The Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Brownies

Let’s talk about chocolate.

Or more specifically, let’s discuss brownies, because these babies are my favorite.

A close up of a stack of delicious homemade vegan chocolate brownies on a white saucer plate.

For the entirety of my living-at-home-with-my-parents life (you know, before I went off to college), brownies came out of a box, were made by Ghirardelli, and were the dessert of choice in our house, if dessert was to be had.

I didn’t care if they came out of a box; my mom made the best brownies ever, and that was that.

Two brownies on a stack of two white plates, and two more on a wrinkled gray linen tablecloth, with a tipped over mason jar of chocolate chips scattered across the table.

The best part was, after the mix was stirred with an egg and some oil, and the batter was poured into its pink silicone baking pan (weird, I know), there was most definitely a bowl with some excess batter left in it that needed to be dealt with. And my sister and I did a real good job of that, let me tell you.

Top-down shot of a short stack of brownies on a white plate, with a few scattered chocolate chips on a wrinkled gray linen tablecloth.

Fast forward to when I was a sophomore in college. I had recently adopted a vegan diet, and I was in desperate need of some home-baked chocolate therapy.

I had been cooking and baking for about a year on my own by then, and I thought hey, brownies can’t really be that hard to make, can they?

Five brownies in a metal baking pan, on a table topped with a wrinkled gray cloth.

Uh, wrong. Minus the butter, eggs, and gobs of oil, they actually turned out to be rather difficult to make. Go figure.

It took me a few tries and a lot of research, but I finally came up with the recipe I’m sharing here today. It’s a gift!

Two brownies on awhite plate and one on a wrinkled gray tablecloth, with scattered chocolate chips.

These brownies pack a triple dose of chocolate:

  1. Melted chocolate chips in the batter.
  2. Cocoa powder in the batter.
  3. Whole chocolate chips stirred in last, just before baking.

Oblique shot of a stack of four brownies on top of a stack of two white dessert plates, with scattered chocolate chips on a wrinkled gray tablecloth.

More chocolate = more better. Holla.

Top-down stack of three brownies on a white plate, with a few scattered chocolate chips, on a gray background.

There are a few things I really love about these delicious dessert bites, aside from the fact that they’re super amazing and just so happen to be vegan (brownie points?):

1. The top has that much-sought-after crispy-crackly crust that all brownies should have, if made correctly. Soft, cake-like tops? Nuh-uh. Not for me, and you won’t find any of those here.

2. Then there are the edges. I’m an edge person, and I won’t judge if you’re not. But edges are so good. They bake up a little more in the oven than the center, so they are more chewy and so tasty.

3. Finally, the center. The ever-fudgy and tasty center. I am also a center-piece person, so I could really just eat the whole pan myself. I want them all! But it’s worth taking a moment to specifically shout out the fudgy, chocolately, melty, chewy center. It’s so good!

Two brownies on a white dessert plate, with two more to the left on a gray linen tablecloth, with scattered dark chocolate chips.

All together? These are the best (vegan) brownies ever. I’ve made them countless times, so I promise this is true. You won’t miss the butter and eggs one bit.

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Top-down stack of three brownies on a white plate, with a few scattered chocolate chips, on a gray background.

The Ultimate Vegan Brownies


  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16 brownies
  • Category: Brownies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Description

The BEST vegan brownie recipe out there, this triple-punch of chocolate is sure to satisfy any chocolate craving. A crispy-crackly crust covers a moist and fudgy center filled with chocolate chips and walnuts.


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8″ baking pan with parchment (or grease very well) and set aside.
  2. Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine the flax and water in a small bowl to make a flax egg, and set aside.
  4. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine 2/3 cup chocolate chips with the cocoa powder, applesauce, margarine, and 1/4 cup water. Toss together but don’t worry about mixing thoroughly.
  5. Place in the microwave and heat in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is mostly melted, stirring well between each interval. This should take no more than 2 minutes total. When it’s melted, you might see some small non-melted looking bits all over – this is okay.
  6. Add the sugar to the chocolate mixture and stir to mix well. Add the flax egg and the vanilla, and stir until smooth.
  7. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, and stir with a large spoon until just combined. The batter may be very thick. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
  8. Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Smooth the top with the back of a large spoon, making sure to press it into all of the corners.
  9. Bake for 27-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack before serving. Try not to eat them all in one sitting!

Keywords: brownies, vegan, chocolate

Once you’ve made a batch of these, I guarantee that they’re going to become a family go-to. But if you’re looking for something a little different, be sure to check our our our gluten-free cashew version, or these (non-vegan) bites!

