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The Perfect Gluten Free Brownies

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The PERFECT Gluten-Free Brownies – These almond flour brownies are everything I’m looking for. They’re fudgy and rich, chocolatey and delicious, all without gluten, grains, or dairy! (Paleo-friendly)

Front view of gluten-free brownie squares stacked up on a white plate

Post updated Jan 2023. Originally posted March 2015. 

It’s hard to believe we’ve been gluten-free for almost EIGHT years! Back when we were getting started, gluten-free dairy-free baking felt a bit like the wild west since there weren’t a ton of gluten-free blogs out there. (Yes, I feel 9,000 years old typing that.) At the beginning, gluten-free baking involved a lot of experimenting, a lot of mistakes, and some pretty serious flops.

That’s part of what made these gluten-free brownies feel so magical all those years ago. They were one of the first gluten-free baking recipes we just NAILED. They taste INCREDIBLE.

They were everything I was missing and craving in a traditional brownie–fudgy and rich with gorgeous crackly tops and decadently chocolatey insides. I absolutely love them. I’ve made them countless times over our gluten-free years, enjoying them plain, dressing them up for the holidays with peppermint, tossing them into homemade ice cream, building epic sundaes with dairy-free hot fudge sauce…they’re the brownies I come back to over and over again.

They’re the almond flour brownies that just won’t let you down. Here’s what you’ll need to get started…

Overhead view of a white saucepan with ingredients for gluten-free brownies on a white background Close up view of gluten-free brownies topped with sea salt

Here’s What Goes Into Our Perfect Gluten-Free Brownies Recipe:

  • ALMOND FLOUR. Finely ground, blanched almond flour (not almond meal), is better than any other gluten-free flour I’ve tried for brownies. They get that gorgeous fudgy texture I love so much (I’m not a cake-y brownie fan), and I love that the flour isn’t empty calories. Instead, it’s just ground almonds!
  • UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER. To punch up that seriously chocolate flavor we’re looking for, I add a few tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. It works wonders! I’ve made these with both traditional unsweetened cocoa powder and Dutch-processed/dark cocoa powder. Both will work!
  • BAKING POWDER + SALT. A little salt helps balance those lovely flavors–don’t skip it! Then, to get that lovely puff, I add some baking powder. If you’re strictly paleo, you’ll need to use paleo-approved baking powder (that doesn’t contain cornstarch)
  • CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Most of the chocolate flavor and quite a bit of the structure of these gluten-free brownies comes from melting chocolate chips. I use allergy-friendly semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips like these or these, but you can use your favorite. These ones are naturally-sweetened and paleo-approved, but readers have also made them with stevia-sweetened chocolate chips and more!
  • COCONUT OIL (OR BUTTER OR VEGAN BUTTER OR AVOCADO OIL!). For the fat (which helps you get that dense fudgy texture), you can make your gluten-free brownies with melted coconut oil, butter, vegan butter, or avocado oil. They will all work in this recipe!
  • EGGS + COCONUT SUGAR. Another trick, which helps you get that gorgeous crackly top, is to whisk-whisk-whisk the eggs and coconut sugar together until they’re lighter in color and smooth. Don’t skimp here since it really helps with the texture! I’ve used coconut sugar in our gluten-free brownies, which is lower on the glycemic index, but if you don’t have it or like it, feel free to substitute white sugar, brown sugar, or even something like maple sugar. It will all work.
  • VANILLA. To round off the wet ingredients, you’ll add some vanilla to the gluten-free brownie batter. It really punches up the chocolate flavor!
  • MORE CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Lastly, I like folding in another 2/3 cup of chocolate chips. They’re DELIGHTFUL in the baked brownies, like little chocolatey surprises in every bite. If you prefer, you can use chopped nuts here instead.
Overhead view of a white baking dish with gluten-free brownies ready to go into the oven
Overhead view of a white baking dish with gluten-free brownies after baking

5 Tricks For The Best Gluten-Free Brownies:

The technique isn’t fussy, but I have found that following a few ground rules really helps guarantee success. Here are my best notes after years of making and enjoying these almond flour brownies…

