Gluten free and naturally sweetened—with these Healthy Brownies, you can have your cake brownies and eat them too!

healthy brownie made with cocoa powder and coconut sugar cut into squares

Pin this recipe on Pinterest to save for later

Pin It!

Any time I have attempted to reform my diet, even for a temporary period, I meet the same insurmountable barrier: chocolate.

It’s both my greatest food weakness and my greatest source of food happiness.

Rather than attempt to give it up, drive myself crazy with cravings, then feel bad when I slip, I find it far more pleasant to create healthier chocolate desserts like today’s healthy brownies.

easy healthy brownies without dates topped with frosting and chocolate chips

Although I don’t adhere to a specific diet (Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, etc.), I am certainly no stranger to the feeling that my body sometimes needs a bit of a reset— especially following the holidays when I realize that I’ve been subsisting primarily on cheese boards, Brownie Cookies, and champagne.

I suspect a few of you may share the same feeling, and that’s where this easy, healthy brownie recipe comes into play.

(These Avocado Brownies or Black Bean Brownies are other great healthy brownie options.)

dairy free healthy brownies made without banana and no oil

5 Star Review

“Like a little bit of heaven in each bite! Delicious!”

— Geneva —

How to Make Healthy Brownies

Made with almond butter, unsweetened cocoa, hefty hunks of dark chocolate, and a rich fudge frosting, this recipe is gooey, decadent, and…healthy?!

Yep, it’s true!

Flourless, gluten free (and grain free), dairy free, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar (no sugar of the granulated variety here!), these healthy brownies will satisfy any chocolate craving in a wholesome way.

Tip!

For another healthy brownie option that sneaks in a serving of veggies, check out these Sweet Potato Brownies.

The best healthy brownies gluten free with fudge frosting

The Ingredients

  • Almond Butter. Provides the brownies with all the richness and fat they need without adding any butter, vegetable oil, or canola oil to the recipe. Almond butter is packed with vitamin E and contains healthy monounsaturated fats.

Ingredient Note

Not all almond butters are created equal, so check your labels. To keep these brownies healthy, choose a natural almond butter with a simple ingredient list and no added sweeteners or preservatives.

  • Coconut Sugar + Maple Syrup. My choices for natural sweeteners that take the place of refined granulated sugar.

Substitution Tip

If you don’t keep coconut sugar in your pantry, you can swap it for light brown sugar.

  • Cocoa Powder. The trick to making traditional brownies (like my One Bowl Brownies and Brownie Bites) and healthy brownies such as these ultra-decadent.
  • Egg. Adds richness, improves texture, and gives the brownies a little lift and chew.
  • Vanilla Extract. Balances and intensifies the chocolate flavor.
  • Chocolate Chips. Get stirred into the batter and sprinkled on top.
  • Fudge Frosting. Made with a few of the wholesome ingredients above, along with almond milk and coconut oil to make it rich and spreadable, this easy fudge frosting is the perfect way to finish off these healthy brownies.

The Directions

mixing healthy brownie batter in a bowl without flour
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, prepare the brownie batter.
a bowl of naturally sweetened healthy brownie batter with chocolate chips
  1. Fold in the chocolate chips.
brownie batter healthy pressed into a square pan
  1. Spread the batter into a greased and lined 8×8 square baking pan.
a pan of freshly baked low calorie healthy brownies paleo
  1. Bake healthy brownies at 350 degrees F for 17 minutes. Let cool.
a saucepan of melting chocolate
  1. Prepare the frosting in a small saucepan on the stovetop.

TIP!

The mixture will look very separate at first but will come together as you continue to stir.

one bowl healthy brownie batter in a baking pan lined with parchment paper
  1. Spread the frosting over the brownies and sprinkle with additional chocolate chips. Allow the frosting to set, then slice and serve. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Keep the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Enjoy leftovers at room temperature or, to make them extra fudgy, warm slightly in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Cover the brownies uncut in the pan with foil and store frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Storage Tips

You may also freeze individual cut brownies in plastic wrap and heavy-duty foil.

What to Serve with Healthy Brownies

Add one (or more) of these other healthy desserts to your dessert spread. No one will ever guess they’re heathy.

