Crackly top homemade vegan gluten-free brownies that are chewy, fudgy, rich, and super chocolaty! Not only is this simple recipe easy to make, NO ONE will know this recipe is eggless, dairy-free, and gf.
This recipe was tested with a few different flours and also contains info on how to make an oil-free version, so keep reading for all of the details.
Corner square? Or center square? Chewy? Or cakey?
As a brownie lover, you know these are very important questions. (For me, it’s center square and chewy, how about you?)
Luckily, you can have all of these things when you make this recipe, EXCEPT the cakey part… (if you want cakey brownies, check out this bite-size brownie recipe.)
This recipe went through extensive testing to make sure they turned out to be the ultimate, from-scratch brownies, so be sure to read this post from beginning to end to learn from everything I learned during my testing.
This will ensure you end up with the best chocolate brownies you’ll ever have the pleasure of devouring!
Ingredients You’ll Need
9 ingredients are all you need (plus water!) and you likely have every single one of them in your pantry right now.
As always, I recommend sticking with the recipe exactly as it is written for the very best results, but you’ll find some ingredient notes and substitutions so you know what can and absolutely can’t be swapped out.
Gluten-Free Flour Blend – The recipe below calls for Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 blend (the one in the blue bag) to make this recipe but I also tested with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour in the red bag and the results were great.
I also tested the recipe with oat flour which also produced great results. The oat flour brownies turned out with edges that were slightly crispier than when the other two blends were used. If you make your oat flour, make sure that you sift it first before measuring / weighing. Don’t skip this step or your measurement will be off.
Note that if you measure by weight, each flour has a different weight. Find the weight info for the alternate flours in the recipe notes.
I have not tested with any other flours other than what I’ve mentioned, so I don’t know how others will work. With gluten-free baking, it’s always important to use the same flour the recipe calls for to get the expected results.
NOTE: No matter which one you use, be sure that you measure your flour correctly before adding it to the recipe.
Vegan Butter – I have not made this recipe with coconut oil or vegetable oil, so I cannot comment on how the results would be, so I would stick with vegan butter for this recipe (I do plan on testing this, so I will update once I have an answer!).
Note that the butter has to be melted and hot before being added to the recipe, this helps to melt the sugar granules so you get the crinkly, crackly top. The hot butter also helps to “bloom” the cocoa powder, which is a fancy way of saying that it will enhance the chocolate flavour to make it even more deep and rich.
The butter can be replaced with applesauce for an oil-free version. See the FAQ section and the recipe notes for details on how to do this.
Flax Egg – Since this is an egg-free recipe, flax eggs are used as a replacement. Chia eggs will work as a replacement if you cannot have flax eggs. The water in the flax eggs also helps to dissolve the sugar. I’ve also tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer and the results were great, note that you may need to bake this version for a minute or two less than the time specified.
Baking Powder – This gives the brownies a tiny bit of lift, but not so much that it makes them fluffy and cake-like. Don’t omit this ingredient or the texture will not turn out correct. It cannot be substituted with baking soda.
Sugar – I use organic cane sugar but white granulated sugar will work, too. I have not tried this recipe with any sugar alternatives or liquid sweeteners.
Not all sugar is vegan, some are processed using animal bone char, so to be sure that yours is, buy a brand that’s organic (organic sugar is not processed using bone char).
Cocoa Powder – I use high-quality Dutch-process cocoa powder for these brownies because it’s darker will give you a fudgier brownie. Make sure you sift it to get all the lumps out.
Chocolate Chips – I always use dark / semi-sweet chocolate chips in my baking. Using chocolate chips in this recipe contributes to the gooey texture.
One thing to keep in mind is to make sure the chocolate chips you use are vegan. It can be tricky to know which brands are vegan because they may not always be labelled as vegan or they were not intended to be vegan, they just happen to be “accidentally” vegan.
Here in Canada, President’s Choice decadent semi-sweet chocolate chips and PC Organics bittersweet chocolate chips are vegan and there’s also Enjoy Life, and Kirkland Signature at Costco (in the big white bag).
In the US, look for Enjoy Life, Kirkland Signature from Costco (in the big white bag), or check Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s brands.
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How to Make It
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions at the end of this post.)
Start by whisking all the dry ingredients together in one bowl.
Next, using an electric mixer, mix the sugar and flax eggs in another bowl for a few minutes until everything is combined. The mixture will become very thick because of the flax eggs, that’s okay, keep mixing!
Once the sugar and flax eggs are mixed, add the hot melted butter, and vanilla to the bowl and continue mixing.
Mix until all the sugar granules have dissolved (about 4-5 minutes). You can test for this by picking up a small amount with a spoon and rubbing it between two fingers to feel if any granules remain. (Dissolving all the sugar has to do getting that shiny, crackly top!)
