Easy fudgy homemade brownies with a crispy crackly top
These homemade fudgy brownies have it all. They are moist, chocolatey, a little chewy, and have the perfect crinkly top. Read on to learn the secrets to the best brownies ever! No mixer required!
I have been perfecting this homemade brownie recipe for years... every time I make them I tweak them and this last batch was SO GOOD I had to update my recipe. The good news is that they are even easier and I discovered a foolproof way to get that crackly crust every single time.
Fudgy homemade brownies ingredients
There are about a billion different brownie recipes out there. The reason is that even though there isn't much to making brownies technically, changing just one of the ingredients can totally change the flavor and texture of the brownies.
Butter & Oil - Hot butter and a little oil not only rehydrates the cocoa powder but also keeps your brownies from tasting dry.
Chocolate - I like the rich flavor of dark chocolate in my brownies but you can use semi-sweet or milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has very little sugar in it while milk chocolate has more sugar in it. You may want to adjust the amount of sugar in your recipe depending on the chocolate you use.
White Sugar & Brown Sugar - Sugar adds moisture and sweetness to your brownies. I like to use a little brown sugar as well which adds a nice flavor and a little bit of chew to my brownies.
Eggs - Eggs add moisture and structure to your brownies. The more you whisk eggs, the more air that is incorporated into your brownies. I whisk my eggs and sugar until they are smooth and combined then add in the hot butter/chocolate.
Cocoa Powder - I prefer to use dutched cocoa powder which lends a really rich and mellow flavor to these fudgy brownies but you can use any kind of cocoa powder that you like such as Hershey's. Since there isn't any baking powder or baking soda in this recipe, it doesn't matter what kind of cocoa powder you use.
Flour - This recipe uses regular all-purpose flour but you can also use cake flour for a more tender brownie. The trick is to fold in your flower gently so you don't make your brownies tough and dry.
Mix-ins - You can add in all kinds of extra ingredients to your brownies to make them your own. Candied pecans, chocolate chunks, caramel, cream cheese or candies. The list goes on and on. The best thing about making brownies is making them exactly the way you want them!
How do you make homemade brownies fudgy?
The easiest way to make a fudgy brownie is not to over-bake your brownies. Brownies will get much firmer as they cool down so most people over-bake them and then end up with dry brownies.
Brownies should be bake to the point where the center is set (not jiggly) but still soft. In a 10"x13" pan, that was exactly 19 minutes but the type of pan you use and your oven may give you different results.
How To Make Fudgy Brownies Step By Step
Preheat your oven to 350ºF and move the rack to the center of the oven.
Step 1 - Sift your flour and cocoa powder together to remove any lumps. Set it aside.
Step 2 - Make sure your eggs are not too cold. I put mine in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes to warm them up. Cold eggs will cool the butter down too fast and your sugar will not dissolve.
Step 3 - Melt your butter, oil, and chocolate over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until the chocolate is melted.
Step 4 - Whisk the eggs, white sugar, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla together either in a stand mixer or by hand until the mixture is thick and glossy. About four minutes on medium high.
Step 5 - Add the hot butter/chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and whisk it until you cannot feel any granules of sugar between your fingers. If your mixture is too cold, you can return the bowl back to your pot of simmering water and whisk it for another minute or so until you can't feel any grains of sugar.
Pro-Tip: Mixing your hot butter/chocolate mixture with the egg mixture until the grains of sugar dissolve is the secret to getting a very shiny, crackled crust on your fudgy brownies.
Step 6 - Fold in your flour mixture gently and add in your chocolate chips (or chopped nuts or m&ms if you want.) Or leave them plain!
Step 7 - Line a 10"x13" pan with some parchment paper. I cut the corners of the parchment and folded them over so that the sides lay flat. The parchment paper makes it easier to lift the brownies out later.
Step 8 - Bake your brownies at 350ºF for 18-20 minutes or until they are just set. Don't over-bake them because they will continue to bake in the pan when you take them out.
Step 9 - Allow your brownies to cool until the pan is barely warm before lifting out the brownies. Cut them with a ceramic or plastic knife to reduce sticking.
What kind of pan should you use to make brownies?
You can use any pan you want to make brownies but keep in mind that different pans bake differently so adjust accordingly.
Light Colored Metal Pans - This is the type of pan that I use. They are lightweight and distribute heat pretty evenly.
Dark Colored Metal Pans - Dark metal pans get a lot hotter and will bake your brownies faster. Don't put the pan too close to the bottom of the oven and check for doneness sooner (10 minutes early) so they don't accidentally burn.
Glass and Ceramic Pans - Brownies baked in glass or ceramic pans tend to take longer to bake so you might have to leave them in the oven longer.
How do you know when homemade brownies are done?
I used to over-bake my brownies every time, which is probably part of why they were dry. I thought the right way to check brownies for doneness was to stick a toothpick in the middle and when the toothpick came out clean, they were done. WRONG!
I've learned that homemade brownies actually continue baking quite a bit even after they come out of the oven. So if you wait until the toothpick comes out clean, it's already too late.
You want to remove brownies from the oven when the toothpick still has some very moist sticky crumbs stuck to the toothpick but not liquid.
I always line my pans with parchment paper rather than using a baking spray or cake goop because it makes it a lot easier to remove them from the pan after they cool.
How do you get brownies with a crackly top?
The last batch of brownies I made had a top like this. Very dry and not very pretty looking.
I did a lot of testing and discovered the secrets to getting a really shiny, crackled crust on brownies.
- Make sure your butter/chocolate mixture is hot and your eggs are room temperature.
- Make sure you are mixing your batter for 1 minute after adding the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture or until the sugar dissolves. Rub the brownie batter between your fingers, if you can feel granules of sugar, it needs to be whisked more. If the mixture is no longer warm, return the bowl to your pot of simmering water and whisk until you cannot feel the granules of sugar between your fingers.
- Using white granulated sugar in your brownie recipe
- Melted chocolate in your brownie recipe
And this is what they should look like! Wow! What a difference!
- 9"x13" Pan
- 8 ounces unsalted butter 1 cup
- 2 ounces canola oil ¼ cup
- 5 ounces chocolate dark, semi-sweet or milk (I used a bar of chocolate or about 1 cup chocolate chips)
- 5 large eggs
- 12 ounces granulated sugar 1 ½ cup
- 4 ounces light brown sugar ½ cup packed
- 3 ounces cocoa powder sifted (⅔ cup)
- 5 ounces AP flour or cake flour for a more tender brownie (1 cup sifted)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces chocolate chips 1 cup
Fudgy Brownie Instructions
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a 9"x13" ¼ sheet pan with parchment paper so there is 1" of overhang on all sides.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt to remove lumps and then set aside.
- Melt your butter, oil, and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Whisk occasionally until the butter is melted then remove from the heat.
- In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together your white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and room temperature eggs in a bowl until thick and glossy or whip on your stand mixer for about 4 minutes on medium-high.
- Add your hot melted chocolate mixture to the egg/sugar mixture and whisk for one minute or until the sugar is dissolved. Rub the mixture between your fingers, if you can still feel granules then keep whisking. If your mixture is no longer warm, you can return the bowl to your pot of simmering water and whisk for another minute until the granules are dissolved. This is what makes the crackly crust.
- Add in the flour mixture and chocolate chips to the egg mixture and fold gently until just combined. Don't over-mix it.
- Pour your batter into the parchment-lined pan. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out from the center with a few sticky moist crumbs.
- Let your brownies cool until the pan is barely warm before removing the parchment paper and slicing the brownies.