Ever wondered how a homemade brownie recipe gets that perfectly cracked top? Use our tips to get perfect brownies every single time!
When we’re trying to figure out how to make brownies from scratch every time, we need to ask what that perfect brownie is.
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How to Make Brownies from Scratch Every Time!
The perfect homemade brownie recipe is 2 things: fudgy and has a perfectly crackly top.
(Of course that’s just my opinion, but I think in this case my opinion is actually a fact, hahaha).
That shiny, crackly, light-brown crust on top of a perfectly fudgy brownie is like baking gold.
But the question is how on Earth do you get a crackle top?
I scoured the internet to try and find as much information as possible.
When I can’t figure something out, I spent the next 2,000 hours on Pinterest and Google.
What is that crinkle top?
That amazing crinkle top that we all love so much is super easy to achieve…if you know what it is.
Ready for it….
It’s actually a thin layer of meringue.
As your brownies bake, the hot air rising, eggs and sugars produce a nice light layer of meringue that creates your beautiful shiny, crackle top.
How to Make that Crackle Top for Your Homemade Brownie Recipe
Eggs are a super important part of the creating perfect brownies. Afterall, you can’t make a meringue without them! So if your going to focus on anything when it comes to improving your brownies, focus on the eggs.
Beat your eggs longer
Once your butter and sugars are creamed together, beat in your eggs. Whisk for about 5 minutes for to ensure that perfect crinkle top.
While it isn’t necessary, I highly suggest using a stand mixer for consistently perfect brownies every time. Because I don’t know about you but I really hate standing there beating eggs forever if i have the option to walk away.
This is the one I have and I use it for everything. It’s super handy and consistent. I know it’s a bit pricey, but girl, it’s going to take your desserts to the next level!
Two eggs is best.
And while we’re on the subject of eggs….2 eggs is best.
This tip is brought to you by trial and error. Two eggs produce the best brownies. More than that can give your brownies a weird sponge texture, less won’t rise as much or give you that world class crackle top.
Make sure to get to the ribbon stage
When you whisk the eggs and sugar together you need to whisk them until they reach the ribbon stage.
This means that when you pull your whisk out of your bowl, a ribbon of mixture falls back onto itself. This takes about 5 minutes of some heavy duty whisking.
It take longer than just whipping it for a few seconds, but once you taste the perfect brownies from your labor, you’ll never want to take shortcuts again.
Use white sugar
Brown sugar is out if you really want that perfect crackly top. The molasses in the brown sugar is too heavy and wet and prevents that thin meringue layer from rising to its amazing crackly glory.
Less flour, more fat.
A thick fudgy brownie is made by changing your ratios. More fat, less flour. The proteins in flour unravel as you bake.
Those proteins are what give your baked goods lots of structure. Those proteins are also what give your brownies a cakier texture.
No matter how hard you try, your brownies always come out too cakey?
You might be overmixing your dry ingredients into your wet ones.
Remember what we said about proteins unraveling give more structure? Yeah, they unravel even more when you mix your flour too much. This produces a stiffer, denser texture, which obviously isn’t what we want.
(Check out this post from Baker Bettie to learn more about how flour works in your baking)!
Use some melted chocolate. If you’re going for super fudgy brownies, you want to use some melted chocolate. Recipes that call for only cocoa powder just aren’t the same.
And on that note, your quality of chocolate will take your brownies from good to oh-ma-gawd fantastic.
Cheap chocolate is often cut with filler ingredients which makes the chocolate cheaper (obvi) but not as tasty. Typically I use Gheradelli or Lindt chocolate in my baking because it’s really good quality for the price.
And since I’m not made of gold, I’m not going to buy that super fancy gourmet chocolate for my recipes…*ya girl’s still got a budget*.
So just play within your own budget. You can use any chocolate you want, but when going for that WOW factor, stick with the better quality chocolate.
Cocoa Powder Over Melted Chocolate?
Melted chocolate is amazing in fresh, warm brownies, no doubt. But as with anything else there are pros and cons.
Using cocoa powder keeps your brownies moist and chewy.
As melted chocolate cools, it hardens. So if you’re hoping for soft, fudgy brownies that stay moist, use a good blend of the two (but more of the cocoa powder).
Know The Science of Temperature
Baking is the most delicious form of chemistry. Therefore, it is a science.
If we remember bake to high school chem class (yeah, that nightmare)….heat is a very important component to most chemical reactions.
Here’s some important tips to ensure you get your brownie experiment to turn out right every. single. time.
Even the perfect homemade brownie recipe can still be ruined by something as simple as your own oven.
Just because your oven says it’s 350 doesn’t mean that’s accurate. Ovens can be off in the calibration. And that’s not good because the right temperature ensures perfect baked goods.
And if you think that the temperature swing can’t be that much….let me tell you, in one of the apartments I’ve lived in, my oven was 50 degrees off!!
So instead of baking cookies at 350 they were baking…no charring at 400 degrees.
