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The BEST Protein Brownies (Gluten-Free & Keto)

The BEST Protein Brownies (Gluten-Free & Keto)

I love brownies. A lot.

There are few things better than a soft, fudgy, chewy brownie. That’s why I always go for the center of a fresh batch of brownies- I don’t want a crispy crust, I want my brownie to be soft and gooey all around!

Well, this flourless protein brownie recipe promises exactly that.

Soft, full of chocolate, chewy, and dense. Sit down with one or two of these brownies and a cold glass of milk, and you’ll be set. Plus, you’ll be getting in as much protein as a protein bar!

Each protein brownie contains…

105 calories, 5g fat, 3g net carbs, and 11g protein!!

And did I mention these are flourless AND gluten-free?!

Protein Brownie Dunked in Milk

Yup, you can enjoy these if you’re gluten-free OR keto. No flour. No grains. Just chocolate goodness.

The only thing these protein brownies are not is vegan. But fear not, I also have a No-Bake Vegan Brownie Recipe for you to check out!

I promise you, these protein brownies taste just like the real thing. Feed these to any brownie lover (kids included) and I bet they would never know the difference.

The only difference between these and real-deal brownies is that these are a little bit lighter. They may look cakey, but they aren’t!

When you bite into these protein brownies, they’ll definitely feel a little bit “fluffier” than brownies you are used to, but there is nothing cakey about them.

Trust me, I do not want cakey brownies. If I did, I would just make a chocolate cake or chocolate donuts instead!

 

How do I make protein brownies?

This recipe is a very simple one, and can be prepped and ready to go in under 10 minutes!

To illustrate just how easy it is, I put together a recipe walkthrough video here for ya:

If you don’t want to watch the video (but ya should, because it’s only 1 minute long) here’s a quick breakdown of the process for you…

  1. We’re going to start by mixing together all of our liquid ingredients. I used an electric hand mixer to easily mix it all up into smooth.
  2. Then, in a separate bowl, we’re going to mix up our dry ingredients.
  3. Finally, we just need to combine the 2 bowls and mix together until we have our protein brownie batter! It’s going to be a pretty liquidy batter, but that’s exactly what we want.

Then, generously spray an 8x8in baking dish with nonstick spray (if your protein brownies stick to the pan, it will really put a damper on things) and pour your batter in.

I like to sprinkle a little sea salt on top, because I love chocolate + sea salt.

Last, we bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. I’ve experimented with pulling these slightly early, around the 28-minute mark, and they come out great. Just slightly underdone, which is A-OK in my book.

Once they are done baking, we just have to let them cool for about 20 minutes or so.

When you first pull the brownies out of the oven, they will have a slight “poof” to them. As they rest, they’ll continue cooking inside, and they will deflate (for lack of a better word) into what you see above.

Now, we don’t necessarily get that same crackly top that you might be used to seeing with most brownie recipes, but that’s because the fat content is lower in these protein brownies.

It’s a small price to pay for the excellent nutritition.

Don’t worry, the taste does not suffer in the slightest!

By the way, in this particular version you see above, I used espresso chocolate chips- that’s what that dark piece is at the bottom. While not necessarily low sugar, it was DELICIOUS.

 

What ingredients do I need?

The base of this protein brownie recipe is going to be chocolate whey protein, peanut butter, and canned pumpkin (similar ingredients to my edible protein brownie batter).

There are other ingredients included, but these are the major players. And since I always get substitution questions when it comes to protein baking, here are a few important notes for the ingredients.

 

Chocolate Whey Protein Powder

Any brand of protein powder should do, but note that I ONLY tested this recipe with whey protein.

I will often use a protein powder that is a blend between whey & casein protein, like in my fudgy cookies or brownie cookie dough sandwiches.

Since I’ve used that protein with success, you can probably use it in this recipe. But, full disclosure, I did not test it myself. In my original testing of these protein brownies I just stuck with 100% chocolate whey protein, and I loved the result so much that I did not want to mess with it!

All that being said, I did make Oreo Protein Brownies with a whey/casein blend, so I’d imagine it would be just fine.

Plant-based protein will not work for these brownies. Since these protein brownies are flourless, it is lacking the structure needed to use any kind of plant-based protein. But for vegan brownies, check out my No-Bake Vegan Brownie Recipe instead.

 

Peanut Butter

You might be tempted to swap this out for alternatives such as PB2 (powdered peanut butter), but I don’t recommend it.

I understand wanting to save even more calories, but these macros are already awesome, and I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the authentic brownie texture that the fat provides us.

You can definitely swap another nut butter like almond or cashew butter, though. Or, regular butter would likely work as well. With protein brownies, we 100% need a quality fat source!

