One-Bowl Brownies

One-Bowl Cocoa Brownies

The Spruce Eats / Jessie Sheehan

Prep: 8 mins
Cook: 22 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 12 servings

There's no question that deeply chocolatey, from-scratch brownies are pretty special. But those fudgy, crackly-topped, easy-peasy ones from a box can be kind of great, too. Here, the two types are merged, resulting in homemade brownies that have the ease and chewiness of box brownies coupled with the incredible depth of flavor of those made from scratch. 

Olive oil or vegetable oil coupled with some melted butter helps achieve the texture of these brownies and Dutch-process cocoa powder contributes to their rich, dark color. Moreover, a bit of espresso powder amps up the chocolate flavor without imparting a coffee taste. Brown sugar helps keep the centers moist and a bit of granulated sugar ensures that their tops are crackly. 

Finally, because these are one-bowl brownies, assembly will take you less than 10 minutes with almost no cleanup. They only take a few more minutes than using a boxed mix and taste so much better. There's no reason you can't have homemade brownies any night of the week.


  • 6 tablespoons oil (preferably olive oil, not extra virgin)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnish: flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for one-bowl cocoa brownies
    The Spruce Eats / Jessie Sheehan
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray or softened butter and line with parchment.

  3. Place the oil and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high in 30-second bursts until the butter melts.

    Melt butter with oil for one-bowl cocoa brownies
    The Spruce Eats / Jessie Sheehan
  4. Add the cocoa and espresso powders and whisk to combine. Add the sugars and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla, all at once, and whisk very gently until combined.

    Mix ingredients for one-bowl cocoa brownies
    The Spruce Eats / Jessie Sheehan
  5. Sprinkle the flour and the salt over the batter and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry into the wet until no visible flour remains.

    Add flour and mix one-bowl cocoa brownies
    The Spruce Eats / Jessie Sheehan
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spread with an offset spatula, and sprinkle with the flaky sea salt, if using.

    Add batter to pan for one-bowl cocoa brownies
    The Spruce Eats / Jessie Sheehan
  7. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway point. The brownies are ready when a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs. Don't overbake.

  8. Let the brownies cool on a rack until room temperature. If desired, freeze them briefly before cutting, as this makes for cleaner squares.

    One-bowl cocoa brownies
    The Spruce Eats / Jessie Sheehan
  9. Serve with glasses of cold whole milk.

Recipe Variations

If you would like to fancy these up a bit, try adding some mix-ins:

  • Toasted walnuts or pecans
  • Chocolate chips (semi-sweet, bittersweet, milk, or even white chocolate)
  • For a spicy kick, include a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon coupled with a pinch of cayenne