The Best Fudgy Brownies

As promised, here is the all-cocoa powder brownie recipe I used when judging the difference between natural and dutch-process cocoa powders. This is the closest homemade recipe to rival the boxed brownie mixes I’ve found – which means a lot in my family since Brian adores the boxed brownie variety. And I can’t bring myself to buy them. Which means these brownies are a very happy compromise, especially considering that this simple homemade recipe takes maybe two minutes longer than the boxed mix. Ok, three. The brownies are so delicious, they easily gain access to The Best Recipe list.

The Best Fudgy Brownies

Fudgy, dense and downright decadent and addicting, the brownies’ chocolate flavor comes exclusively from cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate in the batter, which means using natural or dutch-process can vary the chocolate flavor (see this post for more details). Either way is delicious, but I have to admit that because I love my chocolate dark, the dutch-process cocoa in these brownies is heavenly to my dark chocolate loving palette. Test it out and see decide for yourself. It may take two or three batches, but seriously, what’s so wrong with extra brownies laying around, right? (Actually on second thought, I’d rather not let my postpartum thighs dwell on that question…)

One Year Ago: Blueberry Fool
Two Years Ago: Perfect Corn on the Cob
Three Years Ago: Cookie Dough Topped Brownies

The Best Fudgy Brownies {Think: Homemade Brownies Like The Boxed Mix!}

Yield: Makes 16 brownies

The Best Fudgy Brownies {Think: Homemade Brownies Like The Boxed Mix!}

Note: This recipe doubles wonderfully for a 9X13-inch pan. Just keep an eye on the baking time and adjust accordingly.


  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks or 5 ounces) butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces) sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (2 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour


  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Lightly grease with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium microwave-wafe bowl. Microwave for one minute intervals, stirring in between, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set the mixture aside until it cools slightly (is warm to the touch not hot). It will look gritty but it will become smooth once the other ingredients are added.
  3. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. After the brownies are cooled completely, I like to throw the pan in the refrigerator - cold brownies cut much easier and taste heavenly. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen originally from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet

145 Responses to Fudgy Brownies {Think: Homemade Brownies Like The Boxed Mix!}

  1. Renee says:

    These look awesome! I made your other brownies a few times from your “best” list and they are great. I even topped them one time with a foolproof milk chocolate frosting recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. Oh my!!! Were they good!! I would never frost a brownie normally, but I was taking them with us to someone’s house for dinner. So I “dressed” them up a bit and Wow! You might try it sometime!! The frosting is great on cakes too. You just make it in the food processor. It is incredible!!

  2. Caitlin says:

    Mmm, I can’t wait to try these. I love me some boxed brownies but I hate buying something so processed. These look like the perfect solution! And considering I’ve never tried a bad recipe from your blog, I’m sure these are gonna be awesome!

  3. I have such a weak spot for boxed brownies, I can’t wait to try them. Amazing the difference with the different cocoa powders!

  4. Ash V says:

    I should definitely try these! I have made homemade brownies in the past, and I have never found them to be as good as the boxed kind.

  5. These sound heavenly! I love dark chocolate brownies and will definitely be trying the dutch-process cocoa!

  6. This is such a simple recipe! Wonderful!!

  7. Aimee says:

    As a food blogger sometimes i am sad to admit that i LOVE boxed brownies. I’ve never tried making brownies from scratch because I’ve never tasted them (from other people) to be as good as my box brownies. But I guess I’ll have to try your recipe out, and hope its a good substitute. That way I wouldn’t get all the preservatives, but also don’t have to run to the store when I want yummy brownies. Thanks!

  8. Kim in MD says:

    Oh, Mel…these look crazy delicious! I haven’t made boxed brownies in years, because it’s so easy to make homemade brownies and I hate all of those preseratives in the boxed mixes. I agree about the dutch cocoa- it makes such a dark, fudgy brownie!

  9. Kelie says:

    I’ve been waiting for this recipe ever since you did the cocoa powder post and you post it today – on my birthday!! Happy birthday to me!!!!!

  10. I love a good brownie! These look fabulous. Now I’m sad that I used up all my dutch cocoa the other day…time to hit up the store I guess.

  11. Rebecca says:

    Im so excited to try these! They look amazing. My hubby likes the box brownies too and I’m like you… I just have a hard time buying them when I can make them from scratch! These might just win him over. Thanks.

