The Best Brownie Mixes, According to a Pro Pastry Chef

Use these to whip up the classic dessert in a flash

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Best Brownie Mixes

The Spruce Eats / Lecia Landis

The desire for brownies can strike fast. When the cravings hit, the goal is to get your brownies in the oven and on the table as quickly as possible. While there are plenty of indulgent homemade brownie recipes out there, times like these call for cutting to the chase—and these delightful brownie mixes are here to save the day.

The best brownie mixes are satisfyingly chocolately and easy to make. If you have a hankering for rich, fudgy brownies, you don’t have to look further than any one of these boxed mixes to whip up a treat your whole family will love. Most require little more than an egg or two and some vegetable oil, which you probably have on hand already.  

Whether you have special dietary restrictions or are partial to a specific type of chocolate, you'll find the perfect mix on our list.

Best Overall

Ghirardelli Chocolate Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix


What We Like
  • Made with high quality chocolates

  • Full of chocolate chunks

  • Fudge sauce for the ultimate fudginess

What We Don't Like
  • Longer baking time than some other mixes

When you think of the best brownies you’ve ever eaten, you probably think of a rich, chewy chocolate square that practically melts in your mouth. That’s exactly what you’ll get when you bake with this brownie mix by the famed Ghirardelli chocolate company. 

The mix has a simple list of ingredients that will please purists, yet has a double threat of chocolate—rich cocoa powder mix studded with semi-sweet chocolate chips—to ensure each bite is bursting with flavor.

You’ll love that the process is just as easy. Simply combine the powdered mix with a handful of pantry staples—water, oil, and eggs—then pop in the oven. In less than 50 minutes, you’ll have the perfect chocolate treat at your fingertips.

Price at time of publish: $3.79

Chocolate Type: Semi-sweet chips | Additional Ingredients: 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg | Pan Size: 8 or 9-inch square

Best Value

Betty Crocker Delights Triple Chunk Supreme Brownie Mix

Betty Crocker Delights Triple Chunk Supreme Brownie Mix


What We Like
  • Great price

  • Filled with chocolate chunks

  • Easy to mix

What We Don't Like
  • Not available in all grocery stores

This highly rated mix from Betty Crocker boasts a very desirable price tag—a cost that’s even more impressive once you consider what you’re getting. The mix yields rich brownies studded with chocolate chunks and chocolate chips for maximum goodness in each and every bite.

Like our top pick, this brownie mix is easy to put together, too. Simply combine the mix with water, vegetable oil, and an egg. Then, choose from one of three tray sizes, and bake. Less than 40 minutes later (even quicker than our top pick!), you’ll have that decadent chocolate square you were craving.

Price at time of publish: $3.29

Chocolate Type: Chocolate chips and chunks | Additional Ingredients: 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg | Pan Size: 8 or 9-inch square, or 11 x 7-inch rectangular

Best Gluten-Free

Simple Mills Almond Flour Brownie Mix

Simple Mills Almond Flour Brownie Mix


What We Like
  • Gluten-free with no artificial ingredients

  • Easy ingredient swaps listed

  • Lower carbohydrate option

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't work for those with almond allergies

  • More expensive than traditional mixes

This great boxed brownie mix has something to prove: You don’t need to sacrifice delicious treats just because you have special dietary requirements or restrictions.

The almond flour-based mix yields moist, fudgy brownies that will fool even your most discerning gluten-devouring friends. Still, they’re suitable for an impressive array of sensitivities—the resulting dessert is gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, cholesterol-free, and soy-free. As an important added bonus, the mix is also non-GMO project verified.

Price at time of publish: $7.11

Chocolate Type: Dutch cocoa and chocolate chips | Additional Ingredients: 1/2 cup oil or butter, 3 tablespoons water, 2 eggs | Pan Size: 8 or 9-inch square

Best with Nuts

Duncan Hines Signature California Walnut Brownie Mix

A box of Duncan Hines Signature California Walnut Brownie Mix


What We Like
  • Mix uses California walnuts

  • Great with frosting topping

  • Alkalized cocoa powder for richer flavor

What We Don't Like
  • Your friends and family might hate them

Adding walnuts to brownies is a controversial move. But for those who love the nutty crunch of walnuts mixed into their fudgy brownies, Duncan Hines has you covered. Instead of buying a box of brownie mix and a bag of walnuts separately, these brownies include California walnuts directly in the mix. Of course, there's a chance that whoever you're sharing the brownies with might not be as thrilled about the walnuts, leaving you to eat the entire pan by yourself (which might be what you were hoping for all along).

