Classic Fudgy Brownies, Only 5 Ingredients

Get this easy brownie recipe with cocoa powder and only using 5 ingredients! Make homemade fresh and fudgy brownies in just 30 minutes!

Easy Brownie Recipe with Cocoa Powder- Baker Bettie

I am in a sort of difficult transition at the moment. I have moved enough times to know this would probably happen. The feeling that your new home doesn’t quite feel like home yet and knowing that your old home doesn’t exist anymore.

The feeling will absolutely subside. I have no doubt about that. It just takes getting to know a few people and the area more. But for now, I have to use my husband as my anchor. And he is a good one.

Being back in the kitchen is definitely helping too. This Back To Bake-sics Series is perfect for me right now. I get to create in the kitchen, but I’m creating things I know inside and out.

No room for error and inevitable over-reaction to error due to my emotional state. Just pure and simple creation and perfection. It’s helping me to feel confident in this new unfamiliar place.

Easy Brownie Recipe with Cocoa Powder- Baker Bettie

I had a facebook reader request brownies for one of the installments of this series, and specifically, vegan brownies. Brownies are one of those baked goods that are pretty fool proof and not too fussy.

You can easily make them vegan without a lot of worry about how they will turn out.  The ones I made here, are dairy free but do have eggs in them because I didn’t have my egg replacer on hand. But I know from lots of experience, that egg replacer will absolutely work in these.

Here are the 5 basic ingredients you need to make brownies…

Sugar: Most brownie recipes call for granulated sugar. Part of the reason for this is that you are not going to beat this batter with a mixer and brown sugar is going to be more difficult to break up and evenly distribute with a spoon.

BUT if your brown sugar is very moist and not clumpy you can absolutely use brown sugar or a combination of white and brown sugar. The brown sugar will give the brownies more chew and more depth of flavor which is never a bad thing with brownies!

Liquid Fat: If you’ve made brownies from a box mix, you will notice that it almost always calls for oil. But really you can use any fat in liquid form. Melted butter, melted shortening, vegetable oil, canola oil.

When I am making non-vegan brownies I often use browned butter for a nuttier flavor. Use what you have available! Brownies are different than cookies in that you don’t cream the fat and sugar to aerate them. You want liquid fat so that the two easily mix together to give you a dense result.

Eggs or Another Binder: The eggs add some moisture and richness, do some leavening and also help to bind the batter together when baked. Ener-G egg replacer works well for a vegan substitute and it already has a leavener in it.

If you use applesauce or another vegan replacement such as flax or chia egg, it would probably be good to add a bit of baking soda to the batter. About 1 tsp should do the trick. The recipe won’t fail without it, but it will help tenderize the final product.

Flour: Flour along with the cocoa powder, is the structure for the brownies. All-purpose flour is the preferred flour here. Bread flour will likely produce more of a tough chewy brownie and cake flour will give the brownie a very light texture, more like cake.

Whole wheat flour could be used but will give the brownie a more coarse crumb. A gluten free all-purpose mix would also work well as a substitute. Check out this post for more information about flours and how to substitute them.

Cocoa Powder: Cocoa powder is also part of the structure of the brownie, but obviously is what gives it a chocolate flavor. In most recipes you need to use either Dutch-processed or Natural cocoa powder based on what chemical leavener you are using.

Natural cocoa powder is acidic and is used in recipes calling for baking soda while dutch-processed needs baking powder since it’s acidity has been neutralized. Since eggs are used as the leavener of this brownie recipe it does not matter which kind of cocoa powder is used.

It also doesn’t matter which is used if you are using the vegan substitutes because Natural Cocoa powder can be used with either baking soda or baking powder, just not vice versa, and baking soda is not used with any of the substitutes mentioned. Check out this post for more information on cocoa powders.

It almost seems silly to ever use a box mix when you see how easy it is to make for yourself!

A few other things you might consider adding for flavor: salt, vanilla extract, almond extract, mint extract, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chocolate chips or chopped nuts, a swirl of peanut butter or nutella or speculoos…

Easy Brownie Recipe with Cocoa Powder- Baker Bettie

Other Posts from the Back to Bake-sics Series: 

4 Ingredient No-Knead Bread

5 Ingredient Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 Ingredient Classic Pancakes

Easy Fudgy Brownies

This is an easy brownie recipe that only calls for 5 simple ingredients!

