This vegan brownies recipe is rich and insanely fudgy! A wholesome treat that tastes decadent, it’s also gluten-free and mostly whole food plant-based.

Vegan Brownie Recipe

The day before our son was born, we made this vegan brownie recipe. We had no idea that the next day our lives would change forever. All we knew was this: these brownies were insanely fudgy and chocolatey! And somehow they were 100% plant based. They instantly jumped to the top of our chocolate desserts list. We kept pulling them out of the fridge to munch on another little piece. Yep, they’re that good! And now they have a sentimental story attached to them, too.

Gluten free and vegan brownies

The BEST vegan brownies: from The First Mess cookbook!

One day, we interviewed our pal Laura Wright on our podcast. She told mentioned these fantastic vegan brownies from her new The First Mess cookbook. Apparently they were seriously fudgy. Intrigued, I made them a few days later for a dinner party. We ate vegetarian gyros as our friends’ two-year-olds threw dinosaurs at each other. We laughed and drank caipirinhas and ate vegan brownies. They were very fudgy: dare I say the best vegan brownie recipe we’ve ever had (the kids loved them).

Drinking coffee the next morning, I glanced at my phone and saw a text from our son’s birth mom. “Hey I’m in the hospital. They think I’m in labor.” Whhhhhhaaat?! My heart went through the roof. Alex and I scrambled to pack a bag for the hospital. Fast forward a few days and we were back at home with the best possible sweet little man in tow. Lucky for us; some very fudgy vegan brownies were left over—perfect for a very tired but very happy mama and daddy. (Read the rest of Larson’s birth story here!)

All that to say: what I love about cooking is that it’s more than just recipes. It’s LIFE. It’s these life moments we get to share with people, when people make our recipes or they make ours. It’s so rich, and so, so good. Thank you, Laura, for this sweet recipe for a sweet time in our life!

Check out Laura’s AMAZING cookbook of incredible plant-based recipes and vibrant photos—it’s one of our favorites this year. On Amazon: The First Mess by Laura Wright.

The First Mess Cookbook

Tips for making this vegan brownie recipe

These fudgy vegan brownies are crazy easy to make! They’re beautifully fudgy with a genius combination of almond butter, applesauce, and coconut flour. there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure your brownies come out the best they possibly can.

  • If you’re 100% vegan, make sure the dark chocolate is dairy-free. Most dark chocolates are naturally vegan, but dairy products are easy to sneak into chocolate bars so read the label to be safe!
  • The batter is super thick! The vegan brownie batter is going to be incredibly thick. That’s what you want! If you have a hard time spreading the batter out evenly, spray a little cooking spray onto the back of your spatula. That should help you pat down the batter more easily.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour after baking. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan after baking. Then, cover the pan with foil and pop them into the fridge for an hour. This step makes a huge difference in this vegan brownie recipe. Chilling makes them easier to cut and prevents them from falling apart when you bite into them.
Plant based brownies

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Listen to Laura Wright on our A Couple Cooks Podcast!

This vegan brownie recipe is…

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, naturally sweet, egg-free, plant-based, dairy-free

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Vegan Brownies (Insanely Fudgy!)


  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x

Description

This vegan brownie recipe is rich and insanely fudgy! A wholesome treat that tastes decadent, it’s also gluten-free and mostly whole food plant-based.


Ingredients

Scale
  • ¾ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup chopped chocolate from a 70% dark dairy-free chocolate bar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons whole almonds, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch square pan with a piece of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond butter, maple syrup, applesauce, and vanilla.
  3. To the almond butter mixture, add the cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine, ensuring that there are no dry lumps of cocoa in the batter.
  4. In a double boiler, melt half of the chocolate chunks. Vigorously stir the melted chocolate into the brownie batter until fully incorporated.
  5. Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan. Smooth the batter out evenly with a spatula, pushing it into the edges and corners of the pan. (We used a 9-inch pan, so we did not smooth entirely into one side to keep the brownies on the thicker side.)
  6. Scatter the reserved chocolate chunks and rough-chopped nuts over the top. Slide the pan into the oven, and bake the brownies until the top is slightly firm and appears dry and lightly cracked, about 27 to 30 minutes.
  7. Cool the brownies completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Then, cover the brownies and place them in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. This step is crucial. The brownies will not cut neatly unless they get adequate cooling time. (We enjoyed the brownies even more a day later after refrigerating over night.)
  8. Right before slicing the brownies, run a chef’s knife under hot water and dry it off, then slice into squares and serve.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegan brownie recipe, fudgy vegan brownies

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Last updated: January 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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43 Comments

  1. Never though of put almond on the top of the brownie, it must be crunchy and tasty. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Made this on a whim as I miraculously had all the ingredients. Absolutely fabulous!! This will be my go to from here on out. Used shredded unsweetened coconut and chocolate as topping instead. Congratulations on the new addition!!

    1. Wow don’t you love it when you have everything on hand?! Yes, these are our new go-to too, I think. Hats off, Laura! And thank you for the congratulations! :)

  3. Is it okay to use regular flour instead of coconut flour? I have most of the ingredients at home except for the coconut flour. Not sure if I should make the trip to get some. Thank you!

