Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.
For chocolate lovers, brownies rank among the most crave-worthy treats out there. But not all brownies are made the same. With so many textures and flavors, deciding which recipes are worth your time can take time.
This guide breaks down ten must-try brownie varieties, from classic chocolate to blondies and fruit-filled bars. You’ll discover tips for achieving the perfect fudgy, cakey, or chewy texture. Whether you’re a from-scratch baker or mix fan, you’ll find exciting new ways to satisfy your brownie fix. Let’s dig into the decadent world of brownies.
Brownie Textures You Must Know
When it comes to brownies, texture is everything. The specific consistency you’re looking for depends on personal preference, but there are three main brownie textures to choose from: fudgy, cakey, and chewy.
Fudgy brownies have a dense, rich, and ultra-moist interior. They get their signature soft and smooth texture from incorporating melted chocolate and using little to no flour. The lack of gluten development from the minimal flour allows the brownies to set up while retaining a decadent, almost pudding-like fudginess.
To achieve fudge-like brownies, use a recipe with equal parts chocolate to butter and only about 1/4 cup of flour per large batch. Fold the batter as little as possible and avoid overbaking. Pull the brownies from the oven when the edges are set, but the centers still look undone. The carryover cooking will finish the baking without sacrificing that luscious, fudgy texture.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, cakey brownies have a light and tender crumb. They use more flour and baking powder to create lift. Instead of melting chocolate, cocoa powder is often used to impart flavor without adding extra fat and density. The higher flour ratio to chocolate makes these brownies taste less intensely chocolatey.
To make cakey brownies, look for recipes with at least 1 cup of flour per batch and a couple of teaspoons of baking powder. Allowing the batter to sit before baking gives the leavening agents a jumpstart. Fold thoroughly to incorporate air and avoid overmixing once the flour is added.
Chewy brownies fall somewhere in between fudgy and cakey. They have a fudgy chocolate flavor but a tighter, rubbery texture. Using melted chocolate like fudgy brownies gives chewies their rich taste. However, they include more flour than fudge brownies to develop more structure. The trick is finding the suitable flour-to-cocoa ratio.
Shoot for chewy brownies using 1/2 to 3/4 cup flour per batch of melted chocolate and minimal mixing once combined. Pull them from the oven just before a toothpick comes out completely clean. The residual heat will finish the baking without sacrificing chewiness. Adjust the flour and bake time to find your perfect chewy texture.
1. Classic Chocolate Brownies
The classic chocolate brownie likely comes to mind when most people think of brownies. This traditional brownie recipe relies on just a few simple ingredients: chocolate, flour, sugar, eggs, and butter. Using equal parts chocolate, butter, and minimal flour, the classic chocolate brownie bakes up with that signature fudgy, dense texture.
Melt semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with butter over a double boiler to make classic chocolate brownies. Cool slightly before adding sugar and eggs to form a smooth, glossy batter. Fold in just 1/4 cup of flour per batch. The lack of gluten development keeps the brownies decadently fudgy. Pour the batter into a greased pan and bake until the edges look set but the middle still seems underdone. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Enjoy these traditional, fudgy chocolate brownies or à la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
2. Double Chocolate Brownies
For chocolate lovers, double chocolate brownies take this classic treat to the next level. These brownies deliver an intense, rich chocolate experience by incorporating cocoa powder and chocolate chunks or chips.
The key to double chocolate brownies is using high-quality cocoa powder to build a deep, dark chocolate base. Dutch-process cocoa works best.
Melt butter with quality cocoa powder, sugar, and a pinch of salt to make double chocolate brownies. Cool slightly before beating in eggs one at a time. Then fold in flour just until combined, being careful not to overmix.
Finally, add in chocolate chunks or chips. For best results, bake the brownies in a greased pan at 350°F until the edges look set, but the centers still seem underbaked. The residual heat will finish baking without drying them out. Let cool completely before cutting for maximum fudge-like texture.
Blondies are a delicious twist on traditional brownies, swapping out the dark chocolate for brown sugar and vanilla. While regular brownies rely on cocoa powder for their signature chocolatey flavor, blondies get their name from using brown sugar as the star ingredient. The brown sugar adds a caramel, toffee-like taste and golden color, while vanilla enhances the warm, sweet flavors. Blondies have a chewy and dense texture similar to a fudgy brownie.
