Applesauce Brownies (Healthy, No Beans!)

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Reader said, OMG! These are amazing!!! I made them last night and I loveee them. I keep them in the fridge and theyโ€™re even better the next dayโ€ฆwith coffee. These double-chocolate, fudgy brownies are made with no oil, no butter, and no flour! But the great news is - no weird veggies or beans either! Recipe via chelseasmessyapron.com

These double-chocolate ultra-fudgy Applesauce Brownies are made with no oil, no butter, and no refined flours! But the great news is – no veggies, strange specialty ingredients, or beans either. These brownies are incredibly tasty – you won’t even miss all the butter and oil! 

Try some of our other healthy baked goods like these Flourless Banana Muffins, this Healthy Ice Cream, or these Healthy Chocolate Cookies.

Applesauce Brownies with ice cream and chocolate syrup

What to expect from these Applesauce Brownies

These healthy Applesauce Brownies are ridiculously tasty and made with muchbetter-for-you ingredients than you’ll find in most brownie recipes. I mean, I will admit they are significantly less healthy with a big scoop of ice cream and drenched in hot fudge sauce (like pictured above), but all things in moderation, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ 

I’ll chat more about the ingredients in these applesauce brownies below, but I will say here they are made with peanut butter, so they’re more of a peanut butter-chocolate brownie. For the best fudge-like, pure-chocolate (no peanut butter) brownie recipe, check out these Healthy Brownies. That recipe also includes an optional chocolate frosting, so if you’d like to frost these Applesauce Brownies, use the frosting recipe on that post for these brownies!

As far as texture goes, Applesauce Brownies are fairly fudgey but like more of a gooey cake-like brownie

There are no black beans, no vegetables, and no strange ingredients that will have you searching the aisles of a health food store. So let’s discuss what is actually in these brownies!

Applesauce Brownies being cut into squares

Applesauce Brownie ingredients

  • Creamy peanut butter. Make sure to use creamy, not chunky, peanut butter in these muffins. If you’re using natural peanut butter, be sure it is well mixed and incorporated (not separated or oily) before adding. I also recommend using peanut butter you genuinely love eating straight from the jar. We love dry-roasted and lightly salted peanut butter.
  • Honey. Honey adds sweetness. The reason we use part honey and part brown sugar is because too much honey makes these brownies too moist.
  • Brown sugar. This recipe uses very little brown sugar (especially when you consider how much sugar goes into a typical brownie recipe). This is also the one ingredient to play around a bit with; see “quick tip” below.
  • Vanilla extract. Vanilla adds a nice flavor to the brownies. 
  • Unsweetened applesauce. If you’re using sweetened applesauce, you’ll want to reduce the amount of brown sugar. I’ve tested these brownies with unsweetened applesauce, so that is reflected in how much sugar is added to the recipe. (I’ve found different brands of sweetened applesauce are sweetened to different amounts, so unsweetened is the easiest way to control the amount of sweetness in these brownies.)
  • Egg. These brownies need one large egg.
  • Oat flour. More on this ingredient in the section below!
  • Cocoa powder: Use natural cocoa powder, not a Dutch-process cocoa powder. I’ve tested these brownies with Dutched cocoa, and it does not work out well — the consistency and flavor are off! 
  • Baking soda, baking powder, salt. Here’s how to make sure your baking soda and powder are fresh.
  • Dark chocolate chips: To keep these Applesauce Brownies more on the nutritious side, weโ€™re using dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has essential fats your body needs and is a powerful source of antioxidants. (Source.)

QUICK TIP

Adjusting the brown sugar. If you are new to healthier desserts, you may want a bit more sugar in these brownies. If you make a lot of healthier recipes and don’t mind the brownies being less sweet, you can slightly reduce the sugar. We like these brownies best with a packed 1/4 cup up to 1/3 cup.

Image showing how oat flour is made: place oats in the blender; process until oats are pulverized into flour.

I mentioned that Applesauce Brownies don’t have refined white sugar. So instead of using white flour, or even whole wheat flour, we use oats. The oats are blended into powdery oat flour. No need to buy this from the store, since it literally takes seconds to make it yourself.

