Filed Under: Brownie | Chocolate | Dessert | Videos

Cosmic Brownies

Recipe By Tessa Arias
May 16th, 2019
4.85 from 220 votes
4.85 from 220 votes

This copycat recipe for Cosmic Brownies is ultra rich, fudgy, and chewy just like the kind you buy at the store but oh so much better with no preservatives!

Yield: 16 brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: These homemade Cosmic Brownies have a much better chocolate flavor than the store-bought ones! No weird artificial flavors here.
Texture: Ultra rich, fudgy, and chewy. So good.
Ease: Very easy!! Have a batch of these made in just over an hour.
Appearance: I think they look pretty darn similar to the store-bought version, if not more mouthwatering.
Pros: Super fun copycat recipe that’s so much better when homemade.
Cons: Although these are not laden with hydrogenated oils and preservatives like the purchased kind, they still aren’t exactly health food 😉
Would I make this again? Absolutely!

When I was in elementary school anytime I’d bring a sack lunch it was basically the same exact thing every time. I always ate a peanut butter sandwich, I didn’t even like jelly necessarily. There’d usually be some other element in my lunch bag but I’d ALWAYS request my mom add in a Little Debbie brownie.

Overhead look of all the cosmic brownies cut into squares

Before Cosmic Brownies came into existence, it was just the Little Debbie brownies with the nuts on top. I would always pick off all the nuts. In my child mind, nuts shouldn’t be part of any dessert. Gross.

So you could imagine my excitement when I spotted Cosmic Brownies on the shelf at the store. Candy > Nuts any day! I freakin’ loved those Cosmic Brownies.

Cosmic brownies with sprinkles on top

I knew I had to make my own version from scratch. I got started making the most fudgy, chewy brownies I could, using everything I learned from my Ultimate Brownie Guide.

I even managed to find the exact candies Little Debbie tops the brownies with, they’re Wilton Rainbow Chip Crunch and I found them at Michael’s and I’ve seen them at Joanne’s, but they’re also available by a different brand on Amazon.

Cosmic brownie squares lined up

I think I managed to create something that will evoke all those childhood memories of snacking on those little plastic-wrapped store-bought brownies. But these babies are SO much better! Real and satisfying chocolate taste with no crazy artificial ingredients.

What are cosmic brownies?

They’re an invention of Little Debbie that basically summarize a childhood in the 1990s in each bite. Cosmic brownies are ultra chewy with a rich fudgy frosting that’s dotted with rainbow colored candies. They come individually wrapped and are super sweet and quite artificial tasting, so making them from scratch tastes SO much better.

How to Make FUDGY Brownies

These little brownies are ultra rich and fudgy, almost like candy. I got as close to the texture of the store-bought kind as I possibly could.

Do I have to use cornstarch + corn syrup?

There is a small amount of both cornstarch and corn syrup in this recipe to help make the brownies super chewy and fudgy. Feel free to omit the corn syrup or use golden syrup if you prefer! Your brownies just won’t quite have that same Cosmic texture.

Extra egg yolk = fudgy & chewy!

You’ll notice in most of my brownie recipes I add an extra egg yolk. This adds fat and protein which translates to rich, fudgy, and chewy brownies.

Make sure to measure properly!!!

To get moist, fudgy, and chewy brownies you want to be extra careful to measure your dry ingredients properly. Namely the flour and cocoa powder. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to ensure 100% accuracy. If you don’t have a scale, then use the spoon and level method for both the flour and cocoa powder to ensure you don’t add too much and create dry & crumbly brownies. You can learn more about how to measure properly here.

How to store brownies

These brownies, with the frosting, can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature and for 1 week in the fridge. Brownies are best sliced and served chilled for neat squares.

Cosmic brownie with bite taken out

More Brownie Recipes

4.85 from 220 votes

How to make
Cosmic Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Inactive Time 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
This copycat recipe for Cosmic Brownies is ultra rich, fudgy, and chewy just like the kind you buy at the store but oh so much better with no preservatives!


For the brownies:

  • 10 tablespoons (142 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (88 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups (255 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Wilton Rainbow Chip Crunch or mini M&M’s, sprinkles, or other candy


To make the brownies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-by-8-inch metal baking pan with parchment or foil and spray with cooking spray.

