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This no-butter chocolate brownie recipe results in an ooey-gooey, decadent, and SUPER fudgy batch of the BEST Dairy Free Brownies, complete with a delicious brownie frosting. The rich, chocolatey brownie batter comes together in one bowl, making cleanup a breeze!
I love baking with butter, and as a trained pastry chef, I do so often, but I also enjoy creating chocolate desserts without butter for my dairy-free and lactose intolerant or kosher and chocolate-loving friends!
The satiny smooth brownie batter yields a pan of thick, insanely moist, and fudgy brownies with the perfect amount of “chew.” The centers are delightfully soft, silky, and tender, and the whole thing is topped with a decadent dairy free chocolate frosting!
These brownies are adapted from my one bowl brownie recipe, that is a huge hit whenever I bring it to our friends. The topping is adapted from my original brownie frosting recipe. If you want to go the dairy route you can also try these brownies with cream cheese frosting, or red velvet brownies!
If you can’t believe it’s not butter, you better believe it! These dairy-free brownies are the real deal. So grab your mixing bowl, and let’s bake!
Best non dairy substitutes for baking
Butter– My favorite non dairy butter substitute to use is Earth Balance. I buy it in the baking sticks and not in the tub so that I can measure easily. I like it because it is vegan and doesn’t have the chemicals that margarine has in it.
Chocolate Chips- I always buy my non dairy (or pareve if you keep kosher) chocolate chips from Trader Joes. They have so many options for chips, triangles, chunks, you name it. Plus they are cheaper than anything I can find in another store, so stock up!
Enjoy life is another non dairy chocolate brand I like to use if I can’t get to Trader Joes.
Milk-I use rice milk most of the time in replace of milk, or coconut cream in replace of creamer. You can use soy milk too if you prefer, I just like the rice milk!
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- It is a dairy-free variation of my original brownie recipe which I tested SIX times for perfection. They’re SERIOUSLY perfect.
- So much chocolate! The brownies are made with dairy-free chocolate chips and cocoa powder for next-level chocolatey flavor.
- These are perfect if you keep kosher and need a delicious non dairy dessert to eat at after a meat meal.
- You dont need to feel left out of chocolatey goodness if you are lactose intolerant!
For the brownies:
- Vegan butter – Use unsalted. I use the Earth Balance sticks.
- Dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips – With the popularity of plant-based diets, there are several really good milk and dairy-free chocolate chips on the shelves. Like I said I like Trader Joes, or Enjoy life. You can also try Lilys!
- Granulated sugar – Sugar sweetens and combines with the egg for the structure.
- Eggs – Room temperature eggs help make a dense, fudgy brownie with a firm surface.
- Vanilla extract – Boosts the sweet and creamy flavors.
- Flour – Just enough to add structure to the batter without making the brownies cakey.
- Cocoa powder – The second layer of deep chocolate flavor!
- Salt – Enhances the flavor.
For the Brownie Frosting (optional):
- Unsalted Dairy Free Butter – Makes up the creamy base of this recipe and gives the frosting its rich buttery flavor.
- Cocoa Powder – Gives the brownie icing its chocolate taste and natural brown coloring.
- Confectioners Sugar – This fine sugar blends in easily with the rest of the ingredients making it thick and smooth.
- Rice or Soy Milk – Helps thin out the frosting to the perfect consistency while keeping it creamy.
HOW TO MAKE Dairy Free Brownies
Prepare for baking: Preheat your oven to 350° F and line an 8″x 8″ baking pan with parchment paper. To keep the parchment paper in place, clamp it to the sides of the pan with binder clips. Alternately, you can coat the baking pan with nonstick baking spray.
Melt dairy-free butter and chocolate: Add the vegan butter and dairy-free chocolate to a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until the mixture is smooth and blended. Set the mixture aside to cool for 3-5 minutes.
Whip eggs and sugar: Add the eggs to the bowl and whip vigorously by hand with a whisk, or use a hand mixer with the whisk attached. Add the sugar, and continue whipping for 3 full minutes. Finally, mix in the vanilla with a flexible spatula.
