These vegan sweet potato brownies are fudgy, chocolatey, and decadent…but with a healthy twist! If you’re looking to sneak in some extra veggies while satisfying your chocolate craving, these nutrient-rich sweet potato brownies are for you!
Thank you to Stahlbush Island Farms for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
Get the best of both worlds – a rich and satisfying brownie but without all the refined sugar, eggs, or butter! Bonus? These plant-based brownies are loaded with nourishing sweet potatoes, and can be made in a food processor for easy cleanup and a one bowl vegan brownie recipe!
Why You’ll Love This Healthy Brownie Recipe:
- Simple, Wholesome Ingredients: This healthy chocolate dessert features mostly whole food ingredients, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! Brownies for breakfast? Yes, please!
- Adaptable: I’ve tested this vegan brownie recipe no less than 10 times. These hidden veggie brownies have options for different flours and sweeteners so you can make the perfect sweet potato brownie for your dietary needs.
- Quick & Easy: Simply blend the ingredients in a food processor or a bowl, and the brownies are ready for the oven!
- Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegan, Nut-Free and can be made Whole Grain (or Grain Free!), and Gluten Free: This sweet potato brownie recipe is adaptable to multiple dietary needs and allergies.
Why Put Sweet Potatoes in Brownies?
Puréed sweet potato has similar qualities as puréed pumpkin or applesauce in baking. Sweet potatoes provide the following to this vegan brownie recipe (just like they do in these vegan pumpkin pancakes, and this vegan pumpkin spice latte cake):
- Binding and Body: Helps hold everything together as an egg substitute, and gives some bulk to the brownies.
- Moisture: Makes the brownies soft and fudgy without requiring a lot of extra fat like traditional brownies contain.
- Sweetness: True to their name, sweet potatoes are naturally sweet so very little additional sweetener is needed to make perfect sweet potato brownies.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
This is an overview of the ingredients needed for this vegan sweet potato brownie recipe, as well as suggested substitutions. Find the complete list of ingredients in the recipe card below.
Here’s what you’ll need to make these sweet potato brownies:
- Sweet Potato Purée: You’ll need cooked and puréed sweet potatoes for this brownie recipe. To make the purée, I steamed Stahlbush Island Farms‘ frozen cubed sweet potatoes and then puréed them in the food processor until no lumps remained. Scroll down for an entire section of different methods of cooking fresh or frozen, whole or cubed sweet potatoes. While there are more than 400 varieties, most grocery stores offer only a couple of orange fleshed sweet potatoes (sometimes confused with yams.) Don’t use white fleshed varieties.
- Maple Syrup: If you’re out of maple syrup, you can make these brownies with granulated sugar and some extra liquid. For a really nutritious brownie, try swapping the maple syrup out for dates! This version was, hands down, our kids’ favorite version! The exact amounts and method are in the notes of the recipe card.
- Milk or Coffee: Coffee or espresso in brownies and other chocolate baked goods (like these vegan chocolate cupcakes) helps intensify the chocolate flavor without any noticeable coffee taste. Plant-based milk of any kind (or even water) will work, too.
- Chocolate: Use a good quality dark or semi-sweet dairy-free chocolate that’s good enough to snack on. If it’s waxy or bland on its own, it will ruin the brownies. I tested these brownies with Kirkland brand chocolate chips (accidently vegan) from Costco and 70% cocoa chocolate bars with excellent results.
- Coconut Oil: If you don’t like the flavor of coconut, use a refined coconut oil which has no taste. Otherwise, the coconut flavor is very mild in the brownies when using unrefined coconut oil.
- Flour: I’ve successfully tested these brownies with 3 different flour options: all-purpose flour, gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, and oat flour. If you need grain-free sweet potato brownies, a lot of gluten-free blends are also naturally grain-free, too. Check the label to be sure.
- Cocoa Powder: For a rich color and more intense chocolate flavor, I use Dutch-process cocoa but regular unsweetened cocoa powder works well.
- Baking Powder: For a bit of lift or leavening.
- Vanilla: May be omitted if you don’t have any, but is a delicious flavor addition.
- Salt: Rounds out the flavors and compliments the chocolate!
How to Make Sweet Potato Brownies
This is an overview of how easy it is to make vegan sweet potato brownies. Find the complete printable recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.
- Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil.