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  • 1 cup sugar (white, brown or a combo of the two)
  • 1/2 cup oil or melted butter
  • 2 eggs or vegan equivalent (Ener-G egg replacer, flax or chia eggs)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • large pinch of salt (optional, but recommended)


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9X9 or 8X8 pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, and eggs until completely combined.
  3. Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt (if using) just until combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be slightly lumpy.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a rubber spatula to smooth out.
  5. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until set.
  6. Let cool before slicing.
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67 comments on “Classic Fudgy Brownies, Only 5 Ingredients”

  1. Ahhhhhh such fudgy yumminess. I really really adore this series of yours girly! And you super duper need to visit me in NYC soon after you're all settled there ;)
  2. These look so incredible! I adore the vegan option you included!
  3. I really want to try your recipe! Loving this series!
  4. They look so dense, dark, rich, fudgy and exactly the way I love my brownies! Funny we posted brownies on the same day (or almost!)
  5. Craving one of these right now! Yum!
  6. Do these not need baking powder or baking soda?
    • This series is about stripping down recipes to the absolute necessary ingredients. An egg will do enough leavening in a brownie recipe and so baking soda or baking powder is not absolutely needed. If you want the brownies to be a little bit fluffier you can add 1/2 tsp of baking soda if you are using natural cocoa powder or 1 tsp baking powder if you are using dutch-processed cocoa powder.
  7. I tried the vegan version of these tonight, although they tasted good, they were floury/gritty (but not from the sugar). They also did not rise ( I see that maybe I should have added a little baking soda) but it seemed like there was not "enough" batter. I will double the recipe next time to see if I can get a bit thicker brownie. My pan was a 8x8 as the recipe suggested but the batter made a thin layer across the bottom of the pan rising about 2 cm and the finished brownie was exactly the same height. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, I am trying to perfect a fudgy vegan brownie for a friend's birthday.
    • I'm so sorry it didn't work out for you Leigh. Can you tell me exactly what you used for your vegan version? What did you use in place of the egg and the butter? If you used Ener-G it already has a leavener in it so it should help it rise, but you could add a little baking soda or powder depending on what kind of cocoa powder you used. But if you used chia or flax egg you should definitely add a leavener. Also, what area do you live in. I'm wondering if elevation or climate has something to do with the grittiness? Also, when measuring the flour and especially the cocoa powder, make sure to fluff it up then very lightly spoon it into the measuring cups before leveling off. It is easy to accidentally pack these two ingredients down too much into the measuring cups.
    • Did you use chia as your egg substitute? I used chia seeds to make this recipe, and it turned out well... but the texture was gritty because of the seeds. Grinding the chia seeds before creating the egg would fix this problem.
  8. How much nuts could I add to the brownie fudge?
  9. Or is that...How many nuts?? About a cup.
  10. haha why thank you Miss Certified TEFL teacher! ;) X Ta!
  11. These brownie are great for someone not eating dairy...nuke undercooked brownies in the microwave with some almond ice cream on the side...delicious! Thank you for this great recipe.
  12. i tried these vegan and gluten free. i used brown sugar, coconut oil, and cocoa powder. then 2 flax "eggs" for the vegan option. and a gluten free mix (including oat flour, potato starch, and xanthan gum). it was a boiling mess after 20 minutes in the oven. this happens frequently when i try gluten free brownie recipes or gluten free brownie mixes with an egg replacer. it seems when using gluten free mixes the egg becomes more important.
    • I'm sorry it didn't work out for you Andrea. I have had that problem with coconut oil before. I will play around with the recipe and see if I can come up with some suggestions for vegan and gluten free versions. However, I do have several other vegan and gluten free brownie recipes you might try that I know do work well! Here: and here:
  13. I will try these soon.. dairy free and soy free means I am very limited with desserts, so I'll make my own!
  14. I made these tonight with 2 chia "eggs" and 1 tsp baking soda, as suggested. The end result was a nice texture (soft and moist, though gritty because I didn't grind the chia seeds up), but it tasted like slightly chocolaty baking soda. Haha. I put some super-sweet frosting on top to mask the bitterness, but I'm curious if anyone else had this problem and might have suggestions for getting a good rise in the brownies without letting the leavening agent take over, flavor-wise?
    • Strange. Question, what kind of cocoa powder did you use? If you used dutch processed cocoa powder it probably wouldn't have enough acidity in it to neutralize the baking soda. Natural cocoa powder would be acidic on the other hand. I hadn't really thought about that until you brought this question up but I bet that is what happened. I suggest either switching to natural cocoa powder or using baking powder with your dutch processed cocoa powder.
  15. What happens when you make the mixture and then find out the oven is broken?
  16. I love this recipe. I used apple sauce to replace eggs. I did find it took longer to bake but it was great. Plus I squashed broken Oreos into the top of the mixture before baking as a special treat for my vegan mums birthday. I've never made brownies before and I think it went well :) cheers!
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  18. I made these gluten free and vegan and they turned out excellent! I did change some things though. I used all purpose gluten free baking flour and added salt and cinnamon. I used about 2/3 tsp of baking soda and raw cacao powder. I used 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar and the flax egg (1 tbs flax + 3 tbs water & let sit for 15 min, there were 2 eggs so times 2). I used double the oil and used coconut oil. I also added almond butter the second batch that I simply made with ground almonds into meal + coconut oil . I swirled it into the batter. Turned out fabulous!!! Super moist & non vegans couldn't believe it!
    • Wow! That is quite the variation. I love it! Thanks for sharing how you made this vegan and gluten free! Great to know!
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  20. Not fudgy at all. Used brown sugar
  21. I followed the same recipe added a bit of cinnamon, vanilla extract, and 2 tsp of baking powder. Also I used bread flour and overall I found this to be quite an awesome recipe. It was soft and cake like and enjoyable to eat. As far as sugar I used brown sugar.
  22. I used coconut oil, buckwheat flour, chia eggs and xylitol-they turned out really yummy!! I will definitely make these again, but I'm going to throw in chocolate chips! Thanks a bunch :)
  23. I made these gluten free and vegan and they turned out excellent! I did change some things though. I used all purpose gluten free baking flour and added salt and cinnamon. I used about 2/3 tsp of baking soda and raw cacao powder.
  24. Oh I love the recipe of your easy but delicious fudgy brownies!
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  26. Just wanted to say thank you for this brilliant recipe because it's so simple yet delicious! It is also what made me much more comfortable in baking because it shows that not everything has to be super complicated to be tasty. I also really appreciate that you made a post on flour and eggs because I have finally figured out what mistakes I have made in my past baking disasters!
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  28. Made these last night and they turned out perfect. (I used eggs... haven't gotten into vegan baking yet.) I did add about 1/4 cup of hot water to make the recipe slightly more similar to the boxed kinds. No baking soda/powder was necessary. My favorite brownie recipe of all times includes butter and brown sugar. But you have to wait for the butter to get soft, and where I live brown sugar is only sold in blocks so I have to grate it to use it in baking. It's a pain in the butt. So your recipe was great for "emergencies"!
    • So glad you enjoyed Maca! Where do you live? I've actually never heard of brown sugar blocks! Learn something new every day! Have you ever tried warming the block to soften it? That is my tactic when my brown sugar gets hard. It might work with the blocks.
  29. I just made these and they are delicious when in a pinch. I always have these ingredients no matter how broke we are because I bake cakes for family so these are good when your craving something sweet and rent is due lol Thank you for the recipe its now bookmarked. I will say that they remind me of a mug cake or browning with texture but the taste is so there and it even makes those delicious crispy edges.
  30. I live on a sailing yacht, and the galley (and particularly the oven) is very small. Still, I make do, and have made some absolutely wonderful dishes - from appetizers to sides to main courses, but today I decided to make a dessert and use my little oven for what it was intended for - baking, not just making toast! Seeing this recipe, and noting its minimalist approach to ingredients (always a plus), I decided to give it a go. I had all of the ingredients on hand, which made it convenient; however, it didn't seem to make enough batter for the size of pan I have (9"x9"). I'll have to increase the measurements next time. Let me tell you - licking out the bowl was heaven, and this boat now smells divine! They didn't rise up as much as I would have thought, so I'll have to try using a different egg replacer next time (I used homemade applesauce and added a little baking soda, perhaps not enough?). They're still cooling, so I can't have one now (whimper), but if they're anything like how they smell? Oh, yeah! And now to brew up a spot of herbal tea. Thank you!
  31. Amazing! I did this recipe yesterday, about to do it again now. It is amazing! I topped with hazelnuts, was delicious. I have been trying many chocolate cake recipes, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, non-vegan, ... but this one is by far the best and the easiest. Even when doing it 100% organic it's still not that expensive. Thank you so much! 
  32. Finally a Proper Brownie recipe. I have tried well over a dozen recipes with copious amounts of chocolate used and I must say that this is the first time I have actually produced a Brownie. I thought the ingredients were too simple to be any good but I was so wrong. Absolutely the Best tasting Brownie I have eaten including ship bought. Much appreciated. Look forward to trying your other recipes. All the best. 
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  35. I have never left a comment on a recipe before but after making these brownies, Wow! These are hands down the best brownies I have ever made. I used half brown half white suger, added a little cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla and like I stated earlier, Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic recipe.
  36. I make these all the time—usually with butter but occasionally with oil for a friend allergic to dairy.  They are always a big hit! I really appreciate how you break it all down so that the brownies can be easily customized. What a great recipe, thank you!

