Crisp edges and fudgy interiors with the occasional chunk of dark chocolate to sink your teeth into—these olive oil brownies are melt-in-your-mouth heaven! Finishing with sea salt balances the sweetness and adds a slight crunch—totally optional but oh-so good.
Can You Make Brownies with Olive Oil?
It’s not easy to create a chewy brownie without butter. Saturated fat is key to creating the beloved chewiness of a noteworthy brownie. Without butter, or simply swapping it out for oil creates dense decadent fudge-like bites. Good, but not that chewiness most of us love about brownies.
To keep this recipe approachable and straight forward, We rely on an ingredient that’s already in the recipe—eggs. Eggs create structure and binding in baked goods, and most brownie recipes only need one or two eggs. To add saturated fat without more moisture, we add an egg yolk to the two eggs already being used.
Why avoid that last egg white? Egg whites are high in moisture, and the more moisture we add to brownies the more cakey they become. This is the same reason we call for only white sugar not a combination of white and brown sugar. Brown sugar has molasses added to it which adds flavor but additional moisture as well.
To keep these 100% dairy-free, be sure to use vegan or dairy-free chocolate chunks/chips (or skip adding them altogether).
What Are Olive Oil Brownies?
These brownies aren’t overly sweet. They’re made with special dark cocoa powder and dark chocolate chunks which together, add a slight bitterness. If you like things sweeter, use semi-sweet or milk chocolate chunks/chips.
This healthyish brownie recipe uses whole-wheat flour, olive oil, and less sugar than most, though they still contain sugar because these are brownies afterall!
We love these brownies for their incredible depth of chocolate flavor. Seems obvious, but not all brownies are super chocolatey. We find many to be overly sweet, their only true appeal being the chewy texture.
Cocoa Powder for Brownies
This recipe uses special dark cocoa powder (deep chocolate flavor!) and dark chocolate chunks. Many classic brownie recipes use melted chocolate, but for this olive oil version we find special dark cocoa powder works best.
Plus, a hearty amount of chocolate chunks folded into the batter takes care of the double-chocolate decadence we love about classic brownies.
What You’ll Need
- White whole-wheat flour: adds health without tasting like health!
- Cornstarch: this creates a tender crumb.
- Kosher salt
- Baking soda
- Granulated sugar
- Olive oil
- Large eggs: make sure to use eggs labeled as large. Aka, not medium and not jumbo.
- Pure vanilla extract
- Special dark cocoa powder (Dutch-processed will also work)
- Espresso powder (optional, but it does enhance the chocolate flavor).
- Dark chocolate chunks or chips
- Flaky sea salt (optional)
How to Make Brownies Without Butter
- Line an 8✕8-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper; grease the paper and pan with olive oil.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.
- Add the cocoa powder and espresso powder to the sugar mixture and whisk until smooth and glossy.
- Mix together the dry and the wet mixture just until combined; fold in the chocolate chunks.
- Smooth the batter into the prepared pan and bake until firm to touch. Sprinkle with sea salt, if using.
- Let brownies cool slightly in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Why Use Olive Oil
Most brownie recipes use butter, only a few use oil. We’re going a step further and creating a brownie recipe with oil that uses a heart-healthy flavorful olive oil. These brownies made with oil are so flavorful, you won’t even miss the butter!
But olive oil is more expensive, so why bother using it instead of vegetable oil? For one, extra-virgin olive oil adds so much more flavor than vegetable oil. And two, extra-virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest oils you can cook with.
Vegetable oils are used extensively in packaged foods and are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Packaged foods alone can account for your daily intake of omega-6 fatty acids. Too many omega-6 fatty acids can cause significant inflammation in the body. Olive oil offers fewer omega-6 fatty acids, is heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory, and full of antioxidants.
Baking Pan vs Baking Dish: what’s the difference and does it matter?
It absolutely matters if you use a metal baking pan or glass baking dish for these brownies! You must use a metal baking pan.
Metal baking pan: straight sides, light gold or gray nonstick surface, promotes even browning, and slick release of baked goods. Ideal for cakes and bars.
Glass baking dish: either clear glass, slightly tinted clear glass, stone or pottery. Ideal for casseroles, crisps, and cobblers.
How to Store Brownies
These brownies are best enjoyed the day they are made because once stored in an airtight container they lose their crisp edges. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
For longer storage, wrap brownies in plastic and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Allow brownies to come to room temperature before enjoying.
- Add chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds.
- Drizzle with salted caramel.
- Swap the dark chocolate chunks out for peanut butter chips, mint chips, or toffee bits.
- Swap the dark chocolate chunks out for milk chocolate or white chocolate chips for a sweeter brownie.
- Sprinkle crushed pretzels over the batter before baking to make crunchy sweet-and-salty brownies.
More Chocolate Recipes
Looking for another brownie recipe? Try our uber-healthy black bean brownies!
Whip up a batch of homemade nutella—it’s better than the store-bought stuff by a long shot!
Olive Oil Brownies Recipe
- ¾ cup (93g) white whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (204g) granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup (142g) extra-virgin olive oil, + more for greasing pan
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (66g) Special Dark cocoa or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional
- ¾ cup (128g) 72% dark chocolate chunks or chips
- Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, optional
- Heat oven to 325ºF (163ºC). Lightly grease an 8✕8-inch square metal baking pan with olive oil. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides for easy removal of brownies; brush parchment with olive oil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, yolk, and vanilla until smooth. Add cocoa powder and espresso powder and vigorously whisk until smooth and glossy, about 1 minute.
- Add flour mixture to cocoa mixture and mix, using a rubber spatula, until mostly combined and a few pockets of dry flour remain.
- Fold in chocolate chunks.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake brownies until set, firm to touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few sticky crumbs, 30–35 minutes.
- Transfer pan to a wire rack and immediately sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if using. Let brownies cool in pan 15 minutes, then remove brownies from pan by lifting parchment overhang; transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- Cut into 9 squares.