These 10-ingredient vegan peanut butter brownies are loaded with chocolate and peanut butter and have the perfectly crisp-yet-chewy edges and rich and fudgy centers you crave. They're so easy to make, too! Gluten-free with a nut-free option.
This recipe was originally published in September 2018, and has been updated with new content and photos.
Why You'll Love Them
Even though these peanut butter brownies are on the healthier side, as far as brownies go, you still get the contrasting textures EVERYONE loves. You know, the crunchier pieces around the edges of the pan, the shiny, crackled top, and a rich and dense middle. So good!
They're super easy and contain no fussy ingredients. No vegan butter or added oils either! Just straightforward rich, dense, chocolatey, peanut butter brownies.
Tried-and-True Favorite Brownies
Sometime in my early 20s I started saving recipes in an old binder. Over the years some of these recipes became tried-and-true favorites (covered with scribbled notes), while others ended up in the never-got-around-to-it category.
While sifting through the binder recently I came across my old favorite vegan brownie recipe. It dates back to our time in Wisconsin, which is where we lived when we went vegan.
I remember being on a brownie kick for a while, making these anytime a party or potluck invitation popped up. And though I don't recall the exact recipe that inspired this one, I suspect the original inspiration came from one of Angela Liddon's brownie recipes on Oh She Glows.
I was a regular visitor to Angela's amazing blog back in my early vegan days! In fact, I know the desire to start my own vegan food blog came in large part from being helped so much by blogs like hers.
Anyway, each time I made these brownies, I kept tweaking the recipe until it was the perfect combination of simple yet delicious. During one of our moves the binder got packed away, and I forgot about this recipe for a while.
Well, I'm happy to report that my favorite gluten-free vegan peanut butter brownies and I have been reunited! I've made them several times recently and love them as much as ever. I think you will, too!
- Peanut butter - any type of peanut butter you like will work fine here; I use a crunchy and salted one. If using unsalted you'll want to add a generous pinch of salt to the batter.
- Cocoa - either regular or Dutch process cocoa powder is fine, or raw cacao powder. Note, if using Dutch process cocoa you'll use baking powder instead of soda because it's too alkaline to react with the baking soda.
- Oats - these brownies begin with old fashioned rolled oats; you'll use a food processor to turn them into a coarse flour. Or if you have oat flour on hand, feel free to use that instead.
- Brown sugar - I prefer light brown sugar in these brownies, but regular cane sugar or dark brown sugar will work, too. See tips below for refined sugar-free options.
- Maple syrup - this adds moisture and sweetness, so I don't recommend omitting it.
- Dairy-free chocolate chips - these are important for the overall sweetness of the brownies, so look for a semi-sweet variety (55-60% cacao). See notes below for refined sugar-free suggestions.
How to Make Vegan Peanut Butter Brownies
- Add oats to a food processor, and blend into coarse crumbs.
- Add other dry ingredients, and pulse to combine. Transfer dry ingredients to a bowl.
- Process wet ingredients until smooth.
- Return dry ingredients to food processor, and pulse until a thick batter forms.
- Fold in chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.
- Spread batter into a parchment-lined 8x8 pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Now comes the most difficult part of making these peanut butter brownies... waiting until they're cool before slicing!
This is really important, though. Since they're gluten-free they are pretty fragile while warm.
Tips and Substitutions
- If you happen to have some brewed coffee on hand, replace 2 tablespoons of the milk with coffee. It takes the chocolate flavor to the next level!
- For refined sugar-free vegan brownies, try one of the different flavors by Hu Chocolates, and use coconut or date sugar instead of brown sugar.
- And for a peanut-free brownie, try these with sunflower seed butter!
How to Store
The brownies are fine at room temperature for a day, but I generally prefer to refrigerate them after they've cooled.
Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to one month.
More Desserts Made With Oats
I hope you enjoy these vegan peanut butter brownies. If you try the recipe I would love for you to leave a comment below to let everyone know how they turned out.
And feel free to tag a photo of your gorgeous brownies with @myquietkitchen on instagram. I always love to see what you're making!
Vegan Peanut Butter Brownies
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp old fashioned rolled oats - Certified gluten-free if needed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda - *If using Dutch process cocoa, use baking powder. Dutch process isn't acidic enough to react with baking soda.
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
- ½ cup regular cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
- ¾ cup peanut butter, salted - Smooth or crunchy.
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup non-dairy milk
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips, semi-sweet
- ½ cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line an 8 inch x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Pulse oats in food processor until they're the consistency of coarse flour (a few larger pieces are okay). Add remaining dry ingredients and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl.
- Combine wet ingredients in food processor, and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the dry ingredients to food processor and pulse until everything is combined. The batter will be thick and sticky. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.
- Spread the batter into the lined pan. Bake for 28-32 minutes, inserting a toothpick (or knife or chopstick) into the center to test for doneness.
- Remove from oven and let the brownies cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and cool completely (if possible) before cutting into 16 squares.
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.
Could fat be lowered by using part powdered peanut butter in place of full fat peanut butter by chance?
Hi Angela, you could probably reduce the peanut butter slightly but it does contribute moisture to the brownies, so in addition to powdered peanut butter for flavor you'd want to add moisture from applesauce or banana. Another way to reduce the fat is to reduce the chocolate and omit the walnuts.
Let us know if you give them a try!
I am thrilled I found you. I appreciate the variety of your recipes. I am plant based unimaginative. You may be exactly what I need. Salads and soups are getting tiring.
That's so kind, Ricki. Thank you! I hope you find lots of recipes you love. 😀
I could tell from the great photos that this was the brownie I was looking for - moist and dense, but not gooey. This is the perfect brownie - and the great pictures can't capture the amazing taste. I used maple sugar instead of brown sugar as that was recommended for WFPB. Thanks so much for this!
Karen, so glad you love them. I know what you mean about the texture...they’re my favorite, too! Thanks for the feedback. 🙂
Can you leave out the sugar?
Hi Anna, no the brown sugar is pretty important for both flavor and texture as the recipe is written. Omitting it would require reworking some of the other ingredients so that you would have a successful brownie. If you're looking for a healthier treat, you might like my refined sugar-free Banana Brownies!
Do these brownies come out gooey/ chewy or are do they have a cake like texture??
These are more of a dense type of brownie - sort of between gooey and cake. They can be made *more* gooey by sticking with a shorter bake time. They’re moist and rich tasting.
If you prefer a lighter, cake brownie, you might like my Oil-Free Banana Brownies.
I just found this recipe and made it today - they were wonderful! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
So glad you enjoyed them, Margie. Thank you for the feedback!
Lori, how can you say your peanut butter brownie is gluten-free, when oats are one of the grains (wheat, barley, oats and rye) a coeliac has to avoid, due to its gluten?
Hi Julie, with the use of certified gluten-free oats (manufactured to avoid cross contamination) this recipe is gluten-free. Thankfully labeling has gotten much better and GF oats are fairly easy to find. My understanding is that most people with celiac disease can safely eat GF oats. A small percentage can't but it's due to a different protein called avenin. Of course, it's up to the individual to know whether gluten-free oats are safe for them to eat.
CAN'T wait to try this and more, Great blog.
Thank you, Susan! 🙂