Lazy Girl Brownies (AKA…How to Make Box Brownies Better!!!)

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These Lazy Girl Brownies are the ultimate low-effort dessert! Learn how to make box brownies better thanks to a few of my favorite simple box brownie hacks that result in irresistibly fudgy, intensely chocolatey, totally bakery-worthy brownies – no one would ever guess that they aren't completely homemade! Perfect for an easy pick-me-up or a girl's night dessert, these Lazy Girl Brownies are only box brownie recipe you'll ever need!
A stack of brownies made with box brownie hacks and Ghirardelli brownie box recipe cut into squares arranged on a piece of white crumpled parchment paper & topped with flaky sea salt.

Lazy Girl Brownies (AKA…PWWB Secrets for How to Make Box Brownies Better!)

As a complete chocoholic, brownies are my absolute favorite dessert. There’s truly nothing better than an intensely fudgy, irresistibly chocolatey brownie that’s still a little bit warm & gooey from the oven. *DROOL.*

And even though I’d never turn down a homemade brownie (especially if it’s one of Ina’s Outrageous Brownies, which are outrageously good, indeed – this brownie lover’s FAVE brownie recipe!), the truth is brownies are the one dessert that I hardly ever make from scratch.

IMHO, brownies are the one dessert where easy store-bought options are just as good as homemade. With brands like Ghirardelli creating high-quality box mixes these days, why not just let them do the heavy lifting?

That’s exactly how this box brownie recipe came to be. With your favorite brownie mix & some smart box brownie hacks, you can make the most chewy, fudgy, bakery-quality brownies without the hassle of measuring cups & mixing bowls. I affectionately call them my Lazy Girl Brownies, & I’m pretty sure you’re going to be just as obsessed with them as I am.

Lazy Girl Brownie Recipe Highlights

These easy brownies are…

  • SO SIMPLE. Rather than starting from scratch, Lazy Girl Brownies zhuzh the box brownie recipe up with a few smart + simple swaps to create even richer flavor & better texture.
  • EXTRA FUDGY, MOIST, & DECADENTLY CHOCOLATEY. They taste like real-deal, homemade brownies without the effort. What’s not to love about that?!
  • A GO-TO DESSERT. Fast & simple, they’re perfect for a movie night, girl’s night or just as an indulgent treat after a long day.

Lazy desserts do not get better than that! ♡ Read on to learn more about these Lazy Girl Brownies, or jump straight to the recipe & get baking!

Take your box brownies to the next level! Lazy Girl Brownies Key Ingredients.

Here’s the deal. A good box brownie mix provides a great base of dry ingredients, but there are a few simple box brownie hacks you can use to enhance the flavor & texture of your brownies, yielding seriously fudgy, chewy, moist, bakery-style brownies every single time!

Lazy Girl Brownie ingredients arranged on a white surface - Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix, unsalted butter, coffee, one large egg, pure vanilla extract, instant espresso powder, & Maldon flaky sea salt. The Ghirardelli brownie box recipe is made with box brownie hacks for how to make box brownies better.
Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • Your favorite box brownie mix – Since it’s the base of the entire recipe, opt for a brownie mix you really love. More thoughts on this below!
  • Unsalted melted butter – Most box brownie recipes call for vegetable oil, but swapping it out with with melted butter helps create chewy, fudgy texture with rich bakery-style flavor.
  • Egg – Since its moisture prevents brownies from becoming dry & crumbly, an egg also helps create the perfect fudgy texture.
  • Coffee – Most box brownie recipes call for water, but swapping it out with coffee enhances the natural bittersweet flavor of chocolate. Your brownies won’t taste like coffee, the coffee simply deepens the rich chocolatey flavor.
  • Instant espresso – An amazing box brownie hack! Similar to swapping water for coffee, instant espresso or instant coffee brings out the flavor of the chocolate even more! Be sure to use instant espresso or instant coffee, which dissolves into brownie batter (unlike regular coffee or espresso grounds). DeLallo Instant Espresso is my favorite!
  • Pure vanilla extract – Whereas coffee enhances the natural bittersweet flavor of chocolate, a splash of pure vanilla provides balances out the bittersweet notes of chocolate with beautiful, rounded sweetness.
  • Flaky sea salt – Lastly, finishing your brownies with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt adds crave-worthy salty sweetness to every bite – YUM! Maldon is my favorite!

