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Best Chewy, Fudgy Gluten-Free Brownies (Plus Mix-In Ideas!)

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home." She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated."

These gluten-free brownies are chewy and fudgy

These gluten-free brownies are chewy and fudgy

Chewy, Fudgy Brownies From Scratch

We just love brownies! When I developed a gluten sensitivity, I had to find a way to make a gluten-free version. I was happy to find that they are the easiest baked goods to adapt. And these are so much more delicious than brownies made from a box mix.

Don't waste my time with dry or cakey brownies. These treats don't fail to please with their fudgy, chewy texture and rich flavor. The kids won't even know they're gluten-free! You just need a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand. You won't be confused by a long list of complicated mixing and baking instructions, either.

The only ingredient you may have to go out and buy is garbanzo flour. Just keep a bagful in your pantry for any time you're craving a rich, chocolatey treat. You can substitute a gluten-free flour blend for the garbanzo flour, but please read below to learn about the great xanthan gum controversy before making that decision.

Two important things to keep in mind:

  1. Buy good-quality cocoa powder, such as Ghirardelli or Pernigotti (it's pricey but worth it.)
  2. Be sure not to over-bake the brownies so they'll stay moist and chewy.

That's all! Now are you ready to get baking?

Gluten-Free Brownies

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

30 min

45 min

12 brownies

(Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder*
  • 2 tablespoons strong coffee or espresso
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups garbanzo flour

*Note: If baking at high altitude, reduce baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon for 6–7,000 feet. Reduce to 1/2 teaspoon for 8–9,000 feet.

Optional Add-Ins

  • 2 cups Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips
  • 1 cup nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup cocoa nibs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch square pan.
  3. In a large bowl combine eggs, cocoa, salt, baking powder, coffee, and vanilla extract. Batter will be thick.
  4. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and sugar. Stir until melted.
  5. Continue to heat the butter/sugar mixture until bubbly but not boiling. The sugar will melt and the mixture will look shiny.
  6. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
  7. Add warm butter mixture to the cocoa batter and beat with mixer until smooth.
  8. Add garbanzo flour and optional chocolate chips and/or nuts, blending with a spatula until just until combined.
  9. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, or until the edges are set and pulling away from the edges of the pan. The center will look moist. Be sure NOT to overbake the brownies!
  10. Cut brownies and store in a tupperware for 3 days in the fridge or freeze for a month.

Photo Tutorial

Gather all of your ingredients.

Gather all of your ingredients.

Combine eggs, cocoa, and other dry ingredients.

Combine eggs, cocoa, and other dry ingredients.

Combine with a mixer. The batter will be dry.

Combine with a mixer. The batter will be dry.

Combine butter and sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat.

Combine butter and sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat.

Simmer, stirring constantly, until sugar melts. Cool slightly.

Simmer, stirring constantly, until sugar melts. Cool slightly.

Pour warm sugar/butter mixture into cocoa batter and mix with hand mixer until smooth.

Pour warm sugar/butter mixture into cocoa batter and mix with hand mixer until smooth.

Add garbanzo flour.

Add garbanzo flour.

Blend with a spatula until smooth.

Blend with a spatula until smooth.

Pour into 9x9-inch pan.

Pour into 9x9-inch pan.

Bake until brownies are just starting to pull away from the edges of the pan. The center will stick look slightly wet. Don't overbake!

Bake until brownies are just starting to pull away from the edges of the pan. The center will stick look slightly wet. Don't overbake!

Rate Gluten-Free Brownies

Pimp Out Your Brownies! Mix-Ins and Variations

  • Make brownies-a-la-mode topped with premium vanilla bean ice cream. Drizzle with hot fudge or Kahlua for an extra special treat.
  • Get creative with mix-ins. Instead of chocolate chips, add M&Ms, Reese's pieces, chopped chocolate bars or another candy bar to brownie batter.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon chili powder to the batter for an exciting flavor punch or orange zest for a citrus zing.
  • Drizzle warm brownies with amaretto liqueur or Bailey's Irish Cream for a gourmet twist.
  • Swirl brownie batter with peanut butter or caramel sundae topping before baking for a deliciously different dessert.
  • If you like crunch, the optional nuts or cacao bits may be just your thing. Choose pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts or a combination of the above. Lightly toast them in the oven, until they are just starting to take on color.

The Xanthan Gum Controversy

Xanthan gum is a common additive in gluten-free flour mixes. Although there is no evidence that xanthan gum can cause harm to healthy adults, the question remains whether or not it is safe for those with severe wheat, dairy, corn, or soy allergies and those with digestive issues.

Xanthan gum is produced by fermenting wheat, corn, or soy. It has a slight laxative effect on adults, but it can be life-threatening to infants under 12 months of age. The New York Times published an article about the tragic death of infants who had developed necrotizing enterocolitis after drinking baby formula thickened with xanthan gum.

So xanthan gum should never be given to infants under 12 months of age. It should be avoided by those with digestive problems or severe allergies to soy, wheat, dairy, or corn. Garbanzo flour is a safe alternative to gluten-free flour mixes that contain xanthan gum.

Garbanzo Flour Benefits

Garbanzo or chickpea flour is often used in Indian cuisine and can be found in ethnic markets. One cup of garbanzo flour contains 365 calories, 21 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 53 total grabs of carbs. It has fewer calories and carbohydrates than whole wheat or white flour and is much higher in protein. Naturally a source of folate and B-6, garbanzo flour is naturally gluten-free.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.