Add dry ingredients: Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt to the bowl, and mix until combined.Be careful not to overmix!
Bake and cool: Pour the batter into the lined baking pan, remove the clips, and bake until firm and fudgy (25 minutes). Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before cutting into 16 squares. Enjoy!
Make the frosting: Add the vegan butter to a microwavable safe bowl. Melt in 30-second intervals in the microwave until no solids remain.
Mix the frosting: To the melted butter, add the cocoa powder and whisk until it’s incorporated well. Then, add the powdered sugar and rice milk and whisk until a smooth frosting is formed.
Frost: Use it to frost cooled brownies immediately. The frosting will harden on the top as it sets leaving a creamy texture underneath.
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- Measure flour precisely – If you don’t have a kitchen scale, spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off. Never scoop the flour with your measuring cup.
- Use the right pan for baking brownies – I suggest baking dairy-free brownies in a glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Avoid darker metal pans, as they tend to get too hot and burn the bottom of the brownies.
- Use binder clips – This is a great baking hack to keep the parchment paper from sliding around while pouring in the batter, but don’t forget to remove the clips before the pan goes into the oven!
- Cool before cutting – The brownies must cool completely. You can stick them in the freezer for 30 minutes after they initially cool down. This makes it much easier to cut into 16 tidy squares.
Best way to cut brownies
The best way to cut brownies is to cut them cold and with a large sharp knife. After the brownies have cooled, stick them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
Using a large chefs knife slice the brownies in half, wipe off the knife with a napkin or towel and then cut in half again on each side wiping in between each cut.
Turn the brownies and cut them the same way, ending up with 16 individual brownies.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Storing: Wrap the whole pan or single slices tightly in plastic wrap and keep stored on the counter for 3 days.
Freezing: These dairy-free brownies freeze nicely double-wrapped in plastic or tin foil for up to 3 months. Let them thaw at room temperature before serving.
Can I double the recipe?
Sure! I suggest using a 9″x13″ baking pan and adding 10-15 minutes to the baking time.
Can I use oil instead of vegan butter?
I’ve only tested this recipe with vegan butter, but in most instances, you can swap neutral-tasting oil with butter, using 3/4 of the amount of oil as you would butter. So, for example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, you would use 3/4 cup oil instead.
Can I make these brownies gluten-free?
Yup! Substitute the all-purpose flour with a 1:1 gluten-free baking flour, and you’re all set!
WAYS TO ENJOY
Feel free to customize with fun mix-ins. You can fold them directly into the batter, scatter them over the top before baking, or both!
- Chopped nuts – Walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.
- Crushed Oreos – Yes, they’re dairy-free!
- Other dairy-free options – Mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, chopped pretzels, etc.
More Brownies recipes!
Decadent Dairy Free Brownies with Frosting
For the Brownies
- 1/2 cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance 113g
- 6 oz dairy free semi sweet chocolate chips about 1 heaping cup
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup flour 60g
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder 25g
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the dairy free frosting
- 1/4 cup unsalted vegan butter, melted 56 g
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder 35g
- 2 cups powdered sugar 227g
- 3 tbsp rice milk or soy
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick baking spray. Clamp down the sides of the pan with clips to hold the parchment paper in place.
- In a microwave safe bowl combine the 1/2 cup vegan butter and 6 oz dairy free chocolate. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time stirring in between until the chocolate is completely melted. Up to 90 seconds total. Let the chocolate cool for 3-5 minutes.
- Add in 3 eggs and whip using a whisk or the whisk attachment for 1 minute.
- Add the 1 cup sugar and whip again for 3 full minutes.
- Switch to a spatula and add in 1 teaspoon vanilla mix until combined. Next add in the 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Mix until combined.
- Pour the batter into the lined baking pan and bake for 25 minutes for super fudgy brownies. Cool!
Make the frosting
- In a large microwavable safe bowl melt the vegan butter 30 seconds at a time until fully melted. Add in the ⅓ cup cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
- Add in the 2 cups of confectioners sugar and 3 tbsp milk. Whisk until smooth and frost cooled brownies right away otherwise it will harden.
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