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The Ultimate Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Brownies

These are the best vegan brownies you’ll ever taste. Not only are they perfectly fudgy and intensely chocolatey, they also boast that elusive, beautiful shiny paper-thin crust. On top of that, they’re dead easy to make, require only 7 ingredients – and no egg replacements or aquafaba!

Fudgy vegan chocolate brownie on a piece of white parchment paper.

I know I tend to use superlatives pretty much every time I talk about brownies (or just chocolate in general) – but these are THE BEST VEGAN BROWNIES I’ve ever tasted. Yes, even better than my Best Vegan Brownies (and that’s saying something).

They’re perfectly fudgy, intensely chocolatey with an added depth of flavour from the Dutch processed cocoa powder AND they have that coveted shiny, paper-thin crust.

The best part? The recipe is almost ridiculously simple, has only 7 ingredients and requires no egg replacements or aquafaba. Instead, all the ingredients are pantry staples you are guaranteed to have in your kitchen already:

  • dark chocolate
  • sunflower oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
  • superfine/caster sugar
  • water
  • plain all-purpose flour
  • cocoa powder
  • salt

This probably sounds too good to be true – but it’s 100% real, 1000% fabulous and just waiting for you to get baking (and eating, of course).

Fudgy vegan chocolate brownies on a piece of white parchment paper.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful brownies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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How do you make vegan brownies from scratch?

As always, you can find the full recipe (including the ingredient quantities) at the bottom of this post. But to make your life easier – and your brownies even more delicious – here are the step-by-step photos, so you’ll know what your brownie batter should look like at each and every stage.

First up: you’ll need to melt together the chocolate and oil – you can do this in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water.

2-step process of melting the chocolate with the oil.

Then, you’ll need to prepare a simple sugar syrup by mixing together sugar and water, and heating the mixture until the sugar is fully dissolved (but not so much that the mixture starts boiling, evaporating or caramelising). I go into more detail about the purpose and role of the sugar syrup below.

3-step process of making the simple sugar syrup.

Next, it’s time to combine all the ingredients:

  1. Pour the sugar syrup into the melted chocolate,
  2. and whisk the mixture well until combined. Because the concentration of the water is fairly low, it won’t cause the chocolate mixture to split or “curdle” – it should remain glossy and silky smooth.
  3. Add in the flour,
  4. cocoa powder, and
  5. salt.
  6. Mix everything together,
  7. until you get a smooth, quite thick brownie batter.
  8. Pour it into the lined baking tin (I used an 8 inch square baking tin), smooth out the top and bake for about 30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out with some half-baked batter and many moist crumbs attached.

The first four steps of the 8-step process of making the vegan chocolate brownies.

The second four steps of the 8-step process of making the vegan chocolate brownies.

What is the purpose of the sugar syrup? (Or: a brief look into how recipe development works ‘round these parts.)

TL;DR: The sugar syrup replaces the egg + sugar mixture normally prepared in a regular brownie recipe, giving the brownies their drop-dead-gorgeous shiny top and contributing to their fudgy texture.

Okay, now onto the long version:

When I started developing this recipe, I based it on my Shiny Top Brownies recipe from my upcoming gluten free baking book. That recipe went through 20+ rounds of tweaking and perfecting, so it was a pretty good starting point. (Those brownies are actually freakin’ amazing, but that’s a story for another time.)

In addition to tweaking the ingredients from gluten free to regular flour, the main issue was how to mimic the effect of eggs, since the original recipe was non-vegan. Initially, I used aquafaba (the water from a can of chickpeas), a commonly used egg replacement in brownies.

However, whipped aquafaba can sometimes make the brownies a bit dry and cakey in texture, and I wanted these to be the fudgiest vegan brownies you’ll ever set your eyes on. Furthermore, I wanted to get that elusive shiny top, which is normally achieved by getting the sugar to dissolve in eggs, which then forms what is essentially a thin layer of meringue on top of the brownies.

