How to Make Brownies with Cocoa Powder

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Would you believe that brownies made with just cocoa powder can be rich, fudgy, and irresistible?

This post will teach you how to make absolutely delicious brownies with cocoa powder. They’re quick, easy, and only require one bowl.

how to make brownies with cocoa powder

Cocoa Powder Brownies

Today I’m sharing an easy, one-bowl cocoa powder only brownie recipe.

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This is the recipe you can make from scratch when you’re craving something chocolate. It is about to become your go-to recipe when you are in a hurry.

A while back, I shared a homemade brownie mix that is great to keep on hand, and the best made-from-scratch brownies are a popular reader favorite. They’re perfect for when you need something, extra decadent, for a special occasion.

Today’s recipe uses the same ingredients as the homemade brownie mix, only it is written for when you want those brownies now and don’t want to make up a batch of mix ahead of time.

Cocoa Powder Brownies

What are the ingredients for a brownie?

This recipe uses pantry staples. If you keep your house stocked with everyday baking essentials, you’ll be prepared whenever a chocolate brownie emergency arises.

For this cocoa powder brownie recipe you’ll need: 

  • butter (or oil)
  • white sugar
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • unsweetened cocoa powder (I like dutch process, but I’ve used regular and it’s great too!)
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • salt

One quick note on the cocoa powder. I like to use dutch process because I think it has a richer, less sharp flavor that is more similar to what you get in a box mix. It’s also darker in color.

The picture below shows the color of the brownies if you use regular cocoa powder. Please note that this recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa powder for baking, not “powdered hot chocolate cocoa mix.”

Cocoa Powder Brownies made with regular cocoa powder vs dutch process cocoa

Brownie Recipe with Cocoa Powder

Start by melting your butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. You can also use oil or substitute half of the butter for oil. I like the flavor that butter gives, but oil makes them a tad moister.

Next, whisk in the sugar, and make sure the mixture is cooled almost to room temperature. (You don’t want to scramble your eggs)

The ingredients for cocoa powder brownies

Add your room temperature eggs and vanilla. (Room temperature so they don’t solidify your butter back into a lump.) And beat well.

I recommend using a hand mixer on high for a minute or two here. Beating well at this stage forms that crackly signature brownie crust. 

Add the cocoa, flour, and baking powder, and mix until combined. Pour into a greased or parchment-lined 9 x 13-inch pan and bake at 350 F for 28 minutes or so. Ta da. Warm, homemade, fudgy brownies.

Homemade Brownies made with cocoa powder

How To Make Brownie Bites

You can also use this basic brownie recipe to make Brownie Bites. Simply spoon the brownie batter into grease mini muffin tins, filling them about ½ full. Bake for about 12 minutes or so until set.

A HALF batch of this recipe will fill an 8×8-inch pan. Bake for 24 minutes or until set.

I recommend trying these Smores Brownie Bites or Buckeye Brownie Bites

Want a few more fun options? Try these Snicker’s Brownie Bites from Butter with a Side of Bread or these Salted Caramel Brownie Bites from Live Well Bake Often.

how to make brownies with cocoa powder
how to make brownies with cocoa powder

How to Make Brownies with Cocoa Powder

4.69 from 86 votes
Brownie made with just cocoa powder can be rich and fudgy. This post will teach you how to make brownies with cocoa powder. They’re quick, easy and only one-bowl.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 brownies


  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup cocoa powder* see note
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan** with butter or line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar. Make sure the butter mixture is almost room temperature and then add the eggs and vanilla.
  • Beat until well incorporated. Beating in the eggs well is what forms that signa mture brownie crust on top.
  • Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Whisk until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350° F for 28-32 minutes or until center is set. Let cool at least slightly before cutting into bars.


*I like to use dutch process cocoa powder in my brownies. It has a richer, deeper chocolate flavor is is much darker. I use regular cocoa powder all the time too and they turn out great. So use whichever you feel like.
** A half batch of this recipe will fill an 8×8-inch pan. Bake for 24 minutes or until set.


Serving: 1brownie · Calories: 178kcal · Carbohydrates: 23g · Protein: 2g · Fat: 9g · Saturated Fat: 5g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g · Cholesterol: 51mg · Sodium: 147mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 17g
Tried this recipe?Mention @chocolatewithgrace or tag #chocolatewithgrace!