Side view of four chocolate brownies stacked on top of two white ceramic dessert plates in a shorter stack, on an off-white tablecloth.

What’s your favorite vegan dessert to prepare when you’re craving something sweet? Tell us all about it in the comments below, and don’t forget to leave a five-star rating for this recipe if you loved it!

Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on July 23rd, 2014. Last updated: August 10, 2018 at 16:51 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

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.

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About Raquel Smith

Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now being merged into Foodal).

76 thoughts on “The Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Brownies

    • I agree! I love baking vegan because then I can eat all the batter/dough I want and not worry about eating raw eggs. And it’s usually healthier and tastes just as good, if not better!

  1. I haven’t made these yet but I promise you I will. These are the realest looking vegan brownies I have seen in my two years of being vegan. And the ingredients are simple! I can’t wait to make these!!! Thanks so much for posting Raquel!

  2. Hi Georgia, using vegan butter such as earth balance is so habitual for me that I sometimes forget to label the “butter” as being vegan. Apologies. Please feel free to use whatever is suitable for your dietary preferences.

  3. I have been searching the web and trying different vegan recipes for 2 years now. I have been surprised by all of the recipes I have found and tried that were really not good at all. This recipe is a keeper. They were easy and delish! I did substitute almond milk for the water but followed the rest of the recipe as written. Yum!

    • I’m glad you liked it! Thanks so much for reporting back. And good to know that almond milk works as a substitute, I hadn’t tried that one!

  4. I am not vegan, but my 3 year old grand daughter is, She is allergic to milk and corn products. I substituted coconut oil for the “butter”, and these are the best brownies I have ever made. Thank you, I look forward to trying your other recipes in the future.

    • Susan, thank you so much! I am so glad it worked out for you and that you found a brownie recipe that your granddaughter could eat. I’m also glad to know the coconut oil works!

  5. Raquel, I’ve had these on my list to make for a long time now. Finally, in a stress-induced moment of craving, I took to the kitchen at 8pm last night and made them. Of course, I realized too late that the best taste test was going to come today when they’d had time to cool, but oh, my, was it worth the wait. I shared some with a vegan friend and she was so impressed! These are wonderful, thanks for spending the time to test the recipe until it was just right!

    • Thanks so much for trying them, Beth! I am so happy you liked them. These are definitely my comfort food when I need some chocolate 🙂

  6. I would love to make this recipe, but unfortunately i don’t have any flax seeds! Is there anything i can substitute, like chia seeds? If so, what quantities should i use? Thank youx

    • Hi Rachel! Sorry for the delay, I was getting married 🙂 I haven’t tried this recipe using chia seeds, but it might work. If you try it, be sure to let me know!

      • No problem and congratulations! 🙂 I subbed the flax seeds for the same amount of ground chia seeds with about a cup of water and i also used coconut oil instead of butter and they turned out perfectly! They were the best texture for a brownie, crispy on top, soft in the middle! Thank you x

  7. OK. I agree. Ultimate! Easy! Vegan Brownies. The best. I left out the extra chips and walnuts. They were super, as promised. My new go-to recipe.

  8. OH MY CHOCOLATE GOODNESS!!!
    I was looking for some chewy vegan brownies and this recipe looked really promising. I quickly whipped up a batch and oh my gosh! These are so decadent and chewy! The best brownies I’ve ever had! Thank you so much for the recipe, it will be my go-to from now on!

  9. I have been trying to perfect vegan brownies for a while. My kids are egg and dairy free so I bake for them weekly. For the past couple months, I’ve been obsessively tweaking recipes. “Brownies again??” Yes, these words were uttered by kids.

    Anyhow, my quest may be complete! Not an awkward chocolate cake with a lovely crust. Love it.

    • It also took me a while to perfect the recipe, so I understand your pain. Your poor kids – begrudging brownies is never a good thing! I am so glad my recipe worked for you!

  10. These are excellent and easy, I love them. And yes! EDGES!!! Just a couple of comments, I think they’re better with a bit less sugar – I use 80% of your recommendation – and i use 1/3 of the salt. Maybe the salt in Europe is stronger but the first time they were really salty. I use under 1/4 tsp rather than a full 3/4. And they also taste great if you load them with pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts. Incredibly good recipe without too much fat – thank you very much.