  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter for about 90 seconds on high power. Stir in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. If still very hot, let cool slightly before adding in the vanilla, eggs and egg yolk, and corn syrup. Stir until very well combined. Add in the flour, cornstarch, and salt and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan.

To make the frosting:

  1. Place the cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Add in the chocolate chips. Let stand for 3 minutes before stirring until smooth. Pour over the cooled brownies and smooth evenly. Sprinkle with the Rainbow Crunch Chips. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or until the frosting is set, before cutting.
  2. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature and for 1 week in the fridge. Brownies are best served chilled.

Recipe Video

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

This recipe was originally published in 2014 and recently updated with recipe improvements and new photos. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

April Baking Challenge

This recipe was the selection for the April 2020 baking challenge! See all the entries submitted below. Check out the current monthly challenge here.

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Cristina Totolan — April 2, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Hi Tessa! There is something I can add instead corn syrup? I can’t find here where I live.
    Thank you!

  2. #
    Marissa — April 2, 2020 at 8:10 am

    This recipe is amazing! Simple and nostalgic and perfect for stay home baking.

  3. #
    Barbara — April 2, 2020 at 5:07 am

    So easy, so chocolatey! I think I am in heaven!

  4. #
    Tatiana Reyes — April 1, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    Super delicious

  5. #
    Sarah Carver — April 1, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    These were so easy and so much fun to make. My grandkids will love them! Thanks for another great challenge!

  6. #
    Jamie — April 1, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Hi Tessa! Can’t wait to try these and eat too many in one sitting! Is there anything extra I need to do if I’m using gluten-free flour?!

  7. #
    Jessica — April 1, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Will these still turn out okay if I halve the amount of frosting? That is A LOT for me.

  8. #
    Jorjean Murphy — April 1, 2020 at 10:41 am

    These are the chocolatiest brownie recipe ever. Deep, dark and rich.

  9. #
    Gabriella — April 1, 2020 at 9:55 am

    I love your childhood description of these! I’m pretty sure you described every single 90s kid. I remember pretty much everyone in the cafeteria picking the nuts off the boring kind until the cosmic ones finally came out!! They should have started with that! Can’t wait to make these for the April challenge!! Thanks Tessa!

  10. #
    Ayesha — April 1, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Will it be okay if i omit the corn syrup from the recipe?

  11. #
    Stephanie — April 1, 2020 at 7:34 am

    Should I change the temperature of the oven if I’m using a glass dish?

    • #
      Emily Leishman — April 10, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      I didn’t and mine turned out perfect!

  12. #
    Pat — March 28, 2020 at 3:47 am

    My son and I made these this week and they were amazing! They came out so rich and the texture was spot on. These tasted better then the little debbie ones too. Never put corn syrup in brownie batter before so I’m sure that helped with the texture. This will be my go to recipe, we cut them tiny because they were so decadent.

  13. #
    Belen — March 10, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Can I use dark corn syrup? Or another replacement for the light corn syrup? Thanks!

  14. #
    Maria — March 8, 2020 at 10:46 am

    I LOVE it. I have never tried a store bought ,since they don’t sell them in Greece but it’s the best brownie EVER. I have a question I want to make a large batch can I double it and bake in a 9*13in pan? What is your advice?

  15. #
    Mandy — March 1, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    To me this recipe did not taste like cosmos brownies at all. I was super excited but was just not pleased with it.

  16. #
    lisa g. — February 16, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    This is my first recipe of Tessa’s that I’ve made. I baked them 28 minutes and they turned out gooey , moist and perfect. Thanks Tessa!

  17. #
    Suzanne — January 22, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    These look so good! They would be so fun to make with kids!

  18. #
    Lisa — August 12, 2019 at 8:27 am

    These were fantastic! I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa for the brownies and Dark Chocolate Chips for the frosting. Also topped with Reese’s Pieces. Baked in a glass pan with foil. Brownies were perfect at 28 minutes. These were incredibly scrumptious! Will be making these often. A big hit with my boys. Thanks!

  19. #
    jeny — July 25, 2019 at 3:21 am

    This is really gorgeous for everyone

  20. #
    Alexandra — July 22, 2019 at 6:55 am

    Could I use real maple syrup instead of corn syrup or golden syrup? I use it in other recipes as a substitute as I cannot have corn products. (I would also be substituting arrowroot for the cornstarch)

    • #
      Tessa — July 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm

      I haven’t tried! Let us know how it goes if you do 🙂

  21. #
    Jude — July 18, 2019 at 11:36 am

    What kind of baking pan do you use for these? I have just about every material known to man and I try to follow recipes exactly.

