How to Make Brownie Mix Better

Upgrade your boxed brownie mix with these tasty ideas.

How to Upgrade Boxed Brownie Mix

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Ali Domrongchai

Brownies from boxed brownie mix is what my childhood was built on. Now that I’m a bit older, as much as I still appreciate basic boxed brownies and the nostalgia that comes with them, I want something with a bit more depth and flavor. This convenient treat deserves some extra care and can absolutely be improved upon. With a few simple additions and tricks, you can turn ordinary boxed brownie mix into a decadent treat.

Here are four ways to upgrade boxed brownie mix to make a deliciously simple yet extravagant treat. 

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Boost the chocolate flavor

The first and easiest upgrade you can give to your boxed brownie mix is to add a tablespoon of instant coffee to the batter. Adding coffee to your brownies boosts their flavor because its bitter quality balances out sweetness, making it less overpowering. It allows that delicious chocolate flavor to really shine. 

Add some extras

For an easy boost to your boxed brownie mix, sprinkle in about a half cup of add-ins to give brownie batter a personal touch. Although nuts, chocolate and peanut butter chips, and mini marshmallows are easy wins here, this method invites creativity, and the options are truly limitless. Experiment with pretzels, candy, or even potato chips (trust me, the salty crunch really is so good here) to add an extra boost of flavor and a crunchy texture 

Or, try swirling in half of a cup of strawberry jam or caramel sauce into the batter. To do this, once you have your batter into your pan, add two to three spoonfuls of jam or sauce in separate corners. Then, swirl your spoon all around to mix that delicious flavor into each bite. For a really fun addition that adds a ton of color, stir some strawberries or blueberries into the batter.

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Give it some layers

Adding a layer of cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, caramel, or peanut butter goes a long way towards turning a mix into something special. You can add this layer before or after baking the brownies. If you want to add it before baking, spoon half of the brownie batter into the baking dish, top it with a thin layer of your choice in the middle, then spread the rest of the batter on top and bake as usual. Whatever you’re adding will melt and spread into the brownies, making them extra rich and creamy. 

Layers don’t have to just be reserved for sweetened spreads; you can also create a fun base. Try covering the entire bottom of your baking dish with graham crackers to create a crunchy crust with hints of honey and cinnamon. 

I personally love mixing boxed brownie mix with a package of pre-made cookie dough to make a brookie (brownie cookie). You can do this by lining the bottom of your baking dish with cookie dough and spreading the batter on top. Baking the brookies per the brownie mix instructions. These two delicious treats are great on their own, but when combined makes for a delicious yet low-effort treat.

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Swap the liquids

Most brownie mixes call for water. While water does the job, you can add some extra flavor and moisture by mixing some of that water with something richer, like milk. If you want to swap it out completely, be prepared for a more chewy and fudge-like brownie from the extra fat. Otherwise, as most brownie mixes require anywhere from half cup to a quarter cup of water, add an equal water-to-milk ratio for a boost of extra flavor and rich texture. Alternatively, you could switch out the liquids with coffee instead to really make that chocolatey flavor shine. 

It's already easy to love brownie mix, but with these tips, it's even easier. Next time you make some boxed brownies, consider these ideas to add some extra flavor and love to your baking project. 

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