Olive Oil and Cocoa Brownies
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Fudgy, gooey brownies made with olive oil and cocoa powder — an easy recipe with deep chocolate flavor.
Brownies baked with olive oil (instead of butter) might seem strange, but trust me here.
When you want chewy, fudgy brownies made without dairy and nothing else will do, these babies are the ones.
Can you make brownies with olive oil?
Yes, you can! And if you’re into the healthy side of life, olive oil and cocoa happen to be two ingredients that are loaded with all the good stuff that helps the sugar go down.
That would include good things like antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids and who knows what else.
I used my everyday extra-virgin olive oil and unsweetened cocoa powder for the brownies pictured here.
There’s a pleasant olive oil flavor that comes through. If you prefer, substitute olive oil with a roasted nut oil, such as hazelnut or walnut, which both pair beautifully with cocoa.
Cocoa powder for brownies
Using good quality cocoa is another key. For this brownie recipe, it doesn’t matter if you use Dutch-processed or natural cocoa (which is simply cocoa that isn’t treated with an alkalizing agent).
But using one with a high percentage of cacao will make these brownies taste even more like the deep, intense chocolate bomb you crave.
One of my favorite Dutch-processed cocoa powders for baking is this one. This one has a rich, ruddy color almost like terracotta, that makes a gorgeous chocolate cake.
I couldn’t help thinking of Nigella Lawson when I made these brownies. Some of my all-time favorite food words come from Nigella, especially when it comes to her Chocolate Guinness Cake, which she describes as “magnificent in its black dampness”.
I suppose you could say these brownies are dark, moist and rich, but black dampness is so much more sensual and tempting, don’t you think?
More of my favorite chocolate recipes:
- Salted Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Flourless Mexican Chocolate Pudding Cake
- Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
FOLLOW ALONG: Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for all the latest recipes and content.
Olive Oil and Cocoa Brownies
- ½ cup (70 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (80 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon Diamond kosher salt, or ½ teaspoon sea salt or other brand of kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1¼ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (125 g) cacao nibs, optional
- Heat oven to 325 (160C) degrees with a rack positioned in the center.
- Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with olive oil. Cut a piece of parchment to fit just the bottom of the dish and oil that too.
- Sift the flour, cocoa and salt into a bowl (a mesh strainer is perfect for this job).
- Beat the eggs in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed for a minute. Increase speed to medium-high while adding the sugar 1/2 cup at at time. Beat until the eggs are pale, thick and creamy.
- Decrease mixer speed and slowly add the oil in a thin stream, as if you were making an emulsion like mayonnaise. Add the vanilla extract.
- Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture in 3 or 4 additions until just incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the cacao nibs over the top, if using.
- Bake 30- 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies emerges with some moist crumbs.
- Cool the pan completely on a rack before cutting into serving pieces.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The brownies will keep well 1-3 days at room temperature.
- If you don’t love the taste of olive oil, substitute with a roasted nut oil such as hazelnut or walnut, or a neutral oil like canola or avocado.
- Note on salt: I bake with Diamond kosher salt, which is about half as salty as other brands of kosher salt. Reduce the amount of salt by half if you’re not using Diamond.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.
Best brownie recipe I be made, and I have tried quite a lot of recipes from around the web / cookbooks.
Fudgy, tasty, so sorry I didn’t make a double batch 😉
Took it to a small picnic gathering and it was a hit!
The recipe has way too much salt. I found it too salty as written. You can cut back to half or one quarter the amount. Also, I could taste the olive oil in the original. It wasn’t terrible, but I prefer making it with a roasted nut oil such as roasted almond or roasted hazelnut, or a flavorless oil like safflower. The addition of the nibs is sublime. It’s difficult to find a good oil-based brownie recipe, so thank you.
Thanks for your comment. I love the idea of using roasted nut oils in place of olive oil — they pair so well with cocoa! As for the salt, certainly use less next time. I bake with Diamond kosher salt, which is about as half as salty as Morton’s or other types of sea salt (recipe updated to note that)…
It’s my second time making this recipe.
I used xylitol instead of sugar. To reduce my sugar intake.
I think reading other comments i will try reducing sweetener in half — because xylitol is expensive! I think decreasing sweetener would also help malleability, it feels a bit “thick” and difficult to spread into the 8×8 pan.
But thank you for the recipe, it was difficult to find a recipe high in cacao and olive oil, and low in flour and chocolate chips.
I wanted to make the olive oil brownies, but discovered I was low on olive oil, so I used canola oil instead. They were still delicious! Very moist and chocolatey! On top I sprinkled mini semisweet chips which worked very well. How can I cut them so they end up looking smooth and nice? I used a hot knife, but is there an easier way? Thank you for the recipe, Now that I want to decrease butter and increase olive oil in my diet, this fits the bill!
Hi Marge – A hot knife is actually the best way to cut through any baked good that’s soft and gooey, and second to that a long piece of dental floss, held taut on both ends. Glad you enjoyed!
Really good! I sprinkled some peanuts on top which added crunch and a little bit more salt.
Oh, peanuts some perfect!
I’m glad I was out of vegetable oil for my usual one-bowl brownie recipe, so I could discover this amazing recipe! I am inspired to find more baking with olive oil recipes. Thank you!
I added a little more coco powder than the recipe said and they turned out FUDGEY! I also added another egg. Maybe that helped
So glad they turned out just the way you love them! You can definitely use olive oil that’s not extra-virgin if you like a more neutral flavor.
Please pass me the stack, these brownies look dreamy!
They totally are!
