Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Muffins

Whole Grain Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Muffins
Whole grain, gluten-free, dairy-free... and luscious.

It hit me today as I was walking my morning walk. I've been sugar-free for two months (I even looked it up, just be sure). Eight weeks without sugar. Eight! Ocho. Huit. Osiem. The first week was the toughest. Sugar detox is not for wimps, darling.

First, there is the headache. The roughshod gallop pummeling the interior of your tender, childlike skull, leaving you feeling cracked, and squinting, dodging sunlight like the unholy spawn of Dracula, begging for mercy.

Or at least a tiny, hummingbird nibble of chocolate.

Then there is The Craving. The Craving outlasts the headache (which finally bids you vaya con Dios at the end of day four). The Craving lasts for a week. Maybe two. Or three, now that I think of it. I'm not exactly sure. I stopped counting the days when it all became one big itchy wall-climbing pantry-rifling prowl for something to fill the hole. The hole that is one big long gnawing hunger for something sweet.

Then one blue-sky day I tasted almond butter right out of the jar.

And it knocked my fuzzy pink socks off.

Almond butter! Incredibly sweet and creamy. It tasted like dessert.

And I knew I was home free.

My taste buds had changed. And everything from bananas to cherry tomatoes tasted intensely, deliciously new.

Like candy.

So if you are tempted to try a sugar detox, I am here to encourage you. I did it. I survived. And I even lost a few pounds (I also gave up white starches, like white rice, tapioca starch, and white potatoes). Tenacious Doris is eight pounds lighter. And more importantly, my disagreeable tummy has settled into a more friendly relationship with yours truly.

Sugar Detox Tips: Fats can save your butt, honey. When giving up white starches and sugar, healthy fats can rescue you from intense cravings and general, no good, low sugar feebleness. Whenever I felt hungry and shaky I ate a handful of almonds or pecans, or dabbed almond butter on banana slices. I munched on olives. Avocado spritzed with lime juice was a rich and silky treat. I hard-boiled organic free-range eggs to have on hand for high protein snacks.

Now that my cravings have stabilized, I don't eat as many pick-me-ups.

As you may have noticed with my Blueberry Scone recipe, I've started to bake without sugar, using the same powdered stevia I add to my morning chai, and my ginger root tea. A tiny little bit of stevia goes a long way. (Read more about stevia and other sugar substitutes here.)

I'm pleasantly surprised at how downright killer my sugar-free treats are! Even the sugar indulging men in the house agree. These are darn tasty.

Gluten-Free Dairy-free Cherry Almond Muffins
Sweet cherries and almond flour make lovely muffins.

Today's baking adventure involves cherries (why not?). And I did add two tablespoons of pure maple syrup to the batter this time, for taste, texture and sweetness. But if you need (or want) to avoid maple syrup, just sub almond milk instead.

Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Muffins
Summer goodness: whole grain cherry almond muffins.

Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Muffins Recipe

Cherries and almonds are a match made in heaven. So fragrant and naturally sweet. I used only a touch of stevia and a small amount of pure maple syrup to sweeten these lovely breakfast treats. If you prefer a traditionally sweeter muffin, feel free to add sugar. A half cup should do it.


1 1/3 cups almond flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup GF millet flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon powdered stevia, to taste* see notes
3 large organic free-range eggs
2 tablespoons light olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, as needed
1 cup packed pitted, chopped sweet cherries


Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a twelve-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (almond flour through stevia).

Add in the eggs, oil, maple syrup, and almond extract, beating until the ingredients stick together. Continue to beat as you add the almond milk, a little at a time, beating until the batter loosens and becomes smooth and slightly sticky. It should look like a thick- but smooth- muffin batter. I added a half cup of almond milk to mine.

Add in the chopped cherries by hand and stir to distribute, saving a few to add to the muffin tops.

Set the batter aside to rest for a few minutes. I like to do this with gluten-free batters. It seems to help the rise.

Spoon the batter evenly into the twelve muffin cups. Stud the tops with a few cherry pieces.

Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or so, until domed and golden. The muffins should be firm to the touch.

Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Muffins cooling
Little cherry studded gems of deliciousness.

Set the muffin pan on a cooling rack for five minutes. Then gently remove the muffins and place them directly on the rack to cool (this keeps the bottoms from getting soggy), or serve immediately.

