The Absolute Best Vegan Brownies

Jump to Recipe
You've never tasted vegan brownies like this before! Supremely fudgy and chewy, intensely chocolatey, and with a gorgeous shiny, crinkly top. Truly the best vegan brownie you'll ever try!
Prep 15 mins
Cook 35 mins
Total 50 mins
5 from 390 votes

No exaggeration, these are the absolute best vegan brownies.  They are fudgy, chewy, rich and even have that shiny, crinkly top that’s so hard to find in vegan brownies.

If you’ve been disappointed by vegan brownies in the past, this is the brownie recipe for you. I tested it a whopping eleven times to get it perfect and I am confident you will love the result.

a stack of the best fudgy vegan brownies
Just look at this combination of fudgy interior and shiny/crinkly top.

The best vegan brownies, period.

Vegan brownies are often underwhelming. Many are too dry or crumbly, others are too oily, and others aren’t intensely chocolatey. And none have that shiny, crinkly top you remember from the boxed mixes of your childhood.

With the help of a few unconventional (but still accessible) ingredients and techniques, this recipe solves those problems. The result is a brownie that’s equal to or better than a standard, non-vegan brownie

Here’s what readers are saying:

Jackie says, “Hands down BEST brownies I have ever eaten. No joke. I followed the recipe to the T and it couldn’t have been more perfect. I can’t believe these are vegan.”

Elena says, “I am not vegan but this brownie is soooo good :-) Better than any traditional version that I have ever eaten!”

Tamara says, “I cannot believe how fudgy, chewy, and delicious they are. Like a million other commenters on here, I never thought I’d find good brownies again after going vegan. They’re amazing and totally live up to the hype.”

Why this recipe works

These brownies are fudgy and chewy

Vegan brownies are often dry and do not hold up well, as they lack both the moisture and structure that comes from eggs.

Through testing, I found that using a combination of melted dark chocolate, cocoa powder aquafaba, and a bit more flour than normal creates a perfectly fudgy and chewy brownie with plenty of structure and moistness. The result is indistinguishable from traditional brownies. 

The elusive shiny, crinkly top

The shiny, crinkly top is what so many of us love about brownies. The texture is delightful: wispy, delicate, ridged, and flaky. When paired with a fudgy interior, the contrast is too good to describe in words. But it’s almost never found in vegan brownies.

After some trial and error, I discovered that you can get vegan brownies with a shiny, crinkly top by vigorously whipping aquafaba and sugar together for several minutes and adding that to your wet ingredients.

Note: In case you’re not familiar, aquafaba is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. It’s unconventional in a brownie but it works amazingly well here. My fan favorite banana bread is another vegan baked good that uses aquafaba to great effect.

I’m convinced this process works because (1) I’ve tried countless vegan brownies over the last 5 years and have never gotten a shiny top until now and (2) I replicated it in all 11 recipe tests.

An intense chocolate-y flavor

These brownies have an intense chocolate flavor thanks to a combination of Dutch process cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and chocolate chips.

the best vegan brownies with a shiny top sitting on parchment paper

Step by step instructions

Gather your ingredients.

brownie ingredients on cutting board with text of each ingredient

Sift together the flour and Dutch process cocoa powder.

bowl of flour and cocoa powder mixed together

Add the aquafaba and organic cane sugar to a large mixing bowl.

mixing bowl of aquafaba and sugar

Use an electric mixer on high speed to beat the aquafaba and sugar until thickened and glossy. Then, using a silicone spatula, fold in the vanilla, salt, and espresso powder.

mixing bowl of whipped sugar and aquafaba

Chop the dark chocolate and add to a heatproof bowl with the cubed vegan butter. The bowl needs to be able to fit snugly into a saucepan.

glass bowl of chopped dark chocolate and cubed butter

Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a double boiler.

To make a double boiler, add an inch or two of water to the saucepan – you don’t want the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Bring the water to a rapid simmer (not a boil). Carefully lower the bowl of chocolate-butter into the saucepan. Maintain a rapid simmer and whisk occasionally, until the butter and chocolate are completely melted and glossy. 

