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Gluten-Free Crunch Brownies

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Made with fudgy gluten-free brownies and a chocolate crisp topping, these gluten-free crunch brownies mimic the classic candy bar!

two gluten-free crunch brownies on a white plate

I’ll always love a classic brownie recipe, but there’s also something SO fun in branching out with some epic mix-ins or toppings!

Today, we’re going big with these gluten-free crunch brownies! They’re made to mimic all the classic flavor and texture of a crunch bar. The fudgy, chewy gluten-free brownie base gets topped with a chocolate and crisp rice cereal topping that feels like biting into the classic candy bar. YUM!

Even though they’re a better-than-basic brownie, you don’t need any fancy skills or tricky ingredients to make them. Here’s what you need to make these EPIC gluten-free crunch bar brownies…

ingredients for gluten-free crunch bar brownies
gluten-free brownies with chocolate crunch topping

Here’s What You Need To Make These Epic Brownies

  • Chocolate Chips. I use semisweet chocolate chips for both the brownie base and the crunch topping. It’s the perfect sweet spot between milk chocolate (too sweet for these!) and dark chocolate (too bitter for these).
  • Butter. Next up is some butter. These brownies should work with dairy-free butter/vegan butter sticks if you want to keep them dairy-free, but I love the flavor of classic butter.
  • Vanilla. Some vanilla extract plays up the notes in the chocolate. Lovely.
  • Sugar. Dissolving the sugar properly in the eggs is the secret for glossy-top brownies. Don’t rush this step later!
  • Eggs. Two large eggs give these brownies the perfect puff and chewiness.
  • Gluten-Free Flour. I’m keeping things simple with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. Our go-to is this measure-for-measure gluten-free flour from King Arthur. We use it for all our cookies, brownies, and more.
  • Cocoa Powder. Unsweetened cocoa powder (natural cocoa not Dutch-processed) is my go-to for these brownies. I use Hershey’s brand most of the time since it’s easy to find, affordable, and consistent in quality and texture.
  • Kosher Salt. Then, some salt balances the flavors. I’m using kosher salt, but if you use fine table salt, be sure to use a little less than I do!
  • Our Easy Crunch Topping. Made from melted chocolate, butter, and gluten-free crisp rice cereal, this crunch topping tastes and feels like a classic Crunch bar! It’s what puts these brownies over the top. Just make sure you use gluten-free crisp rice cereal to make them. (Rice Krispies brand is NOT gluten-free!)
making gluten-free crunch bar brownies, step by step

How To Make Crunch Bar Brownies, Step By Step

Start With The Brownie Base

  1. Preheat The Oven & Prep The Pan. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 metal baking pan with parchment paper. (Use metal instead of glass or ceramic, or the brownies will climb the sides of the pan.)
  2. Melt The Chocolate & Butter. In a small saucepan, gently melt the chocolate and butter together. on low heat, stirring until smooth. You can also do this in a microwave-safe bowl, melting in 20-30 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each interval.
  3. Stir In The Vanilla, and mix until smooth and glossy.
  4. Whip Sugar & Eggs. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and eggs. Whisk or beat until the sugar has dissolved and the egg mixture has lightened in color significantly. (When you rub the mixture between your fingers, there should be almost no grit at all.) This will take several minutes by hand, or 2-3 minutes with a hand mixer.
  5. Combine Eggs. & Chocolate. Pour the partially cooled mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Mix In Dry Ingredients. Add gluten-free flour, cocoa powder and salt to the batter and stir until just combined and no dry patches remain.
  7. Pour Into The Pan & Bake. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-23 minutes, or until the brownies are set on the top. (Try not to over-bake here or the brownies will go dry.)
  8. Cool Completely Before Topping. Let the brownies cool to room temperature before adding the crunch topping. (You can speed this up by popping them into the fridge to cool down)
making gluten-free crunch bar brownies, step by step

Then, Make The Chocolate Crunch Topping

  1. Melt Chocolate & Butter. In a clean saucepan, gently melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth. This mixture will be thicker than what you used for the brownie batter. If it’s getting difficult to stir, you can add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to help, but this isn’t necessary. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and butter in 20-30 second increments in a microwave safe bowl)
  2. Mix In Cereal. Add the cereal to the chocolate and stir to coat well.
  3. Top The Brownies. Pour the chocolate/cereal mixture onto the cooled brownies and gently smooth it out into an even layer. Chill the brownies in the fridge 30-60 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
  4. Serve & Store. Cut the brownies into squares or rectangles and enjoy! Keep leftover brownies in the fridge 2-3 days, or freeze up to 2 months in an airtight container or bag.

