Love fudgy brownies and you don’t happen to have any unsweetened chocolate on hand? Don’t worry, because you can make cocoa powder brownies instead!

I’ll give you some basic rules to follow when your goal is fudgy and not cakey brownies, too.

For easy browsing, you can find all my cookies and bars here. Thanks for stopping by!

More chocolate treats to explore: strawberry swirl brownies, chocolate mousse, and Mom’s chocolate pound cake.

Dark chocolate, fudgy brownies on a butcher block surface in a white kitchen with the metal baking pan and 2 canisters of cocoa powder behind them.

Watch my best fudgy brownies web story here.

Second time making these…Today I am using the pan that Jenni recommended. They are amazing!…A home run!

Reader Gail

Fudgy Brownies, At a Glance

✔️Skill Level: Beginner
✔️Skills: Whipping, Mixing, Folding
✔️Type: Brownies/Bar Cookies
✔️Number of Ingredients: 8
✔️Prep Time: 15 minutes
✔️Cook Time: 40 minutes
✔️Yield: 20 brownies

Jump Straight to the Recipe

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How Chocolatey Is Your Chocolate?

When I want brownies but don’t have any bar chocolate, I turn to cocoa powder.

And that’s what you should do, too.

Why not substitute semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate or unsweetened? I’ll tell you.

The more sugar in chocolate, the less chocolaty the chocolate is. That leads to boring brownies.

For those of you who scratch your head and say, “Come again?” think of it this way.

Each ounce of a chocolate bar is made up of a certain proportion of ingredients.

The more of one ingredient you squeeze into each ounce, the less of another.

In this instance, sugar squeezes out chocolate liquor. And that’s not good for anyone.

For maximum chocolate goodness, choose the concentrated chocolate flavor of cocoa powder.

Cocoa Powder Brownies

Rather than do Math and Leave out Sugar and such, I decided to take the path of least resistance and go with cocoa powder brownies.

Cocoa powder, like unsweetened chocolate, doesn’t contain any sugar, so it’s mostly pure chocolate liquor that has been pressed and then ground up into powder. And that means super chocolaty brownies.

And for these cocoa powder brownies, I turned to my dear-but-as-yet-unmet friend Alton Brown.

You can find his original recipe here, but I tweaked and messed with it to make them How I Wanted.

Because I wanted to make sure what I ended up with was fudgy brownies.

If fudgy brownies are your kinda brownie and you decide to make these, I have a favor to ask:

When you do make this recipe, it will help me and other readers if you:
✅Rate the recipes using the stars in the recipe card⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Thank you!😘

How to Make Your Brownies Fudgy

A closeup of a brownie with a bite taken from it. The brownie is very dark brown and fudgy.

Alton’s recipe calls for regular cocoa powder, and I wanted to use Dutch process. Why? Because I didn’t want to have to deal with balancing the pH by using baking soda.

I also wanted these guys to be rich, moist, and dark. And you can’t get that using regular cocoa powder.

Acidic batters, which is what you end up with when using regular cocoa powder, set up more firmly. And that would have given me Cakey Brownies. Or at least less fudgy brownies.

If I wanted that, I’d have just made Cake. So, that’s why I went with Dutch Process Cocoa.

You can also use a mixture of half Dutch process and half “regular” cocoa powder. I’ve made them both ways, and they’re fudgy and delicious both ways.


Here’s what you’ll need to make my (now) favorite cocoa powder brownies. Feel free to tweak the amounts to make them your own!

Collage of ingredients needed to make fudgy brownies.
  • eggs: in this case, eggs function as leavener since you’re whipping a bunch of air into them. This will give the brownies a little lift in the oven. They also provide structure, emulsifiers, and fat to carry flavor and for richness
  • espresso powder: just enough to underscore the chocolatiness. If you increase the espresso powder (or instant coffee) enough, you’ll have mocha brownies, which is never a bad thing.
  • brown sugar: this provides the sweetness and lends to the tender, gooeyness of these cocoa powder brownies. You may also substitute a cup each of granulated sugar and packed brown sugar for the 2 cups of brown sugar called for
  • molasses: adds to the richness and bittersweetness of these brownies. Feel free to substitute honey or maple syrup for the molasses in the recipe
  • kosher salt: counteracts any bitterness from the cocoa and molasses and brings all the flavors into focus. You can substitute with fine salt, but reduce the amount by about 1/3.
  • Dutch process cocoa powder: provides the deep, chocolatey flavor we want in a good brownie. You may also use American cocoa powder or a mixture of the two
  • melted butter: Often in making cakes, we cream the butter and sugar together (See: the creaming method). This provides some leavening. With melted butter, we won’t get any leavening. What we will get is lots of delicious fat to carry deep chocolate flavor. Creaming leads to cakey brownies, so using melted butter keeps things nice and gooey-fudgy, which is what we want
  • vanilla extract: rounds out the chocolate flavor
  • cake flour: provides a little bulk and adds to the structure while not being so much that your brownies lose their gooey lusciousness


These brownies aren’t hard to make, but the procedure might be a little different than what you’re used to.

