Filed Under: Brownie | Dessert | Healthy | Whole Wheat

Whole Grain Brownies

By Tessa Arias
April 30th, 2010

Whole Grain Brownies are soft, chewy, fudgey, and moist - no one has to know they're whole grain!

Yield: 24 brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 28 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: After letting the brownies rest overnight like the recipe recommends I was absolutely pleasantly surprised by how chocolate-y and rich these brownies tasted, I would have never guessed they were whole-grain if I hadn’t have made them.
Texture: Soft, chewy, fudgey, moist. Nothing you’d expect from a whole-grain brownie.
Ease: Straight-forward homemade brownie recipe. The hardest part is waiting overnight to eat them.
Appearance: These brownies are thick and just look gloriously chocolate-y and fudgey
Expense: Inexpensive, especially if you buy your chocolate chips on sale or in bulk.
Pros: These brownies are whole grain! And you can substitute applesauce for the butter which I’m going to try next time then update this. They stay soft for several days, too.
Cons: The only thing I can think of is that you have to wait overnight to eat these brownies.
Would I make this again? I think this will be my go-to brownie recipe. Sorry, Baked Brownie!

Whole Grain Brownies are soft, chewy, fudgey, and moist – no one has to know they’re whole grain!

No one has to know these brownies are WHOLE GRAIN! Recipe from @handleheat

Whole Grain Brownies

As of late, I’ve been more and more interested in simple & healthy recipes. Something I’ve done steadily for the past year is try to phase out refined flours in all that I eat. I switched to eating pretty much only whole-wheat sandwich bread and even whole-wheat bagels and English muffins. No more white rice and I try to stay away from enriched pasta, but sometimes that’s a tough one. Whole wheat pasta is yummy though.

I realized that lately the only times I was eating refined flour was when I either went out to eat or when I was baking a treat. I’ve decided that’s going to change though, I’m on a mission to change my baking to utilize whole-grain flours more often than not. To aid my mission I recently picked up a copy of the wonderful King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking Book.This book is pretty much the bible of whole-grain baking, containing nearly every baked good recipe you can imagine, even one for whole-grain chocolate croissants. And although I’ve spotted quite a bit of butter and sugar, even margarine (gasp!), this is definitely a step in the right direction to more healthy baking. The next time I make these brownies, I’m going to substitute applesauce for butter and see what happens (I’ll let you know!).

How to make
Whole Grain Brownies

Yield: 24 brownies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 28 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes
Whole Grain Brownies are soft, chewy, fudgey, and moist - no one has to know they're whole grain!


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray and, if desired, line the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil leaving an overhang on opposing sides for easy removal after baking. I like to spray the aluminum foil with cooking spray too just to make sure the brownies release.
  2. Add the butter to a saucepan set over low heat and melt it. Remove the pan from the heat, add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Return the pan to the heat (still on low) until the butter/sugar mixture is hot (about 110 F to 120 F) but not bubbling. If the mixture separates, stir briefly to recombine.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl then add the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring to incorporate after each addition. Finally, add the flour and chocolate chips and mix to combine.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center reveals wet crumbs, but not raw batter, and the edges are set. Move the pan to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. Once cool, cover and let sit overnight before cutting. This rest allows the bran to absorb moisture and soften, leading to both better flavor and texture.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from King Arthur Whole-Grain Baking
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

Leave a Comment & Rating

Add a Review or Question

*Please select a rating to complete your comment.

Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Verity Skelton — July 4, 2019 at 10:10 am

    I am ALWAYS after healthier brownie recipes!!

    Did you try replacing the butter with applesauce? Would you replace all of it? If so what would be the method of incorporating/melting the sugar?

    Thank you in advance!!



  2. #
    Yii-Huei — November 11, 2012 at 3:01 am

    Sorry, I also just wanted to ask as well, is it possible to replace some of the butter with Greek yoghurt or would that not work as well?

  3. #
    Yii-Huei — November 11, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Can I reduce the brown sugar? And, what do you think if peanut butter was added? How much would I put of that? Would I have to reduce any quantity of the ingredients or just leave it as it is and add the peanut butter?

  4. #
    Casey — September 18, 2012 at 5:56 am

    I can’t wait to try this recipe…I have been craving brownies….But looking for healthier options…So have you substituted the Applesauce in place of butter? I am very excited to see so I can make them soon 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — September 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      I still haven’t gotten around to trying applesauce in these brownies. Let me know if you try!

  5. #
    KK — April 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Be careful, whole grain and whole wheat are not necessarily synonymous. Whole grain is much healthier. Make sure you pick the right product 🙂

  6. #
    Laura S — March 13, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Have you checked out the cookbook “Good To The Grain”?

  7. #
    Just a Girl Named A — June 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I made these last night, and was a little nervous about how the whole wheat would taste. Turns out, I had no reason to worry! These were great, thanks for the recipe!

  8. #
    Tessa — May 5, 2010 at 1:19 am

    Julie- I didn't wait overnight for my first piece… shh don't tell 😉 (It was still delish! Def better the next day though).

    Patty- Thank you for the recommendations! I would have never thought of prune puree. Also thank you for the compliment.

  9. #
    Patty — May 4, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Forgot to mention that your photo is beautiful (as always!) and I love the recipe you choose – a great way to add some whole grain goodness into a decadent treat.

  10. #
    Julie — May 3, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    That looks like the kinda whole grains I'd love to sink my teeth into. Wait overnight? I'm sure I wouldn't be able to!

  11. #
    Valen — May 2, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    These brownies look so good and the fact that its whole grain is a healthy bonus!

  12. #
    the pastry kook — May 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    wholegrain brownies! why haven't i think of that before?
    they look great, by the way =D

  13. #
    Patty — May 1, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Congrats and welcome to the world of healthy brownies! Having lots of experience in this realm, I'd love to share how I would make these brownies healthier + super tasty: Use only 0.5c butter (or virgin coconut oil), only 1c of brown sugar (or sucanat), and add 1.25c pureed prunes. (Make your own puree:

    Happy healthy baking. 🙂

  14. #
    Wanna Be Chef Mysti! — May 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I like your webpage, and brownies sound great! I think i will try them tonight!

  15. #
    Jules and Ruby — May 1, 2010 at 6:11 am

    They sound great. I'll have to get the K A book. Thanks for your rundown on this recipe. Definitely makes me want some. Chewy = mmmm yummy

  16. #
    Megan — May 1, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Sounds great! I really like using whole grains so this is right up my alley. I like the applesauce idea too, I might try that.

Join the Handle the Heat Community

Cookie Customization Chart
Do you want a more delicious life?
Instead of digging through cookbooks and magazines and searching the internet for amazing recipes, subscribe to Handle the Heat to receive new recipe posts delivered straight to your email inbox. You’ll get all the latest recipes, videos, kitchen tips and tricks AND my *free* Cookie Customization Guide (because I am the Cookie Queen)!
As Seen On....
NPR People Time Glamour Readers Digest The Huffington Post BuzzFeed