Cherry almond muffins are bursting with fresh cherries and topped with a fabulous almond and cinnamon streusel topping. These fluffy muffins are a great way to use spring and summer seasonal produce.
There's no way you'd ever pin me down to choose a favorite morning baked good.
Between scones, muffins, coffee cakes...it's not happening. But these cherry almond muffins with cinnamon-spiced almond streusel are making a strong case for being my current #1. They include one of my favorite summertime fruits, they have springy muffin tops piled high with streusel topping, and according to my mom, muffins are legal breakfast cake.
Who can argue with cake no one will side eye you for eating in the morning?
These cherry almond muffins 100% are inspired by Jergens hand soap. Not that I regularly go around and get recipe ideas from the soap aisle (maybe something sun-ripened raspberry next?), but I've been absolutely obsessed with this smell for years. Who wouldn't want to turn it into a deliciously edible version?
These streusel muffins feature a base of all-purpose flour and are sweetened with brown sugar for a warm touch. Both baking powder and baking soda are used here to produce seriously fluffy muffins.
For the wet ingredients, we're using melted butter for a bakery-worthy taste, buttermilk, eggs, and both vanilla and almond extracts.
A quick note: it's important to use buttermilk and not just regular milk in this recipe. Baking soda needs an acidic ingredient in order to activate and cause the baked good to rise, and the buttermilk is it. Since it's rare that I have a carton of buttermilk on hand I've taken to making a quick DIY buttermilk with regular milk and white vinegar (or lemon juice). See notes below for the ratio.
As for our mix'ins, we have fresh sweet cherries (I usually go with the Bing variety) and sliced almonds. Pairing almonds with almond extract emphasizes that delicious flavor.
As for the streusel topping, we have more brown sugar, more almonds, more flour, more butter, and some ground cinnamon. It's funny how the same ingredients in different quantities can produce a wildly different result!
Easy recipe steps
Start by tossing the cherry pieces with a little bit of granulated sugar. This adds a little nudge of sweetness. Now's the time to set up your DIY buttermilk if using to allow it time to thicken.
Then whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Next combine the wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
Now it's time for the muffin method, which just means to pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Some lumps may remain in the batter and that's okay. We want to be careful not to overmix as that can lead to baked goods with a tougher, more offputting crumb. That's the reason why I recommend stirring everything together versus using an electric mixer. It's easier to overmix that way.
Fold in the cherries and almonds, then portion the batter evenly between twelve muffin wells.
All that remains is to stir together all of the streusel topping ingredients, scatter over top of the cherry almond muffins, and bake for 16-20 minutes, or until the tops are rounded and spring back when lightly pressed.
While the cherry and almond flavor combination is great, other fruits and/or nuts would also work. I've made this recipe with blueberries and with omitting the sliced almonds in the batter and really enjoyed that, too.
Frozen fruit can work, though it may be difficult to slice frozen cherries and whole cherries may be a little much size-wise in a muffin. If thawing fruit to use, be sure to blot well with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture before folding into the batter.
White whole wheat flour is also a great substitution to make for all-purpose in muffin recipes. For instance it blends seamlessly into healthy pumpkin muffins - you'd never know they were whole wheat.
Make your own buttermilk
It's important to use buttermilk versus regular milk in these cherry almond muffins because we needs its acidity for the baking soda to react. To make your own buttermilk, add two teaspoons of either white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup, then pour in the milk of your choice (I usually use 2%) up to the ⅔ cup line.
Let it sit for at least five to ten minutes to thicken up before pouring into the recipe. Ta-da! An easy homemade buttermilk substitute.
Let the muffins cool completely before storing in an air-tight container, as any heat can cause condensation to build in the container, which leads to soggy baked goods.
If these cherry almond muffins are getting soggier than you'd like as time goes by, line the bottom of the container with a paper towel, then gently place one over top of the muffins, lying in contact with the top surface. I've not experienced excess moisture as an issue with these muffins, but this is a trick I always do with very moist baked goods (like pistachio muffins).
- Let these cherry almond muffins cool completely before storing.
Cherry Almond Muffins with Streusel Topping
For the muffins:
- 1 cup chopped fresh sweet cherries
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup brown sugar packed
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ⅔ cup buttermilk (see note)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds roughly chopped
For the streusel topping:
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup sliced almonds roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
For the muffins:
- Preheat oven to 400°F and grease a 12-well standard-sized muffin pan. In a small bowl, combine chopped cherry pieces with ½ teaspoon granulated sugar and toss to coat cherries evenly. Set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl add the dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl add the wet ingredients: melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Whisk thoroughly.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and gently stir to combine, making sure that all of the ingredients are integrated without over-mixing. It's okay if a few clumps remain. Fold in the chopped cherries and ⅓ cup chopped sliced almonds.
- Evenly divide the batter into each of the 12 wells. I like to use a cookie or ice cream scoop to reduce the mess and drips.
For the streusel topping:
- In a small bowl, add the brown sugar, chopped sliced almonds, flour, and cinnamon necessary for the streusel topping and whisk together so that everything is well mixed. Slowly pour in 2 Tablespoons of melted butter and stir. You'd like for the streusel mixture to become evenly moist and clump up into small pieces. Once mixture reaches this stage, evenly scatter streusel topping over muffins, pre-bake.
- Bake muffins for 16-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the tops are golden brown and semi-firm to the touch. Let the muffins remain in the pan for a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to let the muffins cool completely for storing.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer