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Chewy Brownies

January 10, 2022

I'm a self-taught baker, recipe developer, photographer and writer in Brooklyn, New York. 

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3 stacks of thin chocolate brownies leaning on one another on a white surface

A fundamental misunderstanding lies at the heart of one of baking’s most heated discourses. What is the difference between fudgy, chewy, and cakey brownies — and which type is best? If you were to ask an audience of people to describe each variety, they’d come up with wildly different answers. When bloggers tag their brownie recipes as “fudgy,” the brownies are usually just underbaked, soft, and a little molten. (WHICH IS FINE! They’re probably delicious!)

We need to find a new name for this type of brownie, if you ask me. The problem is, they don’t really look or taste like actual fudge, which is dense and creamy. There are some more old-school recipes — like the ones you would get at a church potluck, like the ones on the back of baker’s chocolate bars — that end up fitting this description. But I usually find *actual* fudge brownies too bitter, too rich, or too cloying. Just eat fudge!

thin chewy brownies with a shiny, crackly top surrounded by other brownies

Then there’s “cakey” brownies, which, let’s be honest, are just a worse version of chocolate cake! I don’t think this warrants further discussion.

How to make chewy brownies

The chewy brownie, which is my ideal brownie, actually lives up to its name. For this recipe, I set out to create brownies that were fully baked, but not puffy and light, buttery but not greasy. They actually have the texture of a thick, chewy cookie, but with that shattering, thin, crisp top layer you expect from a brownie. That being said, for brownies, they are thinner than most and sport a crackly top, so if you have aesthetic objections to that … I don’t know what to tell you.

After 13 recipe tests and hundreds of brownies, I’ve learned a lot about the more-complicated-than-you-think science of this dessert. For example, so many recipes online say to cook your sugar in the melted butter to dissolve the sugar will produce a shiny crust on top. This technique never worked for me, and it’s probably because sugar doesn’t dissolve in fat, it dissolves in water. That’s why whisking the sugar in with the eggs produced better results. Some recipes call for just cocoa powder or just melted chocolate, or just butter and no oil. Mine calls for all 4 of these ingredients because each brings a unique quality, texture or flavor to the table.

a tray of thin chewy brownies, cut into squares, placed on a white piece of parchment

Here are 5 tips that will help you to brownie brilliance with this recipe!

  1. Use Dutch-process cocoa. I like this brand, but Valrhona, Guittard and Ghirardelli all have versions of it. There are scientific reasons for this, but all you need to know is this type of cocoa tastes richer and more chocolatey. I am begging you, do not use natural cocoa powder, which will produce dry, cakey, flavorless brownies.
  2. Ensure the butter doesn’t get too hot. It just needs to get warm enough to melt and melt the chocolate. Don’t add it to the egg mixture if it is still hot to the touch or it could cook the eggs and you would have scrambled egg brownies.
  3. If you don’t have kosher salt, use ½ teaspooon of table salt or sea salt instead.
  4. Measure your flour correctly. I can’t say it enough! Using the spoon and sweep method, where you gently spoon flour into the measuring cup and sweep off the excess with a straight edge, will help make sure your brownies don’t come out cakey.
  5. Want nice, clean edges on your brownies? Taking the time to let the brownies cool off and set may not be easy, but if you want to make an easy job of cutting them into even pieces, it is what you must do. Chilling them in the refrigerator can also help.

Did you make these chewy brownies? Tag me on Instagram and TikTok @easygayoven! I would love to see what you make.

a thin chewy brownie with a shiny, crackly top surrounded by other brownies

Chewy Brownies

Print Recipe
These chewy brownies are thin with a shiny, crackly, ripply top. They definitely aren't cake-y, but they're not fall-apart-fudgy, either.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword brownie recipe, brownies, chewy brownies, chocolate brownies, easy brownie recipe
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 20 brownies


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter 169 grams
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar 270 grams
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 140 grams
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 60 ml
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder do not use natural (52 grams)
  • 1/2 cup flour + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 83 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the racks in the top and lower thirds. Grease a 9”x13” baking tin with butter, line it with parchment so that there’s a bit of overhang on the sides, and then grease the parchment as well.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the baking powder and flour. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Turn off the heat and stir in chopped chocolate until combined. Mix in the vanilla and set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugars, oil and salt. Pour the butter and chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously until it is smooth.
  • Whisk in the cocoa powder just until there are no lumps.
  • Fold in the flour and baking powder and give the batter a few more stirs after it all comes together. (This helps make the brownies chewy.)
  • Pour the batter into the prepared 9”x13” tin, spread evenly (an offset spatula helps), and bake for 40 minutes on the lower rack.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin on a wire rack. Once cooled, use the parchment to lift the brownies out. Cut brownies and serve.

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  1. Taylor says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made more brownie recipes than I can count, and had yet to find one that I actually like better than a box from the store. I randomly found one of your videos on tiktok and then found your brownies as well, so thought it wouldn’t hurt to try. Can confirm they are chewy as advertised, beautiful crackly top, overall exactly what I was hoping for. Every other recipe I’ve made in the past has been blown out of the water. These were great and I definitely will be making again!!

  2. Max Lazary says:

    5 stars
    Delicious. They were chewy, chocolatey, and thin just as advertised. They also used ingredients I already had on hand which is always a plus. I’m sure I’ll make these again.

  3. Whitney says:

    5 stars
    Perfect brownie recipe!!! I’ve tried to use different ones in the past but have maintained that they’re never as good as a box mix (something about that powder makes a good brownie) these were fudgy and PERFECt. Easy to follow recipe too

  4. Lisa Schweitzer says:

    Can you make these in a 9″x9″ baking pan?

    • Eric King says:

      You could, you would just need to increase the baking time (I would say start with maybe 5 minutes more and go from there) and they won’t be *as* chewy.

  5. Allie says:

    5 stars
    My boyfriend said these were the best brownies I’ve ever made. We both agreed these are better than boxed mix. Thank you for this recipe!

  6. MB says:

    5 stars
    Faith in humanity restored. This is exactly how the universe intended brownies to be. Thin and chewy with a shiny top. Not the 4” tall underbaked gooey batter fest modern brownies have morphed into. Don’t even get me started on the heathens who add chocolate chips to brownies.

    Side note. The first edict I’m issuing after I take the throne will be that all brownie pans in the kingdom shall be of the “all edge” variety. The center edgeless brownies shall be considered unfit and fed to the hogs.

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