These brownies look so delicious and I love the idea of using olive oil in brownies. So creative and yummy!
Thank you Natalie! Olive oil is a beautiful thing – I try to “sneak” it into just about everything. 😉
I made these today! Very delicious. I love using olive oil instead of butter.
I was going to make my favourite brownie recipe and realized I had no butter at home, for the fun of it I googled olive oil and brownies and your line on Nigella’s Guinness Chocolate Cake had me convinced (it is my go to chocolate cake recipe). You are correct these brownies are divine! Very similar to my old recipe, but I do believe this one turns out much better
I found your site when looking for an olive-oil brownie recipe – was out of canola oil – and baked these up a few days ago for an out-of-town party. They are the bomb, disappeared in seconds and I had 6 people requesting the recipe. Very lush, very dense and the choco-olive oil combo is truly to die for (granted I may be a bit biased since I’ve been living with an Italian for the past 5 years and he’s taught me how to appreciate olive oil on a whole different level)
I’m really baffled as to why the people on here either complained about the cake tasting too much like olive oil (um…yeah), or used canola oil instead (you’re completely missing out on the experience)
I may cut back on the sugar next time, but otherwise – perfect!
Thanks for the recipe!
I like this blog so considerably, saved to my bookmarks .
I baked these brownies this morning and they are great.
I cut the sugar in half, and used 3/4 cup of white flour and 3/4 cup of crushed shreddies cereal. We over bought too many boxes of shreddies because they were on sale, so I decided to use them in baking.
I made fine crumbs out of the shreddies and they turned out very good. Chocolate chips on top and then baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
And I used canola oil instead of olive oil.
I think I will be making these! Love your photography 🙂 What type of camera do you use?
I made this without baking powder, since the recipe didn’t call for it. it didn’t rise at all- did you by chance forget to mention the need for this ingredient? I was doubtful going into it, but trusted that it was omitted for a reason. disappointed, because I had no doubts that this is a really great idea… 🙁
I will somewhat amend my previous comment. while I am curious about the question I presented, the non-rising brownies still turned out shockingly delicious. I cut the sugar in half, and followed Linz’ tip in using chia seeds in place of the nibs. the brownie consistency is very much like a thick, softer version of a Clif bar. I am officially won over by the concept of using chia for texture and added nutrition. Looking forward to playing around with this recipe again! thank you.
Hi Joanna – I’m glad to hear from you – I was just going to reply to your previous comment. I’m so sorry the brownies didn’t seem like what you expected!
The recipe relies on the eggs for leavening rather than baking soda (or baking powder)…they should definitely have a moist, dense and fudgy texture, as opposed to a more cakey brownie which probably would include baking soda in the ingredients.
Baking times will vary with any recipe, since oven temperatures often have discrepancies between what the temperature is set to and what the display reads. It’s best to check in 5 minutes before the baking time suggested in the recipe to be sure – if the inside is very moist when tested, then continue baking and checking until done.
Chia seeds are an interesting addition, too. The way chia reacts when mixed with liquids could affect the outcome of the brownies, for sure, since they become sticky and gelatinous – maybe making the batter extra moist!
I’m sorry it took me so long to check back. Although the brownies didn’t turn out the way I initially planned, I want you to know that the “mistake” has turned into my absolute favorite brownie recipe. Don’t you love when that happens? as soon as I realized how much I adored the texture/consistency of my original outcome, I decided it would be silly to try and rectify it. thank you very much! :o)
Joanna, I’m so very pleased to know that! It’s true, sometimes (actually, many times) serendipity opens up great possibilites!
I made these last night, but did a few adjustments I thought I would share… I used almond flour instead of regular, also used 1/2 cup of agave nectar for 1 cup of the sugar and used 1/2cup raw sugar for the rest. Because I used agave nectar I decreased the olive oil to 1/3 cup instead of 1/2. And I used chia seeds for the added crunch instead of cocoa nibs.
My husband highly approved (he is normally very picky when I change recipes around). They are now much healthier and still delish! Packed with lots of protein and healthy omega-3 from the eggs I used and the chia seeds. 🙂
The batter was delicious, added 2 t espresso powder. The brownies beautifully in 20 minutes with just a few moist crumbs clinging to the skewer. The baked brownies are moist and delicious; would definitely make them again, especially since all of the ingredients are likely always to be stocked in my pantry. Thanks for sharing!
Beth, I bet that hit of espresso was fantastic in the brownies! Thanks for trying out the recipe.
They were OK, I could taste the olive oil in them. May be better with canola oil instead. Overall, moist but had to cook the twelve minutes past thirty minutes.
Really great recipe! Great for partys and occasions liek that!
oh no. I shouldnt have clicked on this link! Now I will be dreaming of brownies all week!
These look gorgeous. I just have one question, though – did you use ordinary white sugar, or is the type of sugar irrelevant? I’m australian, and we have something called caster sugar here – it’s a finer white sugar normally used in cakes for a denser crumb, and slightly sweeter than normal white sugar. I just wondered if it might make a difference to taste or texture, because I’d love to try these!
I actually used unbleached natural cane sugar, kind of creamy in color and bigger grains than plain sugar. You could use your caster sugar without hesitation – should work beautifully. Cheers!
I used brown sugar and they turned out great!
I’ve recently discovered the delight of baking with olive oil, and these brownies look perfect! Bookmarked, for sure :).
Not sure why mine came out flat? I mixed everything by hand.
Hi there – great question! Beating the eggs with an electric mixer helps make fluffier brownies because it aerates the batter more efficiently than mixing by hand.