Note: you can also melt the chocolate-butter in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each round.

elted dark chocolate and butter in a glass bowl

Fold the melted chocolate-butter into the aquafaba mixture until well combined.

swirly chocolate mixture in a bowl with spatula

Add the flour-cocoa powder to the liquid ingredients. Use a silicone spatula to mix until just combined. The batter will be quite thick. Finally, add the chocolate chips to the batter (oops I forgot this step when taking photos!).

rich, thick vegan brownie batter in a mixing bowl with spatula

Pour the batter into an 8×8-inch (20×20 cm) square baking pan lined with parchment paper.

brownie batter in 8x8 baking pan lined with parchment paper

Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (176°C) for 34 to 37 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely before slicing (see the “Tips” section).

flatlay of sliced vegan brownies with shiny top on parchment paper

Tips for the best vegan brownies

Use the best quality chocolate you can find and afford.

Chocolate is the primary ingredient in brownies, so it’s important to use the highest-quality chocolate you can get and afford.

Tip: I promise you will get much tastier results if you use (1) Dutch process cocoa + (2) good dark chocolate that you enjoy eating, instead of (1) natural cocoa powder and (2) baking chocolate. Dutch process cocoa powder has been alkalized, which neutralizes its acidity. This makes the cocoa powder smoother in taste, leaving you with brownies with a purer, more intense chocolate flavor.

Sift the dry ingredients.

Cocoa powder is fairly clumpy, so to ensure a clump-free brownie batter, sift the cocoa powder and flour before combining them with the wet ingredients.

This is especially important if using natural cocoa powder, which is clumpier than Dutch process cocoa (but I don’t recommend you use natural cocoa).

Measure your flour properly.

I use a digital scale for all baking and highly recommend it for the most precise results (baking + precision are best friends).

Tip: If you don’t have a digital scale, do not scoop the flour straight out of the bag or container. This always results in getting too much flour in your measuring cup, and too much flour = dry brownies.

Instead, use the spoon and level method. Spoon your flour out of the bag/jar into the measuring cup until almost full, then use a butter knife to level it off.

Line your baking pan with parchment paper.

This makes it easy to remove the baked brownies from the pan and slice them. Also, it doesn’t require you to grease the pan. These brownies are plenty decadent and don’t need any extra oil or vegan butter.

Don’t overmix.

This is a good policy for all baked goods. Overmixing the dry and wet ingredients aerates the batter, resulting in cakey brownies.

Invest in an oven thermometer.

Home ovens can be all over the place when it comes to temperature, so I strongly recommend all bakers invest in an oven thermometer.

Don’t slice brownies too early.

Slicing too early can cause the brownies to be more like gooey lava cake (because brownies continue to cook while resting).

Good news though! You can speed up the cooling process. After resting the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, you can (a) carefully transfer the brownie pan to a large shallow pan filled with an inch or two of ice cold water; or (2) transfer the pan to the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.

Note: If you love chewy brownies, let these brownies cool for a few hours. The chewy texture sets up over time. These brownies are noticeably chewier on day 2.

bite shot of fudgy vegan brownies on parchment paper

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell when brownies are done?

Brownies are typically done when you insert a toothpick and it comes out with some moist crumbs and/or a tiny bit of thick batter (the latter could be the melted chocolate chips). If the batter is liquidy or runny, though, the brownies need about 5 more minutes in the oven.

If a toothpick comes out clean, the brownies sadly have been baked for too long. That’s because the brownies will continue to bake during cooling. The end result will be brownies that are a bit dry.

To avoid this possibility, I like to check the brownies 5 minutes before I think they’re going to be done. Especially when I try out a new recipe.

How do you get clean slices of brownies?

First, use a large knife (I use an 8-inch chef’s knife). Slice the brownies in one fell swoop instead of dragging the knife back and forth. The dragging method leads to more crumbs and uneven slices.

Also, you can try dipping your knife in hot water and drying it off with a kitchen towel before slicing. Repeat this process between every slice. I find that this method in conjunction with cooling the brownies on top of an ice cold sheet pan (see previous section) yields the cleanest slices.

How do you store these vegan brownies?

To keep brownies as moist as possible, slice only the amount you’ll eat at the time of serving. Leave the rest of the brownies unsliced and store this block of brownies in an airtight container. This will minimize the brownies’ exposure to air, preserving moisture loss. 

If you don’t have a container big enough to fit the unsliced brownies, slice and and store pieces in an airtight container.

