Frosted brownies are a rich, dense, and sweet dessert treat. Chocolate brownies are filled with chocolate chips and topped with silky chocolate buttercream frosting - a trifecta of chocolate perfection!
Chocolate frosted brownies are an easy to make, crowd-pleasing dessert recipe. Fudgy brownies are frosted with a thin layer of sweet chocolate buttercream frosting. It's the perfect dessert for chocolate lovers.
Brownies are one of my favorite dessert recipes because they are easy, quick, and practically foolproof. They're not nearly as fussy as cookies or cakes! Plus, this recipe is easy to double and feed a crowd - perfect for parties, potlucks, and picnics.
Add frosted brownies to your next holiday dessert table or birthday celebration. They're popular any time of year and easy to transport for potlucks and barbecues.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Butter - Unsalted butter and the listed salt can be substituted with salted butter if needed.
- Sugars - We're using a combination of granulated and brown sugars for the best texture, sweetness, and depth of flavor. These brownies could be made with all granulated sugar if needed.
- Vanilla extract - Adds flavor to the brownies.
- Eggs - Adds moisture and structure to the brownies.
- Flour - Adds structure and balances with the wet ingredients in the recipe. I have not tested this recipe with other types of flour, so I can't say for sure how they'd turn out. Have other types of flour on hand? To avoid wasting ingredients, I recommend searching for a recipe that was developed for the flour you'd like to use instead.
- Cocoa powder - Since we're not adding any leavening agents, these brownies can be made with natural cocoa powder or Dutch processed cocoa powder. I used natural cocoa powder in the brownies shown in the photos. Natural cocoa powder has more intense flavor, while Dutch cocoa has a milder flavor and darker color.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your brownies and helps cut the sweetness slightly.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips - Can be omitted entirely, or substituted with your favorite baking chips, like white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips. Chocolate chips could also be substituted with chopped walnuts or pecans.
- Butter - Unsalted butter should be room temperature to cream together with the sugar and make a silky, smooth frosting. Can also be substituted with salted butter if desired.
- Confectioner's sugar - Sweetens your frosting and adds stability. Cannot be substituted with granulated sugar.
- Cocoa powder - The frosting can be made with natural cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder for the same reasons listed above.
- Vanilla extract - Adds flavor to the frosting.
- Milk - Thins the frosting slightly, making it easier to spread. Any milk you have on hand will work, like whole milk, 1% milk, or almond milk.
Tips for perfect brownies
Brownies are a great beginner baker recipe because no leavening agents are involved and the ingredients can be mixed in a single bowl with a spoon. Here are my favorite tips for making perfect brownies:
- Line your baking pan with parchment paper - this makes for easy cleanup. Plus, your brownies will lift effortlessly out of the pan after baking.
- Once you've added the dry ingredients, mix only until the ingredients are incorporated. Overmixing after flour has been added can overwork the gluten, making baked goods tough.
- If you've never made this recipe before, start checking your brownies for doneness 3 or 4 minutes early. If your oven runs hot, they may already be done. An overbaked brownie will be dry and crumbly - you're looking for a rich, moist pan of brownies!
- Check brownies by inserting a toothpick into the center of the pan. If the toothpick comes out with raw batter, they need more time. If the toothpick comes out with a few crumbs, they're done.
- Allow brownies to cool to room temperature before frosting and slicing. Warm brownies will melt buttercream frosting.
Wondering how to slice frosted brownies cleanly? Here are a few of my favorite tips:
- Allow brownies to cool completely. Warm brownies are more likely to crumble apart at the edges when sliced.
- Use long, confident motions in one direction. Sawing with a back and forth motion leaves jagged edges.
- Want perfect squares? Use a ruler, lightly scoring the edges with a knife before slicing.
- Use a chef's knife or a pizza cutter to slice your brownies. For clean edges, lightly spray the blade (or pizza cutter) with cooking spray on both sides before making each cut. Then, carefully wipe the blade clean with a damp paper towel. Spray again with cooking spray, slice, wipe, and repeat until all brownies are sliced.
Frosted brownies can be frozen for up to three months in a tightly sealed container.
If you plan on serving the entire pan of brownies for an event, your best bet is to wrap and freeze the baked slab of brownies uncut. This ensures they stay moist and fresh in the center.
Transfer frozen brownies from the freezer to the counter top and allow them to thaw. A single brownie will only take about 30 minutes to thaw to room temperature, while a whole slab can take 2 to 3 hours.
Brownies can be made 1-2 days ahead of an event and stored at room temperature in a sealed container.
If you plan to make your brownies ahead of time, I highly recommend not slicing into them until the day of serving. This will help keep your brownies moist and and fresh in the center.
Once your brownies have been sliced, they will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed container at room temperature.
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup (99 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (107 g) brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup (90 g) all purpose flour
- ½ cup (42 g) natural cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (85 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cups (114 g) confectioner's sugar
- ¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease an 8x8 square baking pan or line with parchment and set aside. If lining pan, leave some hanging over the edges to easily pull brownies from the pan once cooled.
- In a large mixing bowl, add melted butter, sugars, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add eggs and stir until fully incorporated.
- Add flour, cocoa powder, and salt to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add chocolate chips and stir to incorporate.
- Pour into prepared 8x8 pan and use a spatula to spread evenly to the edges. Batter will be thick.
- Bake for about 20-24 minutes, then test with a toothpick for doneness. Insert toothpick into the center of the pan. If toothpick comes out with wet batter, the brownies are not done. Continue checking every 2 minutes. If toothpick comes out with a few crumbs, the brownies are done.
- Place brownies onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- In a mixing bowl, add butter. Using a hand mixer, beat until creamy and smooth. Slowly add confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder and mix until combined. Add vanilla extract and milk and beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy.
- Spread frosting evenly over brownies and cut into bars.
- Recipe can be doubled and prepared in a 9x13 pan. Baking time may increase slightly.
- Natural cocoa powder can be substituted with dutch cocoa powder since no leavening agents are used in this recipe.
- Chocolate chips can be substituted with other baking chips, chopped nuts, or omitted entirely.
- Brownies will keep for 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or frozen for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.