So, whipping the aquafaba was out of the question. Instead, I tried dissolving the sugar in the aquafaba simply by heating the two together over medium-high heat, and then mixing the resulting sugar syrup into the brownie batter. Lo and behold: the shiny top made an appearance!

Then, I took it a step further – what if you take away the protein content of the aquafaba (that is: the reason why it’s commonly used as an egg or egg white substitute in vegan cooking and baking) and… just use water?

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure whether it would work. (Okay, I was downright sceptical.) But… it worked. The brownies were perfectly fudgy, with a beautiful shiny top – all from using water essentially as the “egg substitute”.

Insane? Yes.

Insanely brilliant? YES. (If I do say so myself.)

Now, for this to work, it’s VERY IMPORTANT to keep the amount of water low, just enough to dissolve all the sugar when heated. If you add more water, the shiny top will disappear and the texture will go from deliciously fudgy to something that resembles a dense, under-baked cake (trust me, it’s not pleasant or appetising at all). That’s to say… follow the recipe.

Fudgy vegan chocolate brownies on a piece of white parchment paper.

What makes these vegan brownies fudgy?

The fudgy texture is the result of a couple of factors:

  • the relatively large amount of chocolate
  • substituting part of the flour with cocoa powder (which also greatly improves the flavour)
  • using the sugar syrup (this locks in a lot of moisture and keeps the brownies fudgy and perfectly chewy for days)
  • being careful not to over-bake the brownies (an inserted toothpick should come out with some half-baked batter and many moist crumbs attached – a completely clean toothpick means you’ve over-baked the brownies which destroys the decadent, fudgy texture)

How do you know when brownies are ready?

Although the recipe below gives an approximate baking time (about 30 minutes at 320 ºF/160 ºC), each oven behaves a bit differently, especially if it’s not quite correctly calibrated. That’s why I recommend doing a toothpick test.

In the “toothpick test”, you insert a toothpick or skewer into the middle of the brownies for about 2 seconds. Unlike in a cake recipe, you’re not looking for a completely clean toothpick – that would mean that you’ve over-baked the brownies.

Instead, you’re looking for a toothpick covered in half-baked batter and/or with many moist crumbs attached. This is the one fool-proof test to get your brownies baked to fudgy perfection. If you like your brownies on the gooey side, look for a toothpick with only half-baked batter attached and no crumbs in sight.

A stack of three fudgy vegan chocolate brownies.

How long do vegan brownies keep?

Realistically, these probably won’t last more than a day – they’re just that good.

But if you’re very good at hiding food (from yourself and others): these vegan brownies keep well in a closed container at room temperature for 3 – 4 days. They will become chewier with time.

There you have it, friends. A simple, reliable recipe for the most amazing vegan brownies (ever). Truth be told, these just might be the best vegan dessert I’ve ever had.

But don’t just take my word for it. Test them out for yourself. And thank me later.

Close-up of a fork with a piece of the fudgy vegan chocolate brownie on it.

If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

The Ultimate Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Brownies

These are the best vegan brownies you’ll ever taste. Not only are they perfectly fudgy and intensely chocolatey, they also boast that elusive, beautiful shiny paper-thin crust. On top of that, they’re dead easy to make, require only 7 ingredients – and no egg replacements or aquafaba!
Print Rate
4.88 from 16 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook/Bake Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 8 1/2 oz (240 g) chopped dark chocolate, 60 – 70% cocoa solids
  • 3/8 cup (90 mL) sunflower oil, or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 g) superfine/caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) water
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) plain all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Instructions