  12. Laurel says:

    Yay! I’ve been waiting for this to show up since you tempted us in the cocoa post. I can’t wait to stuff my face! I mean share these at my family reunion. :)

  13. Michelle says:

    How would you say these compare to the Easiest Brownies in the World? I just made those for the first time (for the 4th), and thought they were amazing, and super fudgy.

  14. Martha P. says:

    WOW! Talk about divine intervention! :) Supposed to take brownies or cookies to a youth devotional this next week. I chose brownies – easier to dump brownies out of a box! Guess this means I have to make now???? Going to try the Dutch-process – know they will be a hit! Thanks!

  15. Rachel R. says:

    Thank you thank you, love brownies and love trying new brownie recipes.

  16. Lis says:

    Ñam…For the latinamerican followers, please! may you write the recipies in grams too? I hope it would be easy!!! Thanks a lot

  17. Mel says:

    Michelle – these brownies are slightly more decadent and chewy than the Easiest brownies. Similar in a brownie-like way – these brownies just approximate the fudgy texture of a boxed mix more than the Easiest recipe.

  18. Marcie says:

    I am not sure what I did wrong, but they didn’t taste right. I used regular unsweetened cocoa and they were SO dark. It felt like I put way to much in. They did not look like your pictures at all. I’ll have to keep looking for a scratch recipe or try this one again!

  19. Mel says:

    Marcie – sorry you didn’t love the brownies. Is there a chance you added more cocoa powder than the recipe calls for? The original recipe (posted on Smitten Kitchen) has over 500 reviews and nearly all are positive so I’m sad you didn’t love them. Hope you find a recipe that works for you!

  20. Perfect! Can’t wait to try it!

  21. You might have convinced me to try something other than boxed brownies. :) I love my boxed brownies, but I also love the looks of these!! Mmmmmm!

  22. Amanda says:

    How could any brownie be better than your “Easiest Brownies In the World?” I make those all the time because they are so easy, and fudgy, and delish! And whenever I make them, I get so many compliments and recipe requests. I haven’t made a box recipe since! I’ll have to try these, too! You should know that I rarely make anything, anymore, that isn’t a MKC recipe… seriously! Last night we had Pineapple Meatballs, and tonight we’re having “Kansas City Sue’s Chicken.”

    Thanks for your great blog!

  23. lori jones says:

    I have read that if you cut the brownes with a plastic knife they don’t glob up.
    have not try it myself yet.

  24. grace says:

    i’m not positive, but i don’t think i’ve ever made a batch of brownies using cocoa powder–it’s always been melted chocolate for me. these look MARVELOUSLY dense and gooey, though, so perhaps i’ll give ‘em a whirl!

  25. Lindsay says:

    Made these and loved them. i used the hershey’s cocoa….I haven’t bought dutch yet….but I need to try that next! This was the firs treat snarfed up at our family reunion last week….that goes to say that they were REALLY good, cause there were tooooooo many treats there!

  26. Ashley says:

    Love it! I hate to admit that I tend to like the boxed brownies as well, guess it’s all the years I spent eating the ones my mom made. Will have to try these!

  27. Paula B. says:

    I have these in the oven right now, the batter was delish! I’m always on a perfect brownie quest and this recipe was so easy. Always love a cocoa based recipe because I don’t always have unsweetened chocolate in the pantry. Often my brownies are tricky to time and end up underdone or too dried out – liking the lower baking temp., thinking this will help me out. Taking these over to a neighbor’s so I’m going to frost them, oh boy! (And thanks.)

  28. Diane says:

    I made these when I saw them on Smitten Kitchen (I don’t often have unsweetened chocolate), and I didn’t love it. I have some really excellent Penzeys cocoa, though, so I gave it a try with a little less cocoa and butter and a little more flour, and I liked them reasonably well. They aren’t Baker’s one-bowl brownie or anything, but they are an acceptable substitute for when I don’t have unsweetened chocolate lying around.

  29. Kim says:

    I made these yesterday for a couple I was taking dinner in to, and saved half the batch for my family because they were so rich. My husband is a firefighter and ended up not getting home until 1 a.m. because of fires they have had pop up. I sent him a text before I went to bed letting him know where dinner was and that there were brownies on the counter too. When we got up this morning the first thing he said to me was, “Those brownies were AMAZING!” Thanks again for a great recipe. It was nice to be able to make brownies from scratch that he enjoyed so much, especially after a long day like he’d had.

  30. deb in sc says:

    I generally make brownies in a 9 by 13 pan (why go to all that trouble for an 8×8 :-)
    Should I just double your recipe?

  31. Mel says:

    Deb – yes, you can double for a 9X13!