These cherry almond gems are heavenly warm and tender from the oven.

Cook time: 20 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Recipe Source:

All images & content are copyright protected, all rights reserved. Please do not use our images or content without prior permission. Thank you. 

Warm from the oven Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Muffin
Tender and not too sweet, this muffin is the perfect summer treat.


The stevia I used is concentrated, and a little goes a long way. Taste test and judge for yourself how much you'd prefer to add to the batter. Remember that too much powdered stevia can taste bitter in baked goods. I plan on trying some of the stevia that is crystallized for baking purposes.
As mentioned above, if you prefer using sugar in your gluten-free baking, by all means use a half cup of sugar and skip the stevia.

For those baking vegan, I have made wonderful almond flour muffins without eggs. Check my Blueberry Almond Flour Muffins recipe and replace the blueberries with chopped sweet cherries, and the vanilla powder with two teaspoons almond extract. Or follow this recipe above using your favorite egg replacer.

As always, I urge you to add the liquid slowly as you beat the batter, using only the amount you need to achieve a smooth, slightly sticky batter- not too thick, not too thin. You may need slightly less (or slightly more) liquid, depending upon your climate. Humidity influences flours and their moisture content.
For easy on-the-go treats, wrap leftover muffins in foil, bag, and freeze.


Aine @ Something to Chew Over said...

Mmmm I love anything made with almond flour! My boyfriend is a coliac but he doesn't care for cherries so I think I'll make them just for myself :)

Claire Patty said...

This looks amazing and just perfect for me! I love all the flours that you used in this recipe. Now just to find some pitted and chopped cherries here in Eurooe...that could be difficult. I'm excited to try this soon! Thanks again Karina!

The Bendy Tree said...

Yay for sugar detox! I've done it here too and your words described me exactly! Almond butter was my saving grace on days I thought I might lick the chocolate off of my little ones' faces. Though I have gone one step further and gone more Paleo with me and my whole family.I feel fabulous! I love this idea of almonds and cherries. More blanched almond flour and powdered stevia arrives here tomorrow (just finished 25lbs of almond flour) and the cherries in the fridge will be used when they do! Thanks, as always, Karina, for sharing your lovely food art.

joeandcarli said...

I am very interested in doing a sugar there a site that I could go to that you recommend about the specifics?

I love your recipes! Almond flour is super yummy!

Caitlin said...

these are beeeeautiful!

Carla said...

I've been sugar free for nine months now, so I can truly sympathize with your process. It sounded so familiar! And I am looking forward to trying the stevia in the way you used it in these last two recipes.

I love your stories.

Kalyn said...

I remember when I had been off sugar for quite a while and I ate a sugar snap pea and realized it tasted just like candy to me! So I can definitely relate. You are on a roll with this sugar free baking; these look amazing.

I was very pleased with the granular Stevia in sorbet; planning to bake with it soon.

Claire Patty said...

BTW, I forgot to mention...your photography is absolutely stunning. I can't keep my eyes off of it. Do you have any tips to food photography? How do you get that beautiful light in your pictures? Have you ever thought of doing a photography blog post? I would LOVE that. If you found time, I'd love some pointers on my food photography from my blog at: . Thanks so much!

katshealthcorner said...

Your pictures are absolutely GORGEOUS! What kind of camera do you use?

Barefeet In The Kitchen said...

These look fantastic. I did a sugar detox last year and felt wonderful. I really REALLY need to do that again and then just stay with it. It's amazing how different everything tastes!

Lori @ Laurel of Leaves said...

So glad to see your recipes with stevia! These muffins look delish.
Way to go on losing weight from the sugar detox! Same thing happened to me. Don't you love how your taste buds actually change? A whole new world of food was opened up to me. :)

Pure2raw Twins said...

Muffins look delicious. I love baking with stevia. I know many people do not like it, but I love it and my body likes it! But really once you start using it overtime your tastebuds get used to the flavor ;)

Danielle said...

I love Cherry Jam and Fresh Almond Butter on toast (which has wwaaayyy too much sugar b/c of the jam!) so I can't wait to try these!! Look super YUMMY!!

gina said...


You wrote:
"I plan on trying some of the stevia that is crystallized for baking purposes."

Is there a brand that you've found that you'll be trying? I ask because I'm googling around for one and am finding bupkis.