A basic blondie recipe calls for creaming butter and brown sugar, then adding eggs, vanilla, and flour. White chocolate chips can be folded in for even more flavor. Blondies are baked until set around the edges but still soft in the middle, then cooled completely before cutting. Their sweet flavor makes them ideal for dessert bars. Try them topped with chocolate frosting or fresh fruit.
Blondies offer a tasty twist on brownies for folks who prefer a less intense chocolate flavor.
4. Nut Brownies
Nuts add fantastic texture and flavor when baked into brownies. The crunch of nuts contrasts the fudgy interior for heightened appeal. Walnuts, pecans, and almonds all make delicious additions.
Walnut brownies incorporate chopped walnuts into the batter before baking. The walnuts toast up and provide great crunch throughout each bite—their mild, earthy flavor pairs perfectly with rich chocolate.
Try swapping out a quarter cup of flour for ground walnuts to intensify the nuttiness further. The result is a fudgy brownie studded with toasted walnut pieces for a nutty twist on the classic treat.
For even more pronounced crunch, pecan brownies are a fabulous choice. Pecans have a more pungent, more buttery taste that complements chocolate well. Coarsely chop the pecans before mixing them into the batter. Pieces that are too small blend into the background. Leaving pecan chunks visible ensures you get bites of that delicious pecan crunch in each portion. Pecan brownies make for an irresistible, nutty dessert.
5. Nutella Brownies
The decadent chocolate-hazelnut spread known as Nutella makes a delicious addition to fudgy brownies. Swirling nutty Nutella into brownie batter creates stripes of chocolate hazelnut goodness throughout. For an even more intense Nutella experience, bake a batch of brownies and fill the cooled bars with a Nutella spread frosting.
Prepare a batch of your favorite fudgy brownie recipe to swirl Nutella brownies. Before baking, dollop large spoonfuls of Nutella onto the batter, then stir it using a knife. The
Nutella will create chocolatey ripples throughout the fudgy interior.
For Nutella-filled brownies, bake plain brownies and let cool completely. Slice the brownies horizontally to create two layers. Spread Nutella on the bottom layer and replace the top layer to make a sandwich. The melted hazelnut spread oozes out with each bite. Nutella takes these brownies to the next level with its nutty notes and chocolate decadence.
6. Peanut Butter Brownies
Indulge your cravings by combining two classic flavors into one incredible treat: peanut butter and chocolate brownies. The nutty richness of peanut butter swirled into fudgy brownie batter makes for a mouthwatering match.
Prepare your favorite brownie recipe for peanut butter swirl brownies, then dollop large spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter over the batter before baking. Use a knife to swirl the peanut butter throughout, creating ribbons of peanutty goodness amidst each fudgy bite. For even more peanut flavor, consider replacing some of the flour in the brownie recipe with powdered peanuts.
Another delicious option is to layer the peanut butter within the brownies. Bake plain brownies, then spread peanut butter over the surface once cooled before topping with another brownie layer. The filling oozes out with each bite for decadent peanut-chocolate pockets. Whether swirled or layered, peanut butter takes these brownies over the top for nutty chocolate bliss.
7. Fruity Brownies
Who says brownies have to be all about the chocolate? Fruity brownies are refreshing by incorporating juicy fruits into the classic treat—the sweet-tart flavors of fruit pair deliciously with rich, fudgy brownie batter. From berries to citrus fruits, there are endless fruity combinations to explore.
Cherry brownies make for a crowd-pleasing dessert. The sweet cherries offset the intensity of chocolate with their bright, tart juice. You can use baking chocolate or dark chocolate to make them. Chopped cherries can be mixed right into the batter before baking for pockets of fruit in every bite. For even more decadence, freeze pitted cherries and place them on top of the brownies before baking. The cherries release sweet nectar as they bake, creating fruity pockets of deliciousness. Tart cherries work incredibly well to balance the sweetness. With a kiss of cherry in each fudgy bite, these brownies put a fruity twist on a classic.
8. Cheesecake Brownies
Satisfy two dessert cravings in one go with these decadent cheesecake brownies. Marbling rich, creamy cheesecake into fudgy brownies creates a swirl of chocolate and cheesecake in each bite. The cool tanginess of the cheesecake filling perfectly offsets the warm, fudgy chocolate for a uniquely delicious treat.
To make these marbleous bars, prepare a batch of your favorite brownie recipe and set aside. Make a simple cheesecake filling by beating cream cheese, sugar, and eggs together. Drop large spoonfuls of the cheesecake filling randomly over the brownie batter. Then, use a knife to swirl it in, creating chocolate and cheesecake ribbons. The two batters will marble together during baking.
