This fudgy Black Bean Brownies recipe is a decadent gluten-free dessert (and no one will ever guess that they’re packed with black beans!) With over 400 five-star reviews, these bean brownies are perfect for healthy dessert lovers, gluten-free diets, or anyone who just wants to try a fun new recipe. Our community has had success making these with sugar-free alternatives as well as vegan options – see comments!
As I wandered the aisles of some nutrition fair back in college, one of the vendors offered me a sample of seemingly innocent brownies. I accepted the brownie offering, and it was good! But there had to be a catch. This was a nutrition fair after all.
That catch…black beans. Their brownie recipe replaced the flour with black beans! In addition to being gluten-free, a cup of black beans has about half the calories that a cup of all-purpose flour has, it’s got 20% of your daily iron, AND it has a slightly higher protein content (15g).
The nutritionist in me was in love at first bite.
“”OMG. These brownies are delicious!!! My family was hesitant to try them because of the ‘black beans’ but they had no problem gobbling them up!! I will be making these again!”” —Victoria
How to make gluten-free black bean brownies
The secret to moist gluten-free brownies is black beans! They add structure and bulk, while also making them super soft and fudgy.
Step 1: Mix the wet ingredients
You’ll need to rinse, drain, and puree a can of black beans to make a good pasty base. I like using a food processor for this, but you could also use a blender! Blending the beans first removes that distinct beany texture. Then mix in the rest of your wet ingredients.
Step 2: Mix the Dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. I like to throw finely ground or instant coffee in with the dries – they add a little something something. Mix the wets and dries separately to make sure everything gets mixed evenly.
Step 3: Bake!
Then just pour the brownie batter into a baking pan, bake, and serve! I have this *condition* where I serve secretly healthy foods to unsuspecting eaters then ask them to guess the secret ingredient. And with this recipe, almost no one guesses the brownies are filled with beans – you really can’t taste them because they’re bursting with chocolate flavor!
“”These are the best brownies I’ve ever had!! You can’t even tell they have black beans in them. I followed the directions exactly, using coconut oil. I also used half milk chocolate chips and half dark chocolate chips because I didn’t have semi-sweet. Can’t stress enough how good these are!!!!” ” —Therese
Substitutions & Variations
This brownie recipe is customizable in so many ways (just take a peek at the comments section to see the delicious modifications our community has had success with)! Here are a few of my personal favorite ways to switch up this recipe:
- Make it vegan but using flax eggs in place of the eggs. Combine 2 Tbsp of flax seeds with 6 Tbsp of water in a blender, then use that as a replacement for the eggs.
- Add nuts, like chopped walnuts, pecans, or even a drizzle of peanut butter!
- Make it lower sugar by using monk fruit, stevia or agave nectar.
- Make them in a muffin tin if you prefer brownies with crispy edges!
- Refrigerate these brownies for up to 7 days.
- Freeze brownies for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, let them thaw in the fridge before reheating them for best results (I like to pop them in the air fryer for a few minutes to give them a nice texture!)
More secretly healthy desserts you might like
- 1 15-oz can black beans rinsed and drained, 425 g
- 3 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp oil a flavorless oil like canola oil or vegetable oil, 45 mL
- 1 tsp vanilla extract 5 mL
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 30 g
- ⅔ cup sugar 120 g
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp finely ground or instant coffee optional
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 60 g
- Wets: Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Puree 1 15-oz can black beans in food processor into a rough paste. In a large bowl, mix together the bean puree, 3 large eggs, 3 Tbsp oil, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- Dries: In a separate bowl, combine ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, ⅔ cup sugar, ½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, and coffee (if using). Add the dry ingredients to the wets, then stir in ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.
- Bake: Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan, then line with parchment paper. Pour in batter and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the edges are visibly cooked and the center doesn't jiggle much when you shake the pan (a toothpick may still come out a little gooey, that's fine!)* Allow brownies to cool before cutting.
Tips & Tricks
I originally posted this Black Bean Brownies recipe back when the blog was in its beginning years. I’ve since updated it with new photos and more clear instructions.