« Salmon Wasabi Burgers

Book Review: The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook »

Sunbutter Brownies

sunbutter brownies

Given the number of requests lately that I’ve had for gluten-free recipes that are also nut-free, I decided to create a quick and easy brownie recipe made out of sunflower butter. What is sunflower butter? It is similar to almond butter, however it is made of ground sunflower seeds. These Sunbutter Brownies are a cinch to make and a chocolatey delight.

I find that most baked goods made with sunflower butter have a very strong aftertaste that is somewhat bitter. My children for the most part do not care for the baked goods that I have made with ground sunflower seeds, or sunflower seed butter.

These brownies however, are the exception. They were devoured by the Boulder High School freshman baseball team, a group of teenagers who seems to have turned my living room into their clubhouse. Not that I mind one bit! I love those boys, and they love their gluten-free desserts including these grain-free sunflower butter brownies!

Sunbutter Brownies


Makes 16 Sunbutter Brownies

These grain-free brownies are rich and moist and call for just a few ingredients. If you’re looking for a grain-free brownie recipe made with nuts, try my Paleo Brownie recipe –here’s what one of my darling readers named Andrea had to say about them:

“Best gluten and grain-free brownie recipe I’ve ever had. Hands down.”

In the mood for an extra decadent brownie treat? Take a look at my Paleo Caramel Brownies. Looking for an egg-free brownie recipe? Try my Vegan Gluten-Free Brownies. If you enjoy my quick and easy recipes, sign up to get my email alerts so that you’ll be the first to know when I come up with fresh stuff!

posted on March 21, 2014, 46 comments

  1. Lisa

    Thank you! Nuts don’t agree with us here and I am always challenged to find paleo nut free recipes. More, please! I’ll be making these this weekend!

  2. Linda

    Will flax eggs work??? I am not allergic to the ingredients in the brownies (which is fantastic), but I can’t eat eggs.

  3. Beth

    I have the same question. Will fax eggs work? My guy is gluten free and allergic to eggs.

    • Laurie Pevnick

      I have the same problem with eggs. Since these are brownies, I’ll bet flax would work or what about using 1/4 c. fruit puree or applesauce or avocado + 1sp. GF baking powder per egg? Any of you game to try it? If so, let me know how they come out?

      • Kari Soto

        Same here! Allergies to gluten, dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, corn, eggs, legumes, beans, and the list goes on… I love the rice crispy sun butter recipe in the book. Would love to make these brownies too.

        Flax, chia eggs? Applesauce or avocado? gelatin? What substitute would work best?

        I always hate to ask cause I feel like the only one who can’t do eggs… Relieved to see others asking too!

      • Janet

        I’m game to try with an egg alternative. I may try ground Chia seeds (my preference) or applesauce with the egg replacer (my son’s preference). He’s ana to egg.

      • Cassie

        You seem to know what you are talking about! Why not give them a try and let us know?

  4. Lynn

    These look wonderful. I can’t have cacao for 3 more weeks so aim going to try making them with carob!

  5. Love the Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes Great hit for breakfast!! Can’t wait to try Chocolate Chip Cookies ;)) Thanks for you Recipes, Delicious!!

  6. Maria

    Will these brownies work without the chocolate chips? We can’t have the sugar in the chocolate chips. Thank you Elena. Our family loves so many of your recipes.

  7. Looks yummy. Saving this recipe for when I get my food processor.

  8. Maria

    We don’t use peanut butter in our house due to our son having a peanut allergy, so on a few occasions I’ve tried subbing Sunbutter for peanut butter in GF recipes – including some of yours, Elana. It didn’t go over so well with two of my kids (and myself), although my husband and youngest child would snarf them right down. I never quite figured out why it didn’t work as well in some treats, because I’d used Sunbutter in the past in place of peanut butter in cookies and everyone loved it. Ah, well. These brownies look so good, though, I’m going to try it again. Thank you!

