by Olena

Black Bean Brownies

by Olena

black bean brownies

Black Bean Brownies

You can find fifty 5 star comments below. These black bean brownies are that good! You can have them for breakfast. Yes, they are that healthy! To be exact – sugar free. Kids beg for brownies with black beans. Did you hear me? Children would like to eat beans! Last time one kid called them “beautiful”.:)

Are you in? I can guarantee you no one will be able to tell the ingredients this black bean brownie recipe calls for!


black bean brownie recipe ingredients

Why Use Black Beans in Brownies?

Why use black beans in brownies? Why can’t you just make black bean mango salad and leave them alone?

Because it just works. Because flourless black bean brownies are just as easy and fudgy as regular brownies. Because black beans have perfect texture and color to replace flour. And finally, because black beans make eating “all you can eat brownies” concept a reality.

healthy black bean brownies

Regular or Medjool Dates?

Most grocery stores carry 2 types of dates: “regular” and Medjool. You can use any. However, I prefer and highly recommend to use Medjool dates. Their meaty and moist texture adds volume and fudgy texture to healthy black brownies. And fresh is best! As dates get older, they dry out and sugars start to crystalize on the outside.

And yes, brownies with dates do not need any other sweetener. Dates contain naturally occuring sugars that are not processed. Essentially, these are sugar free black bean brownies.

black bean brownies with Medjool dates

Can I Use Stevia or Xylitol?

Many ask if they can skip dates altogether and replace with stevia or xylitol. Unfortunately, you cannot. Simply because dates contribute to the volume of brownie batter. We already skipped flour and oil.

Blender Vs. Food Processor:

I process black bean brownie batter in a high speed blender like Blendtec or food processor. Both work. Batter can have some small chunks of dates and beans. It doesn’t have to be smooth.

sugar free black bean brownies

One thing I can tell you for sure – you will struggle with fitting in all ingredients into a mini food processor. I was being lazy. I didn’t want to walk from my studio to the house to get a blender.

I made it work but I don’t recommend to load up this little guy that much.

Tips for Best Black Bean Brownies

  • Drain can with beans. We do not need that gooey liquid.
  • Line baking dish with parchment paper. It makes brownies easy to cut and remove, and ensures they do not fall apart.
  • Let brownies cool off almost completely before slicing. I know it’s hard but please have patience.
  • Brownies become even more fudgy the next day.

how to make black bean brownies

Substitutions for Healthy Black Bean Brownies

I have collected ideas for substitutions from numerous comments below. I follow my simple black bean brownie recipe because I usually have all ingredients on hand. But below is what other readers have tried and worked for them.


  • “Did not have dates so we used prunes instead”.
  • “I didn’t have dates on hand, so I used raisins…”.


  • “…And I also didn’t have applesauce (WHAT?!) so I used an overripe banana”.
  • “I didn’t have apple sauce, so I tossed in a small apple” (puree it i an blender or food processor first).


  • ” I made them vegan by using 2 tablespoon ground flax + 6 tablespoon water to replace the eggs”.

Chocolate Chips

  • “I also only used 1/8 cup of mini chocolate chips”.
  • “I didn’t add the chocolate chips either, to cut down on added sugar, and they still taste great!”
  • “I didn’t have chocolate chips but I did have some cacao nibs, so that’s what went in”.

best black bean brownies

Cacao Powder

You can use cocoa powder instead of cacao powder. What’s the difference between 2?

As per FoodMatters: “Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cocoa looks the same but it’s not.

Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value.”


Brewed coffee adds more depth to chocolate flavor. But you can skip it. Not crucial for the best black bean brownie result.

Black Beans

Black beans are crucial for successful brownies with black beans. Sounds pretty legit.:) Lentils are not a substitute. If you have cooked at home black beans, use about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups.

best black bean brownies

How Many Calories in Black Bean Brownies?

I would like to compare black bean brownie vs. traditional brownie side by side:

  • Calories: 119 vs. 365 calories
  • Carbs: 22 vs. 50 grams
  • Sugar: 14 vs. 33 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 1 vs. 3 grams
  • Sodium: 187 vs. 300 grams

Can You Freeze the Brownies?

Yes. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw on a counter at room temperature for about 30 minutes. I freeze cut up brownies right in Pyrex glass container I bake in. It comes with a plastic lid. Just lift a few with a butter knife and defrost. Perfect!

More Healthy Brownies Recipes to Try

How to Make Black Bean Brownies Video

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Black Bean Brownies

5 from 5 reviews

Healthy, Easy and THE BEST Flourless Black Bean Brownies with dates instead of sugar. You can basically have them for breakfast.

