This is our best brownie recipe (our readers love them)! These rich, fudgy brownies are made entirely from scratch. They are much better than boxed brownies. You probably have everything you need in your kitchen already. There have been so many happy reviews!
Watch the video
Saying these are the “best brownies ever” is a bold statement, but it’s true in our home. Here are three reasons why:
- Thanks to cocoa powder, these brownies are easy to make and taste rich and extra chocolaty.
- The perfect blend of butter, sugar, and flour guarantees brownies with fudgy middles and beautiful crinkly tops.
- Far from cakey, their moist and fudgy texture is similar to what you’d expect from boxed mixes. These are perfect for boxed brownie lovers. Even better, these chocolate brownies are much more flavorful than anything made from a box. They taste amazing, just read the reviews!
For thicker brownies, see our no-fuss brownies that are fudgy in the middle and chewy around the edges.
Key ingredients for brownies
These brownies require one bowl and come together in minutes. There’s also a good chance you already have the ingredients to make brownies in your kitchen.
- Cocoa powder is what makes these easy brownies so delicious. Over the years, we have used a variety of cocoa powders. Natural cocoa powder, Dutch-processed cocoa powder, and raw cacao powder all work in this brownie recipe. Use what you love. I love the flavor of Droste Cacao (a Dutch cocoa powder) in these brownies since it’s more mellow and reminds me of the chocolate flavor of Oreos. Natural cocoa powder makes these taste like sharp, rich dark chocolate.
- Butter adds so much more flavor than oil ever could. We use 100% butter in the recipe. I use unsalted butter, but you can swap it for salt. If you use salted butter, leave out the salt called for in our recipe below.
- Granulated sugar balances the bitterness of unsweetened cocoa powder in our recipe. It also adds to the texture of the brownies, making the centers soft and the tops crinkly. Brown sugar works, but you might lose the crinkly top.
- Eggs add richness and provide structure to the brownies.
- Salt and vanilla help to round out their flavor. Salt in baking might seem odd, but like in savory cooking, it makes all the other ingredients pop.
- All-purpose flour is the last brownie ingredient, but you only need a little. We’re on the hunt for extra fudgy brownies, and keeping the flour to a minimum helps with that. Cakey brownie recipes will call for more flour. If you are gluten-free, if you read through the comments below, quite a few people have successfully used a a gluten-free flour blend (like the Bob’s Red Mill blend).
How to make the best brownies
These brownies are simple to make. Our updated method for these brownies requires one saucepan and a spoon. You do not need a mixer to make this recipe. For a single-serve brownie, see how we make a brownie in a mug.
Originally, this recipe used a double-boiler to melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. After years of making these, we’ve simplified the method to make it easier and quicker, using fewer dishes while maintaining the same amazing results. For previous readers who love the original method, see the tips section of the recipe.
Take the butter off the heat and immediately stir in sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and salt. The mixture will look like a gritty paste, but don’t worry. It will smooth out when we add the eggs and flour later. Stirring the sugar and cocoa into the hot butter helps with the shiny top. The heated sugar moves up to the top of the brownies when they are in the oven, which is how they get that shiny top. The hot butter also blooms the cocoa powder, making our brownies taste better.
Stir in eggs, one at a time, and then the flour. Beat your brownie batter with a spoon until it’s thick and shiny and pulls away from the sides of your saucepan.
This extra beating ensures the butter emulsifies into the batter, guaranteeing the brownies bake perfectly in the oven. I usually tell you to avoid over-mixing batters, but that’s not the case with these simple brownies. The same goes for blondies batter. Here’s our blondies recipe, which are like brownies, but made with a vanilla batter.
Bake your brownies in a 325°F oven until the edges are set and the middle looks slightly underdone. See our video for reference on what the baked brownies should look like. I’ve also shared a section below telling you how I tell when brownies are ready to be pulled out of the oven because nobody wants an over-baked brownie.
Why don’t you add chocolate?
These homemade brownies use cocoa powder instead of chocolate. Since we use cocoa powder, the brownies stay fudgy and aren’t too sweet. If you are like us and find yourself reaching for dark chocolate over milk, these are most certainly for you.
This recipe is slightly adapted from Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies, found in many of her cookbooks. Medrich is a genius when it comes to chocolate. Search on Google, and you’ll see that many brownie recipes call for chocolate that is melted into butter and then mixed with sugar, eggs, and flour. This recipe is different — and smart.
Medrich calls for cocoa powder instead of chocolate. By removing the chocolate (as well as the fat and sugar that goes along with it), she fine-tuned the brownies so that the middles were softer and moist and the tops were shiny and candy-like. This recipe is pure gold.
You can use your favorite cocoa powder to make these brownies. Our video shows Guittard Cocoa Rouge, which makes the brownies rich and tastes like decadent chocolate. I also love Dutch processed chocolate. It makes the brownies taste more similar to the chocolate flavor of Oreos (more mellow but still rich). Feel free to experiment with different cocoa powders in this recipe!
⭐️ If you want to add chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, you can. These are your brownies, after all! We recommend stirring a handful of chocolate into the batter before pouring it into the baking pan or scattering chocolate on top of the batter in the pan.
What pan should I use?
We bake the brownies in an 8-inch square pan. Since posting the recipe, quite a few readers have asked if it would be okay to use a larger pan. You can, but you will need to double the recipe.
If you double the recipe, a 9-inch by 13-inch rectangular pan is perfect, and the brownies will be slightly thicker.
Use light-colored or shiny metal baking pans since they cook more evenly. Dark pans or non-metal pans like glass or ceramic can affect bake time and the texture of the brownies when baked. If these pans are all you have, keep an eye on the brownies while they bake. Check on them 5 minutes before the recipe baking time below, and then again every 5 minutes afterward until they are done.