  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 320 ºF (160 ºC) and line an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan with greaseproof/baking paper.
  • In a heat-proof bowl above a pot of simmering water (or in the microwave), melt together the dark chocolate and sunflower oil. Set aside to cool until warm.
  • In a separate heat-proof bowl (if using the microwave) or in a saucepan (if using the stovetop), mix together the sugar and water, and heat them together until the sugar is fully dissolved.
    NOTE: You don't want the mixture to start to boil, the water to evaporate or the sugar to start caramelising – you need to heat it only to the point where the sugar is fully dissolved and no further.
  • Pour the sugar syrup into the melted chocolate and whisk well until combined.
  • Add in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk well until you get a smooth, fairly thick brownie batter.
  • Pour the batter into the lined baking tin and smooth out the top.
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven at 320 ºF (160 ºC) for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out with some half-baked batter and many moist crumbs attached.
  • Let the brownies cool completely at room temperature before slicing and serving.
  • Storage: The vegan brownies keep well in a closed container at room temperature for 3 - 4 days.
Tried this recipe?Mention @theloopywhisk or tag #theloopywhisk!

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63 thoughts on “The Ultimate Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Brownies”

  1. THANK. YOU.
    Thank you for the best vegan brownie recipe in the world. Thank you for putting metric measurements (I’m from Italy and that was very very useful, we don’t use “cups” like you do).
    I guess the baking part it’s the hardest one. It took around 40 minutes to me. Checking with a spaghetti (I use that instead of the toothpick :’D) make it easier by the way.

    Reply
  2. Hey KAT ! i tried your recipe and it had that nice crinckle top but it lack its structure. i dont know where i went wrong can you help.

    Reply
  3. Kat, thank you so much for this wonderful (and easy) recipe. My kids and I have made them several times. We use a gram scale and turn it into a bit of a science lesson, too. As if that wasn’t enough, the batter is lick-able and the brownies are so dang delicious!

    Reply
  4. Hi there, Is the 160 deg oven temperature for a fan assisted oven? Because when I baked at 160 deg in my non fan assisted oven, the brownie was too soft and I couldn’t cut or pick it up with hand. In my view the baking temperature should increase or the baking time should increase.

    Reply
    • The temperature is for a conventional (non-fan) oven. 160ºC should be more than enough to bake the brownies until they’re nicely fudgy but not so soft that you can’t pick them up. It could be that your oven is running a bit cold (I recommend checking with an oven thermometer), so you could extend the baking time by a few minutes.

      Reply
  5. THANK YOU A LOT. I thought it was impossible to make a vegan brownie with no strange ingredients and strange flavors. This even has a nice top, you rock!!

    Reply
    • Hi Michael, I haven’t tested these with a GF flour yet, unfortunately, so I really can’t predict how the recipe will behave if you make the substitution (it is on my to-do list though). If you give it a try, do let me know hot they turn out!

      Reply
    • Hi Simran, I haven’t tested the recipe with melted (browned) butter, so I really couldn’t say. I think that while delicious, using butter is very likely to change the appearance of the cookies, so you might not get the same shiny, crackly top. If you give it a try, do let me know how they turn out!

      Reply
    • So, the cookies should definitely spread out and not be very thick, so I’m not quite sure what you mean by collapsing… As for the hard outer surface, it’s possible that your oven runs hot so they over-baked. Also, did you sue a fan oven? That could have dried out their outer surface.

      Reply
  6. This is insanely good! I was very worried during the baking stage. As it’s my first vegan brownie, I didn’t know what to expect when I did the toothpick test. But I held my nerves and followed the instructions as written. This brownie came out fudgy and chewy (oh mine!), completely exceeding my expectation.

    Thank you!

    ps. I used gluten-free flour (blend) and it works well.

    Reply
  7. I made these the other week and they were unreal.

    This week I doubled the amount and used a 10×14 tray – so about a bit more than 2x but I thought it would need 5 mins longer in the oven and it came out crumbly and awful 😭

    Can you advise how I would calculate the baking time?

    Thanks so much

    Reply
    • Hi Mercedes, there is no good way of calculating the baking time. I recommend you start testing the brownies with a toothpick quite early on, and take them out of the oven the moment you see moist crumbs appearing with little to no half-baked batter attached.

