These thick and satisfying brownies are a healthy twist on the classic: Gluten, dairy, egg, and sugar-free! This easy, 1-bowl, almond flour recipe bakes in 30 minutes. And the best part is they taste JUST as delicious as traditional brownies! (Keto, Paleo & Vegan) Just 2 net carbs each!Jump to Recipe
The Best Healthy Brownies: The TEXTURE
YES. These rich and decadent tasting brownies are guaranteed to turn any "health-food" skeptic into a believer. They certainly don't "taste" healthy.
With a dense and slightly fudgy texture and a nice firm edge and top, these are an absolute dream to sink your teeth into. They're nice and THICK.
Many low-carb or "wholesome" brownies have a cakey or weird texture that is just anything like the real deal. But THESE are .. in one word: satisfying.
My husband and kids raved about them, calling them, "AMAZING." And saying, "You nailed it!!" And I have to agree, ha!
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Allergy Friendly Brownie Recipe
These are also free from many common allergens and sometimes problematic ingredients.
- No dairy (no butter)
- No gluten (no flour/wheat)
- No eggs
- No sugar
- No artificial ingredients
- No soy
- No erythritol/sugar alcohols
- Plus a nut-free option!
NO Eggs, NO Beans, NO Weird Ingredients
Eggs are a vital ingredient in traditional browies, but I found a way to create the same binding properties and add the moisture and richness of eggs with alternative ingredients!
So if you have an allergy or intolerance to eggs- No problem! (Did you know the recipes on Pretty Pies are egg-free and vegan, too?) Here I simply used some ground flaxseed not only as part of the "flour" mixture but also to act as a binder. Oil, water and almond flour also aid in making a moist and rich brownie texture.
And I'm all for sneaking unsuspecting healthy ingredients into desserts but rest assured, there's nothing "unusual" in these brownies. No beans, chickpeas, sweet potato, zucchini, etc. And no psyllium husk or obscure ingredients you'll never use again. Trust me, you'll get lots of use out of these ingredients.
Simple One-Bowl Recipe
This recipe is super straightforward, simple, and EASY. Nothing complicated. Easy enough for kids to make!
It's made with just one mixing bowl and no fancy equipment - not even an electric mixer! No food processor or blender. Just whisk and stir.
These brownies are made with healthier alternatives to the typical flour, sugar, eggs, and butter in conventional recipes. And many of these are pantry staple ingredients you may already have on hand -- especially if you're already following a low-carb lifestyle.
- Almond flour - use a superfine flour for optimal texture. I recommend Bob's Red Mill and Costco Kirkland brands.
- Flaxseed - this is not only for a "flour" but also as an egg-replacer to bind the brownies together.
- Cocoa - I used unsweetened raw cacao powder and dark cocoa for the most authentic brownie flavor.
- Sweetener - I used Besti allulose-monkfruit and it is AMAZING. (More on this below)
- Oil - I used avocado oil for a neutral flavor and to keep these dairy-free.
- Vanilla - Use good quality extract - I LOVE this Mexican vanilla!
- Salt - use Himalayan pink salt to balance the sweetness and add complexity of flavor.
- Chocolate Chips - use sugar-free to keep the carbs low.
What is Allulose?
Besti sweetener is a blend of allulose and pure monk fruit extract making a natural sweetener that tastes and bakes like sugar, but with zero carbs and zero calories!
Unlike Lakanto Classic, which is a blend of erythritol and monk fruit extract, Besti is able to keep baked goods soft and moist, whereas Lakanto is perfect for creating crispness. I love and use both brands, but for very different purposes. (Save 10% on all Besti sweeteners with code PRETTYPIES)
Alluose is my new BFF. I just tried this new sugar-free sweetener for the first time– BESTI made with allulose and monkfruit extract. Allulose is a “rare sugar” naturally occurring in some fruits. But YES it is still keto, vegan and paleo-friendly!
What I Love About Besti Allulose Sweetener
- No aftertaste – just tastes sweet. No chemical weirdness going on.
- Zero net carbs – allulose is undigested and you can subtract the entire amount to calculate your net carbs – YAY!
- No sugar alcohol
- My husband recently developed a sensitivity to erythritol, so he hasn’t been able to enjoy my sugar-free creations lately. So this alternative is perfect!
- Measures 1:1 with sugar!
- Available on Amazon Prime (here!) – woohoo!
- Save 10% on all Besti sweeteners here with code PRETTYPIES
Why Two Types of Cocoa Powder?
Why use 2 different cocoas? In short - it makes them taste like "real" conventional brownies! Raw cacao (a less processed cocoa) retains more vitamins and nutrients. I adore the flavor it provides. But mixing the two cocoas together takes it from good to WOAH.
What is Dark Cocoa?
Dark cocoa helps achieve that classic, smooth chocolate flavor you love. This cocoa is dutch-processed making it less bitter and a deeper color than raw cacao powder.
This ingredient is KEY to real brownie taste. AND the gorgeous dark brown color.
If you use regular cocoa, your brownies will be lighter brown and not quite as chocolaty tasting.
You can find dark cocoa on Amazon HERE and in some grocery stores. Just be sure that it says “special dark,” or “dutch processed” or “black cocoa.” Simply saying 100% cacao on the label does NOT mean it is dark cocoa.
How to Make Low-Carb Brownies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x5" loaf pan with parchment paper. I used 2 sheets - one going long-ways and one going across.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Use a spatula or metal measuring cup to press out any lumps. (Removing the lumps is important! You don't want clumps of dry cocoa in your brownies!)
- In a glass measuring cup, combine water, oil and vanilla. Pour wet over dry and mix well.
