Bars & Brownies, Desserts, Family Favorites

The Best Brownies

April 23, 2013

** Recipe and post revised January 31, 2015. I was pretty new to blogging when this post hit it big and let’s face it… No one is perfect. Hopefully these edits will appease my critics. >insert wink face here<**

Sometimes girls just needs chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

My go-to craving cure would have to be brownies. They are just a denser version of chocolate cake, and the only boxed mix baked good I have ever loved. But last week I wanted to try out a few homemade versions and find the best one for a late night sweet fix.

These brownies are going in the record book for the most moist and flavorful brownies I have ever made! Dax is a big fan of the boxed brownie (I don’t know who raised this kid), but even he gave them two thumbs up. I know it isn’t hard to please a four year old, but I like to think that mine has a sophisticated palate!

The best brownies

The Best Brownies


  • 1/3 cup Dutch cocoa
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 -1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 -3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Set the prepared pan aside for later use.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine your cocoa and hot water in a large bowl. Whisk until incorporated. Stir in the unsweetened chocolate until melted and smooth.
  4. Add the oil, butter, eggs, yolks and vanilla. Once the batter is smooth fold in the dry ingredients. Gently stir until just combined.
  5. Spread your batter into your prepared pan. Smooth out with the back of a spoon. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

the best brownie recipe

TIPS for perfect brownies:

1. For a crispy top try dividing the whole eggs. Add the egg yolks where the eggs are called for in the recipe. Whip the whites and fold into the batter before pouring into the pan.

2. Use room temperature eggs.

3. Use parchment paper in your pan. This helps with easy clean up and also prevents them from sticking to the pan.

4. Keep a watchful eye on the bars. You want to catch them at just the right time. They might not look completely cooked, but that is the secret to a perfectly gooey brownie.

fudge brownie recipe

If you want to get a little wild you could even throw in some extra chocolate chips or candy!

I’ve been slacking a bit on posts lately. Hopefully now that summer is here I can get caught up and provide you all with some great content. So stick around!

**It has come to my attention that some people have felt the need to leave negative or nasty comments about this recipe and it’s instructions. I have read over the recipe multiple times and want to clarify a few things… There is NO baking powder or soda in this recipe. It is not a typo. If you added either of those ingredients and were disappointed in the recipe it is user error. You add the sugar into the flour mixture. If you want a crispy top to your brownies you should whip your egg whites and fold them into the batter. This is NOT required. It is just a visual preference and a suggestion I gave to a reader. From this point on unnecessary comments will be deleted. **

If you liked this post you will LOVE these:

Mint Brownie Brittle

mint brownie brittle

Flourless Chocolate Cake

flourless chocolate cake

Chocolate Banana Muffins

chocolate banana muffins

Comments (94)

  • Summer Reply

    April 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Oh yum! These look so yummy – now I need some chocolate!

  • aimee @ like mother like daughter Reply

    April 23, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    These look absolutely amazing! I always love the flaky skin boxed brownies get on top and it looks like yours have that with the delicious chewy, gooeyness in the middle. Yum!

    • Jesseca Reply

      April 23, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      The secret is whipping the eggs. Shhhhh…. don’t tell anyone ;0)

      • Gena Reply

        January 31, 2015 at 8:56 pm

        Unfortunately, I did not read the comments before making the brownies. I used 2 egg yolks and 2 whites, I did not fluff them or know to do so. Personally I think you should add that into the recipe instead of at the bottom or in the comments. I hope they turn out okay….

        • Jesseca Reply

          January 31, 2015 at 10:21 pm

          If you followed the recipe they should turn out just fine. I’m sorry that you didn’t read the entire post before attempting the recipe. I did adjust to post a bit to reflect the changes in a more prominent area.

          • Gena

            January 31, 2015 at 10:35 pm

            No, I did not, just read the recipe. You have such a nice way of being condescending.

          • Jesseca

            February 1, 2015 at 12:14 am

            Gena, I just sent you an email with a more detailed apology but wanted to let you know that I am truly sorry that my comment came off as condescending. It was never my intention. I hope the recipe turned out and that future readers will be better informed thanks to the changes I made due to your suggestion.

        • Laura Reply

          August 8, 2015 at 6:09 pm

          Gena, she was clearly not being condescending… you just didn’t read the whole post. The instructions are very clear, and it never says you MUST whip the eggs. That is just an additional tip.

  • Stephanie Pass Reply

    May 3, 2013 at 1:00 am

    These look delicious! I am always looking for a new recipe to try and what’s better than brownies? Just pinned this one and will try it asap. Thanks for sharing!!

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  • Chelsea @ Making Home Base Reply

    May 5, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Oh my goodness do they look AMAZING!!

  • Milie Reply

    May 12, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    When do you add sugar?

