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.
Healthy Brownies (No flour!)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2/3 cup almond butter
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar substitute
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips optional
- 1 cup healthy frosting optional
- 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.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.
I love visually unfortunate. Both as food and as a term.
I think feedback is always so double-edged. Especially when it is negative under the disguise of giving constructive feedback or when it’s super contradicting. In my job I get so much contradicting feedack. It drove me nuts in the first year now I take it with a grain of salt aka when in doubt I am the professional not the others. But I often ask for feedback and when I do I am more than willing to listen and try what other people suggest. In all areas of life.
I personally don’t mind if a brownie is made of bananas and you can actually taste the banana. It’s not like a big surprise. Yet I am glad you took this feedback and made these brownies because a) dark cocoa powder and b) BEAUTIFUL pictures. Deal with it 😉
😀 DEALING WITH IT 😀
I can totally see how it would correlate with work- Good point!
This is something totally for me! I’m a huge brownie fan, workout a lot, so need a lot of proteins and… i love sweets! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! Gonna have to try it soon!
😀 You are so welcome!
I SAW CREAM CHEESE as an ingredient, so….I’M IN.
I hate this word, but there really is no other word to describe how these look…. moist! I can handle banana in my brownies, but cannot deal with beans.
Seriously, beans are so tricky!
Hi there! Made this for my family tonight and we are in love, even my picky 6 year old asked for another piece! Thank you will make again
Oh yay!!!! thanks so much for letting me know, Eloise- glad you both enjoyed them!
Uhm yeah definitely making a whole batch for myself and NOT sharing. No shame.
Oh Arman! I sooooo want to try these but am truly afraid that healthy as they are, an OD on them (I will surely eat the entire batch!) will totally SCREW my weight loss! Oh, woe is me! Seriously dark cocoa powder? And all these protein things – am really needing a protein thingy 101 I think. Never ever tried that stuff. So now I am dutifully making note of the various items above and will be checking to see if they are actually available where I live. Keep fingers crossed that our local bulk/health food shop will have them! You are leaving for Australia? Oh this is sad…! Not permanently? please say not permanently! And as for your pic – that is infinitely better than any Muppet – but I am afraid I am in love with the original one I saw there like last week? Oh bother! Have a good trip – will they let you into Oz with a 1/2 a suitcase of dark cocoa powder?
How many grams of protein powder? (Is each scoop 30 grams?)
Also, how much cream cheese? You don’t mention the amount.
Yum! Looks unbelievable!! Can’t wait to try! But yes, how much cream cheesy, pleasy?
Hi Iva! You can use as little or as much as you like- I love to use the whole tub (hehe!) but you can easily get away with 1/2
Wow…had to make these and they are very yum! They will not last long around here – or I’m sure anywhere they are made:)
😀 Fantastic- You are so welcome 🙂
Just made these. I used peanut butter because me and almonds don’t agree. I made the icing with chocolate hemp protein. I will try the cream cheese next time. I have a feeling this is going to be a serious go to recipe. Thanks so much!
Hi Laurie! Thanks so much for the feedback- I hope it makes your constant rotation 🙂
I didn’t see a quantity amount for the cream cheese for the frosting. Can you tell me how much I should be using? Thank you.
Hi Amelia- Apologies for that! I usually use a 3/4-the whole tub (200 grams), depending on how thick I want it to be 🙂
No matter where I look on Pinterest, I always seem to be interested in one of your recipes! It doesn’t get much easier or delicious looking than these flowerless brownies. Thanks …
These look so good and perfect for mothers day!!
Absolutely 🙂 Enjoy, Ingrid!