Read through the steps so you know what to expect:

  1. Whip the eggs, espresso powder/instant coffee, brown sugar, molasses, salt, and vanilla together until very light, thick, and fluffy. Like billowy. The mixture will at least double in volume and should reach the ribbon stage.
  2. While that mixture is whipping, melt the butter in the microwave and whisk the cocoa powder in until it is smooth.
  3. Scrape in the melted butter mixture and whip for an additional couple of minutes, scraping the bowl as necessary.
  4. With a large spatula, thoroughly fold in the sifted flour by hand.
  5. Spread into your prepared pan and bake at 325F for about 40 minutes until nicely set.

Here are some collages so you can get an idea of the procedure and the texture of the brownies.

A collage of 4 images: 1)Eggs, brown sugar, salt, honey, and vanilla in a metal mixing bowl. 2)A light and fluffy mixture being whipped on a stand mixer. 3)A glass bowl of melted butter whisked together with cocoa powder. 4)The cocoa powder mixture whipping into the fluffy egg mixer on the stand mixer.

In the collage above, notice how light the egg and brown sugar get with constant whipping on the stand mixer. Whisking all that air into the eggs helps to lighten the brownies a little bit so they aren’t super dense and have a bit of crumb to them.

And here’s a collage of the last few steps of making and panning up the batter.

A collage of 5 images and a block of text. 1)Flour in a fine mesh strainer over a metal mixing bowl of brownie batter. 2)Folding the flour into the batter with a spatula. 3)The batter completely folded together. 4)The batter scraped into a square metal pan lined with unbleached parchment paper. 5)The batter spread evenly in the pan on a rack in the oven. 6)A block of text reading, "Sift flour over batter, fold together gently but thoroughly, scrape into the pan, then spread it out with an offest spatula."

Equipment Recommendations

Because there is a lot of whipping, I recommend you use a stand mixer or a hand mixer to make these brownies.

Don’t not make them if you don’t have either–use a whisk and some elbow grease, and you will be enjoying fudgy brownies before you know it!

This is my favorite brownie pan. It measures 9″ x 9″ square.

USA Pan Bakeware Square Cake Pan, 9 inch

Perfect for brownies. I prefer a 9" x 9" pan over an 8" square pan, generallly speaking. 81 square inches of brownie goodness!

Purchase Now
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03/06/2024 05:32 pm GMT

Tips for Maximum Fudginess

In a nutshell:

  • Use lots of butter and eggs for richness
  • Don’t use any leavening like baking powder or soda
  • Use unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder–Dutch process
  • Use a relatively small amount of flour.
  • Deepen the flavor and chew with some liquid sugar. Anything from neutral corn syrup, to honey, maple syrup, or deep molasses
  • Underscore the chocolate flavor with a hint of espresso.

Fudgy Brownie Q & A

Can I bake in a different-sized pan?

You can use an 8-inch square pan, and your brownies will be a bit thicker. You could also bake in a 7 x 11 pan. I would not recommend baking in a 9 x 13 pan unless you increase the recipe by 1.5, otherwise your brownies will be very thin.

How should I store them?

Since they’re so gooey, it’s best to keep them in the fridge, covered. They’ll be fine for about a week. Allow cut brownies to come to room temperature, or you can microwave them for a few seconds for maximum gooeyness.

Can I freeze brownies?

Yes, brownies freeze really well. Wrap them well and keep them for up to a month or so in the freezer. Put them in the fridge overnight to thaw before serving. And again, allow them to come to room temperature or microwave for a few seconds before serving.


If you have any questions about this post or recipe, I am happy to help.

Simply leave a comment here and I will get back to you soon. I also invite you to ask question in my Facebook group, Fearless Kitchen Fun.

If your question is more pressing, please feel free to email me. I should be back in touch ASAP, as long as I’m not asleep.

A Note About Measurements

My recipes are almost all written by weight, including liquids, unless otherwise specified.

For accuracy and consistency of results, I encourage you to buy–and use–a kitchen scale.

I promise that baking and cleanup will be so much quicker and easier.

This is the scale that I recommend for home use. I have owned and used one for years.

Best for Home Use
Escali Primo Digital Food Scale

Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.

