I think if you read some of the comments for these best homemade brownies below you’ll want to make this recipe ASAP. Just see what Susan said:
How to Make Chewy Brownies
Let me explain exactly what makes these brownies so chewy and easy. You can skip this if you don’t care WHY these brownies are the way they are and you just want the printable recipe asap.
Chocolate & Cocoa Powder
Unlike my Ultimate Fudgy Brownies, which utilize two types of melted chocolate, these brownies get their main chocolate flavor from cocoa powder with semi-sweet chocolate chips stirred into the batter. Cocoa powder definitely yields a chewier brownie and has a flavor reminiscent of boxed brownies.
The photos on this post show what the brownies look like if you use regular unsweetened cocoa powder. In the recipe video, I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder. It gave the brownies an ultra dark chocolaty appearance with a little less sweetness.
Since creating this video, however, Hershey’s has changed the formula of that specific cocoa powder to a Dutched cocoa powder. I recommend sticking with a natural cocoa powder, such as Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder or Penzey’s Natural Cocoa Powder, for best results. Learn more about the differences between Dutch-process cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder here.
Feel free to fold in any kind of chocolate chips you want from dark chocolate or milk chocolate, but semisweet is my favorite. Whatever you do, don’t skip the chocolate chips! They help to develop that shiny crust on top of brownies.
With any cocoa powder-based brownie recipe, we need quite a bit of fat to prevent the cocoa powder from drying the brownies out and making them crumbly. In looking at what makes box mix brownies so chewy, it appears that the combination of saturated (solid) fats and unsaturated (liquid) fats is the winning answer. According to Cooks’ Illustrated, boxed brownies have the saturated fat component covered which is why you add oil (unsaturated) to the mix. I opted for a combination of melted butter and vegetable oil for the best marriage of taste and texture.
Make sure your vegetable oil is fresh to avoid any off flavors and use unsalted butter so you can fully control the level of saltiness. I haven’t tested these brownies with canola oil.
For a full breakdown on these two types of fats and how they affect flavor, tenderness, and texture, check out my Butter vs. Oil in Baking article. There are lots more side-by-side comparisons like this one (and not just with brownies!):
I stuck with granulated sugar here because although I love the taste of brown sugar, I didn’t want to add any more moisture (brown sugar contributes more moisture due to the molasses that’s added in) to these already very moist and rich brownies. Too much moisture creates brownies that have lots of holes on top instead of that shiny tissue thin crust.
2 large eggs is pretty standard for an 8 by 8-inch brownie recipe, but I just had to add in an egg yolk for the extra dose of chewiness and richness it gives. The protein and the fat in the egg yolk helps achieve those textures. We use cold eggs, instead of room temperature, to prevent the brownies from doming and to increase moisture with a tighter crumb texture.
All-purpose flour is the way to go here, cake flour makes these brownies way too tender and light. We can achieve enough chewiness without having to use bread flour, which can prevent an extra trip to the store for a lot of people. To make chewy AND fudgy brownies, we only need to use a little bit of flour. Any more flour will create drier or cakier brownies. If you want to be super accurate and weigh your flour, 1/2 cup equals 63 grams or 2.25 ounces. Check out my How to Measure Flour article for step-by-step instructions for weighing dry ingredients using a digital scale.
If you live in a very humid environment, or really dislike any kind of “greasiness,” you may want to add an extra 2 tablespoons of flour to your brownie batter mixture.
With my brownie recipes, I usually prefer a very small amount or no chemical leavener (baking soda or baking powder). The reason is because I like brownies to be very rich and on the denser side, not even remotely cakey. Since they lift and give a lighter airier texture to baked goods, we’re only using 1/8 teaspoon baking soda here for just enough leavening to get a nice thick texture.
This little secret ingredient really helps to improve the texture of these brownies so they’re that much closer to the box mix kind. 1 tablespoon of cornstarch makes the brownies thicker and improves that crust on top.
Make sure to measure correctly, and don’t skip this ingredient! When shooting the photos for my article on how to make brownies with a shiny, thin crust, my food photographer captured the shocking differences between a batch made with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch vs brownies made with an accidental amount of 1 teaspoon cornstarch. The bottom brownies also had no chocolate chips. Take a look:
Can I Add Nuts to Brownies?
Yes! You can add 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans. You can add them either in addition to the chocolate chips or in place of the chocolate chips. Just note if you remove the chocolate chips your crust on top may not be as shiny. For best flavor, try toasting the nuts on a lined tray in a 350°F oven for about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring once.
How Long to Bake Brownies:
Bake these brownies in a 325°F oven for about 30 minutes to avoid overbaking. There will absolutely be moist crumbs attached to a tester by the end of the baking time. That’s what we want. Even after 30 minutes if the middle still seems too moist, just remove the brownies from the oven. Carry-over cooking, the residual heat of the oven and pan, will continue to cook the brownies.
Some readers have said their brownies were really undercooked after 30 minutes. I’m guessing they used a glass baking pan, which I DON’T recommend for this recipe. I recommend a metal baking pan like this one lined with foil or parchment paper. Learn more about the differences between Glass vs. Metal Baking Pans here.
Also, you might want to check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer as many home ovens run cold (especially when they say they’ve just preheated).
For best results, allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing and serving.
How to Store Brownies:
The brownies definitely taste best the day they are baked, but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the fridge. They are even more fudgy when they’re chilled.
This brownie recipe is written exactly the way it is for very specific reasons, as noted in the explanations above. If you can’t use one of the ingredients listed, take a look at my extensive brownie index for other options (including coconut oil brownies). If you try to reduce the sugar, use a sugar substitute, use a butter substitute, or make this recipe vegan the results will NOT be the same. Feel free to add in nuts, chips, toffee bits, or anything else to the batter (1/2 cup to 1 cup, depending on how much you’d like).
This recipe was the May 2021 pick for our monthly baking challenge! Every month you can join the challenge by baking the recipe and snapping a photo for a chance to win prizes! Learn more about my monthly baking challenges here. Check out everyone’s brownies: