These gluten free, paleo brownies are simply perfect: they’re fudgy and dense with a crunchy, crackly top and chewy edges. Not only that, they’re quick and easy to make! Made with almond and coconut flour, they’re grain free and dairy free, too. They’re topped with a sprinkle of flake salt for the perfect gourmet complement to these rich, delicious brownies.
Why These Perfect Paleo Brownies Are So Good
This is one recipe that I refused to quit testing until I thought it was just perfect. I made several batches before this ding-ding-ding winner, and none were just right beforehand.
I wanted these paleo brownies to be fudgy but not overly dense. These gluten free brownies needed them to have a crackly top, which seemed essentially impossible to eke out of a gluten free brownie. But, hey, spoiler alert: it’s absolutely possible! I needed them to have chewy edges with super rich middle pieces. And lastly, they needed to be fully brownies, not just a shorter or slightly denser cake.
They needed to be just as good as (or better than!) a regular, ol’ brownie that you’d find at bakery, not “good for being paleo” or “good for being gluten free”. Verdict: this recipe absolutely smashed that requirement.
- They’re everything I love in a brownie: fudgy, with a crackly, crunchy top, and chewy corners. They’re dense and rich and just sweet enough.
- These paleo brownies are actually quite easy to make and come together very quickly.
- This recipe is gluten free, grain free, and refined sugar free, too, making them much healthier than your average brownies.
- The little bit of liquid coffee used in this paleo brownies recipe enriches the chocolate flavor. Use whatever is leftover from breakfast! No need to go grab a cup at Starbucks, though, if you’re out. Water will be fine here.
- Pairing melted chocolate and cocoa creates a super rich complexity to the chocolate that you’ll just love.
- A little sprinkling of flake or sea salt before baking makes these super elegant. The salt enhances the rich chocolate in the best way!
I previewed this recipe on my Instagram Stories right when I made them, and my followers absolutely freaked out! I even gave away a sneak peek of the recipe to dozens of people, we were all so excited about these paleo brownies.
- Make sure you whip the eggs and sugar until the color lightens and the mixture becomes fluffy and a bit sticky. This is what contributes to the crunchy, crackly top, and you won’t have it if you skip this part.
- The measurements must be exact. This is not an “eyeball it” recipe.
- Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the recipe: you’ll see moist crumbs on the toothpick when done, not brownie batter. You definitely want to err on the side of under-baking these, but not too much. If you underbake them, they won’t be as chewy and will be a little more saturated tasting than fudgy. Test often for those moist crumbs!
How to Get a Crackly, Crunchy Top on These Gluten Free, Paleo Brownies
The crackly, crunchy top on these gluten free brownies happens when you whip the eggs with the coconut sugar until the mixture becomes light in color, like a peanut butter frosting, fluffy, and a bit sticky. There will not be any “peaks” that form, but you will see the entire mixture increase in volume and change in texture.
This process creates a meringue layer on the very top of the gluten free brownies, allowing this crispy, air-filled layer to pull away from the fudgy base. It’s absolutely divine, so don’t skip it! In fact, I have not tested the recipe without beating the eggs with the coconut sugar. If you opt to skip this part, you’re on your own, friend! But let me know how it goes – I’d love to know!
Oh, and that sprinkle of flake salt or sea salt on top? Paired with the crunchy, meringue top, it’s sheer perfection.
Just look at that perfect, crunchy top layer!
Stocking a Paleo Pantry for Baking with Thrive Market
Let’s be real: the grocery store can be expensive, especially if you’re finding paleo ingredients. That’s where Thrive Market makes my life so much easier. Their inventory of 4,000+ products are categorized by any diet or lifestyle that you follow. Paleo? Check. Vegan? Yup. Sugar-free? Definitely. High fiber? You bet. And with prices that are 25-50% below traditional retail price, you’re saving money on all of the pantry staples that you need—all shipped right to your door. These are the pantry staples that I always order from Thrive Market that I use in these paleo brownies:
- EnjoyLife Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
- Thrive Market Almond Flour
- Thrive Market Coconut Flour
- Simply Organic Vanilla Extract
- Thrive Market Coconut Sugar
- Thrive Market Refined Coconut Oil
Finding Paleo Chocolate Chips
If you’re pretty darn paleo, you can use Enjoy Life chocolate chips. These are dairy free but still contain a bit of processed sugar. If you’re very strictly paleo, try using 7 oz. of this paleo chocolate bar from Thrive Market. It’s sweetened with coconut sugar, making it totally paleo. How cool is that?! You’ll want to chop the bar into chocolate-chip-ish-sized pieces, but otherwise you can make the recipe as written. Use 7 ounces weighted, or about 1 cup of chopped chocolate.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Black Bean Brownies
- Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
- Vegan Cookie Dough
- Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls (Cinnabon Copycat)
- Paleo Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Turtle Bars Recipe (Paleo, Vegan)
- Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake
And if you’re looking for a classic version of perfect, fudgy brownies, this recipe from Erren’s Kitchen is lovely!
Hey – you’ve made it this far, and now we’re best friends! If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. Make sure you follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, too!
Perfect Paleo Brownies (Fudgy, Crunchy Top, Gluten Free)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder see Note 1
- 2 tablespoons prepared coffee cool or room temperature. Water is fine if coffee is not available.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup dairy-free chocolate chips or paleo chocolate, see Note 2. Divided
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 325º F. In a medium bowl, combine eggs and coconut sugar. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Mixture will have increased in volume and will be sticky, rather than thin or runny. Stir in almond flour, coconut flour, dark cocoa powder, cooled liquid coffee, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined.
- In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 cup chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave in 60-seconds bursts, stirring very well in between each round, until the chocolate has just melted. Stir until completely smooth, then pour into the brownie batter. Stir well to combine.
- Fold in remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
- Line a 9×9" baking pan with parchment paper. Pour brownie batter into the prepared pan, making sure batter fills all corners evenly. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs. The toothpick should not be coated in batter, but it should not be clean, either. When you see moist crumbs, remove from the oven and let cool completely on the counter or on a wire rack. When cool, lift out of the baking pan using the sides of the parchment paper. Cut into 9 equal squares.
- The measurements must be exact! This is not an “eyeball it” recipe.
- Note 1: I love dark cocoa powder in this recipe, as it produces a very rich taste and dark, dramatic look. You can use regular cocoa powder here with great results, and you can try black cocoa powder, too, for an even more dramatic brownie!
- Note 2: I use Enjoy Life semisweet dairy-free chocolate chips for most recipes. However, these contain a bit of processed sugar. If you strictly eat no processed sugar, try these paleo chocolate bars from Thrive Market. Chop them to be about chocolate chip size and use approximately 7 ounces by weight, or 1 cup volume. This will result in a darker, richer brownie, since the chocolate percentage is much higher than semi-sweet chocolate chips.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out 40 Aprons Premium! 40 Aprons Premium offers exclusive recipes, monthly meal plans, grocery lists, and more – all completely ad free!
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.