Fudgy Crackly Top Brownies (Vegan + GF)

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Overhead shot of a batch of our easy fudgy vegan gluten-free brownies

We’ve done brownies before (exhibits A, B, C, D, E, and F)…but these are different, friends! We couldn’t hold out on you. Introducing: shiny, CRACKLY TOP, chewy, decadent, REAL DEAL brownies that are undetectably vegan and gluten-free (!!). 

They’re also SO easy to make with simple methods and just 1 bowl + 9 ingredients. Prepare for your brownie dreams to become a reality! Let’s bake!

Flaxseed meal, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, gluten-free flour blend, vegan butter, water, coconut sugar, almond flour, sea salt, and vanilla extract

How to Make Fudgy Crackly Top Vegan + Gluten-Free Brownies

These brownies are a literal DREAM! They have the perfect amount of chocolatiness, fudginess, and chewiness. Plus they’re vegan, gluten-free, and easy to make!

Correction: Seriously easy to make! Mix the dry ingredients, stir in the chocolate chips, then add boiling water, melted vegan butter, and vanilla.

Pouring boiling water over dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

The heat from the water + butter will melt the chocolate chips, creating a smooth, rich, ultra chocolaty brownie batter with minimal effort!

Brownie batter drizzling from a spoon into a mixing bowl

Add in some extra chocolate chips for good measure, and these brownies are going in the oven!

Bowl of chocolate chips next to a pan of brownie batter dappled with chocolate chips

The final (and most challenging) step is to let the brownies cool for at least 30 minutes before digging in. If you can’t wait, they’ll be super gooey and hard to cut, but sometimes that fresh-from-the-oven brownie smell is just too hard to resist! We get it.

Overhead close up shot of the crackly top on a batch of brownies

You’re going to LOVE these brownies! They’re:

Super chocolaty
Chewy on the edges
Fudgy in the center
Crackly on top
Indulgent
Easy to make
& SO incredibly delicious!

These are the perfect treat to make for your vegan and gluten-free brownie-loving friends, or really anyone who likes brownies or chocolate even a little bit. Yes, they’re that good. They’re perfect for Valentine’s Day, chocolate cravings, birthdays, movie nights, brownie ice cream, sundaes, and so much more!

More Recipes for Brownie Lovers

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Close up shot of a super fudgy vegan gluten-free brownie topped with flaky salt

Fudgy Crackly Top Brownies (Vegan + GF)

Fudgy, decadent, crackly top brownies that are undetectably vegan and gluten-free! SO easy to make with simple methods and just 1 bowl and 9 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Overhead shot of our crackly top fudgy vegan gluten-free brownies
4.83 from 17 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 (Brownies)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

  • 1 ⅔ cup coconut sugar (we like Supernatural or Whole Foods 365 Brand)
  • 1 cup MB 1:1 GF Blend (oat flour also works, but the brownies will be less shiny and chewy and will fall apart a little // see notes if not gluten-free)
  • 3/4 cup almond flour* (we like Wellbee’s)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips* (we used semi-sweet // ensure dairy-free/vegan as needed)
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted (we like Miyoko’s // dairy butter would also work)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line an 8×8-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • To a large mixing bowl, add the coconut sugar, gluten-free flour blend, almond flour, cocoa powder, flaxseed meal, and sea salt. Whisk to combine until almost all of the flour and cocoa powder is incorporated. Next, stir in the chocolate chips.
  • To the dry ingredients, add the boiling water, melted vegan butter, and vanilla extract. Use a spatula to fully combine, stirring for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The chocolate chips will mostly melt at this point, so if you would like extra whole ones for pops of chocolate, fold them in after the mixture cools a bit.
  • Transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes — until the edges look set and the center looks barely shiny.
  • Let the brownies cool in their pan for AT LEAST 30 minutes before slicing and digging in. The brownies will be super gooey before cooling and will be very hard to cut. If you would like your brownies to have perfectly crisp edges, refrigerate them for 2 hours before cutting. Store the brownies lightly covered at room temperature for up to 2-3 days or up to 1 month in the freezer.