    • Luis – thanks for your great comments! These definitely are on the sugary side… decreasing it a bit would be great for those looking for a lower-sugar brownie. I guess I jsut have a super sweet tooth! And the pumpkin seed idea is just brilliant. I’ll definitely give that a try next time. Thanks so much for taking the time to come back here and give me your review!

  11. Hi there! I try to steer clear of gluten, but really want to try your recipe.. Would gluten free flour still work?
    Thanks

    • Hello! I am not sure if it would work… if it’s a blend you’ve had success with in replacing regular flour before then I say give it a shot. If you try it would you mind coming back here to report on how it went? I’d love to hear about it!

  12. You mentioned not using Dutch processed which Cocoa chocolate do you recommend?

    Thank you I can’t wait to make these.
    Anna

    • Hi Anna! Just regular ol’ cocoa powder you find at the grocery store should work, like the Hershey’s brand or the kind Trader Joe’s sells. An article on the King Arthur Flour website explains the difference between regular and Dutch Process cocoa. Dutch process is always clearly labeled, so if the box in your cabinet doesn’t call it out, then it’s probably okay to use!

  13. I don’t usually feel motivated to comment, but I just made these tonight and they are fantastic.

    I’ve been vegan for 10+ years and had basically given up my quest to find great vegan brownies. These are it! My platonic ideal. Chewy, crispy top, fudgy. Perfect.

    My husband, an omnivore, said these were just plain delicious, no *vegan asterisk* needed.

    Thank you for this recipe!!

    • Thank you SO much for your wonderful comment, Sarah! You don’t know how happy that made me 🙂 I am so glad you enjoyed them. No one should have to live brownie-free for 10 years!

  14. Greetings, what can I substitute the pastry flour for? I don’t have any. But i have everything else. Maybe (almond meal or regular whole wheat flour)?
    Please get back to me … and thanks so much!

    • Hi Regina! I would substitute it with 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (so you’d use 1 1/4 cups AP flour total). You could also try 1/2 cup almond flour instead of the whole wheat flour, though I haven’t tried that combo so I can’t guarantee it’ll work!

  15. These are by far the best vegan brownies I’ve ever tried… and I’ve tried several recipes. In fact, I’d almost given up on finding a good vegan brownie recipe!

    I’ve made these twice and they are my platonic ideal–crinkly top, chewy corners, fudgy middles. Perfection.

    Tonight I added a swirl of peanut butter. YUM! Highly recommended!

  16. I am sorry to have to say these were not good. i made them exactly as the recipe stated and they were quite dry. As well, not too healthy when you consider the ingredients.

    • Hi Lu Ann – sorry these didn’t work out for you. Did you follow the recipe exactly as written? In my experience, vegan brownies can go wrong with any minor changes to the recipe. Also, I live at sea level, so if you are at altitude then that could change the way they baked. I also never intended these to be healthy – they are brownies after all 🙂

  17. I was skeptical yet hopeful when making these brownies and I have to say…. they totally lived up to the claims. They were FANTASTIC. I used 3T of unrefined coconut oil (solid) instead of the 3T of vegan butter (because it is hard to find in my small town), and used a double boiler to melt the chocolate instead of a microwave (because we don’t have one) and they turned out SO FREAKING GOOD. I added the extra optional chocolate chips, and next time will probably add chocolate syrup, too. You must make these ! I agree that these taste even better the second day once they have time to completely set and turn into complete fudgy-chewy amazingness.

    Oh and I was contemplating cutting the sugar back because 1.5c seemed like a lot but I always try to stick to the original recipe for the first attempt as much as possible and they did not come out overly sweet by any means!

    Thank you so much for these!

    • Hi Caitlin, I am so glad you liked these! Adding chocolate syrup sounds like a FANTASTIC idea – I’ll have to keep that in mind when I make these next! Thanks for coming back to comment 🙂

  18. These were absolutely divine–I’ve already made them twice in one week and can’t stop. They’re especially delicious after a night in the fridge (I added some coconut milk with the water and found it went over well). I’m new to your site and look forward to returning for more recipes!

    • Thanks so much for trying these, Cara! I’m so glad you liked them 🙂 And thanks for being a new reader of mine! I really appreciate you!

  19. These were the best! My 12-year-old daughter made these and was finally satisfied that it actually tastes like a brownie! We did reduce the sugar by a quarter cup. It still tasted good!Thanks so much. My quest for a vegan brownie recipe ends here!

    • Hooray! I’m so glad you and your daughter liked these, Geetha! Thanks for taking the time to come back and leave a comment, it means so much!

