How to Make Box Brownies Better

12 brownies
50 min

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What makes these box brownies better than the rest? Well, it starts with a few special additions like brewed coffee, instant espresso, and melted butter. These brownies taste rich, fudgy, and utterly scrumptious. They really are the BEST brownies. You would never know that they started with a boxed brownie mix!

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Sometimes brownie mix is the simplest way to satisfy your brownie cravings quickly. But how do you improve box brownies? I have eight simple tips to make your next tray of boxed brownies better. These tips result in rich, fudgy brownies that you would never know came from a box of mix. Even better, thanks to the premade mix this recipe is made in one bowl. No need to fill your sink with dirty dishes!


This simple recipe results in fudgy, indulgent brownies. Simply choose your favorite brownie mix and follow the easy instructions for the BEST boxed brownies!


Recipe Highlights

  • Starts with a Box of Brownie Mix - This recipe could not be easier thanks to the use of brownie mix.
  • Few Dishes - You only need one bowl for all of the mixing!
  • Rich and Fudgy Brownies - Thanks to melted butter, coffee, and egg yolks, these boxed brownies are indulgent and deliciously fudgy.


How to Make Box Brownie Mix Better

How do you enhance box brownies? I can help you! Follow these eight simple tips to make the best {and easiest} fudgy brownies.


  1. Start with a good brownie mix. My personal favorite brand is Ghirardelli. Other favorites include King Arthur Baking Company and Simple Mills (a good gluten-free option).
  2. Use egg yolks instead of whole egg(s). The yolks are the fattiest part of the egg. Using only the rich yolk versus eggs makes the brownies fudgier.
  3. Substitute brewed coffee instead of water. Coffee and chocolate have similar flavor profiles; therefore, they play very well off each other. Switching out the water for coffee results in a darker, richer flavor. You can also use milk or cream instead of the water too.
  4. Add instant espresso (or instant coffee). Like the brewed coffee, instant espresso bumps up the chocolate flavor as well.
  5. Include extra chocolate. Add semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks for the ultimate chocolate experience.
  6. Amp up the flavor with pure vanilla extract. I know it's pricy but use the good stuff. It really adds to the overall flavor of the brownies. A little does go a long way.
  7. Use melted butter instead of oil. If butter is an option, I will always use it. Melted butter provides a luscious, rich flavor and mouthfeel to these brownies. Make sure to use unsalted butter. And make sure you are using melted butter, not softened.
  8. Bake the brownies at a low heat. Baking the brownies at 325 degrees F results in even cooking throughout the tray of brownies. Thanks to all the fat in this recipe, the brownies cook evenly while preserving their fudgy texture.


Ingredients

  • Brownie Mix - You will need a 20 oz package for this recipe. I always use Ghirardelli Brownie Mix when I start with a box mix. If starting with Triple Chocolate Ghirardelli Mix, cut the added semi-sweet chocolate chips back by half or omit entirely. (It already has chocolate chips inside the mix.)
  • Egg Yolks
  • Brewed Coffee
  • Instant Espresso Powder (or coffee)
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Melted Butter - Or, if desired, use a neutral flavored oil (like avocado or canola oil) in the same amount.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips or Chunks - As stated above, if using a mix that already has chocolate chips in it, reduce the amount of added chocolate chips or omit them all together.


Instructions

PREP - Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

MIX - Mix the brewed coffee, melted butter, egg yolks, and vanilla extract until combined. Whisk in the instant espresso or coffee until dissolved.

FOLD - Using a rubber spatula, fold the brownie mix into the liquid ingredients.


*Why do we fold in the brownie mix instead of whisking it in? The more you mix, the more gluten develops. To keep these brownies soft and fudgy, we need to keep the mixing to a minimum. Therefore, we fold the dry ingredients into the wet just until everything is combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips. *TIP: Reserve a few extra chips to sprinkle on top of the batter once it is in the pan.

BAKE - Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Smooth it into an even layer. Bake the brownies for 40-45 minutes, or until the brownies are set. (These brownies are very fudgy, so a toothpick inserted into the center may not come out clean.)

COOL - Cool the brownies before slicing. For the cleanest slices, chill brownies for an hour before cutting.


