The Absolute Best Vegan Brownies

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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 384 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 384 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

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611 comments on The Absolute Best Vegan Brownies

  1. Judy

    5 stars
    Hello, Nisha,
    I just made your Vegan brownie and I will never go back to even Ghiradelli!
    I had never used aquafava and am so impressed at it’s egg-like properties for baking. I didn’t have espresso powder so I put in 2 tablespoons of our strong morning coffee. Thanks for your inventiveness! Best to you!

  2. christina

    hello… i don’t have vegan butter never buy it… what is the sub for this ?

  3. Jkandola

    5 stars
    Sooo good! The best brownies I’ve ever made:)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Jkandola!

  4. SF

    5 stars
    I have been vegan for almost thirty years and had given up on brownies. I thought a fudgy, chewy vegan brownie with a crinkly top was impossible, but these are amazing. Thank you so much for cracking the code and giving brownies back to vegans!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, SF! So happy to hear you’ve finally found a brownie recipe you love :)

  5. Marija

    5 stars
    I love these brownies, they are delicious! Eating them straight out of the fridge is amazing 😊Although, they seem a bit dry to me too (I baked them for 30 minutes), so next time I will not bake them for more than 25 minutes, I think. I also used a lot less sugar and that worked out great for me. Thank you so much, Nisha!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So glad you love the brownies, Marija! We hope they turn out perfectly moist next time!

  6. Eva

    3 stars
    I have been looking for a good vegan brownie recipe for a really long time – one that actually tastes like brownies, not like Chocolate cake – and this looked really promising!
    However, I was quite disappointed when I tried them myself. I used the exact same ingredients, and measurd them carefully, but the Natter was quite firm, after baking the brownies the top wasn‘t as shiny and the brownies were crumbly.
    The taste was good though, I will probably give them a second try.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi there Eva, so sorry the brownies didn’t turn out well for you! Over mixing the batter or cooking the brownies for too long could both lead to crumbly, dense brownies. We hope you get a better result next time you make them!

  7. Grayce

    5 stars
    Oh my goshers! this is a GENIUS recipe!!!!! True to word, they are the ULTIMATE. Thank you rainbowplantlife for this awesome recipe!!!! Btw, your Dad is so awesome too! Loved watching the video prior to making the brownies. Xx

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Aw, so happy to hear you loved the video and brownies! Cheers :)

  8. Emily

    5 stars
    Best brownies ever, vegan or otherwise. Easy to make & deliciously fudgy. These were a huge hit with my non-vegan work colleagues.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Emily, So glad to hear everyone loved this recipe!

  9. Brigid

    5 stars
    I am an avid baker, and have had considerable success with veganizing most of my favorite treats in such a way that no one missed the eggs or dairy, but brownies were my sticking point. I have tested many brownie recipes over the years and found two or three that I really enjoyed and thought didn’t “taste vegan” in any way, but that my omnivorous spouse said were not quite the same as he remembered. As such, I am very skeptical of any new recipe I find that claims to be the best, but the superlative is well earned! This is the first and only recipe that they have consistently said is exactly right in terms of taste, texture, and appearance both times that I have made it. I just commented on another recipe of yours and have to say you have the most consistently delicious (but not difficult) recipes both savoury and sweet.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for the wonderful review, Brigid! :)

  10. Vicki

    If you can only find low sodium or regular chickpeas (salt included) would you omit the salt from the recipe completely or just reduce it?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Vicki, I would probably just reduce the amount of salt, I think you still want a little bit of salt to bring out the chocolate flavors.

  11. Samantha

    3 stars
    Not sure what I did wrong, but they were crumbly and pretty dry. Also didn’t have the shiny top but flavor was good. The only thing I did differently was I used a little less sugar and used an 9×9 pan instead of 8×8. Since they were thinner I pulled them out 5 minutes earlier but still seemed overcooked.

    1. Hannah

      My brownies turned out dry and crumbly, they really don’t stay together at all :(
      Advice for where I may have gone wrong? I even weighed my ingredients :(.

      1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

        Hi Hannah, could you have overmixed them or cooked them for too long? Sorry to hear that!

  12. Caitlin

    5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! No other words necessary :)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  13. Petranka

    I don’t have access to vegan butter, can I make it with coconut oil?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      From Nisha: “I think so, but I might reduce it to 6 tablespoons because it might feel a bit oily and without the butter flavor. I would also suggest using refined coconut oil as unrefined coconut oil will make the brownies taste somewhat coconutty.”

  14. Smitha

    Hi, made these brownies. They were amazing with that elusive (for eggless brownies) crinkle top and fudgy taste. Thanks for the receipe. Will try to experiment with some healthier flours like whole wheat,oats or millet flours now.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Smitha, we’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  15. Katie Hull

    5 stars
    Incredible! Have used this recipe 4 times now!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Katie!

  16. K Swulius

    5 stars
    Made these for the only vegan coming to dinner. My husband and I tried them and couldn’t believe how delicious they were. Fabulous!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  17. Bar Yuval-Shani

    5 stars
    I have one problem with these brownies. They are utterly and absolutely irresistible. Far and away THE BEST, vegan or not! Try sprinkling a few coffee beans on top before baking. They’ll become toasted and crispy, adding some additional umph. Thank you, Nisha Vora!

  18. Marie

    5 stars
    best brownie recipe I’ve ever made!! the vegan butter alternatives aren’t so good where I live so I used a mashed banana and about 2tbps of coconut oil and it worked perfectly. you can taste the banana a little but I guess you could swap it with apple puree too if you’re not a fan of that taste:) thank you for this decadent recipe! x

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  19. Bethann DiGiovanni

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness! Step aside all other brownie recipes. You have met you match and lost! Positively delicious. Excellent instructions and easy to make.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  20. John

    5 stars
    Absolute fudge bombs. I’ve made some vegan brownies in the past that turned out more cake-like, so the outcome of this recipe is a breath of fresh air. Great texture, and really delicious. Interested to try out different chocolate darkness to see how it changes the flavors. Definitely the best traditional chocolate brownies (vegan or otherwise) that I’ve made.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

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