If you thought you couldn’t make fudgy brownies without a box mix…you were wrong. This recipe is chock full of tips to make homemade brownies fudgy!

Favorite Fudgy Brownies | katiebirdbakes.com

A truly fudgy brownie is hard to find

I know you.  You’re like me.  How do I know this?

Well, if you’re reading this page, you have an interest in the real kind of baking; the creaming butter, sifting flour, whisking in eggs, folding in chocolate kind of baking. 

Some people say they like baking, but when they say that, they really mean the “dump mix into bowl with water oil and eggs” kind of baking.  And don’t get me wrong – there is a time and place for that kind of baking, and there’s no problem with it, if that’s your thing.

But we all know, that’s not my thing.

I’m a get-your-hands-dirty, make-your-own, homemade-is-best kind of girl, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I make my own nut butters and cinnamon rolls, and you will not see me using a cake mix unless I have run out of all other ingredients and it’s an emergency.

But brownies.  Brownies, particularly homemade brownies that are actually fudgy…well, they’ve given me some trouble.

Favorite Fudgy Brownies | katiebirdbakes.com

But how to make homemade brownies fudgy?

I’ve been trying for years (honestly, years) to concoct a homemade, from-scratch fudgy brownie recipe that was ACTUALLY FUDGY, and not essentially chocolate cake hinting at fudginess or bordering on fudgy.  I kept wondering to myself: why is it that all homemade brownie recipes seem to produce dry and cakey brownies, no matter how fudgy they promise to be?  Are we really unable to replicate the luscious, deep chocolate flavor and texture of a boxed brownie at home?

Yet again and again, I tried and failed.  So, embarrassingly, up until now, when I’ve wanted fudgy brownies, I’ve resorted to a box mix.  I am not proud of this.

(I will say that Trader Joe’s Truffle Brownie Mix is insanely, insanely good for a box mix.  But still, it irked me.  I knew I could do better.)

Favorite Fudgy Brownies | katiebirdbakes.com

Answer: You Need Melted Chocolate AND Cocoa Powder For Fudgy Brownies!

You see, some brownie recipes use melted chocolate, and some recipes use cocoa powder mixed with butter (and they are on the cakey side, like my Midnight Brownies).  I surmised that maybe using cocoa powder added too little fat and resulting moisture, meaning the brownies became drier and more cake-like as they baked.  So I tried a couple recipes that used melted chocolate, and more butter, instead.  They were slightly better, but I found them overpoweringly rich and still just not the right texture. I wanted my perfect fudgy yet still chewy brownie!

It wasn’t until I saw the recipe Sally’s Baking Addiction posted for fudgy brownies that I realized the secret: you have to use melted chocolate AND cocoa powder, not either or.  I messed around with some ratios in my normal brownie recipe, and …Eureka!!  Fudgy brownies with intense chocolate flavor!  Sally is a genius.

So, there are not one, not two, but THREE forms of chocolate in these brownies that makes them both fudgy and chewy with perfectly rich chocolate flavor:

  1. melted chocolate,
  2. cocoa powder, and
  3. chocolate chips. 

If I’m going to make something chocolatey, you better believe I’m going all the way.

Favorite Fudgy Brownies | katiebirdbakes.com

Brian has declared these “the best brownies he’s ever had” which, to me, is quite a compliment.  He’s eaten quite a few brownies in his life.  I clearly have too, and I have to say, I don’t think I need another brownie recipe.  This is the one.  It has the texture and flavor of the deepest chocolate fudgy brownies, and to be honest, I think it’s even better than a box mix.

Fudgy Brownie Recipe Tips

  1. Don’t skimp on the sugar.  A cup of sugar may seem like a lot, but since we’re using unsweetened cocoa powder here, we need make up for it.  The sugar adds moisture and creates that beautiful shiny papery crust we all love so much.
  2. Don’t use a mixer – a bowl and a spoon is the name of the game here.  You don’t want to whip too much air into these brownies because we want them to be dense, and it’s way too easy to overmix with a mixer.
  3. The recipe calls for a small amount of espresso powder, which enhances the chocolate flavor without tasting like espresso.  You can buy it at most grocery stores or Amazon.  It’s ok if you don’t have it, but I HIGHLY recommend it.
  4. Definitely put coarse sea salt on top once the brownies are baked.  Similar to the espresso powder, the salt brings out the sweetness and chocolate flavor.  They were made for each other.
Favorite Fudgy Brownies | katiebirdbakes.com

Ok, let’s do this!  I hope you love these homemade fudgy brownies as much as we do. If you make the recipe, please leave a star rating and review, and tag me on Instagram @katiebirdbakes so I can see your bakes!

