How to Make Boxed Brownies Better

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Sometimes life calls for a shortcut. This article will give you the top secrets on how to make boxed brownies better than homemade.

Table of Contents
  1. What is the best box brownie mix?
  2. 3 Box Brownies in 1 Pan
  3. Tips for How to Make Box Brownies Better
  4. Brownie Add-Ins
  5. What about cake-like brownies?
  6. From Scratch Brownies
  7. Best Box Mix Brownie Recipe Recipe
  8. A few of our Best Brownie Recipes
  9. Brownie Batter Recipes

Last week on Instagram I showed brownie hacks I’ve used for years to make box brownies taste better. On that short video I showed how using 3 Ghirardelli box brownie mixes and baking them together in one pan yields fudgy, deliciously moist brownies.

You all were curious about baking time and pan sizes, so I decided to throw together a quick article to do just that, plus give you other secrets on how to make boxed brownies better than homemade.

4 brownies stacked on parchment paper
Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownies.

What is the best box brownie mix?

For our family, Ghirardelli box brownie mixes are the best. I prefer dark chocolate because they aren’t overly sweet and they have little chocolate chips in the batter. If I want something a little sweeter, the Ultimate Chocolate brownie mix is amazing because you mix in chocolate syrup and chocolate chunks.

Other best brownie mixes are:

3 ghirardelli brownie mixes
For 3 boxes in one pan, I use the brownie mixes that are made for 8×8″ pans.

3 Box Brownies in 1 Pan

When I make brownies, I’m making them for a family gathering or a party so I need a good amount of brownies. Here’s the best way to make brownies.

  • I get 3 boxes of Ghirardelli brownies, usually the dark chocolate kind.
  • Mix up all three boxes with the ingredients on the back in one bowl. So that means 3 box mixes, 3 large eggs, ¾ cup water and 1 ½ cups oil.
  • Pour the batter into a large stoneware pan. I use the Pampered Chef Stoneware Bar Pan, which can sometimes be hard to find. It measures 10″D x 15.5″W x 1″H and bakes brownies beautifully.
  • Bake in a preheated 325ºF oven for 50 minutes.

Easy peasy. They are excellent served with ice cream.

Tips for How to Make Box Brownies Better

  • Double the mixes. Or even triple, as I state above. Some boxes are made to fill 9×13″ baking pans. If this is the type you have, you can easily use 2 boxes and still bake it in one 9×13″ baking dish. It will take about 50 minutes to bake at 325ºF. If it is a smaller batch of brownies (8×8″ baking pan size) you may be able to use three boxes in a 9×13″.
  • Use a stoneware baking pan. Pampered chef has awesome ones, and you can find them on Amazon. Stoneware cooks the brownies evenly without the edges getting overdone. If you don’t have stoneware, use a glass baking pan.
  • Line the baking pan with parchment paper. If you’re not using stoneware, line the baking pan with parchment paper so you can easily remove the brownies to cut and serve. Plus, it makes cleanup a breeze.
cake like brownies in a glass pan with parchment
This is Betty Crocker Fudge brownies made cake-like.
  • Use milk or buttermilk instead of water. It will add richness and flavor to the brownies.
  • Replace canola or vegetable oil with butter. Brownies have a lot of oil in them which is what helps them to be moist and stay moist. But sometimes I feel like I can taste the flavor of the oil. If you can too, try using melted butter in place of the oil. Talk about a rich and fudgy brownie…with a slight hint of butter.
  • Add a tablespoon of instant espresso powder. Or you can replace the water with strong coffee. Instant coffee works great for this if you don’t drink coffee regularly. Coffee enhances the chocolate flavor without making the brownies taste like coffee.
espresso powder sitting on a table
  • Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I make homemade vanilla extract so use vanilla in everything and I’m never disappointed.
  • Bake the brownies until the toothpick has moist crumbs, but no batter. I like to check the internal temperature of baked goods with this awesome probe thermometer to make sure they are done. The brownies should be 210ºF in the center.
  • Sprinkle flaky sea salt over the top of the brownies. Salt helps to cut the sweetness and enhances the flavor.
  • Cut the brownies with a buddy knife. Or you can use a traditional plastic knife. If you’ve ever tried cutting warm brownies only to have them stick all over the knife, a plastic knife is your answer. You’ll be amazed at how cleanly they slice through the brownies.
plastic knives sitting on top of brownies in a pan

Brownie Add-Ins

If you’re looking for something to mix into your brownie batter to add texture, try one of these variations:

  • semi-sweet chocolate chips or marshmallows
  • chopped nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, pecans or almonds
  • Swirl in peanut butter or marsmallow fluff after you have brownie batter in the pan.
  • Have leftover Halloween candy? Add chopped candy bars.

What about cake-like brownies?

For cake like brownies, most box brownie mixes have you reduce the water by half, then ad an extra egg. These two small changes really do make a difference. I prefer fudgy brownies over cake like, but you can see the difference below here:

Make the brownies a complete dessert by adding ice cream and caramel sauce, but you could also top them with frosting.

fudgy brownie vs cake like brownies

From Scratch Brownies

If you want to compare box brownies to a homemade brownie recipe, try our favorite fudgy brownies. They use butter in place of oil, which is just one reason why I love them so much.

Have leftover brownies? Try these brownie truffles.

closeup of cut brownies in a pan
closeup of cut brownies in a pan

Best Box Mix Brownie Recipe

4.63 from 56 votes
Sometimes life calls for a shortcut. This article will give you the top secrets on how to make boxed brownies better than homemade.
Servings 35
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

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  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 boxes Ghirardelli brownie mixes (19-20 ounces – mixes that fit an 8×8" baking pan)


  • Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Spray a stoneware bar pan or other large sheet pan (with at least 1" sides, about 14¾" x 10½") with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and water.
  • Add the 3 box brownie mixes and fold together with a rubber spatula, being careful not to over mix the brownies.
  • Spread the brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies have no batter but a few moist crumbs.
  • Allow the brownies to cool before cutting.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. You can store any leftover brownies in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.



Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the brownies being cut into 35 squares, with 1 serving being 1 brownie. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**


Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 6mg | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 281
Keyword brownie bars, brownie mix recipe, easy dessert

A few of our Best Brownie Recipes

Brownie Batter Recipes

These recipes use a box brownie mix in a way that is different than plain brownies. But you still get all that delicious fudgy brownie flavor.

S’more Brownie Batter Bars

Brownie Batter Bark

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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4.63 from 56 votes (55 ratings without comment)
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17 days ago

Hi Julie, I’m looking forward to making these brownies! I have a question. I’m currently house sitting and have access to an aluminum 13X19 pan. The Ghirardelli box of dark chocolate brownie mix is 20 ounces. Can you yell me how many boxes I should use? And of substituting butter how much should I use? And if substituting milk? Thanks,

1 year ago

5 stars
I bought some brownies at a church bake sale. They were delicious! All my friends at work wanted the recipe. A woman who was always very stern baked them. I gathered my courage and sent her an email requesting her recipe as I raved about about her delicious recipe was such a hit. She called me when she got my email and was laughing. Then she told me her secret. Her recipe used only 2 boxes of the brownie mix. They have become my favorite brownie ever since. Three could only be that much better!

Wishes for tasty dishes,