This is my absolute favorite brownie recipe. They are rich, fudgy in the middle, and made completely from scratch. These brownies are so much better than the box, and I bet you have what you need to make them already sitting in your kitchen. Jump to the Easy Fudgy Brownies Recipe
We Honestly Think This is the Best Brownie Recipe
I know that saying these are the “best brownies, ever” is a bold statement, but we truly believe it. I love brownies that are rich and extra chocolaty. These brownies with dense, fudgy middles and crinkly tops absolutely deliver! These are perfect for boxed brownie lovers — the dense, moist, and fudgy texture is not all that different from what you can expect from the boxed mixes. It get’s better, though. These brownies are much more flavorful than anything made from a box. They taste amazing.
These brownies require one bowl and come together in minutes. There’s also a good chance you already have the ingredients on hand. Let me walk you through the steps for making them. Now if you love simple recipes like this one, take a look at these blondies or my favorite chocolate chip cookies. Both are excellent!
I bet you have most of what you need to make these brownies already sitting in your kitchen. Here’s what you’ll need:
Butter adds so much more flavor than oil ever could. We use 100% butter in the recipe and don’t feel the need to add oil.
Sugar balances the bitterness of unsweetened cocoa powder and adds to the texture of the brownies. It makes the centers soft and the tops crinkly.
Cocoa powder adds our chocolate element and makes these taste rich. I’ve used a variety of cocoa powders. You can use natural cocoa powder, Dutch-processed cocoa powder, or raw cacao powder to make these. Use what you love, but I love the flavor of Droste Cacao (a Dutch cocoa powder) in these brownies.
Eggs add richness and provide structure to the brownies.
Salt and vanilla help to round out the flavor of the brownies. Salt in baking might seem odd, but just like in savory cooking, it awakens the flavors of the recipe.
All-purpose flour is the last ingredient you need, but you don’t need much. Remember, 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. While we have not tried this ourselves, if you read through the comments below, there are quite a few people who have had success using a gluten-free flour blend (like the Bob’s Red Mill blend).
Why Don’t You Add Chocolate?
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 some brownie recipes call for chocolate that is melted into butter, then mixed with sugar, eggs, and flour. This recipe is different — and smart.
Instead of using chocolate, Medrich calls for cocoa powder. In removing the chocolate (as well as the fat and sugar that goes along with it), she was fine-tuned the brownies so that the middles were softer and moist and the tops were shiny and candy-like. The recipe is pure gold.
Since we are using cocoa powder, they aren’t overly sweet. If you are like us and find yourself reaching for dark chocolate over milk, these are most certainly for you. Here’s another recipe that is unapologetic about how much cocoa powder is added to the batter.
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.
How to Make the Best Brownies
These brownies are simple to make. You only need one mixing bowl, a small saucepan, and a spoon. There’s no mixer or fancy equipment required! To make them, I follow these steps:
Step 1, Melt the butter with sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Here is where the saucepan comes into play. Make something called a double boiler, a fancy term for a small saucepan filled with an inch or two of water set over low heat. I place a bowl with the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder over the saucepan and watch as they melt into a gritty-looking mixture.
This process helps to create that crinkly top we all love. Heating the sugar like this helps move it to the top of the brownies when they are in the oven, which is how they get that shiny top.
Alternate methods: You can complete this process in the microwave (many of our readers have). I prefer the stovetop method since I know it helps achieve that beautiful crackly top. You can also melt the butter into the sugar and cocoa in a saucepan over medium-low heat. The double-boiler is a fail-safe against scorching the batter, but as long as you keep the heat to medium-low and stay close by, you should be fine.
Step 2, Add the vanilla and eggs. We use two eggs to make the brownies, but I add them one at a time. I add the first egg and mix it into the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. When the first egg is mixed in, I repeat with the second egg.
Step 3, Add the flour. After mixing the flour into the batter, I beat the batter with a spoon for 40 to 50 strokes. The batter will be thick. This extra beating makes sure that the butter emulsifies into the batter, which makes sure the brownies bake perfectly in the oven. I usually tell you to be careful not to over-mix batters on this blog, but that’s not the case with these simple brownies.