And of course this is a homemade brownie recipe…and just like everything else in your home, each oven is unique so an oven thermometer helps you create perfection every time.
Room temperature eggs
Room temperature eggs are more viscous than cold ones. This means that they mix into your batter better and will help your brownies rise.
Remember, that crackly top is caused by hot air rising to the top and forming a meringue layer so room temperature eggs are crucial for perfection.
Egg temperature also affects baking time. Colder eggs require longer, so if a recipe calls for room temperature eggs, your going to have to adjust baking times.
*NOTE* If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge, simply put them in a bowl of warm water and let them soak for a few minutes. Boom. Room temp.
Know your pans
Dark coated and metal pans will bake your brownies faster than a glass pan because metal conducts more heat.
A heavy duty, good quality pan is always best (glass or metal) to use because it will ensure that your brownies will bake evenly.
Why? Because cheap, low quality pans may have hot spots, causing those areas to cook faster than the others…and you’ll end up with a wonky brownie bottom.
What makes a brownie perfectly chewy and delicious? Underbaking. Don’t allow the heat to fully evaporate all your moisture.
Take A Chill Pill
After you pour your batter into your pan, chill the pan for at least an hour or up to 48 hours.
Chilled batter will make the brownies fudgier and really help that cracked top come out beautifully.
Homemade Brownie Recipe Mix Ins
You may want to add in some extra goodies to your brownies, so here’s some easy and fun ideas!
Chocolate chips: classic for a reason. They’re so good! Toss your chocolate chips in some flour before folding them into your batter to prevent them all sinking to the bottom.
Espresso powder: for a richer chocolate flavor add in a half teaspoon instant espresso powder when you pour in your melted butter.
Baking chips: chocolate chips may be the most common chip to add, but don’t discount trying other types too! Caramel or butterscotch chips are to die for!
Press candies on top of the batter. If you love candy like Kit Kats, Milky Ways, Mars Bars, etc, chop them up and put some on the top of your brownie batter before you bake it! So good!
Oreos: For anyone that loves cookies and cream, blend up Oreo cookies to a fine powder and fold 1/2 cup into your batter. Press some more cookies on top and bake to perfection!
Get Your Brownies Out of the Pan Cleanly
Here’s a little pro tip that’s good for the environment and your wallet.
Instead of lining your pan with parchment paper, save those wax paper wrappers from your sticks of butter and use them to line your pan.
Less waste, no extra materials, equals a happy planet and happy wallet.
The Perfect Cut
When you cut your brownies, if you really want that clean, gorgeous edge, cut those brownies once they’ve chilled. Chill them in the fridge overnight if you can wait that long.
Also use a ceramic knife. Ceramic conducts much less heat than metal. Which means you’ll get smooth cuts.
Finally, wipe the knife after each cut with a clean towel. Crumbs create resistance in your cuts which leads to jagged edges and a mess. Removing the crumbs on the knife will keep your lines straight and clean.
They are going to look almost as good as they taste this way.
Looking for more tips to make your baked goods fancy AF? Check out this post for the most aesthetically pleasing (and tasty) upgrades for your baking.
How to Make Brownies from Scratch Perfectly Every Time
Perfect Brownies from Scratch
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate melted
- 1½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ¾ cup flour (100g)
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 350° and grease a square 9×9 pan **SEE RECIPE NOTES1
- In a large microwave safe mixing bowl, melt your chocolate and butter in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds, stir really well, and then heat again in 10-15 second increments until fully melted.
- In a separate bowl, combine your sugar and eggs. Vigorously whisk together until you have a pale yellow mixture that's smooth and creates ribbons when you pull out the whisk.
- Mix in your flour, cocoa, and salt. Carefully mix in your dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
- Pour your batter into a greased 9×9 pan. Chill your batter for 15-30 minutes to really get that crackle top (you don't have to do this step, but you might miss out on that perfect fudgy brownie).
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top has begun to crack.
- Remove from oven and allow them to cool for 20 minutes before removing them from their pan. SEE RECIPE NOTES 2
- Make sure your oven temp is correct to prevent overbaking/burning with a handy dandy oven thermometer.
- Brownies will cut more cleanly if they’re cold. If you want a pretty square, chill them in the fridge for an hour or 2 before serving.
Brownies are best when their fudgy, have a crackly top, and are sweet…but not too sweet. And this homemade brownie recipe checks all of those boxes.
Now that you’ve made them, I’m sure we can all agree that it’s time to drop the box mix and toss the other brownie recipes because these are P.E.R.F.E.C.T.I.O.N.
So you’ve made yourself some super fudgy crackly topped brownies, you might as well take a pic, post it on the gram and make sure to tag me (@thefulfillmentpill)! I love seeing you creations and really, if you don’t post it on Instagram, did it even happen?
Sharing is caring! Do you know someone who would would love these brownie cones? Share it with them!
See you soon, friends!
Don’t forget to get your free copy of The Small Batch Frenzy! Seriously, the brownies, cookies, and everything else in here will be almost as delightful as these cracked top brownies!