Chewy Vegan & Paleo Brownies

If you love brownies, you’re in luck, because these are amazingly decadent.

chewy-vegan-brownies
When it comes to brownies, mine have to have a chewy and fudgy texture. That’s pretty difficult to achieve without a large quantity of eggs, butter, and sugar, but after numerous attempts, I think I came up with a pretty delicious solution.

Almond meal provides plenty of fat and fiber to these chewy grain-free brownies, while coconut sugar offers a low-glycemic alternative to traditional white sugar. Granulated sugar is essential for creating that delicious crackled crust on the top of the brownies and gives them their chewy texture, but unlike its refined counterpart, coconut sugar still retains many minerals from the coconut palm, including iron, zinc, calcium and potassium.

I tried to develop this recipe exclusively with coconut sugar (because I always like to keep the ingredient list as concise as possible), but in this case a liquid sweetener was also necessary to provide enough moisture and sweetness. My husband likes to act as my brutally-honest-taste-tester, and he didn’t care for these brownies at all until I added the maple syrup– they just aren’t sweet enough for most people without it. However, you’re welcome to experiment with your family’s own taste buds if you want to try to reduce the sugar a bit more. I also added some dark chocolate chips per my husband’s request, making it a more traditional brownie with chunks of chocolate in each bite. However, if you prefer a 100% naturally sweetened treat, feel free to leave them out.

To make these brownies egg-free, I first tried using chia eggs as a substitute. The texture turned out well, but the flavor wasn’t great– they tasted like a “healthy” brownie, which is fine, but I wanted to make a truly crowd-pleasing alternative. The best option I found was using arrowroot starch! Arrowroot is often used to thicken gravy or added to recipes for babies, but it also makes a great binder in these brownies. You could also use Tapioca Starch/Flour if you prefer, though that substitution does affect the flavor slightly.

I hope you enjoy these brownies as much as I do– they have become quite additive in my home!

Chewy Vegan & Paleo Brownies
Makes 16

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups almond meal (ground almonds)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

Gently melt the baking chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler and stir until smooth. (Or you can use a heat-safe bowl over a pot of boiling water, like I did– you only need an inch or two of water in the bottom pot.) In a large mixing bowl combine the arrowroot, water, and maple syrup and use a whisk to stir them together, breaking up any lumps. Add in the melted chocolate and oil, along with the coconut sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and stir well. Add in the almond meal, and stir, creating a thick and uniform batter. Stir in the chocolate chips, if using.

brownie-mix

Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly into the bottom of the lined baking dish, and smooth the top. This batter is much thicker and stickier than traditional brownie batter so you’ll definitely have to use the spatula to spread it well. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, until the top looks crinkly and your whole house smells like rich, chocolate brownies.

vegan-brownies

Now comes the hard part– these brownies are WAY too sticky when hot, so you need to wait for them to cool completely before cutting them into squares. I placed mine in the fridge to speed the process along! Once they are cool, cut them into 16 squares and serve at room temperature. These brownies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week, or in the fridge for longer. (Or as long as they last before you eat them.)

brownies-and-milk

4.9 from 24 reviews
Chewy Vegan & Paleo Brownies
Author: 
Serves: 16
 
Rich and chewy brownies that are grain-free, egg-free, and naturally sweetened!
Ingredients
  • 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¼ cup arrowroot starch/flour
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups almond meal
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Gently melt the baking chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler and stir until smooth. (Or you can use a heat-safe bowl over a pot of boiling water, like I did-- you only need an inch or two of water in the bottom pot.) In a large mixing bowl combine the arrowroot, water, and maple syrup and use a whisk to stir them together, breaking up any lumps. Add in the melted chocolate and oil, along with the coconut sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and stir well. Add in the almond meal, and stir, creating a thick and uniform batter. Stir in the chocolate chips, if using.
  3. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly into the bottom of the lined baking dish, and smooth the top. This batter is much thicker and stickier than traditional brownie batter so you'll definitely have to use the spatula to spread it well. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, until the top looks crinkly and your whole house smells like rich, chocolate brownies.
  4. Now comes the hard part-- these brownies are WAY too sticky when hot, so you need to wait for them to cool completely before cutting them into squares. I placed mine in the fridge to speed the process along! Once they are cool, cut them into 16 squares and serve at room temperature. These brownies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week, or in the fridge for longer. (Or as long as they last before you eat them.)