- Blend the sweet potato purée with melted chocolate, coconut oil, maple syrup, coffee (or milk), and vanilla. You can do this in a food processor or large bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients, and blend it altogether.
- Pour the batter into a prepared pan, and bake!
How to Cook Sweet Potatoes for Brownies
When cooking sweet potatoes for a purée to be used in baked goods like brownies, choose a method that ensures the flesh is soft. Avoid methods which will result in lumpy or soggy sweet potato purée. For example, crispy bits from roasting peeled sweet potato will result in unpleasant hard pieces in the brownies. And, boiling chopped sweet potato may water-log them, adding too much moisture to the batter.
If you’re cooking whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes, the best cooking options are microwave, oven bake, or Instant Pot/pressure cooker. The fastest way to cook a whole sweet potato is in the microwave.
If you’re cooking cubed, peeled sweet potato, the best cooking option for ensuring a puree that is neither lumpy or watery, is to steam the chopped sweet potato. Steaming prevents the sweet potato from becoming water logged.
Here’s how to cook sweet potato to make purée to use in baked goods:
Microwaved Sweet Potato (Whole):
- Place a whole, unpeeled, washed sweet potato on a microwave safe plate.
- Pierce it numerous times with the tip of a sharp knife or fork – these holes will let out the steam so the potato doesn’t explode while cooking. Use your microwave’s potato setting for best results. If your microwave does not have cooking presets, microwave on full power for 2-3 minutes per side for a small potato and up to 6-7 minutes per side for a large (1+ lb) sweet potato.
- To check for doneness, pierce the potato with a fork – a cooked sweet potato will be easy to pierce. If the sweet potatoes are not easy to pierce at the end of the cooking time, cook for 1 minute increments until they are tender. Larger sweet potatoes will naturally take longer to cook. Allow to cool before cutting open the sweet potato and scooping the flesh from the peel.
Roughly double the time for cooking two same sized sweet potatoes at once. We can’t get too specific here as no two sweet potatoes are the same! Essentially, cook the sweet potatoes until they are fork tender.
Oven Baked Sweet Potato (Whole):
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°F/gas mark 6.
- Pierce the whole, unpeeled, washed sweet potato numerous times with the tip of a sharp knife or fork. Wrap the sweet potato in foil, and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Larger sweet potatoes will naturally take longer to cook, and tiny ones will bake up faster. Allow to cool before cutting open the sweet potato and scooping the flesh from the peel.
Instant Pot or Pressure Cooked Sweet Potato (Whole or Chopped):
- Peel and chop the sweet potato into roughly 1″ (2.5 cm) cubes (larger cuts will result in longer cooking times.)
- Add 1 cup (250mL) of water to 6 quart (5.5 L) pressure cooker pot [1 ½ cups for 8 quart (7.5 L) pot]. This amount of water will not vary for the amount of sweet potatoes you are cooking.
- Place the steamer basket over the water and add the chopped sweet potato. (Use a trivet if your basket does not have legs. If the potatoes sit in the water, they will be mushy.)
- Close the lid, and pressure cook on high for 6 minutes, and then carefully do a quick release.
To steam whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot, pressure cook on high for 15 minutes for a small sweet potato, or up to 45 minutes for a large sweet potato. If they aren’t fork tender, put the lid back and and cook on high pressure for another 10 minutes (the pressure will come up much faster the second time.)
Steamed Sweet Potato (Whole or Chopped):
- Fill a pot with water until it’s just below the steamer basket.
- Bring the water to a boil, then place the steamer basket filled with peeled, chopped sweet potato and cover with the steamer lid.
- Reduce the heat and simmer, steaming the sweet potatoes for 20-35 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. They will be ready when easily pierced with a fork.
Boiled Sweet Potato (Whole):
- In a large saucepan, cover the whole, unpeeled, washed sweet potato with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer for 45-50 minutes or until fork tender.
Once the sweet potato is cooked and puréed, measure out what you need for the brownies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Swap out the all-purpose flour for 1 cup (100 g) oat flour (make sure it’s certified gluten-free, if necessary), or 1 cup (148 g) of a 1:1 gluten-free gluten-free baking flour. I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour.
Yes! The texture of the brownies will be a bit different and you’ll have that signature caramel undertone that dates tend to impart on baked goods. Our kids actually preferred these brownies sweetened with dates over those made with white sugar or maple syrup!
