Black bean brownies are a treat that you can enjoy with a little less guilt! No one will even notice that they include black beans.
Why you’ll love it: Extra protein, extra fiber plus everything you’d expect from a brownie. They’re gluten-free and dairy-free, too.
How long it takes: 40 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: blender, 8 x 8 inch baking pan
Servings: 25 small brownies
Sounds weird, right? If you haven’t tried beans in your baked goods yet, you’re missing out.
Never thought I’d utter those words, but it’s true.
Puree a can of those dark little gems and they make the most fudgy delicious brownies with the added benefit of protein and fiber. They don’t contain a bit of flour or butter either. Doesn’t get much better than that, right?
And when healthy snacking tastes decadent, we all win. Black bean brownies may sound unappealing but I can assure you that they are phenomenal. You will not notice the black beans in these, I promise.
I put these brownies to the test with my mother-in-law. She appreciates almost everything that I make and is always very willing to try new things. Like me, she has a sweet tooth, especially when it comes to brownies and cupcakes.
When the in-laws said they were coming over for dinner, I knew I was going to make these brownies and put them to the ultimate test. I told my husband about my “evil” plan and started baking. I got rid of all the bean evidence when I was finished.
Keep in mind that I’m a terrible liar. I mean, really, really terrible. When my mother-in-law came in the door, I could hardly wait to shove one of these moist, rich black bean brownies into her hand.
She took a bite and barely finished saying, “These are great!” before I blurted out, “They have black beans in them!”
I think her exact words were, “Really? Wow! I’d still eat another one even though I know that.” But she didn’t. Minor details, really. Maybe she was too full after dinner. Hmmm, the next time she comes over, maybe I’ll try chocolate chia pudding ….
And don’t worry, we didn’t let these go to waste. They disappeared all too quickly. Since then, I’ve made them many times for my family and I haven’t heard any complaints.
About These Brownies
If you’re not familiar with baked goods made with beans, it’s kind of a thing. If you do a quick internet search, you’ll see recipes for cakes, cookies, and bars all made with canned beans. You may want to check out my recipe for healthier deep dish chocolate chip cookies which are made with with great Northern beans.
Why beans? Beans are good for you, with both soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. They add nutrition to foods that usually aren’t very nutritious. Not only that, beans can take the place of the fats (butter, oil) that are added to baked goods. It’s a double win.
I’m not going to lie. Black bean brownies don’t taste exactly like the brownies you may be used to. Sometimes you just have to shift your mindset a bit. If you want to indulge in brownies, why not make brownies that are better for you? They are sweet and fudgy, and you will enjoy every delicious bite.
These brownies are easy to make! I’ll get you started on the recipe here and give you extra tips to help out. The printable recipe card has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information. You’ll find it near the end of the post.
What You’ll Need
- Black Beans: Use canned black beans. I usually look for reduced sodium beans. Other types of beans may work but black beans are best because they are dark colored and less obvious in the brownies.
- Eggs: You’ll need a couple of eggs.
- Oil: Any mild flavored oil is fine such as canola, grapeseed, or coconut oil.
- Brown Sugar & Granulated Sugar: A combination of sugars works best for brownies. Be sure to pack the brown sugar firmly into the measuring cup.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: A baker’s true friend, vanilla is used in many baked goods.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Made from ground cocoa beans with the cocoa butter removed, unsweetened cocoa powder is loaded with antioxidants and is actually quite good for you.
- Espresso Powder: Optional, but instant espresso powder does complement the rich chocolate flavor. Look for it by the other instant coffee products.
- Baking Powder: Helps the brownies rise just a bit.
- Salt: Salt is added to season the brownies. Without it, your brownies would taste a bit flat and you’d feel that there’s something missing.
- Semisweet Chocolate Chips: Okay, I always add chocolate chips to my brownies. It’s almost a necessity, right?
How To Make This Recipe
You’ll need a blender to make these brownies. Preheat the oven and prepare an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan. Spray it lightly with nonstick spray and then line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Spray lightly once again.
Why All the Pan Prep?
The first spray helps keep the parchment paper in place. The parchment paper not only keeps the brownies from sticking, the overhang makes it easy to lift the brownies out of the pan when they are baked. You’ll be able to set the brownies on a flat surface and cut them into perfect squares.
Open the can of beans and put them in a colander in the sink. Rinse them with water until the water runs clear. This removes the sludgy stuff that’s in the can with beans. Drain the beans well.
Add the beans to the blender, along with the eggs, oil, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add the espresso powder, if you’re planning on using it. Cover the blender and process the mixture until it’s completely smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a couple of times.
Fold in half of the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle on the remaining chocolate chips.
Bake the brownies for about 25 minutes or until they are firm. I usually rotate the pan once during the baking time to ensure that the brownies bake evenly. If you happen to use a larger pan, remember that the brownies will take less time to bake.
Most brownies are made with flour and either butter or oil. The black beans replace some of the oil and all of the flour.
Adding coffee to brownies in the form of instant espresso powder enhances the flavor of the brownies. You may be familiar with a mocha latte which is a coffee beverage with chocolate syrup added.
Many brownie recipes include a tablespoon of strong brewed coffee but I prefer to use espresso powder because it’s convenient and more potent.
Make It Your Own
Any of the add-ins you jazz up your brownies with will work in these brownies, too.
- semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, mint chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, etc.
- chopped nuts of any type
- peanut butter swirled in
- chopped Oreo cookies
- mini marshmallows
More Brownie Recipes
Not looking for a healthy brownie recipe? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with plenty of decadent brownie recipes. Try Kahlúa Brownies with Cinnamon, Cream Cheese Filled Brownies, Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies, Brownie Bites, Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies, or Mocha Brownies.
Once the brownies have been completely cooled and cut into squares, store them in an airtight container. They’ll keep on the counter for a couple of days but store them in the refrigerator if you want to keep them longer. They can be frozen for up to one month.
Rather Have Black Beans For Dinner?
I get it, the idea of black beans for dessert may not appeal to everyone. Try:
- Black Bean Burgers
- Black Bean Corn Salsa
- Black Bean Dip Recipe
- Healthy Southwestern Black Bean Dip
- Black Bean and Avocado Salad (great with chips!)
- Vegetarian Quinoa Chili with Black Beans
- Instant Pot Black Bean Soup (no need to soak beans!)
- Southwestern Cream Cheese Tortilla Rollups
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup oil (grapeseed, canola, or melted coconut oil)
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder, optional
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 x 8 inch pan with nonstick cooking or baking spray. Line with parchment paper and spray again.
- Put beans into a small colander and rinse until the water runs clear. Drain well.
- Pour beans, eggs, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt into a blender and blend until very smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
- Fold in half of chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan 180 degrees, and bake 10 minutes longer, or until almost firm.
- Cool completely before removing from pan and cutting into squares.
- Recipe updated 5/12/2022.
- Dairy-free chocolate chips are available. There are many brands but one of my favorites is Enjoy Life, which are free from most allergens.
- Storage: After the brownies have cooled completely, cut into squares and store in an airtight container. They’ll keep on the counter for a couple of days, for a week in the refrigerator, or a month in the freezer.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
You can also find this recipe over at Food Fanatic.