Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


Dense, chocolatey brownies made with chia seeds for a healthy treat. Low carb, gluten-free and sugar-free. This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill.

Low Carb Mocha Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Chia Seeds

There are so many misconceptions about a low carb diet, I often find myself exhausted at trying to battle them all. Attempting to show people that a high fat, low carb diet is not only great for weight loss and blood glucose control, but is actually very healthy all around, takes a lot of energy. Sometimes I just want to hide in my kitchen creating delicious recipes and not bother even trying to correct these misconceptions. But I would be very remiss as a low carb advocate if I did that.

So today I am over on the Bob’s Red Mill blog, attempting to correct the idea that low carb diets are also low fiber diets. I don’t know about you, but I eat plenty of high fiber vegetables and fruits, probably more than many people who follow a more conventional “healthy” diet. In my baking, I use flour alternatives that have as much or more fiber than many whole grains. As with anything, you can also get too much dietary fiber, so it’s a balance.

Sugar Free Chia Seed Brownies

And to prove my point a little, I made some healthy and delicious chia seed brownies. We all know chia is good for us and it’s a great source of fiber. I got to wondering if it would make a good addition to a sweet baked good like brownies. Let me just say that my kids adored these. They couldn’t get enough and my son declared they were the best brownies he’s ever had. Because chia tends to attract and hold moisture, they were very dense and fudgy, which is my favourite kind of brownie. If you prefer yours a little cakier, try baking a little longer. And these are a really great base recipe. I dressed mine up with a little coffee and some chocolate chunks, but they would be wonderful frosted or with nuts and other fun inclusions. Since we have yet another snow day on our hands, I am letting my kids help me make these again today!

Please check out my Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies on Bob’s Red Mill.

Serves 16. Each serving has 6 g of carbs and 4 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 2 g.

152 Calories; 14g Fat (75.7% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 69mg Cholesterol; 172mg Sodium

ow Carb Gluten Free Chia Seed Brownies

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. All opinions, thoughts, recipes, photography, random tangents and incoherent ramblings are my own.

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  1. Eric says

    Wow, these look amazing, almost like pure chocolate. Any idea what the nutritional info is on them? I realize that numbers will vary depending on the chocolate you use, but any starting point would help. Thanks.

    • Carolyn says

      Oh thank you for the reminder! I had it calculated out but forgot to put it in. HAng tight, I will have it up in a few…

  2. Lea says

    Wow, these look delicious!! Would love to make them, but cannot find any unsweetened chocolate around here in Germany. Do you think I could just use cocoa powder instead? If so, would I substitute it by using 3 oz of that as well? Sorry if this is too obvious.. 😀 and thanks ahead!

    • Carolyn says

      Someone on another recipe just looked up the substitution and said it’s 3 tbsp cocoa powder and 1 tbsp oil for each ounce of unsweetened chocolate. Try that.

    • Carolyn says

      Yes, preferably very dark, high % cacao chocolate which would only have a little sugar in it. I use 85 or 90% cacao.

      • Wendy Weiss says

        Okay, thank you.
        I can’t wait to try this recipe & your chocolate cake with the peanut butter frosting!
        Have you ever made anything with Carbquick?

  3. says

    You are killing me. Now I have 2 must-make recipes of yours on the radar (well, I have more, but 2 that I have to make THIS WEEK). Luckily I’m taking a week off of blogging so I should have some time.

  4. Deardiabetic says

    These look great but I can’t print the recipe from here or the Bob’s site. I get a screen saying I’m not allowed. Guess I’ll have to write it all out by hand again but I would like to use more of your recipes if only I could print them. Anyone else have this problem?

    • Carolyn says

      Can you not simply cut and paste it into a word document? I was able to. You can’t print the recipe from my site because it’s not on my site. But I simply copied the text on BRM and pasted it into a word doc and it was fine.

