One bite of these ultra Fudgy Protein Brownies with M&M's, and you'll be in love. Indulge in a thick, rich chocolate brownie while taking in an extra protein boost. Perfect as a post-workout snack and an after-dinner dessert. Gluten-free adaptation included.
I'm no stranger to creating amazing brownies from scratch. I adore my decadent chocolate tahini brownies and gluten-free brownie tart. Still, the one thing they are missing is a boost of protein -so I added chocolate whey protein powder to create a healthier version, and these easy brownies are just as incredible!
Imagine a moist, gooey, and intensely chocolatey homemade brownie topped with crunchy mini M&M's. With a minor modification, you can use this recipe to make gluten-free protein brownies. Adults and kids agree; these healthy protein brownies are THE best!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Quick and easy - Make and bake protein brownie batter in 30 minutes.
- Healthier alternative - The brownies are refined sugar-free, made with a healthy source of fat and a protein boost.
- Flexible - The customization options are endless.
- Kid-approved - These chocolatey treats are a great afternoon snack and healthy dessert.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Flour: Use unbleached all-purpose flour for soft, dense brownies. See below for information on making gluten-free protein brownies.
- Protein Powder: Use your favorite brand of chocolate whey protein.
- Cocoa Powder: Use a quality cocoa powder or dark cocoa powder here.
- Espresso Powder: Espresso powder enhances the intense chocolatey flavors.
- Chocolate Chips: I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, and the brownies came out perfect. Melted milk chocolate chips and melted dark chocolate chips also work.
- Oil: Avocado oil is the primary fat making the brownies taste creamy and buttery. You can also use olive oil.
- Sweetener: To make refined sugar-free brownies, use coconut sugar. Otherwise, you can use light brown sugar here.
- Eggs: Room temperature eggs add moisture, flavor, and density.
- Vanilla Extract: enhances the flavor. Use quality pure vanilla extract for the best-tasting brownies.
- Salt: A small amount of salt makes sweet foods taste decadent and delicious.
- Mini M&Ms: for a sweet, crunchy topping. See below for more topping ideas.
- Cooking Spray: to grease your brownie pan for easy removal.
How To Make The Best Protein Brownies
Step 1: Prep for baking. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8" x 8" baking dish with parchment paper and spray generously with cooking spray. Set aside.
Step 2: Combine dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, protein powder, cocoa, powder, and espresso powder in a large bowl.
Step 3: Melt chocolate. Microwave the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for a minute, stir, and continue microwaving in 30-second intervals until the chocolate melts.
Step 4: Combine wet ingredients. In a separate bowl mix the melted chocolate, oil, and coconut sugar until smooth. Then, mix in the eggs, vanilla, and salt.
Step 5: Combine dry and wet mixtures. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
Step 6: Bake and serve. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and top with M & M's.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before slicing. Enjoy.
- Gluten-free protein brownies - King Arthur is my favorite 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose baking flour, but you can use any measure-for-measure gluten-free baking flour. I haven't tested this recipe with the gluten-free flour, but I typically get great results with the King Arthur brand.
- Achieving a crackly top - Sprinkle the top of the batter with coconut sugar or light brown sugar before baking.
- Do not over-mix - Don't fuss with the brownie batter once it's mixed. Overmixed batter can result in dry, chewy brownies.
- Avoiding overcooked edges - Sneak a peek at the brownies about halfway through the bake time. If it seems like the edges are baking too quickly, loosely cover the baking pan with foil.
- The toothpick trick - Many factors play into the exact baking time, so stick a toothpick in the center to check for doneness. If it comes out clean, they're done!
- Slicing - Allow the pan of brownies to cool completely before slicing into 2" squares. Use a plastic knife for easy slicing and wipe the crumbs off the knife after each slice to achieve a clean cut.
Chocolate - To adapt these brownies to your specific dietary needs and lower the calories, carbs, and sugar, you can use sugar-free semi-sweet chocolate chips. Hershey's, Lily's, and Hu offer sugar-free, keto-friendly chocolate chips. *Note: I have not tested this recipe with chocolate chips with alternative sweeteners.
Healthy Brownie Toppings - Instead of M&M's, top your brownies with any of the healthy ingredients listed below:
- Freeze-dried Strawberries
- Chopped Walnuts
- Chopped Pecans
- Nut Butter (swirl almond butter, peanut butter, or Nutella into the batter)
- Peanut Butter Chips
- Cacao Nibs
Naughty Brownie Toppings - Treat yourself.
- Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- Nutella Frosting
- Crumbled Candy Bar
- White Chocolate Chips
- Mini Marshmallows
- Crushed Cookies
- Rainbow Sprinkles
- Chocolate Sprinkles
Storing & Freezing
Storing: You can store the brownies at room temperature in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days or keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. When chilled, they become even fudgier.
Freezing: Wrap individual brownies in a few layers of plastic wrap or keep them in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 6 months—Thaw in the fridge before serving.
Yes. Mix a scoop (about ¼ cup) of your favorite chocolate whey protein powder into your favorite boxed brownie mix, and then follow the instructions on the packaging.
It will depend on the type of whey protein powder you use, but typically 5 to 10 grams of protein per brownie.
More High Protein Desserts
If you love this protein brownie recipe I would be so grateful if you could leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below. I love reading your comments and feedback!
Protein Brownies with M&Ms
- 8x8 baking dish
- Parchment paper
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour King Arthur Measure for Measure GF All-Purpose flour is a recommended choice for a gluten-free variation
- ¼ cup chocolate whey protein
- 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips melted and cooled
- ½ cup avocado oil
- ⅔ cup coconut sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup mini M&Ms
- cooking spray I used avocado oil spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line the bottom of an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper and spray the pan with cooking oil spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, protein powder, cocoa powder, and espresso powder until blended.
- Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute, stir, and continue microwaving in 30 second increments until chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow melted chocolate to cool to room temperature.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the melted chocolate, oil, and coconut sugar until smooth.
- Then, stir in eggs, vanilla, and salt until mixed.
- Fold in the flour mixture with a silicone spatula or sturdy wooden spoon until just combined and pour into the parchment-lined baking dish. Sprinkle with M&Ms and bake for 25 minutes. Cool and enjoy!