Video

Notes

*These are intended to be indulgent, classic, decadent, crackly top brownies. We tested with less coconut sugar but found 1 ⅔ cup produced the best result. Using less sugar makes it harder to achieve a crackly crust, and we recommend against using less than 1 ½ cups. For lower sugar, more wholesome brownies, check out our Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies.
*If not gluten-free, you can replace the gluten-free flour blend with 1 scant cup all-purpose flour. We recommend including the almond flour for best results, but if you opt for all-purpose flour, use less because it’s much more absorbent.
*Almond flour sub: The next best option is cashew flour. If nut-free, you could try sunflower seed meal or possibly extra GF blend (use less because it’s more absorbent than almond flour — we recommend 1 ⅓ cup flour TOTAL).
*A chocolate bar or chocolate chunks would likely work in place of the chocolate chips, but you’ll need to finely chop them first or they won’t fully melt in step 3.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)

Serving: 1 brownie Calories: 221 Carbohydrates: 36.2 g Protein: 2.9 g Fat: 8.9 g Saturated Fat: 4.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9 g Monounsaturated Fat: 1.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 94 mg Potassium: 110 mg Fiber: 2.8 g Sugar: 24.4 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 32 mg Iron: 1.4 mg

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  1. Lexi K says

    I am V & GF and have been searching for some good brownies. I followed the recipe exactly as it says and these are THE BEST brownies I’ve ever had. My non- V & GF family members even love them as well!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad they were a hit with all eaters. Thank you for sharing, Lexi! xo

  2. Lacey says

    Wow these are just like the classic ones from a box! I even did the oat flour, didn’t have vanilla extract and used a ceramic dish. The top is shiny and they have yummy crunchy sides. I added pastel chocolate eggs on top for Easter and they are adorable! Thank you so much!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! Your addition sounds so fun and festive. Thanks so much for sharing, Lacey! xo

  3. Leia Isanhart says

    These are wicked good! I used Bob’s GF 1:1 flour, Earth Balance butter, and white sugar (it’s what I had). Wow! When I sampled the brownies, I told my partner “we’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is the brownies are fantastic! The bad news is the brownies are fantastic!” We’re both trying to cut back on sugar, so we had a few bites and sent the rest to neighbors to enjoy :)

  4. Rachel says

    These are really good. I’ve been looking for the perfect brownie recipe and this is a great base. My only quibble is that they’re too sweet for me, so I would reduce the sugar next time, but I did make some substitutions:
    – All-purpose flour instead of GF
    – Real butter instead of vegan
    – White sugar instead of coconut sugar. I used a scant 1.5 cups, but next time I would reduce to 1 cup even though the notes say they won’t get crackly

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing, Rachel! We’re glad you enjoyed them overall. White sugar is more sweet than coconut sugar, so that may be part of the issue!

  5. Nicole says

    Loved these! Classic brownie vibes. I was wary of the amount of sugar but don’t find them too sweet after all. Another forgiving recipe that’s modification-friendly – I had to make several substitutions based on what I had around and am including them here in case they’re useful for others:

    -Not enough coconut sugar so substituted some brown sugar.
    -No vegan butter and not enough coconut oil so substituted some canola oil.
    -No flaxseed meal and not vegan so substituted 1 chicken egg (folded in a beaten egg after the batter was ready and slightly cooled).
    -No GF flour and no GF concerns so subbed all-purpose flour (still used almond flour).
    -No metal baking dish so used a round glass one, which worked but it took 45 minutes to bake and really should’ve stayed in another 5 mins due to the center being a bit gooier than ideal (I didn’t realize that glass was inferior to metal for this sort of thing and plan to switch over).

    Still turned out great. Sprinkled the top with a few extra chocolate chips and some slivered almonds.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad they still turned out well. Thank you for sharing your experience, Nicole! xo

  6. Devon says

    Delicious! These satisfy the chocolatey brownie craving while being a bit healthier than a typical boxed mix.

    I used homemade oat flour and also added an egg (per the note that using oat flour would make them fall apart a bit) since I’m not vegan. 35 minutes in the oven and they were perfectly baked and held together!

  7. Sonya says

    Just as described: chewy, chocolaty and crackly. It came together so easily, and then they disappeared just as easily.

  8. michelle mcgee says

    These were great! Satisfying chew and rich chocolate flavor. I only had 1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips so I did that plus 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips and then a few more extra dark chocolate chips :) I topped half the pan with walnuts before putting them in the oven and I think that turned out well.

  9. The Vegan Goddess says

    Wow, these are decadent and rich! I have been wanting to make brownies with an authentic crispy top so this vegan recipe hit the sweet spot!

    The only change that I made was adding chopped walnuts.