    • Jason Reply

      July 20, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      But but but….how can you “add the sugar when you add the eggs and vanilla” in step 3 when step 4 says “combine flour, sugar, et al.?????
      Can’t say I’ve ever combined sugar and flour in baking so I’ll go with adding it at step 3.
      Also, if whipping the eggs is what makes this recipe special, maybe that instruction should have been included, not as a sidebar in comments.
      Recipe could use some editing.

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  • Bev Reply

    May 17, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I sprinkled sea salt on the top…….Yummy !!!!!

    • Jesseca Reply

      May 17, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      What a great idea! I love salty sweet combinations!

  • Jody Reply

    July 15, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Easy to make! Added choc chips, hubby and daughter loved these!!

  • Sally Reply

    November 17, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Hi there,
    Sorry the measurements are a bot different here where you have a T is that teaspoon or tablespoon?
    I am looking for a fairly cheap brownie version as I have to make a lot but all the ones I have tried that just use cocoa turn out like chocolate cake. Do you have any budget friendly brownie recipies that actually turn out like brownies?

    • Jesseca Reply

      November 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      I will go into the recipe and change that in the next few days… the “T” is tablespoons and “t” is teaspoon.

  • Katie Adams Reply

    February 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Oh Yum! These look amazing! Thank you you for sharing your recipe.

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  • Cassie Roskom Reply

    March 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    If you’re using this in a stoneware baking dish should the temp or time be changed at all? Or just keep an eye on it? Looks delicious! :-) excited to try it!

    • Jesseca Reply

      March 17, 2014 at 11:20 am

      I would just keep an eye in it. I’ve never had to adjust the temperature before, but I don’t use stoneware often.

  • Wendy Sample Reply

    March 23, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I have just mixed up these fabulous looking brownies and noticed that they did not have any baking powder in the ingredients list. Do they not need a leavened. I added a teaspoon just in case it was a mistake or an omission . Please respond. Thanks!

    • Jesseca Reply

      March 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      No typo. I didn’t use baking powder.

  • Rae Reply

    April 6, 2014 at 4:20 am

    These turned out to be amazing! After trying out so many recipes for brownies, i think i finally found the one!
    I made them yesterday and my family loved them. Thank you =)

    • Jesseca Reply

      April 6, 2014 at 10:10 am

      I am so glad you and your family enjoyed them!

  • chrryb Reply

    May 27, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Does it have to be dutch cocoa powder? Some of my family have problems with what is in cocoa powder, so we use an all natural one from sprouts.

    • Jesseca Reply

      May 27, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      I just happen to be a fan of Dutch, but you can certainly substitute other types of cocoa. Let me know how they turn out!

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  • Amy K Reply

    June 29, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    The directions could really use some tweaking. I consider myself pretty good in the baking department but the incomplete instructions messed these up twice. First, we turned down the heat instead of took it off the heat and burned the chocolate. So we had to start over. Then I was putting them in the pan and realized the instructions never say when to put the sugar in so we had to mix in the sugar at the last minute which left the consistency a little grainy. They are still tasty but I think some more complete instructions would make it a lot easier to try to make these again.

    • Jesseca Reply

      June 30, 2014 at 8:04 am

      Sorry you had such a rough time with the directions. I went ahead and adjusted them to keep people from having trouble in the future. Sometimes I get ahead of myself when I write. Thanks for your feedback!

  • Jen Reply

    July 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    what is you don’t have any unsweetened chocolate? cut down on the sugar?? Please respond? Thanks

    • Jesseca Reply

      July 10, 2014 at 7:03 am

      I suggest sticking pretty close to the actual recipe. Unsweetened chocolate is a vital part of the mix.

  • Kimberly Woolridge Reply

    July 15, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Does the sugar go in with the dry or wet ingredient . I’m confused from the reviews. Thank you,

  • adityaa Reply

    July 19, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Hey.!! I hv a it lyk 1/2 cup n 2 teaspoons of water..!!?? Or is it 2 tablespoons?
    Would be glad if u could help me.

    • Jesseca Reply

      July 20, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      It is 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons

  • Yan Reply

    July 20, 2014 at 7:04 am

    I tried this recipe but with black onyx cocoa powder! I’m wondering if it’s the same as what you used because my brownie came out not brown like yours but as black as night.

    And you mentioned in one of your replies
    “Thanks for catching that! Add the sugar when you add the eggs and vanilla.”

    But your recipe says
    “Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. ”

    So I’m curious to know which is correct since both would have different effects in the recipe.
    Hope you could enlighten me!

    • Jesseca Reply

      July 20, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      I removed that comment. The recipe version is the correct version.

