5 brownies

 I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Brownie Recipes and the Winner Stole My Heart

I can’t think of a single thing I would change.

In the hierarchy of desserts, brownies belong at the very top. The handheld squares are ridiculously satisfying, offering decadence, chew, and of course, chocolatey goodness. But perhaps the best part is how easy they are to make, requiring little more than a mixing bowl and a whisk. Need a last-minute treat for the potluck? Make brownies. Craving something sweet at midnight? Make brownies!

Of course, having a go-to recipe makes the process that much quicker—which is why I'm here to test and rate the five most popular ones on Allrecipes.com. As a recipe developer, food writer, and avid brownie baker, I was up for the challenge.

What Makes a Perfect Brownie?

Though everyone's definition of a perfect brownie is different, there are a few "musts" when it comes to the classic dessert. The best brownies are made with a simple list of pantry staples, ensuring they can be whipped up at a moment's notice. They should dirty as few dishes as possible, and ideally be mixed up by hand.

Perfect brownies also have intense chocolate flavor, and taste rich but not overly sweet. (My rule of thumb is I should be able to finish a full square, but feel satisfied with just that one.) Texture-wise, I like a fudgy-chewy combo, with crisp edges and a super-soft center. And while I'll never say no to a mix-in or topping, the base of the brownie should ultimately be what shines.

Which Brownie Recipes Did I Test?

I tested five reader favorite brownie recipes from Allrecipes, all of which were easy to make and winners in their own rights. There was one topped with frosting, one studded with walnuts, one made with melted chocolate, one that was extra rich, and one that I ultimately loved the most. Of course, the best recipe for you comes down to your own personal preferences, and I guarantee there's a brownie here for everyone.

A single brownie
Grace Elkus

Most Nostalgic: Best Brownies

Fast Facts: Developed by Angie, has 10,577 reviews with a 4.5-star rating

Thanks to their thick layer of super-sweet frosting, these brownies instantly transported me to my '90s childhood. They simultaneously reminded me of Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies as well as the Betty Crocker brownie mix that came with a pouch of Hershey's frosting.

The brownie itself is made with cocoa powder and butter, both of which contribute to the brownie's cake-like texture and moist crumb. The frosting is incredibly thick (it seems like it won't come together, but keep stirring—or add a splash of milk), and needs to be spread onto the brownies at just the right time. Too soon, and you'll tear the tender brownies; too late, and the brownies won't be warm enough to help loosen the frosting into a spreadable consistency.

Once cooled completely, the combination of the moist brownie and thick, fudge-like topping is truly divine. If you love a frosted brownie or you're craving some nostalgia, this is the recipe for you. Have fun decorating the tops for various occasions, like rainbow sprinkles for birthdays or crushed candy canes at the holidays.

Get the recipe: Best Brownies

A single brownie with walnuts

Cakiest: Quick and Easy Brownies

Fast Facts: Developed by C Nelson, has 2,007 reviews with a 4.4-star rating

These lofty brownies certainly live up to their name. They were ready for the oven before it was even done preheating! To minimize dirty dishes (and make these truly the easiest), go ahead and melt the butter directly in the mixing bowl, then stir in the remaining ingredients.

Due to their high amount of flour, these brownies baked up fluffy, tall, and cake-like, with a light-colored top and a nice crunch from the walnuts. Their chocolate flavor was definitely more subdued, making them perfect for a crowd with varying tastes. If you opt to include the walnuts, I suggest doubling the amount, which will ensure no square gets left out. You could also stir half into the batter and sprinkle the rest on top.

Get the recipe: Quick and Easy Brownies

A single brownie
Grace Elkus

Most Like a Box Mix: MMMMM… Brownies

Fast Facts: Developed by cicada77, has 2,156 reviews with a 4.6-star rating

This Ghirardelli brownie mix is ridiculously good, so it's a compliment when I say these brownies remind me of boxed. They rose beautifully in the oven and formed a shiny, crackled top—aka the picture of brownie perfection. If I was judging on looks alone, these brownies would definitely take home top prize.

This was the only recipe to use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder, which gave them a chewy-cakey texture that I couldn't get enough of. The substantial amount of salt enhanced their chocolatey flavor, but next time, I'll use bittersweet instead of semisweet chocolate. I also recommend using chopped chocolate rather than chips, which will melt more readily and smoothly.

Get the recipe: MMMMM…Brownies

A single brownie
Grace Elkus

Chewiest: Chewiest Brownies

Fun Facts: Developed by Krissyp, has 577 reviews with a 4.1-star rating

I wish I could think of a more creative way to describe these, but honestly, they're just really chewy! The batter came together quickly in just one bowl, but was so thick and sticky I could barely spread it into the pan. The good news? You'll line the pan with parchment paper, so taking them out is infinitely easier. You'll also dust the cooled brownies with a generous amount of powdered sugar, so any lumps or imperfections will quickly be covered up.

These brownies are for you if you like thinner, denser brownies with a super-sweet flavor and of course, a chewy texture. They'd be great cut into extra-small squares and paired with milk or coffee.

Get the recipe: Chewiest Brownies

A single brownie with walnuts
Grace Elkus

My Favorite Brownie Recipe: Mmm-Mmm Better Brownies

Fast Facts: Developed by Sarah, has 1,520 reviews with a 4.5-star rating

Not only do these brownies have a fantastic name, they're also ridiculously delicious. They were the only recipe to call for oil rather than butter, which gave them a chewy, fudgy texture and allowed the chocolate flavor to shine. They also tasted great for several days after they were baked. (I refused to let any go to waste!)

These brownies technically call for a hand mixer to beat in the eggs, but I think they'd turn out just fine if you stirred them in by hand. Otherwise, the recipe is super straightforward: Mix the wet ingredients in one bowl, the dry in another, then combine until well blended. While the walnuts are optional, I enjoyed their contrasting crunch—though I think any mix-in (chocolate chunks! M&Ms!) could be used in their place.

I guarantee you have all the ingredients on hand, so don't wait another minute before mixing up a batch. The recipe's author describes them as "the best brownies in the world," and I think I'd have to agree.

Get the recipe: Mmm-Mmm Better Brownies

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