More Brownie Recipes

Favorite Fudgy Brownies | katiebirdbakes.com
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4.65 from 14 votes

Favorite Fudgy Brownies

If you thought you couldn't make homemade fudgy brownies without a box mix…you were wrong. 
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brownies, fudgy brownies
Servings: 16 brownies
Author: katiebirdbakes.com


  • 1 8×8 inch square pan


  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (1.5 oz; 43g) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)*
  • 1/2 cup (42g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (85g) chocolate chips
  • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling on top


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8 square pan or line with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  • In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and 1/4 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.  This took about 1 minute in my microwave.
  • Whisk in the sugar.  If the mixture is really hot, let it cool for a minute before whisking in the eggs one at a time (you don’t want to cook the eggs!), until fully combined.  
  • Whisk in the espresso powder, vanilla, salt, and cocoa powder until the mixture is smooth and well-combined.  Stir in the flour just until the mixture is smooth and you no longer see clumps – but do not overmix, and don’t use a mixer.  We don’t want to incorporate too much air in the batter, or the brownies won’t be fudgy.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 30-32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a couple crumbs attached.
  • Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top, and serve brownies warm, preferably with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream.


Storing: Brownies will keep, well-wrapped at room temperature (I pack them tightly in a tupperware), for up to 5 days.
Cocoa powder: you can use natural or Dutch process cocoa powder in this recipe.  Since there is no leavener, the chemical reaction isn’t a factor here so use what you prefer!
Espresso powder: it will not make the brownies taste like coffee – it enhances the chocolate flavor.  You can buy it at most grocery stores in the baking aisle, or on Amazon.
Recipe adapted from my Midnight Brownies and Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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  1. 5 stars
    Another go-to recipe! I’ve made these so many times over the past few years. The parchment paper trick was a revelation for me (so easy! so few dishes!).

  2. 5 stars
    Super easy a delicious! I used leftover Easter candy and it was a hit! I chopped up a chocolate bunny to melt with the butter and subbed chocolate chips with Reese’s Pieces. Definitely going to make again. The cook time was exactly 30 mins in my oven too.

  3. 5 stars
    So good! Rave reviews from my husband and son who stopped home for a short time and I gave him a plate to take back to his apt so I don’t eat them all! And so easy to whip up. It took almost an hour to bake for me and I did the toothpick check every 5 mins

  4. 2 stars
    It pains me to give bad reviews, but these brownies just weren’t it for me. I followed the recipe exactly and the result was extremely dry, not at all fudgy brownies. Good flavor and the top has that nice crackly crust, but they just weren’t good.

    1. Hi Isa – I appreciate your honest review. I’ve never found these brownies to be dry though. Sorry to hear it didn’t work for you.

  5. 4 stars
    These brownies were a crowd-pleaser. However, I did not find them to be the most fudgey brownies I’ve ever tasted. I attribute this to me subbing gluten free flour (Namaste brand from Costco) for regular flour which I’ve noticed often makes things more cakey. I look forward to trying these again with all purpose flour.

  6. I love your recipes they are so simple!! I tried out the cookies and everyone loved them!! So I’m looking to make these brownies but my onlh problem is the measurements are slightly confusing as I use grams, not cups. So how many grams would 1/2 cup of all purpose flour be?

    If I had to suggest an improvement, maybe create a page that converts cups to grams on your website? I’d really appreciate it. But apart from that, I love your website and recipes so I’ve signed up to email notifications!!

  7. 5 stars
    This is the only brownie recipe that bakes perfectly, exactly according to the time you set. I’ve made other brownies and they’ve ALL been under-baked in the middle, including Ina Garten’s. Not a little underdone, complete batter, even after I continued baking for 50-60 minutes. After trying another brownie recipe that once again came out underdone in the middle (nothing’s wrong with my oven), I’m sticking with your recipe.

  8. Hi Katie

    This recipe looks amazing-just wanted to check, can I freeze these brownies? I would need to make them a week in advance so please could you advise the best way to keep them.

    Thanks, Nic

    1. Hi Nic – yes, you can bake these, cool completely, then put in a container and freeze them. Take them out a few hours before you want to serve and let them defrost at room temp!

  9. Hi, the brownies look amazing ! Can I substitute the unsweetened chocolate with semi-chocolate chips to melt with butter ? As right now I have only semi-choco chips on hand. Will it be still fudgy ?

    1. Hi Afnan – yes, semisweet chocolate chips will work just fine! Note the recipe calls for dark chocolate, NOT unsweetened chocolate. Semisweet is similar to dark chocolate and works perfectly. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  10. I came across your site when I was looking for easy chocolate cookies cause my son loves them and I had never baked. Made the cookie sticks cause it was just so easy to follow and make. He loved it !!!
    So made the brownies today again on his demand .. and just didn’t want to google at all. I knew your recipe would be simple n great. The brownies came out yum! The only difficulty I find is measuring the butter 🤣. Thank you Katie !!

