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Cherry Almond Granola

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This gluten-free cherry almond granola recipe is made from simple, nourishing ingredients. Don’t miss all our favorite ways to use it below!

gluten-free cherry granola sprinkled on vanilla yogurt with cherries

What are some of your favorite flavor combinations? Peanut butter and chocolate? Garlic and herbs? Salt and caramel?

Cherry and almond is one of my favorite flavor combos, whether I’m making a cherry pie or overnight oats, and those flavors are absolutely delicious in this gluten-free granola.

Our cherry almond granola recipe is made from pantry staples I almost always have on hand. It’s one of my favorite things to make on a weekend since it makes the house smell amazing, and I can use it throughout the week to add a little crunch to almost anything.

But maybe my favorite thing about this recipe is how easy it is to put together. Here’s all you need to make our gluten-free cherry almond granola…

ingredients for homemade cherry almond granola

Simple Ingredients To STart

  • Gluten-Free Rolled Oats. Rolled oats work best for granola because of their size and thickness. Steel cut oats will NOT work, and quick oats won’t work as well as rolled oats.
  • Raw Sliced Almonds. Yes, please! Crunchy almonds and cherries are a match made in heaven.
  • Raw Pumpkin Seeds or Sunflower Seeds. For some crunch and extra nutrients!
  • Ground Flax Seed. Besides adding healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, and fiber, ground flaxseed ALSO helps hold the granola together without the need for egg whites. I prefer golden flax for its milder flavor and color.
  • Salt. This may seem like a bit of a surprise ingredient, but it makes a BIG impact on the flavor. Don’t worry, the granola won’t be salty!
  • Coconut Oil. Melted coconut oil helps the oats toast and helps hold the granola together. If you don’t tolerate coconut oil well, you can use a neutral-flavored oil like avocado oil or light-tasting olive oil, though the flavor profile will be a little different.
  • Pure Maple Syrup. For sweetness. Agave or brown rice syrup is a good alternative if you need one!
  • Vanilla Extract & Almond Extract. This duo adds a lovely layer of flavor, playing up the notes in the almonds and cherries.
  • Dried Cherries. Last, but not least, you’ll need some dried cherries. It can be tricky to find dried unsweetened cherries, but I have the best luck at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Otherwise, I love dried tart cherries, which are usually sweetened, but DELICIOUS.

Key Ingredient: Gluten-Free Oats

Oats themselves don’t contain gluten, but they are often farmed and processed in ways that cause cross-contamination. If you are gluten intolerant of have Celiac disease, you must ONLY use certified gluten-free oats. We like the oats from Trader Joe’s, Bob’s Red Mill, Thrive Market, and One Degree.

making gluten-free cherry granola step by step

How To Make Cherry Almond Granola, Step By Step:

  1. Preheat & Prep. Start by preheating the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine gluten-free oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, ground flax, and salt. (Do NOT add dried cherries yet!)
  3. Add Wet Ingredients. Pour coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond extract over the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula to combine well until everything is evenly coated and blended.
  4. Pack Down On Baking Sheet. Transfer the oat mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and pack down tightly into an even layer with the back of a spatula. (You want the mixture as tightly packed as you can–this will make for bigger granola clusters later!)
  5. Bake Granola 40-45 minutes, but do NOT stir during the bake time. (Again, this helps with big clusters!)
  6. Cool Completely. When the granola is golden brown, remove the pan from the oven and let the granola cool COMPLETELY (about 1 hour) before touching it. Sprinkle with dried cherries, then break granola into clusters when it’s cool.
  7. Serve & Store. Enjoy granola right away with milk, yogurt, smoothies, or chia bowls, or store leftover granola in an airtight container or mason jar at room temperature up to 3 weeks. (Or, freeze up to 2 months)
pouring almond milk over a bowl of gluten-free cherry granola

Yummy Ways To Eat This Cherry Granola

  • With Yogurt. I love a little crunch with a bowl of yogurt, and this cherry almond granola is amazing on plain yogurt, Greek yogurt, vanilla yogurt or our Chocolate Protein Yogurt, though you can definitely add it to honey or cherry yogurt! Or, you can dress up your own yogurt bowl with granola, fresh fruit, and almond butter or peanut butter & other goodies! 
  • Smoothies. Add a pretty finish to your favorite smoothie recipes. I especially love it on Our Chocolate Cherry Smoothie, Very Cherry Smoothie or Cherry Berry Smoothie!
  • In Parfaits. Layering granola, yogurt, and fresh fruit makes for one delicious breakfast. Try layering this granola with yogurt and fresh cherries in the summer!
  • On Chia Pudding. If yogurt’s not your thing, this cherry granola is amazing on chia pudding. The flavor profile is amazing paired with our Vanilla Chia Pudding, Chocolate Chia Pudding, or Creamy Coconut Chia Pudding!
  • Acai Bowls or Smoothie Bowls – yes please!
  • As Cereal. Or, just go for it and pour your favorite milk on top. (Almond milk, dairy milk, whatever you drink!) I love to add some sliced bananas or fresh berries, too!
  • As A Great Snack. Or, pack your granola to go and eat it by the handful while hiking or playing at the park. I like to pair it with a side of protein for a more well-rounded afternoon snack. (Jerky sticks, cheese sticks, etc.)
gluten-free cherry granola in a glass jar

