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An up close photo of cut brownies on a board.

Best-Ever Fudgy (Shiny-Topped!) Homemade Brownies

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5 from 81 reviews


Source: Fine Cooking

UPDATES: 1/23/2024: In an effort to achieve that shiny, crackly crust every time, I’ve made a few changes to the recipe, mostly to the method, which is reflected in the instructions below. I also now use 3 eggs as opposed to 4, 1 tablespoon vanilla as opposed to 1/2 teaspoon, and 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt as opposed to 1/2 teaspoon table salt. 


  1. A digital scale is best for measuring flour and cocoa powder. This one is reasonably priced. Buy it! Baking by weight will change you forever. There’s no better time than right now. 
  2. Cocoa Powder: For years I used Hershey’s natural cocoa powder. Recently, however, I switched to Droste Dutch Processed Cocoa, mostly because one of you told me there are concerning levels of lead in Hershey’s cocoa powder. But now I’ve learned that Droste has even higher levels of lead than Hershey’s. All of this said, if you do the math, each brownie likely contains roughly 4 grams of cocoa powder. Still not ideal, and I will report back if I find a cocoa powder that works well and has lower levels of lead. Stay tuned! In the meantime, here are some recommendations from readers:
  3. The pan. For optimal results, Stella Parks recommends using an anodized aluminum pan, explaining that in an aluminum pan, “a well-whipped brownie batter will bake just fast enough, puffing beautifully along the way. The brownies will then settle as they cool, a transformation that creates their crinkly, flaky tops and fudgy middles.” She also recommends lining the pan with foil. One of you readers has also had success using this USA 8-inch metal pan


  • 72 g (¾ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder, see notes above
  • 84 g (2/3 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt or 1/2 teaspoon Morton kosher salt)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 227 g (1 cup or 2 sticks) salted or unsalted butter; plus more for the pan (I use Cabot salted)
  • 432 g (a heaping 2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Line a 9-inch square baking pan, preferably aluminum or metal, with aluminum foil (see notes above).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. In another large bowl, beat the eggs very well until foamy and thick — about 1 minute of vigorous whisking. 
  4. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat — it should be hot and bubbling lightly. Add the sugar and whisk until well very combined — I like to use my flat-bottomed whisk here. The mixture should be nearly emulsified and should look like wet sand.
  5. Pour the melted butter-sugar mix into the eggs and whisk constantly until very well combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to extract any lingering sugar/butter. Add the vanilla to the egg-sugar mix, and whisk to incorporate.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk until smooth. 
  7. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 37-40 minutes. Insert a toothpick straight into the center. If it comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs, the brownies are done.
  8. Let cool completely in pan on rack (at least 30 minutes) before cutting. Brownies can be made two to three days in advance.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American