We Tested 5 Popular Brands and Found the Best Brownie Mix

When you don't have the time for homemade, a gooey, fudgy brownie from the box does the trick. We tried five different brands looking for the best brownie mix. Do you agree with our favorites?

Line-up of different brands of brownie mixPhoto: Taste of Home

When it comes to brownies, nothing beats a fudgy brownie right from the oven and dusted with a little powdered sugar. But like all things good, making an exquisitely chocolatey brownie like that (or one of our top ten recipes) takes a little extra time. When you’re in a rush and craving an easy treat – or needing one for an office party, scout meeting or visiting friends – there’s nothing wrong with reaching for a good box mix.

But that’s where I get tripped up. Which is the best brownie mix for these last-minute occasions? Should you choose a classic brand like Betty Crocker or reach for a fancier name like Ghirardelli? And on top of that, there are so many varieties: fudge, double fudge or triple fudge? (The more fudge the better, right?)

With lots to choose from at the store, I wanted to put five fudge brownie mixes to the test to find out which was worthy of snacking on or incorporating into a tasty recipe, like this brownie trifle. To get to the bottom of this chocolate conundrum, a dedicated group of taste testers sampled five brownies blindly and ranked them.

For this tasty test, we tried Baker’s Corner Fudge Brownies (that’s an Aldi brand), Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies, Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownies, Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie and Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownies.

After careful consideration we chose our top three. Here’s what you should know:

3. Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies

Betty Crocker brand brownies in a pan beside its packagingPhoto: Taste of Home

“These would be great with some ice cream on top.”

Score: 4.6/10

This brownie mix from Betty Crocker produced a small pan (the package only makes an 8×8″ pan option), of dense and chewy brownies with a good milk chocolate taste. When it comes to brownies, a handful of testers chatted about how the prefer chewy, fudgy brownies to more cake-like options. After all, that bit of chewiness helps distinguish a good brownie from an unfrosted cake!

The edges of these brownies were exceptionally crisp and chewy which made them a favorite of our edge- and corner-lovers. While tasty in their own right, they were just a touch dry (we’d recommend baking them for the shortest recommended time on the box). That’s nothing a good scoop of ice cream and some hot fudge can’t fix, though! And if you’re looking to make your own hot fudge, we’ve got you covered!

2. Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownies

Duncan Hines brownies in a pan beside its packagingPhoto: Taste of Home

“These are so fluffy but still really fudgy.”

Score: 6.4/10

Remember how I said our testing crew was full of fans of dense, chewy treats? Well, it looks like this pan of Duncan Hines brownies might have just converted them. So many of our testers’ ballots made notes of this brand’s amazing cakey texture. In fact, the word “fluffy” was used five different times to describe these brownies.

But just because these brownies got points for cakiness, doesn’t mean they lacked in the fudgey chocolate factor. These brownies managed to have a lot of rise and a dense, fudge-like texture once you bit into them. We suspect that if this box was baked in a 13×9 pan (instead of our trial 8×8), they wouldn’t seem so cakey, but would retain that same fudgy quality.

One note for fans of chewy corners and edges: This brownie mix didn’t produce any notable crispy edges like the box of Betty Crocker Brownies did. Psst! If you’re looking for all edge pieces, give this product a try!

1. Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Pillsbury brand brownies in a pan beside its packagingPhoto: Taste of Home

“OMG, these are super chocolatey!”

Score: 7/10

Coming in above the rest was pantry staple, Pillsbury. These brownies gained major—ahem—brownie points for combining the best of both worlds: chewy edges and a fudgy center. Oh, and how could I forget: They had the best chocolate taste by far – rich and dark without a hint of bitterness or artificial flavors.

You might think you can’t please them all, but this boxed brownie mix managed to appeal to our chewy brownie fans, cake-like brownie crowd and our crispy edge folks. It was the best of all brownie worlds.

Plates of brownies beside papers and pens as the taste testers dig inPhoto: Taste of Home

The Takeaways

The great dense and fudgy vs. chewy debate

When it comes to brownies, some people prefer cake-like recipes and others like their bars to be almost like fudge (and if you like straight-up fudge, check out our top 10 recipes!). For those looking for light and cakey brownies, Duncan Hines is likely the mix for you, while Pillsbury or Betty Crocker’s mixes are better for fudge fans.

There are plenty of brownie mixes in the sea… err, aisle

Wondering about the other brands? They didn’t rank as highly as these three favorites (though I’d argue that there’s no such thing as a bad brownie). With brands offering so many options in their product line, there could be some other favorites out there that we didn’t get to explore this time around.

As always, nothing beats homemade

We know that nothing beats homemade, but you can’t deny the convenience of a good mix. I recommend the best of both worlds: creating your own homemade mixes to have on hand. We’ve got plenty of recipes!

Craving more chocolate? Check out these decadent desserts.
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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.