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.
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.
Step by step instructions
Gather your ingredients.
Sift together the flour and Dutch process cocoa powder.
Add the aquafaba and organic cane sugar to a large mixing bowl.
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.
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.
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.
Fold the melted chocolate-butter into the aquafaba mixture until well combined.
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!).
Pour the batter into an 8×8-inch (20×20 cm) square 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).
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Watch! How to make the best vegan brownies!
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!
- 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
- 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!