      Reply
  8. wow! this is the BEST brownie recipe i’ve ever made – vegan or not!
    it’s so fudgy and rich and AMAZING with a glass of almond milk 🙂

    Reply
  9. absolutely love this recipe other ones ive seen have had too many fussy ingredients to try to replace the egg, but this holds together and is perfectly fudgy without any egg replacement so thumbs up from a lazy vegan. i do however wish it was just a little bit more sweet (personal preference and also probably because i added coffee to boost to chocolate flavour) how could i make it sweeter without messing up the texture?

    Reply
    • Hi Hayley, I’m so glad you enjoyed the brownies! You should be able to increase the amount of sugar slightly – alternatively, use a vegan chocolate with a lower % of cocoa solids or you could try slightly decreasing the amount of cocoa powder.

      Reply
  10. I made these tonight and really enjoyed them! I picked this recipe because I wanted something fudgy and I thought adding sugar syrup was a bit different. I followed the recipe but downscaled it by a quarter which worked. I really liked the slight crisp from the shiny top (they looked great!) and these brownies definitely came out more fudgy rather than cakey. Will make again!

    Reply
  11. These were so delicious, it was hard to believe that they were vegan. So chocolaty and perfectly fudgy!! I will definitely be making them again!!

    Reply
  12. Will there by any change if I add condensed milk in this recipe and use butter instead of oil ? Will it still be fudgy and have the paper crinkly crust ?

    Reply
  13. Hii Kat…
    these brownies made us all drool 🤤 …they were amazing!!
    Now..I’ve got a little query..as to turn these into peanut butter brownies..in which step should I be incorporating the peanut butter??

    Xx

    Reply
    • Do you mean mixing peanut butter directly into the brownie batter or just swirling the peanut butter into the brownies? If former: you can add some peanut butter to the chocolate+oil mixture and melt it all together. If latter: just add dollops of peanut butter to the top of the brownie batter in the baking tin and swirl it around using a knife or skewer.

      Reply
      • okayy…thank so much dearie !!!
        I was actually talking about the former one…
        Will surely try it out…thanks again!
        Xx

        Reply
  14. I usually love your recipes, but this one came out terrible!
    I followed everything correctly but the brownie came out super oily, didn’t taste of chocolate and it clings to the teeth when chewing
    🙁

    Reply
    • I think it should – but I’d use a slightly smaller amount of gluten free flour blend, since it tends to absorb more moisture than plain wheat flour… probably around 150-180g to start out, and then refine further.

      Reply
  15. Can’t wait to try these! Do you think I could use coconut sugar (getting it through a sieve to discard the less fine bits) instead of castor?

    Reply
    • I think coconut sugar should work – just note that it might affect the texture and especially the appearance (for example, you might not get a shiny top that’s quite as pronounced).

      Reply
      • Thank you! Do you think I should go by the cup or gram measurments of the coconut sugar? I usually go by gram but I know coconut sugar weighs less. Sorry to be so technical! Haha

        Reply
  16. I rarely ever give reviews on recipes but these brownies were AMAZING! Probably the best fudgy brownies I’ve ever had and so easy to make too. I used granulated sugar instead of caster sugar since that was all I had on hand and they still turned out great!
    I also used a mix of semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped dark chocolate for the melted chocolate portion and reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup 🙂

    Reply
  17. WOW. These were so easy and are absolutely sensational. I love that this recipe doesn’t use a lot of substitute ingredients. I am out of AP flour because of the pandemic so I had to use 00 flour which is all I had in the house, and they still turned out great. Look forward to making these again. Thank you!!

    Reply
  18. I made these and goodness me they were INCREDIBLE – chocolately heaven in a bite.
    I was a bit worried about making the sugar syrup but it was easier than expected and the sheen on the top was perfect. Thank you!

    Reply
  19. These were really nice and definitely recommend! Definitely nice and fudgy Thanks for recipe! However I used a 72% choc and reckon it resulted a little to dark for my own tastes 🙂

    Reply