I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is absolutely the BEST brownie recipe of my life. I spend a lot of time baking (and eating!) and I’ve never had another brownie like this one. It is the ultimate in rich, fudgy, chocolatey flavor, all thanks to the magic of browned butter. Regular brownies just can’t compete with this depth of flavor. Originally posted January 30, 2013.
The other day Truman asked me from the back of the car if he would have time to play legos before dinner when we got home. I cheerfully said, “Absolutely!” And then there was this pause, and he said, very confused, “So…will there be time to play legos?”
I laughed so hard. He was confused because for some reason, I say the phrase “Absolutely not!” when my kids are in trouble or need reprimanding. I think they’ve picked up some unjustified negative connotations on the word “absolutely,” so he had no idea that I was trying to say “yes” in a happy and emphatic way.
Absolutely means, “with no qualification, restriction, or limitation; totally.” And I can say with fervency, guys, that these brownies are ABSOLUTELY the best ones to ever come out of my kitchen, or, dare I say, to cross my lips.
Everyone’s got a homemade brownie recipe, right? They are just an American classic. Even the boxed brownie mixes are okay. I mean they are nothing to write home about, but in a pinch, a brownie is still a brownie, right?
I mean it’s chocolate and sugar, it’s going to taste delicious even if you mess them up or use a subpar recipe. It’s like pizza. Even when it’s bad, it’s good. (Have you ever bought a Little Caesar’s Hot and Ready intended for kids only but then you end up eating half the box? Guilty.)
But I say if you’re going to make brownies, you should go all in. Don’t waste your time or calories on brownies that don’t make you want to shout hallelujah.
Why this is the Best Brownie Recipe
I will tell you the secret: BROWNED BUTTER.
It is the best way to take brownies from, “wow, these brownies are so good” to, “OH MY GOSH WHAT IS THIS MAGIC.” And the awesome news is that it’s not even hard to do this. We’re not using any special ingredients. We’re not dirtying half a sink full of pots and bowls.
It’s a one-pot brownie recipe that is so gooey and fudgy and deep in flavor, you will be nervous that it is so dangerously simple to make. You can have these in the oven in 15 minutes flat.
Browned butter typically lends a nutty, almost toffee-like flavor to whatever you add it to. But this recipe is a little different. Chocolate is such a strong flavor (and there is so much of it!), that these brownies do not have that toffee-ish flavor. Instead, the browned butter serves to deepen the chocolate flavor.
I don’t like to add espresso in my baked goods, but I know that it adds depth to chocolate flavor without tasting like coffee. Browned butter does the same thing. It makes the brownies rich and deep. And it’s SO easy. The best brownie recipes always call for melted butter anyway, so just…carry on a bit until it turns brown. You will not regret it!
Ingredients for Brown Butter Brownies
You probably already have all these ingredients, but don’t forget to make sure your chocolate chips are high-quality!
- Salted butter
- Unsweetened baking chocolate
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All purpose flour
- Large eggs
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips, high quality
Yes, I said high quality chocolate chips. This isn’t the time to save fifty cents, people. Did I say the Best Minus 50 Cents Brownie? No, I said, Absolutely the BEST Brownies Recipe I’ve Ever Made. Mic drop.
How to make the Best Brownies
Buttaaaaaaaaa. All ready to get toasty brown.
Guys, once I teach you how to brown butter, the rest is so easy! Here’s an overview, followed by pictures and things to watch out for. All instructions given in the recipe.
- Brown the butter in a pot.
- Add unsweetened chocolate and sugar.
- Add salt, water, and vanilla.
- Stir in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one.
- Add 1 cup all-purpose flour. Stir in the flour until just barely incorporated.
- Pour the hot batter into your pan before adding the chocolate chips, so they melt in place rather than swirling into the batter.
Here’s how to do it. Grab your pot and melt all that butter. Stir occasionally. The butter will foam, turn white, and rise up in the pan.
How long does it take to brown butter?