{originally published 2/6/19 – recipe notes and photos updated 1/6/21}

Here are some of my other favorite go-to brownie recipes for when I want something a little more indulgent.

Mint Brownies with Ganache

mint brownies on parchment paper and a plate

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies

Cookie Dough Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Cocoa Powder Brownies FB
how to make brownies with cocoa powder

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138 Comments Leave a comment or review

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  1. Kara says

    5 stars
    Made these with my regular cocoa and they were amazing. I’ll have to give them a try with dutch process cocoa next time!

    • Savvy Inglis says

      5 stars
      I love this Recipe! It’s so fudgy! I made a cannabutter for this and used it as an alternate to just regular butter. The most comforting and delicious brownies you’ll taste for awhile. Will make these again!

  2. Christine says

    5 stars
    The recipe went together very quickly. It made a chewy, fudgy brownie – just what we were craving.

      • Carey says

        Made the batter took over said time to bake but smells AMAZING so far can’t wait to try them

    • jaycie says

      splenda (or any other fake sugar) is not a substitute for real sugar. the amounts needed will be different, the texture will be different….everything about the dessert will be different, and it wont be different in a good way. if you want a sugar free dessert, then you should look for sugar free dessert recipes..

  3. LindaM says

    I used the dutched cocoa and found them to be way to dark. (Not like any box mix I’ve ever used) I also found them to be more cakey and not fudgey. I didn’t pack the flour and used 3/4 butter and 1/4 vegetable oil. I baked for only 28 min on 350. If you like dark chocolate cakey brownies, these are for you. I’ll stick with a boxed mix which is my preference.

  4. Krista kirby says

    5 stars
    These are absolutely amazing! By far one of the best brownies I’ve tasted and planned to make these later on in the future possibly for Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for those perfect recipe, my family LOVES them! ❤️

  5. Izzy says

    5 stars
    I made these brownies last week and everyone absolutely loved them. Finally found the recipe I was looking for 😄

  6. Tina says

    5 stars
    This shouldn’t say “Like a box mix” it should say “Better than box mix”. Made these exactly as written. Fast. Easy. Fudgy. Delicious! I will NEVER buy a box mix of brownies again.

  7. Stefany says

    What do you think will be the outcome if I use unsweetened cocoa powder, will I have to add more sugar?
    And could you please give me advice on how to avoid my brownies to turn out dry? It usually happens to me.

  8. Gina says

    5 stars
    I made these the other night and they were really good! I was nervous about them coming out cakey (I like fudgey brownies), so I only put about 3/4 cup of flour, but I think it could have taken the full cup (spooned in). The brownies were super soft and gooey – half the batch is already gone and it’s just my husband and I! Very easy recipe with simple ingredients to keep on hand for those sweet cravings. Thank you!

  9. Sheetal dalvi says

    5 stars
    Hi Mallory,
    I tried today chocolate fudge brownie…. It was perfect Recipe thanks for sharing

  10. Sharon says

    5 stars
    I made these using half butter and half oil. I used extra large eggs instead of large eggs, so they were a little higher than I think they probably would’ve been otherwise. They were delightfully fudgy, intensely chocolatey, and wonderfully moist.

  11. Audrey says

    5 stars
    Sooo yummy! This is my second time using this recipe. Right before I realized I didn’t have butter. I substituted the butter for avocado, and it turned out pretty great! The texture was slightly off, but still very yummy.

  12. Anita Dela Rosa says

    5 stars
    First time making any kind of Brownies and they came out good and chewy . They where not cake like and yes I did spoon the flour . I will use this recipe again. My husband loved them.

  13. Bethanie says

    If I wanted to add some Baileys liqueur and maybe a little bacon fat would I need to reduce the amount of butter or make any other adjustments?

  14. Kim says

    3 stars
    The only substitution I made was I used one cup white sugar and one cup Lakanto monkfruit “sugar”
    They turned out more like a cake , then a brownie. The consistency was thick, so it was hard to spread. Regardless, it tasted good. More of a chocolate cake texture. Maybe it was from the substitution I used. Thanks again for this recipe!

  15. Amanda Tittle says

    4 stars
    This was my second time making these brownies. The first time they turned out AMAZING! I followed the recipe exactly. This last time they are more cakey. They edges go up the sides of my dish and the middle is flat. They have a spongy texture. HELP! What did I do wrong this time? I love, love, love this recipe and want to figure this out!

