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Zucchini Cherry Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

These Dried Cherry Muffins are on the healthier side and are packed with cherries, grated zucchini, and topped with a streusel topping.

Two cherry muffin halves, with a large yellow bowl full of muffins in the background.

Creating This Cherry Muffin Recipe

When I saw that my new Cuisinart Elite 12 Cup Food Processor could make muffins, I knew that I was something I had to try. Never before had I considered making muffins in a food processor.

The recipe booklet had a recipe for cherry muffins with streusel toppings, and a few tweaks later I had this recipe for this zucchini muffin recipe using dried cherries.

I used whole wheat flour freshly ground with my NutriMill Grain Mill on the “fine” setting (NutriMill Review), half the oil, decreased the sugar, subbed almond milk, and added the zucchini. I think that this is one of my new favorite muffin recipes.

Not only did these cherry muffins taste great, but I also think considering my changes that the recipe might actually be considered “healthy,” at least for a muffin.

For the dried cherry muffin recipe, I thought the food processor performed really well. Honestly, it performed better than I thought.

It certainly was nice not to have to hand grate the zucchini since I made a double batch. Can’t wait to use this for grating cheese for lasagna or pizza, or carrots for carrot cake.

The muffins came out perfectly domed with no overflowing or sink holes. I was able to make the streusel, grate the zucchini, and prepare the batter all in one bowl and with just one blade. Afterward, I put all the parts on the top rack of the dishwasher for cleaning.

A dried cherry muffin that's been cut in half.

Ingredients for Dried Cherry Muffins

This dried cherry recipe has two parts: the streusel topping and the muffin batter. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Pecans
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Light brown sugar and granulated sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Almond milk
  • Olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Zucchini
  • Dried cherries

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

How to Make Dried Cherry Muffins

I made this cherry muffin recipe using my new food processor, but you can certainly prepare the batter and streusel topping using two mixing bowls and a whisk!

  1. Make the streusel topping: Put the pecans into the work bowl and pulse to roughly chop.
  2. Add remaining streusel topping ingredients and pulse until mixture is crumb-like. Remove crumb topping and set aside in a small bowl.
  3. Make the muffin batter: Process the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in the work bowl for 10 seconds to sift.
  4. Add the sugars and the buttermilk to the work bowl and process together for about 5 seconds to combine.
  5. Add the oil, eggs, and vanilla through the small feed tube and process until combined.
  6. Scrape the work bowl and add the dried cherries and zucchini, pulse to combine (about 3-4 times).
  7. Divide batter evenly among 12 greased muffin tins.
  8. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly on the tops of each muffin.
  9. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.

The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the free printable card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

A dried cherry muffin that's been cut in half. A glass of milk is on the side.

How to Store Muffins

STEP ONE: Transfer the baked muffins to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely. If you store warm muffins, you’ll end up with a lot of excess moisture on your muffins due to condensation (and this causes them to go soggy AND mold).

STEP TWO: Place a sheet of paper towels on the bottom of a large, lidded storage container. You can also use gallon sized ziptop bags with a sheet of paper towel inside.

The paper towels will help absorb any excess moisture that is released from the muffins and help prevent them from becoming soggy.

STEP THREE: Transfer the muffins to the paper towel lined container or bag.

STEP FOUR: Lay another paper towel on top of the muffins.

Depending on how deep your container is, you may be able to fit more than one layer of muffins. In this case, repeat the process – always end with a paper towel on top of the last layer of muffins. A bag will likely fit only one layer.

STEP FIVE: Place the lid on the container (or zip the bag) and store at room temperature.

Recipe Substitutions

  • Dried cherries: You could easily substitute dried cranberries or another dried fruit.
  • Whole wheat flour: May be substituted with all-purpose flour.
  • Almond milk: You can use another unsweetened non-dairy milk or regular milk, if desired.
  • Olive oil: Canola or vegetable oil will also work.

Typically I don’t recommend making a bunch of substitutions when preparing a new recipe. When making substitutes, you won’t know if you don’t like the recipe or if the recipe didn’t turn out due to a preparation mistake, an ill effect from the substitute, or something else.

However, if you do choose to make substitutions in a recipe, I recommend only making one substitute at a time so you don’t have a building effect of multiple poor substitutions.

More Easy Muffin Recipes:

I think that this recipe for Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins is the best strawberry muffin, and they are the perfect healthy breakfast muffin treat. 

This Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins recipe makes just the right amount to feed two people. Perfect for those moments when you just want a single muffin!

These Zucchini Apple Spice Muffins are perfect for the transition space between summer and fall.

These Spiced Cranberry Muffins are really easy to whip up on a weekend morning or for a lazy holiday breakfast. The sweetness of the gingerbread spices pairs really well with the tartness of the cranberries.

These TRIPLE Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins are studded with chocolate and are extra moist thanks to the mashed banana and yogurt in the batter.

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Cherry Zucchini Muffin Recipe

Zucchini Cherry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Yield: 2 dozen
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 36 minutes

Even with the streusel topping, these could be considered healthy muffins. The cherry really brightens up the zucchini.

Ingredients

Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Muffins:

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 2 cups dried cherries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat two 12-cup muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray or fill with muffin liners
  2. Put the nuts for the crumb topping recipe into the work bowl and pulse to roughly chop. Add remaining crumb topping ingredients and pulse until mixture is crumb-like. Remove crumb topping and set aside in a small bowl.
  3. Process the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in the work bowl for 10 seconds to sift. Add the sugars and the buttermilk to the work bowl and process together for about 5 seconds to combine. Add the oil, eggs, and vanilla through the small feed tube and process until combined. Scrape the work bowl and add the dried cherries and zucchini, pulse to combine (about 3-4 times).
  4. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin tins. (I like to use my large scoop, it's the perfect size for muffins!) Sprinkle crumb topping evenly on the tops of each muffin. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Notes

Adapted from Cuisinart

You could easily substitute dried cranberries if you didn’t have cherries on hand.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information
Yield 24 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 221Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 16mgSodium 223mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 3gSugar 22gProtein 4g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

Cuisinart provided me with an Elite 12 Cup Food Processor for the purpose of reviewing. Other than that, I was not compensated for this post or asked to publish positive comments.

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