It depends on how much butter you are browning! One stick of butter will take about 5-8 minutes to brown, but since we are using so much butter in this recipe it takes more like 10-12 minutes. This really depends on the heat level of your stove, and every stove is different. It’s better to watch for browned butter signs like white foam and browned bits and a nutty scent.
Pretty soon after it foams, it will look like this gorgeous swirly goodness.
How do you know when brown butter is done?
It’s all about the color change! And the scent.
As the butter heats, it will turn white on top, then it will foam up. Once it is foamy, it will start forming brown colored milk solids or “bits”. They will swirl up when you stir. Once you see brown bits, remove the pan from the heat. It’s much better to rely on this very drastic color change and the nutty scent than to rely on timing.
Don’t stop cooking the butter until it is completely browned, or the brownies will have too much liquid and may not bake correctly. Some people have commented that this recipe never bakes for them, that the brownies turn to “lava.” It’s a case of too much liquid!
(Also I think it might be a case of people not understanding brownies. I’m serious. This ain’t no cake, people. You call it lava, I call it the best freaking gooiest brownie of your life.) Rest assured, these brownies bake up just fine when made correctly.
Here’s the batter all finished, once you’ve added the eggs and flour.
I like to add my chocolate chips after the warm batter is in the pan, so that they don’t melt and swirl into the batter.
Why are my brownies too gooey?
Does not compute. Ha! Just kidding.
I already mentioned browning the butter all the way. The other culprit is undercooking the brownies. I know, I know. You want soft brownies. I do too. The best way to check for doneness is the toothpick test: poke a toothpick in the center of the brownies and if there is no wet batter sticking to it, it’s done. (If there is, leave it in for a couple more minutes.)
Be sure to poke a couple times so that you know you’re not poking into a melted chocolate chip. Every oven is different, so you are going to have to use your best judgment here on the bake time! Do NOT over bake, or the brownies will be too dry. In my opinion, slightly underbaked is better than over-baked.
Keep in mind that the brownies will firm up as they cool. It’s actually really important to let this brownie recipe set up in the pan before cutting into them. Wait a good 15-30 minutes before slicing. They will fall apart and not stay in squares if you cut into them too soon. (I mean, this never stops me because I’m an animal apparently. But if you are planning to serve these to guests or gift these on a plate, it’s good to know.)
Can this recipe be made with a different type of chocolate?
Yes, you can make this recipe with either unsweetened baking chocolate OR 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. See notes! I just did a test making both versions of these brownies (unsweetened baking chocolate vs cocoa powder) during our Covid party last week (Omicron, amiright? ;) and the jury was split on which one people preferred. I guess you’ll have to try both! I prefer the recipe as stated, made with baking chocolate.
What can I substitute if I don’t have unsweetened chocolate?
This recipe requires either unsweetened baking chocolate or cocoa powder. I accidentally made these just over the weekend (January 2022) four different times, testing between unsweetened baking chocolate and cocoa powder. But on my first test I accidently used a bar of semi-sweet chocolate instead of unsweetened. It was waaay too sweet. Don’t be like me. Get yourself some unsweetened baking chocolate, Baker’s brand is best.
As for the semi-sweet chocolate chips, you can swap them out for milk chocolate or dark chocolate no prob. (Dark chocolate is goooood.) Or go to town and try Rolos or Reese’s cups, because YES.
I’ve been making these brownies for many years now, and get so many requests for the recipe. I just gave leftovers from this batch you see in the photos to a friend of mine, and she texted me a few hours later that her husband was going on about the brownies and needed the recipe. I promise, it will not let you down. Everyone needs a go-to brownie recipe, and this one should be yours!
I only have one other brownie recipe that I make on the regular: Nana’s Famous Fudge Brownies. They do not have browned butter, but there is fudge frosting involved, meaning they are ultra decadent. I love them, but the frosting is necessary in my opinion, and I don’t always want frosted brownies. I need that crackly topping in my life. Only these browned butter brownies will do when the need for a classic brownie strikes.