The result is fudgy brownies swirled with pockets of sweet, creamy cheesecake. Each bite delivers an irresistible combo of chocolate indulgence and cool, creamy cheesecake. With its intertwining textures and flavors, this mashup dessert takes brownies to a new level of decadence.
9. Vegan Brownies
Satisfy your brownie craving without the dairy using vegan ingredients. To make eggless brownies, swap the eggs for ground flax or chia seeds mixed with water. The mixture acts as a binder in place of eggs. Use unsweetened plant-based milk like almond, soy, or oat milk instead of regular milk. Butter, coconut oil, or vegan margarine like Earth Balance works well. Cocoa powder provides plenty of chocolate flavor without needing dairy chocolate. Bake the brownies until the edges look set, but the centers seem undone. The carryover cooking will finish baking without sacrificing fudginess. The result is rich, fudgy chocolate brownies made without any animal products.
Vegan brownies are just as delicious, using creative dairy-free ingredients like flax eggs and plant-based milk. Enjoy guilt-free chocolate with these eggless and dairy-free brownie bars.
10. Gluten-Free Brownies
Baking gluten-free brownies is easy with a few ingredient swaps. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, these treats allow for chocolate indulgence without the gluten. Replace regular flour with a one-to-one gluten-free flour blend made with rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch. Almond flour also works well in brownies, lending a nutty flavor and fudgy texture.
For extra decadence, use coconut oil instead of butter. The oil’s high saturated fat content mimics butter’s mouthfeel without the dairy. Use cocoa powder and chocolate chips or melted chocolate to boost the chocolate intensity.
Bake the brownies until set around the edges, then allow them to finish baking through carryover cooking. The result is fudgy, gluten-free brownies with deep chocolate flavor. You can whip up gluten-free brownies with all the rich chocolate taste but none of the gluten with intelligent substitutions.
Brownies are a classic treat many love, but not all are created equal. Different recipes and ingredients lead to various textures, from fudgy to cakey. Classic chocolate brownies win for their ultra-rich, melt-in-your-mouth feel. Adding mix-ins like nuts, fruit, or peanut butter puts a fresh spin on traditional brownies. For folks avoiding gluten or dairy, ingredient swaps using almond flour or coconut oil make enjoying brownies possible.
Brownies are a crowd-pleasing dessert. With various recipes, anyone can discover their perfect brownie texture and flavor. So fire up that oven, grease those pans, and get ready to sink your teeth into a fresh-baked, decadent brownie that hits the spot.
FAQ on Brownies
What are the three types of brownies?
The three main types of brownie texture are fudgy, cakey, and chewy. Fudgy brownies have a dense, ultra-moist interior thanks to lots of chocolate and minimal flour. Cakey brownies use more flour and leavening for a tender, lighter crumb. Chewy brownies strike a balance with enough flour to add structure but enough chocolate for rich fudginess. The ratio of flour to chocolate determines if brownies turn out fudgy, cakey, or with that ideal chewy texture.
How many flavors of brownies are there?
Endless flavor combinations and options to make brownies. While traditional chocolate is the classic, brownies come in infinite flavor combinations. Mix-ins like nuts, fruits, peanut butter, or cookie dough swirls put creative spins on brownies. There are also blondies made with brown sugar instead of cocoa and lower-chocolate options highlighting mix-ins. So whether you prefer classic chocolate or more unique flavors, there are tons of brownie varieties to satisfy your baking cravings.
What is the best kind of brownies?
There’s no definitive “best” since brownie preferences are subjective. Fudgy brownies with ultra-rich chocolate flavor are best for chocolate purists. Those wanting a balance of fudgy and cakey qualities may prefer chewy, flexible brownies. And bakers seeking a lighter, more cake-like texture will love cakey brownies. The “best” brownie depends on your favorite texture and chocolate intensity. Try a few recipes to discover your personal best brownie style.
How do you jazz up brownies?
There are endless ways to spice up basic brownies with fun mix-ins. Try swirling in peanut butter, Nutella, or jam before baking for pockets of flavor. Mix chocolate chips, nuts, toffee bits, or crushed candy for a tasty texture. Top baked brownies with drizzles of caramel, ganache, or chocolate syrup. Another idea is pressing a layer of cookie dough or cookies into the batter before baking for a delicious mashup. Get creative with mix-ins swirled, baked, or topped onto brownies for jazzed-up flavor.
This article originally appeared on Pink When.