    Rating: 5
  37. The perfect easy, fudgy brownie. I make these often with my kids! 

    Rating: 5
  38. These are in the oven <3 I made them topped with vegan marshmallows aka Dandies. So far they are needing more time to bake cause I ended up adding a little bit of cashew milk! Can't wait to give these bbs a try.

    Rating: 4
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  40. It is really amazing. So fast. Used fantastic cocoa though and egg subs and olive oil and normal flour and muscavado light sugar as the dark can give an overwelming  molasses flavour in choc cakes, for my vegan teenagers. They ate the whole pan! ( yes I oven cooked in a ceramic frying pan and no I could not find any salt which I know would have been great, with pureed mango on top. THANKS

    Rating: 5
  41. oh and I love the way you write. The science is cool and memorable from the mum who still wants to know why.
  42. I made these with oats (ground into oat flour) black beans, coconut oil, and whey isolate vanilla protein powder (in addition to other suggested ingredients) to make a sort of protein+fiber brownie.... I’m constantly trying to get creative with feeding my toddler. It’s turned out wonderfully Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  43. This is a perfect recipe when there’s not much time , but you fancy something lovely and sweet. It was an instant hit with my family and I’ve just made another batch for a friend. Very happy with the results, you just cannot go wrong. Yum! :))

    Rating: 4
  44. How much is a big pinch of salt? Please answere quick
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