A Few Tricks To Help You:

gluten-free brownies with chocolate crunch topping

FAQ + Tips For The BEst Crunch Bar Brownies

Make Sure You Use Gluten-Free Cereal! Rice Krispies cereal brand is NOT gluten-free. It contains malt, which is not gluten-free. To make these brownies gluten-free, you must use one of these brands of certified gluten-free crisp rice cereal. We usually reach for Barbara’s or Aldi brands.

Our Favorite Brownie Pan. Time and time again, we reach for this metal square 8-inch pan for brownies and bars of all kinds. It’s durable, easy to clean, and uses a light metal so it bakes evenly. (Dark pans can scorch the outside of the bake before the centers are done.)

Do You Have To Refrigerate Crunch Brownies? Our gluten-free crunch bar brownies should do just fine at room temperature for 1-2 days, but we usually store them in the fridge so they last 3-4 days. I pull them out before serving them so they can come up to room temperature and that works well for me!

Cut Small Slices. These epic brownies are fairly rich, so smaller brownies are better. I usually cut them into 9 large squares then cut each square in half again for a total of 18 rectangles. This is great for a dessert bar, treat plate, or buffet. If these are the only dessert out there, you may prefer cutting them into 16 squares (4 rows & 4 columns).

Can I Use A Box Brownie Mix Instead? I really love our from-scratch brownies for this recipe, but box mix brownies work great, too! Our favorite gluten-free brownie mix is this one.

WE ♥

🌟 Leave a star review below when you try our Gluten-Free Crunch Bar Brownies recipe! We can’t wait to hear what you think!

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two gluten-free crunch brownies on a white plate

Gluten-Free Crunch Bar Brownies


  • Author: Emily Dixon, Sweets & Thank You
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 1620 brownies 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Made with fudgy gluten-free brownies and a chocolate crisp topping, these gluten-free crunch brownies channel all the flavor and texture of the classic candy bar!


Ingredients

Scale

For The Brownie Layer:

  • 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces/226 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) gluten-free measure-for-measure flour
  • 3 Tablespoons (24 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (use less if using fine table salt)

For The Crunch Topping:

  • 2 cups (12 oz./340 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free crisp rice cereal**

Instructions

First, Make The Brownie Base:

  1. Preheat The Oven & Prep The Pan. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 metal baking pan with parchment paper. (Use metal instead of glass or ceramic, or the brownies will climb the sides of the pan.)
  2. Melt The Chocolate & Butter. In a small saucepan, gently melt the chocolate and butter together. on low heat, stirring until smooth. You can also do this in a microwave-safe bowl, melting in 20-30 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each interval. Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Stir In The Vanilla, and mix until smooth and glossy.
  4. Whip Sugar & Eggs. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and eggs. Whisk or beat until the sugar has dissolved and the egg mixture has lightened in color significantly. (When you rub the mixture between your fingers, there should be almost no grit at all.) This will take several minutes by hand, or 2-3 minutes with a hand mixer.
  5. Combine Eggs. & Chocolate. Pour the partially cooled mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Mix In Dry Ingredients. Add gluten-free flour, cocoa powder and salt to the batter and stir until just combined and no dry patches remain.
  7. Pour Into The Pan & Bake. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-23 minutes, or until the brownies are set on the top. (Try not to over-bake here or the brownies will go dry.)
  8. Cool Completely Before Topping. Let the brownies cool to room temperature before adding the crunch topping. (You can speed this up by popping them into the fridge to cool down)

Then Make The Crunch Topping

  1. Melt Chocolate & Butter. In a clean saucepan, gently melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth. This mixture will be thicker than what you used for the brownie batter. If it’s getting difficult to stir, you can add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to help, but this isn’t necessary. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and butter in 20-30 second increments in a microwave safe bowl)
  2. Mix In Cereal. Add the cereal to the chocolate and stir to coat well.
  3. Top The Brownies. Pour the chocolate/cereal mixture onto the cooled brownies and gently smooth it out into an even layer. Chill the brownies in the fridge 30-60 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
  4. Serve & Store. Cut the brownies into squares or rectangles and enjoy! Keep leftover brownies in the fridge 2-3 days, or freeze up to 2 months in an airtight container or bag.

Notes

*I use regular unsweetened cocoa rather than dark cocoa/Dutch-processed cocoa. It’s personal preference, but I think the regular cocoa complements the crunch topping better!

**Be sure your crisp rice cereal is certified gluten-free. (Rice Krispies brand contains malt and is NOT gluten-free) We like Barbara’s or Aldi brands!

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: crunch bar brownies, crunch brownies, gluten free crunch brownies, gluten free crunch brownie recipe

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2 Comments

  1. This recipe was absolutely fantastic! This was completely delicious and had my whole family wowed! I found that melting the chocolate and butter (for both brownie and topping) in a saucepan was substantially easier than in the microwave. I’m very pleased with how this turned out, and I will be making it again in the future.