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Chocolate Workout Brownies

These secretly-good-for-you chocolate workout brownies are high in protein, gluten-free, oil-free, vegan, and they can even have NO added sugar.

workout brownies

If you are one of those people who love healthy desserts and how amazing they make you feel, be sure to put these brownies on your “must try” list.

Also Try These: Keto Muffins – Just 6 Ingredients

Made up of just six plant-based ingredients, without any refined sugars or flour, the clean eating protein brownies are super quick and easy to prepare.

If you’re bored of energy bars, this could be your new favorite workout recipe.

They are great for:



Weight Lifters




Sports Players

And basically everyone else who loves chocolate and wants to incorporate it into a healthy, on-the-go snack.

fitness brownies

Brownies with superpowers.

It’s like grabbing a post-workout energy bar, but with cleaner ingredients than most packaged energy bars – no soy protein isolate, sucralose, or high fructose corn syrup.

I know it’s completely frustrating when a healthy-tasting recipe claims to taste exactly like a real hot fudge brownie… so I will tell you right now:

These are not supposed to be like a decadent dessert. Just as you wouldn’t serve a tray of Luna Bars at a fancy dinner party or bake sale, I wouldn’t recommend the workout brownies for a party either.

They are definitely more of a healthy snack or dessert meant for people who enjoy the wholesome taste and nutrition of healthy desserts.

If you are one of those people, hopefully you will love this recipe as much as I do!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

protein brownies

If you want a good protein powder recommendation to use in the recipe, I really like the plant-based protein by ALOHA.

All of their products are organic and free of soy, gluten, dairy, and artificial ingredients, and they use a combination of pumpkin seed, hemp seed, and pea protein, with 18g protein per serving. I was also happy to see the protein powder doesn’t contain stevia, so you don’t get that weird aftertaste many other chocolate protein powders seem to have.

**Note: The link to their website is not an affiliate code. I don’t make any commission on sales of their products. I love both the taste and the company’s philosophy, and this was the brand of protein powder I used for the workout brownies.

So if you want to make the recipe exactly like I did, I know using ALOHA protein powder yields good results.

(Watch The Recipe Video Above)

Brownie Frosting Options:

Chocolate Frosting Shots

Healthy Nutella

Basic Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Or, if you want to keep these brownies super healthy like I did, you can make your own chocolate “frosting” by simply combining cocoa powder with an avocado and a little sweetener of choice – here’s how to make avocado chocolate frosting.

Secretly Healthy Chocolate Workout Brownies

You can also top them with Coconut Ice Cream and fresh berries, for a healthy post-workout fudge brownie sundae!

Pin it now to save for laterPin Recipe

Chocolate Workout Brownies

These secretly-good-for-you chocolate workout brownies are high in protein, oil-free, and vegan!
5/5 (24)
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 9 – 12 brownies


  • 1 cup overripe mashed banana or applesauce (for low carb, try these Keto Brownies)
  • 2/3 cup nut butter of choice, or allergy-friendly sub
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp chocolate protein powder (such as this one), OR sub additional cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave, OR additional banana
  • optional mini chocolate chips, crushed walnuts, etc.


  • Notes: If using applesauce or unsweetened protein powder, or if planning to eat the brownies unfrosted, I recommend including the sweetener of choice. Using peanut butter gives a peanut-butter flavor, while almond or cashew butter taste more neutral. Sunbutter or pumpkin seed butter can be used for allergy-friendly brownies. You can use regular unsweetened cocoa or a combination of regular and dutch.
    Preheat oven to 325 F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. If using natural nut butter, gently warm it until it is easily stir-able. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir until completely smooth, and spread into the prepared pan (see video). Bake on the center rack 20-25 minutes (20 for super fudgy brownies) – they will be undercooked when you take them out. Let cool, then loosely cover with a paper towel and place in the fridge overnight, during which time they will firm up without losing their fudginess. They are also much sweeter the next day! Frosting options are listed earlier in this post, and you need about 1/2 cup total. Once cut, the brownies can either be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to a month. You can even eat them straight out of the freezer if you wish! As mentioned, they are more of a healthy snack than a decadent dessert – if you enjoy healthy desserts and snacks, hopefully you will love these!
    View Nutrition Facts


The recipe was adapted from my Almond Butter Brownies.

Have you made this recipe?

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5/5 (24)

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Published on June 8, 2017

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day!

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  1. Diane says

    Katie these are my kinda workout snacks! Could I sub dates for the sugar? If so, how many do you think I’d need to use?

    • Jason Sanford says

      You can definitely experiment, and please be sure to report back if you do. Or just use the extra-banana option if you want it to be free of added sugars.

  2. Hannah says

    These look SO good! Thanks for the protein powder recommendation too, I love that it doesn’t contain stevia. I try to avoid any artificial sweeteners or stevia as much as possible so finding a protein powder without them can be tough.

  3. Pam says

    These need to be made ASAP! One question, do you think they’d still taste good if I used their mixed berry or banana flavors instead of the chocolate? I’d like to try the brand you used but don’t want to buy a whole tub of chocolate because what I normally use protein powder for is fruit smoothies. So chocolate wouldn’t really work there and I’m afraid it would go to waste.

    • Jason Sanford says

      I bet they would. I’ve had the ALOHA banana protein powder and it is delicious in smoothies so it would probably work well for you there too.

