Rich in chocolate flavor, these gluten free brownies are fudgy, chewy, and come out perfect every single time.
If you favor brownies with that crackly top, like the boxed gf brownie mix, this is your new go-to recipe!
What makes this recipe for gluten free brownies special?
There is no shortage of brownie recipes here on the blog. There’s even a whole category page dedicated to gluten free brownies, in case you ever feel like going down that particular rabbit hole.
These brownies are the ones I turn to whenever I want to make a “basic batch of brownies.” And that’s a compliment, because it means that they’re universally loved by all.
They’re like the brownie equivalent of a little black dress! Here’s why…
- The Texture Is Just Right:
- The crackly top shatters as soon as you bite into the brownies, and gives way to a dense center.
- They’re not at all like biting into a bar of fudge. This is a brownie-lover’s brownie.
- There are chocolate chips in the brownie and even on top, but only 5 ounces total. Just enough, never to be confused with a gf chocolate chip cookie!
- The Flavor Is Perfect:
- These brownies are rich and chocolatey, but their richness won’t overwhelm you.
- The chocolate chips add a bit of extra chocolate flavor, but there’s an entire cup of cocoa powder so we don’t need much!
I am all about the science of baking. I try to explain why I do just about everything I do in my recipes. I find that it’s the perfect way to show you the proper respect, and to increase the chance that you’ll follow the recipe exactly as written!
I have made this recipe many ways. I promise that this recipe, with these ingredients prepared in this way makes for rich, chocolatey and chewy brownies with a crackly top.
How to get that crackly top on your gluten free brownies
The crackly top happens when a bit of the egg whites in the recipe separate from the rest of the batter. During baking, they form a very thin meringue.
That lovely, tasty meringue comes from a recipe with the right balance of ingredients, prepared in exactly the right way.
For a meringue layer, melt the butter and sugar, beat them well, and top with chips
You must melt the butter and the sugar at the start of the recipe (and allow it to cool so that mixture doesn’t cook the eggs). Then, it’s essential to beat the heck out of the mixture before the flours are added.
Adding additional chocolate chips to the very top of the batter (I just reserve about 1/5 of the chips in the recipe) also helps create that meringue. But you’ll still have the crackly top even without the chips.
Tips to making gluten free brownies with that perfect chewy texture
The ingredients are just right in this gf brownies recipe
The chocolate in these brownies comes entirely from cocoa powder (other than the chocolate chips, of course). Using chopped, melted chocolate in the batter makes brownies denser and fudgier.
Adding very little gluten free flour, plus lightening it with some cornstarch, also help to create a lovely chewy texture.
The method is just right in this gf brownies recipe
Melting the butter with the sugar dissolves the sugar in the butter. The melted sugar granules combine so much better with the rest of the brownie batter.
The next essential step is to beat the egg-butter-sugar-cocoa powder mixture. Otherwise, the brownies aren’t as chewy—and the crackly top was spotty at best.
Frequently asked questions about these brownies
Can I make the brownie batter by hand, without a handheld mixer?
Yes! You can, although it’s best to use a hand mixer to beat the batter prior to adding the gluten free flour blend and cornstarch mixture.
You can still achieve a similar result by mixing as vigorously as possible by hand. You’ll know that the mixture is beaten enough when it begins to lighten in color.
Do I need to make any changes if I double this recipe?
No! You don’t need to change any of the ingredients if you double the recipe. But you should divide the batter, as doubled, and bake it in 2 square pans.
Baking brownies in a rectangular 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan, the bottom center tends to burn before the rest of the batter is cooked through. Place both baking pans in the oven at the same time, and rotate them about halfway through baking.
Can I substitute the gf flour blend in these gf brownies?
In this whole gf brownies recipe, there’s only ⅓ cup (47 grams) of all purpose gluten free flour. There are also 2 tablespoons (18 g) cornstarch. Together, that’s just less than ½ cup (70 g).
But it might work. I would recommend adding the ⅛ teaspoon xanthan gum, though, if you try one of those suggestions.
Can I use baking powder instead of baking soda?
No. There isn’t much baking soda in this recipe, and it’s there to help neutralize some acid in the unsweetened cocoa powder. Baking powder is a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and a starch.
How do I store gluten free brownies?
These brownies will stay fresh at room temperature uncovered for hours, wrapped tightly for about 2 days, and in the refrigerator for about a week. For longer storage, wrap tightly in freezer-safe wrap, and freeze.
You can warm up the brownies for a few seconds in the microwave if they’ve been frozen. Or you can even eat them right out of the freezer.
How do I line the pan for these gf brownies?
Even if I’m using a nonstick baking pan for these brownies, I still line the pan. Lining the pan makes it much easier to lift the baked brownies out of the pan.
I prefer to line the pan with aluminum foil that’s either nonstick foil, or sprayed with nonstick cooking oil. Press the foil into the corners and secure it on the edges, so nothing moves during baking.
