We tried 5 popular boxed brownie mixes — and 1 came out the chewiest by far

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There is, perhaps, no other craving as intense as a craving for chocolate. The sudden urge for rich, decadent sweetness can come at a moment’s notice, quelled only by the most cocoa-forward dessert of all time: the almighty brownie.

But one search on Amazon or trip down a grocery store aisle will reveal that there are quite a few mainstream brownie mixes on the market, all of which come with the guarantee of chewy, chocolaty perfection.

It can be difficult to select one that is superior to the rest, so I took it upon myself to purchase five of the most popular brands — Annie’s, Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, Pillsbury and Ghirardelli — and see which easy-to-make box truly lived up to the hype of its label.

The results surprised me: There wasn’t a single product from the lineup that I wouldn’t recommend. All of them delivered in not just taste, price and convenience, but also the crave-worthy texture of a soft inside and flaky, crunchy exterior.

But since chewiness ranks supreme on most brownie-lovers’ list of priorities, that is the benchmark I chose to run with. Here’s how the contenders stacked up, from least chewy to chewiest. And don’t worry: I also delved into the overall taste if mouthfeel is a non-issue for you.

5. Annie’s Organic Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

Annie’s Organic Double Chocolate Brownie Mix (Joey Skladany)

Annie’s Organic Double Chocolate Brownie Mix (Joey Skladany)

It’s the least chewy of the bunch, but it takes the cake — er, brownie — for best-tasting. This honor is bestowed due to two very important ingredient additions: melted butter and chocolate chips. The former is likely the culprit behind its dense and rich texture (which a lot of people will actually prefer), but it doesn’t help to achieve the coveted chewiness you get with the other four options on this list. Instead, it’s more like a thick ganache that will satisfy any sweet tooth in only a few bites. Don’t let this deter you, though — Annie’s Organic Double Chocolate Brownie Mix is, by far, the most gourmet-tasting and you can easily pass it off as something you purchased from a local bakery.

4. Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix

Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix (Joey Skladany)

Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix (Joey Skladany)

The trend, apparently, is to boast the best taste, but put forth the least amount of chewiness. Like Annie’s, this was also the case with Duncan Hines (my second favorite in flavor, but second to last favorite in desired texture). It all boils down to personal preference, but this mix yielded a brownie that was more spongy with its higher water and vegetable oil content. Its light, flaky crust was irresistible, though, and a perfect crunch to balance the moistness you may not expect to bite into with a typical brownie.

3. Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix

Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix (Joey Skladany)

Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix (Joey Skladany)

Betty Crocker was a solid choice in the texture department, but was my least favorite in taste. The chocolate came across as lower quality … almost like comparing a Hershey’s bar to something exported from Belgium. I really enjoyed the cakeyness of it, though — it could certainly hold up to a layer of frosting or a scoop of ice cream, which makes midnight snacking an even more dangerous endeavor.

2. Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix

Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix (Joey Sklandany)

Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix (Joey Sklandany)

Pillsbury was the biggest shocker during this taste test. It probably shouldn’t have been because the company’s cookies have obviously become embedded in American food culture, but the unassuming mix created a brownie that wasn’t just chewy, but also light and pillowy. It also earned rave reviews on taste, ranking third overall, though it was the hardest to cut and serve with its tendency to crumble. If you experience the same misfortune, simply use the scraps as a sundae topper or roll them into balls, dip them in melted chocolate, and top with sprinkles to create truffles. Insert lollipop sticks at the base and you’ve got cake pops!

1. Ghirardelli Chocolate Supreme Brownie Mix

Ghirardelli Chocolate Supreme Brownie Mix (Joey Skladany)

Ghirardelli Chocolate Supreme Brownie Mix (Joey Skladany)

I am a Ghirardelli loyalist when it comes to their milk chocolate chips in my cookies, so this result was not surprising, given the quality of their other products. If you want a chewy brownie that spackles to the roof of your mouth as you eat it, this is absolutely the one for you. That said, I found the taste to be quite bitter compared to my beloved chips, which was disappointing for someone like me who bakes with them often and craves their very distinct, creamy flavor. It’s really hard to mess up a brownie, though, as proven by the other mixes, but if you prefer your brownies to taste more like the bold notes of extra dark chocolate, look no further.


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