  32. Bethany says:

    I’m making these for the second time in a week right now. We LOVED them (and I don’t even like box brownies)! My husband loves brownies, and since I didn’t used to be a fan (I am now) I never made them. Things are changing quickly. I used regular old cocoa, but they still looked as dark as your picture of the dutch-process variety. Divine. That’s what these are. Chocolate perfection. Thanks for yet another fab recipe!

  33. Debra says:

    I can’t wait to try these.

  34. Parvinder says:

    did you use unsalted butter or salted butter?

  35. Mel says:

    Parvinder – I always use salted butter.

  36. Kris says:

    I’ve never been able to make brownies without turning them into a solid brick of unedibleness….until now! I ran out of cocoa powder and my boyfriend suggested using Nesquik chocolate milk powder and they were still irresistible!!!!

  37. Justus says:

    Just made these tonight and they are FANTASTIC, I have tried a ton of recipes, and this is by far the best and easiest!

  38. [...] made these brownies for dessert. They are DELICIOUS. I didn’t get a picture but just imagine dark, fudgy brownie [...]

  39. Ok I gotta try these! I love a good brownie! They are my downfall.

  40. Heather says:

    I am excited to try these! If you are ever happen to be in the Austin or San Antonio, Texas area you should try Miles of Chocolate ( The only place I have bought them is tucked away in the deli section at HEB, but they are the best fudgy/trufflely/deep chocolatey brownies you will ever taste!

  41. karen says:


    I just wanted to send a note to tell you I made these today and they are fabulous! Rich and decadent and oh-so-moist. We also love the orange chicken recipe. I make it every 3-4 weeks. So yummy! Thank you!

  42. Rabia says:

    This is an AMAZING recipe! I added one more egg and a little water too it to get the consistency just right :) Love it! So good!

  43. Kira says:

    These are great! I have never made homemade brownies before! They turned out awesome! I even drizzled chocolate sauce on top and walnuts.

  44. Gillian says:

    just made these, and added a tablespoon of orange zest. They were absolutely amazing. thanks for sharing!!!

  45. Chelsey says:

    Do you have to use vanilla extract?

  46. Mel says:

    Chelsey – no, but vanilla really adds to the flavor of the brownies.

  47. Kelly deguire says:

    We made these this evening and they were fantastic. I try lots of brownie recipes. This one easy and tasted oh so good.

  48. [...] The Best Fudgy Brownies – Mel’s Kitchen CafeJul 6, 2012 … As promised, here is the all-cocoa powder brownie recipe I used when judging the difference between natural and dutch-process cocoa … [...]

  49. [...] Since it started getting late Wednesday we decided to bake the brownies Thursday. We used this recipe. They were delicious! She’s not a big chocolate eater, but she loves brownies….and [...]

  50. V. says:

    Absolutely amazing!!! I have been on a search for a homemade box brownie recipe.. i tried the cooks illustrated version but i was not pleased at all..maybe my oil wasnt good? Although i highly doubt thats what it was seeing as though i moved into my house a year ago so the oil was definitely less than a year old. My husband in a brownie lover and i just want to have a homemade version that he absolutely loves and so far this is #1. I used both raw cocoa and dutch processed..riughly 50/50 and they are still very dark. I am now a devoted reader of your blog..this was the first recipe of yours i tried. Very happy!

  51. Demii says:

    Am making the brownies now….. Batter seemed really thick many I’m just used to the thin box mixes but are the supposed to be super thick?

  52. Morgan says:

    Just put these in oven. Doubled all ingredients and put in a 9×13 pan. I did add a splash of butter extract too. Batter tasted wonderful. Can’t wait to try them!

  53. VAnessa says:

    In the ingredients list, by ‘cup’, what kind of ‘cup’ do you mean because surely 3/4 of a mug of unsweetend cocoa powder is A LOT of cocoa powder?

  54. shauna says:

    Great great great! Best bownie recipe I have ever had, bar none. Even added more unsweetened chocolate to get a darker chocolate flavor. Fantastic! A new favorite!

  55. gracie says:

    The batter was delish! I’m always looking for things to bake to keep my 14 year old self busy and these are the best yet! I also added some chocolate chips and I cannot wait to see how they taste!

  56. Tina Kegley says:

    I am always on the lookout for the perfect fudge brownie recipe and found yours tonight. They are in the oven baking! The batter is delicious, but I have a question about the amount of sugar. When I used the 1 & 1/4 cup, the batter was still quite bitter. I added another 1/2 cup and while it wasn’t overly sweet, seemed better. I will let you know the outcome.

