Ooey gooey on the inside, crinkly on the top, and easy peasy to make, these 8-ingredient Dairy-Free Brownies can be made in under an hour! With oil used in place of butter, these decadent bars of fudgy goodness have perfectly chewy edges, a super moist middle, and lots of intense chocolate flavor!
📖 Can you make brownies without butter?
What can substitute butter in a brownies recipe? Using oil in place of butter is a common practice in baking and works quite well in brownie recipes like this one. So are brownies dairy free? In this case, yes! And using oil is not only a great way to make brownies dairy-free, but it also creates a lovely moist texture. However, the key is to use an oil with no flavor so that it doesn't affect the taste and also to use the correct amount.
In most dairy free recipes, when substituting oil for butter you only want to use ⅘ the amount. So if a recipe calls for 100 grams of butter you would only use 80 grams of oil. The amount of flour may need to be increased as well to balance out the texture depending on the recipe. To learn more you can check out my guide on butter substitutes.
📖 Can you make brownies without milk?
Why are brownies made with milk? Some recipes do call for milk to add richness to the batter. Yet, it's not necessary and you can easily add richness and more flavor by using better quality chocolate. None of my brownie recipes include milk and are absolutely delicious. And by omitting the butter as well as not using milk, this recipe makes completely lactose free brownies!
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- Super easy – How to make dairy free brownies? This is a simple recipe for most novice bakers! No dairy free brownie mix, expensive equipment, or special skills are needed.
- It's quick - Just make and bake! The batter comes together in under 30 minutes! Then all you have to do is pop the fudgy brownies into the oven to bake.
- Chocolatey gooey goodness - With the addition of oil in place of butter these dairy free chocolate brownies are super moist and fudgy with perfectly chewy edges.
- Dairy-free recipe - Can you make dairy free brownies? Yes! And this recipe is a fantastic option for those who are on special diets or are trying to cut back on their dairy consumption.
- It is super versatile – Easily customize the brownies by folding ingredients into the batter or topping them with a frosting or glaze. It's also possible to make gluten and dairy free brownies with a few substitutions.
📝 Ingredient notes
- Chocolate: Use high-quality semi-sweet chocolate for the most refined chocolate flavor, I prefer using Callebaut callets.
- Oil: Any type of flavorless vegetable oil will work perfectly to make this dairy free brownies recipe. Yet, stay away from olive oil or coconut oil as it will impact the taste.
- Eggs: The eggs must be at room temperature to help the batter properly bind together.
- Sugars: White granulated sugar as well as light brown sugar, which has a bit of molasses in it, are used to sweeten the brownies. To learn more about how to use sugar in baking, check out my sugar guide.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Use unsweetened 100% Dutch process for the best tasting dairy free brownies with cocoa powder.
- Flour: I used all purpose flour for this recipe. How to make brownies gluten free? Be sure to check out my flour guide to learn more about how to use different types of flour in baking.
- Salt: A touch of salt is used to bring out the chocolate flavor and balance the sweetness.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. Step-by-step process
- Preheat your oven to 180 C / 356 F (no fan).
- Grease a 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan with a little bit of oil. Then line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate in a glass or stainless steel bowl that is set over a saucepan filled with a few inches of water simmering over medium heat.
- In a large bowl, use an electric hand mixer to whip the room-temperature eggs together with the oil and sugars for about 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture is pale in color.
- Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture and then use a rubber spatula to combine them together. Do not use a mixer for this step or the remainder of the recipe.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Now, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients while being careful not to overmix the batter.
💡 Top Tip: Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as the chocolate melts to prevent it from burning. For more details, read my how to melt chocolate chips article.
2. How to bake
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and then use an offset spatula to smooth out the top.
- Bake the brownies at 180 C / 356 F (no fan) for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. When ready the edges will be fully baked and pulling away from the pan while the middle will appear slightly gooey but not raw inside.
- Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan before carefully cutting them.
- Store it at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
For more information, check my article about how to store brownies to keep them fresh.
💡 Top Tip: The brownies will further set as they cool in the pan. It's better to take them out a minute too soon than to overbake them.
✨ Flavor variations & Substitutions
This dairy-free fudgy brownies recipe is really versatile! Here are a few of my favorite ways to customize brownies.
- Spices - Add some spice with a dash of ground cinnamon or cardamom with a splash of vanilla extract. Or, use a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat!
- Chopped Nuts - Fold some finely chopped nuts into the batter. My top choices are walnuts, roasted hazelnuts, or pecans similar to my Pecan Brownies.
- Chocolate Chips - Add some regular or dairy free chocolate chips to the batter.