Once all the sugar has been dissolved, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth. Don’t over mix or you will add air to the batter and make the brownies turn out cakey. Mix just until everything has combined, don’t over mix. The batter will be very thick.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into a parchment-lined 8-inch by 8-inch metal pan (this is the one I own and love). The batter is very thick, so make sure to spread it evenly, smooth out the top, and then it’s time to bake!
NOTE: Lining the baking pan with parchment and leaving an overhang will help make removal from the pan extremely easy. If you don’t have parchment paper, foil can also be used.
How to Know When They’re Done
Follow the time stated in the recipe. You’ll know they’re done when they look a little dry around the edges, dry and a little cracked on the top. The middle should feel soft but firm.
You can do the toothpick test, but you aren’t looking to pull out a clean toothpick, instead, you want to see crumbs on the toothpick. That will mean that the inside is fudgy.
If you see any streaks of batter, you’ll need to bake for a few more minutes, and because there are chocolate chips in there, seeing shiny chocolate streaks come out on the toothpick (along with the crumbs and NO batter) is just fine.
How to Get Clean Slices
After you remove the brownies from the oven, let them sit in the pan for a couple of minutes and then using the parchment overhang, carefully remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack.
Allow the brownies to FULLY cool (at least 1.5 – 2 hours) before slicing so they can set up. Slicing too early will cause them to fall apart.
You can also run your knife under hot water, dry it, and then slice to get even cleaner slices. Repeat each time you cut.
Depending on how small or large you want your squares, slice into 9, 12, or 16 squares.
How to Get That Crackly Top
The key to getting that shiny, crinkly, crackly top that you likely got any time you made boxed brownies in the past is to make sure that the sugar has fully dissolved during the mixing phase.
Storing Leftovers / Freezing for Later
To Store Baked Brownies
Store your brownies for up to five days in an airtight container at room temperature. Keep in mind that if the brownies are sliced, they will dry out faster. Don’t store them in the refrigerator, this will cause them to dry out, rapidly.
Freezing Baked Brownies
It’s best to freeze the brownie unsliced instead of pre-slicing to prevent drying out. After the brownies have baked and fully cooled, wrap the unsliced brownie in plastic wrap and then store it in a freezer bag or an airtight container for up to two months.
When you’re ready to serve, thaw at room temperature, slice, and enjoy.
If you prefer to freeze them after they’ve been sliced, wrap the squares individually or very close together so they are touching, in plastic wrap and then store them in a freezer bag or an airtight container for up to two months.
When you’re ready to serve, just place them on a plate, bring them to room temperature, and enjoy.
What’s the Texture Like?
The center squares are fudgy, dense, and moist, while the outer squares are the same but with an added crispness to the outer edges.
Expert Tips for Success
- Measure and have all your ingredients ready to go before starting. This will make the process run smooth, quick, and easy.
- Measure your flour correctly. Too much flour in this recipe will result in cakey and possibly crumbly brownies. I highly recommend using a scale when baking (this is one I have (Amazon Link) and my weight measurements, but if you don’t have a scale, please read my article about how to measure flour correctly.
- Sift your cocoa powder. Cocoa powder tends to sometimes be lumpy and they don’t break up easily, so be sure to sift it before adding it to the bowl.
- Make sure your butter is melted and HOT before adding it to the recipe. This will help the sugar granules to melt (so you get that crackly top!) and enhance the flavour of the cocoa powder.
- Don’t over-mix the batter. You can mix the wet ingredients for as long as you need to, but once the dry ingredients have been added to the wet, mix just until it has combined and then stop. Over mixing will add too much air to the batter which will cause your brownies to end up cakey. Follow the mixing times in the recipe.
Are you new to vegan gluten-free baking? If so, be sure to read all of my vegan gluten-free baking tips!
Expert Tips for Success (continued)
- Line your pan with parchment paper or the brownies will stick to the pan! Lining the pan with parchment and leaving an overhang will also make it quick and easy to remove the brownies from the hot pan.
- Don’t over-bake them. If over-baked, your brownies won’t be fudgy, they will be cakey. Still delicious, just not with the intended texture. This also makes clean-up easier.
- Remove the brownies from the pan shortly after removing them from the oven. The brownies will continue to bake as long as they are sitting in the hot pan which can contribute to the brownies having a more cake-like texture.
- Make sure to fully cool the brownies before slicing. Slicing too early will result in messy slices and will cause them to fall apart.
- Read this post from top to bottom before you start. I’ve included a lot of tips and tricks so you get things right. Also read through the actual recipe before getting started.
- Follow the recipe exactly as it’s written for the very best results.
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Yes! You can still get your chocolate fix without the oil! During my testing, I replaced the vegan butter with plain, unsweetened applesauce and the results were good (see the recipe notes for measurement details). However, please be aware that you aren’t going to get the same brownies you see in the pictures above. The oil-free brownies did not have the crackly top and they were a little more on the cakey side but still had a fudgy mouthfeel (if that makes sense…).