Purchase Now How & Why to Use a Kitchen Scale
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03/07/2024 05:03 pm GMT

Love These Brownies? Please Rate and Review. Thanks!

5 golden stars for rating recipes
Squares of delicious, homemade fudgy brownies stacked a white rustic wooden table background. Image shot from top view overhead.

Fudgy Brownies

Jennifer Field
If you love a deep, dark chocolate brownie, a grown-up brownie, these fudgy brownies with hints of coffee and molasses will be your new favorites. Enjoy!
5 from 5 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Cookies and Bars
Cuisine American
Servings 20 servings
Calories 203 kcal


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons espresso powder or powdered instant coffee
  • 14 oz brown sugar 397 grams or 2 cups, packed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt 2.5 grams I use Morton's. If you're not weighing your salt and you use Diamond Crystal, use a scant teaspoon.
  • 1 oz molasses, honey or maple syrup 28 grams or 2 Tablespoons
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract 14 grams
  • 5 oz Dutch-process cocoa powder 142 grams or 1 1/4 cups, sifted
  • 8 oz unsalted butter, melted 227 grams, 16 Tablespoons, or 2 sticks
  • 2 ounces cake flour 57 grams, sifted (about 1/2 cup, sifted)


  • Preheat the oven to 325F.  Thoroughly spray an 8" or 9" square pan with pan spray.  Cut a square of parchment to fit in the bottom of the pan, and then spray again.
  • In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the four eggs, espresso powder, brown sugar, salt, molasses, and vanilla together until very light and fluffy and at the Ribbon Stage.  I did this on medium-high speed for about 6 minutes.
  • In the meantime, melt the 2 sticks of butter and whisk together with the cocoa powder.
  • Once the egg/sugar mixture is nice and light, scrape in the butter and cocoa powder mixture and whip together until smooth and uniform in color. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
  • Thoroughly fold in the sifted cake flour by hand.
  • Scrape/pour the batter into the prepared pan. 
  • Smooth the top and bake on the center rack until set and beautiful, about 40 minutes to an hour.
  • Let cool on a rack for a few minutes, then lift out using the parchment and allow them to cool completely.

Did You Make Any Changes?


Nutritional information is based on cutting the brownies into 20 bars.


Serving: 1gCalories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 26.7gProtein: 3gFat: 11.2gSaturated Fat: 6.7gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 145mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 20.3g
Keyword brownie recipe, cocoa powder brownies, fudgy brownies
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

These cocoa powder brownies are amazing, rich, and fudgy.

Completely dark, completely moist, completely chocolate-y, bitter edge of burnt sugar. My Idea of Brownie Perfection. Enjoy!

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  1. 5 stars
    I brought these to a family party because they’d requested “anything chocolate”. Everyone absolutely LOVED these! They were just devoured. I’m definitely going to be making them again.

  2. 5 stars
    Second time making these. First try: all I had was a 9’1/2″ square BLACK METAL pan. I went online and read about black pans; they suggested lowering heat by 25-degrees and cooking for shorter time. I did that and the middle was clearly not done. Raised heat back up to 325 and left it in a tad too long. They were still very good but overbaked. Today I am using the pan that Jenni recommended. They are amazing! Good not to have to waste very expensive ingredients (especially these days with rampant, horrible inflation – chocolate is way up in price, as are eggs and butter. A home run!

    1. Aw, I’m sorry about the black pan–they are great for when you need a crust to get done, like with a quiche, but not so much for a gooey brownie. I’m glad you tried them again and that you love them, Gail!

  3. I made the Alton Brownie recipe.  They were really fudgy and moist.  I dusted them with powdered sugar.  They were too densely chocolate for my kids.  What effect do your substitutions have?  The all brown sugar plus molasses, and cake flour instead of all purpose flour?

    1.  I have to tell you that, since I don’t have kids, I make things that appeal, generally speaking, to adult palates. The dense-chocolatiness of the AB Brownies is what I like, and I played that up with my substitutions.  The molasses/brown sugar deepen the flavor and heighten the chew while the espresso powder underscores the chocolate flavor and, along w/the hit of molasses, adds just a hit of bitterness. Definitely not kid brownies. But great for adults–so make some and then don’t share them! 😉

  4. I will have to try these after I log in my 50K words on my novel. No chocolate por moi until I FINISH the job. *sigh* Perhaps I can make a batch of these as my reward for completing my writing commitment.

    1. Oh, Groovy! Best of luck with NaNoWriMo!! A couple of friends (and their kids) participated last year. 2011 is my year; I can feel it! The brownies will be there for you when you’re finished with the novel!

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