These easy homemade Fudgy Brownies are a chocolate-lover's dream! After many rounds of testing, the thick, decadent brownies with chewy edges, crinkle tops and a moist, fudgy center are absolute winners. The perfect dessert with a simple dusting of powdered sugar and a cold glass of milk!
Easy Brownie Recipe
While a box of brownie mix is a classic pantry staple and a great last-minute dessert option, there's something really special (and delicious) about homemade brownies. When my mother-in-law gave me this Fudgy Brownie recipe, which she received from her friend Mary, my boys couldn't wait to give them a try.
I played around with the original recipe to test different size pans, tweaked the ingredients to add cocoa powder for an even richer chocolate taste, compared baking times, and eventually lined the different brownies up for a taste test. The four boys that I live with were happy to participate as judges, and the recipe that you see here is the tried-and-tested 100% favorite. I know you'll love them as much as we do!
Are brownies supposed to be fudgy?
Cakey, chewy or fudgy...that is the great brownie debate! There's no right or wrong answer here -- it's purely a matter of personal preference -- and there's a chocolate brownie recipe to match every individual taste. That said, we sit strongly in the fudgy brownie camp. The best brownie recipe yields nice and thick treats with firm, chewy edges, lightly-crinkled or cracked tops, and moist, fudgy centers.
The Difference Between Fudgy and Chewy Brownies
Fudgy brownies have a dense, moist and gooey texture in the middle, while chewy brownies are also dense, but have a slightly elastic texture with more "bite." Fudgy brownies use only butter as the fat of choice, while chewy brownie recipes also benefit from the addition of canola oil. Brown sugar, which speeds gluten formation, is an essential ingredient in chewy brownies.
What makes brownies fudgy?
Fudgy brownies have a higher fat-to-flour ratio than cakey brownies. This recipe includes a whopping 2 sticks of butter, which is why they are so darn moist and fudgy! Cakey brownies also typically include a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda, which we're not using in this recipe. Since these fudgy brownies don't have a leavening agent (other than the eggs), they stay dense and fudgy -- not light, airy and cakey.
The Secret to Moist Brownies
In addition to plenty of butter, the eggs in this recipe add moisture and a little bit of "lift." The other secret to moist brownies -- the baking time! You want them slightly under-baked (not raw), so that when they cool and firm up a bit, the brownies retain that moist, gooey center.
Which Brownie Pan to Use?
I've tested this recipe in both 8-inch and 9 x 13-inch pans. While either option works, our family agrees that the super-thick brownies from an 8-inch square pan are the best. A 9-inch square pan will also work well. I recommend a deep glass, ceramic, or light metal baking pan. If you're using a non-stick or dark metal pan, you'll need to decrease the baking time by a few minutes.
How to Make Fudgy Brownies
Make this easy brownie recipe from scratch in just minutes with basic ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen!
Ingredients for a Fudgy Brownie Recipe
- Vanilla extract
- Unsweetened baking chocolate
- All-purpose flour
Step 1: Melt Chocolate
Use a double-boiler or the microwave to melt the baking chocolate. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly before combining it with the other ingredients (otherwise the piping hot chocolate can cook the eggs).
Step 2: Combine Wet Ingredients
Use an electric mixer to cream together the softened butter, sugar and vanilla extract.
Step 3: Add Eggs
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
Step 4: Add Melted Chocolate
Mix in the melted chocolate.
Step 5: Mix in Dry Ingredients
Slowly add the flour and salt, mixing just until combined. Transfer the batter to the greased baking pan.
How Long to Bake Brownies
If using a deep 8-inch square pan for very thick brownies, bake the brownies in a 325 degree F oven for 50-65 minutes.
How to Tell When Brownies are Done
The total baking time will vary depending on the type and size of the pan that you're using, so it's best to just keep an eye on your brownies towards the end. For instance, glass or ceramic pans will require a longer baking time than metal pans. Dark metal or nonstick pans will require significantly less time.
It's important not to over-bake the brownies in order to maintain that moist, fudgy texture. Press gently in the center of the pan -- the brownie should feel like it has just set. Then insert a toothpick. The brownies are done when a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs still clinging. It's okay for the toothpick to look moist, but if you see wet batter, bake the brownies a little bit longer.
How Long to Let Brownies Cool
Brownies will break apart if you cut them while they're still hot. It's best to let them cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 1-2 hours (or until they come to room temperature) before slicing and serving.
How to Cut Brownies
Once the brownies are cool, spray a long, sharp knife with cooking spray before slicing them into squares. Don't saw back and forth to cut through the brownies, but instead press down firmly once. This will prevent the brownies from falling apart.
If you prefer to cut the brownies on a cutting board outside of the pan, I recommend lining the pan with parchment paper. This makes it easy to turn the pan over and flip the whole cooled brownie out of the pan. Then cut into squares and enjoy!
How to Serve Chewy Fudge Brownies
The brownies can be served warm, at room temperature, or even cold — straight from the fridge! They’re perfect for an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea, and they’re also great as a dessert on a holiday buffet or cookie tray. Once they're cool, dust the brownies with powdered sugar. For a real treat, make a hot fudge brownie sundae by topping a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce!
Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
To freeze the brownies, wrap them tightly and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Tips for the Best Fudgy Brownie Recipe
- Use unsweetened baking chocolate (such as Baker's brand). This is different than a regular chocolate bar, so do not substitute with chocolate chips or a Hershey's bar. You can find unsweetened baking chocolate in the baking aisle of just about any grocery store.
- Be careful not to scorch the chocolate. Melt the squares in a double-boiler or in 20-second increments in the microwave (stirring after each interval).
- To get a shiny, flaky, crackly, light-colored crust on the top of your brownies, beat the batter really well after adding the eggs (but before adding the flour). This adds extra air bubbles to the batter, and when the brownies cool the air bubbles shrink -- giving the tops that cracked texture that so many of us love.
- Do Not Over-Bake. Be careful not to over-bake the bars or they will not have that soft, fudgy texture. When you remove them from the oven, the center will still be soft and may even look slightly underbaked. That’s fine! The brownies will firm up as they cool, and will be perfectly moist.
- Why are my brownies cake-like or crumbly? These brownies will not be cake-like because they have such a high fat-to-flour ratio. The bars will be dry and crumbly if you bake them for too long. That’s why it’s important to pull them out of the oven when they’re still soft and slightly under-baked.
Recipe Variations -- Fudgy Brownies
- Cocoa Powder Brownies: Replace ¼ cup of the flour with ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder for a richer, more chocolatey taste. I love this twist, but my kids prefer the recipe without the cocoa powder. You choose!
- Chocolate Chip Brownies: Add 1-2 cups of chocolate chips to the brownie batter before baking. My boys love the extra chocolate and the added crunch! Milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or even white chocolate chips will all work.
- Brownies with Nuts: Stir 1-2 cups of chopped walnuts into the brownie batter before baking.
- Thinner Brownies: Bake the brownies in a 9 x 13-inch pan for about 30 minutes.
More Homemade Brownies To Try
Easy Fudgy Brownies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, cut into chunks
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Optional: 1-2 cups chopped walnuts or chocolate chips
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or in 20-second increments in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Cool.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a deep 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish (glass, ceramic or light metal is best for even baking); set aside.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine really well. Add melted chocolate (make sure that it’s not too hot or the eggs will cook) and mix until combined. Mix in flour and salt. Fold in nuts or chocolate chips (if using).
- Transfer batter to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 50-65 minutes, or until cooked through. Don’t overbake – they will firm up as they cool and stay nice and fudgy!
- Once the brownies are completely cool, slice into squares and dust with powdered sugar (if desired).