  11. Tried to make these with Stevia and they didn’t turn out good, not sure if that’s the reason. They were very dry.

    1. Hi Jason – I think it’s best to stick with cane sugar for these brownies, because the sugar is not just for sweetness here – it’s a critical element in the moisture of these brownies, which is why using stevia would make them dry. Sorry!

    2. 4 stars
      These are good but not what I prefer. I imagined them differently. The dough war pretty thick so I guess it is because of that it became chewy.

  12. Just Google “Katherine Hepburn brownie recipe” and you will find the best recipe. And it only uses cocoa powder. Tje key is to use as little flour as possible.

  13. I made these yesterday and they turned out amazing .. just I have a question ..I dont have dark chocolate chips and used milk chocolate chips but it seems too much sugary .. if I do not have dark chocolate chips how can I adjust the recipe with milk chocolate chips?

  14. Hi Katie,
    Baked your brownies today and my kids love it! Fudgy just like you said it’ll be. The only problem is they’re complaining there’s too little! And they have to hold back to keep some for tomorrow 😅 . Will have to double up recipe the next round. Thanks Katie. ❤️

  15. I just found your blog and I am already excited to make these and so many other recipes! I was wondering if replacing white sugar with coconut sugar in this recipe and all you others would make a difference in the result?

    1. Hi Lili – coconut sugar should be a fine substitute in these! I would be careful though with recipes like cookies where sugar is an important texture and flavor element. Coconut sugar performs a bit differently and might alter the final product. If you try, let me know!

  16. 5 stars
    Wow. This is the absolute perfect brownie. I’m SO excited (as are my coworkers..) and my taste buds are overjoyed. Before I began baking from scratch, my favorite was the Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie mix; this is like that, and then even better. The flavor is so rich (I used trader joes bittersweet choco chunks both times i’ve made these; also did use espresso powder) and fudgy, 10x better still warm, and the sea salt flakes on top take it to another level. I love to bake, and brownies have always been one of my favorites. After so many recipes, this is it: the perfect brownie. Everyone, make these. Thank you!!!

    1. Omg Katie this is one of my favorite comments EVER. Thank you so much for the detailed review – I am so glad you (and your lucky coworkers) loved this recipe!!

  17. Hii i’m from the Netherlands and i would love to try this recipe, cause i LOVE browniess! Butt i don’t have a squared pan. I do have round springform pans of 8.66inch 22cm, 9.45inch 24cm and 10.24inch 26cm. Can you please tell wich one i can use for the brownies and how long it needs to bake??

    1. Hi Ikram – I would try the 9.45 inch springform and bake for the same amount of time. Test and see if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If not, bake for 3-5 more minutes and try again. Good luck!

  18. 5 stars
    I stumbled upon this recipe while looking at fall recipes and then asked my husband his preference between fudgy Brownies and pumpkin bundt cake. He picked these and I was glad he did 🙂 I’ve also been on the search for a fudgy brownie from scratch and I’ve tried MANY recipes but they’ve always been cakey brownies no matter what so when I saw this recipe sprang from your own search and frustration that were like mine I knew I had to try. I followed the recipe to the letter, I took them out of the oven when the bottom bit of the toothpick had a little thick battery-ness on it, and I let it cool. My husband had his while I was running errands, and he’s usually fairly opposed to desserts that are too rich or too dark chocolatey… and he LOVES these. How can I tell? He had two servings within a few hours despite the calories and he’s never had two brownies in one day from any other recipe. In fact usually I’ll make a batch and he might have two out of the whole batch if I’m lucky. So these are a huge score in our house, I’ll be coming back to this recipe again and again, thank you!!!

    1. Oh my gosh Julie, you have seriously made my month…maybe even my year! THANK YOU for such a wonderful, thoughtful comment. This is exactly why I create recipes – to solve a problem I had that others must be having too. I’m so glad your husband enjoyed these brownies and I hope you always love making them as much as you did the first time! Thanks again.

  19. Can’t wait to make this! Just to verify, 1/4 cup dark chocolate and half cup semi-sweet chocolate chips? Also, is it better to bake with a glass pan or non-stick pan?

    1. Yes – you can just use chocolate chips in place of the dark chocolate as well if that’s all you have. I would bake with a metal pan, as glass heats differently!

  20. 5 stars
    I just made these and they are the BOMB! I’ve tried several brownie recipes, but this one really takes the cake! They are chocolatey and have the texture of a boxed brownie, but taste so much better. You won’t be disappointed!

  21. OMG These look SO GREAT! I’m going to make these for my husband today 🙂 BTW where did you get that cooling rack? I love it and can’t find anything like it! <3