    In answer to the reader who asked what a “cup” was- it is 8 oz. so a mug would be far too large unless you adjusted everything.

  57. Ian says:

    I just made these brownies with my own twist and they were simply amazing! I added in chocolate chips and threw on some sprinkles, but it was fantastic!

  58. Cindy says:

    Making these now hope they are good as everyone says:) concerned about cookin them in the lower part of the oven and not the top tho.. Won’t the bottom burn??

  59. Julia says:

    These were SOOOO good! I threw in a few handfuls of chocolate chips just for kicks as well :) Thank you!

  60. ric ballin says:

    made would like to how all you like this try to make butter mix was very dry .what does 27/8 oz. mean .try to make with 8oz. sugar and so on wasted all ing.

  61. ric ballin says:

    figured it out reading it wrong sorry……

  62. Nicole H. says:

    I didn’t notice the instruction to put them on the lower 3rd of the oven, oops, but they still turned out great. I thought I should bake them longer, probably because they weren’t on the lower level so they still looked wet on top… I’ve been using coconut sugar as a substitute for white sugar as kind of an experiment and it seemed to work well in these (and has worked well in your lemon bread, – although it turned it brown instead of the cheery yellow – and your cornbread). Holden especially loved these. I liked them a lot and especially loved how easy they were. Thanks!

  63. Audrey says:

    Just wanted to share that I made these using King Arthur’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, and they are awesome!!! I was nervous, truth be told, but they are so yummy! Required a little extra baking time (about 10 minutes and I turned up the heat a little at that point). Thanks for sharing! Will be making again and again and again and…

  64. Ashley says:

    Are these worth it????

  65. Jennifer says:

    I needed a chocolate fix and my mind was set on brownies. I have to admit, I love boxed brownies and I have tried to make homemade ones that never can compare. Today, I tried yours and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I say this because I have been disappointed so many times in the past. Your recipe is awesome! You just may have converted me for good!

  66. Ren says:

    Tried this and doubled it too because of all the positive comments, but it didn’t work. Batter didn’t rise and brownie turned out to be a rather flat cake.

  67. Keely says:

    TRY THIS RECIPE!! I just made these brownies (I doubled the recipe and used a 9×13 pan) and they are amazing. I had to add a little extra time in the oven, but they were so gooey, delicious and perfect.. I would recommend them to anyone. Will definitely be making these again. THANK YOU for this recipe :)))))

  68. [...] Day dessert.  This one is super easy.  Just make a pan of your favorite brownies (I used the recipe here).  It made one 9×9 pan which was enough for four hearts plus some scraps.  Cut out hearts [...]

  69. Erica says:

    just made a batch of the brownies in the oven for 19 mins.

    dry centre , very dark., no fudge texture, , big disappointment,

    the ingrediants in ounce were hard to follow, tried using the cups.

    it was a big fail for me as i was hopping to make a batch for a road trip coming up.


  70. Tara Lynn says:

    I just made your brownie recipe. Thank you for posting it! These are by far the best homemade brownies I have ever tasted! My husband and I are both very impressed. I did make one minor tweak, and that was to use peppermint extract instead of vanilla but I was in the mood for chocolate mint. Amazing! This is the only homemade brownie recipe I will ever make!

  71. Melissa says:

    I tried these tonight. I didn’t do the foil thing because I just cut them out of the pan. I also added mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (about a cup) to the batter and toffee chips to the top. Turned out great. I baked them about 30 minutes. Will make again! Thanks!

  72. rach toon says:

    This is seriously the only batter for any baking i have literally been able to ‘lick the bowl’ with lol i bake often and this is by far the easiest and yummest baking aside from homemade pizza, and will now be written in my recipe book! !!! Thank you :)

  73. Deb says:

    These brownies are THE BOMB. No need for any other recipe. I made them in mini muffin tins, got 24 of them, baked for 15 mins. They were a hundred times better than those two bite brownies you can get at the store!

  74. Ava says:

    Very nice – but perhaps too decadent. If I make again I will not use Dutch process.
    I do love not having to use chocolate squares!

  75. Yael says:

    Doubled this yesterday for a group of 20 or so (with oil instead of butter for a dairy-free version), and got paid the highest compliment i’ve ever gotten as a baker. a friend told me they were like “sex in the pan!” Thanks!

  76. heather says:

    These are amazing, best brownies I have EVER HAD. I used special dark cocoa powder and if you are a chocoholic, this is the way to go. deepest, darkest chocolatey yumminess. Look no further, this recipe is the only one needed.