Recommended Tools

The Best Brownie Pan Ever

The best pan for brownies, bars, and more. This square pan allows for quick and easy clean up and even baking.

healthy brownie made with cocoa powder and coconut sugar cut into squares

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

a slice of a low calorie brownie with a bite out of it

OK, over and out. We have some (healthy) chocolate to eat!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are These Healthy Brownies Paleo?

Yes. While I do not follow or study the Paleo diet, the recipe, as it is written, does happen to be Paleo-friendly. Just be sure to opt for coconut sugar and source dairy-free chocolate chips.

How Can I Make Healthy Brownies Vegan?

I have not tried making this healthy brownie recipe vegan, so it would be an experiment. You could try swapping the egg for a flax egg; however, I’m not sure how that would impact the texture of the recipe. If you’re looking for a tested and proven vegan option, try these Vegan Brownies.

Can I Make These Healthy Brownies Without Almond Butter?

I can’t recommend omitting nut butter from this recipe since it is crucial to its taste and texture. If you have an allergy, you could play around with sunflower butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, or other allergy-friendly alternatives depending upon your needs. If you give this a try, I’d love to hear about your results.

Healthy Brownies

5 from 12 votes
The BEST healthy brownies ever! Rich and fudgy, these easy brownies contain no flour, no oil and no refined sugar. Gluten free and grain free!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 17 mins
Total: 32 mins

Servings: 16 brownies

Ingredients
  

For the Brownies:

  • 1 cup creamy almond butter I use the natural kind that stays in the refrigerator after opening
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons coconut sugar or light brown sugar*
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate*

For the Fudge Frosting:


Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs two of the sides like handles, then coat again with spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almond butter, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the coconut sugar to absorb some of the moisture. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the top. Stir to combine.
  • With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, then with a spatula or your fingers, press the batter into an even layer.
  • Bake for 17 minutes, until the top is lightly dry and barely begins to puff. Let the brownies cool completely.
  • For the frosting, melt the chocolate with the almond butter and coconut oil in a small saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat, then stir in the almond milk and vanilla until very smooth and evenly combined. The mixture will look very separate at first but will come together as you continue to stir.
  • Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled brownies. Top with additional chocolate chips as desired. Refrigerate until the frosting is set, about 10 additional minutes. Slice and serve.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Keep the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Enjoy leftovers at room temperature or, to make them extra fudgy, warm them slightly in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: These healthy brownies may be frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • *DIETARY NOTE: If you would like to make these healthy brownies Paleo, make sure to opt for coconut sugar and source dairy-free chocolate chips.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 16)Calories: 261kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 6gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 13mgPotassium: 278mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 27IUCalcium: 83mgIron: 2mg

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite projects and tutorials.

Register

Related Recipes

More stealthy healthy chocolate recipes that will fool your friends and family.

Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Share this Article

Pin

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

You May Also Like

Free Email Series
Sign Up for FREE Weekly Meal Plans
Each includes a grocery list, budget, and 5 healthy dinners, helping you save time, save money, and live better!

Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




38 Comments

Leave a comment

  1. The fudgy-ness and chocolatey-ness of these brownies look UNREAL!  I’m sure they taste better then non-paleo brownies!

    1. Hi TJ! Regular butter would be fine. I’m not sure about the egg replacer, as I don’t have much experience with them. I definitely wouldn’t do something like eggbeaters, but I think you could play around with a flax “egg” (for each egg, mix 1 tablespoon flaxseeds with 2 1/2 tablespoons water, stir and let rest 5 minutes, then use in the recipe as directed). It would be an experiment, so use your best judgement, and if you do decide to try the recipe this way, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  2. These are amazing really rich I’m a chocoholic and they just really hit the spot it’s hard to believe there is no flour in them thankyou5 stars

    1. YAYYYYY Rene! I am so happy you enjoyed these so much. Cheers from one choc-o-holic to another :) Thank you also for the rating. That’s incredibly helpful to others and means a lot to me too.

