brownies, gluten-free

brownies — oh my god brownies

My first foray into baking was begun by ripping off the top of a Duncan Hines box.

When I was eight years old, I stirred Wesson oil and an egg into a fluffy mound of chocolate flour. And then there were brownies.

Even though I can no longer eat gluten, and I certainly don’t bake much of anything from a mix, I still remember the giddy joy of pulling those brownies from the oven. I had made something! I had made brownies!

After weeks of baking and re-baking recipes that will be in my first book, I can hardly believe that I turned my back on baking when I first found out I had celiac disease. It makes sense. With that first news that gluten must be gone, baked goods don’t feel like the first priority.

But I’m here to show you: baking can be yours. You can still have the joy of pulling fresh-baked brownies out of the oven.

GLUTEN-FREE BROWNIES, adapted from Alice Medrich’s New Classic Brownies

These brownies are adapted from one of the best brownie recipes in the world. That is, if you like a fudgy brownie, unadorned with any fillers. These have a crackly top, with a discernible texture as your teeth bite down. And beneath them? Pure, smooth chocolate, as rich as flourless chocolate torte. These are rich, and only to be indulged in once in a while. (In fact, when I made the one-year anniversary dinner for the Chef and me, I made these brownies instead of flourless chocolate torte. He didn’t mind.)

I’m pretty sure that many combinations of gluten-free flours would work here. I tried sorghum first, and it’s probably my favorite. But some people complain that sorghum tastes bitter — not to me — so I used brown rice next time. Just fine. Try the flours you have at hand. This doesn’t need to be complicated. They are brownies.

By the way, do NOT use a glass baking pan for this. It could crack.

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (or as dark as you can stand it)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour

Preparing. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square metal baking pan. Chop the chocolate into small slivers. Slice the butter into one-inch pieces. Combine the two flours together.

Melting the chocolate. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer. Place a large metal bowl over the top of the saucepan. Put the chocolate and butter into the metal bowl and stir, occasionally, as they both begin to melt. As they come to a full melt, stir and stir, vigorously, until you have a cohesive mixture.

Making the brownies. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sugar and eggs, whisking vigorously until they are creamed together, with a silky consistency. Add the vanilla extract and salt and stir well. Add in the gluten-free flours and stir. Finally, pour in the melted chocolate-butter mixture and stir, carefully, with a rubber spatula, until the mixture has become smooth.

Baking the brownies.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Smooth the top with the spatula. Slide the baking pan into the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes.

Finishing the brownies. As the brownies are baking, fill the sink with ice cubes and 1 inch of water. When the brownies are finished baking, remove the pan from the oven and place it immediately into the ice-water bath. (Don’t let any water splash up onto the brownies!) Let the brownies stay there until they have cooled completely.

These brownies taste best the next day, after an entire night of refrigeration. That makes the top crunchy, the insides decadently chewy. However, I’m sure no one would suffer if you ate the brownies immediately, either.

Feeds 12 people (if they have the restraint to not eat more than one brownie.)

81 comments on “brownies, gluten-free

  1. Ali

    They look so fudgy, my favorite.

    I was wondering why you shock the pan in an ice bath? To stop the baking process immediately? I’ve never seen that before in recipes.

  2. Statuesqueone

    As someone who shouldn’t eat wheat (my Tibetan healer suggested it last year) I am anxious to try these. Brownies are such a wonderful treat it’ll be nice to be able to eat them again.
    I’ll pop back in after I’ve tried making and eating them!

  3. firefly

    Gargh. Thank goodness I’m not sensitive to chocolate. Can coconut oil (which is solid at room temp) substitute for butter?

    I sometimes use ghee (clarified butter, milk solids removed) but it’s expensive. Eight tablespoons would pretty much wipe out a $10 jar.

  4. ChupieandJ'smama

    Oh MY! Must.Try.These.Browies.
    I want to go to the store tonight for the bittersweet chocolate 🙂

  5. Lucy

    Sound (and look) wonderful Shauna.

    Gonna try ’em this afternoon. Will let you know what we all think.

  6. djm

    I’m sitting in a university computer lab, foregoing supper in an attempt to finish my thesis tonight, and the look of those brownies is making my stomach shrivel up in desire.

    I’ve been gluten-free for ten months (and went through a wobbly gluten-free phase for six months before that, accidentally ingesting gluten, not realizing how insidious it is!), love experimenting with gluten-free supplies — and I adore your blog; and, of course, the story of you and the Chef!

    How could anyone, after reading what you write, think that living a gluten-free life is living a live of deprivation?!

    I can hardly wait to buy a copy of your book; and I hope someday to make my way to Seattle and be able to go to the Chef’s restaurant…any time I think of the luxury of being able to actually order something off his menu, knowing that it won’t make me sick, just makes my throat close up with tears.

  7. Claire

    These look so good. I thought about making them for our family reunion coming up in June. I have a cousin with Autism and his mom has him on a gluten free diet, she seems to have seen improvement in his behavior. However, I don’t think that he will be there and I don’t have these flours sitting around. HOWEVER, if I get word that he’s coming, I may be checking out some of your recipes to take!

  8. kbabe1968

    Look yummy! Can’t wait to get your book! I’ve been lurking a lot lately. Funny the FIRST thing I wanted to know how ot do when finding out I had celiac was to learn how to bake! Of course, I have always loved to bake, so it would be like losing an arm if I didn’t get to do it.

    MMM…these do look good!

  9. Jess

    Can’t wait to try these out!
    Love brownies, love easy baking and love your blog. GF Baking can seem so daunting to me, but i think i can manage this yummy looking recipe.
    Thanks so much!

  10. Ruby

    I love reading your site.
    The pictures, the words… and today… the brownies!!!
    keep feeding us with tibits of your day!!

  11. Amaranth_Sorghum

    Mmmmmmmmm Brownies
    Bake sale magic.
    Gluten Free’s not tragic.
    Mother and daughter bonding.
    I find myself wanting.
    Licking the bowl in childhood joy.
    Happiness for any little girl or boy.

  12. stacy

    Namaste makes a wonderful gluten-free and milk/casein-free brownie mix… 😛 But your recipe makes it seem easy, I might have to try it sometime!

  13. Esther

    The best brownies I’ve ever had are made at a local organic centre. They are gluten free and similar to this however they use soya flour. I dislike soya flour in most things but for some reason it seesm to work really well in brownies. I got given the recipe at one point but then managed to lose it so may try yours with soya and see how it works.

  14. Shauna

    Allergic Girl,

    Oh, they are delish. Thank you so much for putting up a post about them on your wonderful site.


    Fudgy they are. Anyone looking for a cakey recipe will be disappointed.

    The ice-water bath, I believe, stops the cooking process, immediately. This is what makes that decadent fudgy texture. If they kept cooking, they could turn cakey. But this gives them a crackly crust and soft inside. It works!


    Wow. A Tibetan healer? My goodness. Whatever helps us all be more healthy is worth it, right? I promise you — there are many, many ways to eat well, without wheat.


    I have to echo what other people have commented: make your own ghee! It’s simple. The Chef does it all the time. In fact, as we were making dinner last night, I asked him about it. He said to just put the amount of butter you need on low, low heat. When it has all melted, the butterfat should be on the top, and you can just skim it off. Take the clarified butter and refrigerate it for a bit. That should do the trick.

    Let us know how it works.

    ChupieandJ’s Mama,

    Oh yes. I hope they worked out well for you. This is one of those recipes in which the technique must be followed closely. But in the end, I think they’re pretty easy. And worth it!


    How were they? I would love to know.


    Your comment made us both cry. I read it to the Chef, and he teared up immediately. And then he said, “That’s why I’m making the food I do, for people like that.” I have a feeling he’s not going to be forgetting what you wrote.


    Make them! These flours really aren’t that expensive. And besides, I think these have a texture all their own that really helps the flavor. But certainly, make them for your family reunion. No one will be able to tell the difference.


    It’s funny. I’ve always been a baker as well. But I was so violently ill, for months before I was diagnosed, that just the thought of baked goods in the house made me sick. Now, I bake nearly every day. I’m sure that I — and many of us who are gluten-free — bake more than the average American. We don’t take it for granted.


