Quick and easy paleo brownies to satisfy your chocolate craving. Just throw everything in the food processor and they are in the oven in 5 minutes.
I originally came up with this easy paleo brownie recipe because I wanted a quick brownie recipe using ingredients I had in the pantry — a little bit of almond butter and some cacao powder. It was a happy coincidence as these brownies were a snap to put together, and they turned out to be one of my favorite brownie recipes. They are fudgy, buttery and sure to satisfy your chocolate craving.
What makes this recipe so easy is that everything goes straight into the food processor — no bowls needed. Because these brownies are made with cacao powder, you don't have to melt chocolate. You don't even have to melt the ghee. As long as it is at room temperature, just put it in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients. The brownies are in the oven in about 5 minutes.
This easy paleo brownie recipe is perfect when you need a quick dessert. They are great on their own and make a perfect base for toppings like banana ice cream or coconut whipped cream.
Why You Should Make These Brownies
- They're an easy, one-bowl effort
- The recipe is dump and blend - no need for melting or creaming any ingredients before assembly
- They're a secretly healthy sweet treat and dessert option
- They're ready in under 30 minutes
- They're perfect for adding healthy inclusions to elevate them to gourmet status brownies
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- Creamy Almond Butter - stands in for the flour in this recipe. Also adds healthy fat and helps give the brownies their fudgy texture
- Cacao Powder - this unsweetened powder is the healthiest version of chocolate and adds exceptional flavor to brownies
- Instant Espresso Powder - amps up the chocolate flavor
- Baking Soda - helps the brownies rise, especially since this is a gluten-free recipe
- Salt - seasoning
- Honey - adds a little natural sweetness
- Ghee - a flavorful lactose-free substitute for butter
- Eggs - a protein source that also helps the batter hold together
- Vanilla extract - be sure to use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor
How To Make Paleo Brownies
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8 x 8-inch pan or line it with parchment paper.
Tip: The parchment paper not only helps with clean-up, but if you let the edges of the parchment paper hang over the baking pan just a bit, you can actually lift and remove the entire baked brownie square out of the baking dish when done. This makes the brownies super easy to cut and serve in equal portions, once out of the pan.
- Add all the dry ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender and pulse to combine.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend until well combined.
- Pour the batter in your prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula or knife.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until set but still slightly moist in the center.
Why These Flourless Brownies Work
While it seems odd that a baked good can actually work without flour, this recipe uses ingredients that bind together beautifully to produce a rich and fudgy-textured brownie with an intense chocolate flavor.
This healthier version of brownies skips popular low-carb ingredients like almond flour or coconut flour. While those flours sometimes produce a more cakey texture when the brownies are baked, this recipe keeps the crumb dense and intense. Here, I use cacao powder along with almond butter to create the batter. It's a combination that works well and meets all the requirements of a gluten-free and refined sugar-free brownie that's amazingly delicious.
The result is a fudgy paleo brownie that's packed with chocolate goodness. What could be better?
While I do have brownie recipes that use other flours, such as my grain-free and nut-free version that uses coconut flour and my brownie-inspired scones made with almond flour, this recipe is one of my favorites because not only is it outrageously delicious, but it takes just minutes to prepare.
What You Should Know About Cacao Powder
Cacao powder is the raw and healthier version of cocoa powder. Both cacao and cocoa come from the cocoa plant, but the difference is in how they are processed into powder form, as well as its impact on their nutritional benefits.
The familiar cocoa powder that's often used in chocolate desserts is produced by grinding the cacao plant beans at a high temperature. The result is a bitter powder.
Cacao powder goes in the opposite direction and is, instead, produced by cold-pressing the cocoa beans. The result is a raw powder that's higher in nutritional benefits than the heat-produced cocoa powder. Raw cacao powder is considered a superfood that has been less manipulated via processing.
That said, the two powders are interchangeable in most recipes, including this one. However, for the ultimate health benefits, I prefer using cacao powder since it's closer to its original source material and retains a higher nutritional value.
Is The Espresso Powder Optional?
It is, but I have to say, it's really the secret ingredient that takes the brownies over the top. The espresso powder acts as an enhancer that adds a depth of flavor to the chocolate.
It's made from super dark roasted coffee beans that are ground into an extremely fine powder that's perfect for baking. I think it's worth it to keep a small container of espresso powder on hand for chocolate recipes. You only need a tiny bit in order to experience the benefits of its intense flavor.
Oh, and it doesn't make your baked goods taste like coffee - it just amps up the flavor of chocolate to even more deliciousness. I use it in pies, such as my chocolate walnut pie and my paleo pecan tart. I also use it in my coffee ice cream as well as my elegant chocolate pots de creme recipe.