Step 4, Bake them. The brownies bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. I’ve dedicated a whole section below telling you how I tell when brownies are ready to be pulled out of the oven, because nobody wants an overbaked brownie, right?
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.
It is best to 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 that you have, just keep an eye of the brownies while they bake and check on them 5 minutes before the recipe suggests below, and then again every 5 minutes after that 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!
My first tip is to use a timer. I’m terrible at getting distracted. Without a timer cueing me to check on the brownies, I’m destined for overbaked brownies! They should take 20 to 25 minutes, so to be safe, set the timer for 18 minutes. This way, you can keep a close eye on them towards the end of cooking.
Use a toothpick. Stick it into the center of the pan, and pull it out. If there is wet batter on the toothpick, they need more time. If there are moist crumbs on the toothpick, they are done, and 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 kind of strange, right). You see, as the brownies cool, they continue to cook. So when the edges look dry and the middle looks 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, if I were at your house, I’d happily eat the underbaked middle.
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 22 minutes in our oven, but ovens do vary, which is why having visual cues for telling when something is done is so important. If you find that 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! Don’t worry though, a simple oven thermometer set on a rack inside your oven can tell you the real truth. All kitchen stores sell them, I think ours was about $10.
What Our Readers Are Saying
If you don’t believe that our recipe helps you achieve the best brownies from scratch, take a look at what our readers are saying about the recipe! More reviews are in the comments section below.
“Hands down, best brownie recipe ever!” – Michelle
“These brownies were the best recipe I’ve ever made and I consider myself a brownie connoisseur!” – Shana
“PERFECTION! This is my go to brownie recipe and no matter what it always turns out perfectly!” – Teas
“They are the best fudge brownies I have ever had, much less made! This is a keeper. Never again will I make any other recipe!” – Ami
More Brownie Recipes
Recipe updated, originally posted August 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne
Easy Fudgy Brownies From Scratch (Our Favorite)
Say hello to our favorite brownies recipe from scratch. You only need one bowl, a saucepan, and a spoon. Melting the butter into the sugar and cocoa powder ensures that shiny, crinkly top that we all love.
These brownies are bittersweet. If you are like us and find yourself reaching for darker chocolate over milk chocolate, these are certainly for you. Use natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder (cacao powder works, too).
Makes 16 Brownies
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
10 tablespoons (145 grams) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process
1/4 rounded teaspoon kosher salt, use slightly less if using fine sea or table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large cold eggs
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (75 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
- Prepare Batter
- Bake Brownies
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch x 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.
Prepare a double-boiler by filling a medium saucepan with water about 2 inches deep. Heat the water until barely simmering. See the notes section below for tips on making these without a double-boiler and instead using a microwave or making them directly in a saucepan.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium heat-safe bowl. Rest the bowl over the simmering water. If the bottom of the bowl touches the water, remove a little water from the saucepan.
Stir the mixture occasionally until the butter has melted and the mixture is quite warm. Don’t worry if it looks gritty; it will become smooth once you add the eggs and flour.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan, and set aside for 5 minutes or until it is only warm, not hot.
Stir in the vanilla.
Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
When 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. We use a wooden spoon or spatula and beat for 40 to 50 strokes (see video for reference).
Stir in nuts if using.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake the brownies until the edges look dry and the middle looks slightly underbaked; 20 to 30 minutes. You can test doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. The brownies are finished baking if it comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Cool completely before removing from the pan — this step is essential and helps the brownies set. Cut into 16 squares.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Baking pan: We love our USA Pan 8×8-inch metal pan for this recipe. Glass and ceramic pans work, but keep in mind that they may affect bake time. Check on doneness 5 minutes early and every 5 minutes after that.
- Using a 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. Make sure that you stir the mixture in between microwaving.
- Using a saucepan instead of a double-boiler: The double-boiler is a fail-safe against scorching the batter; however, you can combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture until the butter melts into the sugar.
- This recipe is slightly adapted from Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies found in many of her cookbooks. Here’s one of them: “Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts” If you love dessert as much as we do, buy it. You won’t regret it.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1 brownie / Calories 158 calories / Protein 2 g / Carbohydrate 21 g / Dietary Fiber 2 g / Total Sugars 16 g / Total Fat 8 g / Saturated Fat 5 g / Cholesterol 42 mg