      Jason (media relations)

    • Jessica says

      My local health food store has individual packets of protein powder for $2-$3, I’m going to do that since I usually use berry or vanilla myself. 🙂

  4. Alexis says

    LOVE this post!! I appreciate how up front and thorough it is, plus I’m super stoked to try these! Question for you Katie: Do you ever use raw cacao powder? Or strictly cocoa? Just wondering what your thoughts are on the subject.

  5. dana says

    KATIE! I made the workout brownies as soon as I saw them in my email this morning and they are PHENOMENAL! They have wildly exceeded my expectations. I know you said they taste good “for a healthy brownie” and not for a decadent dessert but I 100% do not agree. I could easily serve these to people who I know aren’t the energy bar or healthy foodie type and I’m pretty certain they would still like these. The brownies are thick and fudgey and so chocolaty, and I haven’t even let them sit overnight yet!

    Thank you for all that you do and your creative genius. I love all the recipes I have tried from your site.

  6. Becky says

    Wow, these look and sound fantastic. They might even inspire me to work out. Seriously, I am going to make them tomorrow.

  7. Elisabeth says

    Hi Katie!

    These look so yummy and easy! Can I omit the protein powder or would I have to sub something else for it?


    • Jason Sanford says

      You can probably sub just extra cocoa powder and maybe a small amount of extra sugar or sweetener. Be sure to report back if you try!

  8. Claire says

    These were really good! I wasn’t expecting them to taste quite so dessert-like, and I’m definitely not complaining. You said to let them sit overnight but I didn’t want to wait that long. So I just cooked them a little longer until they were no longer underdone. A third of the pan is already gone!

  9. Jenn says

    The photos make me want to grab them off the screen. I appreciate how you revealed that they are not meant as something people not used to healthy desserts would probably like. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a recipe from a blog or from Pinterest that claims to taste like one thing and then you’re left disappointed when it doesn’t. But I am the girl who eats Quest Bars as dessert so pretty sure I will love these!

    I also am happy for the protein powder rec. I’m not really big on buying things online though. Do they sell it in stores at all, like at Whole Foods?

    • Jason Sanford says

      I’ve seen some of their products even at stores like Giant! If you don’t see their protein powder at your Whole Foods or grocery store, just ask for it at the customer service desk and they might be able to get it into stock.

      • Karen says

        I actually was at Target today and saw their protein powder in the vitamin/pharmacy section! I’m sure it’s been there before. I go to Target a lot but I probably passed it over. This time the protein powder stuck out to me because I had just read the recipe email a day before from Katie and bookmarked it. So of course I had to buy a container, because it was fate, right? 😉
        I haven’t tried the protein powder yet but am planning on making the brownies with it this weekend.

  10. Sarah says

    Love this idea! Question: Can I sub unflavored protein powder? Would I need to add additional ingredients? Thanks!

    • Jason Sanford says

      You will probably just need to add a little sugar or sweetener of choice. Also maybe a little extra cocoa powder. If you experiment, be sure to report back!

  11. Karen says

    I saw ALOHA protein powder at Target today so I considered it to be a sign and bought some to try in the brownies. Pretty excited about this one 🙂

  12. Carrie says

    This might be a strange question and I know it might be annoying to be asked about substitutions, but I’ve seen more and more recipes using avacados. Do you think those could be subbed for the banana or applesauce, or would they not be moist enough?

    • Jason Sanford says

      You can definitely experiment, and be sure to report back if you do, for other readers. You might have to add some extra sweetener.

  13. Ashley Barganier says

    These look great! I am about to try them with pumpkin because I have an open can that I need to use. I’ll let you know how they turn out!

  14. Elle says

    Awesome idea using the protein powder, on my must try list! I’ll be making these in bulk and I’ll freeze them to add to smoothies for a nutrient (and flavour!) boost 🙂

  15. Sam says

    Dear Katie,
    I wanted to write to you and thank you for the protein powder recommendation. I do not use stevia, and finding a vegan protein powder without stevia that actually tastes good has been near impossible. Vega and Garden Of Life both have stevia, and I don’t like the taste of Sunwarrior at all. But I read your post and have always liked your recipes so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try one more. And I am so glad I did!
    I haven’t made these brownies and probably won’t to be honest, because I prefer my protein powder in the form of smoothies, but I wanted to thank you for the recommendation because you have no idea how happy I am to have finally found one that I like!

  16. Georgia Thompson says

    These are such a great 3.30pm work break snack! I made a half batch yesterday – just to try them – and I wish I made a double batch! Great flavou and texture. I made with my cookies and cream protein powder as I don’t have chocolate flavour and still works a treat. Plus I used 1/2 peanut butter and 1/2 tahini paste so it wasn’t too peanutty flavour. I topped with your healthy chocolate frosting too… YUM! Would recommend.

  17. Kristen says

    Delicious brownies! I made my brownies with the banana and sunflower butter option. I intended on making them for after workout later in the day…but ended up eating a brownie for breakfast. 😀 Thanks for the recipe!!

  18. Cait says

    I’m gonna need to make these very soon… too much starch makes me sick, so I’m having to cut wheat, rice and other ingredients high in starch out of my diet until my body can handle them again… but I do love me a brownie (or two) very much. Your bean brownies would probably work well for me too, now that I think about it. Can’t wait to try!

  19. jennea says

    Can anything be substituted in place of the nut butters?
    I’m not a fan of the flavors of many of these… especially the peanut/sun/hazelnut… looking for suggestions that replace this versus continuing to throw out due to this flavor… Thoughts?

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