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Black Bean Brownies (Flourless & Fudgy)

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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.

best black bean brownies on wire rack

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
  • Oil-Free
  • 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.)

black bean brownie ingredients in food processor

Note: I originally made this recipe grain-free, without using the rolled oats, so keep in mind that you can leave out the oats if you want to!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.

brownies in parchment lined baking dish

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 overhead

best black bean brownies on wire rack
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4.89 from 70 votes

Black Bean Brownies (Flourless & Fudgy!)

This is the BEST black bean brownie recipe I've ever tasted. No eggs, flour, or dairy, so they are vegan and naturally gluten-free. So rich and fudgy!
Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan
Keyword black bean brownies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 133kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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!)

Video

Notes

You can leave out the rolled oats for a grain-free dessert. They are just slightly more gooey and fragile that way.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg
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?

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Comments

Lynne b

I only have creamy salted almond butter bought from imperfect foods. Would this work. There is oil that separates to the top so I don’t think it’s just almonds.

    Megan Gilmore

    Oil separation is common with natural almond butter. If the label says almonds and salt, that should work! I’d just consider leaving out any additional salt in that case.

Nora

Can you substitute peanut butter for almond butter? Or any other substitution? Why almond butter? Thanks!

    Megan Gilmore

    Almond butter just has a more neutral flavor. Peanut butter will work, too, sometimes it’s just a little bit drier in texture and definitely more prominent in taste.

Amy C.

This is my go-to, favorite brownie recipe. If you are gluten-free vegan, these are truly the best brownies. (I make them without the oats and I sometimes add walnuts.) Seriously, these are amazing. You can even use sunflower seed butter–I had to do that once and they were still great. And you can also use kidney beans–I’ve tried that too–and it worked! They freeze well, too.

Babita

I am not experienced in baking, but I quite like the taste of this recipe. Thank you for sharing it!
But Oh, the gas! Hahaha!
Is there any way to reduce the effects of beans causing gas? I used canned beans this time, but if I were to pressure cook them, is there anything we can add?
For Indian cooking, we put a bit of asafoetida when making beans, but that’s for savoury dishes.
Thanks Megan!

Maya Kiss

Can’t wait to make these? Was curious if I could make this inasec Bundt pan?

Susan Johnston

This sounds like a very good recipe. However, I never keep flax seeds in the house. Can I omit them in the recipe or does doing so change its substance or texture?
Thanks!

    Megan Gilmore

    The flax seeds act as an egg replacement in this recipe. You could try replacing them with 1 to 2 eggs, if you eat them. 1 egg usually is sufficient for a brownie texture.

      Susan J

      Thanks! I’m an omnivore but lean toward a heavy plant-based diet. I’ll try them today!

Jennifer

Hi Megan,

I love this recipe and made it many times before! This time i only have quick ots on hand, will this still work?

Thank you!

C.

Delicious!

Jesse

so delicious!

Myrtle

I just made these. Hands down the best black bean brownie recipe.

Lee

This recipe is perfect the way it is but because I started making them every other week I thought I’d add a few things. Since it’s summer and I keep seeing S’more recipes I added some mini Dandies all natural vegan marshmallows to the top and a broken up graham type cracker. Also since cherry’s are in season I cut some up and pressed them into the top (under the marshmallows). I used a cast iron skillet and baked them for 20 min. on Convection Bake for a different crust but usually use parchment paper in a baking dish for 30 min. Thank you for your site! I am happier using these types of ingredients in recipes.

    Megan Gilmore

    Ooh, I love the s’more idea! Thanks for sharing, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

Katie

Could psyllium husk work instead of flax or chia? We don’t either of those.

Mickey

Never in a million years would I have thought I’d even TRY a black bean brownie, let alone give it five stars. I am a former professional chocolatier, very picky about my chocolate treats, not a vegan, and not a bean fan. However, I was searching for healthier dessert recipes and came across this one. For some reason I decided to give it a go.

It’s really decadent and delicious! And because of the fiber from the oats, flax seed and beans, my GI system will not allow me to eat more than one a day. So, natural portion control. I’ve never understood those people who say, “oh, I can be satisfied with just a bite of chocolate.” Definitely not me. But these brownies are the first treat in my life that I’ve been able to take a bite or two and genuinely satisfy my chocolate craving.

My first batch I made with the balsamic vinegar as directed, but I’m not crazy about that aftertaste. So my second batch I used white wine vinegar instead, which is a winner. I used peanut butter, because I didn’t have almond butter on hand–and I love peanut butter and chocolate. I also used cocoa powder rather than raw cacao powder.

I wanted my brownies a little thicker, so I made them in an 8×8 pan rather than a 9×9 and added a couple of minutes to the bake time.

The other thing I may adjust for batch three is to either pulverize the oats more, or use oat flour. Although I like the body the oats provide, I don’t love the slightly gritty texture.

I’m looking forward to trying more of your dessert recipes!

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