Nope! That’s what makes these brownies a bit magical. They taste just as chocolaty and delicious as other brownies without feeling heavy or greasy. And while they may not be a dead-ringer for super luscious traditional brownies, but they’re definite contenders!
Storage & Make Ahead Suggestions
Refrigerate leftover brownies in a covered container for up to 5 days.
Freeze leftover brownies in an airtight container (or individually wrapped in cling wrap and then tin foil) for about 3 months.
How to Serve Sweet Potato Brownies
These vegan sweet potato brownies are perfect served right out of the pan on their own, or stashed into lunchboxes!
Try slicing into small cubes and sprinkle on smoothie bowls or granola bowls at breakfast.
Or for a decadent dessert, go all in and serve à la mode — serve warm with a scoop of vegan ice cream and chocolate sauce!
Want More Healthy Vegan Desserts?
- No-Bake Vegan Cheesecake Jars
- Lemon Chia Pudding with Blueberry Compote
- Homemade Vegan Nutella
- Chocolate Strawberry Truffles
- Peanut Butter & Jam Chocolate Cups
If you love these Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies, please give them five-star rating in the recipe card and leave a comment below! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you never miss out on new vegan recipes! You can follow along on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for reading!
Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies (Vegan with GF Option)
- ¼ cup coconut oil (Use refined coconut oil if you don't like the taste of coconut)
- 1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- 1 cup (9 oz) sweet potato purée, room temperature or warm (See Post above for different methods to cook sweet potato before puréeing)
- ½ cup maple syrup, room temperature (See Notes for sweetening with sugar or dates instead)
- ¼ cup plant-based milk or coffee (room temperature or warm)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (sift and spoon into measuring cup) [or oat flour (100 g), or 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour (148 g)]
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dutch-process cocoa)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C/gas mark 4. Line a 7 x 7 -inch (18 x 18 cm) or an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20 cm) baking pan with parchment paper. Leave enough overhang so that it's easy to lift the brownies out later.
- Place the coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl; choose one that is large enough for the chocolate chips later. Note: if you don't have a food processor, choose a medium-sized bowl for the one-bowl brownie method.Heat for 15 second bursts in the microwave, stirring in between, until the oil is melted. (The coconut oil and chocolate chips can also be melted in a double boiler on the stove-top, if desired.)
- Add in the chocolate chips, and stir to coat. If the chocolate has not melted in about 20 seconds, place the bowl back in the microwave, and heat for 30 second bursts and stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted. Take care not to overheat or the chocolate will seize (go hard and grainy), which cannot be fixed.
- To a food processor with blade attachment (or the same bowl you melted the chocolate in), add in the sweet potato purée, maple syrup, melted chocolate mixture, coffee (or milk), and vanilla extract. Blend on high until very well mixed and smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pulse several times until the mixture is smooth and well blended.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading with a spoon or offset spatula so the top is level.
- Bake on the center oven rack for 24-28 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should have soft crumbs on it (not raw batter.) Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 30 minutes.
- Using the parchment paper as handles, carefully lift the brownie out of the pan. Slice with a large, sharp knife, wiping the blade between cuts. If you prefer really clean cuts, chill the brownies so they are firm before slicing and dip the blade of the knife in hot water and wipe dry before each slice.
- Enjoy plain at room temperature or chilled, and serve warm with a scoop of your favorite vegan ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
- Refrigerate leftover brownies in a covered container for up to 5 days.
Substitutions for the Maple Syrup:Granulated Sugar: Omit the maple syrup. Along with the liquid ingredients, add ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar PLUS additional 5 tbsp (75 mL) of plant-based based milk or coffee (so ¼ cup plus 5 tbsp = ½ cup + 1 tbsp or 140 mL of the plant-based milk or coffee.) Dates: Omit the maple syrup. Place 3/4 cup (170 g) of pitted dates into a small saucepan. Add enough water to cover the dates, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn off the heat and let the dates soak for 10 minutes. After soaking, the dates should be very soft. Drain them and place them in a food processor or blender. Blend until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Blend the date purée along with the other wet ingredients.
Substitutions for Flour:Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend: Use a 1:1 variety. I like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour. Oat Flour: One cup weighs about 100 g. I made my own by blending oats until very fine, and then sifted the flour before weighing to ensure no white specks through the brownies.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be considered an estimate rather than a guarantee. Crumbs & Caramel makes no guarantees as to the accuracy of this information.
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