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Granola

Do I add the cherries before or after the granola goes in the oven? AFTER. Dried fruit can get hard and too chewy when it’s baked for a long time, so it’s best to add dried cherries to granola AFTER it comes out of the oven.

Variations To Try:

The best part of making your own granola is that you can make it any way you like!

  • Can I Make This Nut-Free Granola? Absolutely. Either swap in unsweetened coconut flakes (not a nut!) and seeds (like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds) for the nuts, or omit them all together. Easy! You’ll also want to omit the almond extract if you have an almond allergy.
  • Try Other Nuts! While I love cherry + almond together, you can also swap out the nuts to change things up. Try hazelnuts, pistachios, or pecans!
  • Chocolate! Try adding dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips to cooled granola for a chocolate cherry granola vibe.
  • Add Some Cinnamon. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon with the dry ingredients for a little not of spice.
gluten-free cherry granola sprinkled on vanilla yogurt with cherries

3 Tricks For Big Granola Clusters

I’ve always loved big, crunchy granola clusters, and if you’re like me, you might be wondering just how to make them yourself. I’ve got you covered:

  1. Pack It Down Before Baking. The tighter you can pack the granola before you bake it, the larger the clusters will be later!
  2. Do Not Disturb. The less you stir or disturb homemade granola, the bigger your clusters will be. Leave it alone as it bakes, and as it cools for best results.
  3. Use A Binder. What makes granola stick together? A binder! Some recipes use an egg white to help create big clusters, but for a vegan version, I find that using ground flax or almond flour does the trick! (You’ll also get the healthy fats and fiber!)

More Recipes For Cherry Lovers

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⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star rating and comment below when you make our Cherry Almond Granola recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

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gluten-free cherry granola sprinkled on vanilla yogurt with cherries

Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Granola


  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups granola 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These easy cherry granola adds a satisfying crunch to all kinds of delicious breakfasts and snacks. Enjoy it as cereal with milk, or sprinkle it on yogurt, chia pudding, smoothies, and more!


Ingredients

Scale

Dry Ingredients:

  • 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats*
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (or shredded coconut)
  • 1/3 cup ground flax (I prefer golden flax)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried cherries

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat & Prep. Start by preheating the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients. In a large bowl, combine gluten-free oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, ground flax, and salt. (Do NOT add dried cherries yet!)
  3. Add Wet Ingredients. Pour coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond extract over the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula to combine well until everything is evenly coated and blended.
  4. Pack Down On Baking Sheet. Transfer the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and pack down tightly into an even layer with the back of a spatula. (You want the mixture as tightly packed as you can–this will make for bigger granola clusters later!)
  5. Bake Granola 40-45 minutes, but do NOT stir during the bake time. (Again, this helps with big clusters!)
  6. Cool Completely. When the granola is golden brown, remove the pan from the oven and let the granola cool COMPLETELY (about 1 hour) before touching it. Sprinkle with dried cherries, then break granola into clusters when it’s cool.
  7. Serve & Store. Enjoy granola right away with milk, yogurt, smoothies, or chia bowls, or store leftover granola in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 weeks. (Or, freeze up to 2 months)

Notes

  • Oats. You MUST use certified gluten-free rolled oats for this recipe to be gluten-free. We don’t recommend steel-cut oats or quick oats for this recipe.
  • Oil. If you don’t tolerate/like/have coconut oil, you can use avocado oil or light-tasting olive oil, though the flavor profile will be a little different.
  • Flax. We only recommend ground flax seed for this recipe. Whole flax seeds are harder to digest and won’t bind the granola the same way. You can substitute almond flour or chia seeds instead, if needed.
  • Salt. If using fine table salt, start with HALF the amount. 
  • Cherries. I prefer the flavor of dried tart cherries, but it can be easier to find unsweetened sweet cherries/bing cherries. Use whichever you prefer! 
  • Variations. Try adding chocolate chunks or chocolate chips to cooled granola, or swap out the almonds for pistachios, hazelnuts, or pecans! Or, mix in 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with the dry ingredients for a lovely note of spice. 
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cherry almond granola, granola with dried cherries and almonds

Originally shared April 2010. Fully updated February 2024.

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2 Comments

  1. I've never thought of using almond extract in granola before- I can't wait to try your recipe! Thank you for sharing.

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