I’m a brownies-and-milk kind of girl, but even I have to admit that ice cream definitely takes these already fabulous brownies over the top. Prepare yourself. You will need something, because these brownies will make all of those got-milk commercials come true, and you may actually die from chocolate overload if you don’t have at least a glass of milk. Enjoy!
More brownie recipes you need in your life!
- Nana’s Famous Fudge Brownies << my other favorite brownie recipe that is in a different category because it has frosting. ;)
- Nutella Stuffed Browned Butter Blondies << okay so technically these are blondies but DANG they are good.
- Reese’s Stuffed Browned Butter Brownies << this is today’s recipe…with Reese’s. Just in case you thought they couldn’t get any better.
- Thin Mint Marshmallow Brownies << also made with today’s browned butter brownies recipe. It’s my brownie base for any twist I want to make on brownies!
- Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting from The Recipe Critic
- Turtle Brownies from Carlsbad Cravings
- Candied Pecan Brownies from Baked by an Introvert
Brown Butter Brownies – The Best Brownie Recipe
- 1 & 1/4 cups salted butter
- 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, *broken up
- 2 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon water, **
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 & 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, high quality
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. You can also line it with aluminum foil (be sure to spray the foil with nonstick spray). Or you can just spray the pan.
- In a medium pot (I use a 3 quart saucepan), melt 1 and 1/4 cups of butter over medium heat. Yes, 1 and 1/4 cup. I called these the best brownies of all time, not healthy brownies!
- Stir the butter occasionally. See photos for how to brown butter. It will turn white on top, then it will foam up. Once it is foamy, it will start forming brown colored milk solids or “bits”. They will swirl up when you stir. The scent of the butter will change to a “nutty” or toffee like aroma. Once you see brown bits, remove the pan from the heat. Do not stop cooking the butter until it is completely browned, see note.
- Immediately add 4 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate. Break it up into pieces so that they melt faster. Stir until it is melted all the way.
- Add 2 and 1/2 cups sugar and stir it together. If there are still bits of chocolate that have not melted, put it back on the burner on low until it is smooth.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon water, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir it together.
- Whisking vigorously so they don't curdle in the hot batter, stir in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one. I highly recommend an actual whisk for this step; a wooden spoon won't break up the egg whites as well.
- Add 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled. That means take a large spoon and add flour to your measuring cup, then level off the top with something flat like a butter knife. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just barely incorporated.
- Do not over mix. Over-mixed batter makes for a tough brownie, which is not what we're going for. You want soft, tender brownies! Once you don't see any more flour streaks, stop messing with it.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread to the edges.
- Sprinkle 1 and 1/4 cups chocolate chips evenly over the batter. Use your spatula to gently fold it in. If you add the chocolate chips to the batter before pouring it into the pan, they tend to melt and swirl on you. Which might be okay with you. I prefer my chocolate to stay in chip form so that when you bite into a brownie you get tiny little pools of chocolate. Mmm.
- Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. The edges should be set. The center of the pan should not wobble when you shake it. I always do the toothpick test: poke a toothpick in the center of the brownies and if there is no wet batter sticking to it, it's done. (If there is, leave it in for a couple more minutes) Be sure to poke a couple times so that you know you're not poking into a melted chocolate chip. Every oven is different, so you are going to have to use your best judgment here on the bake time! Do NOT over bake, or the brownies will be too dry. In my opinion, slightly under baked is better than over baked. Keep in mind that the brownies will firm up as they cool.
- When the brownies are done, remove from the oven and let cool as long as you can before giving in and trying a piece. If you need them to look nice, you need to let them set up in the pan for at LEAST 15-30 minutes.
- To cut these into nice looking squares, once the brownies have cooled, lift the parchment paper or foil out of the pan. Cut with a sharp knife, wiping the knife on a clean wet towel in between slices.
- These are almost impossible to eat without a glass of milk.