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Recipe: How to Make Boxed Brownie Mix Taste Homemade

Everyone will be asking for your delicious homemade brownie recipe when you use these simple steps for how to make boxed brownie mix taste homemade!

I’ve loved baking for about as long as I can remember. In fact, I actually started baking things before I started cooking meals.

For me, there’s just something relaxing about it and I love sharing baked goods with others and seeing the smiles on their faces.

I’m always a huge fan of from-scratch baking. But, honestly, I don’t always have time to get all my flours, sugars and other baking goodies from the pantry, along with washing all the extra bowls and measuring cups. So, I do use boxed mixes from time to time.

A 9 x 13 slab of baked brownies sitting on parchment paper while cooling.

Brownie Baking Pro Tip

Lining your pan with parchment paper or foil makes it super easy to get them out of the pan and a breeze to clean. Just don’t be impatient like me and wait until they’re completely cool or you’ll risk a crack like I did. ;)

While box brownies certainly make baking faster and easier, I do find they tend to taste a little bland. I try to not eat too many desserts these days so I really like my sweets to pack a punch of flavor.

One of our favorite desserts is a big batch of brownies, especially the fudgy kind, so I always have a couple family size 9 x 13 boxes of fudgy brownie mix in the pantry.

A collage including step 2 of the recipe to grease the pan and step 3 to pour the boxed browne mix into a bowl.

What’s The Best Brand Of Brownie Box Mix To Buy?

When it comes to brownie mix brands I’m honestly not very picky. I usually just buy whatever is cheapest like Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, or the Aldi brand since one of those recently opened here.

I always stock up when they go on sale at the store for about $1 or less each as they have a pretty good shelf life. If you want the convenience of having them shipped to your door the price on Amazon is usually pretty decently priced, too.

I have tried the pricier Ghirardelli brownie mix too, but, honestly, for how much it costs it just did not wow me at all though I know there are many out there that love it – so give it a try and see what you think!

The last time I looked, Ghirardelli also used different ratios of fat/liquid/eggs than most other brands. You can still make the swaps I mention but be sure to use the same amounts as listed in the recipe on the back of the box of the brand you use or your brownies may end up too dry/wet or have an off texture.

Fat = Vegetable Oil or Butter

Liquid = Water, Milk, Cola, Brewed Coffee, Etc.

Eggs = Large Eggs

The swaps and additions to make the brownies taste homemade are what make the “recipe” over the brand of mix used in this case.

A collage showing step 3 and 4 of the recipe including adding the eggs and liquids and mixing them together.

How to Make Boxed Brownies Better

  • Instead of oil, use butter. This helps the amazing brownies have a richer flavor. Some say that you need to add an extra tablespoon of butter when using it instead of oil since oil is 100%  fat and butter is not, but I always substitute the same amount stated on the packaging. You could also use ghee/clarified butter.
  • Instead of water, use milk, cola, or preferably brewed coffee. Just like in cooking, baking with water doesn’t add much flavor. One of my favorite brownie mix hacks is to use coffee in brownies as coffee intensifies that chocolate flavor but doesn’t make the baked good taste like coffee, though some that really abhor the taste of coffee might pick up on it. If I don’t have leftover brewed coffee, I always have a jar of instant espresso powder on hand to use.
  • Add more flavor with an extract and cocoa powder. Extracts are commonly used in baking and there are a variety of flavors you can use. Vanilla extract adds a nice sweet flavor we all love. But you can also change up the flavor of your brownies with extracts like orange or peppermint. Adding a tablespoon or 2 of cocoa powder (or even hot chocolate mix) will give an extra chocolate flavor punch.
  • Try out different mix-ins. One of the best ways to kick box mix brownies up a notch is to add some extra ingredients to take them to the next level . This can be candy pieces, coconut flakes, nuts, chocolate chips, marshmallows, bacon, or pretty much anything you’d like to try.
  • Take the size of the pan into mind. If I want a 9 x 13 of the best brownies I will actually use 2 boxes of brownie mix (also doubling the other ingredients) intended to be used in a 9 x 13. Using just one box doesn’t make a thick enough brownie, in my opinion. If I only need 9 brownies or so I will use just one box of brownie mix but bake it in an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan square pan.
  • Turn it into something fancy. Brownies are great on their own, but you can also jazz them up a bit, like turning them into a brownie strawberry shortcake. Yum!
a photo of the sliced brownies being made into a strawberry shortcake with macreated strawberries and whipped cream.