  5. Dear diabetic says

    Thanks for trying to help me Carolyn and Wendy. The print icon doesn’t work for me as that is when I get the screen saying the site has blocked that function for me and I can’t cut and paste on this tablet. No problem I have copied the recipe to a 3×5 card and will do it the old faishoned way!

  6. FrenchSophie says

    Hello ! I just start with low carb diet for similar health reason than you Carolyn and I love love baking, so I guess this is the good website.
    I just wonder what kinda chocolate brand provide these high % cacao ? In the stores? On the internet ? Sorry if it sounds stupid, but I’m french and even after 5 years in California, I still don’t know everything about food here !
    Thanks :)

    • Carolyn says

      Lindt is not certified gluten-free but it makes 85% and 90% cacao bars. Scharffen Berger is certified gluten free and makes 82% cacao bars. Whole Foods carries a wide selection of different brands and some are GF and some aren’t, so if you need to be gluten-free, check the labels. You can also order online.

  7. anon says

    Now I’m sad – I’m diabetic and 7 grams carbs is great for a brownie. But I don’t have a coffee grinder – they don’t sell ground chia seeds?

    • Kim says

      I just used an Oster personal blender and it worked out just fine. Maybe try that or a food processor? I know mine worked out well because the blade is at the very bottom and it blended in a bottle, so it gave it enough height to be picked up and ground.

  8. maria says

    Hi—they are in the oven right now. The raw batter tasted good—not too dark, but rich and chocolate-y. I used powdered Swerve because it was all I had. And I got to use 3/4 c of ground chia seeds I had in the fridge. Been there for many months. Good to use them!

    I am thinking of adding coconut next time—since i also have a lot of dried shredded coconut.

    Would coconut oil work as a replacement for the butter, at least part of the butter?

    Thanks again for making my life more beautiful


  9. jen says

    These brownies are fabulous! I baked mine for 15 mins so they are very fudgy! I never liked chia seeds much but I don’t mind them in this recipe at all. I’ve been eating mine with a dollop of cool whip on top. Thanks so much!

  10. Lorraine says

    Absolutely delicious! I don’t have a 9×9 pan so I used an 8×8 and baked them for about 40 minutes, so more cake-like. Next time, and there will be a next time, I’ll do a little less and see if they come out a bit chewier but they’re much thicker so that may not work.

    They have a very dark chocolate flavor which is perfect for me. I’m guessing my milk chocolate (Yuck!) loving husband won’t like them much. Fine, he can eat the Girl Scout cookies instead :)

    I ran and took the dogs on a long walk today so I treated myself to 2, a reward for my patience waiting for them to bake and cool.

  11. says

    Hi! These look AMAZING! Would you have to use chia seeds that are ground? (I don’t have a grinder.) Or could you just use the seeds as is?

    Thanks, Patti in Texas

    • Carolyn says

      I am sure you could use the chia as is, but you may get chia stuck in your teeth! It may also change the consistency a little more, not really sure.

    • Sherrie says

      Hi Patti!

      I used my Magic Bullet and it has worked fine for both Chia Seeds and turning granulated sugar into powdered. I you have something similar, it might work for you too.


      • says

        Thanks for the suggestion, Sherrie; unfortunately, I don’t have a Bullet, but I might try putting the chia seeds in a blender and see if that will grind them up a little. Patti in Texas

  12. Loretta says


    I made these a few days ago. Having one now with my morning coffee. Better than I thought they would be. Heated it up in the microwave and voila. Thank you so much for your genius in making these recipes available. I’m one that needs to follow a recipe, could never make one up from scratch. smile. Hope your husband is doing well. Take care and God Bless.


    • Carolyn says

      Thanks, Loretta! But whaddya mean, “better than you thought they would be”! Haha, I know it’s a little weird with chia in there, but they’re pretty good and not overly sweet. They make a great breakfast!