    1. Great question! I think that if you’re not gluten-free, regular flour would work fine! Let us know what you think!

      1. Thank you! Will do. For now, I was able to conjure up some willpower to not make these this weekend. Rest assured, I WILL be making them at some point! :)

  4. I’m assuming regular baking chocolate will work fine if I’m not vegan? Do you think unsweetened would work best, semi-sweet, or something else? Also, do you think other nut butters would work in place of the almond?

    1. Hi Vanessa! Yes, regular baking chocolate would be fine — we like bittersweet chocolate best (not unsweetened), but you can also use semi-sweet. Yes, other nut butters work! We just chose almond when we made it, but you could use any other type! Great questions.

      1. I made these yesterday, and they turned out amazing! I ended up using vegan chocolate chips (70%) and about 1/2 cup of almond butter and 1/4 peanut butter. I actually made them to bring to a friend who had a baby last weekend, but had to try one for myself… I am obsessed and would definitely make them again!

  5. Hello there!

    Should I use roasted almond butter here for the best flavor, or unroasted? I need to go buy some first, and I can’t wait to try this.

    Congrats and blessings to your family!

  6. Do you have any suggestions on almond butter replacements? I would love to make these for my husband but he is allergic to almonds on top of being allergic to dairy and eggs! Thanks in advance!!

      1. Yes! I was just going to reply that you can use any type of nut butter — is he allergic to peanuts? Peanut butter would be fabulous!

  7. Hi!

    The recipe seems perfect and the reviews are so encouraging, can’t wait to make the brownies tomorrow :) in terms of measurements, would you mind letting me know whether by cups you mean American ones? Any chance you have the list of ingredients in grams? Grams seem far more reliable than cups…

  8. Oh my gosh! These are so good! I made them yesterday and used peanut butter in place of almond butter. This will be our new go to brownie recipe. Thanks so very much!

  9. I’m somewhat of a brownie snob and was convinced that messing around by trying to make brownies ‘healthier,’ was a waste of time and somewhat criminal! :) These are better than any brownie recipe I’ve tried, classic or adapted. Simply delicious!

    1. Haha! Well this is the best feedback ever. Thank you so much for the endorsement! Kudos to Laura, who developed the recipe.

  10. Hi! What can I substitute for the applesauce? I have came sugar, honey and molasses on hand. Please let me know if any of these would work. Thanks!!

    1. Hmmm, I would probably stick with the applesauce here unless there is a dietary reason? Our friend Laura is the author of this recipe and I can research with her, but I want to understand the reason behind the substitute!

  11. Thanks Sonja! I just don’t have any applesauce and also I don’t like it. I bought some plain yogurt to try instead but haven’t made them yet. What do you think of that idea?

    1. Hmmm, that’s an interesting idea! I’m not sure how it would work, but you might as well try! Let me know if it works out! (I will say that you can’t taste apple sauce in the least inside the brownies! But I definitely understand not wanting to buy it!)

  12. Hi Sonja,
    I’m sooo excited to try this brownie recipe! I’ve only been vegan since September and I have to say ,there are so many options and variations on traditional “meat” dishes that I haven’t missed any of them. I am allergic to peanuts and almond so I will be using my trusty SunButter, which is free of the top 8 allergens. I’ll give it a go with walnuts for a bit of crunch and will use my homemade applesauce which is a staple in our home.
    Having a vegan cooking demo in May and will hopefully include this recipe in the dessert portion. Thanks agaon and will let you know how they turn out!
    Great Site!!!

    1. This sounds fabulous! Love your substitutions and I think the brownies will be even more delicious. Let us know how they turned out, and whether you use them for your cooking demo!

  13. Hey, Sonja! I recently started going through some diet changes and this recipe fell from heaven! Have some issues though… I would like to know if there’s a sub for the maple syrup? Where I live it isn’t sold anywhere… I also can’t find corn syrup or these type of things… I’m not vegan, so anything would be helpful. Also can I sub the coconut flour for oat flour? I also can’t find it anywhere and I can’t eat regular flour.
    Thank you! And I know I’m late on the news, but congratulations!

    1. Hi Giuli! I checked with the author of this recipe, Laura at The First Mess. She said you could use honey or agave for the maple. If you use oat flour, you should double the amount since coconut flour is really drying. Let us know how it goes!

  14. Appearance: attractive and enticing, very dark chocolate color. Texture: dense, very fine “crumb,” similar to some flourless chocolate cakes at restaurants.
    Flavor: VERY BITTER. I have been gluten free, as a medical necessity, for over 12 years, and to be fair, I have not found any happiness with gluten-free baked goods that approximate what the gluten-full products have in taste and texture. The recipe worked perfectly according to the instructions. I refrigerated the cooled, baked batch before making a final assessment. Bottom line: I was expecting a SWEETER chocolate flavor and a texture with more tactile “chew.” I had a small taste when these were hot, right out of the oven, and they seemed like a perfect base layer for vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce– in the style of “decadent” desserts. By themselves, not as much.

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