Best Homemade Brownies

The BEST brownie recipe! With crackly tops, fudgy middles, and rich chocolate flavor, these homemade brownies will disappear in no time.

Best Brownie Recipe

For years, I couldn’t seem to find a recipe for brownies that met my standards. Anytime I made homemade brownies, I wanted them to be just like the ones I ate as a kid – super fudgy, moist, and chocolaty, with crispy edges and crackly tops. But the thing is, these brownies didn’t come from a recipe. We always made them from a box. Nowadays, I prefer to bake from scratch, but no brownie recipe I tried could live up to the chocolate brownies of my childhood.

So this fall, as I flipped through Michelle Lopez’s new book Weeknight Baking, her recipe for Boxed Mix Brownies, From Scratch caught my eye. Would I finally be able to make homemade brownies that would be just as delicious as the ones from a box?

The verdict: yes! I’ve had this brownie recipe on repeat since the first time I tried it. It calls for basic pantry ingredients, and it’s hardly more difficult than using a mix. As for the brownies, they’re true perfection – glossy, fudgy, and filled with rich chocolate flavor. Trust me, you’re going to want to make them ASAP!

Another thing you should do ASAP is check out Weeknight Baking! This book is packed with crave-worthy recipes that are meant for busy weeknights. Each one comes with fun variations (I have my eye on the matcha snickerdoodles) as well as tips for becoming a more efficient baker. After years of juggling a 9-to-5 job and running her blog, Hummingbird High, Michelle is full of wisdom on how to bake on a busy schedule. She writes, “We’re all doing the best we can with what we have. And I’m going to help you bake any night of the week that works for you.” If you love baking, you’ll love this book.

Recipe for Brownies ingredients

Homemade Brownie Recipe Ingredients

Back to Michelle’s recipe for brownies! In order for it to turn out like (aka better than) the boxed mix, Michelle uses granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, salt, and chocolate chips. Then, she adds these key ingredients:

  • 2 eggs + water – Michelle adds a bit of water and an extra egg to achieve the moist, gooey texture of boxed mix brownies without any commercial emulsifiers. And because this recipe doesn’t contain any baking powder, eggs are essential for helping the brownies puff up in the oven.
  • Powdered sugar – The trick to making homemade brownies that are just like ones from a box! Powdered sugar contains cornstarch, which helps thicken the batter without the chemical additives you’d find in a mix.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – Michelle recommends using Hershey’s Special Dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Whole Foods’ 365 Cocoa Powder). Make sure to sift it if it’s lumpy!
  • Oil – While many recipes for brownies use unsalted butter, Michelle’s calls for canola oil, just like the boxed mix. I use olive oil because it’s what I keep on hand, and I love the rich flavor.
  • Vanilla Extract – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla really amps up the chocolate flavor.

That’s it! These fantastic homemade brownies are so easy.

How to make brownies from scratch

How to Make Brownies from Scratch

First, mix together the dry and wet ingredients in two separate bowls. Combine the sugar, flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and salt in a medium bowl. Then, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, and water in a large one.

Dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

Next, combine the wet and dry ingredients. Sprinkle the dry mixture over the wet one, and fold until just combined. The batter will be thick!

Homemade brownies

Then, pour the batter into an 8×8 inch baking pan lined with parchment paper. Use a rubber spatula to spread it to all four sides of the pan and to smooth the top.

Pouring batter into a pan

Finally, bake! Transfer the pan to a 325-degree oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs attached. Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. They also freeze well for up to a month. Last time I made these, I doubled the recipe and stored the second batch in the freezer. It was so fun to have them on hand for a quick and easy dessert or afternoon treat!

Chocolate brownies The best brownie recipe

Best Brownie Recipe Tips

  • Better chocolate chips = better brownies. In her book, Michelle writes that one of the biggest secrets to making great brownies is using large, good-quality chocolate chips. She recommends Ghiradelli’s 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips, while I love Enjoy Life’s Dark Chocolate Morsels. Either brand would fantastic in this recipe!
  • It’s better to pull them out too early than to leave them in too long. No one likes dry brownies, so err on the side of caution when you’re making this recipe. Bake them until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs attached. If you’re on the fence, go ahead and take them out of the oven. They’ll continue to firm up as they cool!
  • Wait for them to cool. Try your best to resist eating these guys straight out of the oven. Letting them cool makes them gooier and fudgier, and they’ll be less likely to crumble when you slice them. Plus, they’ll have an even richer chocolate flavor. Trust me, it’s worth the wait!

Weeknight baking recipe for brownies

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If you love this brownie recipe, try one of these yummy treats next!

