Brownies are a beloved treat for many people around the world. With their rich chocolatey flavor and gooey texture, they’re the perfect indulgence when you’re in the mood for something sweet and satisfying.
However, if you’ve ever made brownies from a box mix, you might have found that they can sometimes be a little lackluster.
While convenient, pre-made brownie mixes can sometimes leave you with a subpar result that doesn’t quite live up to your expectations.
Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways to take your brownie mix to the next level and make them truly exceptional.
In this article, we’ll explore some tips and tricks to help you make your brownie mix better and achieve the perfect batch every time.
So, whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner looking to up your game, keep reading to learn more about how to make your brownie mix better than ever before.
How Do You Make Boxed Brownies More Delicious?
Below, I’ve listed some of my go-to boxed brownie hacks, ranked in order of how effective they are in enhancing the flavor of the finished product.
Experimenting with a combination of these hacks is the key to crafting your very own recipe for boxed brownies that are guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds.
10. Change Up The Baking Directions For Low And Slow Bake
For an ultra-fudgy brownie texture, consider modifying the baking directions with a low and slow bake. Keep in mind that not all boxed brownie mixes are created equal and may require different baking instructions.
To achieve my preferred brownie texture, preheat your oven to 325F and bake the mix for approximately 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted about an inch from the edge comes out clean or with a few dry crumbs.
9. Avoid Over-Mixing Your Boxed Brownie Mix Batter
When it comes to baking cakes and cookies, there’s a widely known rule about not overmixing the batter. However, this lesser-known tip is equally applicable when it comes to brownies.
Overmixing your brownie batter can cause it to become dense and lose its signature fudgy texture. As a general rule of thumb, mix the batter until the dry ingredients have just disappeared, transfer it to your baking pan, and bake it immediately.
8. Add In Espresso Powder Or Instant Coffee
If you’re a fan of adding hot coffee to your brownie mix, then this hack will be right up your alley.
What sets it apart, however, is that it allows you to achieve that sought-after depth of flavor by adding espresso powder or instant coffee, while also using milk as the liquid to impart richness and extra fat to your mix.
To give this hack a try, simply add 1-2 teaspoons of espresso powder or instant coffee to your brownie mix batter, and indulge in that intense chocolate flavor that you’ve been craving!
7. Add A Little Salt
If you’ve been following my recipes, you may have noticed that I always add a pinch of salt to my baked goods. The reason being that it helps to balance out the sweetness and brings out the other flavors in the dish.
This trick also works wonders for boxed brownies. Incorporating a small amount of salt into the batter can lend a complex, deep chocolate flavor without making the brownies overly sweet.
For an added touch of sophistication, consider sprinkling some sea salt on top of your brownies, too. Your taste buds will thank you!
6. Add Some Vanilla Extract
While it might seem unconventional to add vanilla extract to a chocolate brownie recipe, trust me when I say that it can work wonders in terms of enhancing the other flavors in the dish.
Adding a touch of vanilla extract to your brownie mix can lend an extra depth of flavor that will complement and elevate the chocolate flavor, making for an even more delicious end result.
5. Use Hot Brewed Coffee Instead Of Water
Coffee and chocolate are a match made in heaven, and many chocolate cake recipes call for the addition of hot brewed coffee to intensify the chocolate flavor.
The same can be said for boxed brownie mixes. Swapping out plain water for coffee can work wonders in terms of deepening the chocolate flavor and taking your brownies to the next level.
4. Use Milk Or Heavy Cream Instead Of Water
If you’re aiming for fudgy brownies, increasing the fat content of your batter is key, and that’s where milk or heavy cream comes in.
While water might seem like the obvious choice for liquid in boxed brownie mixes, it doesn’t add much to the overall flavor or texture.
In contrast, adding milk or heavy cream can lend a richness and depth of flavor that will result in the perfect ooey-gooey brownie slice.
3. Use Egg Yolks Instead Of A Whole Egg
It’s generally good to keep in mind that two egg yolks can replace one whole egg. Personally, I prefer to use two egg yolks instead of a whole egg when making boxed brownies because it adds more fat to the recipe and makes the brownies more fudgy.
This substitution is quite straightforward, yet it can lead to impressive outcomes. Additionally, if you have any leftover egg whites, you can make some delicious meringue cookies.
2. Use Butter Instead Of Oil
When it comes to baking, there’s no denying that butter is my ultimate passion. Although many brownie mix boxes recommend using oil, I prefer to go for melted butter to give my brownies an extra touch of indulgence.
If you can get your hands on high-quality butter, even better! This simple substitution can make a huge difference in the richness and flavor of your brownies.
1. Start With Good Brownie Mix!
Although this may seem like an obvious piece of advice, I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to choose the right brownie mix.
