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Dairy Free Gooey Brownies Recipe

If you love gooey brownies, but are dairy free, these dairy free brownies are just what you need! These brownies are made without butter and with oil instead and are oh so delicious!

They have a rich chocolate flavor and are so gooey that when they cool, they are just as gooey as when they are fresh out of the oven!

These dairy free brownies are incredibly easy dairy free dessert to make.

Just add all the ingredients, mix it together, pour it into a greased and floured pan, and bake. 

Super Gooey Brownies

The hardest part is actually waiting for them to be done while the house fills with the smell of brownies baking!

The secret to these brownies’ rich chocolate flavor is that they use oil.

Oil allows the chocolate flavor to really shine by not being distracting like butter.

It also causes the brownies to be incredibly moist.

If you like fudge brownies or chewy brownies, I have dairy free versions of those too as well as dairy free blondies! 🙂

If you like this recipe you may also like my dairy free chocolate cake and my dairy free chocolate cupcakes.

You also many not want to miss other dairy free classics like my dairy free chocolate chip cookies and my dairy free Toll House cookies.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. 10% of all profits are donated to charity.

What you need

Dry measuring cups and spoons
Liquid measuring cup
Whisk
Rubber spatula
Mixing bowl
Baking paper
8×8 baking pan

Do brownies have dairy?

Yes, most brownies have dairy because they most recipes call butter and sometimes milk as well.

However, brownies don’t have to be dairy. These brownies are dairy free.

Can you make brownies without butter?

Absolutely! These dairy free brownies use oil instead of butter which I personally love.

What can you use in place of butter for brownies?

Butter adds fat and flavor to brownies. If you want to replace them, then all you need to do is find a fat to replace them with.

This fat can be anything oil derived from fruit or seeds, animal fats such as schmaltz, vegetable shortening, or even a ripe avocado.

Personally, I’d recommend oil and that is what I use in this recipe.

Can I use oil instead of butter in brownies?

For sure! In fact, I think oil in brownies makes them richer because the oil really allows the chocolate flavor to shine.

What oil to use for brownies?

You can use any cooking oil you want.

Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and canola oil can all be used in brownies.

Personally, I use neutral flavored oils because I don’t want to risk the oil distraction from the chocolate flavor.

You can defiantly experiment and find which oil works best for you.

What oil is best for baking brownies?

Personally, I use neutral flavored oils because I don’t want to risk the flavor of the oil distracting from the rich chocolate flavor.

You can defiantly experiment and find which oil works best for you.

Oils like coconut oil and olive oil can be used to make brownies but they may alter the flavor slightly.

How do you convert butter to oil conversion brownies?

Butter contains water and fat. If you are converting butter to oil, you need 3/4 of the amount of oil as you do butter.

This means, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, you need 3/4 cup of oil instead.

Can you make brownies without milk?

You sure can! In fact, many brownie recipes do not call for milk at all.

This recipe calls for water instead of milk but you can also replace milk with your preferred dairy free milk.

Can you make dairy free brownies with cocoa powder?

Sure. In fact, these dairy free brownies are made with cocoa power and don’t require melting chocolate like many brownie recipes do.

DIY Dairy free brownie mix

Making your own dairy free brownie mix is easy!

Just take all the dry ingredients in this recipe, mix them together well, and put them in a bag, jar, or a container.

When you are ready to make the brownies, pour the dry ingredients into a bowl, add the wet ingredients, and bake as directed.

Can you make brownies without eggs?

Yup. Just replace the each egg called for with 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce.

This recipe calls for two eggs, so you can replace both eggs with 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce.

CAKE FLOUR VS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR

Cake flour is finer, lighter, and softer than all-purpose flour, as well as bleached, so the color is paler. 

Most importantly, it has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour so cake flour produces less gluten.

I use all-purpose flour in all my recipes because it’s cheaper and most people have it on hand.

HOW TO SUBSTITUTE ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR FOR CAKE FLOUR

First, you can ignore any place that calls for cake flour and use all-purpose flour at a 1:1 conversion rate.  I do this all the time.

The results will be a little less than perfect, but not very noticeable.

How to make your own cake flour

You can do this by removing two tablespoons for every cup of flour.  Then replace the same two tablespoons with corn or potato starch. 

Doing this will remove enough protein to create a lighter cake.

HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR AND OTHER DRY INGREDIENTS

Using a dry measuring cup, scoop ingredients from the bag or spoon them into the cup. 

Next, level off the ingredient by removing the excess with an upside-down butter knife.

The one exception to this is brown sugar.  Brown sugar should be packed down, and then any excess should be scraped off as well.

DRY VS LIQUID MEASURING CUP

Ever wonder why measuring spoons often come with a set of measuring cups?  I used to.  I didn’t see why we needed a set when we could have one large measuring cup. 

After a quick search, I had my answer.  I discovered that the large measuring cup is used for liquids, whereas the set is used for dry ingredients.

As it turns out, if you try to measure dry ingredients with a liquid cup, the measurements get messed up. 

First, you pour the flour or cocoa in, next you shake it around to get it level, and then you add more. 

By shaking it, you are causing the powder to settle, and when you add more, you end up using more than called for.

WHY SIFT FLOUR and Other Powder Ingredients

There are a number of benefits to sifting flour and other ingredients like cocoa: 

It removes any unwanted debris and you can get a more accurate measurement than when packed tightly in a bag. 

It also removes any lumps that can get into the batter and be hard to break up later, or be missed altogether before baking.

If you sift the powdered ingredients together, it helps combine them and mix more evenly with other dry ingredients like sugar.

BAKING WITH OIL

In general, oil in baked goods makes for a superior texture than those made with butter.  

Oil cakes tend to bake up taller with a better crumb. They also stay moist and tender far longer than recipes made with butter.

Furthermore, since oil is lighter than butter, the texture of oil cakes is lighter too.

Also, given that oil is 100% fat while most American butter is 15% water, it creates a more tender crumb.

This is due to the fact that the extra water strengthens the gluten, resulting in a crumb that’s more dense.

Which Type Of Oil to Use

I use neutral oils like canola oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil.  However, it’s not unheard of for oils with stronger flavors like olive oil or coconut oil to be used.

If using olive oil, I recommend using pure olive oil for its milder flavor and higher smoking point.

Baking with Oil Conversion Chart

If you want to convert your butter recipes to oil recipes, check out my baking with oil – butter to oil conversion chart.

WHICH TYPE OF COCOA TO USE

When a recipe calls for cocoa, always use unsweetened cocoa powder, unless specified otherwise. 

This allows you to have better control of the sweetness of what you’re making. 

There are three basic forms of unsweetened cocoa powder. 

NATURAL COCOA POWDER

Natural cocoa powder comes from cocoa beans that are fermented, roasted, processed at a higher heat, and milled into a powder.

It’s bitter, with a very strong and concentrated chocolate flavor.  

This cocoa powder is acidic and is often used in recipes calling for baking soda, because the two react with each other to allow your baked good to rise.

This is most commonly used, and should be used, in recipes that simply say “cocoa powder.”

DUTCH-PROCESS COCOA POWDER

Dutch-process cocoa powder starts with cocoa beans that have been washed in potassium carbonate which neutralizes their acidity.  

Since Dutch-process cocoa powder is neutral, it does not react with baking soda.

When baking, Dutch-process cocoa is often paired with baking powder. 

Dutch-process cocoa powder can also be used in place of natural cocoa powder in recipes that don’t require leavening.

These include sauces, hot cocoa, frostings, ice cream, pudding, etc.

If you only have Dutch-process cocoa powder on hand, you can substitute it for neutral cocoa powder.

Just make sure to add 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar, white vinegar, or lemon juice for every 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder called for in the recipe.

RAW CACAO POWDER

Raw cacao powder is different from natural and Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder.

It’s pure powder from the cacao bean and isn’t nearly as processed as both natural and Dutch-process.

Cocoa is processed at high heat, which destroys much of the nutritional benefits of the cacao seed.

Also, cocoa powder is often alkalized during processing to reduce acidity. The result is a product that’s less bitter and more soluble when added to liquids.

Cacao powder, on the other hand, is made of fermented – not roasted – seeds that are processed at low temperatures and then milled into a powder, ensuring its nutritional benefits and its bitter flavor are preserved.

You can use raw cacao powder in recipes that don’t specify Dutch-process cocoa powder, however it is best not to try to.

Compared to cocoa powder, cacao powder has a stronger flavor, it is not as absorbent as cocoa powder, and it is more acidic, so it will react differently with baking soda. 