    1. Hi Lillian, I actually would not recommend this substitution. Going from a dry to liquid sweetener could negatively affect the texture of the brownies. If you don’t have coconut sugar, brown sugar would be your best bet. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  3. My mom and I are both dieting through Paleo. We definitely relate to you on the chocolate craving part! The rest of the family isn’t going Paleo, but they tried the brownies. They were amazing! super easy-to-follow recipe, two thumbs up. Thanks so much!5 stars

  4. These are delicious! So chewy once they cooled! I used a chopped dark chocolate bar for the brownies and didn’t make the icing. They were SO good! Thank you! :)5 stars

  5. Just made these this afternoon and they are absolutely the best paleo/whole/real brownies ever! I was prepared to have another just okay batch to freeze for an occasional treat, since that’s how most brownie recipes turn out, but these are like having no restrictions dessert! My almond butter was ground at the store and isn’t creamy smooth, but that made no difference. I love love love them. Thanks so much for this recipe!5 stars

    1. YAY Amanda, I’m so glad you love these! Thank YOU so much for this wonderful review and for sharing your notes about the almond butter!

  6. I am trying these for the first time and they are in the oven right now. I’m just concerned that the “batter” didn’t exactly looks like a brownie battery but more like a cookie dough. I followed the recipe to the T. is it how it’s supposed to look like? I hope they turn out good. Have been looking for a good paleo brownies recipe for ages. :)

  7. This is the best brownie I’ve ever eaten, paleo or not! A friend made them for me and I had to beg her for the recipe. I’ve since passed it on to another friend and our plan is when it is next made, we will have a girls night and indulge :). Thank you for putting this together!!5 stars

    1. That’s awesome, Deb! I’m so glad you and others are enjoying the brownies! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this awesome review!

  8. Fantastic..love these brownies..the whole family loves them..very easy and quick to make..I made my own almond butter and used it in the recipe..delicious with or without the frosting..my son is even going to make it for class and use the recipe for his school project..will make again and again..thank you Erin!5 stars

    1. Rayyana, I’m so excited to hear that everyone loved the brownies! Thank you so much for giving the recipe a try and taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

  9. I love healthier recipes for classic favorites, but never expect them to taste quite as good as the real thing. These brownies were the exception! I can’t believe these ingredients when mixed together result in such a delicious brownie. I will definitely be making these again… next time with the frosting (I sadly didn’t have enough almond butter left to make the frosting this time). Thanks Erin for such an ingenious recipe!5 stars

    1. Woohoo MJ! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed these! I’d love to know what you think about the frosting too…it might be even better than the delicious brownies themselves. ;) Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this fabulous review!

  10. Best brownies ever! I needed something sweet but not totally off the rails after coming off of a whole30. I’m not strictly paleo but these are my go to recipe from now on. So so so delicious! Even my kids loved them, and they usually hate when I try an alternative recipe. 5 stars

    1. Kelly, I’m so excited to hear the recipe was a winner for you and a hit with the kids too! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this great review!

    1. Hi Amanda, unfortunately, I don’t have any personal experience with cacao powder. From what I can tell it’s somewhat interchangeable with regular cocoa powder, but it sounds like there can be some flavor differences and rising differences. If you’ve had success swapping it in the same quantities in other recipes, I’d say go ahead and give it a try here!

  11. I made your brownie recipe a few weeks ago and LOVED them so much BUT forgot to save the recipe of all things!! Gave some to my neighbor and daughter and family and everyone LOVED them. NOW I want to make them again and had to search for it – like looking for a needle in a haystack for sure! I remembered that there were steps, and minutes to do this and that – good memory for a 78 year old!! FINALLY found it and NEVER going to loose it again. The frosting was a bit hard after refrigerating so think I’ll add more liquid to it to make it softer. Is that OK?5 stars

    1. Joanne, I’m so glad you found this recipe again!! For the frosting, yes just add more liquid; I’d go slowly (just 1 tablespoon at a time) to make sure it doesn’t get *too* liquidy. Thanks for taking time to leave this wonderful review!

      1. I made a double recipe this time (am sharing with neighbor so wanted to make sure we got some too!) but think I left it in the oven too long, seems dry to me. I did use 2 tablespoons of extra liquid for the frosting and it stayed soft so perfect. THANKS AGAIN for this great recipe! Practice makes perfect so just have to keep making it til I get it right. BUT maybe I’ll wait awhile to make it, still LOTS of calories in these wonderful brownies.5 stars

        1. Joanne, I’m so glad you enjoyed this! If it came out dryer than you wanted, I’d suggest baking it a few less minutes next time.