These raw brownies are impossibly fudgy and chocolatey! Made simply of walnuts, dates, and cocoa powder, they will rock your world.

Raw brownies

Mmm, rich, chocolatey brownies. What if I told you that behind the rich and chocolatey taste, there was no sugar, no oil, no flour, no butter, and no eggs? What if I told you they were made only of things that were actually good for you? And what if I told you that they require no baking, and actually take only about 5 minutes to whip up? If you told me these things, I’d say you’d found the perfect dessert. Meet: Raw brownies. These raw brownies are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar free, and 1,000% delicious. Keep reading for the recipe!

Related: 10 Brain Food Recipes to Boost Your Mood

How to make raw brownies

I was skeptical of raw brownies at first. The first raw brownies I tried were a recipe from My New Roots, and it claimed it would change my life. But after one taste of the chocolatey dough, I was a believer!  What are raw brownies? Instead of making a traditional brownie dough with flour, sugar, and butter, these brownies are whipped together in a food processor. Raw brownies combine Medjool dates, walnuts, and cocoa powder into a fudge-y “brownie” that is just as satisfying as the real thing.

What are Medjool dates? These days, it’s likely you’ve had them even if you don’t know it! Medjool dates are large, chewy and sweet dates that are used to make natural sweets like Larabars (here’s a homemade version). It is important to find Medjool dates for this recipe, because they’re important for the texture: no substitutions! We were able to find them sold in bulk at our local grocery; they are also available for sale online.

Serving raw brownies

Now, if you can’t imagine a dessert without chocolate, you could add a few dark chocolate chips if you’d like. Or, you could top with a bit of sea salt if you prefer the sweet / salty combination. But these raw brownies are perfectly delicious as is. I eat them straight up, but my mom likes to serve them parfait style like in this Berry Brownie Yogurt Parfait. And of course crumbled over ice cream would be perfect too.

Once you’ve tried raw brownies yourself, test them out on your family and friends (and make them guess the magic ingredients)!  We did, and they received rave reviews. So are they dessert perfection? Pretty darn close for us – not only do they make up for my lack of baking skills, they are all natural and thus totally guilt-free!  Let us know if you too become a believer in this new kind of treat!

Looking for more healthy desserts?

Outside of these raw brownies, want other ideas for healthy desserts? Here are a few of our favorite healthy desserts:

This raw brownie recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, naturally sweet

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Raw Brownies


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 10 small brownies 1x

Description

These raw brownies are impossibly fudgy and chocolatey! Made simply of walnuts, dates, and cocoa powder, they will rock your world.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ¼ cups Medjool dates (about 12)*
  • ¼ cup almonds (unsalted)
  • 1 cup walnuts (unsalted)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • Cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Remove the pits from the dates. Chop the almonds.
  2. Place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Process on high until the nuts are finely ground.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and kosher salt. Pulse to combine.
  4. Turn on the food processor. As the processor is running, add the dates one at a time. Once all the dates have been added, the mixture should be crumbly but easily formable (it may form into a ball depending on how long you process it). Throw in the almonds and pulse a couple times to combine (if a ball has formed, you can also mix in the almonds in a bowl).
  5. Form the brownies: Line a small square dish with wax paper and press into the desired thickness (don’t worry if it does not fill the entire pan; the brownies are easy to shape). Alternatively, press the brownies into a mini-muffin tin or other mold. Place in the refrigerator or freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up; they can easily be cut when cold.
  6. To serve, dust with cinnamon. (You also could add a bit of cinnamon to the brownie dough if desired.)

Notes

Adapted from My New Roots *Medjool dates are a type of date that is exceptionally large and sweet; it is important to find the real thing for this recipe. We were able to find them sold in bulk at our local grocery; they are also available for sale online. If you can’t imagine a dessert without chocolate, you could add a few dark chocolate chips if you’d like, or top with a bit of sea salt if you prefer the sweet / salty combination.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Raw brownies

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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68 Comments

    1. I don’t know about a weaker blender, but I think the vitamix could probably handle it – but you may have to stir in almonds rather than adding them at the end. Good luck!

