When I’m in the mood for a comforting treat, my go-to is definitely brownies. Chocolaty, rich, moist, and oh so delicious. And of course, everyone I know loves brownies as much as I do.
However, whipping up a batch of brownies takes time and in the heat of summer I’m often hesitant to turn on my oven in the middle of the day.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can enjoy brownies without having to turn on your oven. It’s true!
Let me show you how to make brownies without oven baking so you don’t have to say no to your favorite dessert.
1 – No Bake Brownies
No bake treats are very popular right now. They’re easy to make – all you have to do is mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. You’ll save energy since you don’t need to heat up your oven or any other appliance.
My favorite no bake recipe uses just four ingredients: a can of sweetened condensed milk, unsweetened squares of chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, and chopped walnuts. I use dark chocolate, but semi-sweet works just as well, adding a bit more sweetness to the brownie.
Line a baking pan or sheet with parchment or aluminium paper – grease with a bit of baking spray. Melt the chocolate squares and mix together all the ingredients before pressing into the pan. Then cover and place in the fridge to set, about 30 minutes.
When set, I cut the brownie into slices and store in the fridge in a covered container, pulling out pieces whenever we’re in the mood for a brownie. These brownies will easily last for up to four days.
No bake brownies are also a great way to make this treat a little healthier by modifying the ingredients, such as using dates to replace the sugar.
Dates give the brownie a slightly different flavor and texture, while still keeping the taste as sweet and brownie-rich as the traditional recipe. Look for a “healthier” no bake brownie version online.
Since no flour is used is no bake recipes, this method of “baking” results in a wonderfully chewy brownie.
2 – Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot Brownies
If you’ve gotten on the pressure cooker or instant pot bandwagon in the past few years, did you know you can make delicious brownies in these kitchen gadgets?
Both are a great option for making brownies without the oven, resulting in a brownie that is extremely moist, rich, and dense with chocolate flavor.
The one difference between pressure cooker brownies and those traditionally made in the oven is that you won’t get the crunchy top of the cake – instead these brownies are chewier and fudgier, which will appeal to any choco-holic.
When using a pressure cooker for brownies a good option for cooking is to use a round baking pan that will fit right inside. If you have an instant pot, a 7-inch pan is ideal and can be ordered online. Measure the inside of your pot to ensure you get the right pan.
Some models of instant pots come with accessories that include these insert pans. Use the “cake” function if your cooker has one, otherwise use the “normal” setting and follow cooking instructions for your cooker model.
Here’s the easy way I use my pressure cooker with my favorite brownie recipe. Mix together all dry ingredients – then add wet ingredients, stirring just to mix.
Grease an aluminium or stainless steel bowl, one that fits into the cooker. Pour in the brownie mix, spreading evenly. Then cover the bowl with aluminum foil.
Pour 1 cup of water into the pressure cooker, placing a trivet inside. Place the covered bowl onto the trivet and seal the pressure cooker. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes depending on how moist and fudgy you want your brownie.
Carefully remove the bowl from the pressure cooker. I like eating pressure cooker brownies when they’re still warm, topped with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup to add even more chocolate intensity.
3 – Slow Cooker Brownies
A similar option to the pressure cooker for making brownies without the oven is using a slow cooker. Slow cooker brownies don’t require the use of a pan within the cooker – you can simply line the slow cooker with parchment paper.
I often use my slow cooker when I want to serve brownies for dessert but I’m already using my oven to bake the main meal.
Mix together your brownie batter, being careful not to overmix otherwise you may end up with tough brownies. Next prepare the slow cooker: to get the edges of the brownie nicely baked without burning, make a liner inside of the cooker with a ring of aluminium foil that’s been formed into a coil.
Then spray with cooking spray before lining the bottom and sides of the slow cooker with parchment paper. Now spray the parchment paper with cooking spray. Fold the brownie batter into the cooker, spreading evenly.
Cover the pot and cook on the low setting for about 4.5 to 5 hours. You’ll know the brownie is ready when the edges are set while the middle of the brownie is still nice and gooey.
Lift the entire cake out of the slow cooker, using the parchment paper as handles. I let mine cool completely and then serve with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
Recipes using a slow cooker may take a few hours to make without using your oven. But once you’ve got the batter in the cooker you can just turn it on and forget about your brownies until they’re done.
4 – Stovetop Brownies
Stovetop brownies are another great choice when you want to make this treat without baking in the oven. Cooking stovetop produces considerably less heat on a hot summer day.
Stovetop brownies also make a great camping treat – just turn on the camping stove and you can enjoy brownies anywhere.
Stovetop brownies use steam to bake the brownies. For this you’ll need a large saucepan to use as the water bath, slowly steaming the brownies.
This method takes longer than baking in the oven, so if you’re in a rush to get brownies to the table you’ll need to be a bit patient.
The end result using this method is brownies that are firmly cooked around the edges while still being moist and chewy in the middle.
Before making the brownie batter, find a deep and wide saucepan that will fit an 8×8 baking pan. Place a plate upside down into the saucepan and add water, filling until the water reaches just over the plate. Bring the water to a simmer.
Make the brownie batter and pour into the greased 8×8 pan. Place the cake pan into the saucepan, setting carefully onto the upturned plate – the simmering water should come up to just the bottom of the baking pan.
You’re going to steam the brownies for about 90 minutes, but you’ll need to remember to top the water when it starts to evaporate. Once set, turn off the stove and carefully remove the brownie pan with oven mitts, letting them cool completely before serving.
I find this method of cooking brownies without the oven produces a really moist cake that freezes nicely.
5 – Microwave Brownies
When you want a quick and easy way to make brownies without an oven, the microwave will do the trick.
Most microwave brownies use a mug, so these are definitely a single serving treat and if you just want a super quick dessert for four, these microwave brownies are a great option.
A lot of people love microwave brownies because you don’t end up with a tray full of brownies that now you have no choice but to eat!
Here’s my easy way of making these brownies. Mix dry ingredients into each mug – 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder. Add 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips. Stir in 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil, 3 tablespoons milk, and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract.
Stir just to mix. Sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on top and microwave on high for about 90 seconds. And you’re done!
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream…or simply sprinkle with powdered sugar. Prep time included is under five minutes for these brownies, so you can be satisfying your chocolate craving in no time.
Now that you know how to make brownies without oven heat, you can have this decadent dessert anytime!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.