Use three easy tricks to hack a box of brownie mix into such an impressive and indulgent dessert that nobody will know it wasn't baked from scratch! Originally published February 2017. Last updated February 2023.
Today, I'm putting you onto how to create boxed brownies that taste from scratch. This is a tried and true recipe from my college days that I could pull together in a pinch for anything from a movie night with friends to a sorority event. Let's get into the deliciousness of my top three brownie mix hacks.
And if you enjoy this easy brownie recipe, you'll also love my DIY chocolate dipped strawberries. Check out rice crispy craving bars, too!
Table of Contents
What You'll Need for this Recipe
Making your box brownies taste homemade is part technique and part ingredients. Here's what to add to your grocery list.
- Boxed Brownie Mix - You'll need two boxes for this recipe. I like to use one fudgy brownie mix and one regular or "cakey" box.
- Butter replaces the oil that most box instructions will call for and creates a richer taste and more dense texture.
- Chocolate adds extra decadence once the brownies are baked. My preference when it comes to chocolate is the darker the better but use the chocolate bar of your choice.
- Sea Salt
- Strawberries are optional but highly recommended for the razzle dazzle factor.
- Water - Even though many brownie mix hacks call for replacing the water with milk, there's very little difference so you can use water.
#1 Use Two Boxes of Brownie Mix
Well-made brownies are dense and chewy, which doesn't lend to a lot of height or thickness when baking. So I double the brownie mix for thick, bakery style brownies at home.
And it's not only the thickness of the brownies that matters. I recommend combining fudgy and regular, also called cake style, brownie mixes for bakeshop brownie texture in your own kitchen. This is how to make box mix brownies with a gooey center and firm, chewy edges!
#2 Replace Oil with Butter
What happens when you replace oil with butter in box brownies? Oil works just fine when mixing up boxed brownie mix but butter is better. Butter not only lends richer, more buttery flavor in comparison, it also yields brownies that are dense on the inside with firm, cake-like edges.
#3 Uplevel the Presentation
What can I add to brownie mix? While the brownies bake, slice a few strawberries and break up a bar of chocolate. These simple ingredients will add to the flavor profile and take your dessert from simple to sophisticated.
Plus, they just look so gorgeous that you'll get all the presentation points before anybody even takes a bite. I love a good recipe shortcut for entertaining. This is the dessert you whip up when you want to impress but are short on time.
What do they taste like?
Of course, they taste like brownies but even better! Richly chocolatey and deeply sweet. If you use dark chocolate on top, you'll also get salty and earthy notes. Plus sweet fruitiness from the macerated berries. As far as texture. These semi-homemade brownies come out dense and decadent every. single. time.
Tips & Tools for Thick Bakery Style Brownies at Home
Grab an eight by eight baking pan. I like to use glass for this recipe you can use whatever you have on hand and keep in mind that the baking time may differ. You'll also need a mixing bowl and silicone spatula for making the batter.
Also, you can use any old box mix. I've tried this with fancy brands as well as budget store brands with no issues.
What rack to bake brownies on at home? Use the middle rack. This will help ensure an even bake where neither the top or bottom cooks more quickly than the other.
More Favorite Easy Dessert Recipes
Salted Caramel Sweet Potato Blondies
I hope these tips serve you wonderfully and would love to hear if you have other ideas for how to jazz up store-bought brownie mix in the comments below. And be sure to pin this recipe for later and follow me over on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Hacked Box Mix Brownies Recipe
Better Box Mix Brownies
- ½ pint strawberries
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 boxes brownie mix
- melted butter per brownie mix directions (in place of oil)
- eggs per brownie mix directions
- water per brownie mix directions
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Spray an eight by eight inch square pan with non-stick oil and set aside.
- Wash strawberries then pat dry. Remove hulls (leafy ends) then cut each berry into slices no more than ⅓ inch thick and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle sugar over top and stir to evenly coat all pieces. Refrigerate.
- Add brownie mix, melted butter, eggs, and water to a large bowl and stir until just combined and no dry pockets remain in the batter.
- Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and place on middle rack of oven. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry. Due to doubling the recipe and replacing the oil with butter, the baking time will likely vary. Start checking for doneness after 30 minutes, to be sure.
- While brownies are still warm, break up the bar of chocolate and place the pieces over top so that they melt. Spread the chocolate to cover the top of the brownies then sprinkle of sea salt over top.
- Cut brownies in nine equal pieces in a three by three grid. Serve warm with macerated strawberries.
Gotta love semi-homemade recipes that are quick, easy, and look gourmet! These are great for my spring socials. Look forward to try it out!
Beverly Yu says
I couldn't help but notice... 70% cacao :O i'm in love.
Great ideas on how to dress up a plain old box of brownies. Many different possibilities available.
Jasmine S. says
Sounds delicious, Jazz! I love recipes like these!
Thanks, Jasmine! These are an old favorite and so easy!
These look fabulous! My favorite desert for sure!
OMG looks so good! I want to try this!
These look amazing! Never had strawberries and brownies together but I'm going to have to try it!
YUMMM!! These look delicious and so simple. Thank you for sharing. My mouth is watering.
Sometimes it's easier on us to not go to making everything from scratch. It isn't a crime. These brownies look so so so good, I'm going to have to make them soon.
I love how you doctored these brownies up!
Yumm!! Get in my belly now!
I wish food could be sent through a computer because I am drooling over these brownies. They look great and I'm definitely going to try to make these! I love baking and trying new recipes!
I've been thinking about these brownies since I left your house!!!! Thanks for sharing the magic..these are happening very very soon...
I never thought I could make boxed brownies taste like they came from an expensive bakery and you proved me wrong. These brownies were indulgent and delicious.
I decided to have my pickleball girlfriends over for a casual get together. These brownies were the perfect dessert - the butter truly gave them that homemade taste!
Jen Sim says
These brownies were perfectly fudgy and gooey in the middle! I plan to make them for my niece this weekend, I know she’ll love them.
I made these brownies last weekend for a gathering and they were a hit! No one knew they were from a boxed mix. My new go-to brownie recipe! Thanks for sharing.