Note: I don’t recommend making substitutions in this recipe, as grain-free and egg-free recipes can be very tricky to work with. If you do make any substitutions, please leave a comment below letting us all know what worked for you! 

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

110 thoughts on “Chewy Vegan & Paleo Brownies

  1. Sarah

    Yummiiieee, these brownies sound amazing. I will try them this weekend!!.
    Btw: i have pre ordered your cooking book from Switzerland. I hope to get the special gift although i’m living abroad 🙂
    I love your website Megan! Thanks for all the great recipes!!

    Reply
  2. Susan

    Those are seriously the most delicious brownies I have ever seen. I can’t wait to make them! Thanks Megan.

    Reply
      1. Nicole

        Hi Megan. I know these are vegan brownies, but what if I wanted to use eggs instead of the arrowroot powder?

        Reply
  3. Katie G

    Thanks for the recipe and hardwork on these Megan- they look amazing! Cant wait to try them as my 1 sweet a week. Do you think they will freeze well so I can enjoy over the month?!

    Reply
  4. MJ

    Is the almond meal pulp from making almond milk or is it the dehydrated pulp (i.e. almond flour)?
    I get confused!

    Reply
  5. Amy Goodermote

    Do you think I can substitute Namaste Foods Gluten Free flour mix for the arrowroot? There is arrowroot starch in it.
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Erin L

      NO– honey did not work for me as it got rock-hard when totally cooled and I couldn’t even cut the outside edges with a knife. The center was still good. But I think the honey hardens more than maple syrup so it was basically a wasted recipe. When made exactly as the recipe says, these are AMAZING and my favourite brownies ever!!!!!!

      Reply
  6. Sandy

    I definitely have to make these … haven’t tried one of your recipes that I haven’t loved … but question for you.
    Any way to make these nut free? Hubby is allergic to nuts and he loves brownies. Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Jessica

    Will it turn out much differently if I replace the coconut sugar with maple syrup or honey? If those are acceptable, how much of those liquid sweeteners should I add to replace it?

    Reply
  8. Lauren

    I love your recipes!! Wondering if you had a substitute for almond flour–my son is allergic. Ground sunflower seeds??

    Reply
  9. Christine

    Megan, These are by far your best brownies! In fact, they are the best Paleo brownies I have ever made. With having 3 kids and a husband, I have made a lot of brownies. I can’t believe how chewy they are. I would take these any day over butter and white sugar filled brownies. My kids will thank you!

    Reply
  10. John Pilla

    If I use raw cocoa powder, normally about 3:1 ratio equivalent to fudge in another ( unhealthy ) brownie recipe, cab
    n I use instead? And if so, how much? Still 3 Oz by weight like the unrelated bakers choc? Or is the bakers choc a different weight when melted?.

    Reply
      1. Lourdes

        Hi!
        I don’t have a choco bar, only cacao. You made it like that plus more coconut oil and came out good? not too oily? im making them for thx giving and wouldn’t like to mess up the dessert, thx!

        Reply
  11. Mary

    I just put this in the oven…but i ran out of almond meal so i ended up mixing it with coconut flour…hope it will turn out ok…! did you try this with coconut flour as well?

    Reply
  12. Brianna

    I just made these and they are delicious! I added in the chocolate chips and found them a bit too chocolaty though (as if that were even possible right!) The good part about them being so chocolaty is that I had a smaller portion due to the richness! I think next time I will omit the chocolate chips though so it’ll be a little less rich and I can eat the whole pan! (kidding..lol)

    Reply
  13. dina

    Hey there! I just made these heavenly brownies and did the following substitutions:
    For every ounce of chocolate I used 3 tablespoons of cacao powder
    I added 4 tablespoons water and 2 extra teaspoons coconut oil since I used cacao powder
    Instead of arrowroot starch or flour, I used one egg (sorry vegans!)
    I omitted the maple syrup because the chocolate chips I used were made with coconut flower sugar (Vivani brand) and the brownies came out perfect to my taste (not too sweet, just extra chocolate-y).
    Thank you so much for the inspirational recipe!