    Thanks for helping out with the video. I agree!


    I’m so glad this doesn’t seem daunting to you. Start small, and you’ll be baking all the time, soon. Once you get over the fear of the new, gluten-free baking is really pretty simple.

    Michelle Ann,

    Be careful! Not all chocolates are gluten-free. I’ve learned that the hard way. Did you know that Valrhona (one of my favorites) has a notice on its wrapper that it is made in the same plant as wheat? I never eat it, now. But try Dagoba. That stuff is fantastic!


    Thank you. That means so much to me. And don’t worry — I will!


    The person with the grains for a name
    Please know that I feel the same.


    I actually took this photo with the old camera (still great). The last two posts have been with my Nikon. I’ll have to explain soon.


    Interesting. I haven’t really started using soy flour much. I’d be intrigued to hear your report on these.

    Gluten-Free Granny,

    Yay! Let me know how it goes.

  15. Jen

    I love your website! It has been great discovering all the recipes since I have family members that can’t eat wheat and thus tend to go gluten-free as well! I’m trying it as well since these things tend to run in a family. They are constantly looking forward to the goodies!
    One question though, have you ever tried working with any sugar substitutes? Another family member has a sensitivity to sugar as well as gluten!

    Thanks for all that you experiment and write – it’s inspirational!

  16. kandt

    Since going gluten-free about two months ago, my partner and I have not had many of our usual cravings. We think it is because we’ve discovered so many new foods. However, we’ve had sweets cravings. And it’s odd because we were never really ‘sweet-eaters’ before! I think it is the mental aspect of “we can’t have that” anymore. However, we tried your brownies this weekend and they were FANTASTIC!!! Way better than I ever thought a gluten-free brownie could be! In fact, I think it is better than a ‘regular’ brownie. Given that this is now a ‘regular’ brownie for us, we are super happy!!

    Thanks so much for your website. We found it early on in our g/f days and it has been such a resource and inspiration for us. THANK YOU for your words and your images.

  17. Shauna


    I haven’t really tried many sugar substitutes, because I’m okay with sugar. I use high-quality honey in my life, and I’d like to experiment with agave nectar. But I’d love to your successes!


    I’m so glad the brownie worked out for you! They are decadent, the opposite of deprivation. And I hope they inspire you to bake more often.


    That you made all those substitutions with a toddler and baby in your house? My goodness, woman. And I loved your post. Hat off to you.

  18. Isabelle


    I have tried your brownies yesterday. They are FANTASTIC! They are the best brownies I have EVER tasted!

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I put a little less sugar and 70% cocoa Valrhona chocolate (I live in France), it was amazingly good.

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s a recipe for 6 people maximum.. ;>)

  19. Melissa

    Would egg replacer and milk-free margarine work?
    My daughter is allergic to several different foods including wheat, milk, eggs, nuts, pears, bananas, etc.
    I can understand when you said you turned away from baking. When my daughter was being diagnosed with all these allergies my husband and I both became depressed and meals where just a few items that were safe to eat put out on the table, no matter that they didn’t go together and it wasn’t made into any sort of meal. But life goes on and we are trying to branch out again.
    This recipe looks like the most promising I’ve found. So many others just load up on chocolate (up to 16 oz. of chocolate for the same size recipe) to cover up any other flavors and mask what’s missing.
    By the way I’ve found I have the best luck with recipes turning out and tasting better when I use superfine brown rice flour. It’s not as coarse, and it doesn’t leave a gritty texture.
    Thank You.

  20. Anonymous

    Thanks for your awesome blog!
    And thank so, so much for a brownie recipe! I’ve been searching for one all over the place!

  21. thinking_in_crayons

    Just made a batch of these brownies, they’re cooling in the freezer since I don’t have any ice…

    I’m coming up on a year of being GF (self-discovered celiac, no thanks to my doc)- and have been craving fudgy brownies for months! Today being my birthday, I figured it’d be a great day to make them.

  22. Jacquie

    Hello, I’m starting on a gluten free diet and have a quick question – In your experience, can one simply substitute GF flour for recipes that call for individual flours that make-up a flour mix? I have a package of Bob Mills GF flour which contains a hodgepodge of intersecting ingredients in a number of recipes you post. Thank you for any guidance you can offer.