How to make oat “flour”

  1. Place old-fashioned or quick oats in a food processor or small blender jar.
  2. Pulse the oats until they are ground into a powder-like consistency that resembles flour (see photo above on the right).
  3. Stir the oats around to be sure that all the oats have been finely ground. 
  4. Measure the oat flour for these muffins after itโ€™s been turned to flour and not in the original whole-oat form. 

Process shots: images of all the ingredients being added to a bowl and mixed together and transferred to a prepared pan and baked

Tips

  • Line the pan. Leave an overhang of parchment paper to easily remove the brownies and cut into them on a cutting board.
  • Make sure all ingredients are, in fact, gluten free. While the ingredients called for in these brownies are naturally gluten free, make sure to check all your ingredient labels to verify they werenโ€™t processed in a facility with gluten. Anyone with celiac disease needs to avoid all traces of gluten!
  • Add a few dark chocolate chips on top. I like to add another small handful of chocolate chips on top of the brownie batter before putting it into the oven. This ensures there is a chocolate chip in every brownie bite!

Close-up view of Applesauce Brownies

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Applesauce Brownies

5 from 27 votes
These double-chocolate super fudgy applesauce brownies are made with no oil, no butter, and no flour! But the great news is - no weird veggies or beans either!
These double-chocolate super fudgy brownies are made with no oil, no butter, and no flour! But the great news is - no weird veggies or beans either!
Print Recipe

Applesauce Brownies

These double-chocolate super fudgy brownies are made with no oil, no butter, and no flour! But the great news is - no weird veggies or beans either!
5 from 27 votes
These double-chocolate super fudgy applesauce brownies are made with no oil, no butter, and no flour! But the great news is - no weird veggies or beans either!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword applesauce brownies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 16 16 bars
Calories 140kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $3.72

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (135g) creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons (47g) honey
  • 1/4 cup (45g) brown sugar lightly packed Note 1
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (112g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup (25g) oat flour (old-fashioned oats that have been blended)
  • 1/4 cup (19g) unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT dutch cocoa powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 + 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, divided (can use semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips)

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-x-8 baking pan with parchment paper. (Do not use a different size pan; don't forget to line it or these brownies won't come out well.)
  • MAKE OAT FLOUR: Place the oats (old-fashioned or quick oats) in a food processor or small blender jar. Pulse the oats until they are ground into a powder-like consistency that resembles flour. Make sure to measure the 1/4 cup oat flourย afterย itโ€™s been turned to flour andย notย in the original whole-oat form.
  • BATTER: In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and applesauce. Once completely mixed and smooth, add the oat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup (92g) chocolate chips. Stir together until combined.
  • BAKE: Use a spatula to transfer every bit of the mixture into the lined baking pan. Smooth the top in one even layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup (38g) chocolate chips over the mixture and gently press them in. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until lightly puffy. I like to slightly under-bake the brownies because they will be softer, chewier/fudgier and overall taste better. You'll know they're done when the batter pulls away from the edges slightly or a toothpick when inserted into the center (not in a chocolate chip) comes out with moist crumbs or comes out clean.
  • ENJOY: Remove and allow to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for about an hour before cutting into the brownies and enjoying.
  • STORAGE: Store cooled brownies in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week. These brownies are best within 2-3 days of being made.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: If you are new to healthier desserts, you may want a bit more sugar in these brownies. If you make a lot of healthier recipes and don't mind the brownies being less sweet, you can slightly reduce the sugar. We like these brownies best with a lightly packed 1/4 cup. If you'd like them sweeter add 1/3 cup.
Note 2: Make sure all ingredients are, in fact, gluten free. While the ingredients called for in these brownies are naturally gluten free, make sure to check all your ingredient labels to verify they werenโ€™t processed in a facility with gluten.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 187mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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97 Comments

  1. I was really wondering how is it possible to make such brownies without flour or fat ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I love me a good brownie and I’m always looking for ways to make them “healthier.” I love how you added peanut butter and applesauce! Hehe, love your title “no beans.” I’ve not tried black bean brownies yet… mental block. I’m sure they’re not as bad as I picture and I will try them one day, but I’d rather go the route of PB and applesauce because it simply sounds tastier. These brownies look so fudgy and delicious! Love ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. These look so moist and fudgy! I laughed when I read “No beans!” in your title. Sometimes, it is just a little weird to put beans in dessert!