How to tell when brownies are done
Telling when brownies are ready to come out of the oven can be a little tricky, but don’t worry, with my tips you’ll be a brownie pro in no time! Watch our video for some visual cues.
- Use a timer. I’m destined for overbaked brownies without a timer cueing me to check on them! They should take 20 to 30 minutes, so set the timer for 18 minutes to be safe. This way, you can watch them closely towards the end of cooking.
- Use a toothpick. Stick it into the center of the pan and pull it out. If there is a lot of wet batter on the toothpick, they need more time. If you only see a small amount of wet batter and the hole where you inserted the toothpick is visible, they are finished baking. If there’s nothing on the toothpick, you might have overbaked them, so definitely take them out of the oven.
- Use your eyes. Perfectly baked brownies will look a little underbaked in the middle. (Sounds strange, right). As the brownies cool, they continue to cook. So when the edges look dry, and the center slightly underdone, take them out of the oven. Even if it ends up that you took them out a minute early, an underbaked square in the middle of the pan is much better than the whole pan being overbaked. Plus, I’d happily eat the underbaked middle if I were at your house.
Why did my brownies take longer to bake?
After sharing this brownie recipe years ago, some readers have found that they needed to bake their batch for 5 to 10 minutes more than we suggest in the recipe. These take 20 to 25 minutes in our oven. Still, ovens vary, so having visual cues for telling when something is done is so important.
Don’t be afraid to take your brownies out of the oven with the center still a little underdone.
If your brownies need extra time, I’d check the oven temperature. Some in-home ovens are uncalibrated, so while you think you’ve set the temperature properly, the oven can be off by 25 degrees! A simple oven thermometer set on a rack inside your oven can help. Most kitchen stores sell them. Ours was about $10.
Easy Fudgy Brownies
Say hello to our favorite brownies recipe from scratch. You only need a saucepan and spoon to make these brownies. Mixing the sugar and cocoa powder into the hot melted butter helps get that shiny, crinkly top we all love.
If you reach for darker chocolate over milk chocolate, these bittersweet brownies are for you. Use natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder. See the tips below the recipe for guidance on choosing the best cocoa powder for your brownies. Try this brownie recipe for less bittersweet brownies with chewy edges.
Recipe update: Originally, we melted the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder using a double boiler. After years of making the recipe, we’ve updated the recipe so that it all happens in one saucepan. This is easier, uses fewer dishes, and delivers the same results. If you’ve made this recipe using the double-boiler method and loved it, feel free to stick with it. Tips for the older method are below the recipe.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
10 tablespoons (145g) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (75g) unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled, see notes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large cold eggs
1/2 cup (65g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, see notes
2/3 cup (80g) chopped walnuts, pecans, or chocolate chips, optional
- Prepare Batter
1Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325°F (162°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to help remove the baked brownies from the pan.
2Add the butter to a medium saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and cook until the butter melts completely, then turn off the heat. Stay close, and do not let it brown.
3While the butter is hot, stir in the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Stir well until blended. Don’t worry if the batter looks gritty. Once you add the eggs, the brownie batter will become smooth.
4Set the saucepan aside to cool until the mixture is warm, not hot — 5 to 10 minutes. Test the temperature by touching the batter, it should be comfortable to hold without feeling hot.
5Add the cold eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each egg.
6When the batter looks thick and well blended, add the flour. Use a spoon to beat the flour into the batter until it is very thick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. I use a wooden spoon or spatula and beat for 40 to 50 strokes (see video for reference).
7Stir in nuts or chocolate chips (optional).
- Bake Brownies
1Spread the thick brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan — it can be hard to spread because it is so thick. Do your best to push the batter to the corners and even out the top.
2Bake the brownies until the edges look dry and the middle is slightly underbaked, 20 to 30 minutes. A toothpick plunged into the center should emerge somewhat moist with batter. As the brownies cool, they firm up but will always be moist and fudgy in the middle.
3Cool completely before removing the brownies from the pan — this step is essential and helps the brownies set. Cut into 16 squares.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Cocoa powder: Use your favorite cocoa powder for this recipe. Dutch-processed cocoa makes these taste more mellow and chocolatey. The chocolate flavor reminds me of Oreos. Natural cocoa powder like Ghiradelli or Guittard (Guittard Cocoa Rouge is used in the video) makes the brownies taste richer and like sharp dark chocolate.
- Measuring the flour and cocoa powder: Mismeasured flour can cause this recipe to fail. Either measure by weight (grams) or use the spoon and sweep method to fill your measuring cup. Stir the flour in your storage container, then sprinkle the four into your measuring cup with a spoon. Use a flat edge to sweep excess flour from the top. See me do this in our video.
- Microwave: Combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl, and then microwave for 20-second increments until the butter melts into the sugar. Stir the mixture in between microwaving.
- Double-boiler: Originally, we recommended using a bowl set inside a saucepan with barely simmering water to melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder together. After years of making this brownie recipe, we no longer do this ourselves and instead melt the butter and sugar in the saucepan. Our updated method saves a little time but delivers the same results. To make these using the double-boiler method, place a heat-safe bowl with the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder over barely simmering water. When the butter melts, set aside to cool, and then add the salt, vanilla, and cold eggs (one at a time). Continue with the flour as written in the recipe above.
- Baking pan: We prefer a metal 8-inch square pan. Ceramic and glass pans may affect bake time. Check on doneness 5 minutes early and every 5 minutes after that.
- Cutting brownies: Cooled brownies are much easier to cut. For clean edges, use a chef’s knife and wipe it clean after each slice. For guaranteed perfect edges, chill the brownies in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours before slicing.
- This brownie recipe is slightly adapted from Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies, which is found in many of her cookbooks, including Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. If you love dessert as much as we do, buy it.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.