  • Author: Olena of
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 16 brownies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: North American


  • 14 oz can low sodium black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 15 small or 10-12 Medjool dates, pitted (1/2 cup packed)
  • 2 tbsp brewed coffee (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray (I use Misto)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8 x 8 square baking dish with unbleached parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a powerful blender or food processor add ingredients in the following order: eggs, applesauce, black beans, cacao powder, coffee, vanilla, baking soda, salt and dates; then process until smooth. Add 1/4 cup chocolate chips and stir to mix.
  3. Pour batter into baking dish, top with 1/4 cup chocolate chips and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and let brownies cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing. Cut into 16 squares.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


I have to say that it’s crucial you use parchment paper and let brownies cool before slicing.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.



About Olena

Hi, I’m Olena and this is my healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I now live on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I’m here to help you with “What’s for dinner?”.

Made a recipe? Tag @ifoodreal or #ifoodreal on Instagram. I would love to share in the “Look what you made” stories.

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111 comments on “Black Bean Brownies

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  1. So awesome. I have tried other Black Bean Brownie recipes on the web and honestly, this one is the best. Perhaps it is the addition of eggs that makes them fluffy (for lack of a better word) but wow, so rich and tasty, just like the old days when I didn’t care about what I ate! Thanks again for another pure and yummy recipe.

    1. LOL “just like the old days when I didn’t care about what I ate!”. You can honestly eat as many as you like. And go for a walk around the neighbourhood afterwards. And you’ll be fine.

  2. These were actually really good. I made them vegan by using 2 T ground flax + 6 T water to replace the eggs.I also only used 1/8 c of mini chocolate chips. My husband really enjoyed these as a treat. He was recently diagnosed with diabetes and he’s following a low fat whole food plant based diet. These fit perfectly. To me, they are more fudge-like in consistency than brownie-like, but yummy just the same. Since I made it vegan, I got to taste the batter. It’s super yummy! And I would totally eat it as a dip. Thanks for the great recipe. Definitely a keeper. 🙂

  3. OK, seriously?! No one in my office could tell what these brownies were made with. They all kept stuffing their faces “omg, these are so good”. LMAO

  4. When you freeze them, how long should you let them thaw before eating? Should you put them back in oven or just let it thaw at room temp or in fridge?

  5. WOW! I was skeptical, but these were WAY better than I expected. Even my kids loved them! I added a little Splenda and a touch more Vanilla. When I make these again, I’m going to try to add some whey powder to it for a bit more protein. This is now part of my pre-workout meal.

    1. Glad you enjoyed. May I suggest to look into Splenda, it is made in the lab and is very bad for you. These brownies are sweet enough with dates. I have a protein brownie recipe but it’s made with plant-based protein powder, even better than whey. More plants is better.:)

  6. Just made these today. Yummy! Moist and delicious Did not have dates so we used prunes instead. Could not wait till they cooled so cutting was a little bit messy. Definitely another keeper, Olena.

  7. Yummy! I love treats that I can feel good about eating, and this recipe is so stinkin’ easy. I didn’t have dates on hand, so I used raisins, and I also didn’t have applesauce (WHAT?!) so I used an overripe banana. Turned out great! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Hi Delaney. A++ for creativity. You must have Eastern European blood in you.:) I agree about treats – it better be useful I don’t feel guilty afterwards.

  8. These look really good! We have been using a recipe that only uses black beans, water, and brownie mix. And it is only 20 calories per slice. Our food processor went to pot a while ago and we only have a blender now. Will try these next.

      1. We have made a lentil soup and a vegan meatloaf with lentils and carrots and other ingredients like brown rice. It was really good but do not know about using in sweets.

  9. Felt I should comment because I’ve made these brownies so many times now! What a great recipe, so pleased you shared it. Thank you! 🙂

    1. Yay! I hear so many times from people I meet, like even close friends, that the have been making this or that recipe of mine so many times and yet no one left a comment. So glad you did!:)

  10. What an absolutely delicious recipe! Thanks so much for this great recipe…healthy and so tasty! I have made it quite a few times and dazzle friends when I tell them what is inside of the brownies. Definitely one of my favorite!

  11. About seven months ago I cut out all processed foods and added sugar (including honey, no-calorie sweeteners, agave, etc.) from my diet. I have only been able to find a few recipes that adhere to my new way of eating to help me tame my sweet tooth. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! While putting the batter in the pan I had a little taste, and it tastes like legit brownie batter. I didn’t add the chocolate chips either, to cut down on added sugar, and they still taste great! You rock my socks off, lady!

    1. Maybe Greek yogurt but I haven’t tried. Maybe any other fruit puree that is mild in taste…Applesauce is the best though. I tried to replace applesauce with Greek yogurt in banana muffins and it wasn’t the same.

  12. These look great! Would there be a way to substitute the chocolate chips with unsweetened cocoa powder and honey/molasses/maple syrup/some other unrefined sugar? Thx!

