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!

Print Recipe
Sunbutter Brownies
Serves:16Sunbutter Brownies
  1. In a food processor, combine sunbutter, eggs, and maple syrup
  2. Pulse in vanilla, vinegar, cacao powder, salt, and baking soda
  3. Stir in chocolate chips by hand
  4. Transfer batter to a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  5. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes
  6. Cool for 1 hour
  7. Serve

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!


  1. Gail Bogossian says

    These are excellent! The batter (and ingredients) is kind of shocking – it’s extremely runny. I also had to bake it more like 30 minutes, bake til no longer jiggly. Comes out very nice, a perfect rich, thick, not too cakey brownie! Amazing!

  2. Susan says

    I just tried these brownies and followed the recipe exactly. While they did taste really great, the texture came out more cake-like and the chocolate chips all fell to the bottom. (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet morsels). Any preparation tips would be great!

    • Elana says

      Hi Susan, thanks for your comment and for sharing your concern. I use dark chocolate in these which has more fat than bittersweet so that may be why the chips fell to the bottom. If you make these brownies again please let us know how it goes :-)

  3. April says

    I need to make brownies tomorrow and they do not need to be nut free… My daughter wants GFDF peanut butter brownies. Can I use peanut butter in place of sunbutter? Also can I use agave or honey in place of the maple syrup… we are out!

  4. Sharon says

    Thank you for a perfect recipe. Tomorrow is “Brownie Day” at my son’s preschool and the kids are all having a brownie at snack time. My son can’t have a regular brownie so I made these for him to take. They turned out perfect. Who knew these ingredients (especially the sunbutter which usually adds a not always wanted distinct flavor) would make such a great brownie! This was my first encounter with your blog and I now look forward to scouring it for more recipes! Thanks again!

  5. LeeAnnS says

    I made these with raw honey instead of maple syrup. They were yummy! I didn’t have map,e syrup. I went to the store and purchased some today to see if there’s much difference. I do like the lower sugar of the honey, though.

  6. Erin says

    What a great recipe! I love how simple it is, and that the brownies are a soft, fluffy texture. Thanks very much for sharing.

  7. Andrea says

    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.

  8. says

    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.

  9. says

    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.

  10. teabeast says

    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!

  11. Laurie says

    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?

    • Risa says

      Thank you for sharing. We will try your recipe when our nut allergy friend comes over.
      Also, Konjack root.. another ingredient to discover :D

  12. Melissa says

    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 says

      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.

  13. Lindsay says

    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.

  14. Jacqie says

    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!

  15. Mia says

    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. Jenni says

    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!

  17. Kristi says

    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 says

      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!

    • Lacie says

      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.

    • says

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

    • Kristen says

      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 says

      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!

  18. Maria says

    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!

  19. Maria says

    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.

    • Lindsay says

      I just made them without the chips. My brownies turned out really light, almost like a chocolate cake. Not sure if it was because the chips were missing.

      • Melissa says

        I used the chocolate chips, and mine came out like a chocolate cake, too…so I don’t think it was the chocolate chips. I was glad to read your comment and see it was not just me!

  20. says

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

    • Laurie Pevnick says

      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 says

        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 says

        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.

  21. Linda says

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

  22. Lisa says

    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!

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