Many kind thanks for any leads...and this recipe looks absolutely divine! :D Thank you, thank you!

All best,

Anonymous said...

Thank you first of all for the encouragement to get off of sugar.

Next (regardless of sugar detox or not) thank you for posting recipes without sugar. Alternatives, alternatives, alternatives are great for all of us! Rock on!

Laureen said...


As usual, your photos are so beautiful, I swear I can smell your fresh baked goodies. It makes me want to jump through my PC right into your kitchen. Of course my rather extreme reaction might be because I've been trying wein myself off sugar and your muffins look oh so sweet :-)
Must get myself some cherries so I can try this recipe.


myFudo said...

A few days ago I was looking, frantically, for gluten free recipes as I have a fairly new friend who is intolerant to gluten and was joining me for dinner.

I wanted to bake something for dessert, but with the summer heat settled on chocolate mousse. Plus, I did not want to commit to any recipe I was unsure would taste pleasing. I've just come across your blog. I feel certain I'll be able to rely on your recipes. I found your Wowee Maui bars and actually said, "Wow!"

These little muffins look delicious and are great for a brunch! Love the vivid pics.

playfood said...

You have given me the inspiration. I have been trying to rid my diet of sugar for months and months and every time I try I cave. I just need to crack down and do it. If you can do it, so can I.

The teenie foodie said...

These look lovely. I love using almond flour and this recipe sounds really simple and tasty. Almonds and cherries sounds like a good combination, in fact I have a bunch of cherries now so I may make these! Thanks

Teenie Foodie

Monique said...

Bonjour et merci Karina. Love to read you. Thank you for these new and delicious recipes using stevia instead of sugar (I'm as intolerant to sugar as I am to gluten). Less starch is good too.
Monique (Montréal, QC, Canada

Judytothejames said...

Amen!!! Some people don't realize how hard it is to kick the sugar bucket. Thanks for your tips. I ready to start, and this was the added push that I needed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karina,
This recipe looks so yummy! I was wondering if you get almond meal in Organic? If so, what brand do you suggest? I was told to get Honeyville almond meal because of a finer ground, but it isn't organic. Thank you! :)

The InTolerant Chef said...

Good for you,great job with the sugar. I did this a couple of years ago and it was so hard at first. I don't use much sugar for myself, and yesterday when I accidently drank from my daughters tea(with 1 sugar) I thought she poisoned me, Yuck!

Mrs. Ed said...

I remember the sugar withdrawl weeks, not fun. One evening the top layer of my muscles hurt so bad I got up at 3 am to soak in a warm tub and sob. When I got through it though I felt sooo much better. I found reading books on sugar issues really helped mentally. "Sugar Blues" was a good one.

Best of luck from a fellow sugar junkie.

Sofia said...


I have been eating glutenfree for ages already and I am doing lots of experiments with gluten and sugar free baking....
I have already adapted one of your recipes and I love it.
Your texts are very personal and I really like the light in your pictures.

They make me want to cross the Atlantic and land in your kitchen for a cup of tea and a blueberry scone. said...

Oh genius!!
I just took the kids cherry picking. This is a great usage. Muffins aree in the ari I just posted about gluten free zucchini muffins on my blog. I will have to try this today if i can carve out some time and while i still have all these muffin pans dug out and handy

Claire Patty said...

Sorry to take up space for a 3rd comment, but I just wanted to say that i made these today with a few make them into banana chunk muffins!

I replaced half of the stevia with 1/4 c. sugar, omitted the almond extract, put in vanilla extract, cut up one banana into chunks, mashed half a banana and added cinnamon. Absolutely amazing! I loved them! (Especially topped with a bit of cream cheese frosting...yum!!). Thanks for this recipe. I'm gonna have fun playing with it. The possibilities are endless!

Susan said...

I just wanted you to know I made your multi grain bread. It was a bit dense because I believe I used a bit too much water, however the TASTE was phenomenal. I chewed every bite slowly and just loved the flavor. Hope you don't mind if I poated it here. I just wanted you to know how wonderful I think you are for bringing these recipes to those of us, like myself, who are not bakers by any means and would have never tried bread on my own. Most GF breads I won't try because of the potato flour, corn flour and others. I believe since I am gluten intoler.ant that the less grains used the better. Again, thank you

Natalya said...