- Peanut butter, Biscoff spread, or Nutella - Just like I show in my Biscoff Brownies recipe, spread a bit of peanut butter, Biscoff spread, or Nutella in the middle for a lovely surprise layer.
- Dried Fruit - Mix some diced crystallized ginger, dried cranberries, or dried orange peel in the batter. You can also finish the brownies by dusting them with a bit of crushed freeze-dried fruit like my Raspberry Brownies.
- Frosting - Spread the baked brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting, Nutella frosting, or super chocolatey Namelaka.
- Glaze - Top them with this coffee glaze from my Cardamom Cake or this chocolate glaze from my Baked Chocolate Donuts recipe.
- Caramel - Add a drizzle of Homemade Caramel before serving.
- Egg Replacements - You can easily make this recipe egg-free by using different suggestions you'll find in my guide on how to use egg substitutions.
- Flour Replacements - If you would like to make gluten free brownies, check out my flour guide for suggestions on how to use different types of gluten free flour. Then you will have gluten free dairy free brownies!
🎓 Expert tips
- For the dairy free brownies with oil, use a vegetable oil that has no flavor such as canola. Any oil with flavor will alter the taste of the finished baked goods.
- For the yummiest brownies without butter, use high-quality semi sweet chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder. Cheaper chocolate can also seize up or break when being melted.
- Using room-temperature eggs is a must for the batter to emulsify and come together properly.
- Do not add baking powder or baking soda. They were both purposely not included in the recipe to make the brownies extra fudgy.
- Because ovens can vary so can the baking time so check the brownies after they have been in the oven for 25 minutes.
- It's better to underbake the diary free brownies with oil rather than dry them out by overbaking. Keep in mind that they continue to set as they cool.
- Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before cutting or removing them. They need this time to finish setting.
🥣 Equipment Notes
For the best brownie baking experience, you will need a few basic tools. To begin, a digital scale is always needed to accurately measure all your ingredients properly. As well as, a digital oven thermometer to make any needed temperature adjustments to your oven. These two tools are the most important in all baking.
For the butter free brownies batter, an electric hand mixer is used to whip the eggs together with the sugars and oil. Then a rubber spatula is needed gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. For baking, the batter is then poured into a 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan and smoothed out with an offset spatula.
When done, the brownies will look baked around the edges and be pulling away from the sides of the pan, but still be a bit gooey in the middle.
Both options work, so one is not necessarily better than the other. However, when making dairy free desserts, oil and dairy free butter work really well in brownie recipes.
Leftovers should be placed in an airtight container and can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days.
The brownies can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months when put in an airtight container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap.
🍫 More Chocolate recipes
Dairy-free Brownies (VIDEO)
- 150 g (¾ cups) Chocolate use semi-sweet quality chocolate eg. Callebaut Dark Chocolate (callets)
- 120 g (½ cups) Oil
- 3 Eggs room temperature
- 150 g (¾ cups) Granulated sugar
- 150 g (¾ cups) Brown sugar
- 45 g (½ cups) Cocoa powder unsweetened Dutch processed
- 120 g (1 cups) All purpose
- ½ teaspoon salt
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 C / 356 F ( no fan)
- Take a 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan, brush the inside of the cake pan with a tiny bit of oil then use parchment paper on the bottom and side as well. Set it aside
- Melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water over medium heat
- In another bowl whip together the eggs, oil, and sugar with the help of an Electric hand mixer until pale, for about 5-7 minutes
- Pour the melted chocolate into the egg-sugar mixture, and combine with a Rubber spatula. Do not use a mixer at this point
- Sift in flour, salt, and cocoa powder and fold the mixture together. Do not overmix
- Pour the batter into the prepared 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan
- Smooth the top with an Offset spatula
- Bake for 25-30 minutes at 180 C / 356 F ( no fan). The brownie is ready when the edge looks baked and the middle looks slightly gooey but not raw. Do not over-bake! The brownie will further set as it cools
- Let the brownie cool in the 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan then carefully cut
- Store at room temperature or in the fridge for 2-3 days
- Use no flavor vegetable oil
- Use a combination of white and (light or dark) brown sugar for the best texture and beautiful butterscotch flavor
- The egg should be used at room temp
- Baking powder is not included in this recipe intentionally, so ýour Brownie will turn out wonderfully fudge and gooey
- The quality of the chocolate chips along with the quality of cocoa powder will define the taste of your brownies so try to use high-quality ingredients
- Digital scale is required for a consistent, happy baking experience:)
- Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave so you won´t burn it
- Always pre-heat your oven and consider using a digital oven thermometer for the best results
- Each oven is different so you might need to adjust the baking time slightly
- For the best fudge brownie experience consider rather slightly under bake your dessert
- Do not attempt to cut the brownie bar while it is still hot, as it further sets as it cools
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