    Reply
  14. Brenda

    These came out really chewy with a coconut sugar taste. I prefer a milder honey taste so think I would cut back on the sugar and up the liquid sugar just a tad. Thanks for the idea if using cocoa instead of chocolate which I don’t always have. Also, mine didn’t rise as much as the photos brownies. Anyone else have that problem? Did use a 9×9.

    Reply
  15. sassygirl711

    this recipe looks great and we will be baking it this
    weekend. 🙂
    love the crackly top!
    thanks for sharing…

    Reply
  16. Shelley Giardino

    For the almond meal, can you use the remainder of the almonds from making almond milk for this (using a juicer you just end up with dry pulp) .

    Reply
  17. Heather

    Oh. My. Goodness. Delicious. I used honey instead of syrup and had to use 1/2 of a cup of coconut flour because I ran out of almond meal. These brownies are perfect with a glass of red wine and three episodes of Mad Men. Donald Draper goes well with any snack! Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  18. Brianna

    ****Recipe Update****
    I re-made these brownies to make them suit my taste better and it was heavenly! I used 2 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate instead of 3 ounces and used an ounce (or 3 tablespoons) of coconut milk in it’s place to give it a milk chocolaty taste! I also cooked it for 35 minutes because I really enjoy it super chewy! I wish they weren’t so high in fat because I could seriously eat the entire pan! Next up you need to create a vegan, gluten free, fat-free, refined sugar free, heck maybe even calorie free recipe..haha.. if ever there were such a brownie I’d be in big trouble!

    Reply
  19. Gina

    These were absolutely amazing! This will be a new favorite in our house! Because I didn’t have almond meal, I food processed almonds. I couldn’t get them super fine so my brownies were a bit crunchy, but we liked it! I forgot to add chocolate chips and I must say we didn’t think they were needed, so next time I won’t add them either. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Reply
  20. Kelsey

    Hi! These brownies look incredible. I had one question though. I tend to also eat low sugar and I can probably get away with the 1/4 cup of maple syrup but I was wondering if the consistency would be ruined if I replaced the majority of the coconut sugar with stevia? Or if you had any other tips I could use?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  21. Emilee

    I was wanting to make these but dont have access to any maple syrup right now. Could honey be substituted ya think, or would it affect the flavor?

    Reply
    1. Lex

      I did these with honey and they turned out great! The flavor, I imagine, is a little different. Still good, though!

      Reply
  22. kathleen

    I made these yesterday and they are DELICIOUS! The middle stays so soft and chewy. The bottoms are rather hard though – but I may have left them in the oven for a little too long…

    Reply
  23. Carol

    Great brownies. I used 1/2 cup of black beans in place of the chocolate chips. The beans tasted like chocolate.

    Reply
    1. Stacey

      This is intriguing– and possibly a silly question… Did you use canned black beans? Or dry? Or did you cook the dry ones? (I’m trying to figure out how they tasted like chocolate chips…. Thanks!

      Reply
  24. lynette

    Do you think cashew flour would work instead of the almond meal as I have an allergy to almonds. Thanks these look delish!

    Reply
  25. Katie G

    Just made these brownies this past weekend and made them without the additional chocolate chips per other reviewers comments. These turned out super good if you like the fudgy type brownie. They are not a “cakey” type. Also, per Megan’s instructions it really is best to have them completely cooled before slicing, they also warm up quick to room temperature once out of the fridge. Next time I would add walnuts.

    Thanks for another great recipe Megan!

    Reply
  26. Jen

    I have been dying to try these and finally felt it was a good brownie day today. They sort of failed for me. Now I am sure it was my error, but I didn’t make any substitutions. Though I was cooking with a 2.5 year old… so my mind may have been not fully in the recipe. The only thing (I think) I didn’t do was the parchment paper as I ran out. I will be trying these again, because they obviously will be amazing (like all your recipes!) when I get it right. Do you think the lack of parchment paper could have been the culprit? I didn’t think that would really affect how it cooked (I just used a bit of coconut oil to grease the pan), just how it stuck to the pan and came out easier. Next time I’ll have to make them after bed time 🙂 Thanks in advance, and it will just be a good reason to have another brownie day next week.