  4. I was so excited to see “no beans” in the title of these! Now these are some healthy brownies that I’m actually going to try!

  5. Yes, skinny without weird! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m always looking for new ways to use oat flour. My last brownies with oat flour, I didn’t grind them well enough … my family let me know that was not okay haha! I need to get some more applesauce! These are incredible, Chelsea. You nailed everything a brownie should be while still keeping it healthy!

  6. Yay for a skinny brownie with no beans! Anything with peanut butter and chocolate gets my vote. These look so moist and fudgy and I would totally have to hold back from eating the whole batch ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Chelsea, I’m so happy you didn’t make us wait any longer for this creation you did! All about the skinny double fudgy-ness!

  8. Woot, woot!! Brownies that aren`t too horrible for your body! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for the perseverance, to create this beauty!

  9. I am SO in love with this recipe! You’ve totally solved a problem for me. I’ve been looking for a good fudgy better brownie and I never thought to use PB!! These are totally getting made for the husband!

  10. These brownies look so fudgy, Chelsea! Not at all like they’re healthier. I love all of those chocolate chips on top! I’ve tried black bean brownies once, but they didn’t have a brownie “texture,” so that was kind of weird. I think I’ll take this version over beans any day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I’ll just have to settle for echoing everyone else’s accolade: peanut butter and applesauce are wonderful ideas for making these brownies both healthy and delish! Fortunately, I have just half a jar of applesauce left and look forward to whipping these up very soon. Thanks for sharing!

  12. You did say that since these were healthy, we could have them for breakfast and brunch, right??!! You are my hero, hahaha. Seriously, these look so moist and fudgy!

  13. I just can’t bring myself to do beans in brownies. I think it will take me a lonnnnnnng time to jump on that bandwagon, but I love what you have done with this recipe! I love applesauce as a wet ingredient in brownies and these look too good not to try!

  14. I have been anxiously awaiting these since I caught them on insta!!! Would never have guessed a pb + applesauce combo is the secret, these look crazy good!

  15. Ha! I love your disclaimer about “no weird veggies” ๐Ÿ™‚ These look SO GOOD!!!! I can’t believe they are so healthy too, they look amazing!!!!

  16. These sound amazing! I love that they are so healthy. That means I can eat 4 and not feel guilty, right?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Made these using natural peanut butter and worked out great. Delicious! I loved them, kids loved them and I am sure if there are any left tonight, my husband will love them too!

    1. Sorry, I haven’t tried these with an egg substitute. If you do try them and they are a success, I would love to hear about it!

  18. 5 stars
    Can you say “YUMMY”? Just made these tonight. Was a little short on peanut butter so I finished off the 1/2c with almond butter. Also added sliced almonds for crunch. They turned out so gooey and good we could have eaten the whole pan! I will be making these from now on as my “go-to” brownie recipe. Delicious!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!! So glad you loved them – and I love all the additions/changes – definitely adding sliced almonds next time because that sounds awesome!

  19. I’ve tried some of your other oat flour recipes ( pumpkin and chocolate and they were wonderful ) do you know if these can be frozen ? Thank you.

    1. Thanks Sandy! I’m not sure since I’ve never tried freezing these, but I’ve had a few readers freeze muffins with great results so I don’t see why not!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I’m so glad you tried this recipe and loved it ๐Ÿ™‚ Your substitutions sound awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. OMG! These are amazing!!! I made them lastnight and I loveee them. I’m a chocolate/pb fanatic but I’m trying to watch my sugar so I only used 1tsp of brown sugar and 1 tbsp honey and they were perfect.
    I keep them in the fridge and they’re even better the next day…with coffee.
    ๐Ÿ™‚ Go to town on these, they’re worth it.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment Carla! So glad to hear you enjoyed these (and with less sugar!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Just wondering, are the oats quick oats or long cooking oats? Can’t wait to bake these. Thank you! We diabetics appreciate your dedication.