I always use a light-coloured metal pan to bake my brownies (the baking time provided in the recipe below is for a metal pan). A metal pan will give you brownies with a crispier edge when compared to baking in a glass dish. A glass dish can also be used and will give you softer brownies, but keep in mind that since glass heats up and cools down slower than metal, you will need to add a few more minutes to the baking time. Glass also holds heat longer, so after they come out of the oven, make sure to remove them from the dish after a minute or two so they don’t continue baking and end up cakey.
Yes, walnuts work perfectly in this recipe. You can add 1/2 cup along with the chocolate chips or you can replace the chocolate chips with walnuts, but note that the chocolate chips contribute to the fudgy texture of the brownies, so you will lose a little of that if you omit the chocolate chips.
How to Serve Them
They’re perfect to enjoy just as they are but if you want to take things up a notch, you can top the squares with ice cream or chocolate drizzle, or you can even frost them with chocolate buttercream, peanut butter frosting, or for the holidays, peppermint buttercream and crushed mint candies.
If You Make This Recipe…
…please leave a comment and rating below! You can also share a picture on Instagram and tag me so I can see it, I’m @delightfuladventures over there.
And If You Like This Recipe…
…you may also like my vegan blondies or these other vegan gluten-free chocolate recipes!
- Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- Chocolate Banana Muffins
- Chocolate Mousse
Vegan Gluten-Free Brownies
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 6 tablespoons water
- ¾ cup (111g) gluten free flour **weight listed is for the Bob's Red Mill gluten-free blend in the blue bag, see important notes about flour below**
- ½ cup (42g) Dutch-process cocoa powder sifted
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup / 1 stick (113g) melted hot vegan butter
- ¾ cup (150g) organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (135g) chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Line baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.
- Prepare your flax eggs by whisking together ground flax seeds and water. Set aside to thicken.
- In a small bowl, add the gluten-free flour, sifted cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well to combine and set aside.
- Add sugar and flax eggs to a medium bowl, and using an electric mixer, beat for 2 minutes. Add the melted butter and vanilla and continue mixing for another 4-5 minutes, until all sugar granules have dissolved. Stop to scrape down the sides of your bowl, if needed.
- Add the flour mixture to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until the wet and dry ingredients have fully combined. The batter will be thick. Don't over mix.
- Add chocolate chips and stir until they have combined with the batter. Don't over mix.
- Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan, spread it evenly, and smooth out the top.
- Bake for 22-24 minutes, until the center is slightly set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownie comes out with moist crumbs and no wet batter (be careful not to overbake!)
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Using the parchment overhang, remove from the baking pan and place on a cooling rack.
- Cool completely, at least 1.5 – 2 hours, before slicing.
- Please read all of the information and FAQ info above, as well as the notes below before making this recipe.
- Baking this recipe in a high-quality, sturdy metal pan is recommended. The recipe timing is for a metal pan, so if you use a glass baking dish, you may have to add a few minutes to the baking time.
- It’s important to know that different gluten-free flour blends use different ingredients and ratios, so results may vary if you substitute. This recipe was tested with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour (Amazon link) in the blue package, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour (Amazon Link) in the red package, AND Oat Flour (Amazon Link) and each of them produced excellent results. Please know that your results may not be the same as mine if you substitute with another gluten-free flour blend that was not tested with this recipe. The weight listed in the recipe above is for the Bob’s Red Mill blend in the blue bag.
- Weights for Alternate Flours: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour in the red package (105g) and Oat Flour (63g) (use the same cup measurement for all of the flours (3/4 cup). If you make your oat flour, make sure that you sift it first before measuring / weighing. Don’t skip this step or your measurement will be off and your brownies will be crumbly.
- This recipe will NOT work with coconut flour or any other single gluten-free flour not mentioned, it must be one of the recommended flours to get the best results.
- For an oil-free version, replace the vegan butter with 1/2 cup (123g) plain, unsweetened applesauce. Note that you will not get the same texture or the crackly top if they are made oil-free.
- No matter which flour you use, make sure to measure your flour correctly.
- In my testing, I found that flax eggs provide the best result, but if you don’t or can’t have flax seeds, chia eggs will work as a replacement. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer also works well.
- Store your brownies for up to five days in an airtight container at room temperature. Keep in mind that if the brownies are sliced, they will dry out faster
- Freezing for Later: It’s best to freeze the brownie unsliced instead of pre-slicing to prevent drying out. After the brownies have baked and fully cooled, wrap the unsliced brownie in plastic wrap and then store it in a freezer bag or an airtight container for up to two months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw at room temperature, slice, and enjoy.
- If you do prefer to freeze them after they’ve been sliced, wrap the squares individually, or very close together so they are touching, in plastic wrap and then store them in a freezer bag or an airtight container for up to two months. When you’re ready to serve, just place them on a plate, bring them to room temperature, and enjoy.
- Nutrition info is based on 1 of 16 brownies with the recipe made as written (using the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour in the blue package) and is only to be used as a rough guide. Click to learn how nutrition info is calculated on this website.