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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Healthy Pumpkin Brownies

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These easy healthy pumpkin brownies are not only fudgy, chocolatey, and decadent, but they’re actually healthy too! Only 15 minutes of prep time, less than 150 calories per serving, and the perfect fall dessert!

healthy pumpkin brownies stacked on a white pedestal, with cinnamon, chocolate chips and pumpkin in the background

Pumpkin season is my favorite time of year, and I absolutely love brownies! They’re one of the best desserts. This is why, when fall comes around, pumpkin brownies are a fun way to switch things up! This layered healthy pumpkin brownie recipe is thick, chewy, sweet, and will fill your house with the most amazing fall scents.

Latest Recipe Video!

Typically when I bake, I try to keep all of the decadent flavors of traditional fudgy brownies, while still making a few healthy swaps to lighten things up just a bit! There is still sugar in this recipe, just a little less of it. There is still butter, but some of it has been replaced with a healthier alternative.

The best part is you can enjoy these chocolate pumpkin brownies relatively guilt-free, while still making an amazing dessert from scratch! This recipe is sure to become one of your favorite fall treats to satisfy your sweet tooth!

👩‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and Easy without a box mix!
  • Gluten-Free Option
  • Vegan Option
  • Best Healthy Pumpkin Brownies ever!
  • Simple Ingredients
  • Way better for you than traditional brownies!

🥘 Ingredients

This recipe is packed with healthy ingredients to make these brownies better for you than their traditional counterparts! For the full ingredients list and instructions, see the recipe card below.

ingredients for easy layered healthy pumpkin brownies recipe

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour: Higher in fiber and less processed than regular all-purpose flour. For a gluten-free pumpkin brownies by using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. Another option for gluten-free flour includes almond flour, oat flour, coconut flour, or buckwheat flour.

Brown Sugar: Instead of the usual amount of sugar, I’ve reduced the amount of total sugar to 1/3 cup. An unrefined sweetener option you could use is maple syrup. For a sugar free option, use powdered monk fruit.

Unsweetened Applesauce and Butter: An easy healthy swap for butter is unsweetened applesauce. When used in combination with butter, you still get a decadent and fudgy brownie, but with fewer calories. (Other butter substitutes include coconut oil, pureed avocado, almond butter, or whole milk Greek yogurt.

Flax Egg: Low calorie, high fiber, and rich in Omega-3s.

Cacao Powder and Dark Chocolate Chips: Cacao powder is rich in antioxidants and gives these healthy brownies a deep dark chocolate flavor. I like to use 70% dark chocolate or higher. You can also use baking chocolate.

Canned Pumpkin Puree: Be sure to use pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. You can also make your own pumpkin puree (instead of using canned) by taking whole pumpkin, steaming it and pureeing it in a blender.

Spices: You need a little bit of cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla extract to add to the pumpkin puree.

🍽 Equipment

📖 Variations

Make pumpkin muffins! You can easily turn this recipe into healthy pumpkin brownie bites by using a muffin tin instead of a baking dish. To make muffins — preheat the oven to 375, spray your muffin tin with cooking spray or line with cupcake liners, fill each cup about 3/4 full, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Healthy banana pumpkin brownies: Use pureed banana instead of the applesauce in this recipe!

Flourless pumpkin brownies: Use this recipe for your brownie batter, and make the pumpkin layer as directed in this recipe – then combine the two!

Vegan pumpkin brownies: Use 1/2 cup coconut oil or 1/2 cup pureed avocado instead of the butter, and make sure your chocolate chips are dairy free.

Gluten free pumpkin brownies: Use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour as a 1:1 replacement for the flour in this recipe.

Healthy pumpkin protein brownies: Add one scoop of your favorite chocolate protein powder to the batter!

🔪 Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Then mix in the flax eggs, applesauce and vanilla until well combined.

butter and sugar creamed in a bowl

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir together with a spatula just until well combined. Then pour half of this batter into the other bowl.

wet and dry ingredients mixed together in a bowl

To the first bowl, fold in the soy milk, cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

chocolate chips added to batter

To the second mixing bowl, stir in pumpkin puree and the spices. So you’ll have two bowls of batter – one with pumpkin, one with the chocolate mixture.

pumpkin batter in a bowl

Pour the chocolate brownie batter into the baking dish and spread in an even layer across the bottom.

chocolate batter spread in a pan

Then pour the pumpkin batter on top and spread in an even layer.

pumpkin batter spread on top of chocolate batter

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.

easy layered healthy pumpkin brownies on parchment paper

❓Recipe FAQs

What cocoa powder is best for baking?

Typically, I recommend buying a natural, organic, Dutch process cocoa powder, because it has a higher fat content and a deep chocolate flavor!

What makes brownies more chewy?

