Use my simple baking tricks, plus this easy pourable homemade chocolate icing recipe, to make any boxed brownies taste homemade. These moist, fudgy brownies are an easy dessert that no one will believe came from a mix!
My homemade brownies are pretty hard to beat. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: they’re not homemade. They just taste that way, thanks in part to a super-simple 5-ingredient homemade chocolate icing that’s ready in less than 10 minutes.
Moist chocolate brownies, made from a mix, with a decadent chocolate fudge icing that will have people thinking you made them from scratch.
I think every cook should have a few go-to recipes — things that are tested and true. And perhaps, most importantly, easy on you to prepare. Who wants to spend hours in the kitchen cooking from scratch, when a simple recipe will do?
I have certainly made brownies from scratch, and they were very good. But I’m not sure they were worth the time, effort or the cost of the ingredients. Most of those have been one-and-done recipes, made once and never again.
I’m just not inclined to bake from scratch way on a regular basis. But I can open a brownie mix and spend a few extra minutes to make a homemade chocolate icing to go with them. I’m betting that’s how a lot of you feel, as well.
You can scroll to the end of this post for the full chocolate fudge icing recipe and ingredient list. But you may want to keep reading for more tips on what I do to make brownies from a box taste homemade.
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To Make Chocolate Iced Brownies, You Will Need:
- Brownie Mix – These tips work with any brand of boxed brownies, but my favorites to use are Ghiardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix and Ghiardelli Triple Fudge Brownie Mix. These brownies are super moist and fudgy.
- Square Baking Dish – I use an 8X8 clear glass Pyrex dish to make brownies. You’ll get 9 good-sized, thick brownies using a pan this size.
- Rubber Spoon or Scraper – No need to break out the mixer. You can use a rubber spoon or scraper to mix up the brownies.
- Cooking Spray or Butter – To make it easier to remove brownies from the pan, be sure to grease it with butter or cooking spray. You can also line your baking pan with parchment paper, but I still recommend greasing that.
- Toothpicks – You’ll need these to test to see if the brownies are done. Don’t rely on the recommended baking times listed on the mix.
- Unsalted Butter – The pourable brownie icing uses a full stick of unsalted butter, which is my go-to choice for baking.
- Powdered Sugar – This pantry staple is used to sweeten and thicken the chocolate icing.
- Cocoa Powder – Use regular unsweetened cocoa powder from the grocery store to make the chocolate icing. You can also use gourmet varieties or dark chocolate cocoa powder, just be sure you’re using unsweetened varieties, not pre-mixed hot cocoa or hot chocolate.
- Vanilla – For best results, use a high quality vanilla or make your own by infusing vodka with vanilla beans.
- Milk – I recommend whole milk or 2 percent, but I have also made this recipe with skim milk.
- Heavy saucepan – To make pouring the chocolate icing easier, I recommend using a pan with a pour spout. But any saucepan will do.
- Whisk – Use a whisk to keep the chocolate icing smooth and lump-free.
How to Make Boxed Brownies Taste Homemade
Prepare the brownies according to the instructions on the box.
But here’s my first hack: Do no bake them for as long as recommended.
Most brownie mixes have a recommended baking time — 45 to 55 minutes, generally. But I’ve found that if I bake brownies for the full time recommended, they come out too dry.
Here’s what I do instead: I’ll set my oven time or Echo Dot timer to go off about 5 minutes before the brownies are supposed to be done. So, in this case — after 40 minutes.
When the timer dings, I pull the brownies out of the oven and test them in the center with a toothpick. Brownies will cook faster from the outside in, so you want to make sure you test them in the center.
What you’re looking for is the toothpick to come out with moist crumbs clinging to it — like you see with the center toothpick below.
If the toothpick is too moist when tested in the center, like the top toothpick above, you’ll want to put the brownies back int he oven and retest after a few minutes.
To keep the outside portion of the brownies from getting too done and dried out, you may want to add strips of foil around the edges of the baking pan, like you do to keep the edges of a pie crust from burning.
If the test toothpick comes out clean, like the bottom toothpick shown above, you’ve probably cooked the brownies too long. But that doesn’t mean you have to throw out the batch. Just know that they’re done and take them out of the oven — no matter how much time is left on the timer. I have a trick, which I’ll share below, for how to make them moister.
Set the brownies aside to cool and prepare the chocolate icing.
How to Make Homemade Chocolate Icing for Brownies
- Melt unsalted butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder and milk. Use a whisk to mix and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.
- Boil for 1 minute, while continuing whisk.
- After a minute, remove the mixture from the heat and add vanilla.
- Allow the icing to cool for about 5 minutes and then pour icing over brownies.
- Allow the icing and brownies to cool and set completely before cutting and serving. I usually wait at least 8 hours, or overnight. You can speed up the process by putting the iced brownies in the refrigerator.
For an extra moist, gooey dessert, use a wooden skewer to poke holes in the brownies before pouring on the hot homemade chocolate icing. Use this trick if you’ve accidentally cooked your brownies too long. This is a great way to salvage overcooked, dry brownies.
Make a double batch of this hot chocolate icing with cocoa powder and store the extra in a sealed jar in the refrigerator to use as a topping for ice cream or bacon! (That’s not a typo. Bacon is delicious dipped in chocolate sauce or caramel sauce. I dare you to try it!)
Experiment with different varieties of cocoa powder to make dark chocolate icing. For a sweeter, thicker icing, add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to the recipe.
More Easy Dessert Recipes
You might enjoy these other favorite chocolate dessert recipes.
- Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars
- Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
- Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Candy
- Amaretto Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter and Coconut Eggs
If you try Easy Homemade Choccolate Fudge Icing or any recipe on Atta Girl Says, please come back and share your 5-star rating in the comments below! I appreciate it, and my readers do, too!
A rich, pourable fudgy chocolate icing that makes boxed brownies tastes like homemade.
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add sugar, cocoa and milk. Whisk to combine and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.
Boil for 1 minute, while continuing to stir or whisk. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and stir to incorporate.
Remove from heat. Add vanilla.
Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and pour icing over brownies.
Allow the icing to cool completely and set before slicing brownies.
- Makes enough icing for 9 brownies, cooked in an 8X8 pan.
- For extra gooey brownies, you may poke holes in the brownies before pouring on the icing.
- To speed up setting and cooling process, place iced brownies in the refrigerator.
- The icing will set up quicker if you allow the brownies to cool completely before pouring it on.
- For a thicker, sweeter icing, increase powdered sugar to 2 cups. Alternately, you can use 1/2 stick of butter with 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.
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