These gluten free and keto cheesecake brownies are the best of both worlds! An incredibly fudgy low carb brownie is paired with tangy swirls of creamy cheesecake. The best part? Just 1.5g net carb!
Gluten Free & Keto Cheesecake Brownies
You’ve already met our suuuper fudgy keto brownies right?! They’re intensely chocolatey, fudgy, lightly chewy and good… like really good. Fact is, it’s the most popular recipe in the entire site, so that’s gotta tell you something!
Though, in all honesty, I would’ve never guessed it when I first hit publish. And don’t get me wrong, I love the recipe. I mean, it’s been my go-to brownie recipe for years now (and one of my favorite keto chocolate treats by far). But it’s sky-rocketing popularity still managed to wow me! So thank you guys for enjoying, sharing, and recommending it!
Now, amongst many of your requests, perhaps the most popular has been to adapt it into a sugar-free cheesecake brownie version. So wish granted peeps!
Got more requests? Send them along, I always love to hear (and hopefully grant!) them.
Cocoa brownies are generally regarded as second best to their ‘molten chocolate bar’ counterparts, given that they’re generally more cake-like than fudgy. But that’s most definitely not the case here, as these are some of the fudgiest brownies you’ll ever make.
Albeit ‘healthier‘, as you can control the chocolate and fat input completely, so no added refined sugars, preservatives etc. And of course, cocoa powder is much less expensive than chocolate bars (particularly keto ones!). So think of these keto brownies as wallet-friendly too.
Cocoa or cacao? Both work great, just know that quality really matters here. Our favorite will forever be the Dutch-processed alkaline cocoa Valrhona, known to be one of (if not the) best cocoas in the world. But feel free to use a raw cacao powder (arguably more nutritional perks here), though keep in mind that your brownies will be lighter in color and more reddish in hue. Both are well and good, as long as they’re unsweetened.
This recipe uses almond flour only (💥💃🎆!!). Yup, that’s it! Having said that, you can always sub half of the almond for hazelnut flour (think Nutella), if you wanna spiff things up a notch or give them a little twist.
You’ve got a couple options here. Xylitol (and recently allulose!) has become my top choice (no aftertaste, best and chewier texture), Lakanto (barely any aftertaste, and many of you also love the Golden version), and powdered Swerve (some cooling sensation, but still great).
The good thing about using allulose vs xylitol is that you get the goodies (no aftertaste and awesome texture), without the baddies (no gastric discomfort, zero GI and pet-friendly)). In fact, it’s a natural sugar not even a sugar alcohol!
If using erythritol in any form, because it needs a little extra help to dissolve than xylitol (and they vary so much from brand to brand because of different fillers and so on!), you’ll want to be sure to use a powdered form. If you only have granular on hand, don’t sweat it, and simply blend it in your (very dry!) bullet or blender until powdered. Easy-peasy!
And one more thing to keep in mind, is that a few of you who have used erythritol (Swerve in particular) report back periodically that your batter ends up thick. This seems to be improved by microwaving rather than using a water bath, and using powdered rather than regular. Though there seems to be no hard rule here. Doesn’t seem to affect much the taste in the end, so just spread the batter rather than pour it in. But if you’re finding your brownies feel too thick, simply add in an extra egg (just don’t over-whisk or they could become more cakey).
Fun fact: it might also be my taste buds here, but I’ve noticed that stevia-based sweeteners (such as Pyure) don’t work so great when chocolate is involved as the aftertaste is accentuated. So I cannot recommend enough that you don’t use stevia-based sweeteners here if you’re also sensitive to it (make a hot chocolate with, that’s how you’ll know!).
Oh, and if just paleo or gluten free (or not restricted by sugars), simply sub 1-to-1 with coconut or regular sugar.
And if using xylitol, make sure to be careful if you have a pup (or kitty!) around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys! 🐕
A Couple (Very Simple!) Rules
I’ll start with the most important one: do not over-bake the brownies! Timing might just be the most important rule when making any type of brownie, so you don’t end up with a dry and crumbly mess. Keep an eye out for them, and take them out once the center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out moist (but not drenching).
I even prefer to slightly undercook them and chill them in the fridge before cutting. That’s the secret for extra fudgy brownies.
You’ll also want to use eggs at room temp. Reason being that if your cocoa/butter mixture is not hot enough (and your eggs are very cold), they’ll solidify the butter and your batter will be too thick (doesn’t affect the end results, just annoying to spoon rather than pour!).
The Recipe Video 📽
Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Cheesecake Brownies
These gluten free and keto cheesecake brownies are the best of both worlds! An incredibly fudgy low carb brownie is paired with tangy swirls of creamy cheesecake. The best part? Just 1.5g net carbs!
Oh, and if baking with cups rather than grams is your thing, just click on US Cupsfor an instant conversion.
For cheesecake layer
For keto brownie layer
See recipe video for guidance!
Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C. Line with parchment paper the bottom and sides of a 8x8-inch baking pan. Set aside.
Make the cheesecake layer first. Add cream cheese and sweetener to a bowl and cream using an electric mixer (faster and easier) or whisk until creamy and smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined. Set aside.
Add butter, sweetener, cocoa powder and salt to a medium heatproof bowl. Melt over a water bath whisking constantly (or use the microwave). You'll want to heat it up until most of the sweetener has melted and the mixture is well incorporated. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Add one egg at a time, whisking well after each one until completely incorporated. The texture should appear smooth, with all the sweetener dissolving into the mixture. Add the almond flour, whisking vigorously until fully blended (about a minute). And if using erythritol, and your batter ends up too thick, you may want to add an extra egg. Just be sure not to over-whisk, or your brownies could end up more cakey rather than fudgy.
Pour 2/3 of the mixture into prepared pan, followed by the cheesecake layer. Add the remaining brownie batter in 4 dollops (see pictures in post for reference), and swirl the two batters together using a knife.
Bake for 15-25 minutes (we do 23), or until the center is just set and still jiggly. This really does vary (a lot!!) from oven to oven (think convection etc), so give them a check from minute 15 the first time around.
Allow to cool completely on a rack. Lift brownies using the edges of the parchment paper and cut into desired size (we do 16!). To get extra clean edges, place in the freezer for 10 minutes prior to cutting.
Store in the fridge for 3 days and freeze for up to 3 months (they freeze great!).
*The lower quantities are for more keto-adapted palates, while the larger ones will get you more 'traditional' sweetness. Please see section on sweeteners for deets and possible substitutions. Just keep in mind that stevia doesn't work (at all!) for these!
**If measuring the cocoa with tablespoons rather than grams, be mindful of how you scoop as you can end up with a lot more cocoa powder than needed. Drop the cocoa powder into the tablespoon and level it, rather than scooping it out of the bag with the tablespoon (which can lead to overpacked tablespoons!).
***Must use eggs at room temp. Reason being that if you add cold eggs, you'll solidify the batter and won't be able to mix the flours properly.
Please note that we always subtract sugar alcohols from total carbs to calculate net carbs (as is customary).