Even though making homemade brownies can be a simple task, getting them to be decadent and fudgy, like boxed mixes, can be challenging if you don't have the right measurements. Still, even when you turn to the store shelves, you are inundated with half a dozen options. That in and of itself can be tricky. So, we are here to decide once and for all which brand has the best brownie mix in a box.
We chose eight top brands that we could find at grocery stores near us, which included Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joe's, and local grocers. The fudge brownie recipe was the baseline since we love a gooey, chocolatey brownie.
We baked each in identical disposable baking tins and followed the directions to a tee. As it turned out, our oven was a little on the weaker side, so we ended up adding an extra five minutes to pretty much every recipe to get the mix to cook fully. Beyond that, anything that was under or overcooked we can safely base on the instructions, which, when it comes to brownie box mixes, are just as important as the ingredients.
Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownies
Despite being very similar to competitors Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines in terms of ingredients, price, and flavor, the Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge brownies were a disappointment for a simple reason. They didn't cook through. Now, we absolutely tried to take into account our own human error, but even after sticking these into an appropriately heated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for an extra ten minutes past the recommended heating time, the Pillsbury's never turned out quite as done as we would've wanted.
We are in love with a gooey brownie, as you are about to find out, but these wound up being far too formless, especially when we tried to eat them warm. There was a crust on the very tops and around the edges of these brownies, but the center was beyond molten. There was a strong taste of flour in the brownies, too, which may have been due to the undercooked nature.
Taking this aside, on a pure flavor level the Pillsbury brownies weren't even as tasty as its nearest competitors. Regardless, these could have climbed a few spots if they hadn't turned out to be such a mess.
Miss Jones Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
A step above the travesty that was Pillsbury's brownie batter, we have the Miss Jones brand brownie mix in a bag. This 100% whole grain mixture eschews regular flour and sugar and uses whole wheat flour and a smart sugar blend instead. These also come at a higher price point -- at around $7 for a bag, this was nearly the most expensive of the mixes we tried. While 160 calories per brownie might seem tempting, this mix was still not worth it.
Miss Jones Double Chocolate Brownie Mix was promising due to its inclusion of chocolate chips and how rich the batter looked when stirred together. However, once we tasted them, we noticed that these brownies tasted a bit off. The brownies were rich and chocolatey, but there was a graininess to the texture that also added a bitter note to the flavor. Additionally, the top and edges didn't form a nice crust as the best brownies should. Instead, the texture of each Miss Jones brownie was uniform but paste-like. Overall, these didn't leave us wanting more.
365 By Whole Foods Market Chocolate Fudge Brownies
The Whole Foods box mix didn't make these brownies look very exciting, and ultimately, the end result lived up to the promised mediocrity. No other box art needed ice cream to entice buyers; the brownies themselves should be enough.
To their credit, the 365 by Whole Foods Market Chocolate Fudge Brownies were perfectly fine. We would be happy to recommend these, but the price tag of around $3.49 is more than many of the brands that outperformed it on this list.
When these brownies came out, they were nice and fudgy and had a nice crisp exterior as well. It wasn't nearly the most moist or most crusty brownie we've ever had, but that wasn't the big flaw here. What was slightly off with these brownies was the chocolate flavor. It was hard to place why, but these were just not as rich or decadent as the other boxed brownies that we tried. They didn't turn out to be a total mess, and the textures were right on, but for flavor reasons, these brownies rank pretty low overall.
King Arthur Gluten Free Brownie Mix
We have to admit these brownies were a pleasant surprise. While King Arthur Baking lists regular fudge brownies on its website, the most commonly sold variety in stores (it was the only one we found at Target and Whole Foods) is the gluten-free mix. We were predisposed to give low marks due to the lack of gluten, but by using rice flour and tapioca starch, this brownie mix yielded an excellent result that had some of the best chocolate flavors of the bunch.
We picked up the King Arthur Baking Gluten Free Brownie Mix at our local Whole Foods. At almost $9 per box, it was the most we paid for any of these mixes and nearly double what most of them cost. Of all the brownies we tested, the chocolate in the King Arthur ones was the most pudding-like in its flavor, by which we mean there was a milky richness that none of the other mixes possessed.
We really enjoyed this particular style of chocolate flavor, and the texture was really great, making it impossible to tell that the mix was gluten-free. All that being said, for the price, you might want to consider squeezing these into your brownie budget.
Trader Joe's Truffle Brownies
We had quite high expectations for the Trader Joe's Truffle Brownie box. When we say we were let down, we did take into account the many positive experiences we've had with other Trader Joe's mixes.
These were very good boxed mixed brownies and were certainly worth the price tag, but they weren't as balanced as our favorites. Instead, we found these a bit one-note and a tad on the dry side.
Trader Joe's Truffle Brownies have rich, chunky chocolate chips in them, and there are a lot of them. These ended up being the most chocolatey brownies on the list. We love chocolate, but even so, these were admittedly a bit overwhelming. The texture, while having a nearly perfect crust on the top and sides, was a bit drier because of the amount of chocolate chips. These were still moist but not as decadent and fudgy as the three boxed mix brownies that landed on the top half of the list.
Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownies
These surprised us. We went into this ranking, associating Duncan Hines more with cakes than brownies. What we didn't expect was the rare boxed brownie that struck a nice balance between cake-like and gooey. Some personal preferences aside, it's hard to go wrong with these brownies for the price of only $1.89 at Target. That price, by the way, was the least we paid for a box of mix in this entire taste test. And yes, each box made the same amount of product.
The Duncan Hines brownies were not the most gooey of the ones we tried, but they contained the right amount of moisture. Yes, these fell on the slightly more cake-like side of brownies, but that didn't prevent them from being delicious and, importantly, uniformly baked. For being the cheapest box mix you can buy, Duncan Hines brownies tick all the boxes, including the most important one -- a balanced chocolate flavor.
Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies
At Target, we paid $2.59 for a box of Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie mix. Before we performed this taste test, Betty Crocker was our go-to brand whenever it was brownie night. Even when dethroned, these still give us a feeling of nostalgia that is hard to think rationally about. We just love these brownies, and for what they are, they are a solid choice.
The Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies turned out just like we remembered them, with the lightest layer of crust covering up gooey heaven. The insides were melty but not undercooked. If we had to knock these brownies for something, it's that they aren't the most chocolatey of the mixes we tried. But when it came to that dessert balance of sweetness, saltiness, and cocoa, we found that Betty Crocker had remained number one in our hearts for so many years for a reason. However, the top mix on this list produced brownies that were even more impressive and delicious.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Supreme Brownies
Ghirardelli's brownie mix knocks it out of the park in every possible category. In addition to having the perfect brownie texture, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Supreme Brownies bring the best chocolate flavor of the bunch and, in doing so, achieve brownie nirvana.
It will cost you a tiny premium. At around $4.39 for one box at Target, it's more than worth it to go with the premium brand over the cheapest prices on the shelves. For starters, we have to say these brownies were as close to the image on the box as it comes, and that has to count for something.
It helps that the brownies pictured looked amazing and tasted just as delicious. Especially fresh out of the oven, these brownies were perfectly crisp on the edges with a soft center that wasn't undercooked. Of course, the chocolate flavor in these brownies was mind-blowing. Ghirardelli is known for the quality of its chocolate, and this shines through in the brownies. When it comes to fudge brownies, this brand is head and shoulders the best you can get in a box.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.