There are many times when you want to make brownies (or need to make brownies) but starting from scratch just takes too long. Luckily, there are plenty of box mixes out there that make delicious brownies in about half the time!
The only thing is, a box mix brownie is just never quite as tasty as brownies that are completely homemade. For some reason, you can always tell that a brownie came from a box rather than from scratch. But now, that is about to change.
With these tips and tricks, you will be able to make brownies from a box mix that taste out of this world. So take that box mix of brownies, try out some of these ideas to enhance the mix and start baking! Box brownies just got way better.
1 – Add Candy
Imagine biting into a brownie only to find that you are also biting into a gooey, melted candy bar. Sounds pretty amazing, right?!?
One sure fire way to make brownies from a box mix taste better is to toss in some of your favorite chopped up candy bars. Adding about a cup of candy pieces won’t alter the recipe meaning the brownies will bake the same, however, they will now be laden with candy!
Chocolate candy bars work best for this as they add some delicious bonus chocolate. Caramel candies are also great since they will melt and be nice and soft inside the brownie. Stay away from fruity candies or hard candies as they won’t work too well.
2 – Use Vanilla Extract
There is one ingredient that brownie box mixes are almost always missing- vanilla extract. Pretty much every brownie recipe that is made from scratch has vanilla extract in it and while you may not think that a teaspoon of something would make a big difference, it definitely does.
Vanilla extract adds a warm, rich undertone to a recipe that enhances the chocolate flavor and just makes everything, well, better! Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to your brownie mix and you will see a world of difference!
To expand on this idea, you can also try different kinds of extracts to make your brownies even more interesting. Almond extract, coconut extract or anise extract will all add a nice touch of subtle flavor to your brownies.
One bit and people will be wondering “how did they make these brownies so unique?!” They definitely won’t taste as if they are from a box mix!
3 – Add Chocolate Chips
A very simple way to boost the flavor of box mix brownies is to add a big scoop of chocolate chips to the batter before the brownies bake. Of course a brownie will be better if you add more chocolate!
A cup of chocolate chips mixed into the brownie batter will create spots of warm, melted chocolate throughout the brownies which will clearly improve the box mix in an instant.
4 – Put Chocolate on Top
If you don’t want to add extra chocolate chips to the brownie batter (or if you just forget to add the chips before the brownies go in the oven), sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the brownies right when they come out of the oven.
Let the chips sit on top of the hot brownies for about two minutes. Then use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the melted chocolate chips across the top of the brownie.
The warm chocolate will coat the box mix brownies, giving them a delicious chocolate topping that will make your mouth water.
5 – Try Extra Toppings
If you want to add a new flavor to your chocolate brownies, sprinkle peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips or even mint chocolate chips across the top of the hot brownies right when they come out of the oven.
Let the topping sit, spread them on the brownies once they melt and voila! Your box mix brownies just became gourmet.
Go the extra mile by adding some sprinkles to the topping to make the brownies even more beautiful. Choose specific color sprinkles to suit any holiday or event.
Your brownies will look so fantastic that no one would ever have thought they came from a box mix!
6 – Use Frosting
If you love the idea of giving your box mix brownies a topping, the easiest way to do this is to just buy a jar of frosting and spread it over your baked, cooled brownies.
Not only does this require very little effort (the frosting is usually in the same aisle as the brownie box mix!) but it instantly makes your brownies look like they are from a bakery rather than a box. Easy. Tasty. Flawless.
7 – Use Cookie Cutters
After your box mix brownies have baked and cooled, cut them with fun shaped cookie cutters to really add a personalized touch. Use holiday shaped cookie cutters to make a festive treat or just opt for some cool stars, heart or animal shapes.
When people see brownies in exciting shapes, they will automatically think you made them from scratch (be sure to throw out the empty brownie mix box!).
8 – Add Marshmallows
One cup of mini marshmallows will take your box mix brownies from boring to fantastic. When the brownies bake, the marshmallows will melt and become gooey and delectable, taking your brownies from boring to fabulous.
If you want to take this trick a step further, press a graham cracker crust into the brownie pan before you pour the brownie batter with marshmallows in. Bake as usual and then enjoy a s’mores style treat. Pure perfection!
9 – Add Cookie Pieces
If you could eat a cookie and a brownie at the same time, wouldn’t that just be heaven? Well, with a box mix of brownies and a few of your favorite baked cookies you can take a trip to heaven with just one bite!