      • Loretta says

        Hi Carolyn,

        Ha ha! I meant I wasn’t sure about the chia thing. I just bought it for the first time in anticipation of making this recipe and a few days prior to making these, had made a recipe for chocolate chia pudding from sugar free Mom. So my foray into the chia seed world is very limited indeed. Your picture of the brownies looked so good, I couldn’t resist. I didn’t have a 9 x 9 pan but an 11×9 pan and a round 8″ pan. So, I opted for the round one and wound up having to cook way longer to compensate for the depth of that pan in order for the batter to firm up. All turned out well, but next time I would opt for the bigger square pan as opposed to the smaller round one. I went for a more cakey texture but next time will go with the chewy texture as that is what I liked about your picture. They were delicious and I loved the chewy pieces of chocolate chunks in there that were especially delicious when microwaved, gooey and melting in my mouth. Anyway, they were a true treat. As a matter of fact, I am traveling this afternoon with a friend to a concert in another city and we will be staying overnight. I am bringing these with me as a snack for her and I. Loved them. Take care. <3


  13. Gingergirl says

    HELP! I made these to the exact recipe. I used sprouted chia meal/powder and I used Ghirardelli unsweetened chocolate. So I made a smaller pan and took that out first. I was a thin layer so took less time to cook. I did not add any chocolate chunks but used the coffee. These taste gawd awful. They taste like a weird cakey thing but not chocolatey and not sweet. They also have a slimey mouth feel as you roll the cake against your tongue. So I added some Lily’s chocolate chips on top to give it more chocolatey sweet flavour -nope not working. Is it possible they will taste better when they cool down? While the second pan was cooking I added chunks of dark chocolate pushed into the batter and a ton of the Lily’s chocolate chips on top. I took the pan out after 25 minutes thinking this is plenty of time but they are still giggly in the middle…It was a lot of expensive ingredients so I would hate to throw them away! I wanted to bring to an Oscar party tonight. Why would they not taste chocolatey? What if I put a sweet caramel sauce on top? I know it’s hard to help when you’re not sure what I am talking about but I really want to salvage these. Thanks

    • Carolyn says

      I don’t know what went wrong but I don’t know what sprouted chia meal is so that is potentially a factor here. I really don’t know what to tell you. Try cutting them up into small squares (bite-size) and doing something to the top as you suggest.

  14. Gingergirl says

    Well I made your caramel sauce which is out of this world but I have to say that even with that the texture of the cake causes me to gag and the taste is hard to describe other then like a plant fibre. It’s really too bad- I really wanted to like them but I just can’t get them down. The more I chew the more slimey in the mouth and now it has been a few hours and they are cold and it hasn’t helped. The middle is more like a pudding and the outer edge is like a cake. I was reading up and many articles talk about chia turning into a gel like substance when mixed with liquid. This may be why the pudding consistency in the middle. I do love all your recipes with almond flour and coconut flour I think I will have to stay away from chia recipes. Have a wonderful Sunday! Cheers!

    • Carolyn says

      I’m sorry you didn’t like these but again, it may be the sprouted chia you used. Sprouted usually means left in water for a while to germinate, which means it would have a higher moisture content than straight chia. I can’t say for sure that’s the problem but since my kids and many, many readers have loved these, it really might be the issue here. Don’t write chia off, is all I am saying!

  15. FrenchSophie says

    I try this recipe twice and the first time I had a similar adventure than Gingergirl. I have to admit I baked as usual : a little bit of that and then a litlle bit more of that without checking really the measurements and I forgot the coffee. I also had similar impossible-to-eat small cakes.
    The second try is currently in the owen, this time I carefully checked everything, for the chocolate I used half unsweetened Ghiradelli – half Traders joe belgian chocolate 72%, and added more of my sweetener (that is call Sin Free sugar). I also added walnuts :)
    The dough is already millions time better than first time….

