The answer is more nuanced than just a simple yes or no. If the pit is whole, they are rarely poisonous, but a broken pit can be dangerous. Inside the pit is a “nut” that contains amygdalin, which the body converts into cyanide—a very dangerous substance to the human body. Don’t worry if you swallow some whole pits, but make sure you don’t crunch or nosh them and expose yourself to the poison inside the nut of the pit. If you find yourself in a situation like this, it's always best to call your doctor.
Can you use a cherry pitter to pit olives?
Yes, you can pit olives with a cherry pitter. The only caveat is the size the pitter can hold. Some pitters are only designed to destone smaller cherries and would not work on a Spanish queen olive or other large variety. If you want a tool that will be versatile enough to use for multiple types of stone foods, check the capacity of the pitter.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author, food writer, and product tester for The Spruce Eats. From garlic presses to food processors, she has always loved to tinker with all the kitchen gadgets, testing their pros and cons, and always looking for the best of the best even before she started writing about food. Her love of gadgets and cooking led to a recipe blog, Cookistry, and a cookbook, "Make Ahead Bread."
Carrie Honaker updated this article. She is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine, travel, and culture. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Wine Enthusiast, Allrecipes, and more. She currently resides in Panama City Beach, Florida, where she writes about swoon-worthy baked goods, the perfect use for a baking stone, and the little-known Florida wine scene.