Homemade brownies

Best Homemade Brownies

rate this recipe:
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Serves 16 brownies
The ultimate recipe for brownies! They're fudgy, moist, and super chocolaty, with perfect crinkly tops. From Weeknight Baking by Michelle Lopez.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, water, and vanilla.
  • Sprinkle the dry mix over the wet mix and stir until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs attached (note: it's better to pull the brownies out early than to leave them in too long). Cool completely before slicing. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. These also freeze well!

 

18 comments

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  1. 5 stars
    jeanine!!! i love this post so much and how you really broke down the recipe step-by-step. thank you for baking from my cookbook!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.28.2020

      We’re obsessed! They’re so good and so easy – I’ve made them for everyone I know 🙂

  2. Courtney
    01.28.2020

    Oh my God. Once again, the perfect thing for me to make right now. You are so awesome. I need to go to the store and get some of the ingredients, and then I will hopefully let you know how they came out. Thank you.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.03.2020

      Haha, I hope you enjoy the brownies!

  3. Beth Ann
    01.28.2020

    Hi Janine!
    These definitely include some intriguing ingredients. Can’t wait to try.
    I will definitely let you know my results.
    Do you have any suggestions of how you wrap to freeze?
    Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.03.2020

      Hi Beth Ann, I slice them and then wrap them in foil. To thaw, either leave them at room temp or pop in the microwave.

  4. Joseph
    01.29.2020

    I love the simple process to make them. I will try it myself.

  5. Bri Schneider
    01.30.2020

    5 stars
    Made these for some friends last night and they were a huge hit! I didn’t have an 8×8 pan so I used the closest thing I had to it, so they came out a little flatter than your pictures show. But they were still amazing! It also makes me feel better knowing all the ingredients that are going into them verses the boxed brownies.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.03.2020

      So glad you loved these too 🙂

  6. Trish
    01.30.2020

    Do you think using gluten free flour like Cup for Cup would be ok?

  7. Marie
    01.31.2020

    5 stars
    Oh la la, as we would say here in France. It was so easy to make and so good to eat :-). I put much less granulated sugar than indicated and it was still delicious ! Thanks !

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.03.2020

      I’m so glad you loved the brownies!

    • Anita
      02.08.2020

      I was wondering that ! I always cut the sugar in half in any dessert I make. Good to know it still worked !

  8. Megan
    02.08.2020

    Made these tonight and I was blown away. I would always prefer to skip the boxed mixes but considering how good and easy boxed brownies are I had never ventured to make them from scratch. I will never buy a mix again – these brownies were perfect. Fudgy, crackly, rich but not too … and the sweetness was perfect. I didn’t have powdered sugar on hand so I threw 1/2 cup of granulated + 1/2 tsp corn starch in my Vitamix and used that! Went over perfectly. Thank you for this post and this recipe!

  9. Roxane
    02.09.2020

    5 stars
    Jeanine another winning recipe and thanks to Michelle for the original one and you for passing it on. Just made this to bring to my daughter, her husband and two grandkids tonight. And of course I had to eat one first. They are delicious. I didn’t have any cooking spray on hand and really don’t like to use it so I rubbed a tiny bit of olive oil into the pan and on top of the parchment paper which I found a bit unwieldy when I tried to make it fit in the pan. Perhaps I am doing it wrong as I tried to make it go up all sides. Anyway would it work to just grease the pan or grease and flour it. Do not plan to buy cooking spray as I never use it. Thanks.

    • Roxane
      02.11.2020

      5 stars
      PS: Or can you just put the parchment paper down without spraying/oiling both sides

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.11.2020

      Hi Roxane, I’m so glad you loved the brownies! I cut my parchment paper so that it’s an 8″ strip so that it lays flat in the pan and goes up 2 of the sides, not all 4. You’ll be left with 2 edges that don’t have parchment – I just grease those a little bit and it works out fine. I agree, cooking spray isn’t necessary if you just brush some olive oil.

      The first time I made these I forgot to use parchment altogether – if you grease the pan well enough, they should slice out just fine.

      Hope that helps!

      • Roxane
        02.11.2020

        5 stars
        Thanks this is really helpful. My grandchildren and their parents loved this. My daughter especially liked the extra saltiness with the sweet that the sea salt provided. I might try it next time with a tad less of the sea salt (1/2 tsp instead of 3/4) as I found it just a smidge too much salt for me using sea salt. (But then I don’t use a lot of salt so perhaps that is why). Either way easy to make and a great dish to bring for a yummy dessert.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.