      1. Thank you for this website! I love it! I’ve made several of the recipes and my family lived them all ! I can’t wait to try more

  13. I couldn’t wait to make these. I’ve never tried anything even remotely similar to them and was very skeptical. Well, first of all, I’m so glad that I too have the ultimate Ninja. Makes life so much easier :). Second, these were delicious!! My husband isn’t home from work yet and he will be the hardest to sell these to. (I’m not going to tell him what’s in them until after he eats one). But myself and our 2 and 3 year olds LOVE them!!

  14. They’re good! I was so skeptical but my new refined sugar free diet pushed me to actually make them. I added a few extra dates. The texture is very smooth, similar to fudgy. I can’t tell its dates or black beans, but I can tell that the a quite different from traditional brownies. I am so happy I found these and will rely on these for my chocolate fix while I am sugar free.

  15. This turn out amazing! Soo good. I’m going to surprise my girlfriend with these brownies. She was placed on a low sugar no starch diet. Brownies were her fav dessert. I can’t wait to have her try these. Thank you so much, Olena!!!

  16. Hi! These look so good… problem is, I’m on an absolutely no sugar diet. Only things I’m allowed are stevia and xylitol… any chance you think these would work with either of those? I’m just worried that the dates would be what make them a nice texture!

    1. To get rid of sugar, you would also have to remove the chocolate chips which will result in very bitter brownies. Black beans with stevia…I don’t think it will taste good.:) Then you might want to try my Fudgy Vegan Protein Brownies, where a lot of texture and flavour comes from stevia sweetened plant based protein powder.

  17. I really want to try this recipe but the canned beans I found all had added salt or added sugar. I bought dried beans which I am now soaking and am going to cook. The question I have is how many ounces of beans do I use? A 14oz can is not 14 oz of beans once drained is it?

    1. Hi Susan. 14 oz can of beans yields about 1 + 3/4 cup beans drained. You can use canned beans with salt, drain and rinse them well. Don’t add extra salt to the recipe. A little bit of salt is always necessary in almost any recipe to help bring out the flavours. So, that’s fine.:)

      1. These worked out so well with the dried beans that I cooked. I left out the choc chips because I didn’t have any and added an extra 50 grams of dates to make them a bit sweeter. Just about to bake my second batch to take to my workout group tomorrow night. Thank you so much.

  18. hello!1 i just made this browniea and the texture isn`t solid enought!! i don`t know what went wrong but it does not have the brownie texture that it supposed to have 🙁

    1. Hi Eva. Probably nothing went wrong. These black bean brownies are fudgy brownies, they are supposed to be soft and creamy. If you let them cool completely the y would be quite easy to slice and look like the ones in the photos. Butter, egg and white flour brownies do have a different texture because they are made of different ingredients.

  19. Hi! I would really like to know the adapted recipe for the protein powder! i am hoping to make these tonight and would really appreciate you getting back to me asap! Thank you again! i love all your recipes 🙂

  20. This was my first time making black bean brownies. I was pretty skeptical, but they were way better than I was expecting. I didn’t have apple sauce, so I tossed in a small apple. They taste really great with some cold almond milk. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  21. Oh my…I’m drooling! I know my kids will love these and I love the fact that they are so much healthier…can’t wait to make them 🙂

    1. Haha. Wait, I’m going to post protein brownies shortly. Those are even lower in carbs and sugar. And protein #s are a dream come true!!!

  22. Love all of your recipes!! I’ve had fun trying different ones recently, so glad I found your site! Could you sub the dates for Stevia in the raw or some kind of natural sugar option? Thanks!

    1. That’s awesome, Heather!:) Comments like this one mean so much to me and keep me going! Well, dates are a pretty natural sugar option.:) I know what you mean. You can reduce amount of dates. I just made protein brownies I will be posting soon with only 5 Medjool dates and stevia. Plus I didn’t add any chocolate chips in my protein brownies. You could reduce sugar right there. Try half dates, half stevia. I do not recommend subbing all stevia because brownies will have that strong and weird stevia aftertaste. You know which one I’m talking about?!

      1. I do!! 🙂 I guess I don’t buy dates very often so I was trying to work just with what I have. But I’ll give the dates a try to avoid a lot of Stevia taste. I may end up loving them ha! Thanks!

        1. You can also use prunes instead of dates. Or even honey or maple syrup would work, I’m pretty sure. I loooooove dates now although never really bought them until I started clean eating.

          1. About how much honey would you recommend? Still new to this whole cooking thing, and not good at just “winging it”! Buy studying requires eating and this seems like a godsend compared to just stuffing my face with Oreos ^^

          2. Hi Prianka. You can’t replace dates with honey in this recipe because the yard not only sweetness but texture also. I highly recommend buying Medjool dates, even the cost more. They are irreplaceable!