 

Canned Pumpkin

Pumpkin puree (or canned pumpkin) is also vital.

It sounds weird, I know, but it’s one of the main pieces of this recipe that keeps the brownies nice and gooey.

Don’t omit it.

Trust me, I don’t even love the taste of pumpkin, but you won’t taste it in your brownies, I promise!

You might be able to swap it out for applesauce if it’s all you have, as that works in some recipes, but applesauce tends to lead to a cakier texture. Canned pumpkin will help keep these protein brownies fudgy and moist (sorry for saying moist. Twice.)

 

Can I store these protein brownies for later?

Protein brownies with slice missing

Yes, you certainly can!

Whenever I make this recipe, it lasts me about 2 days, but these will last you a full week if you need ’em to.

Store these in an airtight container at room temperature and they will keep very well. Unlike many other high-protein baked goods, these do not dry out in the slightest!

 

 

Want more brownie recipes in your life?

Well well well, you are in for a treat! If you’re a brownie lover, check out these other amazing recipes I have for you:

 

Keto protein brownies

Protein Brownies (Gluten-Free & Keto)

Yield: 9 Brownies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

One of my favorite go-to recipes! These brownies are rich and chocolatey without being too dense. Plus, they contain no flour, are packed with protein, AND are keto-friendly!

Ingredients

  • 84g (3 Scoops) Chocolate Whey Protein (I used Bowmar Nutrition)
  • 25g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 40g Granular Sugar Substitute
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 60g Canned Pumpkin
  • 60g Brown Sugar Substitute
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 48g (3 Tbsp) Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 28g Lily's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (any chocolate chips work great, these just keep the sugar content lower)
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar-Free Syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
  2. Using a hand mixer, mix together your eggs, vanilla extract, brown sugar, peanut butter, maple syrup, and canned pumpkin. If you don’t have an electric mixer, use a whisk and make sure everything is mixed well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients. Combine the cocoa powder, chocolate whey protein, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and mix well.
  4. Slowly add your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients a little bit at a time while mixing until you have a nice smooth batter.
  5. In a small bowl, at your chocolate chips. Microwave for about a minute, or long enough to melt the chocolate. Mine was still slightly chunky, which I was okay with because I like the added texture to the brownies! Add the melted chocolate to your batter and mix it in.
  6. Generously spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray and pour your batter in. I sprinkled a little bit of salt on top of the brownies before baking, but that is optional. Add to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Let cool for about 20-30 minutes to allow the brownies to fully set (they continue cooking once pulled from the oven)
  8. Slice into 9 brownies and enjoy! Don’t get too eager and cut the brownies right out of the oven- they need this time to set or they’ll be too soft and fall apart.

Notes

  • Nobody ever complained about TOO MUCH chocolate. Feel free to add some extra chocolate chips to your batter! You can play around with the type of chocolate chips you used, too. I used Espresso Chocolate Chips in one version and it was amazing.
  • Note that I use WHEY protein. I can't guarantee results if you substitute a different type of protein powder.
  • You can store these protein brownies in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy them throughout the week!
  • Want to make a slightly lighter brownie with 90 calories, 4g fat, 3g net carbs and 10g protein? Follow the recipe above, but make the following ingredient tweaks: lower the peanut butter to 32g (2 tbsp), lower the cocoa powder to 10g total, bump the brown sugar to 80g total. They won't be quite as dense and fudgy, but they still come out awesome.
  • *** The carb total of this recipe is technically higher than listed if you include sugar substitute, but I do not count the carbs in my sugar substitutes. Since they contribute zero calories, the impact of those carbs is negligible and not worth counting in my opinion. But as always, I recommend calculating your own nutrition based on your specific ingredients used!

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Nutrition Information
Yield 9 Serving Size 1 Brownie
Amount Per Serving Calories 105Total Fat 5gCarbohydrates 6gFiber 3gSugar 1gProtein 11g

Did you make this recipe?

Share your photos and tag me on Instagram!

Theresa

Tuesday 13th of July 2021

Edit: my husband who could not care less about macros even loves these!

Theresa

Sunday 11th of July 2021

So delicious. I was craving brownies in the worst way and I am in a cut. I will make this again and again

kari

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

Love love this treat! Ive made 4 batches in the last 2 weeks. Mine were too dry at first so I had to lower the temp and time. I eliminated the brown sugar and used other non-chocolate flavored proteins and is still awesome! MACROS are these are the BEST!!!!!

Abby Gann

Monday 9th of November 2020

Would powdered PB work for this recipe?

Matt

Friday 16th of October 2020

One of my go-to's as well, thanks Leah!

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