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.

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

4.62 from 70 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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  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!

  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.

  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.