Understanding Sugar

Sugar may seem very basic if you’ve baked before, but I’ve been asked about it in the past – so I’ll explain.

There are many different types of sugar, including white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, and demerara sugar.

When a recipe (any recipe, not just mine) says “sugar” without specifying anything else, it is regular white sugar.

White Sugar

White sugar (sometimes called granulated sugar, table sugar, or white granulated sugar) is made of either beet sugar or cane sugar, which has undergone a refining process.

It is the easiest to find and most commonly used.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added to it.

It is commonly used in chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s rare for a recipe that calls for brown sugar not to also call for white sugar as well.

When a recipe calls for “brown sugar” but doesn’t specify what type (light or dark), it is referring to light brown sugar.

In my recipes, you can use whatever type of brown sugar you have on hand, whether it is dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, or demerara sugar – which is very common in Israel.

Just keep in mind that the flavor and color will be slightly different depending on what you choose to use.

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar is better known as “raw sugar”. But, despite this name, the sugar is not really “raw.”

Instead, it’s partially refined sugar that retains some of the original molasses.

The term “raw sugar” may also give off the impression that it is somehow healthier.

In reality, turbinado sugar is nutritionally similar to white sugar.

Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar is very popular in Israel and is especially delicious in tea, but is also used for baking.

Unlike white sugar, demerara sugar undergoes minimal processing and retains some vitamins and mineral.

However, it is still not much healthier than white sugar.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is not very common in the States. However, it is common in Israel and parts of Europe.

This is sugar that sat for an extended period of time with vanilla beans, giving it a vanilla flavor.

Caster Sugar

This type of sugar is common in the United Kingdom.

It has a grain finer than white (granulated) sugar and larger than powdered sugar.

Caster sugar is often called for in recipes for delicate baked goods like meringues, souffles, and sponge cakes.

You can use a 1:1 conversion rate between caster sugar and white (granulated) sugar.

Powdered sugar

Powdered sugar, sometimes known as confectioners’ sugar, is a sugar with a powdered texture.

This sugar is rarely, if ever, used for baking. Instead, it is used for dusting desserts and making frosting and icings.

In some countries, you can also find powdered vanilla sugar.

It is made the exact same way regular vanilla sugar is made. However, the sugar used is powdered instead of granulated.

Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla sugar

In my recipes, I don’t specify what kind of vanilla to use.

The reason for this is that in the States, vanilla extract is exclusively used.

Meanwhile in Israel, along with many European countries, vanilla sugar is common.

In most, if not all recipes, both vanilla extract and vanilla sugar can be used.

In recipes where vanilla sugar can be used instead of extract, you can replace them 1:1.

Replacing Sugar with Honey

If you’d prefer to use honey instead of sugar, you can do so with pretty good results.

Honey can be two or even three times as sweet depending on the honey, so for every 1 cup of sugar, you can use 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey.

Since honey adds liquid, you need to remove some to balance it out.  For every cup of honey remove a 1/4 cup of liquid.

Also, it burns faster than granulated sugar, so you want to lower the baking temperature by 25 F or 4 C.  In addition, check it early and often to avoid burning or overbaking.

Types of Vanilla

Vanilla comes from a pod commonly known as a “vanilla bean”, which comes from the vanilla orchids.

Vanilla pod has been used for flavoring since the Aztecs, and was introduced to Europe by a Spanish conquistador, along with cocoa.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol for some time. This is the most commonly used type of vanilla.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is common in Europe and some parts of the Middle East, like Israel. 

It is made from vanilla beans sitting in sugar, vanilla bean powder mixed with sugar, or sugar mixed with vanilla extract.

In some countries, like Italy, you can also find vanilla powdered sugar, which is used for confections.

Vanilla Paste

Vanilla paste is generally a specialty item.  It is a thick paste that contains a blend of the scraped-out vanilla pod seeds and vanilla extract. 

You can use it as you do vanilla extract and it will leave flakes of vanilla bean like you see in vanilla bean ice cream.

Imitation Vanilla

Imitation Vanilla, otherwise known as artificial vanilla or vanilla essence, is made from synthetic vanilla. 

This is the compound that naturally occurs in vanilla beans and gives it its flavor.

Can I use imitation vanilla?

Many will tell you that you should use high quality vanilla, just like they say you should use the best cocoa. 

