Homemade Fudgy Brownies

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5 from 15 votes

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These dense and fudgy from-scratch brownies are made with melted chocolate and without cocoa powder for a perfectly crackly top– ditch the box forever!

fudgy brownies cut into squares and one positioned to see the inside of the brownie

It has been a very long time that I’ve been making brownies from scratch. In fact, even before I had a recipe site, I was making brownies from scratch, even though I was making a lot of other things from a box.

By way of something, I discovered long ago that the best brownies come from using ingredients I just about always have on hand, only a little bit more work than box brownies, and I haven’t grabbed a boxed brownie mix from the shelf in longer than I can remember.

sliced homemade brownies

It’s funny, I encourage you all over my website to make things from scratch. In fact, I LOVE teaching you how to bake things from scratch, but I do understand that making things like cake and yeast bread from scratch, while always worth it, does take a significant amount of time and planning ahead.

These perfect fudgy brownies? Not really too much more time, and I mean that honestly.

While there is a bit of wait time once you melt your butter and chocolate before moving on with the rest of the easy brownie recipe, I promise once you finish your first batch of scratch brownies, you’ll ditch those boxed mixes forever.

sliced brownies sitting on a surface with parchment paper

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s talk about the ingredients you’ll need for my favorite brownie recipe so you understand the science behind the whats and whys.

INGREDIENTS

The list of ingredients for these fudgy chocolate brownies is simple and this recipe is seriously the only brownie recipe I use. In fact, out of the 20+ brownie recipes on my site (and that collection is always growing!), all of those brownies start with this exact recipe. All of them. Cool, huh?

For these brownies, you’ll need:

UNSALTED BUTTER— this is the main fat source we’ll use for these brownies. While box mix brownies typically call for oil, which definitely equals moist brownies, I prefer the flavor that butter brings to the brownies, adding more depth of flavor to the brownies.

SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE— we’ll get all of the chocolate flavor for these chewy brownies from melted chocolate. We’ll use semi-sweet (as opposed to unsweetened or dark chocolate or even milk chocolate) for its moisture content. Do not use unsweetened, dark, or milk chocolate in this brownie batter. I have tested this brownie recipe and believe me, it matters.

BROWN SUGAR— I love using brown sugar to sweeten baked goods, since it’s full of deep molasses flavor and extra moisture. Remember how I said the chocolate matters because of the moisture content? The sugar matters for the same reason.

GRANULATED SUGAR— we’ll use just a touch of granulated sugar alongside the brown sugar. The granulated sugar is part of the key to that crackly top. As it melts, it combines with the whites of the eggs (coming next!) to form a very thin layer of meringue, which makes that beautifully shiny top that cracks upon slicing.

sliced brownies in a box

EGGS— aside from being a binder for the wet ingredients, the eggs are part of the journey to the ultimate fudgy brownies. By loading up with eggs, we’re avoiding dry brownies while also adding more fat which means more of a fudgy texture.

VANILLA EXTRACT— it goes without saying that we need some vanilla to round out the overall flavor of the pan of brownies. Don’t leave it out, ever!

ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR— we’re adding just a touch of flour here. It’s crucial to be sure you’re only adding ¾ cup of flour (90g) in order to keep the brownies dense and fudgy. If you add too much flour, you risk winding up with a cake-like brownie without the crinkly top. Since we’re using the perfect amount of flour in these perfect brownies, we don’t need any unsweetened cocoa powder. So leave it in the pantry and don’t even look at it!

SALT— last but not least, a little salt does wonders for balancing the sweetness of the chocolate.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HOMEMADE BROWNIES

The method for these easy homemade brownies is simple, but will require you to build in some waiting for cooling before finishing the brownie batter.

To start, melt butter and chopped chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. This is the first step to the melted sugar crystals that will help make the tops nice and flaky.

Once that’s melted, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Allowing it to cool is crucial to making sure we don’t cook the egg mixture.

But by not allowing it to cool completely, we can use the retained heat to help dissolve the brown and granulated sugars that will combine with the egg whites to make that meringue we talked about to achieve the crinkly tops.

whisking sugar into brownie batter in a saucepan

After the sugar and eggs are all whisked in and the mixture is smooth, you’ll gently whisk in the flour. Don’t over-mix this batter to avoid tough brownies. Gluten works the same in brownie batter the same way it does cake batter, even if there’s only a little bit of it in the batter.

whisking flour into brownie batter in a saucepan

Once there are no more flour streaks, pour the brownie batter into a prepared square baking pan.

a whisk pulling brownie batter out of a saucepan before pouring it into a baking pan

USE A METAL PAN

Another key to a good brownie with chewy edges is using a metal pan vs a glass pan. Glass tends to bake things faster, so you won’t wind up with the same gooey brownies using a glass pan.

brownie batter in a pan ready to bake

If all you have is glass, reduce the oven temperature by 25º and bake for the same amount of time.

BAKE THE BROWNIES

You’ll bake these brownies for 25-30 minutes, stopping exactly at 25 minutes to test the center of the pan. You’re looking for moist crumbs on the tester, because the brownies will continue to bake a bit once removed from the oven and we don’t want to overbake them.

WHY THIS IS THE BEST HOMEMADE BROWNIE RECIPE

Over the years, I have had so many readers tell me that this recipe was the first one they’ve ever tried from scratch and they are now believers.

aerial photo of sliced homemade brownies

In fact, true story, I had someone tell me they follow me only to look at my mouth-watering pictures because they don’t bake much at all, but they have made these brownies and said it’s the best brownie recipe they’ve ever had.

Relatedly, and in conclusion/one last chance to convince you the same… I am here to shout from the rooftops that scratch brownies are my only way. Like, ONLY ONLY WAY.