Related: I also used a brownie mix to make my Peanut Butter Pie with Brownie Crust Recipe and my Individual Brownies with Peanut Butter Bird’s Nest Frosting Recipe which is perfect for spring and Easter.

A collage showing steps 6 and 8 of the recipe including pouring the batter into the pan and then cooling completely after baking

The Best Brownie Pans For Crispy Edges

If you’re like our family you just might fight over all the crispy edges and corners when it comes to brownies. When I’m wanting brownies with crispy edges, I like making them in a muffin tin, but this square treat cake pan and the edge brownie pan are also popular choices so everyone gets those delicious crispy edges.

A baked and sliced brownie sitting on a white square of parchment paper on a light gray background.

Even brownie mix can make the shiny crunchy topped brownies with a chewy fudgy center we all love!

Brownie Baking Pro Tip #2: Try to use a lighter baking pan to lessen the risk of burning. When using dark or dark non-stick pans you should lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees. I’ve been using my light Wilton non-stick 9 x 13 pan for years and love it.

How To Make Boxed Brownie Mix Taste Homemade

How To Make Boxed Brownie Mix Taste Homemade

Yield: 12 Brownies
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

These simple steps will give any store-bought brownie mix extra flavor to taste homemade.


  • Non-stick spray or butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 family-size or 9 x 13 size fudgy brownie mix
  • 2 large eggs (use 3 if you prefer cakey brownies)
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee, room temperature (or milk)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter, slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or other extract of choice - all flavors are different and you may need to use more or less)
  • Mix-ins of choice (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. If using a dark pan, 325F.
  2. Grease 9 x 13 pan and set aside. I like to use parchment paper and non-stick spray.
  3. Pour brownie mix into a bowl and add in eggs, coffee or milk, butter, and extract.
  4. Whisk or stir until thoroughly combined, about 50 strokes.
  5. Gently stir in any mix-ins.
  6. Pour brownie batter into greased pan and spread evenly in pan.
  7. Bake according to package directions, usually 20 - 25 minutes. Dark pans may take a couple more minutes.
  8. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack. If you used parchment or foil, you should be able to easily lift them out of the pan.
  9. Cut into desired size (I do so for 12 brownies) and serve. Store leftovers in a Ziploc bag or covered container.


Some brownie mix brands, such as Ghirardelli, use different ratios of fat/eggs/liquids. If this is the case, make the desired swaps but be sure to use them in the same amounts as listed on the box you use.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 large brownie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216.33

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

What are some of your tips and tricks for How to Make Boxed Brownie Mix Taste Homemade?

Homemade whipped cream sitting on a stand mixer whisk attachment turned upside down on a tan tablecloth

I love topping a brownie with a dollop of lightly sweetened homemade whipped cream!


Sunday 24th of October 2021

I always add almond extract. Usually nuts and often coconut. Brownie sundaes are a favorite around our house. It’s often a brownie sundae Buffet. Build your own and get creative. The kids love it!

Smart Savvy Living

Monday 25th of October 2021

Hi Mona, great ideas! Thanks for sharing.


Tuesday 7th of September 2021

Sometimes I add just a squirt of Hershey’s chocolate syrup to my boxed brownie mix. I always add vanilla and sometimes unsweetened cocoa to the mix. The chocolate syrup makes them extra fudgy. Substituting butter for the oil is so good. I can’t eat nuts , but the chocolate chips add a crunch.

Smart Savvy Living

Wednesday 15th of September 2021

Hi Dafani, thanks for stopping by and the wonderful ideas!

Ellie Athay

Friday 30th of July 2021

Duncan Hines recommended using plain yogurt to replace the oil. I have used cherry 🍒, vanilla, cherry vanilla, peach, apricot, and anything else that would go with chocolate.

Smart Savvy Living

Saturday 7th of August 2021

Hey Ellie, thanks for stopping by. I hadn't heard of doing this before - great idea and thanks for sharing!


Thursday 15th of July 2021

Try sprinkling the top with mini chocolate chips and then sprinkling with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Smart Savvy Living

Tuesday 27th of July 2021

Sounds wonderful, Sandra. Thanks so much for sharing!


Saturday 3rd of July 2021

I always add extra cocoa to brownie mix it makes them taste so much more chocolatly.

Smart Savvy Living

Tuesday 13th of July 2021

Yes it does! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing, Leanna.

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