    • #
      Tessa — July 18, 2019 at 5:38 pm

      I almost always bake brownies in a metal pan – specifically aluminized steel – because it conducts heat more efficiently than glass or ceramic. Hope that helps!

  22. #
    happy room — July 9, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Your topic is very great and useful for us…thank you

  23. #
    Maggie — July 2, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Super yummy and a huge hit!!

  24. #
    Wendy — June 29, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    I was wondering if you measure each tbsp individually which seems like too much work! Using a 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp would be easier if you didn’t have a kitchen scale. I consider homemade brownies to be the ultimate comparison (rather than store bought or box mixes) as that is what I grew up with. These sound yummy. I’ve just discovered your site via a link on brown-Eyed Baker. Your how-to guides look fabulous. I have, until now, limited myself to 2 food blogs but I think I’m going to add you to my list.

  25. #
    Theresa — May 28, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    At 33 minutes the toothpick still came out wet….would u bake longer, or are they supposed to still be wet?

  26. #
    Jeni — May 27, 2019 at 5:21 am

    I baked these for a party and they went down a treat! The icing really makes it thank you!

  27. #
    Maria — May 21, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Hi I LOVE your brownies . Do you think I can use them for a base for a mousse cake? For a 9″ pan should I use half of the batter? How long should I bake it? Any suggestions? Thanks

  28. #
    Jess K — May 18, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Oh my gosh, these behind me way, way back! Used to bring the packages ones to snack time in elementary. The memories Can’t wait to try, pinned!

  29. #
    Bel — May 17, 2019 at 10:20 am

    I have made several of your recipes successfully & think your writing & ideas are great! I’m having trouble telling when these brownies are done. At 25 minutes, a toothpick placed into the center came out wet & chocolaty. The sides seem to be done. Should I just take them out of the oven with an underdone appearance in the center? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • #
      Erica — January 24, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      I have the same question!

  30. #
    Bella — May 16, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    I would love to make these!! Wish I could think up a way to sub out the eggs. Avocado maybe?? I’m thinking lol. Thanks for sharing. They look perfect!

  31. #
    Tara — January 9, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    I just made these and ate one. And it is, by FAR, the best brownie I have ever put in my mouth. EVER. 9 months ago I had my 3rd baby and while I was recovering at the hospital my husband brought me a frosted chocolate brownie with chopped pecans and it was exactly what my tired mama-body needed. Since then I have been trying to recreate this delicious magic. Your brownies 100% fit the bill. I used toasted pecans instead of sprinkles. It is taking all the will power I can muster not to eat the whole pan right now. Thank you!!!

  32. #
    Maddi — January 18, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    how do you make them?

  33. #
    Erika Adams — August 10, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    what would you think about using apple sauce instead of corn syrup?

    • #
      Tessa — August 12, 2017 at 10:29 am

      That would make for very cakey brownies.

  34. #
    Analiz De Jesús López — July 5, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Can I use vegetable or olive oil instead of corn syrup? Also, can I substitute the cornstarch for All purpose flour?

  35. #
    Kalsum — April 11, 2017 at 5:46 am

    Having bake sale this wkend don’t mind me using yr recipe ya! Thanks

  36. #
    Dipali — December 2, 2016 at 9:28 am

    What can I use instead of eggs ? Pls suggest.

  37. #
    Elvie Murillo — August 29, 2016 at 1:11 am

    Can I use any oil instead of corn oil?

    • #
      Tessa — August 30, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Corn oil?

  38. #
    Arianna — May 21, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Oh my gosh i made these and loved them! I shared them on my blog–I just started a month ago and it’s a lot of fun! Thank you for inspiring me. I tweaked it slightly and made these in a 9 by 13 pan which made them a little thinner. Though thick brownies are always the best!

  39. #
    Yaa Bema Tutu — May 12, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Hi! Would it be possible to double the recipie and use a 9×13 pan? I’m trying to make a lot for a bake sale

  40. #
    Basg — March 14, 2016 at 12:20 am

    HI. I really try to avoid using butter or shortening. How bad is it if I make these with oil?

