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This recipe for Homemade Brownies really is the best because they are made with REAL chocolate AND cocoa powder so that they are the most decadent, extra fudgy and dense brownies you’ve ever tasted. You won’t believe how easy it is to make brownies from scratch with a tissue-thin crinkly crust that rival any mix!
Homemade brownies from scratch
Brownies can be a divisive dessert. Some people like them fudgy, others prefer them cakey. Frosted or unfrosted? With nuts or without? Box mix or from scratch? Are you an edge person or do you like the middle best? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
These are my favorite fudgy brownies. They are chewy and dense and moist and super rich. I recognize that it’s a bold claim, but this really is the best brownie recipe that I make in place of a box mix. Which, let’s face it, is the gold standard for many people.
Plus, these homemade brownies are made from scratch in one bowl, by hand. I have tested them dozens of times and am confident that any home baker can make brownies that aren’t just as good, but better than a mix!
One of my favorite things about brownies from scratch is the way they smell. The process of melting chocolate and butter to combine sugar and eggs fills your kitchen with the most incredible aroma that you just never get with a mix.
And the resultant brownies are have such an intense chocolate flavor with sweet bits of melted chocolate chips throughout. We’ve never gone back to mixes once we started making these. And my husband was a die-hard box mix guy, so that’s saying a lot.
What makes brownies fudgy?
Fudgy brownies have a higher fat to flour content whereas more cakelike brownies do not. This recipe balances that ratio through butter and chocolate with a relatively small amount of flour to bring you a deliciously fudgy result.
Ingredients to make brownies from scratch
- Butter: I use salted butter in almost all of my baking. You could use oil instead, But I find that it doesn’t give the richness of butter.
- Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate: I tried to suss out the difference between bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, but it seems like an almost impossible thing to do. I have made this recipe with both, including using semisweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli makes bittersweet baking chips that work really well), but ultimately my favorite batch was made with a bar of chopped bittersweet chocolate. The better quality chocolate you use, the better your baked goods will taste.
- Cocoa powder: My preference is dutch process cocoa powder (Rodelle is my favorite brand) but you can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder as well. I always have Hershey’s or Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder in the cupboard and those work well too.
- Sugar: After much testing, I have decided that using part brown sugar and part granulated sugar gives the best results in chewy brownies with a deep, rich flavor and a crackly crust on top.
- Eggs: For years I made this recipe with an extra egg yolk, but I’m no longer convinced it adds enough to justify it. These are still ultra fudgy with just three whole eggs and it makes the recipe easier anyway.
- All-purpose flour: I use unbleached all-purpose flour in this recipe and in most of my baking unless I specify otherwise.
- Salt: Can’t make baked goods without a little salt!
- Vanilla: This common baking ingredient amplifies the other flavors, rather than being noticeable on its own.
- Semisweet chocolate chips: Totally optional to stir these in at the end before spreading the batter into the pan, but my family loves them. If it were just me, I would skip the chocolate chips and use walnuts instead, but I often get voted out on this particular issue.
How to make brownies from scratch
- Melt butter and bittersweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. This can be done in the microwave in 20-30 seconds bursts, stirring between each burst until smooth.
- Whisk the cocoa powder into the hot butter and chocolate mixture. I started doing this every since I learned about how heat makes the flavor of cocoa powder “bloom” and it really does seem to give a more robust, chocolatey taste.
- Whisk in the sugars, followed by the eggs. This can be done by hand or with an electric mixer, but beating the eggs and sugar well helps develop that crackly crust that is so coveted in good brownies.
- Sprinkle the flour and salt over the top and stir in with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stir in the chocolate chips or walnuts, if using. The batter will be very thick.
- Pour the batter into a 9×9-inch metal pan lined with a parchment paper sling. I’m notoriously bad at cutting straight lines when things are in a pan. With a sling, you can lift the brownies out and slice them, which is so much easier!
- Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree F oven. Do not overbake! A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few crumbs on it when they are done. If the toothpick is still wet with batter, let them cook for just a couple minutes longer.
Tips for the best homemade brownies
- “When in doubt, pull them out” is my rule for how long to bake brownies. You want a toothpick to come out with crumbs attached. If you test them in one or two spots and the toothpick is coated with wet batter, they aren’t done yet. But if there are crumbs clinging to the toothpick, then it’s time to pull those suckers out of the oven! I would rather have these on the extra fudgy side than have them turn out overbaked and dry.
- Be sure to cool completely before cutting. The chocolate flavor actually develops as the brownies cool, so if you can hold out, giving them a chance to really cool down makes them even more delicious!
- Choosing the right pan. You can make these in an 8×8, 9×9, or even a 9×13-inch pan. You will get a different thickness and need to adjust the baking time accordingly, but they all work. A 9×9-inch pan (what I use most often) takes about 30-35 minutes to bake these. If you use a 9×13-inch pan, the brownies will be thinner and bake in a shorter amount of time, more like 20-25 minutes. An 8×8-inch pan will take more like 40-45 minutes to bake.
- Store in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze them for 2-3 months.
- One thing I have found is that brownies baked in a metal pan tend to bake faster than when using a glass pan. If you are using a glass baking dish, you may need to increase your bake time by 5 minutes.
Ideas for taking a basic brownie recipe and making it “extra”
- Salted Caramel Brownies: Make salted caramel and pour it over the top when the brownies are done baking, then sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt. It’s messy, but worth it. Or pour it over the batter and swirl it in with a knife before baking for a different approach!
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies: Unwrap some peanut butter cups and press them down into the batter after pouring it into the pan.
- Coconut Pecan Brownies: Mix 3/4 cup chopped pecans into the batter, then sprinkle 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and another 1/4 cup chopped pecans over the batter before baking.
- Brownie Sundaes: Nothing is better than a warm brownie with a scoop of ice cream, hot fudge sauce, and a cherry on top!
- Use it as a mix-in: Consider chopping up 3-4 brownies and adding them to your favorite ice cream base next time right when it’s done churning! I’m thinking something like blackberry swirl ice cream with brownie chunks!
More homemade brownies & bars
- Oatmeal Fudge Bars
- Nutella Brownies
- Peanut Butter Blondies
- Butterfinger Brownies
- Raspberry Brownies
- Strawberry Brownies
- White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup salted butter, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a square 9x9" baking dish with a parchment paper sling or spray with baking spray.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the bittersweet chocolate and butter. Microwave on high in 20-30 second bursts, stirring well between bursts of heat until melted and smooth. Whisk in cocoa powder.
- Add granulated sugar and brown sugar, whisking well to combine. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well either by hand with a whisk or using an electric mixer.
- Sprinkle the flour and salt over the brownie batter and gently stir it in with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish and spread into the corners. The batter will be thick.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out mostly clean with only a few crumbs attached. Be sure not to overbake.
- Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days on the counter or in the fridge.
- 8x8-inch baking pan: These will be thicker and take longer to bake, more like 40-45 minutes.
- 9x13-inch baking pan: This recipe can be spread into a larger pan and baked thinner for 20-25 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 291Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 153mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 2gSugar: 24gProtein: 4g