      • Yan Reply

        July 21, 2014 at 8:05 am

        Thanks Jesseca! (; this recipe yields really moist and chocolate-y brownies that are to die for!!

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  • Katie Reply

    July 20, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Made these tonight after our Sunday dinner. Everyone loved them! I used your tip to whip the egg whites and our tops turned out perfect! I will be adding this to my recipe book to make over and over.

  • Walter Reply

    July 22, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Hey! I love brownies and I think I might try this out on the weekend. Just to be clear when you 3×9 pan, that’s inches right?

    You got a new reader from Brazil!

  • shienshien Reply

    July 23, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Hi Jess, this looks amazing, I want to try. But I have some questions:
    1. What do you mean by the dash symbol ( – ), in the “2 -1/2 cups of sugar” and “1 -3/4 cups of flour”? I’m sorry if this is a stupid question but I’m not American so I’m not familiar with US metrics.
    2. You said that we should add eggs into the mixture of cocoa and chocolate in the boiling water. Should we wait until the temperature of the choco mixture quite normal before adding the eggs? I’m afraid the eggs will be cooked when I add them while the mixture still warm.

    Please help me. Thanks Jess.


    • Jesseca Reply

      July 23, 2014 at 11:57 am

      The dash symbol is basically an “and”. So two and a half cups of sugar.

      You can wait for the water to cool, but I whisk it enough beforehand that it isn’t warm enough to cook the eggs.

  • Vickie Reply

    July 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Jess,

    Questions about getting the crispy brownie tops. You mentioned whipping the egg whites. Are those egg whites separated from the egg yolks that are in recipe itself? Also, did you whip them to soft or stiff peaks? Thanks!!

    • Jesseca Reply

      July 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

      I just separate the 2 full eggs that are called for in the recipe. So mix in 4 yolks into the recipe and fold in the whites after you have beaten them into stiff peaks.

  • Vanessa Reply

    July 25, 2014 at 1:09 am

    I’ve never heard of whipping the egg whites but if that’s what it takes to get that elusive crispy top, I’m willing to give it a shot! :)

  • Nevada White Reply

    July 29, 2014 at 8:27 am

    So when it says “gently add” I’m step 4 I’m guessing the only thing you use an electric mixer in is whipping the egg whites? And you mix the rest by hand? So going to make these right after a shower and trip to the store of a couple ingredients. :)

    • Jesseca Reply

      July 29, 2014 at 8:32 am

      I don’t use a mixer, but I know several readers have and it worked out ok.

  • Ali Reply

    August 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Jessica great recipe! I am a pastry chef and I think they are superb. I gotta say you have the patience
    Of a saint with some of these questions on here haha :)

  • Pearl Reply

    August 9, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Hello! I tried this today and it was mostly succesful haha. I was just wondering, if I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil will it be okay?

    And using less sugar will work too right?

    Thanks! :)

    • Anthony Reply

      August 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      I once made brownies with extra virgin olive oil. I ended up with olivey brownies. -_- So if you must use olive oil, I would use the light stuff.

  • rayna Reply

    August 13, 2014 at 10:28 am

    i love the way this recipe sounds, but i really don’t like separating my eggs. will it turn out right if i just use two or three whole eggs?

  • Cheryl Reply

    August 23, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Just made these today and they are soooo yummy!!! I whipped the egg whites and folded into the batter, like you said for a crispy top, but it didn’t come out as crispy as yours look in the picture… Any suggestions??

  • Delea Reply

    August 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    so would I fold in the egg whites at step four? The recipe looks beautiful – sorry if this makes me seem like a dunce! 😛

    • Jesseca Reply

      August 27, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Fold in at the end of step four. Not a dunce at all :0)

  • Penny Reply

    August 29, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I’m teaching my daughter to cook a bunch of different things and this week’s edition is your brownies. I’m VERY pleased with the outcome! My only suggestion, if your household is like mine, is to cut back on the sugar. The batter is VERY sweet based on the fact that we do not do “added” sugar and have cut back quite a bit on products with sugar. So to us, it’s a bit much. That’s not a criticism, just a bit of advice for the “lesser” sugar households. They just came out of the oven so we haven’t cut into them yet, but they look fabulous! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Jesseca Reply

      September 8, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      I love the idea of trying these with a lesser amount of sugar. It’s always a good idea to try to cut back.

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    October 6, 2014 at 11:25 am

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  • Muni Reply

    October 22, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Best brownies ever! I used dark chocolate chunks which gave it a really rich flavor. Made these twice this week and they’re sinful. Thank you.

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  • modman Reply

    November 22, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    looks delicious! if we only have semi-sweet chocolate would suggest backing off on the sugar a bit? and if so how much?

    • Jesseca Reply

      November 27, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      Unfortunately we haven’t had success with semi sweet. Let me know if you figure out the proper ratio!