    • Coffeelover says

      I can’t be 100% but this usually has to do with eggs. Possibly if you use extra large or jumbo. Hopefully this May help.

  16. Jill says

    Hi. Can I use 1/2 dutch and half regular cocoa powder? If I make brownie bites- how many muffin tins- 12? Thanks.

  17. Whirly Cook says

    5 stars
    These were easy to make and came out perfect. Moist but not mushy and very chocolaty. I used butter not oil and frosted them lightly with ganache.

  18. Jaycee says

    5 stars
    Fantastic brownies. Also I used cake flour. I actually like a bit more cakey brownies, which is why I chose the cake flour, but they still turned out fudgey type. They were still fantastic, and next time I will just bake them more to get them a little less fudgey. Great recipe. Better than many bakeries I’ve been to.

  19. Theresa says

    1 star
    Followed the directions exactly. The were more cake like than fudgy. So very disappointed. Any idea why? Suggestions?? Husband says, if I want cake like, I will bake a cake. We want fudgy, chewy brownies.

  20. Rachel says

    2 stars
    I made these last night and they are SO crumbly, it’s really odd. I used regular cocoa powder and all butter. I used a little less than the full cup of flour. I’ve made a million batches of homemade brownies so I’m not really sure what went wrong!

    • Mallory says

      How did you measure your flour and cocoa powder? I spoon and level mine into the cup, so if you scooped yours out of the container, it could result in way to much dry ingredients.

      • Hulus says

        Any chance I can get the measurements in grams and ml instead of cups? Cups are not so accurate. Much appreciated

        • Mary says

          That isn’t something that I’m able to provide at this time. Fortunately, there are a number of calculators online that will allow you to convert the ingredients as needed.

  21. Al says

    5 stars
    I really, really like how you give instructions and then tell us why. Like use room temp eggs so it doesn’t solidify your butter. That’s so helpful and makes me (a super beginner) understand the recipe/process more. Thanks so much for this recipe! Can’t wait to try it!!

  22. Christina says

    5 stars
    I followed the recipe to the t, you’re right they didn’t seem done when I pulled out the toothpick, but after waiting thirty minutes, they were amazing. Cut and out in the fridge for the next day, they were even better. Thanks for sharing

  23. Amaren says

    5 stars
    We LOVE these brownies but god we have so many. It’s been two days and have had them in the fridge since I made them. Still good but wondering if we can freeze some? I’ll also try to find a friend to share with. Thank you for such an easy delicious recipe!

  24. Tish says

    5 stars
    Omg so yummy! I was afraid I added too much flour since I didn’t spoon it out so I added semi sweet chocolate chips. Let me tell you, I could not stop eating the dough! I love fudgey brownies so I always take the store ones out a few minutes early and it worked with these too!

  25. Natalie says

    5 stars
    One of the best cocoa powder based brownie recipes I’ve tried. I used vegetable oil and no butter, approximately 1/2 more regular cocoa powder than called for, and I did not spoon my flour into the measuring cup. It was pretty thick as I was stirring it together, so I added approximately 1/2 more vegetable oil to thin it out. It was still thicker than boxed mix when I put it in the pan. My eggs were medium sized. They came out of the oven looking crumbly on top but they were nice and fudgy in the inside.

  26. Sandra says

    4 stars
    Just made these for Fathers Day tomorrow. They are definitely cake like but we are making brownie sundaes so it is fine. The flavor is amazing. I did spoon the flour in the measuring cup after reading the reviews. I will definitely make them again.

  27. JennyO says

    5 stars
    Using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour, I made these DELICIOUS brownies. I did sub a stick of butter for a 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. I don’t know if it was because of this but it took twice as long to bake. No matter, the brownies were AMAZING. Thank you for this rock star recipe!

  28. Lilibeth says

    5 stars
    Bomb recipe. So simple, yet SO good. Didn’t know brownies could be this good without chocolate. I did half a recipe in an 8×8. The only thing I changed was that I took them out of the oven 3 minutes earlier.

  29. Mabel says

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! i have been using it for 2 years now!
    Right now i want to make this for a diabetic person, i usually make only half of the recipe, what do you recommend i do to make it more sugar free?

    Looking forward to your kind comments.
    Love your blog.