  1. LINE YOUR PAN WITH PARCHMENT. Lining the baking dish with parchment means your brownies will lift easily out of the pan. I highly recommend using it whenever possible so your brownies will cut neatly and won’t stick to the pan. (See the video if you need a visual)
  2. WHISK THE EGGS + SUGAR LONG ENOUGH. WHISKING THE EGGS & SUGAR. You really don’t want to rush or skip this step, since it’ll help you achieve that delightful crackly top and will give your gluten-free brownies a bit more structure. When you whisk them and lift up the whisk, the mixture should stream down pretty evenly in “ribbons” rather than in big lumpy clumps. Also, when you rub the mixture between clean fingers, you shouldn’t feel much grit from the sugar. If you’re not there yet, just keep whisking! You’ll whisk for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture is *slightly* lighter in color, streams down from the whisk in a smooth line (i.e. passing the ribbon test), and doesn’t feel gritty when rubbed between your fingers.
  3. DO NOT SUBSTITUTE THE FLOUR. If you want to be sure your brownies turn out here, you MUST use almond flour. Substituting coconut flour, almond meal, or 1:1 gluten-free flour blend WILL NOT give you the same results. (Coconut flour without adjusting other ingredients = dry crumbly brownies. Gluten-free all-purpose flour will have more dry/cakey texture.)
  4. DO NOT OVER-BAKE. My trick for decadently fudgy brownies (instead of cakey brownies) is always to pull them out when the center is juuuust about set. They’ll finish setting as they cool and won’t end up too crispy or dried out. It’s the biggest secret for fudgy gluten free brownies!
  5. COOL THEM BEFORE CUTTING. Trust me, I know how tempting it is to cut into warm, gooey gluten-free brownies, but I pinky promise that they will cut better and be more set if you can wait till they cool. You’ll actually get the neatest cut if you chill them in the refrigerator, but letting them cool completely on the counter will also help a lot.
overhead view of gluten-free brownies cut into squares and topped with sea salt.
Close up overhead view of gluten-free brownie squares

FAQ + Tips For The Best Gluten-Free Brownies:

BAKING POWDER VS. BAKING SODA. I’ve made batches of these gluten-free brownies with baking soda and some with baking powder. They are not typically interchangeable, so here’s what you should know:

  • BAKING POWDER: helps puff and often yields a more even surface. It’s what I use most often! It’s not a great choice for paleo eaters, since most baking powder contains cornstarch. (You can make your own paleo baking powder if you want!) I find the brownies made with baking powder typically get that nice crackly top, and are *slightly* less dense in the middles.
  • BAKING SODA. I originally used baking soda instead of baking powder in this almond flour brownie recipe because it’s paleo-friendly. When making the brownies with baking soda, you may notice that they puff quite a bit in the oven, then settle as they cool, leaving a delicious border around the edges. You also typically don’t see the same crackly top when you make them with baking soda.

COARSE SEA SALT. I LOVE adding a little coarse sea salt to the tops of my gluten-free brownies. The tiny hint of salt wakes up the chocolate and provides a nice balance of flavors. If you’re not a salt-with-sweet fan, feel free to skip it!

ALMOND FLOUR. There are a LOT of different brands and blends of almond flour and most of them produce different results. I recommend using a very finely ground blanched almond flour rather than a coarse grind or almond meal which is made with skins-on almonds. I’ve had good luck with Bob’s Red Mill, Honeyville, Hughson, Trader Joe’s blanched almond flour, and even Target’s brand.

Try Some Mix-Ins Or Toppings!

I love making these gluten-free brownies with chocolate chips mixed in, but you can also try any of these other yummy variations:

  • CHOPPED NUTS (toast them first for extra flavor!). Almonds, walnuts, pecans… yum!
  • TOFFEE BITS. If you’re not dairy-intolerant, toffee bits are delicious mixed into brownies!
  • COARSE SEA SALT. My favorite way to finish these brownies is with a few sea salt flakes.
  • MINI MARSHMALLOWS. Give these a bit of a s’mores vibe by adding mini marshmallows to the top of the baked brownies and broil for about 1 minute. Watch carefully to avoid scorching!
  • BROWNED BUTTER. If you tolerate dairy, making these with browned butter instead of regular melted butter adds a gorgeous caramel-y note!
  • WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Swap out the extra chocolate chips for some white chocolate chips (Extra yummy with crushed candy cane on top!)
Close up overhead view of gluten-free brownies cut into squares and topped with sea salt.
Overhead view of gluten-free brownie squares on a white plate

More Yummy Ways To Satisfy Your Chocolate Craving:

SHOP OUR FAVORITE TOOLS + INGREDIENTS FOR GLUTEN-FREE BROWNIES HERE:

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Front view of gluten-free brownie squares stacked up on a white plate

The PERFECT Gluten-Free Brownies


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 155 reviews

  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 brownies 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These fudgy almond flour brownies are SO GOOD no one will ever guess they’re also gluten-free, dairy-free AND grain1free. They’re everything a brownie should be! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (dairy-free, if needed)
  • 5 Tablespoons coconut oil (can sub butter, avocado oil, vegan butter)
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar (can sub white or brown sugar)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup finely ground blanched almond flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup additional chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (can sub nuts)
  • Optional: flaky sea salt to sprinkle on top (like Maldon)