Are These Flourless Brownies Gluten-Free?
This flourless brownie recipe is gluten-free, as are the ingredients used to make it. As always, double check your packaging to ensure that you're using gluten-free products.
Can't I Just Make These In A Mixing Bowl?
Absolutely! If you don't have a food processor or blender or don't want to use them, you can certainly make the brownie batter in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or use a stand mixer. You can also vigorously whisk or stir the ingredients together until they're completely blended.
- Cacao Powder - you can easily substitute unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe. I would not use Dutch process cocoa powder since it is a chemically processed product.
- Ghee - If you're dairy-free, you'll want a substitute for ghee. Even though the clarification process has removed lactose, ghee is still considered a dairy product. Replace it with room temperature coconut oil.
- Almond Butter - a great substitute for this nut butter is sunflower seed butter, which will still give you the fudgy texture for these brownies, but tastes like peanut butter. You can also try cashew butter and even tahini.
- Honey - try pure maple syrup as a paleo substitution.
You can certainly add in any ingredients that you like to the brownie mixture. Here are a few that will take these already delicious brownie recipe to decadent.
- Chopped Walnuts or Pecans - fold these in after the brownie batter has been mixed.
- Dark Chocolate Chips - use dairy-free, sugar-free chips and fold them in after the brownie batter has been mixed.
- Flaky Sea Salt - sprinkle on top of the baked brownies before serving.
How To Serve
While these fudgy gluten-free brownies are perfect on their own as an afternoon treat, you can also turn them into an after dinner dessert with these serving ideas.
- Add a dollop of homemade coconut whipped cream or the raspberry cream from this recipe on top
- Serve with a scoop of coffee ice cream (my favorite!), or a scoop of double chocolate macadamia ice cream
How To Store
Keep leftovers stored in an air-tight container on the countertop for up to 2 days or in the fridge for up to a week. If you want to warm the cold brownies, just microwave them on low for 10-15 seconds.
You can also freeze the baked and sliced brownies for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe bag. Thaw in the fridge before serving.
More Chocolate Dessert Recipes
- 3-Ingredient Salted Chocolate Almond Haystacks
- Mexican Chocolate Avocado Mousse
- Easy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Easy Chocolate Bark Recipe
Easy Paleo Brownie Recipe
- ½ cup organic cacao powder
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup creamy almond butter
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup ghee
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8 x 8-inch pan.
- Add dry ingredients to food processor and pulse to combine. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined. Spread batter in pan.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, until set but still slightly moist in center.
Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts
Will try these soon! Love the ingredients and how easy they are to make! 🙂
Thanks Shirley! Hope you enjoy the brownies!
These sound delicious. Do you think they would work with coconut oil instead of ghee since I don't eat dairy products?
I haven't tested this brownie recipe with coconut oil, but it seems like it would work. If you try coconut oil, let me know how it turns out!
I always use coconut oil when I make these and they turn out great every time!
Made these tonight with cocnut oil and rice malt syrup and they were fabulous!
Ghee is not a dairy product 😊
These are so delicious by the way! Love it 🙂
Excellent! I made them with chunky almond butter for that extra crunch.
Awesome! I'll have to try the chunky - thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for this recipe! Since I started Paleo I've experimented with a lot of different recipes for brownies but this one is the best. Now, it's the only recipe I use 🙂
Thank you so much for your comment! It's my favorite brownie recipe. 🙂
Made these and they came out great. On a whim, I added 1/4 cup each of shredded coconut, pecan bits, and chocolate chips. Wife says they are the best brownies she has ever eaten. I found them delicious too. Oh, I used room temp grass-fed butter instead of ghee.
kristi day (@kristikday)
Can you leave out the espresso powder? And if so, do you need a substitution?
The espresso powder enhances the chocolate flavor. You can leave it out or replace it with a little coffee.
UM...these were absolutely amazing! My judgmental hubby and his family even liked them. I will NEVER go back to boxed brownies again...obviously since we are eating Paleo...but you get the idea.
Thanks Kay! My husband likes these too - he says they taste like "regular" brownies.
The Paleo Princess
Would it be possible to use stevia in place of honey? My dad is diabetic and really can't have any kind of sugar
The honey provides moisture as well as sweetness, so I don't think substituting stevia in this recipe would work.
I just wanted to reply here and confirm, I made the recipe with 1/2 cup of Splenda instead of honey and it still turned out great!
I don't follow paleo but look for these recipes because they are healthier, in general, and lower sugar. I made these today and they are amazing and my husband even liked them and said that they taste "normal." Do you know if you could use natural peanut butter instead of the almond butter?
