Sugar-Free Black Bean Brownie Recipe (with Video)
You know what makes you feel like a rockstar mom?
Handing your kid a brownie for breakfast and watching their face light up with confused, but unfettered joy.
With this sugar-free black bean brownie recipe, you can be that rockstar mom… and not have to deal with a sugar high (and subsequent crash) at 9am.
Black Bean Brownies Recipe
Ella and I have gotten into a bit of a late-night baking kick, and a little while ago she became fixated on the idea of making brownies – we started off with our 3-ingredient brownies, and we’ve even used our favourite boxed brownie mix.
However, while I want to give Ella freedom with her food choices, I would prefer that our late night baking escapades were a little bit healthier – so I can actually let her eat her creations before bed, or as soon as she wakes up, without worrying about all of that sugar!
I had tried a black bean brownie recipe before, and was pleasantly surprised at the results, but every recipe that I knew of still had refined sugar as a main ingredient (or relied on artificial sweeteners). No. Thank. You.
So, we set out to make a great-tasting, sugar-free black bean brownie recipe with whole foods (that wouldn’t taste like we made a sugar-free black bean brownie with whole foods).
Of course, if you’re making these for grown-ups you may want to add some real chocolate chips. While no child that I’ve ever served these to has ever thought twice, I can still taste the beans slightly.
This is the perfect recipe to make with kids, because this recipe is so forgiving, and the food processor does most of the work. Kids still get the fun of measuring ingredients, and cracking eggs, without having to handle a mixer or worry about stirring the batter enough.
(And, the burning question – yes, you can fool people into thinking that these are real, sugar-laden brownies! I’ve fed them to my twenty-year old, junk food-loving brothers, and neither suspected a thing! It’s not a replacement for a super-chocolatey, indulgent brownie – you’re simply not going to get that without a ton of chocolate and sugar. But it still tastes like a brownie.)
These brownies are even fudgier the next day, so if possible, resist the temptation to try them until the next day if you’re a fan of super fudgey brownies. I also recommend allowing these brownies to cool down before digging in, as the sweet and chocolatey flavors in this recipe will become stronger as they set.
You can customize these brownies in so many ways! If you love peanut butter and chocolate, you can add some peanut butter powder to it. Or if you like a hint of coffee, you can add some instant espresso powder (this is the one I use).
Why add beans to brownies? Not only do beans help create the rich, chewy texture of this brownie recipe, they also (obviously) add a bevy of health benefits.
What are the health benefits of black beans? At 15g protein per 1 cup, beans also provide lots of soluble and insoluble fibre, which helps you stay fuller longer and helps decrease the risk of many chronic diseases. Black beans are also associated with lowering LDL cholesterol levels (reducing your risk of heart disease), the magnesium aids in bone health, and the potassium can lower blood pressure. Many of us lack enough dietary fibre and magnesium, so this is a great way to add those into your diet in a fun way.
How to make brownies sugar-free: The Medjool dates are an essential ingredient in this recipe! We have occasionally had to use raisins when we don’t have dates on hand (as shown in the video) but the dates add a more caramelized sweetness and really help develop that fudgy texture. They also add even more protein, vitamins and minerals to these brownies. Read more about the health benefits of Medjool dates here.
Are these brownies gluten-free? Yes, this recipe contains no flour and as long as all of your other ingredients are labeled gluten-free, you’re in the clear!
Can you freeze black bean brownies? Yes! Be sure to wrap the brownies tightly with foil or plastic wrap, then place in an airtight freezer container or freezer bag. Store for up to 2 months.
Can I swap the applesauce for mashed bananas? While this should work as the applesauce serves to add moisture and replace oil, I have not tried this substitution yet.
Check out the video to see how easy it is to make these sugar-free black bean brownies and then don’t forget to scroll down to grab our free printable recipe below:
Ingredients to Make Black Bean Brownies
- Black beans – if you opt for dry beans, make sure to cook or soak adequately beforehand
- Medjool dates
- Natural applesauce – this replaces the need for oils or butter in this recipe and adds to the moisture content (I have not tried substituting mashed banana but this may work)
- Pure vanilla extract, or scrapings from one pod
- Cocoa powder – make sure to use baking cocoa not sweetened cocoa mix meant for drinks
- Baking soda
- Good-quality salt– no need to use the really gourmet stuff, but I avoid iodinized table salt
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: you can use a muffin pan to portion out the brownie batter into single-serve portions.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Useful:
- Food processor <– absolutely ESSENTIAL to this recipe achieving a fudgy texture (also in pureeing the beans and dates)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 8″ x 8″ baking pan
- Offset spatula
How to Make Healthy Black Bean Brownies
Preheat oven to 350F.
Stir the cocoa powder, soda, and salt in a small bowl until fully blended. Set aside.
