Healthy Brownies

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5 from 1781 votes
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These healthy brownies are perfectly fudgy and gooey and have those gorgeous crackly tops! Topped with a healthy frosting, there is no flour, no eggs, and no refined sugar needed! 

Love healthy desserts? Try my healthy chocolate chip cookies, healthy lemon bars, healthy apple crisp, and healthy peach cobbler.

Healthy brownies

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 I 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 cleanup 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! 

Ingredients needed

  • 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 homemade brown sugar substitute.
  • 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 vegan chocolate chips or sugar free chocolate chips
  • Frosting– Optional, but I love a thick layer of frosting. Try some healthy frosting or 2 ingredient frosting

How to make healthy brownies

Step 1—Make the batter. In a large bowl, add the applesauce, almond butter, and maple syrup and whisk until smooth. Add the brown sugar substitute, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract, and mix until fully combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Step 2- Bake. Next, transfer the batter to 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.

Step 3- Frost. Now, once the brownies have cooled, spread the frosting over the top. Let it sit for ten minutes before slicing and serving. 

healthy brownie

Arman’s recipe tips and variations

  • Do not overbake the brownies, as they will continue to cook as they cool. However, if you prefer crispier brownies, you can bake them for 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. 
  • Use other nut or seed butter. 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. 

Storage 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. 
healthy brownie.

More easy brownie recipes to try

healthy brownie recipe

Healthy Brownies

5 from 1781 votes
These healthy brownies are perfectly fudgy and gooey and have those gorgeous crackly tops! Topped with a healthy frosting, there is no flour, no eggs, and no refined sugar needed! 
Servings: 12 brownies
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1BrownieCalories: 100kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 3gFat: 8gSodium: 191mgPotassium: 168mgFiber: 2gVitamin A: 3IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 9g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Comments

  1. 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 …

  2. 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.

    1. 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 🙂

  3. 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!

  4. 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:)

    Thanks

    1. 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

  5. Hi!
    How many grams of protein powder? (Is each scoop 30 grams?)
    Also, how much cream cheese? You don’t mention the amount.

    Thanks!

  6. 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?

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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 😉