I feel inspired by your sugar detox to try it again, as I eat far too much sugar. I managed to cut it out for nearly a month, leading up to my wedding. But that was in March. I went to Asia for the honeymoon, and drank so many fruit smoothies with added sugar, that I gave in. Your post reminded me that it's time to be strict again!

Also, those muffins look gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Do you also have a recipe with plums.
I would apprecitate that very much.
Thank you so much for what you are doing.
I am so happy, that you replaced the sugar now
with Stevia.

Anonymous said...

Just reading your recipes is a great encouragement to me - I've been sugar free for over 12 weeks now due to a special diet. I can't wait to try some of your new recipes! I didn't know one could bake without sugar! Yay!

Kayla said...

I have tried time and again to nix sugar from my diet, but it always finds a way to sneak in somehow..then it's all downhill. I think my problem has been trying to cut out too much at once- sugar, grain, caffeine, alcohol.. I really appreciate your voice and recipes on your detox. It is an encouragement to take it slow, and keep trying. Thanks!

Kelsey said...

summer time always means cherries are going into my baked goods. i will have to try muffins because i love cherry im guessing both will be equally satisfying! <3

Spotted Sparrow said...

Thanks, Karina! I made these with rice milk and vanilla extract as that's what I had on hand. They still taste sublime.

Tomato said...

I truly love the wonderful recipe!! Yummy Thanks for sharing!

Vanessa said...

Fabulous! I am sugar free due to a candida condition cause my antibiotics and celiac. I've been dabbling with the idea or using stevia to bake with. I read somewhere that Stevia is the only natural sweetener that yeast cannot hang onto/feed off of. And I love cooking with almond flour. Your recipe calls for olive oil. I wonder if I could use coconut oil? Would it be too heavy then?

Vanessa aka gluten free chickadee

melissacollins3 said...

These were absolutely heaven sent! Totally delicious and I am so glad they are sugar free because I ate 5 in one day!

Erica Kindler said...

amazing recipe! i added food coloring to turn them red cupcakes. the kids loved it and that says it all!

Abby said...


You have THE BEST food website I have ever seen: your writing is poetry, your photography is stunning and your passion for delicious and healthy food is infectious. I have been struggling with sugar addiction and candida issues for a long time, like so many people. It's embarrassing and depressing that I feel like I can't control myself around sweets, but your recipes give me hope because they are tasty and filled with love and one cannot overcome an addiction from a place of lack and guilt. I feel like if I can nourish my body and please my senses with tasty, healthy alternatives, I just might discover what life is like on the other side of sugar obsession.

PLEEEEEASE keep posting sugar-free recipes. They are like a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.


Ester Perez said...

Thank you for the recipes! Finally another Mom I can share sugar free and gluten free recipes with! Yay! I have been refined sugar free for years now and zero glycemic for 2 months. I have made all my desserts with every natural sweetner I find at the health food store and for the best baking sweetner, stevia and xylitol bake well. I just ordered Swerve and was told this is good too, they even sell a powdered one for making frosting. I will let you know how that goes. Best of luck with your sugar free journey. My kids had a first rough week but now our health has improved tremendously. Thanks for the recipe!!!!

Cole said...

Sounds like a great recipe. I love treats, but have given up on them since I started eating gluten free. This recipe is making me rethink everything right now. I might just give this a go and let you know how I like it.

Anonymous said...

We picked 24 pounds of beautiful organic cherries this past weekend. My son, who has celiac, declared it was the best day ever--as evidenced by his plum hued hands, lips, and face. I used some of those beautiful cherries in your recipe with the addition of quinoa flakes and raw chopped coconut. My son told me this morning that this was the best morning ever. Thank you for that.

Mariposa said...

Hi Karina, I made these muffins today with the last of my cherries for the year (sob). They were fantastic! I took them to a potluck and everyone liked them. I subbed 1/4 cup of sugar for the stevia and didn't use maple syrup cuz I'm out. They were very tender. Thanks for the recipe.

Kathi said...

I happen to be off of all sweeteners so even stevia (or any of the other natural sweeteners) are completely off limits for me. But I found if I substitute some pureed fruits and replace it as part of the liquids, often I get excellent results, many times even better than the original recipe. Give it a try, just remember though it has to be fresh fruits pureed, not canned or frozen.

Gluten-Free Goddess eBook on iTunes