Vegan chocolate desserts are one of the food groups of plant-based eaters. Here’s a selection of easy recipes and treats for special days and everyday, including cakes, cookies, truffles, puddings, pies, and more!
Not only are they delicious, but as we’ve come to learn, chocolate in its pure form is a good-for-you food. Chocolate’s caffeine-like components contribute to quick energy bursts, perfect for athletic and intellectual effort.
It’s encouraging to learn about the virtues of chocolate, but wise to be choosy about what kind you consume. Dairy-free dark chocolate is the way to go, whether in bars for snacking on, or for chips or cocoa powder (or raw cacao) for baked or unbaked treats.
Why it’s important to choose fair trade chocolate
Many major chocolate companies will not confirm that they comply with fair trade laws. These protect against unethical growing and harvesting practices, child labor, and even child slave labor (which has been documented in Ivory Coast, a major exporter of cocoa). Pleasing your palate should not come at the cost of human suffering.
So please consider fair trade chocolate both for all of the types of chocolate — chips, cocoa powder, etc., in the following recipes.
Is dark chocolate vegan?
Yes, most of the time semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate are vegan. When in doubt, read the ingredient list on the packaging.
Vegan chocolate cakes, cupcakes, brownies, & blondies
Ultra-Moist Amazing Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake: A Hannah Kaminsky masterpiece, this gorgeous cake is perfect for birthdays and holiday gatherings (shhh … it’s a chocolate mayonnaise cake).
Our Favorite Chocolate Vegan Birthday Cake: This delectable treat has been my immediate and extended family’s favorite chocolate vegan birthday cake for longer than I care to admit — it’s that good. Of course, it’s good for other special occasions.
Vegan Chocolate Brownie Cake: This cake-like brownie recipe brings a classic dessert up to date with applesauce to replace much of the dairy and sugar.
Chocolate Chip Sweet Potato Cake: The flavors of sweet potato and chocolate are surprisingly compatible. This moist cake recipe offers a subtle hint of this beloved vegetable to your tastebuds.
Chocolate Chunk Muffins: Vegan chocolate chunk muffins are a treat any time of day — even breakfast. They’re low in sugar and made with whole grain flour.
Vegan Black Bottom Cupcakes: Fran Costigan’s vegan black bottom cupcakes are, like all her sweet treats, lovingly crafted, and tested and retested, to yield the best results. It’s not for nothing that Fran Costigan has been crowned “The Queen of Vegan Desserts.”
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Cashew Frosting: Wow! That’s the reaction you’ll get when you serve Jazzy Vegetarian Laura Theodore’s divine vegan chocolate cupcakes. Packed with chocolatey flavor and topped with a decadent cashew-based frosting, they’re vegan and gluten-free, which means everyone can enjoy them.
Unbaked Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Brownies: You won’t believe how easy it is to make these unbaked vegan chocolate brownies (just above and at top), rich with nuts and sweetened with dates. There’s no need for added sugar, and these treats are flourless, gluten-free, and altogether rich and yummy.
Vegan Black Bottom Blondies: Another black-bottom treat, these luscious two-tone blondies speak to what Hannah Kaminsky’s recipes are all about: easy, approachable, and irresistible.
Vegan Cookies and Bars
Triple Seed Chocolate Energy Bars: You can make your own homemade chocolate energy bars in minutes using seeds, pureed dates, and dark chocolate — no baking required! If you’re tired of overpriced energy bars that taste like cardboard, these are a great alternative.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies: Using both chocolate chips and cocoa powder, these delectable vegan chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are an easy-to-make treat. Instead of using a lot of fat of any kind, these cookies make use of one of my favorite baking tricks — applesauce. Its sweetness reduces the amount of sugar needed, and also acts as a fat replacer.
Mini Unbaked Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies: When you crave a sweet homemade treat but don’t feel like turning on the oven, these little unbaked vegan chocolate oatmeal cookies might just be the thing. With just five ingredients (plus optional sesame seeds), these come together in a flash.
Vegan chocolate pies and puddings
Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie: Silken tofu is the secret to this vegan chocolate mousse pie —it has just the right consistency to create a smooth and creamy texture. If you’re more ambitious, use your favorite homemade pastry or cookie crust. Otherwise, any good-quality prepared plant-based pastry or graham cracker crust works fine.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie: This richly flavored no-bake vegan chocolate peanut butter pie is a luscious high-protein dessert created by Robin Robertson. Bonus — it’s gluten-free.
Chocolate Chunk Banana Vegan Bread Pudding: Contributed by Fran Costigan, this dessert is sumptuous yet quite easy to make. It’s a perfect holiday dessert and a sweet finish to weekend brunches as well.
Vanilla Cream – Chocolate Pudding Parfaits: These simple but elegant vegan parfaits by Laura Theodore are beautiful to look at and lovely to eat. They’re designed to please vanilla and chocolate lovers alike. This recipe is so easy to make, and chances are you may already have the common ingredients on hand for this uncommonly good dessert treat.
Silken Tofu and Avocado Chocolate Mousse: Another chocolate dessert in a glass, this luscious and easy silken tofu chocolate mousse and avocado chocolate pudding is a mash-up of two contemporary classics. Avocado chocolate pudding is usually made with dry cocoa or cacao, and is a staple in the raw vegan repertoire.
Deep Dark Truffle Chocolate Pudding: Laura Theodore says: “Wow your guests with a vegan chocolate pudding that tastes as decadent as a rich chocolate truffle.” And if it’s a Laura dessert, it’s guaranteed to be great!
Vegan Truffles and bites
Caramel Chewies: Caramel chewies — aka nut butter-stuffed dates with chocolate drizzle taste like mini candy bars, yet they take minutes to make, need only 5 ingredients, and are actually good for you!
No-Bake Chocolate-Dipped Figs: There are few desserts that are more sensuous than chocolate-dipped figs. And they take almost no time to make, need no baking, and are 100% vegan. Contributed by Ilene Godofsky Moreno.
Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles: Naturally vegan and easy to make, these truffles, with just 4 essential ingredients, are an energy treat that adults and kids alike will love.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles: Chef Sara Boan of Catskill Animal Sanctuary writes: “Whether at a special event, staff lunch, or cooking class, these vegan chocolate chip cookie dough truffles have always been a crowd-pleasing and compassionate indulgence that are deceptively simple to make.”
Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream Shell: Looking toward warm weather treats, Fran Costigan’s vegan chocolate ice cream shell couldn’t be easier to make, and it’s a delicious way to embellish your favorite kind of store-bought or homemade nondairy ice cream.
If you’re too busy to make your own vegan, fair trade chocolate treats …
Order some goodies online! My personal favorite: Lagusta’s Luscious, with its flagship store in New Paltz, NY, is just one company representing a growing concern about the ethical sourcing of chocolate.
Lagusta’s Luscious chocolates are not only divinely decadent, but also beautiful to behold. The barks look like miniature abstract artworks, dotted with dried fruits and bursts of sweet, smoky, and savory flavors. My personal favorite is the strawberries and cream bark (above), with swirls of homemade white chocolate — something nearly nonexistent in the plant-based realm.
See lots more vegan desserts & sweets