These super fudgy almond flour brownies are the answer when you need a rich chocolate dessert that's easy, vegan, AND gluten-free! No special equipment required and only a few minutes of hands-on prep!
Why Use Almond Flour for Brownies
Almond flour gives these brownies a richness you don't get from regular flour. This allows us to avoid the fat from unhealthy sources like butter and eggs.
With this recipe, almond flour is essentially replacing 3 main ingredients usually found in brownies! It plays the role of eggs, butter, AND all-purpose flour, which means our brownies are not only vegan, but gluten-free, too.
Almond flour combines with nut butter and chocolate to create a dense, rich, decadent gluten-free brownie with less saturated fat and more fiber and protein.
One more note to get you drooling! Cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate bring all of the chocolate flavor you expect, while a touch of cinnamon, balsamic, and salt add complexity and depth to these healthier brownies.
What is Almond Flour
Obviously, the word "flour" usually refers to finely milled grains such as wheat, spelt, or oat. But when it comes to almond flour, basically it refers to the size and appearance of finely ground, blanched almonds.
Note, this is different than almond meal, which still retains the almond skins.
In other words, almond flour is 100% almonds! It's especially loved for gluten-free and vegan baking because it brings qualities to desserts that other flours can't, like fat, richness, and sometimes even crispness, as with these 3-ingredient almond flour cookies.
This popular vegan and gluten-free pie crust recipe is another great example. Almond flour creates a crisp, buttery, delicious pie crust even though the recipe contains no butter, shortening, oil, or all-purpose flour.
Almond flour has become so popular that it's usually easy to find in well-stocked grocery stores. You can also order almond flour online.
- almond flour - currently I'm using this blanched almond flour by Nature's Eats.
- gluten-free flour - I used King Arthur gluten-free measure-for-measure in my latest test batch; you can also use oat flour or regular all-purpose.
Tip: since these vegan brownies don't contain eggs, using a small amount of another type of flour gives them more structure and binding than if made with almond flour alone.
- unsweetened cocoa powder - either regular or Dutch process. If using Dutch cocoa, which has been alkalized, replace the baking soda with baking powder.
- chocolate chips - look for dairy-free, semi-sweet chocolate. You can use chips, chocolate chunks, or a bar which you chop yourself. Obviously, chips are the easiest!
- sweeteners - maple syrup contributes moisture and flavor; sub agave if needed. Brown sugar may be used instead of coconut sugar.
- nut butter - either smooth, unsalted almond butter or another of your choice, such as peanut butter or sunflower seed butter.
- applesauce - adds moisture instead of using oil
- balsamic - optional; this might sound like a strange addition, but a good quality, thick and sweet balsamic adds lovely depth and complexity to chocolate desserts. Feel free to omit it if you don't have any balsamic on hand.
- vanilla extract
- cinnamon - optional; adds just the tiniest bit of subtle flavor.
See recipe card below for amounts and full instructions.
How to Make Almond Flour Brownies
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper. Whisk dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another. Stir dry and wet together to form a batter, and fold in the chocolate chips.
- Spread the thick batter into the pan, and top with more chocolate chips, if desired. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out hot.
Now for the only difficult part.... waiting while your gluten-free brownies cool before slicing and devouring!
Let the brownies rest in the pan for about 20 minutes. Then lift out by the parchment paper, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool for another 20 minutes.
Tips for Slicing Gluten-Free Brownies
Since these brownies are gluten-free, vegan, and have a soft and gooey texture, if you slice them while they're hot they will be quite fragile and messy.
They're definitely amazing while still a bit warm, so I'd never ask you to wait until they're completely cool before slicing. That would be torture!
But if you can manage to wait until they're only slightly warm, they'll hold together better and be more manageable.
I find the easiest way to cut brownies is with a large, sharp chef's knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts.
I like to cut brownies into 16 squares as opposed to nine. The smaller size makes them easier to handle and allows people to enjoy a few bites of decadent brownie without committing to a portion larger than they might be able to eat.