  23. these are fantastic! i made them last night and i’m so happy w/the results, i was a little scared at the idea of the beans. do you think adding walnuts or pecans would be a good addition? thanks for this wonderful recipe

    1. Yes, nuts would be wonderful here. These brownies are too good to be true. I still can’t believe myself how good these are. You are welcome. 🙂

  24. I made these for the first time today. I finally tried them because my sister n law made a cake similar to this but did not have a ‘sweet’ presence in the taste. I did add sweetened cinnamon applesauce minus the coffee. I must admit my two year old could not wait for the treat! She ate it gladly. I am glad there is an alternative to the high sugar/flour brownie!

    1. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between these brownies and regular ones either. Glad your kiddo enjoyed it. Nice way to get some beans into the kids, right?!:)

  25. I really wanted to make these and had to look high and low for black beans and all I could find were the dried variety so I had to opt for borlotti beans. I have just made them and they aren’t too great 🙁 do you have a better alternative for the black beans or does nothing really come close? (I live in Australia which is why the black beans are a bit of a struggle to find)

    1. Oh that sucks!!! I’ve never heard of borlotti beans. Unfortunately black beans is the key ingredient in this recipe! I know others bake with garbanzo beans so maybe you could try them with extra chocolate but I haven’t tried.

    2. Hi! Coles and woolies sell El Paso black beans at Mexican food section but I think they have salt and firming agent added in them. Maybe red kidney beans would work?

  26. oooh – I did throw a couple tablespoons of honey in to off-set the cacao nibs because they are on the bitter side (but not obnoxiously so). They may be a kind of acquired taste since you don’t get the sweet squee like with regular chocolate.

  27. Hello Olena, i’m from Brazil and have been reading your site since early 2013 and would like to congrats you for this effort. I’ve made this recipe with our most traditional “feijão preto” ou simply “black bean”, we got almost 14 types of bean and it´s different from yours but also have an amasing taste. I would give another try in this recipe without the dates and also with much less salt. Thank you that´s my comment.

  28. Ok, you’re two-for-two this week! Made these last night to take to work for a GF co-worker and they were a huge hit. I didn’t have chocolate chips but I did have some cacao nibs, so that’s what went in. Loved the flavor; the not-sweet but chocolate taste was perfectly rich and was a great ,match to the texture. I’m so gonna convert those donut-hounds into health-food freaks. With your help, of course. <3 Thanks!

      1. Was wondering if you or anyone used cacao powder instead of cocoa? It would up the fiber in them.. Thanks

        1. Yes, you can do that for sure. At the then do making these I didn’t have cacao powder. Now that’s all I use after I bought it at Vitacost. I honestly don’t even notice it being more bitter than cocoa powder.

        2. Yes I used cacao powder from the health store. Sprinkled a few flakes of cocoanut on each brownie and just before I took them out of the oven put about 10 mini marshmallows on them and left another 5 minutes. The little extra calories made them delicious.

  29. Just made these… they haven’t cooled enough to adequately slice, but I’ve already eaten more than I’d like to admit with a spoon. Save to say they’re pretty darn tasty. 😉 I think next time I make them I’ll add more dates to sweeten them up a bit more, but perhaps it was the Americano I added instead of coffee since I only have an espresso machine…
    And, for the record, my 1970s hand-me-down blender worked just fine, though, I’m sure it took a bit more time and effort than your fancy one haha 🙂 Thanks for the great recipe–I’m always looking for new ways to get my chocolate fix with my fairly rigid diet.

    1. Sweetness is personal preference so feel free to adjust. Cooling is important for brownies.:)
      I honestly think 1970 blender’s quality is waaaaaay better than 2014, so no wonder it worked LOL. You are very welcome.:)

  30. I haven’t made black bean brownies in forever!! I’m so happy that I found this recipe, I’m totally making them soon. Not to mention they’re gluten-free and vegan! Woo hoo 🙂

  31. O.k., I have to try these. I’ve seen many recipes for black bean brownies, and have never made them.
    Thanks for the tip on chopping up the dates beforehand if you have a regular blender. The last time I tried to blend dates in my average blender it was an “epic fail” (as my 12 yr old son would say).
    When I first saw your pics I thought there was frosting on top of the brownies, but it must be the chocolate chips that melted on top during baking. I also love adding brewed coffee to baked goods! Yum!!

    1. I had to take a look at my brownies again…No, no frosting, it’s the crust plus chocolate chip delicious mess.:) I know what you mean though. Yes, dates in a $40 blender are NOT a good idea. Like not at all LOL. Let me know how they turn out. I seriously think these brownies are THE BOMB!

        1. You are welcome. I just adapted this recipe to include some protein powder and will post them next week, if you are interested.:) Very similar texture, more protein and less sugar.

          1. I’m looking for the black bean brownie recipe that you’ve adapted with protein. Have you posted it yet? And where can I find it?