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August 23, 2022

by Alyssa

Vegan Espresso Brownies

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These vegan espresso brownies are a unique twist on the traditional recipe, using healthier ingredients. They're made in just one bowl and they’re every bit as gooey and delicious as the original!

Hand grabbing espresso brownie

If you love starting your day with a hot mocha in hand, then these espresso brownies are for you. With espresso powder and coffee beans, these brownies are heavy on the coffee flavor. But even if you’re not a big fan of coffee, you will flip for this healthy espresso brownie recipe.

How can I be so confident? Well, leave the coffee beans out and the espresso in these brownies enhances the chocolate in the recipe, making the flavor deeper and richer, but not: whoa, these brownies are made with espresso! Without the coffee beans, you’ll simply get an intensely chocolatey, fudgy vegan brownie.

Basically, these espresso brownies are out of this world delicious and they manage to be healthy too since they’re made with wholesome ingredients.  Like my original fudgy gluten-free vegan brownies, they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and totally vegan since we use flax eggs.

Two stacked vegan espresso brownies

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Cashew butter – Or another natural nut butter that you like or have on hand. I love using cashew butter because it doesn't have a strong flavor. 
  • Pumpkin puree – Applesauce or mashed banana work, too.
  • Flax eggs – Learn more: How to Make a Flax Egg
  • Coconut sugar – Another granulated sugar will work or if you want to use liquid sweetener (like maple syrup), use half the amount.
  • Toasted quinoa flour – Quinoa flour is high protein and great for gluten-free baking. And if quinoa flour is a bit overpowering for you, you can try toasting it. Here's a tutorial for how to toast quinoa flour if you've never tried!
  • Cacao powder – This is an unprocessed version of cocoa powder, but regular cocoa powder can be used too.
  • Espresso powder
  • Baking soda
  • Sea salt
  • Dairy-free chocolate chips – These are optional.
  • Coffee beans – Coffee beans add a more pronounced coffee flavor to the espresso brownies; if you’re not a fan of coffee, leave them out.
  • Chopped walnuts – Also optional, or you can use pecans.

What Is a Substitute for Espresso Powder?

You can either leave the espresso powder out or use instant coffee. Instant coffee won’t add as much depth because it’s less concentrated, but it’s fine in a pinch.

Bowl of espresso brownie batter

How to Make Espresso Brownies

These vegan espresso brownies couldn’t be easier to make. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Make the batter. Beat the cashew butter, pumpkin, sugar, and flax eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients and beat until a thick dough forms, then fold in the chocolate chips.

Assemble. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan, then use your hands to press it in. Sprinkle with the coffee beans and walnuts and lightly press them into the dough so they stick. 

Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake on the center rack for 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Cut squares of espresso brownies

Tips for Success

Here are a few pointers to help you make perfect espresso brownies.

  • Working with the batter. This batter is thicker than a traditional brownie batter and more like a dough. Once you transfer it into the pan, use your hands to push it into the corners and evenly spread it. If it gets a little sticky, lightly wet your hands.
  • Adjusting the texture. For fudgier brownies, take them out at 21 or 22 minutes. For cakier brownies, cook them all the way through.
  • Easy cutting. For perfect, clean cuts, make sure you let the brownies cool completely. You can use the parchment paper to lift them from the pan, then set them on a cutting board and cut them with a chef’s knife or pizza rocker.
Stack of vegan espresso brownies

Espresso Brownie Variations

Want to customize this recipe and make it your own? Here are some ideas:

  • Drizzle the brownies with melted dark chocolate after they cool.
  • Sprinkle flaky sea salt over the top before baking.
  • Swap the coffee beans or chocolate chips for cacao nibs.
  • Make peppermint mocha brownies by adding the peppermint chocolate frosting from my Peppermint Frosted Chickpea Brownies recipe.
Hand holding espresso brownie square

How to Store

Espresso brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

Yes, these espresso brownies freeze beautifully. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in a freezer bag and they will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw the brownies in the refrigerator before serving.

healthy espresso brownie with corner bitten

More Gluten-Free Vegan Brownie Recipes

Vegan Espresso Brownies

These vegan espresso brownies are fudgy, intensely chocolatey, infused with coffee flavor, and they’re a dessert that’s healthy, gluten-free, and refined-sugar-free.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 brownies
Calories 165kcal
Print Pin
Hand holding espresso brownie square
4.20 from 5 votes



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment and set aside.
  • Beat together the cashew butter, pumpkin, sugar, and flax eggs.
  • Once combined, add the dry ingredients (minus the chocolate chips and toppings). Beat until a thick(ish) dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Transfer batter to the prepared baking pan and use your hands to press it into the pan. Sprinkle with the coffee beans and walnuts and press them into the dough (this will make them stick). Bake on the center rack for 22 – 25 minutes.
  • Let cool in pan completely before cutting into squares.



Serving: 1brownies | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1192IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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    • I haven’t tested this with another flour, but I think oat, sorghum or chickpea flour would work well. You can definitely use almond butter!


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