Fudgy Flourless Brownies

Fudgy Flourless Brownies

These naturally gluten free flourless brownies are rich and fudgy, with a Paleo option, too. Made simply, with melted chocolate and cocoa powder, and topped with chocolate ganache.

These naturally gluten free flourless brownies are rich and fudgy, with a Paleo option, too. Made with melted chocolate and cocoa powder, and topped with a simple chocolate ganache.

We’ve made flourless brownies before, with peanut butter. Nut butters can be really wonderful for baking, particularly when you’re going flourless. And I do insist that, if you’re going to call something flourless, it shouldn’t have even a speck of an alternative flour (like almond flour or oat flour) or powdered starch (like cornstarch or tapioca).

But I had been longing for a rich, flourless brownie with a fudgy, chewy texture, and didn’t have a competing flavor like a nut butter brings. And I was determined to use only the simplest, most basic baking ingredients. That meant no avocados, no black beans, and not even dates

This recipe had to have nothing more than melted chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and cocoa powder. And as long as we’re shooting for the moon, let’s add a Paleo option, too.

These naturally gluten free flourless brownies are rich and fudgy, with a Paleo option, too. Made with melted chocolate and cocoa powder, and topped with a simple chocolate ganache.

5 main ingredients

These amazingly simple, naturally gluten free flourless brownies are everything a chocolate-lover could hope for. They’re rich and not too sweet, plus they’re perfectly dense and fudgy.

The 5 main ingredients are chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and cocoa powder. A dash of salt helps balance the sweetness and bring out the other flavors. You won’t call out the flavor of the vanilla in these brownies, but it provides depth of flavor. Both could be omitted without affecting the success of the recipe.

Every flourless recipe has something that holds it together, whether it’s a nut butter, cooked quinoa, black beans, or even mostly egg whites. In recipes like these flourless brownies, as in a flourless chocolate cake or flourless white chocolate cake, the heavy-lifting ingredient is the melted chocolate. 

Baking with solid chocolate that’s been melted and incorporated into the other ingredients provides structure when the baked goods cool. These brownies are not be as solid as more cake-like chewy gluten free brownies, but they are as close to fudge as you can get and still be a brownie!

These naturally gluten free flourless brownies are rich and fudgy, with a Paleo option, too. Made with melted chocolate and cocoa powder, and topped with a simple chocolate ganache.

Chocolate ganache is the finishing touch

The quick and easy chocolate ganache I poured on top just gives them that extra boost. That’s really only necessary when you want to make them special enough to give as a hostess gift.

Whenever anyone sees ganache they’re always very impressed. Unless they ask directly, there’s no need to tell them that the ganache is made with two simple ingredients…

Ingredients and substitutions

Whenever a recipe is as simple as this, making substitutions is a dangerous game. Each ingredient has a very specific function, and the more ingredients you replace, the farther away from the intended result you may find yourself. With that in mind, here are some suggestions. 

Dairy-free: Making these flourless brownies dairy free is the substitution that I feel most optimistic about. In place of the butter in the brownies, use virgin coconut oil. Be sure you’re using dairy-free dark chocolate in the brownies and the topping.

In the topping, try canned full-fat coconut milk in place of the whipping cream. To help the ganache set up, though, try using 3 fluid ounces instead of 4 fluid ounces.

Egg-free: I’m afraid I’m not really optimistic about making this recipe with an egg substitute. Even though there are only 2 eggs, if you try replacing them with a “chia egg” each (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) you may find that the brownies simply won’t cook through without burning. 

Sugars: To make these brownies sugar-free, make sure your dark chocolate is sugar-free, and try replacing the granulated sugar with Swerve brand granulated sugar replacement. It tends to be drying, but that may not matter so much in this recipe and may just result in a firmer brownie.

To make the brownies Paleo, replace the granulated sugar 1 for 1 by weight with coconut palm sugar that’s been ground into a somewhat finer consistency. Otherwise, it might not all dissolve in the brownies during baking and leave them a bit gritty.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 9 to 12 brownies


For the brownies
10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, chopped (Paleo option: replace with virgin coconut oil)

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar (Paleo option: replace with coconut palm sugar)

3 eggs (150 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup (20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed is preferred)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the chocolate ganache
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream (Paleo option: replace with coconut cream)

2 ounces dark chocolate chips, for scattering (optional)


  • First, make the brownies. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square baking pan with unbleached parchment paper that overhangs the sides of the pan, and set it aside.

  • In a double boiler or a medium-sized microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter or coconut oil until melted and smooth. To melt the chocolate in the microwave, heat in 30-second increments at 70% power, stirring in between intervals, taking care not to burn the chocolate. To the melted chocolate and butter mixture, add the sugar, mix to combine well, then set the bowl aside. In a separate, large bowl, place the eggs and vanilla, and beat with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until frothy (about 1 minute). Add the cocoa powder and salt to the eggs, and beat on low speed until the cocoa powder is absorbed (about 1 minute). Add the chocolate and butter mixture to the large bowl, and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and glossy (2 to 3 minutes).

  • Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan, spread it into an even layer and tap the pan on a flat surface to break any large air bubbles. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until set in the center (22 to 25 minutes). Do not overbake. Remove the pan from the oven, place it on a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

  • To make the chocolate ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium-size, heat-safe bowl. Heat the heavy cream or coconut cream in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan just until it begins to simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow the mixture to sit for about 30 seconds, or until the chocolate beings to melt. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour the ganache over the top of the cooled brownies, still in the pan. Scatter with the optional chocolate chips, pressing them down gently to adhere. Refrigerate the brownies in the pan until the ganache is set (about an hour). Remove the brownies from the pan by the overhung parchment paper, place on a cutting board and slice the brownies into 9 or 12 equal parts with a sharp, wet knife. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Comments are closed.

  • Lauren Gelfman
    November 25, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    What does “set” in the center mean? I’ve had the brownies in for about a half hour and when I stick a knife in the middle it doesn’t come out clean. Is that ok? Don’t want to overbake!

    • November 26, 2016 at 5:57 PM

      Set in the center means that it doesn’t appear wet, or jiggle when it’s shaken, Lauren. More like a cheesecake than a regular cake, as far as a doneness test.

  • Janis
    October 19, 2016 at 10:35 AM

    I made these last night. Thank you so much for the recipe! I love naturally gluten free recipes! I read a lot of the comments before I made them and I value the insight of others who have made the recipe already, so here are my 2 cents. :)

    First, the recipe tastes pretty much like it looks. Fudgy, rich, dense. I doubled the brownie recipe for a quarter sheet pan (9x13x1) but didn’the double the ganache. It was perfect. I also substituted semi-sweet chips for all of the chocolate (except for cocoa powder). I made a mistake and threw the cocoa powder and salt in with the eggs. (It pays to read and reread the directions.) It worked anyway, although I would love to try it the right way. I think it would be a bit better. I also didn’t read that you are supposed to let it refrigerate for an hour after you put on the ganache. It was good anyway, but even better the next day! Next time I will make these first thing in the morning or the day before I want to serve them.

    My quarter sheet pan will serve my family of seven 4 times. It is very rich and a small piece will satisfy.

    Thanks again for the recipe! I really value all you do here. :)

  • Sharon
    August 7, 2016 at 10:53 PM

    I made these last week. Thought they were a bit under cooked. Ended up putting them in fridge over night and they were perfect and tasty!! Currently have another in oven, unsure how the are goingt ogo. Top is hard but underneath doesn’t seem set. The uncooked mixture was different to first time but I did use different chocolate this time though.

  • Dena S
    August 6, 2016 at 1:02 PM

    Amazing recipe. We just finished eating them. They are very fudge-like! Super simple and easy. I actually totally left out the melted chocolate and just mixed in cocoa powder. Worked like a dream! Thanks!

  • Danielle Schmidt
    August 5, 2016 at 12:11 AM

    Oh my gosh! Just made the paleo version of these (minus the ganache) and they are SO. GOOD. I’m eating a warm one fresh from the oven right now! I don’t think I’ll ever use a different brownie recipe again! Thanks so much!
    I think you could even use half the amount of coconut sugar and they would still be amazing!

  • Jennifer
    July 4, 2016 at 9:18 PM

    I am not much of a blog commenter, but I have to comment on these brownies. Hands down, the best brownies I’ve ever had. I’ve tried 4 other brownie recipes from scratch and each time my husband and I felt like box mixes were better than the from scratch brownies. I decided to try one more recipe from scratch and then give up and stick with a box mix – this recipe was my last attempt. They are delicious – super fudgy and chocolaty. A few notes – I used semi sweet chocolate chips; I did not do the Paleo options. Thanks for the recipe!

    • July 7, 2016 at 7:58 AM

      That’s pretty awesome, Jennifer. So glad you broke out of the box! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope you’ll do it again. 😘

  • Hailee
    June 23, 2016 at 5:56 AM

    Can I get some clarification about the type of chocolate you used? Is it unsweetened baking chocolate, semi-sweetened baking chocolate, or just a bar of regular dark chocolate from the candy aisle? Thank you in advance.

    • July 7, 2016 at 8:01 AM

      Hi, Hailee, I used Scharffen Berger brand 70% bittersweet dark chocolate. “Dark chocolate” is lower in sugar and higher in cacao butter than, say, semi-sweet chocolate. It’s richer and more bitter. Unsweetened chocolate has no sugar, and should only be used in a recipe when specifically called for. Hope that helps!

  • KathrineVW
    June 1, 2016 at 3:29 PM

    Any ideas how to make this in a mocha version? I am in charge of birthday treats for a coworker, and she like mocha. These sound yummy! I want to make sure I get the coffee ratio right.

    • June 6, 2016 at 2:48 PM

      You could try replacing the vanilla with very strong coffee.