  77. [...] Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe [...]

  78. Kate says:

    I just made these, and they are soooo good. They practically melt in your mouth. Thank you Ms. Mel for all of your hard work. Your website is wonderful!

  79. Kate says:

    I have made these 3 times already! I love that it doesn’t have any special ingredients. I just shared this recipe with a friend.

  80. Cathy says:

    I found it…I finally found it! A moist, fudgy and oh-so-easy-to-make brownie. Thank you so much for sharing, Mel!

  81. Tiffiny says:

    I love how dark the brownies came out when using the Dutch process cocoa. Mine turned out even darker than your photos! They are so easy and so yummy and so fudgy. Love them!

  82. Idania says:

    I am so dissapointed….that I didn’t check here first. I found a recipe (attributed to you) for Best Brownies on Pinterest. I looked up the link and it led me to Anxious for a great recipe I decided to try this one from the peachtree blog. I followed it step by step and to my dismay, the brownies are horrible! Too sweet, and they are falling apart! I was so disappointed. So I decided to look you up and double check the recipe, and sure enough, they (peachtree.blogspot) got it all wrong! I used 5 eggs according to their recipe (which I did think was too much), and the amount of cocoa powder is wrong too. I hate that I wasted all those ingredients on crappy brownies!! I will however try again with the correct recipe!

  83. [...] Recipe adapted by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe which was adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen and originally from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet. [...]

  84. [...] Notes Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe [...]

  85. I adapted these on my blog using carob powder and loved them! They are so good with some peanut butter on top. It would be awesome if you’d come take a look at my post :)

  86. Michelle says:

    I made these for my son’s birthday party yesterday, and they were a big hit! So rich and decadent. Will definitely make again. Thanks for the recipe. :)

  87. Natalie S says:

    Mel, I absolutely loved these (and I’m not generally a brownie lover, they always seem too sweet and not chocolately enough.) The fact that they are super fast and easy to make and don’t require melting chocolate has moved them up to “favorite” status. I used Cacao Barry Extra Brute cocoa powder, which really intensified the delicious dark chocolate flavor. Thanks so much for another awesome recipe!

  88. Edrica says:

    Wow! These brownies are amazing. I added a chocolate chips to the microwave mixture. But there was no need to add chocolate chips to this recipe unless you wanted a more chewy fudge brownie. Next time, I will make this recipe just as is. Thanks Mel! Will definitely check out more recipes from this website.

  89. may lee says:

    should the sugar be grinded or simple granulated sugar is fine?
    please tell as soon as possible thankyou!

  90. may lee says:

    I can’t get salted butter where I live so what can I use instead?

  91. Mel says:

    May Lee – granulated sugar is fine. You’ll have to use whatever is closest to salted butter (I don’t know where you live or what you have access too). Can you get unsalted butter? If so, use that.

  92. Trish says:

    Thank you! My 3 month old has a milk/soy allergy & I am breastfeeding…so hard to find brownie mixes that are completely milk & soy free. Made these with coconut oil in place of butter. They were simple (made them with my 3 year old), quick cleanup, & tasted amazing. Finally got the chocolate I have been craving. :) Thank you!

  93. Helen says:

    Disappointing taste and texture :-(…. won’t be making these again.

  94. Robin says:

    Made these last night, yummmm. Was looking for a recipe similar to the classic Fry’s cocoa brownie recipe, but without baking powder since I’m out. These hit the spot. I cooked them in a 9×9 greased baking pan with no problem. Since I like my brownies pretty chewy, and I have a feeling my new apartment’s oven runs a little cool, I ended up leaving these in the oven for about 35 minutes. They were perfect!! If you’re looking for a super dense, chewy, fudgey brownie, these are the ones. Not cake-like at all.

  95. Sara says:

    These are wonderful! I use the Pampered Chef brownie pan and get 10 thick ones from this recipe (I could probably get 12 if I made them slightly thinner and quit tasting the batter!)
    I also add 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper along with the vanilla and it gives them a nice little bite that enhances the chocolate taste. Looking forward to trying them with the Dutch-process cocoa. Thank you!

  96. Meredith says:

    I cooked these brownies exactly to the recipe and they are not that good. Use this recipe if you are looking for more cake like brownies without the glistening top.

  97. jackie says:

    just threw these in the oven but I used Hershey’s special dark coca powder and a little bit of cinnamon!. cant wait to see if they taste as good as they already look.

  98. Lindsey says:

    I Have made these 3 times now,the best brownies! delicious!!!

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