Meet the best black bean brownies. They are rich and fudgy, and taste like the real thing! (Not some “healthy” alternative.) You can’t tell there are black beans in here at all.
Are Black Bean Brownies Actually Good?
You should know that I’m pretty picky about brownies. To me, a good brownie needs to be rich and moist, with a fudgy texture. If I wanted a cake-like texture, I’d reach for a piece of cake. Brownies need to feel more moist and decadent.
What I love about these Black Bean Brownies is that they are:
- Flourless! (which also keeps them gluten-free)
- Naturally sweetened with coconut sugar
- Loaded with fiber and protein from black beans
- Sneaky– you can’t detect the black bean flavor AT ALL.
- Rich and fudge-like
Trust me when I say that these brownies taste totally decadent.
How to Make Black Bean Brownies
All you need to make these brownies is a food processor and about 10 minutes of hands-on time. You’ll process the ingredients in a food processor until they are smooth, and resemble a thick brownie batter. (It won’t be as runny as traditional brownie batter.)
Note: I originally made this recipe grain-free, without using the rolled oats, so keep in mind that you can leave out the oats if you want to! After making these for years and collecting reader feedback, I wanted the brownies to have a little more structure so they don’t get quite as gooey in the middle, so I added in a small amount of oats to the beginning of this recipe. I think the addition gives the texture a nice balance of structure, while still being fudgy, but if you miss the original version, just leave out the oats. The rest of the recipe has been left unchanged.
How to Guarantee the Brownies Won’t Stick to the Pan
Since this isn’t your typical brownie recipe, I recommend lining your baking pan with parchment paper, so you can easily lift the baked brownies out when they are done cooling.
Pro Tip: To keep the parchment paper in place, spray the pan lightly with oil first. It will make the parchment paper stick in place, so you can easily add the brownie batter without worrying about the paper moving around.
I like to add some chopped dark chocolate chips on top for texture, but that’s totally optional. Feel free to leave them off if you want to avoid the added sugar, and use walnuts, pecans, or some crunchy cacao nibs for a sugar-free option, instead.
Black Bean Brownies (Flourless & Fudgy!)
- 1/4 cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans; or 1 (15 oz.) can drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup creamy raw almond butter
- 6 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. In a large food processor fitted with an S-blade, process the rolled oats briefly, until they resemble a coarse flour.
- Add in the black beans, almond butter, cacao powder, ground flax, vanilla, sugar, vinegar (which helps the brownies rise), salt, and baking soda. Process until a very smooth and thick batter is formed, stopping to scrape down the sides at least once to make sure everything is mixed evenly.
- Use a spatula to transfer the batter into the lined 9-inch baking dish. The batter will be rather thick, so you'll need to use the spatula to spread it evenly into the pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, and press them lightly into the batter.
- Bake until the top begins to crack and the center feels relatively firm to a light touch, about 30 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool completely before attempting to cut them into squares, as they are fragile when warm.
- Serve at room temperature, and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. (I imagine these would freeze well, too!)
Nutrition info above is for one brownie.
Substitutions & Notes:
- If you prefer a darker chocolate brownie, go ahead and use 1/2 cup of raw cacao powder in this recipe. I’ve tested it that way, and I thought they were delicious, but they were a little “too dark” for some of my taste testers.
- I imagine that any other nut or seed butter, such as peanut butter or sunflower seed butter, would work well in this recipe if you’d prefer to replace the almond butter.
- If you don’t have balsamic vinegar on hand, I think another vinegar would probably work well, too. You just need some sort of acid to react with the baking soda. (And I think balsamic pairs really nicely with chocolate recipes.)
- Coconut sugar gives these brownies much of their substance and texture, so don’t be tempted to use a liquid sweetener or sugar substitute without expecting significantly different results. Granulated sugar = chewy, fudgy brownies, so keep that in mind.
If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below and let me know how you like it! And if you try any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too. We can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to use black beans? Have you tried using black beans in a desert before?