How can I make these brownies more fudgy?
I don’t recommend trying to alter this recipe to change the texture much. That’s what our other gluten free brownie recipes are for:
More of our best gluten free brownies recipes
- Super fudgy gluten free brownies (the fudgiest recipe that still has flour)
- Flourless gluten free brownies (no flour at all; beat that batter well)
- Two-bite gf brownies (like a cross between a brownie and a mini muffin)
- Little Debbie-style gluten free brownies (just like LD’s Cosmic Brownies; a dense, but cakier brownie)
- Coconut flour brownies (made with coconut flour—and without too many eggs)
- Gluten Free Brownie Crisps (like a whole pan of just the crispy edges)
- Flourless black bean brownies (black beans instead of flour—but the beans stay a secret)
- Super Fudgy Paleo Brownies (made with almond flour and a touch of coconut flour; naturally grain and dairy free)
- 3 Ingredient Nutella Brownies (Nutella hazelnut spread + almond flour + eggs = magic)
Ingredients and substitutions for these gluten free brownies
This is the sort of recipe that is really not a great candidate for substitutions. Each ingredient was selected specifically to achieve that fudgy-but-chewy texture and the crackly top that we all love when we make a boxed mix.
If you can’t have all the ingredients in the recipe and would really like to try substitutes, I will provide as much information below as I can.
How to make gluten free dairy free brownies
There’s a lot of butter in this recipe for gluten free brownies. You can still replace it successfully for a dairy-free brownies option, but you’ll need to balance moisture, fat, and flavor.
These days, my favorite way to replace butter in bars and cookies is to substitute one for one with vegan butter. My favorite brands are Melt and Miyoko’s Kitchen.
If you can’t find vegan butter, my next suggestion is to substitute half of the weight of butter called for in the recipe with Earth Balance buttery sticks and the remaining half of the weight with Spectrum nonhydrogenated shortening.
If you do use Earth Balance buttery sticks, omit the additional salt in the recipe, though. That product is super salty already.
If you’re dairy-free, be sure you’re also using dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips.
How to make gluten free egg free brownies
There are only 2 eggs in this recipe, so your favorite egg substitute might work. Unfortunately, you won’t get the exact chewy texture, and you won’t get the crackly top.
My favorite egg substitute (for effectiveness and ease) is a “chia egg.” For each egg, mix 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, and allow it to sit until it gels.
About the corn in these gf brownies
This one is actually quite easy. Just use arrowroot in place of cornstarch.
If you are using Cup4Cup flour blend as your all purpose gluten free flour, just replace the cornstarch with that much more flour, gram for gram.
How to make the best gluten free brownies, step by step
Chewy Gluten Free Brownies
- 9 tablespoons (126 g) unsalted butter chopped
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 2 (100 g (weighed out of shell)) eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (80 g) unsweetened cocoa powder natural or Dutch-processed
- ⅓ cup all purpose gluten free flour blend I used Better Batter
- ⅛ teaspoon xanthan gum omit if your blend already contains it
- 2 tablespoons (18 g) cornstarch
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick aluminum foil (or line with regular aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray). Set the pan aside.
- In a small saucepan, place the butter and sugar, and place over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until melted and simmering. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool until no longer hot to the touch.
- Alternatively, cool the butter and sugar mixture down a bit by placing the bottom of the saucepan in a bowl of cool water. Make sure the butter does not solidify.
- In a large bowl, place the eggs and vanilla, and whisk until well-beaten and combined. Beating the eggs well helps create that crinkly meringue top on your baked brownies.
- Add the melted and cooled butter and sugar to the bowl slowly, whisking constantly. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the cocoa powder has been absorbed. Using a handheld mixer, beat until very well-combined. Add the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, and mix with a silicone spatula or spoon until just combined. Add about 4 ounces of the chocolate chips and mix until just evenly distributed throughout the batter. The batter will be thick and sticky.
- Transfer the brownie batter to the prepared pan and, using an offset or silicone spatula, spread into an even layer. It helps to moisten the tool you are using to smooth the top a bit to prevent it from sticking.
- Scatter the remaining chocolate chips evenly over the top of the brownie batter and bang the pan firmly on the countertop to help the chips adhere.
- Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven. Bake just until the brownies are no longer wet in the center, about 28 minutes.
- The center may dome during baking, but the brownies will settle as they cool.
- Remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan at room temperature until the pan is no longer hot to the touch.
- For clean lines when you slice the brownies, place the brownies, still in the pan, in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour before slicing them.
- When you're ready to slice the brownies, remove them from the pan and peel away the foil. Slice the brownies into 9 or 12 equal rectangles or squares.
- Serve the brownies immediately, or wrap tightly and freeze for longer storage. These freeze incredibly well.