These healthy brownies are perfectly fudgy, gooey, and have those gorgeous crackly tops! Topped with a healthy frosting, there is no flour, no eggs, and no refined sugar needed!
As someone who loves brownies, having a healthy option makes things easier.
Desserts should be part of any diet, and if you can tweak them slightly to be healthier (without sacrificing on taste!), even better. This healthy brownie recipe is the perfect example of it. I made a few small swaps and the end result is something that tastes just as good as any brownie out there!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- There is no flour, eggs, or refined sugar needed, and use simple and affordable ingredients.
- Everything is made in just one bowl, so there is minimal clean up and mess.
- They come together in less than 30 minutes, and can be enjoyed with or without frosting.
- The fudginess is on another level- it will be hard to stop at one!
How to make healthy brownies?
- Unsweetened applesauce– A fabulous replacement for oil or butter, and keeps the brownies extra fudgy.
- Almond butter– Smooth almond butter with no added sugar.
- Maple syrup– Agave nectar or honey will also work.
- Brown sugar substitute OR coconut sugar– All the brown sugar flavor, minus the calories or carbs. Skip the expensive store bought kind and make your own.
- Cocoa powder– 100% unsweetened and Dutch processed cocoa powder. For a richer flavor, use dark cocoa.
- Salt– Brings out all the natural sweetness of the other ingredients.
- Baking soda– Leavening agent used to give the brownies some rise and depth.
- Vanilla extract– A must for any good brownie recipe.
- Chocolate chips– Optional, but I love folding through some dairy free or sugar free chocolate chips.
- Frosting– Optional, but I love a thick layer of frosting. Try some healthy frosting or 2 ingredient frosting.
Start by adding the applesauce, almond butter, and maple syrup into a large bowl and whisking together until smooth. Add the brown sugar substitute, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract, and mix until fully combined. Fold through the chocolate chips.
Next, transfer the batter into a greased 8-inch pan and bake for 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool completely.
Now, once the brownies have cooled, spread the frosting over the top. Let it sit for ten minutes, before slicing and serving.
Expert tips for success
- Do not over-bake the brownies as they will continue to cook as they are cooling down. However, if you prefer cakier brownies, you can bake the full 35 minutes.
- For a richer flavor, use dark cocoa powder and add the optional chocolate chips.
- Avoid over mixing the batter, as doing so will not yield a crackly top.
Substitutions and dietary swaps
- Use other nut or seed butters. Substitute the almond butter for peanut butter, tahini, or sunflower seed butter.
- Cut the sugar completely. Replace the maple syrup with sugar free maple syrup.
- Swap out the applesauce. Pumpkin puree, sweet potato puree, and mashed bananas work.
- Lower the carbs. Use pumpkin instead of applesauce, sugar free maple syrup, and a keto chocolate frosting.
Storing and freezing instructions
- To store: Brownies can be stored at room temperature, covered, for up to three days. If you’d like them to keep longer, store them in the refrigerator and they’ll keep for at least one week.
- To freeze: Place the leftovers in a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to six months.
More healthy brownie recipes to try
Frequently Asked Questions
While most brownies are packed with sugar, butter, and oil, these homemade ones are healthy and perfect to enjoy regularly. These ones have no flour, no butter, no oil, and no added sugar, yet taste incredible.
If you don’t have applesauce, you can use mashed overripe banana or pumpkin puree.
The frosting is completely optional. They taste just as delicious without it.
Brown sugar, coconut sugar, white sugar, and raw sugar can all be used.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the applesauce, almond butter, and maple syrup and whisk together until smooth. Add the coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract and mix until just combined. Fold through the chocolate chips.
- Transfer the batter into the lined pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out mostly clean.
- Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool completely, before adding the optional frosting.