    1. Either type will grind down to a great flour in a blender or food processor ๐Ÿ™‚ I usually use old fashioned because I have that on hand, but quick oats will work the same! Hope you enjoy these ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. 5 stars
    Delicious brownies! I cut the sugar in half, and they were perfectly sweet and chewy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. 5 stars
    Just made these and felt compelled to leave a comment because they are SO DELICIOUS! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It will be my new go to brownie recipe too! AWESOME RECIPE!

  24. 5 stars
    OMG! Made these last week and were awesome, fudgy and delicious!
    I was wondering if I could make them in cupcake liners… Do you think it’ll be a disaster? :S
    I’m making them tomorrow again!

    1. Oh I am so, so happy to hear these were so well enjoyed!! Thank you Laura! I’ve never tried them in cupcake liners so I’m not really too sure how they’d turn out, but good luck! I’d love to hear the results ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Rachael! I haven’t tried wheat flour so I’m not sure how it would work in these. I do know that oat flour (and oats) absorb more liquid than wheat flour so I don’t think the substitution would be 1:1

      1. 5 stars
        I tried these with whole wheat flour and they turned out perfectly! They are so incredibly delicious! I have to try and stop myself from eating the whole pan now! Definitely a keeper!

  25. 5 stars
    Omg these brownies were SOO GOOD I had to make a review right away. They are the softest most gooey brownies ever, not to mention they’re HEALTHY!! The only difference I made was used 3 tbsp white chocolate chips because I was set on making a healthy brownie & the 1/2 + 1/4 cup that the recipe calls for was just a big no. It tasted great with the minimal amount of chocolate chips but if you’re not used to eating healthy you can keep the amount written. Also, when I was mixing the peanut butter it wasn’t turning into a liquid consistency because I don’t have an electric beater, so I just popped it in the microwave after I put the applesauce and that did the trick. Will only make this recipe from now on, YUM!!!

    1. Yay!! I am seriously so thrilled you enjoyed these brownies so much! Thanks for the great review Jennifer! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Interesting recipe.. dying to try it .. Any substitute for apple sauce? I’m from India .. applesauce in a jar is unheard of here…

    1. Thanks so much Maria! ๐Ÿ™‚ You can absolutely make your own applesauce for this recipe, the applesauce in the jar isn’t necessary ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. These brownies look so fudgy and moist! I plan to bake them with Lily’s dark chocolate, to bring down the sugar content a little more.

  28. These look amazing!! I’m always looking for ways to make my favorite sweet treats healthier! could you use powered peanut butter as a substitute for creamy peanut butter? has anyone tried it? Thanks!!

    1. Thanks Emmy! I absolutely know for this recipe you can’t use powdered peanut butter as a substitute. Sorry, these just won’t work out without real peanut butter.

  29. 5 stars
    I was not sure about the Flourless Applesause Brownies but still very excited to make them. My husband & I were shocked at hoe Delicious these brownies actually are. Very plesantly surprised. Id rated this recipe 5 stars. Thx Carole L. Cleveland Oh I meant how great these are.

    1. Hi Carole! I’m so thrilled you and your husband enjoyed these brownies! Thanks so much for the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. 5 stars
    This recipe is now my go to recipe. I substituted the egg for egg substitute, the brown sugar for splenda and the peanut butter for powdered peanut butter. I also only used 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and they turned out fudgy and delicious. I plugged the recipe in with my substitutions and for 1/9 th of the recipe it was obly 114 calories! Best brownie recipe!

    1. I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed these brownies Amal! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for the comment and sharing your substitutions!

  31. 5 stars
    These were so good!! I subbed out vanilla with maple syrup and used half natural and half skippy PB and the brownies still turned out amazing!!! (I even did them in cupcake liners with a cooking time adjustment!) They were super chocolatey and delicious and MAYBE a bit underbaked but once cooled they were the most fudgey brownies I have ever had! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  32. Hi! Is there a substitute for the applesauce? Mashed banana perhaps? If I did used banana in these would they taste like banana do you think? Thanks in advance!?