However, most of us will probably not be willing to pay the hefty price that comes with exceptionally high-quality ingredients.

Overall, vanilla is very expensive, so the extract is as well. 

So, if you’re not going to get regular quality vanilla extract, you might as well use imitation vanilla.

DO EGGS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?

The short answer is “no”.  While a side-by-side comparison shows that baking with eggs at room temperature makes a better crumb, it’s not otherwise noticeable.

What are Eggs used for?

Eggs do three things in most recipes: they help bind the ingredients together, act as a mild leavening agent, and they add moisture.

EGG FREE OPTION

Eggs can be substituted with 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce per egg.  This means for recipes calling for 2 eggs, you’d need 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce.

The reason applesauce makes a good binder is that it’s high in pectin. Pectin is a naturally occurring starch in fruits and berries that acts as a thickening agent and stabilizer in food.

This happens when combined with sugar and acid (if the fruit or berry isn’t naturally acidic).

Just keep in mind that it may change the flavor slightly.

ARE EGGS DAIRY?

No, eggs are not dairy.  Dairy is milk and any food products made from milk, including cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt. 

So, while eggs are an animal product, they are not dairy. In fact, eggs fall under the protein food group.

GLUTEN FREE OPTION

Gluten Free Flour

Substitute all-purpose gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose regular flour cup for cup.

BUCKWHEAT FLOUR 

Buckwheat flour is easy to find compared to most other gluten-free flours, and it adds a nice earthy nutty taste. 

The downside is that it has a distinct flavor, so the change will be noticeable. 

It’s also darker, so the color won’t be the same. Substitute cup for cup.

RICE FLOUR

Rice flour can also be used and can be found in most Asian and health food stores. 

White rice flour has a mild flavor and doesn’t change the color of the muffin or quick bread. 

Since it doesn’t have much flavor, it’s best to use it with ingredients that do. Substitute cup for cup.

OAT FLOUR

Oat flour is made from whole oats that have been ground into a powder, which can easily be done at home.  

It gives more flavor and a chewier and crumblier texture than regular all-purpose flour.

Substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour for 1 1/3 cup Oat Flour.  To make 1 cup of oat flour, blend 1 1/4 cups of oats in a food processor until finely ground.

Note: oats must be marked gluten-free because they can get cross-contaminated in the factory.

Closeup of Brownies Crunchy Top

BAKING AT HIGH ALTITUDES

The higher the altitude, the lower the air pressure, and the more difficult it is to bake recipes.

Increase 15 to 25°F. Since leavening and evaporation happen more quickly, the higher temperature helps set the structure of baked goods before they over-expand and dry out.

However, the baking at higher temperatures means products are done sooner, so decrease by 5-8 minutes per 30 minutes of baking time.

Adjustment for 3000 feet

  • Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon decrease 1/8 teaspoon.
  • Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 1 tablespoon.
  • Increase liquid: for each cup, add 1 to 2 tablespoons.

Adjustment for 5000 feet

  • Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
  • Increase liquid: for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons.

Adjustment for 7000+ feet

  • Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 1 to 3 tablespoons.
  • Increase liquid: for each cup, add 3 to 4 tablespoons.

Baking with Humidity

Humidity can have a big impact on how your baked goods come out.

This is because when humidity is extremely high (think 70 percent or more), baking ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda soak up moisture from the air.

This can negatively impact the outcome of your cakes, cookies, yeast breads, and quick breads.

There are some things you can do to try to save your baking.

Try to counterbalance the additional moisture

To help counterbalance the additional moisture your dry ingredients soak up from the air, try reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe by about one-quarter.

If the batter or dough looks too dry once all the ingredients are mixed together, add an additional liquid tablespoon at a time until you have the desired consistency.

This is not usually possible to do for cookies, but it does work for cakes and breads.

Store Ingredients in the Fridge

If flour and sugar are stored in the refrigerator or freezer rather than in a cupboard or pantry, they are better protected from humidity.

As an added benefit, keeping these ingredients cool also helps keep them fresher longer, in addition to helping them stay bug-free.

For the best results, let them warm to room temperature before using.

Bake for Longer

If you bake your goodies for a few extra minutes, it can help the liquid to cook off.

To avoid overbaking, continue testing for doneness every couple of minutes for breads, quick breads, cakes, cupcakes, and muffins.  Cookies, on the other hand, need to be checked every minute.