And I will never stop telling everyone I meet who doesn’t agree that scratch brownies are so much easier than you think they are and they really are so super delicious.

a stack of sliced brownies

Many years ago, actually in the post for my Peppermint Pattie brownies, I suggested that I get something about “scratch brownies are better” engraved in my headstone, and I’m sticking by that one.

“Lynn April: wife, mother, baker, sprinkle enthusiast. SCRATCH BROWNIES ARE BETTER.”

I think it has a nice ring to it.

In fact, when I took some of my chocolate chip cheesecake swirl brownies to a party, someone said “I’ve never had brownies that taste better as you chew them.”

I MEAN. If that isn’t the best compliment?! 

So, please… Give this fudgy brownie recipe a try. I know you won’t be disappointed, and I know I have a pretty good chance of making you want “SCRATCH BROWNIES ARE BETTER” on your headstone too.

aerial photo of homemade fudgy brownies

Too much? Maybe. But maybe not, either.

Here are a few of my other recipes of brownies made with this exact same base. Enjoy my cherry brownies, funfetti brownies, cookie dough brownies, and fudgy Nutella brownies.

Homemade Fudgy Brownies

These dense and fudgy from-scratch brownies are made with melted chocolate and without cocoa powder for a perfectly crackly top– ditch the box forever!
Prep Time15 mins
Bake Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 16 brownies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter cut into 6-8 slices
  • 8 ounces (227g) semi-sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
  • ¾ cup (150g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature preferred1
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Line an 8" or 9" square metal baking pan2 with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring frequently until completely smooth. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Whisk sugar into slightly cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and stir gently until completely combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake brownies for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.
  • When you are ready to cut the brownies, remove the brownies by lifting the foil overhang straight up. Peel back remaining foil and place brownie block onto a large cutting board. Store leftover brownies at room temperature up to 1 week. Brownies freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.

Notes

  1. Room temperature eggs: these incorporate into batter much more easily than cold eggs, although this is not absolutely necessary.
  2. Metal pan: if all you have is a glass pan, reduce oven temperature by 25º and bake for the same amount of time.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

Serving: 1brownie | Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 229IU | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

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37 Comments

  1. Lori Donahue says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! A million times better than the boxed ones. Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much, Lori! That means a lot 🙂

  2. Katie Krawzak says:

    As someone who was hugely loyal to box brownies, I can say I am now fully converted. These are so freakin good and so easy to make. Have made for others many times and always get compliments on how fudgy and delicious they are! I will admit for the sake of others reading this review that even though I know it is criminal, I’ve used regular semi sweet chocolate chips in a pinch instead of chopped chocolate and it turns out pretty delicious too 🙂

    1. I love so much about this, Katie! Thanks for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    One word: YUM!
    So delicious and chewy and fudgy. They didn’t last long at our house.

    1. They never last long here either!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ll never make another classic brownie. This recipe is the answer to what you want your brownies to be!

    1. Thanks so much, Lauren! We loooooove these brownies!

  5. Can you double the recipe and make in a 9”x13” pan?

    1. Hey, Shari– you can! I would start with 22 minutes for bake time and go from there! Let me know how it goes.

  6. 5 stars
    So fudgy in the middle and I love the crack of the top layer on my fingers:)

    1. Yesssss! Thanks, Jennifer 🙂

  7. Sue Ringsdorf says:

    5 stars
    I love the taste and texture of these brownies and my family does too! Will be making them again soon!

  8. 5 stars
    The crunchy top with the gooey center is EVERYTHING a brownie should be.

  9. 5 stars
    I love a great fudgy brownie, and these were so moist and chocolatey!

    1. Thanks so much, Julie 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    These were just perfect!! I love your recipes!

    1. Thanks so much, Michaela!

  11. 5 stars
    Putting scratch brownies are better on my headstone! LOL! Along with my husbands favorite line, “that took longer than I thought”. But truly, these were fudgy and oh so easy and a quick and easy and way better than boxed! Since Ghirardelli boxed are my fave, I also added ½ cup of dark chocolate chips to my batter! Nom!

    1. HAHA! That’s so true, too!!

  12. 5 stars
    Such a lovely brownie recipe! Gooey and moist.

  13. 5 stars
    Fudgy brownies are my favorite and these really hit the spot! Might be my new go-to recipe.

    1. Thank you so much! I hope it is!

  14. Trish Davis says:

    5 stars
    This recipe was super easy and they turned out just as described. These are definitely rich, moist, eyes- rolling-to-the-back-of-your-head decadent. I put icing on mine ( because Grandma always did) and added a splash of bourbon because why not?! It’s my new go-to recipe for brownies for sure.

    1. Thank you so much, Trish! 🙂 I love your additions!!

  15. 5 stars
    Just made it today!! Was so good!!! I have always tried brownies recipes and never got the right consistency out of the oven. This was perfect with your great directions and tips. Thank you!!! My niece wonders if it could be a little more strong in chocolate. What should I add? Cocoa? Bitter chocolate? And what quantity do you sugest? 😊. Greetings from Peru!

    1. Hey, Carolina– thank you so much! I would not add anything else to the brownies, as it would mess with the consistency, bake time, texture, etc. If you want them more chocolatey, I suggest adding a chocolate buttercream or ganache on top 🙂

    2. Thank ypu so much!!

  16. Jacqi Kernaghan says:

    I’m so excited to make these!!!

  17. Leigh Master says:

    5 stars
    I love these!! They’re so, so good!

  18. Would dark or light brown sugar be best for these?

    1. I use light brown, but you shouldn’t have any trouble if you only have of prefer dark brown.

  19. 5 stars
    Hands down, BEST brownies I’ve EVER made. I’ve been looking high and low for the perfect brownie recipe and this is for sure it!

    1. This means so much, Sandra! Thank you!