  9. Yum! I can eat nuts but prefer to limit my intake to small amounts (therefore, I don’t use almond flour for baking), so this sunbutter recipe sounds intriguing! Looking forward to trying this out… :)


  10. erica

    wondering if you know of any sunbutter without sugar in it?,,,

    • Kristen

      SunButter and Once Again are a couple of brands that make sunbutter with no added sweeteners (they obviously make sweetened versions as well). There are probably other brands that also make it. I just know that those two do. Hope that helps!

    • Lindsay

      I actually whipped up my own in the food processor. I make homemade almond butter this way because I prefer it over jarred. It did take a longer time to process than almond butter, probably because the high-fat content of the sunflower seeds, they blob just bounced around for quite a while.

      Anyway, I figured since I was gonna dirty the food processor anyway, I might as well whip up my own sunbutter (rather than buying a jar just for this purpose). Bonus: you get to control what goes into your nutbutter, just seeds and salt in mine!

  11. Kristi

    I know Elana can’t reply to the comments, but can any of the readers recommend a good chocolate chip brand to use? My daughter has been on a restricted diet of no wheat, no dairy (except eggs & butter), no white starches (white potatoes, sugar, etc). Is there something I can substitute in this recipe for the chocolate chips that aren’t loaded with sugar?

    • Marie-Helene

      Hi! Maybe you could try making carib brownies by subbing the choco chips with sugar free carob chips. Another way to go could be maybe your own chocolate with a mix of cocoa, coconut oil, stevia (or other allowed sweetener) and freezing it before cutting it into chunks. It always works well for me! Good luck!

    • Olivia

      You could try enjoylife brand of Chocolate chips?

    • Lacie

      I use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips. They are made in a allergy-free facility and does not include any dairy, soy or any other of the 8 top allergens. They have a new chip out that is a dark chocolate that only contains 5 grams of sugar for every tablespoon. That’s pretty good in my opinion. I would be open, though, if anyone else knows of another allergy friendly chocolate chip with less sugar.

    • molly @ prairiend.com

      I use the “Coconut Secret” brand “Peruvian Crunch” chocolate bars, and chop them into chips. These are dark chocolate, and sweetened w/ coconut crystals.

  12. Janice Z.

    Could I substitute sunflower butter with almond butter?
    Thank you for your amazing recipes.

  13. I am going to try these brownies with my friend this week! Thank you for the recipe, sooooo yummy looking! (:

  14. Jenni

    Thank you so much for the recipe for these nut-free treats. So many of the delicious gluten-free recipes online contain peanut or tree nut ingredients. I really appreciate that you’ve given us an alternative! Can’t wait to try them!

  15. Mia

    Thank you Elana!

    I am looking forward to trying this recipe soon.

    I make my own chocolate chips, using organic 100% baking chocolate melting it and adding my sweetener of choice (powdered xylitol made from birch), vanilla ext, salt. Then I put the melted chocolates into molds and put it in the refridgerator to set.

    I found a brand of sun butter that doesn’t use salt. I will post the brand when I remember.

  16. mary evans

    thanks for this opportunity. we need paleo with nuts being optional.

  17. Laurie Pevnick

    I’ll try and give them a try with applesauce & b. powder next weekend.

  18. Looks delicious!! We like the fact that is nut-free…thanks!! We will do it this week for sure!!

    We also have in our blog very easy and nourishing recipes, hope you like it!!


  19. Jacqie

    These were delicious. One of the best Paleo brownies I have made. There is no aftertaste. I don’t usually put chocolate chips in my brownies, but they were a great addition. It is nice to know what to do with Sunbutter because I usually can’t get away with it in other recipes. And it is also nice to have a recipe that doesn’t use coconut or almond flours. I’m not allergic, but sometimes they just don’t cut it in baked goods. These were not too sweet or overly chocolatey. The perfect balance. Thank you so much!

  20. Carolyn

    Just want to say how much I appreciate that you keep your recipes “pure” without starches or gums.