Use Air Conditioning

To help lower humidity levels on humid summer days, air condition the room for at least an hour before you start baking.

Cooler air isn’t able to hold as much moisture as warm air.

Store your baked goods in an airtight container

Humidity can also ruin your fresh-baked goods because when they are left out, they can absorb moisture.

To avoid this, store them in an airtight container or resealable bag.

HOW TO DOUBLE THE RECIPE

If you double the recipe you will need a 9 x 13-inch pan. 

The area of a square or rectangular pan is calculated by multiplying one side times the other side. 

This recipe calls for an 8-inch square pan so an 8 x 8 = 64 square inches where a 9 x 13 = 117 square inches. 

If you double the 8 x 8-inch pan it would come out to 128 square inches which is close enough to 117 square inches.

How to store

Uncut

For uncut brownies, wrap well in plastic wrap or in an airtight plastic storage bag.  Keep at room temperature for up to four days.

Cut

For cut brownies, wrap individually with plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container or an airtight plastic bag.

Keep at room temperature for one to two days. 

How to Freeze

Wrap cooled uncut brownies tightly in a plastic wrap.  Wrap again in aluminum foil.  

Freeze for up to 3 months.  After 3 months, the brownies are still safe to eat but the quality begins to degrade.   

Recipe Tip:

Refrigerate or chill before cutting it into bars.  This will make it easier to cut perfect, beautiful pieces.

Yield: 9 servings

Dairy Free Gooey Brownies

Super Gooey Brownies

These brownies are extra rich and moist because they use oil instead of butter. Best to chill before cutting.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cups white sugar (200 grams)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (45 grams)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (30 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil (60 milliliters)
  • 2 tablespoons water (30 milliliters)
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla

Optional Additions

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, dairy free

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F or 163°C degrees.
  2. Whisk together sugar, cocoa, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add eggs, oil, water, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. The batter will look more runny than most. 
  4. Using a baking spatula, pour batter into an 8×8 baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean when you poke the center.
  6. Remove and let cool before cutting.  

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 259Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 76mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 4g

calorie count includes both chocolate chips and nuts

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Paul

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

I am not a baker at all (my wife is an amazing one...), but recently having adopted a dairy-free lifestyle I thought I will try this recipe. Well, for a non-baker this was so easy to make and tasted amazing!! Thank you Elissabeth!

ElissaBeth

Friday 23rd of September 2022

You're welcome! I am so glad my recipe was helpful to you :) I have lots of dairy free recipes so since your adapting to a life style and not just fulfilling a one time need you may want to have a look around to see if there is anything else you’re interested in.

Pix

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

I have baked these brownies probably every few months for friends, chocolate cravings at home and for my boyfriend. Since we moved in together I now bake it about every fortnight. He baked it himself when he needs more. Thanks for the best, gooeyest, caramilsed top, chocolatey, dairy free brownies ever. I have posted them multiple times to my man when he lived in a different state and they travelled perfectly (when wrapped in plastic wrap and snap lock bag too!). I'm baking him a batch now for all his help during my sister's wedding. Thanks for the brilliant recipe!!

ElissaBeth

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

I am beyond thrilled to hear that! Thank you for sharing :)

Brittany Trofimovich

Friday 13th of May 2022

I’m excited to make these! Am I fine to use olive oil? We try to avoid vegetable oil and canola oil when we can. Thank you for your help and for this recipe!

ElissaBeth

Sunday 15th of May 2022

Sure :)

Nicky

Thursday 17th of March 2022

I've made these 3 or 4 times now, and they are absolutely delicious. Definitely they are my go-to brownie recipe now. I've added a bit of cinnamon to mine, and subbed coffee or soymilk for the water, both turned out great.

Brittany Trofimovich

Friday 13th of May 2022

@Nicky, do you think I could substitute almond milk for the water?

ElissaBeth

Sunday 20th of March 2022

Happy to hear you enjoy them so much :)

Angel

Saturday 12th of March 2022

These are so easy! I was excited to use my brownie bite pan, so I looked up a dairy free recipe to see if I had the ingredients. I did! So I had my five year old help make these! So delicious and such fond memories being made ❤️

ElissaBeth

Monday 14th of March 2022

I'm so glad to hear it! Thank you for sharing :)

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