      1. Per Kathy’s comment below, looks like this works in a blender! Let us know if you gave it a try with the vitamix… :)

  1. After seeing your post yesterday, I was so intrigued that I had to give your recipe a try this morning. I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa which says that it is 100% Cacao. I have used this cocoa in other recipes, and it is not my favorite cocoa, but I thought I would try it since this recipe suggested the use of Cacao. I also have some Droste Cocoa which I prefer, and I think I will use that next time. Since the cocoa is the main flavor, I think it is really important that you use a good tasting cocoa in this recipe, so I think I would like it better with a different cocoa. I bought Medjool dates in the bulk bins at my grocery store, and I think my dates may have been on the dry side because my mixture was a bit crumbly. I am not sure how they are suppose to be though…this being my first experience with dates:) These were good, and I feel very good about the health benefits in the ingredients. I added some cinnamon to the “batter” and some ground green cardamom powder from the Indian food store. Thank you for introducing me to the world of raw foods. I saw this recipe when I was looking at raw recipes last night http://www.flavorfulfork.com/2011/08/peanut-butter-power-bites/ and I think that I may give it a try. My husband loves peanut butter, so I think he would enjoy these.

  2. Sorry to barge in here but I am rather skeptical about your “sugar-free” claim. You don’t add sugar but if you do some research on the sugar content of dates, you will find that it’s extremely high! (I just wanted to bring it up. Feel free to delete this comment if you don’t like it.)

    1. Hi! We did not mean to confuse anyone about the presence of natural sugars in dried fruit. We simply believe that there are a lot of complex health benefits of eating a sweet made from whole fruits versus adding refined sugar to a recipe. Thanks for pointing it out!

      1. Just have to bud in here to say that I have major crashes after eating refined sugars, and don’t at all if I use dates for a sweetener. Solid as a rock.

  3. They look absolutely gorgeous!!! I’ll have to try those :) yummm they sound easy to make and they are not unheathy which is awesome.
    ps: I love you blog (and the whole idea behind it) and your recipes are lovely!
    Its on my faves! x

  4. These are delicious! I’ve made them twice for different groups of people and everyone has really enjoyed them. Instead of squares, I formed the dough into little balls.

  5. These are just what I needed after my attempt at vegan chocolate mousse that failed. The moistness of the batter really surprised me, and NO REFINED SUGAR! YAY! The batter fit nicely into 12 mini muffin molds.

    I hope it’s ok that I post a copy of this recipe and credit your site.
    Thanks and keep this good stuff coming!

    1. Go for it – I’m glad you enjoyed it! (I got the recipe over at My New Roots – she has lots of great recipes with no refined sugar.)

      We’ll keep them coming – thanks for the feedback! It’s great to know that people enjoy these types of “desserts” as much as we do!

    1. I had not heard of it, but just checked it out! Looks like it uses the same type of ingredients as regular brownies (butter, sugar, eggs, etc) but adds black beans as well. If you like traditional brownies, that might be a good bet. Since my stomach has trouble handling the richness of butter, I tend to prefer the “raw” version :)

      1. I was disappointed when I searched for and found Rocco DiSpirito’s “good for you” brownies after seeing them on his show, “Eat This, Not That.” The borwnies were filled with all sorts of processed foods that made me cringe. I kept searching and came across a recipe that I decided to try and I was very pleased with the results. Note that I used 8 medjool dates in lieu of the prunes, as that’s all I had on hand at the time, but they were still yummy. I’ve been wanting to make another batch for Valentine’s Day treats for my little fellas. http://www.blogher.com/vegan-chocolate-black-bean-cupcakes-really

        Perhaps I’llbe making these brownies instead… :-)

  6. These are not substitute for the real thing. My husband and my daughter both rejected them outright. I find it to be more like a candy than a brownie–a chocolate candy that I do not feel sick after eating and tastes really good with glass of milk.