We really enjoy these chilled, straight from the fridge. The chocolate inside the brownies hardens when cold, giving the brownies an awesome crunch to contrast the soft and fudgy texture.
And when slightly warm, these fudgy vegan brownies are perfect with a scoop of non-dairy ice cream. Chocolate pairs well with:
- Vanilla-Maple Oat Ice Cream (a reader favorite!)
- Banana Nice Cream
- Vegan Butter Pecan Ice Cream
- or Vegan Pistachio Ice Cream
And you can't go wrong with a tall glass of cold vanilla almond milk or oat milk on the side.
- almond butter - substitute sunbutter, peanut butter, or cashew butter.
- coconut sugar - for a slightly sweeter brownie use light brown sugar in equal amount; if you prefer to reduce the overall sugar, use a granulated sugar substitute like Swerve (start with less, about ¼ cup, then taste and adjust).
- maple syrup - I'm a huge fan of baking with maple syrup, but in case it isn't your favorite, or you're trying to cut back on sugar, feel free to do a straight swap with agave or a sugar-free maple syrup like Lakanto brand (erythritol and monk fruit-based).
- cocoa powder - regular cocoa powder creates the richest chocolate flavor, but if raw cacao or Dutch process cocoa are all you have, you can certainly use one of these. As noted in the recipe, if using Dutch process cocoa, use baking powder instead of baking soda.
Once the brownies are cool, I like to leave them on the parchment paper and transfer them to a storage container with a tight-fitting lid. If you need to stack them to fit inside the container, place parchment between the layers to prevent sticking.
The brownies can be stored at room temperature for a day or two or in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Almond flour brownies freeze well, too.
More gluten-free vegan desserts:
I hope you love these vegan almond flour brownies!
If you try the recipe I would LOVE to hear from you. Be sure to comment below, give it a star rating, and let everyone know how they turned out!
Fudgy Almond Flour Brownies (Vegan)
- 1 ⅓ cups fine almond flour
- ¼ cup gluten-free flour blend (I used King Arthur) - or oat flour or regular all-purpose
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder - sub Dutch process or cacao, if necessary
- ½ teaspoon baking soda - use baking powder if using Dutch cocoa
- scant ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup coconut sugar - see Notes
- ⅓ cup smooth, unsalted almond butter - sub another nut or seed butter if needed
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons good quality balsamic vinegar, optional
- ½ cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips - plus more for decorating the top
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line an 8x8-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk together all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir together wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine the two to form a batter, and stir well. Fold in ½ cup chocolate chips.
- Spread the thick batter into the parchment-lined pan, and top with more chocolate chips, if desired. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out hot.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Lift out by the parchment, and place on a wire cooling rack. Let stand for another 20 minutes or so before slicing. Tip: if sliced while still hot the brownies will be quite fragile and messy! That's why it's best to let them rest.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
Hi..I'm planning to make these brownies.. what can I use instead of applesauce
Ripe mashed banana is the best sub for the applesauce. If you don't have that you could slightly increase the amount of nut butter and add a tablespoon of milk for moisture. Hope that helps!
These are amazing! I was skeptical especially about adding balsamic vinegar but I courageously tried it and was blown away! These are the best brownies I have ever made!! So fudgy and absolutely the perfect amount of sweetness for me.
QUESTION: to make them with less sugar for a diabetic, you mentioned using swerve or sugar-free maple syrup. Could you also use stevia without impacting the taste?
So glad you love the brownies, Sarah! And about stevia, that's a good question. It does tend to have a bit of an aftertaste but with all of the other flavors going on here I doubt it would be noticeable. Stevia is worth a try, but you'll want to start with a small amount since it's very sweet. Let us know if you give it a try!
Ohh my goodness I made these brownies and my family went WILD OVER THEM.
My son wants them again today bc we ate them all!
I put blackberry balsamic vinegar in them.. Amazing flavor!! Make them you won't be disappointed!!
Oooh that blackberry balsamic sounds amazing. I'm so glad everyone loved them. Thank you for the feedback, Janet!