Break up a few cookies and mix them into the batter. Bake the brownies as directed on the box and you’re done! Chocolate chip cookies work great and Oreos also make a fantastic addition to brownies.
Rather than mix the cookie pieces in, you can also layer them into the brownie to make a surprise cookie center. Just pour half the brownie batter into the pan, places some cookie pieces across the batter and then pour the rest of the batter on top.
10 – Add Caramel Syrup
Buy a jar of caramel syrup (or make your own if you are feeling ambitious!) and pour about ½ a cup over the brownie batter. Use a knife to gently swirl the caramel sauce into the batter. Bake as directed and then slice into the brownies to reveal a perfect chocolatey caramel treat.
If you want to go a step further, mix some chopped pecans into the brownie batter as well to make a “turtle” style dessert.
11 – Use Pie Filling
A jar of pie filling can completely transform your box mix brownies into something amazing.
Pour your mixed brownie patter into the pan and then evenly distribute about 1 cup of premade pie filling across the top of the batter. Use a knife to gently swirl in the pie filling and then bake as directed. Now your brownies have a fruity surprise!
When choosing what type of pie filling to use, consider what goes well with chocolate. Strawberry, cherry, or raspberry pie filling work great. Pineapple pie filling along with some shredded coconut may be perfect as well!
Peach and apple filling might not work as well but hey, you should always try! If it sounds tasty to you, give it a shot! It will definitely jazz up your box brownies.
12 – Make Box Brownie Muffins
This is the perfect way to make your box brownies better without adding any other ingredients. Rather than using a regular old brownie pan to bake your brownies, scoop the batter into a paper-lined muffin tin.
Fill each muffin liner about ¾ full and then bake for about 5-10 minutes less than directed on the box. Once the batter is set, remove from the oven, cool slightly and then enjoy your beautiful, individual brownie muffins!
Not only does this save you time as you don’t have to cut the brownies, they also will look super fancy as if you spend hours preparing these little treats. Make them even more interesting by using a mini muffin pan to create one bite brownies.
13 – Add Coffee
Adding coffee to your brownie mix may sound a little strange but it will transform your brownies into something wonderful. If your brownie box mix asks for water to be added to the mix, skip it and add chilled black coffee instead.
The coffee will enhance the chocolate taste and add a rich flavor that can’t be beat. And don’t worry, your brownies won’t taste like coffee at all! It is a truly awesome trick to take your basic brownies and make them taste extra fudgy.
If you don’t have brewed coffee on hand, one teaspoon of espresso powder or instant coffee powder can also be mixed into the batter to get the same effect. Mix the powder in well and your “chocolate enhancing ingredient” will get to work making your brownies fantastic.
14 – Use Sea Salt
If you love sweet and salty flavor combinations then a sprinkle of sea salt is just what you need.
When your brownie batter is already in the pan, ready to go in the oven, sprinkle just a bit of sea salt over the top. Not too much as you don’t want your brownies to be too salty but just enough to have a touch of salt on every bite. Bake as usual and then enjoy!
The slight addition of salt will intensify the flavor of the brownies and give you that salty taste that everyone craves.
15 – Add Nuts
Everyone love chocolate paired with nuts! Not only does adding nuts to your brownie batter make for a delicious addition but it also adds a nice crunch to the brownies.
One cup of chopped nuts mixed into the brownie batter will give your brownies more flavor and texture- a total win! You can add just about any kind of nut you’d like from almonds to pecans, walnuts to peanuts- the choices is yours!
Sprinkle a few of the nuts across the top of the brownies before they bake to also make them just a little bit prettier.
16 – Under Bake
When in doubt, the easiest way to make your box mix brownies better is to under bake them slightly. A dried out brownie is definitely something you don’t want while a chewy, soft brownie is pure dessert bliss.
Set your oven timer for 5 minutes less than directed on the box. Once baked, let the brownies cool completely (even try putting them in the fridge to really set the batter) then slice and enjoy.
The soft center is still completely safe to eat (they will still be cooked!) and will taste like the best, fudgiest brownie you have ever had! You are now fully equipped to take that box mix of brownies and make something spectacular.
Box mix brownies don’t have to be boring and they can definitely be made into a world class dessert with just a few tweaks. No need to start from scratch when you can just mix up a box of brownies in a matter of seconds!
Now grab that box mix, pick one, two or even three of these ideas to try and start baking! Make sure to let me know how it goes in the comments below!
And if you somehow made more than you and your guests can eat (hard to believe), be sure to check out these ideas for leftover brownies!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.