These Flourless, Gluten-Free Brownies Have a Super Secret

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These brownies have a super secret… Just promise me that you won’t run away screaming once I tell you?

Vertical image of a tall stack of three thick brownies on a piece of parchment paper, with text on the top and bottom.

It’s black beans.

Hold on, hold on, bear with me over here!

I know that making a recipe with black beans usually means it will taste like, well, beans. However, this is not true of every recipe. Especially when it comes to these decadent and fudgy treats.

What will you taste when you take a bite of one of these bad boys?


Seriously, you won’t taste the black beans at all. This totally blew me away when I first tried a bit of this delicious gluten-free dessert.

Vertical close-up image of a square chocolate baked dessert on top of others on a metal cake pan.

Honestly, all I tasted was decadent chocolate goodness. Despite adding a whole can of black beans to the batter, there’s not a trace of bean flavor in there.

Now let’s talk about the texture… it’s seriously melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

These sweets are fudgy and soft, with the perfect explosion of melted chocolate and the nutty crunch of walnuts (totally optional for all you peeps who don’t like nuts).

You get that yummy crisp edge that I love when I make a batch of homemade brownies, with the soft and sweet interior that I know you crave.

Plus, this is such an easy recipe to pull together. All you have to do is add most of the ingredients to a food processor. You blend it up until it’s all combined, and the beans are nice and smooth.

Vertical image of square chocolate baked goods on top of pieces of parchment paper on a gray surface scattered with nuts and chocolate chips in front of a metal cake stand.

You can also use a high-powered blender if you need to for this recipe. I have tried both, and this recipe works great both ways.

Then you just add the chocolate chips and nuts. You can actually stir them in right there in the bowl of the food processor.

Talk about a magic one-bowl recipe, right?

You will seriously be shocked that these bad boys are gluten free. They certainly tricked my husband when I had him try a bite of a warm baked goodie fresh out of the oven.

Vertical image of a stack of chocolate baked treats on a cake stand.

They are truly flourless, making them naturally gluten free. This recipe is also loaded with healthy dietary fiber, omega-3s, and tons of other ingredients that are good for you.

Just be sure to thoroughly rinse and drain the beans before you add them to the food processor, and use a salt-free or low sodium version. This way, they will make a nice pasty base.

If you don’t rinse them, they may add too much salt to the batter, and the texture may be thrown off if you skip draining them, because of the excess liquid.

Don’t skip this step because it is key to making the recipe as magical as it is.

The best part is that they don’t hit you hard in the calorie department, which someone like me – who is currently on a diet – is constantly striving for.

Vertical close-up image of a stack of chocolate square treats with a bite taken out of the top one on parchment paper pieces.

I’m not saying that they are the healthiest dessert in the entire world, but they are certainly better than many others that you’ll find out there.

Plus, the extra-good-for-you elements help to pack in some extra nutrients in place of those empty calories that so many of us often indulge in.

I think dessert should be a part of your life every day, so you might as well focus on healthy sweets and treats. Especially when said healthy treats can taste this good.

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Horizontal image of two brownies stacked on top of each other on a piece of parchment paper in front of a metal cake stand on a gray surface.

Flourless, Gluten-Free Brownies

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 9 brownies 1x


Fudgy, flourless, gluten-free brownies are a decadent dessert with a sneaky secret. No one will ever guess they are filled with black beans.


  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained well
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the baking dish
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar or granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan and set aside.
  2. Place black beans, eggs, melted butter, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth. Remove the blade and gently stir in chocolate chips and nuts if using.
  3. Pour into prepared pan, using a spatula to spread evenly.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Let cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.


Recipe adapted from The Whole Foods Cookbook, [easyazon_link identifier="1478944978" locale="US" tag="foodal02-20"]available on Amazon[/easyazon_link].

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Brownies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: brownie, chocolate, gluten-free, flourless, black beans

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prepare Black Beans, Melt Butter, Chop Walnuts, and Measure Ingredients

Horizontal top-down image of assorted dry and wet ingredients in clear glass bowls on a light gray surface.

Drain and rinse one 15-oz can of black beans using a colander or strainer. Using the kind without any salt added is preferred for this recipe.

Melt 1/3 cup of unsalted butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 15 second increments.

Chop enough walnuts until you have 1/3 cup total. Note that this is optional, and you can feel free to skip the nuts.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list. Be sure to use gluten-free vanilla extract if you are concerned about keeping this recipe gluten-free.

Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan with butter and set it aside.

Step 2 – Make Batter

Horizontal image of assorted ingredients scattered in a food processor.

Add the black beans, eggs, melted butter, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and coconut sugar or granulated sugar to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides.

Horizontal top-down image of a thick brown batter in a food processor.

Remove the blade from the food processor and add the chocolate chips and nuts, if you are using them. Stir together until combined.

Horizontal top-down image of a mound of chocolate chips and a mound of nuts on top of a smooth, thick brown batter in a food processor.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer with a spatula.

Step 3 – Bake

Horizontal image of a square pan with a fluffy baked chocolate dessert.

Bake for 30 minutes, until just set in the middle.

Horizontal image of two brownies stacked on top of each other on a piece of parchment paper in front of a metal cake stand on a gray surface.

Let cool completely in the pan. Cut into squares and serve.

Want to Kick It Up a Notch?

If you want to get a little extra indulgent, there are some fun ways to make this recipe even more tasty.

You can enjoy them with some ice cream on top, dunk them in a glass of milk, top them with some fresh berries, or even add a layer of creamy peanut butter or frosting on top.

Horizontal image of a stack of three brownies on top of a piece of parchment paper on a gray surface scattered with nuts and chocolate chips.

Sometimes you just have to treat yourself!

For more delicious dessert recipes, check out these other types of brownies from Foodal to try next:

How do you like to devour warm just-baked chocolate desserts? For me, it’s all about devouring them straight out of the pan. Tell us in the comments below! And be sure to rate the recipe as well.

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on July 8, 2011. Last updated on March 11, 2020.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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