The Best Brownie Mix: We Tested 7 Boxed Brands

Brownie Mix Taste Test

Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

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Brownie Mix Taste Test
Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

The Baked Goods — and Bads

From potlucks to bake sales and every occasion in between, brownies are a crowd pleaser. Sure, we've got a favorite from-scratch recipe, but sometimes you just can't beat grocery store boxed mixes for convenience. They're a real time saver, especially if you happen to get those cravings where you just need a chocolate baked good RIGHT NOW (no judgment here!). 

So in an effort to find the best boxed brownie mix, we tried seven popular brands, prepared them according to the package directions (usually oil and a cup of water), baked them in the same pan each time, and tasted the results. Here are the fudgy brownie mixes you should absolutely put in your shopping cart, along with the ones you shouldn't waste your money on. 

This article was updated in November 2023.

RelatedWalmart's Chocolate Chip Cookies Beat Top Brands in Taste Test

Ghirardelli Brownie Mix
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1. Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix

Look at that beautiful brownie! It's got the thinnest, most delicate tissue paper-like crackled top of all the brownies we tried. And not only is it a looker, but it's got a deep, rich Ghirardelli dark chocolate and cocoa powder flavor — just what you'd expect from a chocolate company. 

The texture is fudgy, but not dense, and a little chewy around the edges. This is one of only two mixes that includes chocolate chips, and it's a fantastic addition that lends nice chocolate flavor, plus some texture contrast when they're cool. The only ding for Ghirardelli: They're very sweet, which dampens some of the chocolate flavor. 

Curious about other Ghirardelli products? See how its hot cocoa mix fared in our taste test.

Pillsbury Brownie Mix
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2. Pillsbury Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix

These are the platonic ideal of boxed brownies from your childhood, which is why I found myself going back to snack on these days after making them. A lot of people like the Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge brownie mix, but I prefer this one. They were fluffier and lighter than Ghirardelli's, but still rich and fudge-like with a super shiny top. 

You won't get a chocolate overload from them, but you'll be plenty satisfied. Almost a week after baking them, they were still soft and moist thanks to the two-thirds cup of oil you need to add to the mix, the most oil or butter in any of these mixes. If you want the brownies you remember as a kid, or want to make them a couple days ahead, Pillsbury is your mix.

Related: The Definitive Ranking of Girl Scout Cookies in 2023

Trader Joe's Brownie Mix
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3. Trader Joe's Brownie Truffle Baking Mix

This Trader Joe's mix was infuriating because it could have easily won the taste test if the brownies baked up looking better. 

It had the richest dark chocolate flavor thanks to really good chocolate chips and the addition of melted butter, not oil. It was the closest to homemade brownies in flavor, but it was dense and had zero crackled top — unacceptable. If you don't care at all what your brownies look like, or if you plan on adding stuff on top like frosting that would cover up their shame, then grab these. 

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Duncan Hines Brownie Mix
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4. Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge

Have you ever had a brownie that kind of balls up when you chew it like bubble gum? That might have been Duncan Hines. 

They're not offensive in any way, they're just pretty blah. They look pretty, they're not as sweet as the Ghirardelli mix, but they also don't live up to their "Dark Chocolate Fudge" moniker. Maybe the Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie mix would be better.

Dolly Parton Brownie Mix
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5. Dolly Parton's Fabulously Fudgy Brownie Mix

It pains me that Dolly isn't higher in the list, but this brownie mix was a disaster. I had high hopes because the box calls for melted butter instead of oil and it included a packet of liquid fudge to mix in, but the batter was inexplicably lumpy. Not like cornbread or pancake mix lumpy, but 'this absolutely should have been sifted first' lumpy. 

I had no choice but to beat the batter much more than I should have in order to break up the pea-sized lumps, but eventually gave up. It tasted OK, but the texture was tough and chewy thanks to all that extra mixing — and there were still little white lumps in the finished product. Dolly, please, tell your people at Duncan Hines to sift this stuff.

Jiffy Brownie Mix
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6. Jiffy Fudge Brownie Mix

Yes, somehow good old Jiffy was even worse than Dolly's lumps. The brownie looked absolutely sickly, and after a few hours of cooling it turned into more of a cookie than a brownie. It was dry and tough, though it didn't taste nearly as bad as it looked, thankfully. 

Because of its tiny box, it makes a tiny batch that you bake in a loaf pan, so I guess it'd be all right if you're only cooking for one? I'll stick to Jiffy's cornbread mix, thank you very much.

Betty Crocker Brownie Mix
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7. Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix

The dry mix for these smelled like Swiss Miss hot cocoa, but the brownies tasted like someone had added a can of fruit cocktail or a melted fruit roll-up to the mix. They had an unmistakably fruity and off-putting aftertaste. I don't know how Betty Crocker managed to do it, but she made the most confusing brownies that no one wanted to eat. Maybe I should have gotten the Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate Brownie mix instead.