I’ve made the mistake of picking the wrong one more times than I can count, resulting in brownies that tasted like a blend of chemicals and despair.
Personally, I highly recommend starting with the Ghirardelli double or triple chocolate brownie mix, or the Ghirardelli chocolate supreme mix.
Using a quality mix as a base can significantly enhance the flavor and texture of your final product, especially when you add your own personal touch.
What Makes This How To Make Boxed Brownies Better Article So Special?
It’s possible that you’ve asked yourself this very question before clicking on this article, and that’s completely understandable.
However, what sets this article apart from the numerous others you may have come across online is that it presents a unique approach to using boxed brownie mix that yields results comparable to a homemade brownie recipe!
The brownies are extremely fudgy each time they are cut
Boxed brownies have never tasted so good!
Can’t find the time? You can make this brownie recipe with brownie mix in under 10 minutes.
This is a great dessert to serve at summer barbecues or family gatherings.
Additional Tips For Making Box Brownies Better
Whether you’re hoping to intensify the chocolate flavor, add a bit of crunch, or put a creative spin on a beloved classic, these brownie hacks, substitutions, and additions can elevate a comforting treat from good to great with minimal extra effort required.
Lean Into The Savory
Boxed brownie mixes can sometimes be overly sweet and lacking in depth. The easiest way to counteract this is by incorporating salt. Simply adding a bit of kosher salt to the brownie batter can make a noticeable difference.
For additional texture and a touch of savoriness that can enhance the richness of the chocolate, consider adding crushed potato chips, pretzels, or salted nuts to the batter before baking, or sprinkle them on top.
To create an eye-catching, glittering appearance, try dusting the finished brownies with a sprinkle of sea salt or flaky salt, such as Maldon, before slicing and serving.
Scope Out Your Kitchen For Add-Ins
Boxed brownie mixes offer a versatile foundation for incorporating a wide variety of snacks, sweets, and baking scraps from your pantry or fridge.
To create a complex, mocha-like flavor, add a teaspoon of instant coffee or espresso powder to the batter. For additional texture and nutty flavor, throw in a handful of pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, or any other nuts you have on hand.
For a fruity twist, stir in a palmful of dried or frozen fruit to the batter. And if you’re a fan of vanilla, consider adding an extra splash of top-quality vanilla extract, a dollop of vanilla paste, or a sprinkle of vanilla powder to the mix for added depth and complexity.
If you have a stash of chocolate chips left over from previous baking endeavors, consider adding them to your brownie mix for an even richer, more chocolaty treat.
Semisweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chunks, and even shavings from a chocolate block can all be incorporated for added indulgence.
Leftover holiday treats, such as crumbled candy bars, chopped peppermints, candied ginger, or crushed cookies, can also be added to the mix for a festive twist.
For an extra burst of flavor, experiment with swirling in spoonfuls of peanut butter, Nutella, cream cheese, raspberry jam, or Marshmallow Fluff on top of the brownie batter just before baking.
If the spread is too thick to swirl, microwaving it for 10–20 seconds can help loosen it up. This simple step doesn’t add much extra time, but can significantly enhance the overall flavor and customization of your brownies.
Make Smart Swaps In The Batter
Most brownie mixes typically require the addition of oil, water, and eggs to the batter, providing ample opportunity for easy flavor and richness upgrades through simple ingredient swaps.
Rather than opting for the standard canola or vegetable oil, consider melting butter or using brown butter for added nuttiness and depth of flavor.
For a more unexpected twist, try swapping in high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, as recommended by pastry expert and food editor Shilpa Uskokovic, to infuse your brownies with a fruity, peppery note.
To enhance the flavor of your brownies, consider substituting water with some instant espresso or strong-brewed coffee, which will impart a delightful toasty note that perfectly complements the chocolate.
Alternatively, you can use milk or half-and-half for an even richer result. If you prefer your brownies to be more cake-like rather than fudgy, try adding an extra egg to the mix, which will provide more lift and a springy texture.
What Is The Best Box Brownie Brand?
In my opinion, Ghirardelli offers the best boxed brownie mix out there. If you’re looking to try it out, I highly recommend the Double Chocolate or Chocolate Supreme brownie mixes from Ghirardelli.
But don’t just take my word for it; reputable sources such as Cook’s Illustrated and The Kitchn also agree that Ghirardelli is the best. On the other hand, Duncan Hines doesn’t seem to have as much support from these sources.
When I first tried this boxed brownie recipe and set out to improve its taste, I had my doubts. After all, how could a mix from a box ever produce anything truly delicious?
However, to my delight, the resulting brownies were absolutely amazing and didn’t even have that tell-tale “box mix” flavor. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try if you happen to have a box of brownie mix lying around!