    Now I’m looking forward to trying more recipes from the blog :)

    • FrenchSophie says

      Update: perfect texture but a bit bitter. I like dark chocolate though, I dont know if it’s because I used the Sin Free Sugar (from Sprouts Farmers market) rather than the Swerve sweetener. and I used the unsweetened ghiradelli chocolate to prepare the chocolate chips.

      Now…. what am I gonna try next ?!!!

  16. Jina says

    Thank you thank you sooo much for this recipe!! It really saved me and I was amazed at how fudgy and good it tasted. Your blog has been one of my favorites and being a big foodie, your recipes have really kept me on track and I can’t thank you enough!! One question I have with this is since swerve is out of stock online I purchased stevia extract powder from traders, I uses 1/3 cup of it but can you tell me the conversion from
    Granulated swerve to this powder?

    • Carolyn says

      I cannot tell you that off the top of my head but since Swerve measures like sugar, you need to find out how the sweetener you bought measure in terms of sugar and do it that way.

  17. says

    I made these and I baked them for about 17 minutes. They definitely came out fudgy and flufffy. When they were warm it was weird, but the day after being chilled and set, they taste just like those Russel Stover chocolate covered marshmallow egg candy. Really really good.

  18. Lin says

    I’m making my second batch today. I made them a few weeks ago and they were amazing. My husband and I were surprised at how moist they were and they kept that moistness until the last one was consumed. I did add some walnuts. I baked mine for 17 minutes and they were perfection. I love your recipes and always looks forward to what you develop.

  19. jeanie says

    I have made these 3 times. The perfect recipe. Love them. They hit the spot when I need a little something. Leaving on a road trip tomorrow, so I’ll make a batch to take with me and share.
    I’ve been thinking of making a “blond” batch of these maybe with some lemon juice and rind. Maybe you already have that done in your list somewhere. Maybe with unsweetend white chocolate. Thanks for all your hard work

  20. Nicky Oliver says

    Help – just made these and they are not nice! I’m UK so maybe I didn’t use the correct amounts – cups don’t translate. For the chia I used 75grams and then ground them – does that sound right.

    They are solid and have a texture like meat. I cooked them on 180 for 15mins
    I appreciate any help as I’m trying to find some alternative desserts.

    • Carolyn says

      This is a tough one for me since I don’t do anything by weight, but a half cup is usually considered to be closer to 125 g. I will try to weigh out 1/2 a cup of chia seeds today and get back to you.

    • Kay says

      I used 80g of chia and it didn’t come out solid and like meat, but was definiely drier that I wanted and not fudgy, so I think 75g would be better. My oven tends to run a bit hotter than it tells me with my the baking stone insides so maybe that’s why, next time I will try at a lower temp or shorter time.

  21. Barb Chen says

    Hi Carolyn, I’m a new fan of yours and have made several of your amazing recipes. I’m currently low carb because I’m currently being treated for a condition requiring large doses of prednisone and low carb/low sodium keeps the water weight gain at bay. Thanks for making my low carb life more tolerable!

    I had my first “bad” experience the other day with this recipe, but I have a theory. I followed the recipe exactly. I, too, had the brownies turn out bitter and not sweet, with an “earthy” off flavor, plus the “pudding” (liquid) consistency remained after over 25 minutes of baking. Mine is still pudding in the middle. I should have added a lot of extra sweetener after tasting the batter and realizing that I could barely tell it had any sweetener in it at all, but I didn’t. I knew something was very wrong at that point. My theory is that I (and perhaps other people?) over-ground the chia. I ground mine very fine, which exposes much more chia surface area, probably magnifying the pudding effect, and bringing out the “earthy” (bad) flavor. I can eat the outer edges (which are cakey) by rolling it in stevia powder (bulked up…Pure Via from Costco is really non-bitter) but the gooey center area is still bitter. How finely do you grind your chia?

    • Carolyn says

      Hmmm, interesting theory indeed! I grind mine until it resembles flax seed meal (store bought). It’s not powdery, you can see the flecks. Does that help?