  23. Bloated_no_more!

    What did I do wrong?
    I thought 8 oz of butter seemed like a lot…but never did I expect to see it bubbling up around the brownies, literally frying them.
    Did anyone else experience this?

  24. gluten-free baker

    The recipe called for 8 TBLS of butter NOT 8 ounces. When I read the recipe the frst time I misread it too.
    That will make a huge difference!

  25. Rogue

    Oh my gosh! These are amazing.

    I used what I could find(white rice and soy flours semi-sweet chocolate) but it was still amazing. I have been GF for 6 months and this is my first baking project that as turned out so good no one could tell it was GF.

    This has really made me want to try making my own recipes, and adapting some old ones.

    Thank you so much

  26. Allison the Meep

    Whoa. Can I please caution anyone who wants to make these? DO NOT use a glass pan, even if it’s tempered Pyrex, because it will explode when you put it in the ice water.

    I am a complete tard and thought that somehow this would be a good idea. No. It was definitely not. I was really really looking forward to these brownies, and the single bite that I managed to salvage that didn’t have glass and water all over it was absolutely incredible. I will be making these again, but using a metal pan next time.

  27. Anonymous

    Hi! These are way better than regular brownies made with all-purpose flour! I will be baking your scrumptious recipe again, and I referred your site to the happy eaters at a potluck today. Thank you 🙂

  28. Samantha McCormick

    WOW!!!!! That is all I can say! These brownies are amazing. I made a few adjustments that I think made them even more wonderful. I used 3/4 of a cup of brown rice/potato/tapioca flours mix, I used a whole bar of endangered species dark chocolate with mint- this added a very nice minty undertone, one more egg white- so 2 whole eggs and one egg white, and about a 1/4 cup of valrhona chocolate powder( available here in Seattle at World Spice). Thank you Shauna for this amazing base recipe. My fiance said they were the best he’s ever had- he’s not a celiac.

  29. Anonymous

    i made these brownies yesterday and they are great. Your right, they’re much better after being refrigerated overnight. We don’t eat sugar in our house (and I can’t have dairy or soy) so I made some changes like instead of the chocolate/butter mixture I used a fruit juice sweetened fudge made by Wax Orchards (really good!) and instead of sugar I used a fruit juice concentrate and just added a little more flour to try to balance out the consistency.

    Thanks for the simple yet delicious recipe.

  30. Susan

    I love these brownies – thank you! I have not had good brownies since I quit gluten 2 years ago. I realized how absent they have been from our household when my 3 1/2 year old said ‘what are brownies?’ OMG – I used to have brownies weekly before. Again thanks for the good, basic and easy recipe.

  31. Anonymous

    Million thanks. I am allergic to chocolate (not white one though) and I just made these with carob and they were delish!. I have not had chocolate in 15 years and it is hard to describe my joy when I had a first bite of these fabulous brownies. Half of the pan is already gone…I have to restrain myself from hogging down the whole pan.


    1. Amanda

      Hello, I ‘d like to try this recipe but was thinking of using carob powder instead of chocolate. Did you use carob powder or a carob bar? If you did use carob powder, how much did you use?


  32. Anonymous

    These were soooo good. I made the ones out of the box all the time and these are very close, if not better!Thanks so much!

  33. Zoe

    i made these last night. they are most excellent! i cooled them in the ice, and they were so nice and chewy, just as you described, with a crispy top.


  34. Queen Alice

    I made this using virgin coconut oil in place of the butter, but I cut the amount down to 6 tablespoons. Delicious.

  35. Michelle

    These were wonderful! I have two celiac friends and this is the first time I’ve baked something specifically for them. The recipe was so simple and they loved it. The brownies tasted just like regular gluten brownies.

  36. JudiO

    Okay, they are in the oven. White rice and soy flours, tofu (for eggs) and rice oil for butter (couldn’t find coconut oil). We’ll let you know how it goes!

  37. Anonymous

    Wonderful! These are way better than any non-GF brownies I have ever made. I made them for a Valentines Day party and no one knew the difference. Even my GF phobia relatives loved them.