  21. Lindsay

    Wow! I may or may not have licked the bowl!! (yeah yeah yeah, salmonella whatever! it was sooooo worth the risk!!!) So I decided to make homemade sunbutter because the jar was 4.99 and the bag of seeds was 1.99. I haven’t really had sunbutter before, so I didn’t want to buy a whole jar and not like it. (plus I had to lug out my food processor for this recipe anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal)

    Wow ok, so I have like 1/2 cup left over or so from the batch I made and you know what I’m gonna do with it!? I’m gonna make a sunbutter-tella!!! (nutella with sunbutter). I think I’ll try the maple syrup and cocoa but if it’s too runny coconut sugar or even subbing for some stevia!! I love chocolate sunbutter lol! Can’t say I really liked the sunbutter plain, but my oh my chocolate makes everything better, amiright!?

    Oh and the brownies!? WOW! We don’t have a nut allergy but dang if we did, I’d make these all day every day!

    One odd thing was I had to bake mine nearly 35 minutes! The center was still really gooey. Not sure if it would have “set” outside while cooling. I’ve never baked without flour before! Someone have any advice here? I’m sure my oven was set to 350.

  22. Melissa

    Mine came out light and fluffy, more like a chocolate cake. Not sure where I went wrong. I did, however, use almond butter rather than sunbutter, so that could be it…They were still good, don’t get me wrong, but not like a brownie. I am going to stick to Elana’s date sweetened brownies as my go-to brownie recipe! They are my favorite, and with no added sugar, they make me feel better about eating sweets!

    • Maria

      I’m hoping Elana chimes in here. But when I make them with almond butter I omit the apple cider vinegar and increase the baking soda to 1 tsp with great results. I think the addition of the vinegar is to counteract the sunflower butter from turning the brownies green. I can’t think of another reason for the vinegar. Try this combo next time and I think you will get the brownie texture you are looking for.

  23. Erin

    THANK YOU for a nut-free recipe!!!

  24. Knocked these up for my hubby and he loved them. He wants me to make them again. Thanks.

  25. Laurie

    Success! This is my second attempt to make these brownies without eggs, using applesauce and baking powder and they are outrageously delicious. Here are the changes I made:
    2/3 c. unsweetened applesauce + 3 tsp. baking powder (fresh!) instead of eggs (3/4 c. applesauce was too much liquid and they fell.)
    1/3 c. agave (agave is better for me; maple syrup should not change the results)
    1 tsp. lemon juice (better for me; vinegar should not change the results)
    1/8 tsp celtic sea salt
    2 tsp vanilla (enough given that I reduced the sweetener)
    I used Once Again brand sun butter (no sweetener added)
    Bake: 350? for 35 min. (Check with a toothpick for doneness)
    Has anyone thought of adding a bit of konjac root (gucomannan) to make them a bit less fragile?
    Did anyone try a different egg substitute?

  26. teabeast

    I saw this recipe on facebook and made it right away. I used honey instead of maple syrup and I used a handheld mixer. The batter was so runny, I didnt think it had enough to hold itself together, but 25 minutes later I had magically baked brownies. This is a wizard of a recipe and it tastes amazing!

  27. Wow I also used a hand mixer as I didn’t have food processor… Wow wow wow…. Drizzled some heavy whipping cream over them…absolutely A+++++. Thank you… My 19 year old daughter is being dragged into this life style whether she likes it or not because when she looked at me earlier and said ” mom I really fancy brownies”. This is what I whipped up and she loved it….Elena you are changing us one recipe at a time.

  28. Has anyone tried adding protein powder to these? I’m looking for a healthy protein bar I can cart around with me, but I’ve found that most experiments of baking with protein powder have turned out disgusting.

  29. Andrea

    If your Sunnbutter already contains salt, you may not want to add salt as my brownies came out too salty. I now have unsalted sunbutter for future use.

  30. These look so easy to make. Awesome!


Leave a Reply

Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top