    1. If you use banana, I think these would definitely have a strong banana taste. What about trying pumpkin?

  33. 5 stars
    I made these on Monday, and finished the pan by Tuesday. By myself, my husband barely got any…But these were incredible!! and not “healthy” tasting, even my husband agreed! (He’s often suspicious of the ingredients used in my healthy baking attempts lol!) Also, I didn’t have any eggs on hand so I substituted a third of a banana (mashed) and these came out beautifully. I will totally be making these again! THANK YOU!!!

    1. I LOVE getting comments like this!! So thrilled they were a huge hit and you couldn’t even tell how good they are for you ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the comment ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. 5 stars
    I have tried the bean brownies and they are pretty good. But, they don’t feel like you’re eating a gooey delicious brownie. So, I tried this recipe and they turned out amazing! So delicious and much healthier than regular brownies. I will always have this recipe saved for when I crave a beautiful brownie ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Chelsea, this makes me so happy! I”m so glad you enjoyed them! They are definitely my go to! ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. 5 stars
    Hi could you tell me how I could store these brownies to consume later? Do they need to be refrigerated or stored at room temperature? Thanks

  36. 5 stars
    Wow!! I have been on the hunt for a healthier FUDGY brownie all week. I’ve been making numerous batches a week and none of them were the fudgy consistency I wanted. They were cakey. THESE BROWNIES WERE FUDGY AND DELICIOUS. I was very skeptical after the many recipes I tried, but these were the best. I could’ve ground my oats a bit better, but they were still really really good. These are going to be my go-to brownie recipe! Thank you so much!

    1. YAY!! Love hearing that! I’m so glad these were a hit ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the comment Jade!

  37. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh Iโ€™m dying! These are SO GOOD!!!!! Just had my first piece & I have a feeling there will be many many more. My oven is weird so I had these in for 25 mins & they are absolutely perfect. SO fudgy. You nailed this one!!

  38. 5 stars
    I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW GOOD THESE ARE!!! Literally the best brownies I have ever had!!! The whole batch was gone by the end of the night! Not used to healthier desserts so I used 3 and 1/2 TBSP of brown sugar but they were delicious!!! Definitely will make instead of processed garbage brownies!

    1. Ahh i’m so happy to hear this! I love this dessert for the same reason, I can make a way yummy treat for my family without worrying about all the processed stuff in regular brownies/treats. So glad you enjoyed these! ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. 5 stars
    These brownies are THE. BEST!!!!! I was just wondering if you could make the batter ahead of time and put it in the fridge? I want to make some tomorrow but I would need to make them ahead of time to do so!!

  40. 5 stars
    Brownie making rule #1- Donโ€™t make these on an empty stomach because you will eat a quarter of the pan. I mean seriously these are the BEST brownies. Iโ€™ve made โ€œhealthyโ€ brownies before and they never quite live up to traditional ones. These do not disappoint! Will definitely make from now on

    1. Hahahaha that is a very good rule to live by. I need to live by it more often!! I’m soooo glad you enjoyed these! Thanks for your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. These brownies are incredible! I canโ€™t believe how fudgey and delicious they are while being healthier. I froze half of my batch (to avoid quarantine temptations) then defrosted them a week later and they are just as amazing as before. Recommending this recipe to friends! Ps – for a lighter brownie sundae, heat up the brownie then add some lighter vanilla ice cream. Heaven.

    1. You are awesome Cait! Thanks so much for the tips and for sharing with others! I’m so happy you loved these healthy brownies! ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. I’m planning on making these brownies today but just wanted to know how to store them. Can I leave them at room temperature if they are to be eaten later this evening or should I put them in the fridge? Thanks!

    1. They should be just fine at room temperature till your serve them later! I’d cover them with foil or plastic wrap! ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. 5 stars
    YUM! These are more like a gooey chocolate cake than brownies, but I am very okay with that. I love that something so decadent can have healthy ingredients in it!
    I used whole wheat flour instead of oat, and also added a splash of strong coffee to deepen the chocolate flavor. And I sprinkled some sunflower seeds on top for crunch.
    Love them; even better the next day after being refrigerated.

  44. 5 stars
    Iโ€™ve only gotten so far as the batter, but man did it taste good!!!! Currently baking in the oven. I had a larger pan so increased some ingredient amounts. Also put in protein powder.

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