How To Make Box Brownies Better: 13 Tips, Tricks & Hacks

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Love brownies? Us, too! Box brownies are the perfect treat – they’re easy to make, delicious, and satisfying. But sometimes, they can be a little… lackluster.

That’s why we’ve put together this collection of tips to help you make the best boxed brownies ever. Whether you’re a beginner baker or a brownie aficionado, you’ll find an idea or two here to doctor up your brownie mix.


Quick Read

Our top 5 recommendations for making the best boxed brownies are:
1. Start With A High-Quality Mix
2. Use Butter Instead Of Oil
3. Add Vanilla Or Flavoring
4. Add A Dash Of Salt
5. Replace The Water

Keep reading below for the full instructions and even more tips, tricks and hacks to turn your box brownies from blah to bam!


1. Start With The Best Brownie Mix

If you want to bake up some great-tasting brownies, a great place to start is with a high-quality brownie mix.

One of our favorites is Easy Ghirardelli Brownie Mix. Even The Food Network and Taste Of Home have named the Ghirardelli brownie box mixes their favorite.

Send Some Brownie Love! Learn about the Best Gourmet Brownies To Order Online and ship anywhere in the US.

2. Substitute Oil With Butter

The back of your boxed brownie mix likely calls for vegetable oil. Substitute the oil for butter in your brownies for a rich, homemade flavor.

You’ll want to use melted butter that has been cooled to room temperature in your mix. The ratio of oil to butter is 1:1 which means you use the same amount of melted butter as the recipe calls for oil.

Related Reading: How to Make Icing Without Butter

3. Add A Splash Of Vanilla Or Other Flavorings

Try adding a little vanilla extract to the mix. The vanilla will enhance the chocolate flavor and give the brownies a richer, more complex taste.

You can use a high-quality vanilla extract or my personal favorite, vanilla paste. You can also add other flavored extracts like almond, peppermint or orange.

4. Add Salt For Balance

Even the best brownie mix can be improved with a simple hack: add salt. A pinch of salt helps to bring out the chocolate flavor of the brownies and balance the sweetness of the sugar.

For an extra special touch, drizzle the top of your brownies with caramel and add a sprinkle of sea salt.

Love salted caramel? Try these delicious Salted Caramel Cracker Bites.

Caramel and Sea Salt Brownies

5. Replace Water With Milk, Buttermilk or Heavy Cream

While water does an adequate job of creating moist brownies, there are some other liquids that will give you even better results. Milk, buttermilk and heavy cream can all help to create an even richer flavor and texture.

If you’re using milk, look for a variety that is higher in fat content for the best results. For an even richer flavor, try using buttermilk or heavy cream.

Just keep in mind that these liquids will also make your brownies more dense, so be sure to adjust your baking time accordingly.

Use Coffee In Brownies

6. Add Coffee

Believe it or not, adding some brewed coffee to your brownies, cakes or frosting really amplifies chocolate flavor without tasting like actual coffee.

Coffee is naturally acidic, which helps to balance the sweetness of the chocolate. Plus, coffee brings out the rich flavors of the cocoa beans, making for a more intense brownie experience.

When using this hack, be sure to use brewed coffee that has cooled to room temperature.

7. Add Espresso Powder

Similar to the above tip to replace water with coffee, adding espresso powder will also intensify the chocolate flavor in your brownies.

Espresso powder is just coffee beans that have been ground, brewed and dried. It dissolves easily and tastes amazing in recipes to make the chocolate flavor sing.

Just add a teaspoon or two of espresso powder to your favorite brownie mix for an extra boost of flavor. You can experiment with different amounts of powder to find the perfect balance.

Add Extra Eggs To Brownie Mix

8. Add An Extra Egg

If you’re in the mood for a thicker, cake-like brownie, try adding one more egg than your recipe calls for.

You can also add 2 egg yolks instead of 1 whole egg. Using just the yolks increases the fat content which will give you a more fudgy brownie.

9. Use An Egg Substitute

If you’ve run out of eggs or just prefer not to use them in your brownies, you still have plenty of options.

You can replace eggs in brownies with other ingredients like flax or chia seeds, applesauce, yogurt, tofu, ripe bananas and even carbonated water. Learn more about the 10 best egg substitutes for baking brownies.

Add Chocolate Chips To Brownie Batter

10. Add Even More Chocolate

Amp up your brownies by adding even more chocolate to the mix with chocolate chips or chunks. Even chocolate candy like M&Ms or chopped-up chocolate bars would be great.

You can use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate depending on your preference.

If you want to take it one step further, you could even add a layer of chocolate buttercream or chocolate ganache on top.

M&M Brownies

11. Use Mix-ins For Color, Texture and Flavor

Candy is one of our favorite brownie mix-ins. Try adding some M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces or some chopped-up candy bars like Butterfinger, Twix, Snickers, Heath or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

For an extra festive touch, you can use holiday-themed candies like mini marshmallows, red and green M&Ms or crushed peppermint candy.