  38. Rachel

    One of my co-workers has celiac disease and requested brownies for her birthday. This recipe was super easy and the brownies are excellent! I did substitute white rice flour for brown rice flour and used salted butter and cut out the 1/4 tsp salt. I used 60% bittersweet chocolate, which worked out great. I will definitely make these again…even for people that CAN eat wheat! Thank you for this wonderful recipe to add to my collection!

  39. Ann

    These were magnificent. I used a 65% chocolate and Authentic Foods white rice flour (all I had) and WOW– the bulk of the pan was consumed by wheat-eating guests BEFORE dinner. I only had a glass pan, so I skipped the ice bath, and just made a point not to overcook them.

    I also gilded the lily: a cream cheese ripple!

  40. Susan Janow

    I love this recipe. I have made it a couple times now. You are right that you should not make this one very often but tonight I have company to share it with so I will be saved from eating the whole thing myself! Thanks for your great posts. Your recipes have helped me so much – thank you.

  41. Anonymous

    I usually make the brownies with all tapioca flour but decided to follow the recipe exactly and they turned out gritty. Is there a brand of brown rice flour that is not gritty? I used brown rice flour from arrow mills, and it left the brownies with a gritty, almost corn meal texture.

  42. Pat Dohaney

    My sister made these for our Thanksgiving dessert and they were delicious! Everyone gobbled them up!

  43. Anonymous

    I had such high hopes for these but maybe my oven runs hot? The top was burnt and the inside was still unfinished after only fifteen minutes. I debated lowering the temperature from 400 before I put them in, and now I wish I had, because it sounds like they would be good.

  44. Plumpixy

    Your my best friend in my head! I have been following your blog from day one and bought your book when it came out. Always wanted to comment but today I stood in the kitchen with a mixing bowl thinking brownies and after I finished baking everything but brownies I checked your blog to see a post on brownies…your an GF inspiration!


  45. Thejbgo

    Between my two little ones we can't do eggs, dairy, potato, sugar or gluten. I have been experimenting with cooked beans in baking. The Black Bean brownie has become a staple for my kids to enjoy together. I thought you and some of your readers might be interested in them. Many members of my family use it just with different flours.

    1 15oz can black beans rinsed, drained and seriously mashed, then mashed again. (I use a steel crosscut potato masher)

    1 cup of pure maple syrup
    2 tsp vanilla
    1 Tbs oil
    4 Tbs cocoa
    1 cup rice flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    dash of salt

    Mix wet then dry ingredients in. Bake 30 minutes at 350. have fun

  46. Jess

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I just made these last week but made a few modifications, and they came out fantastic! I used some almond flour in addition to the brown rice and tapioca flours, and I used a combination of white and brown sugars. I also added a little espresso powder.

  47. Rebekah

    I'm new to all this GF baking stuff and I love the security of a baking mix- which I currently have 10 lbs of in my pantry. Can I substitute that for the mixture of flours?

  48. Anonymous

    Oh, no:( I may have celiac disease. Kinda scary. Will have to use this sight if I do. Kinda scary. Getting checked sometimes soon (I hope). thank you for the recipe!!!

  49. Dany

    I've always been to brownies even before when I can still eat gluten foods. Now that I'm on a gluten free diet, this GF brownies recipe rocks.

  50. Anonymous

    I've tried DOZENS of gluten-free brownie recipes and this one is THE best!!! Has the nice shiny top crust and chewy center. Good job, thank you!!!

  51. Kathy

    I just took this out of the oven, and it is liquid, with burnt-ish edges. Baked it at 400 for 25 min….So discouraged – any tips??? I double checked all my measurements.

  52. mrscharlemagne

    Thank you! I am making these for a friend, and was delighted by how easy they were. They're still cooling but smell delicious. I would like to request that you add in the instructions to use a metal pan, because even though I read All of the instructions like the good little baker I am, it didn't register that I shouldn't use a glass pan until I was standing over my sink of ice water with a hot glass pan full of brownies in my hands. Adding that would help a lot of busy people like me =).

    Many thanks, and I'm so looking forward to your cookbook this fall!