There are a couple ways to make chewy brownies vs. cakey or fudgy pumpkin brownies. The first is to use a combination of vegetable oil and butter, the second is to slightly underbake your brownies by 1-2 minutes, and the third is to put them in the fridge after they’ve been baked for up to 1 hour. Then you will get a chewy dense brownie that will satisfy your sweet tooth!

Can you substitute cocoa powder for chocolate in brownies?

You can, but keep in mind that your brownies will be less sweet if you use cocoa powder as a substitute for chocolate! To substitute cocoa powder: Combine 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. That is the equivalent of 1 ounce of chocolate.

Can I use pumpkin instead of oil in brownie mix?

Absolutely! Unsweetened pumpkin puree can be used as a 1:1 replacement for oil when making brownies. So 1 cup of oil = 1 cup pumpkin puree. If the recipe calls for butter, you can substitute ¾ cup pumpkin puree for 1 cup of butter.

How do you substitute pumpkin puree for baking?

If you can’t find pumpkin puree, you can still make these low calorie pumpkin brownies by using sweet potato puree or butternut squash puree! It will have a very similar flavor when done!

🧊 How To Store

You can store these easy homemade brownies in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy them the next day. The will actually last for up to 4 days (but I’d be surprised if they were around that long! 🙂 ).

If you have any left after 4 days, you can get a couple more days of shelf life out of them by putting them in the fridge. To reheat just microwave them for 20 seconds.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Make sure you use unsweetened pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling for this healthy brownie recipe (they are basically on the same shelf at the grocery store, so be sure to grab the right one!)
  • To mix things up, you can add chopped walnuts or pecans to this recipe! You can add 1/4-1/2 cup chopped nuts to the chocolate part of the batter before spreading in the baking dish.
  • If you don’t have cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, you can use the equivalent amount of pumpkin pie spice (3 tsp total) in this recipe.
  • Make sure to use unsweetened cacao powder (not unsweetened cocoa powder) in this recipe. Cacao is less processed and has a milder taste so it works better for these brownies!
  • Let the brownies rest before cutting into squares – you’ll end up with a much better, held-together brownie that way.
  • You can decrease the amount of brown sugar even more in this recipe for an even healthier version — it’ll still be slightly sweet from the pumpkin and chocolate chips!

🍰 More Healthy Desserts!

easy layered healthy pumpkin brownies on parchment paper

If you have tried this recipe, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below!

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📋 Recipe Card

Print Recipe
5 from 24 votes

Healthy Pumpkin Brownies

These layered, low calorie, healthy pumpkin brownies are not only fudgy, chocolately and decadent, but they're actually healthy too! Only 15 minutes of prep time, less than 150 calories per serving, and the perfect fall dessert!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Baking, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Low Calorie, Vegetarian
Servings: 12 pieces
Calories: 140kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Then mix in the flax eggs, applesauce and vanilla until well combined.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir together with a spatula just until well combined. Then pour half of this batter into the other bowl. To the first bowl, fold in the soy milk, cocoa powder and chocolate chips.
  • To the second bowl, stir in pumpkin puree and the spices.
  • Pour the chocolate batter into the baking dish and spread in an even layer across the bottom.
  • Then pour the pumpkin batter on top and spread in an even layer.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.

Video

https://youtu.be/IoPsZPlvPYg

Notes

  • Make sure you use unsweetened pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling for this recipe (they are basically on the same shelf at the grocery store, so be sure to grab the right one!)
  • To mix things up, you can add chopped walnuts or pecans to this recipe! You can add 1/4-1/2 cup chopped nuts to the chocolate part of the batter before spreading in the baking dish.
  • For a gluten free option, use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour as a 1:1 replacement for the flour in this recipe.
  • If you don’t have cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, you can use the equivalent amount of pumpkin pie spice (3 tsp total) in this recipe.
  • Make sure to use unsweetened cacao powder (not unsweetened cocoa powder) in this recipe. Cacao is less processed and has a milder taste so it works better for these brownies!
  • Let the brownies rest before cutting into squares – you’ll end up with a much better, held-together brownie that way.
  • You can decrease the amount of brown sugar even more in this recipe for an even healthier version — it’ll still be slightly sweet from the pumpkin and chocolate chips!
  • Note: These brownies are not overly sweet. They have more of a dark chocolate flavor. If you want a sweeter, more traditional brownie, you will have to increase the sugar (up to 1 cup for a traditional brownie level of sweetness). But that will give each brownie about 27 grams of sugar, making it much more like a traditional brownie, but not as healthy for you!
Note: Nutrition info calculated using whole wheat pastry flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, applesauce + butter and flax eggs

Nutrition

Serving: 1brownie | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 21.2g | Protein: 2.1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4.1g | Sodium: 177.1mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 2.9g | Sugar: 9.8g

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