    1. I’m sorry that your family didn’t enjoy them! They certainly do not have a cake-like texture. I’m glad at least they didn’t leave you with a sick stomach :)

    1. Wow, that’s too bad! You could probably try it with peanuts in place of the walnuts (and skip the almonds) – it would have a different flavor, but I think it might work! Let us know if you try it out!

  7. These are really yummy. I’ve made them a few times and now favor these date-based ones over the other ones! Mine have been pretty crumbly, and while I’ve pressed the mixture together and chilled them, they still have a way of breaking easily in route to my happy mouth. In my most recent batch, I used ground chia seed and water (3:1) to make an adhesive that also packs an nutritional boost! I used about 1/2T of the egg-substitute. It did help the brownie stick together and added some moisture, making it more of a fudge brownie. I think this would be especially helpful if one is going the truffles route!

    1. I’m sorry – I haven’t seen any similar recipes without the dates. They are pretty essential to the texture.

  8. I love this recipe, I am using it with my Baking Science class this week. We may feature it in our new cafe/bakery opening in August.

    I was wondering if Tallulah C. objected to the dates, or dried fruit in general. It seems that it would be easy to substitute dried apricots, prunes, even raisins. The flavor and sweetness profile would change, but could be pleasing. Many thoughts for variation come to mind. Apricot, toasted almonds, extra virgin olive or nut oil for flavor and texture…

    Thanks,

    1. Great ideas! And these come from a real chef, everyone! :)

      We have tried these with another type of date (deglet noir) and found they did not have nearly the sweetness or the texture of Medjool dates. However, we’ve never tried apricots or prunes — interesting idea! Some good food for thought :)

  9. Hi, thanks for all your suggestions. I was just thinking of trying it with different dried fruits, and I like your suggestion for toasted almonds! Thanks!

  10. These look so good! I have been trying to find a recipe for something like the Chocolate Brownie Pure bar. I’m thinking these might be like those and a whole lot cheaper!

  11. Sounds super yummy! I’m on a health kick for the new year (we’ll see how long it lasts), & I’m so glad I found your recipe for the perfect dessert! :0)

  12. I’ve been cutting gluten and refined sugars from my diet and was extremely excited when I found this recipe! I made it the other night and it turned out really great (even my fiance and super picky roomies approved!). Much better than other chocolate cake recipes I’ve tried that use dates and coconut flour. However, mine were super crumbly also. I may try the Chia egg mentioned above or maybe I didn’t process the walnuts fine enough. Definitely excited about this recipe though!

    1. Hi Emily! I’m glad you enjoyed these! I’ve had mine come out fairly crumbly too at times. When that happens, I try to run the food processor for a bit longer; it will help to keep things together more. Sometimes if you run the processor for a long time, the mixture will all clump together into one ball in the bowl; usually that texture seems to stick together well in brownie form. It is also good to process the walnuts very finely before adding the dates. One last thing I do is to really press the brownies together into the pan, and then consider refrigerating them a bit to let them set. Give it a try and let me know what works!

  13. I have a huge problem. Unless I double the batch, then none of my mixture will make it into brownies… this is too good, I can’t resist not eating entirely from the bowl.. omg

  14. Wow. This is my second recipe trial in three days. (First, the poblano stuffed peppers!) And I must say, that I loved these just as much. I am hooked to your ideas and your site now.

    1. So glad you enjoyed them both! Hopefully you’ll continue to find recipes you enjoy (no pressure, right?! :)) Thanks for writing!

  15. Wow, I never post comments on things but I have to say that these are really good! I’m a sweet lover and I feel a little less guilty eating these and they really satisfy my sweet tooth:-) Thanks for posting – I’m going to try the other recipes now too!