Peppermint Brownie Mix-In

Chopped cookies, like Oreos or Thin Mints, are another fun brownie mix in. You can stir them right into the batter, sprinkle on top of the batter before cooking or add them on top of frosting after baking.

You can also try adding a swirl of a softer, but flavorful mix-in like marshmallow cream, nutella or peanut butter like in this Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies recipe.

Nuts are another great way to add some texture and flavor to your brownies. Try adding some chopped peanuts, pecans or walnuts like in this Classic Fudgy Walnut Brownies recipe with chocolate frosting.

Or, for a real treat, try using chocolate-covered nuts. Just be sure to chop them up so they don’t make the brownies too hard to bite into.

Spices are another great way to boost the flavor of brownies. Cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg can all give your brownies a warm and inviting flavor.

For a more exotic twist, try adding a teaspoon of curry powder, smoked paprika or ginger. You might even consider a dash of chili powder or cayenne to give the brownies a kick!

12. Don’t Overmix

One easy tip that all brownie-makers should know is to not overmix the batter. Overmixing can result in tough, dry brownies that are less fudgy and more cake-like.

Stir just enough so that all of the brownie mix is incorporated. It’s actually ok if a few lumps are in your batter.

13. Don’t Overbake

If you’re a fan of fudgy, gooey brownies, then you know the importance of not overbaking.

Even if you follow the instructions on the box, it can be a little tricky to tell when brownies are actually perfectly baked.

One of the best ways is to insert a toothpick in the center of your brownies. If it comes out clean, the brownies are done. Learn more about this method and a few other ways to tell when your brownies are done.

More Brownie Tips and Tricks

Here are a few more ways to make sure your brownies turn out perfect every time. These tips work for both homemade recipes and when making brownies from a box mix.

Prevent Brownies From Sticking

One common problem is that brownies tend to stick to the pan, making them difficult to get out of the pan in one piece. Luckily, there are a few easy solutions.

First of all, let your brownies cool completely before cutting or trying to remove them from the pan. This will help them set up properly and prevent them from falling apart. Learn more about how to cut brownies cleanly.

Another idea is to use a silicone baking pan. This will help the brownies release easier and prevent them from sticking to the pan. This 8×8″ square silicone baking pan is the perfect size and shape for brownies.

And here’s one more idea for you. Before adding the brownie mix to the pan, simply line it with parchment paper. This will create a barrier between the brownie and the pan, making it much easier to remove the brownies after they have been baked.

Bonus Tip: Use two sheets of parchment paper (one going in each direction) so that you can easily lift the entire batch out of the pan once they’re baked

Line Brownie Pan With Parchment Paper

Store Leftover Brownies Properly

Brownies are always best when they’re fresh. But if you have leftovers, it’s important to know how to store brownies properly for maximum deliciousness. If you don’t store them properly, brownies can quickly become dry and crumbly.

It’s also a good idea to know how long brownies are good for when storing them on the counter or in the fridge or freezer. With proper storage, brownies will stay fresh and delicious for weeks (or even months) to come.

If you plan to enjoy your leftover brownies within a day or two, simply store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature. To help keep your brownies fresh and moist, you can wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil.

In most cases, you don’t need to refrigerate your leftover brownies. However, if you used any perishable ingredients or mix-ins like cream cheese, fresh fruit or dairy toppings, you should definitely refrigerate.

For even longer storage, brownies can be frozen for up to three months. Wrap your cooled brownies tightly in plastic wrap, then in tinfoil and finally place them in an air-tight freezer bag.

When you’re ready to enjoy a brownie, simply thaw it at room temperature or microwave it for a few seconds.

Final Thoughts On How To Make Box Brownies Better

We hope these tips have been helpful and that your next batch of boxed brownies turns out delicious. May the fudge be with you!

What’s your favorite boxed brownie hack? Leave a comment below!

Up Next: 15 Best Gourmet Brownies You Can Order Online

Yield: 16 brownies

Better Boxed Brownies

How To Make Boxed Brownies Better Recipe Image

Learn how to make box brownies better with this easy recipe that is designed to take your treats from good to great!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • Box brownie mix, any brand
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup coffee
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite mix-in like chocolate chips, crushed candy or cookies

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line an 8x8 nonstick square baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir until just combined, being careful to not overmix.
  4. Pour the brownie batter into prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake 40-45 minutes or until done.
  6. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting.

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Meet Micky Reed, your go-to snack expert and creator of The Three Snackateers—a hub for all the best sweets and treats to make, try, and buy. From whipping up collaborations with industry giants like Ben & Jerry's to being featured on Delish and PopSugar, Micky's delicious adventures are causing a stir in the foodie world. You can find Micky on IG and Pinterest.

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