The packaging and branding for this particular brownie mix have recently changed. You might have also seen it available in a black box with the "Decadent" branding instead of the "Signature" label. And for those who love brownies with the works, Duncan Hines also makes a Carmel Turtle brownie mix, which includes walnuts and caramel topping for crunchy, fudgy, and gooey brownies.

Price at time of publish: $32 for 12 boxes

Chocolate Type: Alkalized cocoa | Additional Ingredients: 1 large egg, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup oil | Pan Size: 8 or 9-inch square

Best Organic

Annie's Organic Double Chocolate Brownie Mix with Real Chocolate Chips

A box of Annie's Organic Double Chocolate Brownie Mix


What We Like
  • USDA Organic ingredients

  • Instructions to make without butter

  • Reasonable price for organic

What We Don't Like
  • Only classic brownie mix Annie's makes

Annie’s Homegrown has managed to create treats that bridge the gap between comfort food classics and the often less indulgent organic food market—with flavors that even appeal to some who would otherwise pass on the organic option. So it makes perfect sense that they’d offer a brownie mix that holds its own against the bigger non-organic labels (although Annie’s has been owned by General Mills since 2014). 

We took a look at both the Annie’s Organic Double Chocolate Brownie Mix and the Best Overall pick side-by-side to see how they compared. The most substantial difference is the sodium per serving, but everything else is the same, even the ingredients list. What that means is, even though this is the organic option, you’re not sacrificing any of the yummy things that make brownies so indulgent. Additionally, Annie’s baking instructions say that the brownies cook about 3 to 4 minutes faster, which is a bonus if you’re chocolate cravings are extra-intense.

Of course, to make them completely organic, you’ll need to use organic butter and eggs to complete the recipe. There is also an adjustment given if you’d like to swap oil for butter, making the recipe essentially dairy-free (no dairy-based products are listed in the ingredients, but the packaging mentions that it may contain milk ingredients for allergy purposes).

Price at time of publish: $6

Chocolate Type: Organic cocoa and organic chocolate chips | Additional Ingredients: 2 large eggs, 1 tablespoon water, 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter | Pan Size: 8 or 9-inch square, 11 x 7-inch rectangular

Best Dark Chocolate

Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix

Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix


What We Like
  • Great for dark chocolate lovers

  • Easy to mix

  • Full of chocolate chips

What We Don't Like
  • Longer bake time

Here's another winning pick from Ghirardelli, but this time for those who covet that bittersweet goodness you get from quality dark chocolate.

It’s no surprise this mix has a decadent dark chocolate taste in every bite, as it’s made with real Ghirardelli chocolate and studded with even more dark chocolate chips. When you combine that with water, vegetable, oil, and an egg, the result is a deep, yet smooth chocolate treat that’s the perfect marriage between moist and chewy.

As a bonus, this mix is great for novices in the kitchen. The box includes plenty of tips for nailing the recipe, including alterations for thicker brownies and high-altitude baking.

Price at time of publish: $3.79

Chocolate Type: Bittersweet chocolate chips | Additional Ingredients: 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg | Pan Size: 8 or 9-inch square

Best Milk Chocolate

Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix

Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix


What We Like
  • Great price

  • Widely available

  • Easy to mix

What We Don't Like
  • Less of a chocolately kick

If you prefer your dessert to be a little sweeter, you’ll love this milk chocolate brownie mix by go-to baking brand Betty Crocker. The chocolate flavor is slightly less intense, but that doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing on taste. The mix yields a delicate, smooth chocolate brownie that reviewers call amazing.

It’s a great base recipe, too. Since the chocolate flavor doesn’t overwhelm, it creates the perfect blank canvas for fun add-ins, like peanut butter, caramel, or even potato chips or pretzels. Not entirely sure where to start? Flip the box over for three great suggestions straight from the professional bakers themselves.