    Reply
  27. Adriana

    Awh man! I was sooo looking forward to these brownies from your mentions in previous posts! (And glad I anxiously awaited them!) I can’t wait to try them out because they look scrummy, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to share them with my boyfriend as he has a nut allergy! Perhaps that’s secretly a good thing because they’ll be so awesome that I won’t want to share :P! I hope that someday you develop the perfect vegan AND nut-free brownie, because I love your recipes! Until then, I might just try some of my own baking experiments! (Perhaps subbing ground pumpkin seeds for the almond meal might just work!)
    Thanks for sharing your recipe! I can’t wait to try it out! Yuuuummm!

    Reply
  28. Lex

    An earlier commenter said that they substituted 9 TBSP of cocoa and 3 TBSP of coconut oil for the 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate. Just here to say that it worked for me as well!

    Also, this recipe is amazing. So reminiscent of the boxed brownies I used to love! Thanks for working so hard to get this right for us. 🙂

    Reply
  29. Erin Shaw

    So I just made these and they’re heavenly! Finding a good chewy vegan brownie recipe is impossible without a load of crap thrown in, so thank you thank you! One question, I used a 9×9 baking dish and mine came out very thin and the edges were crispy since I baked the full 30 minutes, which is fine we still love them, but I was wondering if I could have gone wrong somewhere. Also when I took them out of the oven they were bubbling, is that normal? Thanks again!

    Reply
  30. Erin

    Perfect. We used to like boxed brownies but are way too sweet now. Followed the recipe exactly, including chocolate chips and it was great. The batter is super thick, you must use parchment paper. I baked in a 11×7 for 30 min. The top did not crackle as much as I was expecting until they cooled.

    Reply
  31. Pingback: Healthy Brownies, Decadent Taste

  32. CgHunter

    I made a batch of these today.
    ABSOLUTELY INSANE!
    Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Reply
  33. Naaku

    Love this blog!! One question, I know you say not to substitute there’s NO arrowroot where I live! I was gonna substitute with tapioca flour and hope for the best but do you think egg would be a better substitution?

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Tapioca flour is very similar to arrowroot, so I think it should work similarly! The taste might be just slightly different.

      Reply
      1. Naaku

        Worked perfectly! I also did the cocoa powder substitution and it worked great. Chewy and delicious!! Thanks so much

        Reply
  34. Luv Alissa

    Oh em gee! These were SO decadent and delicious! Better than any brownie I have ever tasted! I am in love with this recipe, as well as your “healthiest cookies ever” recipe… two real dessert winners! I purchased your cookbook, and your recipes are amazing! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and creativity 🙂

    Reply
  35. Sharon

    In place of the unsweetened baking chocolate, can raw organic cacao powder be used? If so, would it still be 3 ounces? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I don’t provide nutrition information, but you can use a free calculator on Fitday.com or MyFitnessPal.com to calculate any numbers you might need.

      Reply
  36. Marie

    Wowzers I just made these today and they are the best!!! Thank you for sharing, finally I have a paleo treat that actually satisfies me! I added 1/4 cup of dried coconut for fun and it turned out great. Thanks!!

    Reply
  37. Emily

    Wow, these are hands down the best brownies I have had. So gooey and full of flavor! Thank you for always creating amazing recipes, I’ve tried several of your recipes and they are always more than satisfying! Keep creating please 🙂

    Reply
  38. Sue

    Hi are these really sweet due to the amount of sweetners in it (maple syrup and coconut sugar)? If I wanted to reduce amount of maple syrup/coconut sugar what would be the most I could reduce them to without compromising too much in flavour/ texture? Hope you are able to reply. Hope to make these for a Christmas celebration.

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I usually try to use the minimum amount of sweetener to make them taste “good” to other people. If you change the recipe any further, I can’t guarantee how it will turn out– grain free baking is super tricky! I would say most of my recipes aren’t as sweet as traditional brownies or cookies, so they won’t taste “really sweet” to other people.

      Reply
      1. Sue

        Thank you for such a prompt reply. Yes grainfree baking sure can be tricky. I’ve been paleo for almost a year and still struggle a bit with getting ratios of ingredients right. I’ve reduced my sugar intake quite significantly which is why I thought I’d ask about the sweetness. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make them for Christmas but hope to make them for new years. Thanks again.

        Reply
  39. Tammy

    For health reasons I have just started the paleo journey. I made these last night. I was singing your praises! Absolutely amazing!

    Reply
  40. Susan

    These are the best brownies EVER! I love how gooey and chewy they are. Thank you so much for a delicious treat that’s even egg-free!!