Equipment You May Need

  • 8-inch Square Baking Pan - This USA Pan Bakeware 8-inch Square Bake Pan is the pan that I have. It's great quality and holds up well. (I use it frequently!) It is nonstick and quick-release.
  • Mixing Bowls - I love a good nesting bowl set. They often include all of the ideal bowl sizes you need for baking recipes like this one. I love this Pyrex Glass Mixing Bowl Set.
  • Large Whisk - This is the OXO Balloon Whisk that I have. It has a comfortable handle for easy gripping when mixing. This handle is especially handy when making something that involves plentiful mixing like meringue.
  • Rubber Spatula - You'll need a rubber spatula for scraping the bowl and folding in the dry ingredients.
  • Parchment Paper Sheets - Parchment sheets, versus the roll, are a game changer when lining a baking pan. Yes, you will need to trim them slightly, but the flat shape makes the pan lining process ten times easier!


Box Brownie Mix Add-Ins and Variations

ADD CHOPPED NUTS - Nuts add a beautiful textural element to brownies, in addition to an added nutty flavor. Use walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, or almonds. Make sure they are chopped for easier eating.


FINISH WITH FLAKEY SEA SALT - The salty-sweet flavor combination applies to brownies too. After baking, sprinkle flakey sea salt or fleur de sel over the warm brownies.


Storing and Freezing

  • STORE - Store brownies in an airtight container or zip-top bag. Store at room temperature for up to five days, or in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • FREEZE - Transfer cooled brownies to a freezer-safe zip-top bag. Separate layers with a sheet of wax paper. Freeze for up to 3 months.


Other Brownie Recipes You Will Love

FAQ

How do you make brownies fudgy? The more fat in the brownie batter, the fudgier the brownies will be. For this reason, this recipe uses egg yolks and lots of melted butter.

What is the best way to serve box brownies? Brownies are best when served at room temperature or warm. While you can eat them cold, your tongue tastes the flavors significantly more if the brownies are room temperature. Not to mention, the soft and/or melty chocolate chips are a bonus. Or serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. To Heat: Microwave one brownie for 15-20 seconds.

Can I use a mixer to mix brownie batter? It is best to mix brownie batter by hand, especially if you are looking for fudgy brownies. The more the batter is mixed, the more gluten is developed.

Can you use butter instead of oil in brownies? Yes, butter is delicious in brownies. Make sure the butter is melted though (like in this recipe). You will often see brownie recipes specifying to melt the butter and chocolate together as well.


DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Please leave a star rating and review on my website!


How to Make Box Brownies Better
Recipe details
  • 12  brownies
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 40 Minutes Total time: 50 min
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Ingredients

  • 1 (20 oz) box brownie mix
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup warm brewed coffee
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso or instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
Mix the brewed coffee, melted butter, egg yolks, and vanilla extract until combined. Whisk in the instant espresso or coffee until dissolved.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the brownie mix into the liquid ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips. Reserve a few extra chips to sprinkle on top of the batter once it is in the pan.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Smooth it into an even layer.
Bake the brownies for 40-45 minutes, or until the brownies are set. (These brownies are very fudgy, so a toothpick inserted into the center may not come out clean.)
Allow the brownies to cool before slicing.
Tips
  • Notes
  • TO STORE - Store brownies in an airtight container or zip-top bag. Store at room temperature for up to five days, or in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • TO FREEZE - Transfer cooled brownies to a freezer-safe zip-top bag. Separate layers with a sheet of wax paper. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • FOR THE CLEANEST SLICES - Refrigerate the brownies for one hour before cutting.
Katelyn | Sugary Logic
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Comments
  • Bobbie Bobbie on Mar 18, 2022

    You really don't need to spend the extra money for Ghirardelli mix. With the additions you used it will make any box mix great. I've been doing it for years.

    • Mje48357989 Mje48357989 on Mar 18, 2022

      Aldi brand brownie mix is a favorite in this house.

  • Luana Huskey Luana Huskey on Mar 18, 2022

    I make boxed dark chocolate brownies with cinnamon in mix. Cream cheese frosting with heath bar chips, butterfinger chips, or some other fun toppings.

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