Professional Baker Finds Best Boxed Brownie Mix + Photos

For fudgy, chocolaty, and moist brownies, Pillsbury is the way to go.

Five brownies lined up on a cutting board with labels underneath and red "Winner" text and arrow pointing to Pillsbury brownie and "Runner-up" text pointing to Ghirardelli brownie

The brownies from Pillsbury and Ghirardelli had a rich, chocolaty flavor but weren’t overly sweet.

Alana Al-Hatlani

When I’m making brownies, I aim for a result that’s fudgy, rather than cakey, with a noticeable chocolate flavor that isn’t overly sweet or dry.

Given my personal baking criteria, Pillsbury’s mix is my top pick because it yielded thick, fluffy brownies that were moist and had a nice chocolate flavor. They baked off evenly, weren’t overly sweet, and had a shiny crackled crust and tender edges that didn’t dry out.

Ghirardelli perhaps had a better chocolate flavor than Pillsbury but had dry edges. Otherwise, those brownies had an excellent texture with a fudgy center, and I thought that the addition of chocolate chips was a great touch. 

Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker fell in the middle of the pack — neither were bad, but Duncan Hines’ brownies were a little too chewy for my taste, and Betty Crocker’s were a bit too sweet. But I could see both mixes making many people happy.

I wasn’t super impressed by Kodiak Cakes, especially since it was the most expensive option at $7 a box. That said, each serving of these contains 8 grams of protein — significantly more than any other brownie I tried — so you might enjoy them more if you’re looking for a sweet protein boost instead of a decadent dessert.

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