Place the beans, dates, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla in a food processor. Puree until a nice paste forms and you cannot see individual beans or dates.
Add the dry ingredients, and blend fully.
Scrape the batter into a prepared 9×9-inch pan and smooth it down with a spatula. (You can oil and flour a pan, or line it with parchment paper.)
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until set and a toothpick inserted comes out with crumbs but no wetness.
Pin this delicious sugar-free black bean brownie recipe:
Grab your free printable recipe card for our sugar-free black bean brownie recipe here:
Sugar-Free Black Bean Brownie Recipe
A fudgy, protein-packed brownie with no sugar or added sweeteners.
- 2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped Medjool dates
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup natural applesauce
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract, or scrapings from one pod
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp good-quality salt
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Stir the cocoa powder, soda, and salt in a small bowl until fully blended. Set aside.
- Place the beans, dates, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla in a food processor. Puree until a nice paste forms and you cannot see individual beans or dates.
- Add the dry ingredients, and blend fully.
- Scrape the batter into a prepared 9x9-inch pan and smooth it down with a spatula. (You can oil and flour a pan, or line it with parchment paper.)
- Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until set and a toothpick inserted comes out with crumbs but no wetness.
Tip: you can use a muffin pan to portion out the brownie batter into single-serve portions.
You can freeze these brownies for up to two months. Tightly wrap with foil or plastic wrap before storing in a freezer bag or airtight freezer container.
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PUCKWAY Cake Decorating Angled Icing Spatula Set of 6 8 & 10 Inch Wooden Handle Professional Stainless Steel Offset Frosting Spatulas
Silicone Brownie Pan | Professional Non-Stick Square 8-inch Silicone Cake Pan for Baking by Boxiki Kitchen | Best No-Stick Oven Dish Bakeware | FDA-Approved Silicone w/ Steel Frame
KitchenAid KFC3516ER 3.5 Cup Food Chopper, Empire Red
New Star Foodservice 42917 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups Combo, Set of 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 131Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 216mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 5gSugar: 11gProtein: 6g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
These sugar free black bean brownies are crumbly, fudgy, and all of the good things that brownies should be. We’ve made these twice now, and next time I’m going to be adding in some good-quality chocolate chips… to my half of the pan anyways.
For more delicious sugar-free baking ideas, check out our Sugar-free Banana Bread recipe or our Chickpea Peanut Butter Blondies.
Check out our other Vegetable Recipes here:
Original picture from 2013:
I’ve heard of these, but never tried them. Pinning for later!
Thanks! The kids didn’t seem to know the difference, but I definitely need some chocolate chips for mine next time 😉
Just wow – these are a genius idea for avoiding the sugar rush and ultimate drop. Must have a go! Thanks loads for joining in with #FoodieFriday x
I hope you do!
oh really nice recipe and new idea! Thank you for linking up with #FoodieFriday
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! There IS a way to get my boys to eat beans, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty for fooling them into doing it. Both boys and their friend ate them up and said they loved them. They want me to make more. Oh happy day 🙂
Oh that makes me so happy to hear!
This is definitely one of those recipes where you have to try it to believe it – and I’m so humbled that you took the time (and ingredients) to experiment and make this recipe. I’m glad it paid off – they’ll thank you one day for tricking them!
I’ve got to be honest. I got so excited when I saw this recipe because I am doing no sugar for the month of febuary. I added extra dates to this recipe to make it a little sweeter. Unfortunately they are so bland and just taste like black beans!! Bummer
OH I’m so sorry to hear that. I know how upsetting and frustrating it can be to make a recipe and have it not turn out and I’m sorry that you had that experience with one of mine! I actually make my recipes twice to ensure they turn out and am not quite sure why yours had this issue.
I’ll definitely admit that they are not the most decadent brownie recipe – because that’s not the point of this recipe – but they shouldn’t have tasted like black beans at all.
I would definitely recommend adding chocolate chips to the adult side! Mine seemed really gooey at 25 mins, so I ended up leaving them in for about 40 mins total. They ended up more cakey than I expected, but still pretty good considering the ingredients! Thanks!
Wow made it yesterday! Hubby couldn’t believe this was made with black beans and no flour! My meditation group had some for lunch they loved it! My mom took the rest with her ( there was just a little piece left;)) ?so guess what I’m doing right now?! Baking another one cause hubby said he forgot how the cake taste!!??? Thanks for a great recipe! P/s I added some dark chocolate chips so goooood!!!
Aw! I love hearing that – thank you for coming back to share with me 🙂
Can I swap the dates for figs instead?
I haven’t tried it, but they may not be as sweet? I love figs so I’m tempted to think they might work!
If you try it, can you let me know?
I love brownies but the sugar and calorie count, means I cannot have them as much as id like (which is every day!) These look to be a great alternative, will save for later – thanks! 🙂
Hmm… I have never seen this before. I will have to give it a try!