Price at time of publish: $3.29

Chocolate Type: "Milk chocolate" (light cocoa) | Additional Ingredients: 1/2 cup oil, 3 tablespoons water, 2 eggs | Pan Size: 8 or 9-inch square, 13 x 9-inch rectangular

Best with Whole Grains

Kodiak Cakes Protein-Packed Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix

A box of Kodiak protein-packed chocolate fudge brownie mix


What We Like
  • No preservatives or artificial additives

  • Egg and butter replacements given

  • 8 grams of protein per serving (prepared)

  • Brand invested in wildlife conservation

What We Don't Like
  • Not available in all grocery stores

Generally speaking, the most that we normally expect from our brownies is that they’re perfectly chocolatey and satisfying. But the minds behind the Kodiak Cakes products have found ways to boost just about every mix they make with more protein and whole grains. The company’s style is rugged comfort meets wholesome strength, appealing to the active and outdoorsy among us. But if we’re being honest, most of us don’t need a protein boost to hike Denali, we just need it to get us through the afternoon.

With that in mind, why not hide some more of the good stuff in the brownies that we were already planning to eat anyway? A quick glance at the nutrition information and ingredients informed us that we weren’t losing any of the things we love about brownies with this mix, but gaining a few things that we could feel good about. In addition to the cane sugar, whole grain wheat flour, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and cocoa, this mix has additional protein added from wheat, whey, and milk. It’s also got 100% whole-grain oat flour to fortify the mix.

Price at time of publish: $37 for 6 boxes

Chocolate Type: Cocoa & semi-sweet chocolate chips | Additional Ingredients: 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil | Pan Size: 9-inch square

Best for Celebrations

Pillsbury Funfetti Chocolate Fudge Premium Brownie Mix

Pillsbury Funfetti Chocolate Fudge Premium Brownie Mix


What We Like
  • Festive funfetti included

  • Instructions for baking a double batch

  • Great for involving kids while baking

What We Don't Like
  • More oil required than other mixes

Whoever said you have to have a birthday cake for your celebration? Go ahead: Surprise your favorite chocolate lover with a delicious tray of brownies instead. This boxed mix makes it easy to make the chocolate treat a little more festive (and, thus, suitable for the special occasion), thanks to the addition of colorful sprinkles. 

It’s not just a gimmick, either: These brownies are just what you’d expect from Pillsbury. They’re rich, moist, and full of that chocolate flavor you’re looking for.

Price at time of publish: $3.29

Chocolate Type: Colored candy-coated chips & cocoa | Additional Ingredients: 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup water, 2 eggs | Pan Size: 8 or 9-inch square, 13 x 9-inch rectangular

Best Allergy-Friendly

King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Ultimate Fudge Brownie Mix

King Arthur Baking Company's Gluten Free Ultimate Fudge Brownie Mix


What We Like
  • Certified gluten-free

  • Mix made without tree nuts, dairy, soy

  • Can be made without butter

What We Don't Like
  • Limited pan size cooking instructions

Yes, a company known for its wheat flour products has created a gluten-free allergy-friendly fudgy brownie mix that rivals the traditional brownie mixes. This mix has a straightforward list of ingredients that includes cane sugar, tapioca starch, Dutched cocoa, rice flour, baking powder, salt, and natural vanilla flavor. The mix comes together with melted butter and eggs, although the packaging encourages replacing the butter with vegetable oil for a dairy-free brownie. King Arthur’s bakers do not recommend using an egg substitute for the best results.

According to King Arthur, the company’s certified gluten-free baking mixes are made without the top nine allergens in the U.S., which include dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, wheat, soy, sesame, and fish. But for those with allergies, serious precautions should still be taken. The company provides in-depth information on its fully-transparent allergy program, disclosing every step of the equipment cleaning and certification process. According to King Arthur’s extensive Allergen Program guide, the Ultimate Fudge Brownie Mix is tested and certified as gluten-free, but may come in contact with equipment that also processes wheat, milk, soy, eggs, coconut, and almonds.