  53. Helen

    Tip for future recipes – it would be more helpful to have the butter quantity as a weight, it's a pain having to melt it and then find you have too much or not enough!

    Cheers, Helen

  54. Dr. Sheryl Wagner (Geldreich)

    I made 12 portions by putting the batter into a cupcake tin and reducing the time to 20 minutes. They are GREAT! (MUCH better than packaged gluten free brownie mixes.)

  55. mrscharlemagne

    as a post script: these are the best brownies I've ever had, GF or otherwise. They disappeared before the pile of regular baked goods was even dented. Hoorah!

  56. Lauren

    Oh. My. Gluten-free-goodness!!

    This is the first scratch baking I've done since going gluten-free 3 weeks ago after a blood test told me I should cut it out and I can honestly say these are the best brownies I've EVER put in my mouth! I have an affinity to butter flavoring in baked goods since I did a cake decorating class and discovered the stuff so that's the only thing I did differently.

    Absolutely. Amazing.

    I can't thank you and Chef enough! Brownies were one thing I was determined not to have to give up and you guys made that possible. I'm dying to get out to Seattle and visit his restaurant. It sounds amazing to be able to go out to eat and not wonder what's in the food.

  57. Me

    These are the best brownie's I've ever eaten (or made), gluten-free or otherwise. They're am-azing. I followed the recipe exactly as written except that I didn't do the ice water bath – very full sink got in the way. Instead I popped them in the fridge, left them there overnight, and they're perfect. Nice crusty surface with a squishy chewy inside. I'm serving them with sliced strawberries and a dollap of whipped cream and the whole thing feels very chichi.

  58. Joyelle

    These brownies were fabulous! Thanks for sharing. I did the ice bath as you said and it worked great.(I used semi sweet chocolate chips-same # of oz and halved the sugar b/c I didn't have baking chocolate.)

  59. Produce Kitchen

    I made these delicious brownies last night, they're awesome! I would suggest adding a tsp of xanthan gum to bind them better, as they feel apart a bit when I cut them.

  60. Ky

    Hi there. I’m the third commenter now who’s made the mistake of using a glass pan to do this. Please, please, please put in the recipe itself to not use glass, so that more people don’t do this.

  61. Lori

    I made these tonight. I just had bakers chocolate in the cupboard so I used that and also I cut the butter down to 4T and put in 1/2 up of applesauce to replace what I left out but otherwise made it as written and these were AWESOME! The best brownies I have ever made. My husband loved them. My kids loved them. I’ll be making these again and again.

  62. SJ

    I made these brownies as part of a gluten free seven layer bar and they were HEAVEN!! This is the first time I have ever made brownies from scratch and it was so easy. Thank you for this and all the other GF recipes you have posted.

  63. Leigh

    Best. Brownies. Ever. Making them again, double batch, for a Fourth of July party tonight. Many of us in our circle are troubled with gluten and dairy, sooooo, thanks to YOU, we’ll be able to enjoy something amazing, delicious and easy to prepare. Thanks you!!!

    ps: we use Spectrum Spread instead of butter….still super delish!!

  64. Allergyfreemom

    These were great! We took them to feed a group of gluten eaters and they all loved them. I did use half the sugar though, and they were perfectly sweet enough! thanks!

  65. Audrey

    I made these brownies for dessert tonight and they were fantastic! I used 65% dark chocolate.
    Although, putting the brownies in ice water right after they came out of the over was not a good idea. I suppose it is partly my fault, I used a glass baking dish, and hadn’t thought about it, but it cracked my dish and ultimately broke it. I suppose you could use a metal one and it would work just fine, but I think next time I will just let them cool on their own.
    But other than that, I would definitely make these again.

  66. Amanda

    I just made these and they are yummy! I was afraid to do the water and ice with my glass pan. (and i couldn’t wait to eat them! hehe) i love that they are crunchy on the top and still kinda chewy/gooey in the middle! Thank you for sharing this recipe and all of the others. I thought eating good food ws over until i found you wedsite!

  67. M

    Made these today and everyone LOVED them! I wanted a recipe that used tapioca flour and rice flour and this fit the bill perfectly. Thank you!

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