Yum! I love the added protein from the black beans and the dates are perfect for the sweet factor!
How many calories ?????
Without chocolate chips and sticking to 1/2 of Medjool dates, each brownie works out to 205 calories. (Plus 8g fibre and 8g protein!)
Oh ya these were were way too bland. Texture was nice but tasted strongly of bean and salt. I poked some holes, drizzled 1/4 c. maple syrup over and sprinkled some chocolate chips on top. Popped back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
I ve been making black bean brownies for a few years now I m allergic to chocolate, just use carob instead. Thanks for this recipe that adds avocado will try next time. I just made my recipe today so need to wait until next baking time. I use sunflower seeds as my topping. I also use baking cups so no cutting. Just pack and store.
Hi- I read your reviews as I am debating between this no sugar recipe and a few other recipes. Based on what I’ve seen from other recipes, I have a few tips that might help.
For Jess- If you rinse the black beans very well and pat them dry, that helps with not having a ‘black bean’ flavor.
Also, the other recipe I was looking at called for considerably more dates (and it is still ‘sugar free’). so I would recommend using more dates. maybe a cup? Idk. she said 20 dates.
I made this with the extra dates and few more little additions (like the espresso)! Thanks for the tip!
They were really good.
I am always looking for healthier recipes, that impacts less my insulin levels and colesterol (which I have problem with). Even when dates and chocolate can trigger these, in small amounts could be a life saviour for a sweet tooth like me. Thank you! Because the recipe tastes like real chocolate! I just realized they stick in the pan, so parchment paper next time. I added chuncks of free sugar chocolate, almonds, and a spoon of instant coffee. And! Be careful with overcooking them, I made them in a cupcake pan, they needed less time, the first ones were crumbling and falling apart. The next one I left them only 10min (I am always afraid the egg might be raw), but these ones were awesome! Please, if you have more sugar/honey/agave/oil reduced or free recipes, please let me know! Ps. I also added stevia to make them sweeter (my dates are not that sweet)
I’m so glad you liked this recipe!
I have a few other sugar-free desserts on the site, but some do call for honey:
I thought I’d try this recipe because of all of the positive comments. The first red flag was the way it smelt before going in the oven. It was so bad I heaved!
It’s just recently come out of the oven, smells amazing! My husband couldn’t help himself and tried some. He says it tastes like dog food (and he’s eaten dog food before, so he knows what he’s talking about). Actually, scrap that! He’s just said that dog food tastes a bit better.
I’m upset I wasted good ingredients on this. It’s recipes like these and lying comments that make me weary of trying anything online. There’s no way children could eat this and enjoy it. Please stop posting your lies!
I’m happy to leave up your comment saying that you had a negative experience because I think it’s totally fair that these weren’t for you (or that perhaps the beans you used were an issue or if the beans weren’t rinsed created an issue).. but there was no need to be NASTY and accuse me and the people who enjoyed this recipe of lying. You get that there is a REAL HUMAN BEING receiving these comments, right?
I always hate when a recipe doesn’t work out for someone because I also hate wasting the time and money on a recipe that doesn’t pan out – and I’m always happy to help troubleshoot. Troubleshooting helps me provide additional information in the post that may help other people from having a similar negative experience. My first impression is that the beans were not rinsed well as that’s the ingredient I would assume gave off such a foul odour.
I even recommend in the post not to eat these warm because the bean flavor will be more pronounced. Once they have cooled (and even letting them set for a day) will allow the sweeter flavors to take over and be more pronounced.
Thank you so much for this recipe! I made these tonight (my first ever attempt at bean brownies) and they were just as gooey & gorgeous as the original thing! Just like eating fudge cake 🙂 I used a can of drained & rinsed kidney beans instead of black beans (240g drained weight), a grated apple instead of apple sauce, and also added a teaspoon of cinnamon and handful of walnuts for crunch (no choc chips or drizzle needed!) I waited for it to cool for a few hours then sliced it into squares and ate four in one go, they were so good… Going to share this recipe with my friends, thanks again!! Xx
I’m so glad you liked them and thank you for sharing your swaps! I have made chickpea blondies before, but I’ve never thought to swap out the black beans for kidney beans.
I am looking forward to trying these Sugar Free Black Bean Brownies, but just found out that I have high cholesterol. Have you tried these with egg substitutes? Should I try Egg Beaters or Egg Whites? We will be making them with sugar free chocolate or peanut butter chips as hubby cannot have any sugar.
Will have to try some of your other recipes as well!
I haven’t tried egg substitute – but if you do, please let me know how it goes!
Sugar-free peanut butter chips would be a delicious addition!
I think you should call these lower sugar or no added sugar brownies. There is sugar in dates, raisins, any kind of fruit juice or juice concentrate. I’m diabetic so I am always happy to see sugarfree recipes. This is not.