  • Yaz Reply

    December 1, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    about the egg white for crispy top, do i have to incorporate it in the batter before spreading in the pan or i would just spread it on top of the batter in the pan? Thanks. This recipe looks very yummy and i would like to try this since i’m new 2 baking.

    • Jesseca Reply

      December 2, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Fold it into the batter before you spread it into the pan. Good luck!

  • Samantha Reply

    December 9, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Your recipe title says it all – these are the BEST Brownies. Period. I have made these a number of times over the past year and never had an issue with the recipe. I also haven’t had to whip the egg whites to get a crispy top so I’m curious how it would turn out if I did that step. I can’t decide if these are better in their pure form, or with dried cherries, dark chocolate and pecans added. Both are ah-MAZ-ing! Thank you for this post

  • Janet Reply

    March 8, 2015 at 7:45 am

    I just used your recipe to t ach a 16 year old boy how to make brownies. And english is his second language, and they have a different measurement system here. They still turned out super!

  • Kayleigh Reply

    March 22, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I made these brownies yesterday to take to family dinner tonight! Can I just say that these are the most delicious brownies I have ever made. I’ve made from scratch brownies before that couldn’t even hold candle to these. My husband and I were eating them right from the pan. My 3 year old daughter has been enjoying them as well. I can’t wait to share them with the rest of my family this evening. I am an avid Baker and always arrive with something sweet, but these brownies are going to blow their minds! Thank you for this recipe!

  • Jane Reply

    March 26, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Jessica, haters gonna hate. I can’t wait to make these brownies. Thanks!

  • Cyn Reply

    April 4, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    These are delicious, just enough sweetness, chocolate and texture. I didn’t see a problem with the recipe at all. Everyone in the house lived them. Hopefully there will be enough for a brownie, strawberry, whip cream trifle for Easter tomorrow!

    Thank you very much Jessica, my granddaughter and I will make them again. Easy and delicious.

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  • REALASH Eyelash Enhancer Reply

    May 15, 2015 at 3:34 am

    Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the issues.
    It was definitely informative. Your site is very useful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  • Crystal Reply

    May 16, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Fantastic recipe! Thank you for posting! I’m so glad I stumbled this. :). I’ve experimented with a lot of brownie recipes and love how you mixed pieces of the different approaches (ie oil and butter, cocoa and chocolate).

    Ps. Isn’t it ridiculous the lengths you must go to keep all of these petty and rude people happy?

  • ronniemac Reply

    May 19, 2015 at 12:27 am

    MY God Jess, you have the patience of a saint. My thanks for the recipe as well, tried it last night and they are L U S H !!!
    Keep them coming and thank you :)

  • Deidre Reply

    June 21, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Jessica, I absolutely adore this brownie recipe. I will now use NONE other, and this is always my go-to for dessert for friends and family. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Kate Reply

    June 24, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    I just made these brownies this afternoon – delicious!! Luckily I read through the entire post and through some of the comments to find the best way to bake them. I ended up adding a caramel glaze and some sea salt as a topping and it added to the ooey-gooey goodness of the chocolatey brownie. I can honestly say this will be my go to recipe for brownies, forever!

  • Danielle Reply

    June 30, 2015 at 11:58 am

    These brownies were amazing ! Super moist and easy to make !!

  • aleisha Reply

    July 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    If i do not have dutch cocoa, can i substitute with normal cocoa?

    • Jesseca Reply

      July 14, 2015 at 10:17 am

      Yes. Dutch cocoa is a bit richer so the flavor will be different but I’ve had readers tell me they were still good.

  • jo Reply

    July 26, 2015 at 4:33 am

    tried this. its too sweet for me…

    • Jesseca Reply

      August 3, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      They are on the sweeter side for a brownie.

  • sabrina K Reply

    September 12, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you and how AWESOME these brownies are! This is my go do recipe for any time I am in the mood to make a batch of brownies ^_^

    I made these for my boyfriend’s workplace and apparently I have them ruined! If any brownies come into their building, unless they’re these, then they don’t want much to do with them! *lol* The only thing I did differently is that I added some walnuts to them. You can’t beat the classic combination of brownies with walnuts 😉

    • Jesseca Reply

      September 13, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Yay! I’m so glad you like the recipe!

  • Beata Reply

    September 17, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    This was the only recipe that I found online that matched the pan size and the ingredients in my pantry. After reading all the comments I wasn’t sure if I should make it but I gave it a try. I followed the recipe step by step, didn’t change anything. It turned out great! First brownie I baked in my life. Directions are easy to understand and English is not even my first language. Don’t let negative comments discourage you, just go and bake it.

    • Jesseca Reply

      September 18, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Yay! I’m so glad you liked them!

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