  • Christina Michelle Jones
    June 1, 2016 at 9:35 AM

    Tried this. Amazing! Drizzled white choc on top. Also substituted cocoa with cacao amd used the coconut oil/sugar options. Very rich! For the tray/pan i used, think I’ll double the brownie recipe but keep ganache as it is or do 3/4 of the recipe 😊 thanks for this!

    • July 7, 2016 at 8:01 AM

      Sounds delicious, Christina!

  • Lydia Barry
    May 2, 2016 at 9:55 PM

    I tried to follow the instructions exactly but my batter never got “smooth and glossy”. It did get thicker and a brownie-crumble-ish type thing, but definitely not a batter. Taste was still good so I kept moving forward. When I baked them all the butter seeped to the top and I had to drain it off!! What do you think I could have done to get the batter effect?

    • May 30, 2016 at 9:05 AM

      Did you measure your ingredients by weight, Lydia? It sounds like the balance of ingredients was off. The other likelihood is that some of your ingredients were not at the proper temperature. If the eggs were cold, they would coagulate the fats and pull them out of the mixture. Temperature and proper ingredient balance are the most important things in baking!

    • Darlene
      June 6, 2016 at 12:00 AM

      Mine did the exact same thing!!! I thought it was because I was experimenting due to wanting to make this sugar free by using a stevia/eyrithritol product. The batter was lumpy, like the chocolate seized, but I followed the directions to melt the chocolate. The eggs were set out for probably 15 minutes prior to using. The ingredients were not coming together. Also, when baked the butter rose to the top. After baking for a while, I took the pan out of the oven and poured off the butter. It was just sitting on top sizzling.

      But then, when I went to make the ganache, the same thing happened. The butter and chocolate were not coming together. I had to put it into the stand mixer to incorporate. That left me thinking I used the wrong chocolate. I used 85% cocoa Lindt chocolate bars.

      I ended up getting them to work, but not the same as your recipe intended, I’m sure. The texture was hard, kind’ve like a fudge texture instead of a brownie. They taste and look great though :) I’m eating them!!

      • June 6, 2016 at 2:45 PM

        Darlene, if you’re having trouble in both instances with the chocolate (both the brownies and the ganache), it’s something with the way you’re preparing the chocolate. Most likely you are melting it at a way too hot temperature. Good luck!

  • Sarah Lee
    April 25, 2016 at 10:02 PM

    This recipe looks crazing amazing! Definitely trying it. Have you tried it without egg? just wondering if replacement with chia or flax will work. I just tested positive for intolerance to eggs..

    • May 30, 2016 at 9:03 AM

      I’m afraid I don’t think so, Sarah. There are so few ingredients, and in my experience an egg substitute only works if there are, at most, 2 eggs in the regular recipe. Sorry!

  • Karen Wright
    April 25, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    These recipes are great as I have issues with Gluten. Even eating one piece/slice isn’t helping your spike in glucose if you’re trying to watch that as well. I haven’t found one recipe that is gluten free/low carb/no sugar that tastes good. I would appreciate someone posting some of those recipes.

    • April 25, 2016 at 6:00 PM

      Hi, Karen, this is not a blog with gluten free diabetic-friendly recipes, I’m afraid. There are, however, nearly 1000 posts on the blog, so feel free to browse through the recipe index.

  • Mare Masterson
    April 25, 2016 at 12:14 PM

    Okay – 34th wedding anniversary is today. This is now tonight’s dessert.

    • April 25, 2016 at 6:00 PM

      Happy anniversary, Mare! That’s amazing. :)

  • Jennifer S.
    April 25, 2016 at 10:59 AM

    yum. these look super!!

    I’ve done the black bean thing… it tastes like black beans.

    • April 25, 2016 at 11:26 AM

      Oh no, Jennifer! I knew it… But I can’t help myself from trying just a few times. Then I’ll move on to avocado in place of butter. I’m more optimistic about that one.

      • Mare Masterson
        April 25, 2016 at 12:13 PM

        Oh please do the avocado! I made a chocolate mousse recipe for a prior boss with avocado and cacao and it was amazing! You never knew avocado was in there!

      • Sebernard
        April 25, 2016 at 1:03 PM

        See now that I would love to try!! B

      • April 25, 2016 at 6:01 PM

        I’m definitely going to work on that, Mare. Especially in the warmer months. :)

      • Sebernard
        April 25, 2016 at 1:03 PM

        See now I didn’t think the black bean brownies tasted like black beans at all. Must depend on the recipe and how much chocolate you add.

      • April 25, 2016 at 6:01 PM

        Now my curiosity is really piqued, Sebernard!

      • Sebernard
        April 25, 2016 at 6:48 PM

        My kids are them with no issues and loved them. However, I will have to see if I can get the recipe my friend used to make them. However, I do have to say your bread recipes have been a lifesaver for us!!!

Back to Top

Where should I send your free guide?

By entering your email, you're agreeing to our Privacy Policy. We respect your email privacy, and will never share your information.