    Reply
  41. Maru

    Literally the BEST brownie EVER. I mean these are better than any bakary brownies. It doesn’t even taste healthy, so chewy and decadent. I’ve been reluctant to buy coconut sugar and arrowroot starch but so glad I finally did. Thanks SO much for inventing this!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  42. Kerry

    While I’ve made several yummy versions of vegan brownies they have always lacked the chewy factor of traditional brownies. My search is over!!! Bravo for these CHEWY, fudgy brownies; spot on!!!!!

    Reply
  43. Shannon

    I just made my second batch of these brownies. You’re right, the hardest part is letting them cool! I couldn’t help myself and had to spoon a bite out of the baking dish. While I like to mix up my vegan brownie recipes, this is #1! So ooey gooey chewy.

    Reply
    1. Nadine

      I’m curious about that also. I’m thinking maybe adding an ounce or 2 of water, or almond milk.. try to replicate the moisture that the melted chocolate has.

      Reply
      1. Nadine

        Successfully replaced the baking chocolate with cocoa powder! I used 3/4c cocoa powder, and added one additional tablespoon of oil. Turned out awesome!! (I also used tapioca starch instead of arrowroot… worked great!)

        Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      You’d have to use another type of granulated sugar for similar results, but keep in mind that other granulated sugars are MUCH sweeter than coconut sugar.

      Reply
  44. Barb

    These turned out great! I soaked dates & then purred them, ended up being 3/4 cup purred dates and 1/4 cup coconut sugar and reduced amount of almond flour to 3/4 cup. Love these brownies & my blood sugar didn’t spike!

    Reply
  45. Jules

    Thank you – these brownies turned out superb. I loved the chewiness to these brownies along with the perfect amount of sweetness.

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Tapioca starch should also work, but I’m not sure about any other alternatives. Any substitution is always an experiment!

      Reply
  46. PattiPatti

    I would also like to know about the date purée. Sounds and I like using dates. I also appreciate the useing the other flour instead of arrow root because I don’t have any mostly. Your recipes are great
    Thanks

    Reply
  47. Patti

    Hi
    I just made the brownies. I doubled the recipe and put it in a 9/13 pan but it’s been in the oven for 45 min and it’s still not done.

    Help!!!!!

    Reply
  48. Rachel

    I generally like my desserts not so sweet, so I only used 3/4 cup of coconut sugar. Other than that, I followed the recipe. I used an 11×7 pan and baked for 20 mins. I love the chewy texture! It turns out I could have used the full cup of sugar and maybe bake for 25 mins next time. Great recipe! Thank you for sharing your recipes, and for all your hard work!

    Reply
  49. Emma

    I made these with a few substitutes; corn flour instead of arrowroot and brown sugar instead of coconut sugar. I baked them for 30 minutes and they didn’t turn out very attractive but tasted chocolaty with a chewy texture. I would recommend the recipe to vegan friends thanks!

    Reply
  50. lilee

    i tried these (with tapioca starch) and they were really delicious! my only question was that the batter seemed a lot less in volume compared to your photos (i measured everything correctly), and was very thin when spread out in an 8 x 8 pan. The edges were bubbling a bit when i took them out but they didn’t rise as yours did. In fact, it seemed like a top layer of crust was formed during baking which itself rose, but not the rest of the batter. i wonder if the quality of almond meal is to blame? Should I add a bit of baking soda next time perhaps to help it rise? I’d like to try it again, but even if it turns out the same, I won’t mind, because they were still seriously delicious! although i suspect they will be even more amazing if they turn out the way it was intended! thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  51. Alla

    These look so chewy, but mine turned out pretty dry. They taste delicious anyway but more like a cookie than a brownie. What did I do wrong? I used less almond flour though because I ran out of it, more like a cup. They were in the over for 30-35 min. Too long?

    thanks!

    Reply
  52. Jellypop

    Hello. These look delicious! I don’t have any coconut sugar. Do you think I could replace it with raw honey or maple syrup? I’m also wanting to make your vegen no bake spice cookies, but it also calls for coconut sugar…

    Thanks

    Reply
  53. marvelous.max

    Hi, I had a little trouble with the recipe.
    I followed instructions but my brownies are super chewy and the crust is rock hard, and they are really oily to hold.
    Anybody got ideas on how to stop them being so oily?

    Reply

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