These super easy brownies are made with just 5 basic ingredients: butter, flour, cocoa powder, eggs and sugar. No chocolate needed. The result is utterly delicious – fudgy, squidgy, rich… and very moreish! Better still, the recipe is really easy to adapt to suit your personal tastes… and what you have available in your kitchen.
Brownies made with cocoa NOT chocolate!
These delicious, fudgy, rich brownies are made with cocoa powder only – no chocolate – making them quick, easy and hassle free. But don’t worry, there’s no compromise on taste! I’ve spend years perfecting my recipe to make them just as good as regular brownies. (In fact, because they are made with 100% cocoa and no random additives, they taste EVEN better than normal brownies!)
Why make cocoa power brownies?
I have 5 good reasons for making brownies with cocoa powder rather than chocolate:
- Using cocoa powder is generally cheaper than using chocolate. (Every little helps, right?)
- I always have cocoa in my cupboard, but not usually chocolate (because I’d eat it, if it was there!) Because all the rest of the ingredients are also cupboard / fridge basics, this means my cocoa powder only brownie recipe can be made whenever you feel like making brownies (2am in the morning if you feel like it!) with no need to make a special trip to the shops.
- This cocoa-only approach to brownies means you can be completely flexible. I suggest 60g cocoa, but if you prefer a more milk chocolate style brownie, cut down to 30g… or if you prefer a super-dark brownie, bump up to 90g cocoa. Anywhere between 30g and 90g works just fine in this recipe, with no need to adjust the other ingredients.
- It makes life simpler. One less ingredient and no faffing about with melting chocolate in a bowl suspended over simmering water.
- Chocolate typically has lots of random additives (palm oil, vegetable oil, flavourings, stabilisers, emulsifiers…). Cocoa powder is (usually) 100% cocoa!
Super easy brownies!
These cocoa-only brownies require just 5 basic ingredients: butter, flour, cocoa powder, eggs and sugar… and are are super easy to make.
All you need to do is melt the butter in a small saucepan over a gentle heat. Meanwhile, combine the flour and cocoa in a large bowl. Then, whisk together the eggs, sugar and melted butter in another bowl. Next, pour the egg/sugar/butter mixture into the flour/cocoa mixture and gently stir together until just combined. Finally, tip the brownie batter into a prepared brownie pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Do you usually find brownies too sweet?
If you usually find brownies too sweet, you are going to love this recipe! Because these brownies are made with cocoa powder only, it means you can adjust the amount of cocoa powder to suit your tastes.
- If you want a super dark, rich and not too sweet brownie, use 90g of cocoa powder.
- If you have a sweeter tooth and prefer a less intense chocolate taste, use 30g of cocoa powder.
- If you think you are somewhere in the middle, use 60g of cocoa powder.
The type of sugar you use will also affect the flavour of the brownies. Dark soft brown sugar will give you a richer flavour. If you prefer your brownies less rich, I recommend you use light brown sugar. (You can even use caster sugar, if you don’t have any brown sugar – but if you do, the flavour will be even less rich, and slightly sweeter.)
My personal preference is dark soft brown sugar + 90g of cocoa!
(I’d love to hear your personal favourite – let me know in the comment section below!)
What can you add to basic brownies?
This basic brownie recipe is delicious just as it is, but if you want to jazz it up, there are plenty of mix-ins you can add. Here are some ideas…
- 100g chocolate chips (white, milk, plain or a mixture!)
- 100g dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, sultanas…)
- 100g chopped nuts (walnuts, pistachios, almonds, pecans…)
- 100g Smarties or M&Ms
- 75g mini marshmallows
- 75g desiccated coconut or dried coconut flakes
- 100g peanut butter (or any nut butter you like)
- 100g jam (AKA jelly in the US)
- 200g fresh raspberries
- Cadbury’s mini eggs – see this recipe >>> Easy Mini Egg Brownies
- Cadbury’s creme eggs – see this recipe >>> Easy Creme Egg Brownies
- 2 teaspoons ginger, cinnamon or mixed spice (or to taste)
- Any combination of these! (One of my favourites is White Chocolate and Cranberry Brownies)
I’d love to hear about it if you come up with any really good combos! Let me know in the comment section below.
How long do brownies last?
Oooh – about 30 seconds?
Seriously, though they taste at their absolute best when freshly baked, these easy peasy brownies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container… though you’d have to have the willpower of a saint (and no children / sweet-toothed other halves!) for them to last that long!
Can you reheat brownies?
These brownies are delicious hot or cold, so there is no need to reheat them.
However, if you want to reheat them, you definitely can! Simply place the brownies on a baking tray and place in a preheated oven set to 180C / 160C fan / gas mark 4 / 350F for 5-10 minutes, or until piping hot.
Can you freeze brownies?
Absolutely! When they have cooled, pack them into an airtight and freezer-proof container, separating the layers with baking paper, then put them in the freezer where they will keep for up to 3 months.
Defrost at room temperature for a couple of hours, then eat cold or reheat as above.
If you like this recipe…
…you might also like:
Easy Cocoa Powder Brownies (No Chocolate Required!)
- 150 g butter
- 150 g plain (all purpose) flour
- 60 g cocoa (see Note 1)
- 2 medium eggs
- 300 g soft brown sugar (light or dark – whichever you prefer – see Note 2)
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a gentle heat. As soon as the butter is melted, take the pan off the heat and allow to cool – do not allow it to bubble.
- Preheat your oven to 180C / 160C fan / gas mark 4 / 350F.
- Grease and line a 23 x 23cm (9 x 9 inch) brownie pan. See tips in THIS POST for how to line a brownie pan.
- Combine the flour and cocoa in a large bowl.
- Crack the two eggs into a jug (or another bowl) and whisk lightly.
- Add the sugar to the eggs, and whisk lightly to combine the eggs and the sugar.
- Add the cooled melted butter to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk lightly to combine all the wet ingredients.
- Pour the egg/sugar/butter mixture into the flour/cocoa mixture and gently stir together until just combined.
- Tip the brownie batter into the prepared tray, spread the batter out to the corners and smooth the top.
- Place in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes depending on how gooey you like your brownies in the middle. (Don’t test with a skewer because you want them to be a bit gooey inside!)
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin – until cool enough to handle – then lift out and chop into 16 squares.
- Can be eaten hot or cold.
- I suggest 60g cocoa, but if you prefer a more milk chocolate style brownie, cut down to 30g… or if you prefer a super-dark brownie, bump up to 90g cocoa. Anywhere between 30g and 90g works just fine in this recipe, with no need to adjust the other ingredients.
- The type of sugar you use will affect the flavour of the brownies. Dark soft brown sugar will give you a richer flavour. If you prefer your brownies less rich, I recommend you use light brown sugar. (You can even use caster sugar, if you don’t have any brown sugar – but if you do the flavour will be even less rich, and slightly sweeter.)
- Suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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