    • #
      Tessa — March 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      I specifically tested this recipe with butter to get the best taste and texture, so I can’t recommend anything else with confidence.

  41. #
    Betsy — February 2, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Oh my, these are spot on! They are like the way richer and cooler cousin that you really want to enjoy.

  42. #
    Thalia @ butter and brioche — August 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Craving many of these brownies to devour right now! They are just so wicked & delicious.. and how I like my brownies – rich, chocolat-y and fudgy.

  43. #
    Mazz — July 19, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Do you have a suggestion as to what to switch the corn syrup for? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in the supermarkets. These look awesome btw!

  44. #
    Diane Weiss @ Pick My Roaster Oven — May 13, 2015 at 6:41 am

    My oh my, watching this cosmic brownies could kill all sweet tooth out there, including me. This is irresistible!

  45. #
    Ally — April 6, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    I made these brownies tonight but found that using an 8×8 pan resulted in brownies that are approximately 2 miles thick. I think next time I’ll bump it up to 9×12 so I can fit it in my mouth.

  46. #
    FWN — January 25, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Loved Little Debbie growing up but rarely eat them anymore…. But will definitely eat these! I bought a box of Cosmic Brownies just to compare, and your recipe was much more flavorful and “real” tasting. I used a smaller pan, so it took longer and the edges were a little over baked but the middle had that perfect dense, fudgy, chewy texture. I had used Hershey’s cocoa and it was a darker tasting brownie but will experiment with other brands. Thanks for listing weight measurements, very helpful. Will file this as a go-to-recipe, thanks for posting!

  47. #
    Joe — November 16, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Tessa can I use light corn syrup instead of corn syrup? 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — November 17, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      That’s what is meant to be used in the recipe!

  48. #
    Samira — November 13, 2014 at 11:30 pm
  49. #
    Samira — November 13, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    your photos are like a professional amazing

  50. #
    ashley – baker by nature — August 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Tessa!!! These are amazing!!! And those photos! <3 <3 <3

    • #
      Nour — April 29, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      Oh my gosh i made these and loved them!
      Thank you so much for these amazing recipe

  51. #
    Katie @ The Perfect Brownie — August 18, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Interesting! It’s always neat to see how a particular ingredient functions in a recipe. I guess I’m kind of a science geek that way.

    PS- Started Following on Twitter! 🙂

  52. #
    Katie @ The Perfect Brownie — August 18, 2014 at 7:23 am

    This reminds of one of my recent brownie experiments- I tried baking the famous “Baked” brownie with a little bit of corn syrup in it just to see what happened. The day after they were baked, they developed a very homogenous, firm, “shelf-stable” kind of texture and taste. Reminded me of commercial packaged brownies (not in a bad way, just a definite resemblance). Does the corn syrup seem to function the same way in this recipe?

    • #
      Tessa — August 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Yes it does in a way! It gives the brownies more of a chewy, fudgy texture that remains for days that is very similar to the packaged brownies.

  53. #
    Meriem @ Culinary Couture — August 16, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    These were my favorite growing up! I cant wait to make them!

  54. #
    Margaret Anne @ Natural Chow — August 15, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Oh I love these things! I’m so going to be making these soon. Love in my belly.

  55. #
    Beth @ bethcakes — August 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Omg! These look absolutely perfect. I was obsessed with all the different little debbie snacks when I was younger, but I feel like cosmic brownies were always everyone’s favorites. Love that you found the little candies on top too! 🙂

  56. #
    Susan — August 15, 2014 at 8:34 am

    These sound yummy. In looking at the ‘cons’ for this recipe, I realized that you probably meant to say that these brownies are NOT laden with hydrogenated… etc.

    • #
      Tessa — August 15, 2014 at 8:39 am

      Haha oops! Thanks for catching that 🙂

  57. #
    Chelsea @chelseasmessyapron — August 15, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I am so obsessed with cosmic brownies – I always had them growing up and they were my favorite. I can not wait to try this version!! Pinned 🙂

  58. #
    Gaby — August 15, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Totally fun dessert! I love it!

  59. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — August 15, 2014 at 6:34 am

    OBSESSED. Absolutely must try Tessa!! xo

  60. #
    Liz S. — August 15, 2014 at 3:35 am

    LOVE that you revamped this classic baked good! I think almost everyone has had a Cosmic Brownie at least once in life, haha.

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