These vegan and gluten-free corn muffins are filled with fresh whole cherries. Made with almond flour and cornmeal, they make a delicious summer baked good!
I’m usually not a fan of single-use kitchen gadgets but there’s one I make an exception for: a cherry pitter.
If you’re a fan of sweet summer cherries, I can’t recommend this gadget enough. It’s worth the space it takes up in the kitchen drawer, I promise.
If for nothing else then these cherry corn muffins alone.
Besides flip flops and tank tops, summer fruit might be my favorite part of the season and sweet cherries are no exception.
They add the perfect pop of sweetness and fun to these hearty cornmeal muffins even if they sorta turn blueish after baking and don’t necessarily look the prettiest.
If you love the texture of corn muffins and are looking for a vegan and gluten-free version with a fruity summer twist, these are the muffins for you.
They’re somewhere in between savory and sweet cornbread, not leaning too heavily in either direction so I think they can please both camps.
They’re delicious eaten warm right out of the muffin tin, toasted and crumbled over a yogurt bowl, slathered with some (plant-based) butter or just shoved down your mouth as you run out the door.
I’ve done all and they don’t disappoint in any of those situations.
When we first got married I used to make the Jiffy mix corn muffins all the time for an easy addition to breakfast. Fast forward 13 years and my muffin game has come quite a long way.
To be honest, these aren’t much more involved than a box of Jiffy muffins.
Just a few added ingredients, a vegan and gluten-free spin and fresh sweet summer cherries though make a big difference in the end result.
HOW TO MAKE CHERRY CORN MUFFINS
You’ll need these dry ingredients for the muffins:
- almond flour
- tapioca powder (sometimes called tapioca starch or powder)
- coconut sugar
- baking powder
- baking soda
And these wet ingredients:
- any non-dairy milk (I prefer an unsweetened vanilla variety)
- apple cider vinegar
- flax eggs (see details in recipe or below)
- coconut oil
- vanilla & almond extract
- pitted cherries
MAKE “BUTTERMILK” & FLAX EGGS
To make these corn muffins vegan, we’ll use a plant-based “buttermilk” and flax eggs in the recipe.
To make the buttermilk, combine the non-dairy milk with the apple cider vinegar in a bowl and set aside for a few minutes.
The flax eggs are just as easy: combine the ground flax seed with water (see recipe below for specific amounts) and stir gently. Let it sit until the mixture thickens and becomes a bit gelatinous.
COMBINE & STIR
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together to get any clumps of flour or sugar out.
Add the melted coconut oil, prepared flax eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract to the buttermilk and whisk until combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until completely incorporated.
Gently fold in the pitted cherries. You can leave them whole or sliced in half if you don’t want such big pieces of fruit in your muffins.
PRO TIP: Grab a cherry pitter to make life easier!
GLUTEN-FREE CORN MUFFINS
You’ll notice in most corn muffin recipes there’s an additional flour besides the cornmeal.
To make this recipe gluten-free, we’ll use almond flour.
Strawberry corn muffins are another recipe where I use almond flour in addition to the cornmeal and the result, just like in these cherry corn muffins, is a lovely textured crumb inside the muffin.
If you’re a fan of that crumbly (but still moist!) texture of a corn muffin, the almond flour really brings that out in this gluten-free corn muffin.
If vegan isn’t something you’re concerned with for these cherry corn muffins, you can do the following for substitutions:
- replace flax eggs with 2 regular eggs
- replace plant-based milk with dairy milk (you’ll still need to use the apple cider vinegar to make it buttermilk)
I do not recommend changing the flours. Almond flour and tapioca flour are not really interchangeable for gluten flours.
STORING CHERRY CORN MUFFINS
These cornmeal muffins will stay out at room temperature in an air-tight storage container for 2-3 days.
The moisture from the almond flour will necessitate them being refrigerated for anything longer than that.
The muffins should keep for about a week in the refrigerator.
If you want to freeze the muffins, I suggest wrapping them individually in either plastic wrap or bees wrap to prevent freezer burn and then placing in a freezer safe storage bag or container. They should keep frozen for 1-2 months.
For general storage and especially freezing, I LOVE using my Stasher Bags.
They come in a variety of sizes but the 1/2 gallon is great for things like muffin storage.
MORE SUMMER BAKED GOODS YOU’LL LOVE:
Gluten-Free Cherry Corn Muffins
- 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, or other non-dairy milk alternative
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed + 4 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch/powder
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups fresh pitted cherries, *see note
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a muffin tin with muffin liners or grease well with baking spray.
- Combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl, stir to combine and set aside.
- Combine the ground flax seeds and water in another small bowl, stir gently to combine and set aside for about 5 minutes until the mixture becomes somewhat thickened.
- In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, cornmeal, tapioca starch, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Whisk to combine.
- Add the melted coconut oil, vanilla and almond extracts and the flax seed mixture to the almond milk. Whisk to combine.
- Add the wet mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until smooth and combined.
- Fold in the cherries.
- Divide the batter among the 12 muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 22-25 minutes.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring each muffin to a cooling rack to let cool completely.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.