    • Mary says

      I’ve never tried reducing the sugar in this recipe, Mabel. I’m guessing that Splenda (or another 1:1 substitution alternative) could work, but I haven’t tried that myself.

      • Mabel says

        aww ok! the thing with Splenda is that usually is sweeter than normal sugar so maybe I was thinking of doing half. I will try it anyway! Thanks again for this great recipe.

  30. Charlotte Hurt says

    1 star
    I would give this recipe no stars if I could. These brownies are very dry and crumbly. What a colossal waste of ingredients!

    • Mary says

      I honestly can’t imagine what went wrong for you, Charlotte. I’ve made these brownies dozens, if not hundreds of times over the years and they always turn out beautifully. Did you follow the recipe steps and ingredients exactly as written?

  31. Crystal says

    5 stars
    At first I was worried because I thought they were going to be too cakey. Man was I wrong!! These brownies are beautiful out of the oven. Nice height and the perfect combo of cakey to fudgy. Definitely will be my go to brownie recipe! Can’t wait to try more of her recipes 🤗

  32. Amanda says

    3 stars
    Taste is very good. Used half dark and half regular cocoa powder. These however for me were not fudgey brownies and I made as directed by spooning flour into measuring cup. Whipped eggs prior to adding. I’m going to toy around with these as they tasted good but not what I needed. Wasted an entire batch and had to revert back to my original recipe.

    • Mary says

      I can likely help you with this, Amanda. If you whipped your eggs before adding them, it likely added too much air into the brownies and made them too cake-like. It’s a common issue. I add the eggs and then beat the batter until it’s smooth and shiny.

  33. Sam says

    5 stars
    They came out great.
    I did half white sugar and half brown sugar, added some decaf instant coffee granules, used oil instead of butter, and added 2oz of melted semi sweet choc into the batter. I used Ghirardelli Majestic Cocoa Powder and it is quite strong so I scaled it back for this.
    I’m not sure if it’s because I beat in the eggs for a few minutes or because I added melted chocolate, but my brownies did have the crackly tops. Overall, would make again.

  34. Genevieve Cleveland says

    5 stars
    Truly one of the best brownies I have every tasted. The center is soft and but crispy on the top. These brownies are very easy to make. Use good chocolate and butter, it makes a big difference.

  35. Chloe says

    5 stars
    Okay I don’t typically comment, but I’ve made these 4 times now and this is my absolute fav recipe for a quick box-mix copycat brownie! I live in Switzerland, and they don’t seem to enjoy box mixes, so I’ve had to make my cravings 😂 this definitely scratches the itch I’ve had for a classic fudgey brownie!

  36. Adrienne says

    5 stars
    My family and I love this recipe. I haven’t used box mix since I came across it. I do add a teaspoon of coffee grounds to the mix though, these are delicious!

  37. Wildflr48 says

    I want to make these for super-bowl 2023 and you described in your instructions adding soda but the list of ingredients doesn’t show baking powder? So is there supposed to be baking soda in the recipe? These sound wonderful so I just would like to know! Thank you!!

  38. Susan says

    5 stars
    I made this with King Arthur flour and cocoa. I also added a cup of chopped walnuts. So good. This will now be my goto recipe for brownies.

  39. Lise says

    5 stars
    Perfect old fashioned brownies that I remember from my childhood! Nowadays, brownies have everything but the kitchen sink in them; these are perfect as they are! Fabulous recipe!

    • Mary says

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the brownies, Lise! I hope they continue to be a staple in your kitchen.

  40. Christian says

    5 stars
    Just incredible I can’t resist to eat the whole 9×13 pan I made the frosting with these ingredients
    ¼ cup unsalted butter melted, 56g
    ⅓ cup cocoa 35g
    2 cups confectioners sugar 227g
    3 tbsp milk
    And it came out amazing it’s like a fudge bar you gotta try this recipe with this brownie recioe enjoy

    • Mary says

      That sounds delicious, Christian. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the brownies. Enjoy, and happy baking!

  41. Cynthia G says

    5 stars
    This recipe was so easy to prepare and came out tasting great. Tastes better than box brands. Will use this recipe again but with the Dutch chocolate next time.

    • Mary says

      I’m so glad you liked the brownies, Cynthia! I hope you enjoy the recipe even more next time; the Dutch chocolate really will make a difference in the final product. Happy baking!