    Otherwise, I made this as written, and it was a success! Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed them! We also love the addition of walnuts in brownies. Thanks so much for the lovely review. xo

      • The Vegan Goddess says

        Oops, I forgot to mention a small change: I swapped the vegan butter for the same amount of melted coconut oil. It worked!

  10. Gina says

    Thanks for another good recipe. I used AP flour in place of GF, and spelt flour in place of the almond flour (a bit less, as suggested). I also subbed light olive oil for the melted ‘butter’. The resulting brownies were very delicious in taste and texture.

  11. Priscilla Snyder says

    I made these today and I don’t know what is wrong with mine. I didn’t put the full amount of sugar because I don’t like things as sweet but I used GF and almond flour. It was so thick I had to add more water and oatly to get it the consistency of your video. It looks dull and isn’t crackly at all. I live in Sweden so I wonder if the GF flour is somehow the cause?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Priscilla! This recipe relies on the amount of sugar to get a fudgy texture and a crackly top.

  12. Keleigh Friedrich says

    Wowza, these are divine! I experimented with buckwheat flour + almond flour and adjusted the measurements a bit to bake in a rectangular pan because I didn’t have 8×8, and they came out wonderfully fudgy and crackly. Next time I’ll add walnuts or pecans and drop some chocolate chips in the cooled dough for texture. Thank you for the recipe!

  13. Rachel says

    These look absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to try them!! One question: If we use all-purpose flour, is your note saying to still use almond flour as well in the amount listed in the recipe (i.e., use 1 cup all-purpose flour AND 3/4 cup almond flour)?Or are you saying to use less than 3/4 cup of almond flour when combining with all-purpose flour? Thanks!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Rachel, good question! For best results, use 3/4 cup almond flour and 1 scant cup all-purpose flour. If you want to omit the almond flour completely, use ~1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (but we don’t think they’ll be as good!). We’d love to hear what you think when you give them a try!

  14. Kay D. says

    Great recipe! I swapped the flax for 1 regular egg and it turned out just as good. I also didn’t have the MB GF Flour, so I used an oat flour blend instead. It was fudge-y, dense, and moist, just as I hoped! The top didn’t crackle but that didn’t matter because it tasted incredible! If baked in a square pan, I would definitely recommend cutting it into 16 pieces like in the video. A perfect little treat!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad they turned out well with those modifications. Thank you for sharing your experience, Kay! xo

  15. Laura says

    Another absolute winner! Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I used regular white sugar instead of coconut sugar, all purpose flour instead of GF flour and coconut oil instead of vegan butter. Additionally I added some pecans in the dough and sprinkled chocolate chips, pecans and sea salt on top. The brownies came out absolutely perfect.

    I have a baby coming any day now and doing some meal prep for postpartum. Cannot wait to eat the rest of these brownies (I couldn‘t resist having a small taste).

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy the brownies, Laura! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! And CONGRATULATIONS! xoxo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! Excited to hear they’ll be on repeat in your kitchen. Thank you for the lovely review, Cindy! xo

  16. Heather M says

    I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I used regular brown sugar, & used up a vegan sour cream I had on had instead of butter. I made them gluten-y so I used 3/4 c + 2 T all purpose flour. Topped with walnuts too, they came out PERFECT ✨
    Highly recommend, they’re delish.

  17. Patricia says

    Hi, I am looking forward to making these this weekend. What do you think about using stevia or monk fruit sweetener instead of coconut sugar?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Patricia, we don’t think the texture would be the same as the sugar is key for the crackly top and chewy edges.

  18. Maya Wojcik says

    I love this recipe! I would suggest topping with chocolate chips and adding some sea salt, because it creates a very nice flavour balance. The batter can also be used as brownie batter , you would only need to add a bit more milk!

  19. Nina says

    Hi thanks for the fabulous recipe… could I sub the butter for rapeseed oil (like canola) I don’t use vegan butter or coconut oil. Thanks for any advice.

  20. Ellie says

    I really want to make these. I’m recently avoiding dairy because my baby is allergic. I can’t find vegan chocolate anywhere. Where do you find your chocolate?!
    I also can’t have soy.
    Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Karyn, yes, but the metal pan helps create the chewy edges, so just know it may turn out a little different. You may want to bake it a bit longer. Let us know how it goes!

  21. The Vegan Goddess says

    This looks yummy! I am not a fan of vegan butter so I always swap that out with the equivalent amount of coconut oil. Usually it works out perfectly. Hopefully, it will also work here.