  20. Thank you so much for sharing these. I agree with Sarah, these tick all the boxes for my ideal brownies. Love the crunchy outside and chewy inside – they take me right back to my childhood! I was concerned that, using UK measures and ingredients, I would not be able to replicate these, but they came out great, in spite of the tweaks. I used 3/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour and 1 cup plain (as I couldn’t find the equivalent of all-purpose and pastry flour here), used coconut oil instead of the Earth Balance, cut the sugar down to 1 cup and only used 1/4 tsp of salt. Even with all these changes, they came out perfectly! Can’t wait to try these with pecans now! Thank you so much 🙂

    • I’m so glad these worked for you, Shelley! Great to know that coconut oil works – I’ve had a lot of questions about that. Also, I’ve made them with pecans before and they’re fantastic! Thanks so much for coming back to comment on this post, Shelley. It means a lot!

      • Having made these twice more now, I can confirm that this really is the recipe I’ve been looking for since going vegan – thank you so much again! I also just want to note that the texture of these brownies changes (improves) significantly once completely cooled – I find them even better the next day 🙂 The is a hit!

  21. OMG these are absolutely perfect. I have been waiting SO long to find a great brownie recipe… I’m so happy to have found this! So fudgy on the inside and chewy on the edges. Tastes just like the box kind from when I was growing up. Thank you so much 🙂

  22. A friend made these for me yesterday – they are the best brownies I’ve ever had! I can’t believe they are vegan!

  23. I’ve been looking for the perfect vegan brownie recipe! I’m wanting to make these for Memorial Day weekend, is there something I can use in place of the applesauce, like oil? Or does applesauce play an important part in the texture of a good brownie?

    • Hi Angela! You could try using oil or, my suggestion, vegan butter instead of applesauce. I think it would work just fine!

  24. hi raquel! i wanted to know if the brownies would turn out any different if i only used all purpose flour, also how big is the pan you used?

  25. Raquel,

    These truly are the best brownies ever! My whole family loved them, even my non-vegan husband. We are a family of five so the 8×8 pan went fast. Would I just double, or 1 1/2x the recipe for a 9×13 pan? Have you tried it? Thanks so much!

    • So glad you and your family enjoyed these, Jamie! I would double the recipe for a 9×13″ pan. It’ll definitely bake differently, though… I would almost recommend using two 8×8 pans if you can!

  26. I made these for my vegan friend’s birthday and was shocked how amazing they are. They’re quite literally better than most non-vegan brownies I’ve had. I’ll definitely make this again!

  27. I didn’t really like these. Perhaps it’s because they taste ~too~ much like a box brownie. I didn’t grow up with box mixes, so it was a bit disappointing. They do work really well as the base of a brownie sundae though 😀

  28. I was hesitant about these at first bc every other vegan brownie recipe I have tried has been very bleh, but I still decided to give these and try and let me just say THESE ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD. Everything about them from the top crackly top, the chewy edges, the fudgy center, and even their overall appearance is just amazing. They remind me of the brownies I had when I was little/when I was not a vegan. People should be jumping at the oppurtunity to go vegan and indulge in these and NOT contribute to the exploitation and brutal murder of innocent animals. Anyway…you deserve an award for these 🙂 Thanks so much for this brilliant recipe.

  29. I made these on NYE and they are amazing! They came out exactly as described. I highly recommend this recipe. Thank you for posting it.

  30. If I were to substitute flour with whole wheat flour, do I need to change quantity or add milk or water? I like to avoid ap flour and your recipe was amazing but I want to make it with whole grains. Thanks.

    • Hi Su, I can’t guarantee that subbing with whole wheat flour will work because I haven’t tried it. Your best bet is to substitute half the AP flour with whole wheat pastry flour. I don’t think you’ll need any extra liquid, but maybe add an extra tablespoon of water just to make sure. Let me know if it works for you.

  31. Hi Raquel. What type of chocolate chips do you use, sweetened or dark? By the way, I made your vegan peanut butter cookies. I loved it. Thank you!

  32. Hi Raquel,

    Flaxseeds aren’t available where I live. Can I substitute them with chia seeds or eggs?

    Can’t wait to try out this recipe!

  33. I cannot wait to try baking these! It will be my first attempt at vegan baking so I’m very excited!
    P.S. you are an amazing writer! I could practically taste these brownies just by your description, had my mouth watering!
    XO, your newest follower

  34. These are THE BEST vegan brownies in the universe! I’ve been on the hunt for months now! I’ve made these 3 times in 2 weeks! ??

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