Price at time of publish: $5.26

Chocolate Type: Dutched cocoa | Additional Ingredients: 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter, 2 tablespoons water, 2 large eggs, 1 cup mix-ins (optional) | Pan Size: 8-inch square or 9-inch round

Final Verdict

For a truly indulgent brownie with next to no effort, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Triple Fudge Premium Brownie Mix is our best overall pick. If your chocolate cravings tend to come on fast and without warning, pick up a few boxes of Betty Crocker Delights Triple Chunk Supreme Brownie Mix for a fast and ultra-fudgy brownie experience.

What to Look For When Buying Brownie Mixes


If there’s a special kind of chocolate you like, there’s a brownie mix out there to make you happy. On the other hand, if you want all of the chocolates, several mixes have you covered there as well.

For a more chocolate-forward experience, shoot for a mix that includes chocolate chunks, a fudge packet, or both. Mixes that contain only cocoa powder will have a more subtle chocolate flavor but can be great for mixing in your own additions like Nutella, peanut butter, nuts, or marshmallow fluff.

Baking Times and Instructions

Only you know how long you can reasonably wait for your brownies to cook. If you have infinite patience, you may be comfortable waiting close to 50 minutes for your brownies to bake. If you need your brownies quickly after the craving strikes, look for brownie mixes that cook in about 20 minutes. If you have absolutely zero patience, opt for the 55-second microwave mug brownie. 

Additionally, most brownie mixes include baking times and instructions for brownie pans in different sizes and materials. Typically baked in metal or glass pans, the box will give you specific times and temperatures to fit your pan.

Special Ingredients

Nearly everyone loves brownies, and these days there is a brownie mix tailored to every preference. If you eat gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, or another special diet, there is a mix for you! Most brownie mixes contain the same essential ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, leavener, egg, oil, and water. Some of these ingredients are tailored to specific diets straight out of the box, and some give instructions for simple ingredient swaps. 

It’s often more convenient and cost-effective to buy a specialized and tested brownie mix than to search for an iffy recipe that might require a long list of expensive ingredients and complicated mixing instructions.


What can you add to a brownie mix?

You can customize brownie mix in countless ways, including mix-ins, extracts, swirls, toppings, and even altering the ingredients. Mix-ins can include anything from a variety of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or caramel pieces, candy, nuts, and dried fruit. A splash of vanilla extract is a great way to add depth of flavor, but you can also add a splash of strong coffee or another extract of your choice. Swirled brownies are easy to make with Nutella, caramel sauce, peanut butter, or marshmallow fluff to name a few, and toppings like sprinkles, marshmallows, pretzels, and Oreos can make your brownies special with almost no extra effort. Finally, you can slightly alter some of the additional ingredients used in the mix, substituting milk instead of water, butter instead of oil, or even a little olive oil.

Is it okay to use milk instead of water in a brownie mix?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to substitute milk in place of water in a brownie mix. Substitute the same amount of milk for the water. The milk will give the brownies a more rounded flavor and make the texture slightly more tender from the additional fat content.

Are brownies better with butter or oil?

Ultimately, this is a personal preference, but there is a difference between brownies made with butter and oil. Oil-based brownies tend to be denser and fudgier, whereas butter-based brownies tend to rise a little more since the water content in the butter expands during cooking, creating a more tender crumb. With that said, both oil and butter make brownies that are moist and flavorful, so it’s okay to use whichever you have available.

What happens if you put an extra egg in brownie mix?

If you add an additional egg to your brownie mix it’s going to inflate a little more, creating cakier brownies. On the other hand, if you add an extra egg yolk without the white, you’re going to get a denser, fudgier, more flavorful brownie because of the extra fat.

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best brownie mixes on the market, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, bake time, or price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

This roundup was written by Brigitt Earley, who has written and edited hundreds of articles in the food space for various publications over the course of the last 10 years. Brigitt also attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC. 

Jenny Kellerhals is a professional pastry chef and freelance food writer, based in Queens, NYC. She's mixed-up hundreds, if not thousands of batches of brownies—always trying to capture the magic of that perfectly fudgy, sweet, and indulgent brownie you fell in love with from your very first bite. Out of the box like her mom used to make, or from scratch, Jenny thinks baking a batch of brownies is the ultimate act of love.

Originally written by
Brigitt Earley
Brigitt Earley
Brigitt Earley is a lifestyle writer with a culinary degree and a master's in journalism. Her writing has been published on and Good Housekeeping.
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