Cathy, I'm glad you and your husband liked the brownies! My husband said the same thing. 🙂
I have not tested this recipe with peanut butter (peanuts are legumes, not paleo), so I don't know if it would work.
These are absolutely AMAZING!! We are not strictly paleo or GF, but like the recipes as they are often healthier and more nutrient dense. I can't get over how good these are... And so guilt free! I am almost 8 months pregnant and we have made these twice in the past few weeks. This recipe has made me so happy =)
Thanks, Alexis! I'm so glad you are enjoying the brownies. And congratulations! 🙂
Hi I was just thinking do you think I could sub in pureed baked sweet potato for the almond butter? I have seen sweet potato brownies before. Thanks!
I made these last night and immediately ate half the batch myself - I've never had better brownies! I have severe dairy and gluten allergies but also a severe sweet tooth so these are a life saver. Thanks so much for the recipe!
Yeah! This is my favorite brownie recipe - I'm so glad you enjoyed them!
I just started eating paleo a few days ago, literally Monday, and these are AMAZING!! I have never left a comment for a blogger and these brownies inspired a first for me!! Thank you for making a lifestyle change a lot easier with this delicious recipe!!! Everyone needs to make these brownies!!!!
Thank you for the comment - I'm so glad you love my paleo brownie recipe! And congrats on starting paleo!
These are delicious!!! My kids and I love them!! What's the best way to store them and for how long? Thank u!
Yay! I'm so glad you love them! To be honest, they never last more than a day or two in my house. I store them on the counter and they seem to disappear as soon as I leave the room. 🙂
My 15 yo daughter made these tonight and they were divine!!!! Our family of 8 made quick work of these brownies. I'm just glad I grabbed a piece before they were wiped out 🙂 The only mod we made was to add mini chocolate chips. I'm sure this will be our go-to brownie recipe from now on! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.
Awesome! I'm so glad you all enjoyed them!
My food processor is dead so I did some manual labor for this one. When I tried the finished product I literally said out loud, "How is this even possible?" because they not only tasted like regular brownies but like AMAZING regular brownies and my entire non-Paleo family devoured them. This will be my go-to brownie recipe for the rest of my LIFE. 😉
Like others, I used coconut oil in place of the ghee and added 1/3 cup Enjoy life chocolate chips. Any thoughts on replacing half the oil with some applesauce? Or using avocado instead of the coconut oil?
Yay! I'm so glad you loved the brownies! I have not tried subbing applesauce or avocado - if you try it, let me know how it turns out.
Just made these with my (picky-picky-picky-eater) boys 4yo and 7yo, and they loved them! Thanks for the yummy recipe!
That's awesome, Kate! Glad they loved them. 🙂
These look so delicious!!! Could I substitute coconut oil for ghee? Or do you have a brand of ghee you really love? Can't wait to try there!
I don't use dairy in baking. Is there anything I can substitute for ghee in the brownie recipe?
Hi Sandy, I haven't tested it in this recipe, but coconut oil can usually be substituted for ghee. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!
Easy + chocolate, yes! And only 100 calories. I'm really loving these. Thanks!
Should the ghee be melted?
Hi Tina, it doesn't have to be melted. As long as it's at room temperature the food processor will incorporate it into the batter.
This Paleo Brownie recipe was a hit with my family so I made them again for Valentines Day. I added some dark chocolate chips and there was just the right amount of batter to make 24 Brownie Bites using a cookie scoop to drop into mini muffin cups. Bake 15-20 mins at 325.
Here in Australia Almond Butter is incredibly expensive. Is there anything that can be used as a substitute for using it apart from making my own.
Hi Wendy, I haven't tested it with anything else. But I think another nut or seed butter might work if you have one that is more affordable in Australia.
YES! These are totally AMAZING! I just found this recipe and have made the brownies twice. My husband said he wants this for this birthday. I brought a couple brownies with me to a 4 hour meeting knowing there was going to be "bad" baked goods available. I was STARVING and had my brownie with a cup of coffee and it curbed my hunger plus I was able to walk away from the lunch they provided. Thank you
By far the best paleo brownie I have ever made. They even got a thumbs up from all six of my children--a rarity with paleo baked goods! Thanks so much for the recipe. I'm sure we will be making these again soon!
Okay, I was skeptical. I've tried low-cal (not necessarily paleo-diet friendly) dessert recipes before and they tasted like cardboard. I made these last night and we were both impressed. I did add walnuts and might add coconut the next time. We ate them with no guilt. Thanks for the recipe!!
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it!
I’m saving this link so I can make this recipe soon! My chest day is coming up and I’d love to a brownie food coma!
I only have a mini food processor - do you think if I use a vitamix blender it would be ok?