The Only Dairy-Free Brownies Recipe You’ll Need

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Updated on May 15, 2024

While butter is a heavenly substance that gives baked goods such softness and flavour, not everyone can eat dairy, including myself! But why do we have to sacrifice the good taste of fudgy brownies because of our dietary restrictions or lactose intolerance?

This is why I decided to experiment with recipes till I found the perfect dairy-free brownies recipe that I think you will only ever need to make the fudgiest and chocolatiest brownies without sacrificing taste or worrying about your bowel movements.

Bonus: This recipe doesn’t contain any eggs, so it’s suitable for vegans as well!

Breakdown of Ingredients for the Best Dairy-Free Brownies Recipe

Dairy-Free Brownies Recipe

Here is a breakdown of every ingredient in this recipe to help you achieve the best dairy-free brownies:

All-Purpose Flour

This forms the base of your brownies, providing structure and stability to the final product. Opt for a good quality all-purpose flour for best results.

Granulated Sugar

Sweetness is essential in balancing the bitterness of cocoa powder and providing that classic brownie flavour. Granulated sugar also helps with achieving the desired texture.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

The star ingredient gives brownies their rich, chocolatey flavour. Make sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder for a deep chocolate taste without added sugar.

Baking Powder

A leavening agent that helps the brownies rise slightly and gives them a softer, more cake-like texture. Be sure to check the expiration date to ensure it’s still active.

Salt

A pinch of salt enhances the chocolate flavour, balances sweetness, and rounds out the overall taste of the brownies.

Dairy-Free Butter Substitute

This is the key to making your brownies dairy-free while still achieving that rich, buttery flavour and moist texture. Options include coconut oil, vegan butter, or margarine. Choose one with a neutral flavour for the best results.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips or Chunks

Adding chunks of dairy-free chocolate adds extra richness and gooeyness to your brownies. Look for dairy-free chocolate chips or chunks made from ingredients like cocoa butter or coconut milk.

Unsweetened Applesauce

This acts as a binding agent and helps to keep the brownies moist without the need for eggs. It also adds natural sweetness and a hint of fruity flavour.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract enhances the chocolate flavour and adds a warm, aromatic undertone to your brownies. Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavour.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Dairy-Free Brownies Recipe

Here are step-by-step instructions to walk you through the process of making this dairy-free brownies recipe and perfecting it:

Preheat Oven

Before starting, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and prepare your baking pan. Use a 9×9-inch pan lined with parchment paper or lightly greased for easy removal of the brownies.

Mix Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until well combined. This ensures an even distribution of ingredients and prevents clumps in the batter.

Melt Butter and Chocolate

In a separate microwave-safe bowl or using a double boiler, melt the dairy-free butter substitute and dairy-free chocolate chips or chunks together until smooth and creamy. Stir occasionally to ensure even melting and prevent burning.

Combine Wet Ingredients

Once melted, remove the butter-chocolate mixture from heat and stir in the unsweetened applesauce and vanilla extract until fully incorporated. The applesauce adds moisture and helps bind the ingredients together.

Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and gently fold them together until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in tough brownies. A few streaks of flour are okay.

Bake

Transfer the brownie batter to the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly using a spatula. Smooth out the top for even baking. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are set and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with moist crumbs (not wet batter).

Cool and Serve

Once baked, remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes. This allows them to set slightly before slicing. Then, carefully lift the parchment paper or use a knife to loosen the edges, and transfer the brownies to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Optional

For an extra indulgent touch, sprinkle dairy-free chocolate chips or chopped nuts on top of the brownie batter before baking. This adds extra texture and flavour to your brownies.

Tips

Dairy-Free Brownies Recipe

Here are some tips to perfect these dairy-free brownies:

Room Temperature Ingredients

Ensuring all your ingredients are at room temperature is crucial for achieving the perfect texture and consistency in your dairy-free brownies. When ingredients like dairy-free butter substitutes and applesauce are at room temperature, they blend more easily, resulting in a smoother batter. Cold ingredients can lead to uneven mixing and may affect the final texture of your brownies. To bring ingredients to room temperature, simply set them out on the counter for about 30 minutes before starting your recipe.

Experiment with Butter Substitutes

One of the joys of dairy-free baking is the wide range of butter substitutes available, each offering its own unique flavour and texture. Coconut oil lends a subtle coconut flavour and a moist, tender crumb to your brownies. Vegan butter is often formulated to mimic the taste and texture of traditional butter, making it an excellent substitute for baked goods. Margarine, while not always dairy-free, can be found in dairy-free varieties and offers a familiar taste and texture. Experimenting with different butter substitutes allows you to tailor your brownies to your taste preferences and dietary needs.

Avoid Overbaking

Overbaking can spell disaster for your dairy-free brownies, leading to a dry, crumbly texture instead of the moist, fudgy goodness we all crave. Remember that brownies continue to cook slightly once removed from the oven due to residual heat, so it’s better to err on the side of underbaking than to leave them in too long. A toothpick inserted into the centre should come out with moist crumbs rather than wet batter, indicating that the brownies are perfectly baked. Keep a close eye on them during the last few minutes of baking to prevent overdone edges.