    1. Glad you enjoyed them, Leslie! And thanks for commenting too — it’s so helpful to know your feedback! Let us know if you try anything else :)

  16. These are sensational, I am a newly converted healthy eater from Devon in the UK with a sweet tooth. I love the ooey gooey rich texture of these brownies and have shared them with colleagues at work and a few friends, they just can’t believe how delightful they are, even the rough, tough boys like them. Instead of using cinnamon I used peppermint extract for a mint chocolate kick (a personal favourite). Thanks for sharing your recipe, utter brilliance.

      1. Not seen those versions! I think I will be spending a lot of time on your website. I like the look of your peach salsa.
        Back to the brownies I’m going to see if I can persuade my sister to try these delicious treats.
        Taking a sample to the chiropractor and the guys at the gym, Awesome!

  17. Love these! So happy to have found this recipe! I add a little bit of coconut oil (1tbsp?) It Helps moisten them & holds them together nicely

  18. I’ll be honest, I didn’t believe you when you said you could make a brownie out of dates, cocoa powder and walnuts, but you pulled it off! Topped mine off with a few sliced strawberries to brighten them up. I’m so impressed.

  19. Hi! So I was really excited to make these, always looking for new ‘healthy’ desserts and so I made this earlier. I put it in the fridge for the required time but it was still very crumbly.. Anything I can do to make it more formable?? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Sam! Thanks for writing. I would try adding another date or two and processing the dough, then tasting and adding more cocoa powder for a more chocolate-y taste. Sometimes the moisture in dates can vary. Did you use Medjool dates? The dough should be easily formable (not too crumbly) at room temperature, so adding a few more dates can help that. The only issue would be adding too many dates can make the dough sticky and gooey, so try not to overprocess. Let us know if this helps!

  20. I had a bag of noor dates I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with since my teeth are too sensitive for them. I used 1 1/2 cups of them, 1/2 cup cocoa, salt, and 3 tsp of olive oil and OMG these are so good. It’s not the real thing, but it’s darn close and it does the trick when you are trying to eat healthier!

  21. I’ve made them several times now and I love that they are a healthy snack!! I’m having issues with the brownie holding together. It seems to crumble easily when I try to pick it up. Any suggestions?? Thanks! Laura

    1. You are using Medjool dates (not another variety), correct? This may have to do with the age of your dates. Sometimes older dates are drier. Have you tried them with very fresh dates that are very gooey? The dough should feel moist and sticky. If not, you can add a few tablespoons of warm water and process again. Let us know how it goes!

  22. Alright… This recipe is life changing. I’m 37 weeks pregnant and trying to go early to avoid induction at 39 weeks. My doctor told me to start eating 4-6 medjool dates a day. I tried eating them raw at first but they were just SOOOO sweet. I was googling all sorts of recipes but they all seemed like so much effort just to MAYBE end up with a good brownie. This one was the one I landed on just because it was the least effort, required no baking, and had some good feedback.
    Let me tell you, we will no longer be baking sugary brownies in this house! These are absolutely amazing. The ONE thing I did different from the recipe (because it wasn’t about sugar avoidance for me, rather just eating the dates) was to add about 1/4 c milk chocolate squares. This was just enough “sugar” to cut through the bitterness of the cocoa powder and make them taste like the real thing. I imagine monk fruit would offer a similar effect, but I didn’t want to deal with a potentially granular brownie.
    I’m sending my entire family this recipe!

  23. Wow. Thank you for this. I was looking for a holiday dessert for my diabetic father and just gave this a try. It is surprisingly good!! I’m not the biggest fan of dates so I made it mostly for him but considering how good this is, I am made a batch for myself, too.

    I don’t have a food processor so I gave it a try in Magic Bullet. It was a pain but still took only 30 min to whip up a double batch. Super easy. Nice and fudgy. Actually resembles dark chocolate brownies. Amazing. Thank you!

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