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven & Prep The Pan. To start, preheat oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Line a metal 8×8 square pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Melt Chocolate. In a small saucepan, gently melt chocolate and oil over low heat until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Beat Eggs & Sugar. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is slightly lighter in color and until they pass the ribbon test (when you lift the whisk the mixture should stream down evenly in “ribbons.” If you rub the mixture between your fingers, it shouldn’t be gritty.) Set aside. Don’t rush this step, or your brownies won’t get that glossy, crackly top!
  4. Combine Dry Ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients–almond flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Combine. Pour the melted chocolate mixture  into the egg mixture and stir until smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold until just mixed.
  6. Add Mix-Ins. Fold in the additional chocolate chips, reserving a few to sprinkle on the top, if you like.
  7. Pour batter into your prepared pan and smooth the surface. Sprinkle with reserved chocolate chips. 
  8. Bake at 350 degrees 20-24 minutes, or until edges are set and the center is still slightly underdone. (The remaining heat should set the center as it cools.) A toothpick inserted in the center should only come out with a few moist crumbs. 
  9. Garnish & Cool. Sprinkle with coarse salt, if using, and allow brownies to cool on a wire rack before slicing. (For the neatest slices, consider chilling the brownies first) 
  10. Storage Tips. Store leftover brownies in an airtight container at room temperature 1-2 days, in the refrigerator 3-4 days, or in the freezer up to 2 months. 

Notes

  • For Paleo, use paleo-approved baking powder and dairy-free chocolate chips
  • Cocoa Powder. I usually make these with natural cocoa powder (like Hershey’s or Ghirardelli), but you can use Dutch Process cocoa powder for a darker, richer look.
  • Don’t Over-Bake. My trick for fudgy brownies is always to pull them out when the center is juuuust about set. They’ll finish setting as they cool and won’t end up too crispy or dried out.
  • Use A Metal Pan. When possible, I recommend baking these brownies in a metal pan. The crust will get shinier, the brownies will bake more evenly, and consistently. Baking in glass or ceramic pans will increase the bake time and the surface of your brownies will be more uneven. 
  • Sugar. Brown sugar or white sugar will give your brownies the glossiest, shiniest tops, but coconut sugar absolutely works if you’re avoiding refined sugar. 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

565 Comments

  1. You are genius!! These are better then any homemade brownie I’ve ever made! And that they are paleo, wow! I’m new to paleo and I’ve tried several desserts and none compare to these. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe!

  2. I haven’t bake these yet, but I know they’re going to be amazing. Please. please let me know if you’ve ever tried cooking them in mini cupcake/ muffin trays and how many minutes did you bake it for one tray. I’m about to try it out now, fingers crossed I don’t overcook them!






    1. Hi Sylva! I hope you LOVED them!

      I haven’t baked them in a mini muffin tin, but I love that idea! You’d have to eyeball the bake time, but I recommend under-baking to over-baking!

  3. These are amazing! My kids call them crack brownies because they are as addictive as crack lol






    1. Oh. My. Gosh!
      These are soooo good and addicting! I think I’ve Made them 4x and I’m making them right now again! I used regular sugar and butter since coconut Doesn’t sit well with me and I’m in love!

    1. I haven’t ever tried it, Glenda. Since the sweetness of stevia is different from coconut sugar, you’d likely need to play with the amount which might throw off the texture a bit.

  4. These brownies were absolutely delicious. Mine werent as fudgy as yours but still great and I added walnuts. Thank you!






    1. I’m so glad you loved them, April! THANK YOU for your review!!! Every oven is different, but reducing the bake time by 1-2 minutes might give you a fudgier result next time!

    1. Hi Olivia! I would not recommend date sugar, since it doesn’t dissolve. It’ll give these brownies a gritty texture and you won’t get that glossy top you’re going for. I wouldn’t recommend unsweetened chocolate chips either since the chocolate chips help with both structure and flavor. Several folks have made these with stevia-sweetened chocolate chips or keto chocolate chips!

  5. I am buying the gluten free Measure for Measure flour. can I use the same amount of this flour as the almond flour? thanks!

    1. Hi, Katrina! Almond flour and measure-for-measure aren’t a 1:1 substitute usually, since almond flour ADDS moisture to a recipe, where measure-for-measure flour absorbs moisture OUT of a recipe. That said, several readers have made them using the 1:1/measure-for-measure flour with good results. (Otherwise, you might like these brownies that use gluten-free measure for measure flour instead.

  6. Best and ONLY Brownie recipe you’ll EVER need!! We’ve been making One Lovely Life’s healthier brownie recipe for the last 5 years and it is ALWAYS on point! Thank you Emily!!






  7. I did not have high expectations for these brownies, but I could not have been more wrong! They were AWESOME!!!!! So delicious!

  8. My go-to brownies. They are sublime! One note: don’t substitute with date sugar–texture didn’t come out right, although they were still very good.






  9. I just made these tonight and they are AMAZING! So much better than I could have imagined! And Hubby loved them too! That’s the true test! lol Thank you so much for this recipe! It will now be my go to brownie recipe! ♥️






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