Storage

Proper storage is key to keeping your dairy-free brownies fresh and delicious. Once cooled completely, store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for optimal texture and flavour. Brownies can be kept this way for up to 3-4 days, though they are unlikely to last that long! For longer storage, you can freeze your brownies for several weeks. To freeze, wrap individual brownies tightly in plastic wrap or aluminium foil, then place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Thaw frozen brownies at room temperature before enjoying them.

By paying attention to these tips and techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to create dairy-free brownies that are not only delicious but also perfectly textured and stored for maximum enjoyment.

Variations and Substitutions for Dairy-Free Brownies

Dairy-Free Brownies Recipe

There are countless variations of dairy-free brownie recipes, allowing you to customise the flavour, texture, and ingredients to suit your preferences and dietary needs. Here are some delightful variations to consider:

Nutty Brownies

Add chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds to the batter for added crunch and flavour. Simply fold them into the batter before baking for a deliciously nutty twist.

Mint Chocolate Brownies

For a refreshing twist, add a few drops of peppermint extract to the batter and swirl in some dairy-free chocolate chips. The combination of rich chocolate and cool mint is simply irresistible.

Salted Caramel Brownies

Drizzle dairy-free caramel sauce over the brownie batter before baking, and sprinkle with sea salt for a sweet and salty flavour combination that’s sure to please.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Swirl creamy peanut butter into the brownie batter before baking for a decadent peanut butter-chocolate fusion. You can also top the brownies with a drizzle of melted peanut butter for extra indulgence.

Coconut Chocolate Brownies

Add shredded coconut to the batter for a tropical twist. The coconut adds texture and a hint of sweetness that pairs perfectly with chocolate.

Espresso Brownies

Incorporate espresso powder or strong-brewed coffee into the batter for a rich, mocha-flavoured brownie with a subtle caffeine kick.

Fruit and Chocolate Brownies

Fold in chopped dried fruit such as cherries, raspberries, or apricots for a burst of sweetness and tanginess that complements the chocolatey goodness of the brownies.

Spiced Brownies

Add warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to the batter for a cosy, aromatic twist. These spices enhance the flavour of the chocolate and add depth to the brownies.

Gluten-Free Brownies

If you’re avoiding gluten as well as dairy, you can easily adapt the recipe by using a gluten-free, all-purpose flour blend. Make sure all other ingredients are also gluten-free to ensure the brownies are safe to consume.

Protein-Packed Brownies

Boost the nutritional value of your brownies by adding a scoop of dairy-free protein powder to the batter. This is a great way to sneak in some extra protein without sacrificing flavour.

Remember to adjust the quantities of additional ingredients to your taste preferences, and don’t be afraid to get creative with flavour combinations.

Summary of Our Recipe

Dairy-Free Brownies Recipe

Here is a quick summary of our dairy-free brownies recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free butter substitute (such as coconut oil, vegan butter, or margarine)
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl or using a double boiler, melt the dairy-free butter and chocolate chips together until smooth and well combined. Stir occasionally to ensure even melting.
  4. Once melted, remove the butter-chocolate mixture from heat and stir in the unsweetened applesauce and vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in tough brownies.
  6. Transfer the brownie batter to the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly using a spatula. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are set and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with moist crumbs (not wet batter).
  7. Once baked, remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes. Then, carefully lift the parchment paper or use a knife to loosen the edges, and transfer the brownies to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.
  8. Optional: For an extra indulgent touch, sprinkle dairy-free chocolate chips or chopped nuts on top of the brownie batter before baking.

Remember that you don’t have to sacrifice your favourite desserts due to dietary restrictions or allergies. With a few modifications, you can make the best dairy-free dessert and enjoy every bit of it. Don’t forget to tell us how this recipe went for you if you tried making it! And as always, Happy Baking!

For more dairy-free desserts, check out our dairy-free banana bread recipe and these dairy-free cookies!

FAQs

1. How Can I Replace Butter in Dairy-Free Brownie Recipes?

Replacing butter in dairy-free brownie recipes is quite straightforward. Common substitutes include vegetable oil, coconut oil, or applesauce.

2. Can I Use Non-Dairy Milk in Place of Regular Milk in Brownie Recipes?

Yes, non-dairy milk can easily replace regular milk in brownie recipes. Suitable options include almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and coconut milk. Non-dairy milk can generally be substituted in a 1:1 ratio for regular milk.

3. How Do I Ensure My Dairy-Free Brownies Are Fudgy and Not Cakey?

To ensure dairy-free brownies are fudgy, use oil or a fat substitute for moisture, underbake them slightly, avoid overmixing the batter, and use a mix of granulated and brown sugar for added chewiness.

4. What Are the Best Dairy-Free Chocolate Options for Brownies?

Suitable dairy-free chocolate options for brownies include dairy-free chocolate chips (e.g., Enjoy Life, Guittard), dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher), and pure cocoa powder, which can be used in the batter or as mix-ins.

5. Can I Make Dairy-Free Brownies Gluten-Free As Well?

Yes, dairy-free brownies can also be made gluten-free by using gluten-free flour blends that include xanthan gum or guar gum for structure, almond flour, or coconut flour in the right ratios, ensuring all ingredients are certified gluten-free.

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