Brownies, stored in airtight containers, will stay good at room temperature for 3-4 days, but you can keep them longer (for 8-10 days) in the fridge. When refrigerated, the fudginess of the brownies intensifies (not a bad thing).

Can I freeze these brownies?

Yes! In an airtight container, cover each layer with a piece of parchment paper, lightly pressing down. Defrost brownies at room temperature. If unsliced, tightly wrap the entire block of brownies in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil.

Can I make these gluten-free?

If you are not allergic to gluten, my advice is to use all-purpose flour for the best results. If you are allergic, I’m happy to report that at least a few readers have tried these with all-purpose gluten-free flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill) with good results.

a stack of the best fudgy vegan brownies sitting on parchment paper

Watch! How to make the best vegan brownies!

How to make amazing vegan BROWNIES at home
How to make amazing vegan BROWNIES at home

That’s everything you need to know about making the BEST VEGAN BROWNIES ever. If you try it out, please rate and review it below and tag me with your remakes on Instagram!

The Absolute Best Vegan Brownies

5 from 390 votes
You've never tasted vegan brownies like this before! Supremely fudgy and chewy, intensely chocolatey, and with a gorgeous shiny, crinkly top. Truly the best vegan brownie you'll ever try!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Baking
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 12

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (120 mL) aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas, use unsalted chickpeas)
  • 1 ½ cups (290g) organic cane sugar or pure cane sugar
  • 6 ounces (170g) 65-75% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup or 8 tablespoons (112g) vegan butter, cubed
  • 1 ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons (42g) Dutch process cocoa powder*
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder**
  • 3 ounces (85g) dark or bittersweet chocolate chips, or finely chopped dark chocolate

Instructions

  • Line an 8×8-inch (20×20 cm) square metal baking pan with parchment paper and ensure there is some overhang on the sides (this will make it easy to lift the brownies out of the pan). Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • Sift the flour and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl.
  • Add the aquafaba and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Use an electric handheld mixer or a stand mixer on high speed and beat the mixture for 2 ½ to 3 minutes until thickened, glossy, and wavy ribbons frequently appear in the bowl.
  • Add in the vanilla, salt, and espresso powder, and fold with a silicone spatula until well combined (the espresso will continue dissolving into the mixture as it rests).
  • Assemble a double boiler. Grab a heatproof bowl that can be nestled into a saucepan. Fill the saucepan up with a few inches of water – not so much that the bottom of the bowl would touch the water. Heat the water on the stove and keep at a rapid simmer.
  • Add the chopped dark chocolate and cubed vegan butter to the bowl on top of the saucepan. Allow the chocolate mixture to melt, whisking occasionally until smooth and the chocolate is completely melted. Once the chocolate is completely melted, keep the bowl on the saucepan for an additional 30 to 60 seconds to further warm through.
  • Pour the warm butter-chocolate mixture over the aquafaba-sugar mixture and fold together with the silicone spatula.
  • Add the flour-cocoa mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined (stop mixing once the flour traces are gone). Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the lined pan and smooth out the surface with the spatula.
  • Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 34 to 37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with some moist crumbs and/or a tiny bit of thick batter (the latter could be the melted chocolate chips). If the batter is liquidy or runny, though, the brownies need about 5 more minutes in the oven.
    To avoid overbaking and since every home oven varies, I err on the side of underbaking and check the brownies 5 minutes before I think they're going to be done. My oven usually takes between 34 and 37 minutes.
  • Transfer the brownies to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Then carefully lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper handles onto the wire rack. Allow to cool for a further 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. Slice the brownies and enjoy!

Notes

General Advice
Use the best chocolate you can find. A high quality dark chocolate bar and dutch process cocoa powder (not natural cocoa powder) will make a world of difference.
Measure accurately. Baking is as much science as art, if not more so. Invest in a digital scale and an oven thermometer for the best results.
Speed up the cooling process. After resting the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, you can (a) carefully transfer the brownie pan to a large shallow pan filled with an inch or two of ice cold water; or (b) transfer the pan to the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.
Footnotes
* I included the measurements in grams for the Dutch process cocoa powder brand I used (Valhrona), but the exact weights vary a bit across brands.
** Coffee enhances the chocolatiness in chocolate and deepens the rich flavor (without tasting like coffee). If you don’t have espresso powder, you can substitute with instant coffee powder (use slightly more, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons).
Here is the espresso powder I use (also available at Target, Whole Foods, and Walmart). Check out this blog post or this post for more options. 

Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 215mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 3mg

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @rainbowplantlife and hashtag it #rainbowplantlife

Leave a Comment & Rating

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider giving it a star rating along with your comment! It helps others discover my blog and recipes, and your comments always make my day :) Thank you for your support!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe




633 comments on The Absolute Best Vegan Brownies

  1. Mone

    Hello! I measured this and 1 1/2 cups of cane sugar are not 290g, it’s closer to 220g. 290g was a significantly bigger quantity, so I think it’s a mistake in the recipe? Much love.

  2. Manu

    4 stars
    These brownies are very nice and so easy to make but i have to agree that they are too sweet for my european taste. I already left out 100g of sugar but will reduce next time to 100g of sugar in total instead of 290g. But beside this they are perfect and will do them for sure again :) so nice and chocolaty!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Manu, sorry to hear they’re too sweet! You can try adding chocolate with a higher % of cacao which may help balance the sweetness a bit. We’re nervous if you leave out too much sugar, the brownies will lose their wonderful texture.

  3. Morgan

    5 stars
    I make these all the time but I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment. I love these brownies!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Morgan!

  4. Caitlin Self

    5 stars
    These brownies are AMAZING! (And not “good for vegan” – actually amazing.) I made them gluten-free with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF flour. The texture is spot on, and the flavor is dark and chocolatey. They are definitely VERY sweet so we cut them into pretty small brownies, but they were so perfect. I do not typically like very sweet things, but I actually used 85% dark chocolate instead of the 65-75%, and thought they were great. So if you’re worried about them being too sweet as some others mentioned, using a darker chocolate percentage should help!

    I made theses with Equal Exchange cocoa powder (which is dutch processed) and a friend later made them with a raw cacao powder and the flavor and texture was completely different – much more cake like. So definitely go with the dutch processed option rather than raw cacao!

    And one note, be sure to let them cool a little longer than other brownies! This could be from the GF flour we used – they definitely need a little extra time to firm up. Once refrigerated, they even take on a very fudge-like texture. Enjoy!! Thanks for all your hard work to develop this delightful recipe, Nisha!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Caitlin! :) We’re so happy you loved the brownies!

  5. Aruna Srinivasiah

    5 stars
    The most AMAZING brownies I’ve ever made and eaten. I had so much fun making this and all of my family and friends loved it so much and kept wanting more. Can’t wait to make these again 😍🥰❤️ Literally brownie heaven.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Aruna!

  6. Jennifer

    5 stars
    I made these for my small group and they are THE BEST EVER BROWNIES I have had in my entire life, vegan or not!! I am a choc-a-holic and the Dutch processed cocoa powder made a huge difference! These were so fudgy and chewy! My group could not believe these were vegan and several asked for the recipe. I will be making them again soon!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Jennifer. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  7. Beth

    Do these brownies freeze well?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Yes! In an airtight container, cover each layer with a piece of parchment paper, lightly pressing down. Defrost brownies at room temperature. If unsliced, tightly wrap the entire block of brownies in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. Enjoy!

  8. Priyanka

    2 stars
    Usually love RainbowPlanLife recipes but this one was way too sweet and rich, my mouth hurt from how sweet it was.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re sorry to hear you weren’t a fan, Priyanka. Thank you for your feedback nonetheless.

  9. G

    2 stars
    The texture is fine but these are so sweet they are inedible! I might try again with significantly less sugar although this was a waste of ingredients.

  10. Jeremy

    5 stars
    Hooooly crap, I almost devoured the batter before I even put it in the oven. Jamming to music and making this, I couldn’t help but dance around my kitchen when I licked the batter off the spoon.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Jeremy, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  11. Sara

    5 stars
    I’ve made these a few times for friends and they loved them! I even printed the recipe card out so they know where to get more great recipes! Even vegan skeptical friends have asked for the recipe. Thank you for sharing with us!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Sara! Thanks for sharing :)

  12. Suma

    5 stars
    Been searching for the perfect vegan brownie recipe and this is it! My family said it’s better than boxed brownies which is a HUGE win in my opinion!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Suma!

Development Alchemy + Aim