      • Barb Chen says

        Definitely! I ground and ground until it was very fine. And then, I even used the stuff that was so fine it was caked to the bottom of the grinder. Fatal mistake, I’m sure. Next time I will grind until it looks like ground flax. I’m sure it will behave better and the brownies will look more like yours!

        • Kathy says

          I really wish I had read these comments about the chia seed grind before baking my brownies. I obviously ground mine way too fine and the middle third of the batch was way too moist, like a pudding cake, but fortunately the pieces on the perimeter were fudgey and very tasty, so I will certainly try this recipe again. I have chia seeds on hand but I think that my local bulk food store sells ground chia so I think I will buy that for the next time. I liked that the brownies were not too sweet, more like dark chocolate which is my favourite.

  22. Katie J says

    Just made these – amazing texture, I had no idea that could be done with chia seeds! Mine came out like cake, and look very handsome. Thank you Carolyn for your creativity and work!
    I ground 3/4 c. chia seeds for 3/4 c. chia seed meal.

  23. Annalisa says

    I made this brownies yesterday, and I love them, as with all of your recipes! 😀
    I had to use plain chia seeds since my blender could not grind them (jus a little bit at the bottom of the vase, after 10 minutes or so of grinding…), and of course now you can tell there are chia seeds in the bronwnies, but anyway they are very very good! Since I baked them a little longer, the texture is halfway between brownie and cake, with these crispy seeds inside (because of that, the brownies tend to crumble a bit, but it’s not a problem at all) and the chunks of choccolate….well, I just love them! 😀
    Oh, by the way, the label on the package of my chia seeds says that you should eat more or less 15 g of chia seeds per day (I guess more may cause some problems), wich is more or less 2 of these brownies a day 😀 (if my calculations are right! Since I live in Italy, I have to convert everything in the metrical system :) )
    Thanks for you wonderful recipes!

  24. Vicky says

    I had to try this recipe after seeing Carolyn highlight it on FB. I’m not a fan of the somewhat slimy texture of flax and chia so I took the precautions of under-grinding the chia seeds and adding them at the last minute and not stirring too much. I don’t know if those efforts did anything but the batter was delicious, albeit crunchy. I also used half Splenda and half Swerve to cut down on the Swerve cooling effect. Warm from the oven (I under-cooked for fudgey texture) they are a bit more cakey than I wanted and have a slightly foamy texture. I’ll put them in the fridge to see it they get more dense/fudgey later. Thank you, Carolyn!

    • Carolyn says

      It definitely shouldn’t be crunchy, so sounds to me like it was either ground enough or maybe you did need to put in earlier?

    • Vicky says

      Hmmm. Final conclusion- not sweet enough and texture is a little weird. Both issues probably directly related to the changes I made to the recipe. Once again I learn the lesson that I should just follow instructions!

  25. Anne o says

    Just made these again. Super good right out of the oven. Third time I made them. Can not believe the flour used is ground chia seed. You’re a genius Carolyn! Many thanks-

  26. Michelle says

    Made this this evening. I was skeptical when they were cooking because I tasted the batter and it was not very sweet or chocolatey. My family has been on a low-carb lifestyle for 6 months now, but we haven’t really made any baked goods in that time, so I am unfamiliar with the recipies.

    This took WAY longer than the 15-20 minutes to cook through. Mine was in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, and could have used a few more minutes.

    And to be honest– these are not brownies. They are not sweet or chocolatey, and do not have a dense texture that I associate with brownies.

    They are moist, and have a nice texture and do taste good. If I had been given this as a muffin I would have like it much more, but these came very far from hitting my craving for chocolatey baked goods.

  27. Christina says

    Do you know how these would work if one omitted the sugar, and unsweetened chocolate and used a chocolate protein powder instead? Thanks!

    • Carolyn says

      No, i have no idea how that would work out. I don’t think it would be very good in this recipe.


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