- Transfer batter to pan and smooth with a spatula (it will be thick - don't be alarmed. The consistency is like play doh. Just press it into the pan evenly with a piece of parchment on top, or your hands if you like)
- Bake on the center rack for 28-31 minutes until a toothpick comes out mostly clean and the center feels firm. One un-scientific way to tell if your baked goods are done is if you can smell the scent wafting out of the oven. When the aroma starts to fill the room, be sure to check if it's done. It won't be long.
- Allow brownies to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing into 10-14 servings. (They will continue to firm up as they cool, but when they are warm, handle with care to avoid crumbling) Enjoy!
Tips for Best Results
Use the exact ingredients recommended, including 2 types of cocoa. The ingredients do make a difference and the taste will be different if the recipe is altered in any way.
Use a 10x5" standard loaf pan. Larger or smaller pans will require a shorter or longer baking time, depending on the size and material. Keep in mind, with a larger pan, the brownies will come out thinner and the consistency may not be the same.
Oven times vary so do keep an eye (and finger or toothpick) on your brownies to test for doneness.
I highly recommend serving these warm. Either right after baking (allowing them to cool for 30 minutes or so) or popping them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds so they chocolate chips melt. YUM.
If you like Fudgy, Gooey Brownies
To achieve a gooey-er fudgy-er brownie, you can play around with 2 things: the baking time or the water.
You can experiment by add a little more water (or even oil) to the batter - maybe 1 or 2 Tablespoons.
OR try shortening the baking time so the middle is not as "set" and done as the outside. These methods should help achieve that fudge-like soft consistency.
Another option is to add more a couple extra tablespoons of chocolate chips and serve warm for a super melty, chocolaty brownie.
- For almond flour - you can try any other nut flour you like, such as pecan flour or walnut flour. Cashew flour may work, too.
- Use any oil you like, but I recommend one with a neutral flavor profile so it doesn't interfere with the chocolate taste.
- Flaxseed can possibly be swapped for ground chia seeds.
- See below for sweetener subs.
- I have not tested these alternatives, so proceed with caution. I'm here to answer any questions if you need help though. Leave a comment below.
This recipe was specifically formulated to be made with Besti Allulose/Monkfruit sweetener which creates wonderful softness and moisture in baking. (Like in my low-carb Pumpkin Bread recipe!)
Do NOT use Lakanto Classic monkfruit granules as a replacement in this recipe. It does not give the moist texture you want! I do not recommend any dry sweetener with erythritol as a main ingredient because it doesn't create softness and moisture in baked goods as the primary sweetener.
Here are some (un-tested) possible substitutions. (You may need slightly more water when using alternative sweeteners - FYI).
- A dry granulated sweetener that measures 1:1 with sugar, such as coconut sugar or white sugar (for non low-carb/keto)
- Lakanto Baking Blend (not classic or powdered)
- Lakanto Monkfruit Syrup (replace both the water and Besti with syrup) and add 2 ½ Tbs Lakanto monkfruit and 1-2 Tbs almond flour.
How To Make Nut-Free Low-Carb Brownies
These can easily be completely nut free. Simply substitute seed flour instead of almond flour, such as pumpkin seed flour (from Amazon) or sunflower seed flour. It changes the flavor slightly, but in chocolate based recipes, it's not very noticeable.
Mix-Ins and Variations
You can customize your brownies with a variety of added ingredients to add flavor, texture, crunch and color! Here are some ideas:
- Chopped walnuts (the classic choice!) , cashews, pecans, pistachios or pepitas for amazing crunch!
- Use white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or caramel chips!
- Add a little bit of cinnamon or chili to the batter for a sweet 'n spicy brownie!
- Add a splash of peppermint extract for mint chocolate
- Mix in toasted coconut shreds
- Swirl in your favorite nut-butter like (PB or almond!) into the batter for a Reese's-like flavor
- Top with frosting and/or rainbow sprinkles to make them fun and festive! (Use my dairy-free keto chocolate frosting recipe from my book, YAY It's Sugar-Free!)
How to Store
To store: keep in an airtight container at room temperature for no more than 3 days. Since these do not contain any additives or preservatives, they are best within 3 days.
You can absolutely refrigerate or freeze these for longer storage. For freezing, I would individually wrap for the best freshness.
But they are MOST delicious tasting (in my humble opinion) freshly baked, about 30-45 minutes out of the oven when the chocolate chips are still melty. Mmmm.
A calculation from Cronometer yields just TWO net carbs per serving. Perfectly fitting for someone following a keto or low-carb diet, or anyone wanting to avoid/limit their sugar intake. (Remember, all provided macros are an estimate as a courtesy. Please use your own calculations with the exact brands you used for the most accuracy.)
And these are generous-sized portions -- the brownies are nice and thick and over 2" squares (actually rectangles if you use a bread pan.) After tasting how rich and filling these brownies are, I wished I had cut them into smaller portions. You could easily get 12 or 14 brownies. They're so satisfying, you just need a little bit!
Ready to try the BEST wholesome brownies ever? Time to get baking! If you try them, don't forget to leave a star rating and/or review below. Tag me on Instagram so I can share your photo! Love to see what you make!
Low-Carb Brownies (Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Keto, Paleo, Vegan)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10x5" loaf pan with parchment paper for easy removal.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Use a spatula or measuring cup to press out any lumps.
- In a glass measuring cup, combine water, oil and vanilla. Pour wet over dry and mix well.
- Transfer batter to pan and smooth with a spatula (it will be thick)
- Bake on the center rack for 28-31 minutes until a toothpick comes out mostly clean and the center feels firm.
- Allow brownies to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing into 10-14 servings. Enjoy!