Yes, you can make brownies without flour! With just 7 ingredients, this chocolatey treat will satisfy your sweet cravings.
Sweetened with dried fruits only and baked with cocoa or cacao powder instead of flour, this healthy fudge brownie recipe is also grain-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and yet melts in your mouth like chocolate truffles (Paleo and whole30 approved).
When one of my fitness coach friends on Instagram asked me for a healthy flourless brownie recipe, I noticed that I never shared one on the blog. So, I think this one is long overdue. My go-to recipe for healthy brownies without flour is straightforward to make, and it will satisfy your chocolate cravings guilt-free.
It is a no-fuss healthy homemade dessert and ready in less than 30 minutes with only seven ingredients. And because it contains no nuts, it is also an excellent school treat or to bring to potlucks. After school, I always get extra hugs when I packed a piece in my daughter's lunchbox; what's not to love!
If you are a serious dark chocolate lover, then this easy healthy brownie recipe is for you. Each bite will give you an intense chocolatey flavor reminiscent of chocolate truffles with a dense, fudgy, and deliciously moist texture.
General questions answered
I'm a bit obsessed with this treat because these baked goods pair so well with a hot cup of tea or coffee drink.
They also contain no flour, no milk, or butter, are 100% paleo and gluten-free, and are Whole30 approved.
But even if you have no dietary restrictions (bless you), this is still a must-try recipe that I think you'll love.
Let's first go over a few general questions people ask about brownies.
What can replace sugar in brownies?
I use fiber-rich dates and dried apricots to sweeten this treat. The flavors of these dried fruits will completely disappear in the brownies batter but will leave a sweet, almost caramel-like taste—no sugar needed—and a beautiful gooey texture.
What can I use in brownies instead of flour?
Instead of flour, I use cacao or cocoa powder—more on that later (see note section)—which gives these brownies a dark-rich chocolate flavor. So they are also completely gluten and grain-free!
Can I use almond or nut milk for brownies?
This treat is also dairy-free because, for this recipe, I use plant milk. I've made them before with either pea or hazelnut milk. But unsweetened almond or cashew milk will do just as well. I would even advise avoiding regular milk because it might make these brownies a tad too heavy.
These flourless brownies are not only a dessert but also ideal if you want an energy-boosting chocolaty snack.
How to make healthy brownies from scratch
Notes on Ingredients
- The sweetener. If you are an 80% dark chocolate lover, then you only need dates to add sweetness to these chewy paleo brownies. But, if you love it a tad sweeter, I highly recommend incorporating dried Turkish apricots into the batter mix. It also adds extra fiber, and it will make these treats deliciously moist. Trader's Joe sells small bags of organic Turkish dried apricots without any added sugars at an excellent price—in case you are wondering where to get them.
- The chocolate flavor. These flourless brownies contain no chocolate or chocolate chips. The recipe only calls for real cacao powder to bake these treats and give them that intense pure chocolate taste. The powder also acts as the flour in this recipe. I have used cocoa or cacao powder interchangeably—read about the difference between the two. But If you opt for cocoa, choose a full-flavored one with deep chocolate flavors perfect for baking. The non-alkalized cocoa powder from Shiloh Farms tastes divine in this recipe.
- The liquid. As mentioned before, I prefer using a plant-based liquid such as pea milk to add extra protein, hazelnut milk, or almond milk. If you are not sensitive to dairy, you can substitute it with regular milk. Although I think regular milk makes these brownies a bit too heavy.
- Eggs. They are one of the main ingredients in this recipe to give it structure, bind everything together, and help lift the batter during baking.
- A tad of salt. It reduces any bitter flavors and nicely balances the sweetness in these brownies.
- Coconut Oil—for richness and tenderness, of course.
- The equipment. Use an 8-inch square baking pan to get the perfect thickness. Once baked, cut it into either nine squared treats or 18 mini brownies—each mini piece is enough to satisfy your sweet cravings.
A few notes on instructions
Make the dried fruit paste first
Make first the dried fruit paste by blending the dates, apricots, coconut oil, milk, and eggs in a high-speed blender. You can also use a Nutribullet or food processor. You'll get a beautiful and deliciously tasting light brown paste.
Transfer the paste into a bowl.
Mix in the cacao or cocoa powder
In batches, stir in the cacao powder and sea salt until no powdery lumps remain and you have a dark brown paste. It's important to stir in the cacao powder in small batches.
If you find it hard to break down all the cacao powder by just stirring by hand, place the batter briefly back into the blender and mix for a few seconds until you have a beautiful shiny and chocolatey paste.
Mixing by hand versus using a blender
Note that if you use the blender versus mixing it by hand, the batter might look slightly different (see pics below).
Allow the flourless brownies to sufficiently cool
Because this baked good contains no flour, it is important to let the brownie cake cool for at least 10 minutes, preferably longer, before carefully removing it from the pan and cutting it into squares.
The delicious brownie pieces will become more solid as they further cool, and the sweet, rich chocolatey flavor will settle in.
How to remove the brownie cake from the pan
First, I use a pairing knife and trace it around the edges to make sure the cake is no longer attached to the sides of the pan. (It shouldn't if you greased the baking pan with some coconut oil before baking and shaken in a little cocoa or cacao powder covering the bottom of the pan and all four sides.)
Then I flip it over in one swooping motion with a large enough plate on top of the cake pan to catch the brownie cake.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy for up to five days. Or freeze leftover squares wrapped in baking paper and place in an airtight container for at least a month. They defrost in a couple of minutes, but they taste even better when frozen, in my opinion. TRY IT!
Time to bake
Make these gluten-free decadent, chocolate-rich flourless brownies now, or PIN it to your healthy treats board for later!
Check out some of my other healthy and grain-free or chocolate-flavored treats. Enjoy!
- Golden Healthy and Grain-Free Mango Cookies
- No Flour Peanut Butter Cookies (you are going to love these!)
- Easy Chocolate Coffee Mousse
- Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
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- 15 to 20 Medjool dates, pitted (350 grams)
- 15 dried Turkish Apricots (110 grams)
- ½ cup coconut oil (80 grams), plus some more to grease the baking pan
- 1 cup pea milk or any other unsweetened plant milk (225 ml)
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups cacao or cocoa powder (240 grams), plus some more to cover the baking pan
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the dried fruits, coconut oil, milk, and eggs in a high-speed blender (you can also use a Nutribullet or food processor). Blend into a paste.
- Transfer the paste into a bowl.
- In batches, stir in the cacao powder and sea salt until no powdery lumps remain and you have a dark brown paste. If you find it hard to break down all the cacao powder by just stirring, place the batter briefly back into the blender and mix for a few seconds until you have a beautiful shiny and chocolatey paste.
- Grease the baking pan with some coconut oil. Shake in a little cocoa or cacao powder and tap out the excess.
- With a spatula, spread the chocolate mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.
- Let it cool for about 10 minutes before cutting it into squares.
- They will become more solid once cooled.
Equipment: 8-inch square baking pan
Storing tips: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for longer. No need to defrost. You can enjoy them immediately out of the freezer or let them sit at room temperature for a bit.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 231
Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third-party tools and is only intended as a reference.
(Note: this post was initially published in November 2018. This post has been updated to include new info and photos)