  42. Mary Connolly says

    5 stars
    I made these for the holiday this weekend
    Followed the recipe to exact. They ere amazing. So chewy . I baked them for 28 minutes. Thank you for sharing❤

    • Mary says

      You are welcome, Mary. Glad to hear that the brownies turned out wonderfully. Enjoy, and happy baking!

  43. Carol says

    5 stars
    Was the best brownie’s I have ever made, I cut the recipe in half and turned out beautifully, did have to watch the time in order to get just right 😋

  44. Tabitha L and Olivia H says

    5 stars
    My 9 yr old daughter chose this recipe based on the Mouth-Savoring Picture! It was Easy and Fun to make together and tasted OH SO YUMMY!!!! My daughter enjoyed learning the role and importance of room temperature eggs and butter in baking too! We used Ghirardelli Cocoa, Quality Butter, and Himalayan Pink Salt. Perfect Balance of flavors and texture to produce AMAZING BROWNIES! Thank You So Much for Sharing!

    • Mary says

      I’m glad to hear that you and your daughter loved the brownies! Himalayan pink salt is an amazing topping for chocolate baking recipes. Enjoy!

  45. Didi says

    5 stars
    The recipe is so easy to follow, and I love that it has very little ingredients!
    They were DELICIOUS and everyone complimented them (even tho I used off brand ingredients); soft and fudgy

  46. Barbara says

    5 stars
    I used regular unsweetened cocoa, since I had that on hand. Normally I would add walnuts but didn’t have any, so I added pecans. Delicious!
    Every other recipe I found called for chocolate chips. As much as I love chocolate chips, I don’t always have them on hand, so I am so glad I found this one. They are great without added chocolate!

    • Mary says

      I’m glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying the brownies, Barbara. Sometimes chocolate chips just aren’t available, but even if they are, this is still a great option. Adding pecans sounds like a tasty idea. Enjoy, and happy baking!

  47. Cheryl says

    5 stars
    These turned out fudgey and delicious for me! I love a fudge brownie and these were perfect. I halfed the recipe but it needed more than the 24 minutes stated in the recipe. I think I did a total of 35 minutes. It could just be my crappy oven.

    • Mary says

      I’m glad the brownies turned out so well for you, Cheryl. Your altitude could also be affecting the cook time. Happy baking!

  48. Liza says

    5 stars
    I’ve made these brownies 3 or 4 times and they have come out perfect every time! My husband absolutely LOVES it when I make these.
    I use oil instead of butter, and then I top off the brownie mixture with chocolate chips 🙂
    I was wondering though, if these would work in a muffin tin?

    • Mary says

      Hi, Liza! The brownie mixture should work in a muffin tin, although you may need to change the cook time. I’m glad to hear that you and your husband are loving the brownies.

  49. Samantha says

    5 stars
    Haha my brownies look like a mini cake, the only thing I changed was I used 1 cup sugar to 1 cup light brown sugar, it smells great I did the full 32 minutes it was a very thick recipe, it’s got a very soft feeling I can’t wait for it to cool down and try it

  50. Ten says

    These were disappointing. They aren’t quite as chocolatey as I would have liked, a little grainy, and way too soft even after the full bake time and cooling. I’m definitely not a fan of cakey brownies but these had no structure at all.

    • Mary says

      Sorry to hear that the brownies didn’t turn out well for you. Did you omit/substitute any ingredients? In any case, I hope your next baking project turns out wonderfully.

  51. Diane A says

    5 stars
    Oh my gosh these are so good! Bordering on having too much unsweetened cocoa flavor so I may try cutting it back a bit. But super moist and decadent.

  52. Judy Mitchelly says

    Made these and they are delicious. Hopefully they last til Sunday, or more will be made. The best my family sai

  53. Karen says

    5 stars
    These were amazing! Love the chocolate flavor, the fudginess, and sweetness! My only problem was they were a little crunchy on top and made it hard to cut. Is it the way I cooked them? I used a glass dish, baked at 375 for 30 minutes. I feel like I couldn’t have cooked them less or they wouldn’t have been done in the middle. Definitely a 5 Star recipe!!

    • Mary says

      The glass dish likely affected the cooking time and the results a bit. When I’m using a glass pan, I typically reduce the temperature by 25 degrees. I’m glad you love the brownies!