These Gluten-Free Vegan Brownies are fudgy, chocolatey, and have that signature glossy top that looks gorgeous!
Anyone doing a veganuary this year? We’re not, but we’re always looking for delicious plant-based recipes to tuck into our regular rotation, and that includes vegan dessert recipes!
For ages, I’ve wanted to tackle a fudgy vegan brownies recipe, and THIS IS IT! But getting here wasn’t without it’s challenges–ha!
The biggest challenges for me in a gluten-free vegan brownie recipe are always the eggs and dissolving the sugar properly, since my usual brownie recipes rely on dissolving the sugar in eggs. So how do you make brownies without eggs? We experimented with different egg substitutes–powdered egg replacer, aquafaba, flax eggs, applesauce, etc. I just wasn’t happy with the taste or texture with these options.
And that’s when we finally cracked the code.
We figured out how to make fudgy vegan brownies that are gluten-free, have bakery-style glossy, crackly tops, and taste as fudgy and chocolatey as traditional brownies.
Here’s what you need to make gluten free vegan brownies with shiny, crackly tops…
Grab Your Ingredients!
- Gluten-Free Flour. Our go-to gluten-free flour blend is King Arthur Measure For Measure Flour. It’s great for gluten-free brownies, cakes, cookies, and more. If you use another brand, be sure it contains xanthan gum. and weigh or measure your flour carefully to avoid adding too much. (Also: Avoid Cup4Cup flour, which contains milk/dairy.) Do not substitute almond flour, coconut flour or any other flour as they won’t work in this recipe.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. I tested these with natural cocoa powder and Dutch process cocoa (dark cocoa powder), and we all agreed the natural cocoa powder brownies tasted better! (Use COCOA powder, not cacao powder for these brownies)
- Salt. Then, you’ll round out the dry ingredients with just enough kosher salt to balance the flavor.
- Vegan Butter. Use dairy-free, vegan buttery sticks like Earth Balance or Miyokos, rather than spreadable butter.
- Dairy-Free Milk. I used unsweetened almond milk, but other unsweetened plant based milk works here, too. Feel free to use soy milk, rice milk, cashew milk, etc.
- Sugar. Be sure you’re using vegan sugar. Organic cane sugar does not contain bone char and is considered vegan in the United States. Don’t substitute coconut sugar or maple syrup here, or you won’t get the same glossy tops & it will impact the texture.
- Chocolate Chips. For fudgy vegan brownies, you need plenty of chocolate. Pick up vegan chocolate chips or chocolate for this recipe. We like Enjoy Life chocolate chips and Toll House allergen free chocolate chips (Both budget friendly & easy to find!).
- Vanilla Extract. Plenty of pure vanilla extract really plays up the chocolate flavor in these brownies.
- …More Chocolate. Aaaand because you’re worth it (and because it helps with the brownies’ rise and glossy tops), we’re adding even more chocolate chips or chocolate chunks to these brownies right at the end.
How To Make Fudgy Vegan Brownies, Step By Step
- Preheat The Oven & Prep Your Pan. Star by preheating The Oven To 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 square metal baking pan with parchment paper. (Use a METAL pan, not a glass pan or the brownies won’t rise the same.)
- Combine The Dry Ingredients. In a medium bowl, combing gluten-free flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk to combine and to break up any clumps of cocoa. Set flour mixture aside.
- Melt Butter, Milk & Sugar. In a small saucepan, combine vegan butter, milk, and sugar. Stir over medium low heat, whisking until the sugar is completely dissolved. (No gritty or grainy texture left!) Do not let the mixture simmer or boil, just heat it long enough to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar completely.
- Stir In The Chocolate & Vanilla. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips and the vanilla extract. Whisk until the chocolate is fully melted. Let the mixture cool 3-5 minutes, so it doesn’t melt the remaining chocolate chips later.
- Add In The Dry Ingredients. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. The brownie batter will be thick, shiny, and sticky. If it’s still quite warm, let it cool another few minutes before adding the chocolate chips.
- Fold In The Chocolate Chips. Add the remaining 2/3 cup chocolate chips and gently fold in with a silicone or rubber spatula to combine. Pour the brownie batter into your prepared baking dish and smooth the surface.
- Bake The Brownies. Pop the brownies in the oven and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center isn’t jiggly. A toothpick inserted in the center will likely come out with a bit of thick batter, but it shouldn’t be thin or liquid. (Keep in mind that the brownies will continue to set as they cool. Try not to over-bake the brownies or you’ll lose the fudgy texture. If your toothpick comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs, the brownies are likely over-baked and will be more dry and cake-like than fudgy.)
- Cool & Cut. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the brownies cool completely before cutting. (I know it’s hard to wait, but if you cut them warm, they’ll likely be too gooey. Let them set, as they’ll continue to cook as they cool. Cut into 9 large squares, 12 rectangles, or 16 small squares. (Or even smaller pieces, if desired!)
- Serve & Store. Enjoy at room temperature or store in an airtight container. Vegan brownies will keep at room temperature 2 days, in the refrigerator 3-4 days, or you can freeze them up to 1 month.
How To Get a Glossy Top On Your Brownies
To me, there’s nothing that makes a brownie look more gorgeous than a shiny, glossy, crackly thin top that’s so common in boxed brownies or bakery brownies. It can be finicky to get until you understand exactly HOW that glossy top is formed. Here are a few ways to achieve a shiny top to your brownies:
Dissolve The Sugar Completely
The #1 tip I have for glossy brownie tops is fully dissolving the sugar. Interestingly, sugar only dissolves in water (not oil or fat), so you need some sort of water/water-containing liquid to help you dissolve the sugar in brownies. The most common methods are:
- Whisking the sugar with eggs (which we obviously aren’t doing in vegan brownies)
- Dissolving the sugar in warm or hot butter (or vegan butter). This is the method we’re using today for our vegan brownie recipe, along with dairy-free milk to help us along! Butter (even vegan butter) contains water, while oils like coconut oil don’t, so it helps dissolve the sugar better than oils do.
- Using fine sugar or powdered sugar. It’s very important that the sugar is totally dissolved (no grain or gritty bits left). Some recipes even use superfine sugar or powdered sugar to achieve this since it dissolves better, though vegan versions can be trickier to find. We’re sticking with regular sugar here.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Vegan Brownies
Don’t Reduce The Sugar. I know you might be tempted to reduce the sugar or substitute it with coconut sugar or maple syrup, but it will significantly impact both the appearance and the texture of these brownies. Don’t do it. Just save this vegan brownie recipe for the next time you need a delicious indulgence.
Get A Clean Cut. Brownies cut best when they’re cold or completely cooled. (You can always let them warm up again at room temp after cutting if you’re worried about cold brownies.) Use a long, sharp knife and use a straight-down slicing motion, rather than trying to saw back and forth (which will rip the top). Wipe the knife off with a damp cloth or run it under hot water in between cuts for the cleanest look.
How Long Do Vegan Brownies Stay Fresh? These gluten-free vegan brownies will keep at room temperature 2 days, in the fridge 3-4 days, or in the freezer up to a month!
Try Them With Nuts Or Build A Sundae! If you prefer, feel free to use half walnuts, pecans or any other nut along with the chocolate chips. (Or build a vegan ice cream sundae with vegan ice cream & vegan hot fudge sauce!)
The Best Pan For Brownies. We exclusively use this metal pan for making brownies. Light metal conducts heat differently than glass or ceramic and helps your brownies bake evenly, without climbing up the sides or cooking in hot spots. (See all our favorite baking pans here.)
Leave a star review and comment below after you try this vegan brownies recipe. I’d love to know how it goes!Print