Crazy Brownies are chewy brownies that are crazy good and just as crazy to make since they are made with NO milk, eggs, or butter! No frosting is needed, but you could sprinkle some confectioners sugar, or walnuts on top for a little bit of sweet crunch in each chocolatey bite. They are based on my Depression Cake, also known as Crazy Cake or Wacky Cake, made with (or should I say without😉) the same ingredients.

Chocolate Brownies Cut into Squares and One cut Into Pieces Showing Inside.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Flour: Use all-purpose flour in these brownies. I have not tested the recipe with other kinds of flour, so I cannot speak to their effectiveness.

Cocoa Powder: Unsweetened regular cocoa powder was used in this recipe. I also mixed a little cocoa powder with confectioners’ sugar to sprinkle over the cooled brownies before serving.

Vinegar: White distilled vinegar is added to the batter to react with the baking soda, causing the brownies to rise. The vinegar also helps activate the cocoa powder for a more chocolatey flavor.

Coffee: I highly recommend adding brewed coffee to these brownies. It will enhance the chocolate flavor without tasting like coffee. In a pinch, you could use water instead.

Chocolate Brownies Stacked on Top of Each other.

Can I Add Frosting to the Brownies?

Sure! If you do add frosting, just keep in mind that many are not dairy free (if that is a concern). Here are a few of my favorite frosting options:

The brownies don’t need any frosting, but it is fun to try different flavors!

Chocolate Brownies Stacked on Top of Each other with Ganache Being drizzled on It.
Chocolate Ganache (made with butter)

How to Store Crazy Brownies

Once baked and cooled, store the brownies at room temperature in an airtight container. They will last 3-4 days. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week, but that could cause the brownies to dry out. For even longer storage, freeze the brownies wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil for up to 2-3 months.

Chocolate Brownies Stacked on Top of Each other.
5 from 2 votes

Crazy Brownies

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Crazy Brownies are moist brownies that are crazy good and just as crazy to make since they are made without milk, eggs, or butter!


  • 1 ½ cups (187 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (29.5 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • cup (73 g) vegetable oil
  • ½ cup (125 g) brewed coffee (can use water)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Topping (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
  • To the dry ingredients, add vanilla, vinegar, oil, and coffee. Using a spatula, mix until the ingredients are fully combined. The batter will be thick.
  • Use your spatula to spread the batter out to the edges of the prepared baking dish. Top with walnuts, if using.
  • Bake for 17-19* minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean with a few crumbs, but no wet batter. Let cool.

Topping (optional)

  • In a small bowl, mix together the confectioners' sugar with cocoa powder. Sift over the cooled brownies. Cut and serve.


*It is important to not overbake these brownies! Check at 17 and test with a toothpick. If the batter is not wet, remove them from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Overbaking these brownies can result in a cake-like texture.

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What are Crazy Brownies?

Crazy Brownies are based on Depression Cake, also known as Wacky or Crazy Cake. It is a dessert made with ingredients that were hard to come by during the Great Depression and wartime. But, just because times are hard doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a sweet treat or dessert once in a while.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. Given the research on unhealthiness, contaminants, GMOs, and toxicities of vegetable and seed oils — especially when exceed their smoke points or when cooked with and particularly when cooked for too long beyond a quick, simple sauté, just wondering if applesauce or avocado puree would work well in this recipe instead. Will have to give it a try and experiment to see.

    1. Don’t believe all the fearmongering, love. Without GMOs we would starve, toxicity is about dosage (water is toxic if you drink too much), contaminates (?), and everything is unhealthy for some reason or another to one person or another. Life is short, just use oil in the brownies ❤️

    2. Why do you have to be what could be considered rude about it. You could just look elsewhere for an oil free recipe.

    3. Do you eat any vegetables? If you do, you are eating GMOs. There’s not one vegetable that’s not a GMO. Stop believing all the memes and TikTok videos that are out there. You’ll starve to death.

  2. This is absolutely delicious and so easy. Just the right amount 8×8 is perfect for our family too. This is right up there with your blueberry cake recipe.

    1. Oh good!!! I am so glad it worked! We tested it quite a bit and while it doesn’t compare to the denseness of brownies with eggs (just my opinion) it is a really great alternative for folks who don’t want those ingredients! I’m just so happy you like it, Glenna!

  3. What type of flour can be substituted to make it gluten free.
    Most gluten free anything is awful tasting. 🙁

    1. You can make ur own gluten free flour. I agree some can be nasty alone. But you can mix almond flour with coconut flour and rice flour and get a whole different flavor.

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