Lazy Girl Brownies FAQ: What’s the BEST Box Brownie Mix?

  • A overhead shot of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix which is used in the recipe to make box brownie recipe rests with front of box facing up on a white surface.

    When it comes to anything chocolatey, I turn to Ghirardelli first. IMHO they make the BEST box brownie mix. My absolute favorite box brownie mix is Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix. It has the best rich, chocolatey flavor & includes chocolate chips, which melt into gooey pools of chocolate throughout the brownies. SO GOOD!

How to Make Lazy Girl Brownies:

There’s a reason I call them my Lazy Girl Brownies – they’re seriously easy to make. Since they use box brownie mix as their base, prepping a batch making them doesn’t stray far from the box brownie recipe instructions! Despite the simple process, the result is always bakery-quality brownies without the time & effort it takes to make them completely from scratch.

Brownie batter made with boxed brownie mix and added box brownie hacks prepped in a clear glass mixing bowl. A white spatula with a wooden handle is stuck inside the brownie batter. The mixing bowls sits atop a white surface.
Note: Full Recipe Directions with step-by-step photos provided in the Recipe Card, below.

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Mix the brownie batter: Whisk all of the wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add in the box brownie mix & fold it all together, just until combined. Why? ⇢ As you mix the batter together, air mixes into the batter & the glutens in the flour develop. By mixing the batter just until it’s combined, we develop the glutens & aerate the batter as minimally as possible, resulting in decadently fudgy brownies.
  2. Bake the brownies: Transfer the brownie batter to a parchment-lined pan. Bake according to package directions, checking for doneness 3-5 minutes ahead of the bake time indicated in the box directions. Why? ⇢ Fresh-baked brownies appear underbaked straight out of the oven, but they reach the perfect level of doneness as they cool.
Lazy Girl Brownies made from box brownie recipe and steps for how to make box brownies better, baked in a parchment-lined baking pan. The brownies have been cut yielding 9 brownie squares. The pan sits atop a white surface.

Lazy Girl Brownies FAQ: What type of pan should you use to bake brownies? Metal vs. Glass

All-star bakers recommend using a metal pan for most of your baked goods. Using a metal pan for brownies help achieve a consistent chewy texture throughout – aka delicious brownies that won’t fall apart! Why? Since metal is a great conductor of heat, metal pans heat evenly + quickly & also cool rapidly. Glass baking dishes, on the other hand, heat up slower & retain their heat for longer. If you only have a glass baking dish, don’t worry – just be sure to follow the recommended bake time on the boxed brownie mix & adjust accordingly.

Other Box Brownie Hacks to Customize Your Boxed Brownies!

A few more ideas to take your Lazy Girl Brownies to the next level!

  • Add nuts This can be controversial, but if nuts in brownies is your thing – by all means go for it! Add chopped walnuts or sliced almonds to the brownie batter for fabulous crunchy, hearty texture.
  • Top with crushed candies or chocolate Mix in bits of toffee, peanut butter chips, marshmallows, or whatever else your Lazy Girl Brownie lovin’ heart desires!
  • Frost them If you want an even more luxurious brownie experience, just add frosting! Double down on chocolate with a layer of creamy chocolate fudge frosting or use whatever kind you love most!
  • My ideal brownie dessert? Easy. Lazy Girl Brownies à la mode, served warm with a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt & add a drizzle of salted caramel – it’s pure heaven!
A side angle shot of a stack of 3 fudgy lazy girl brownies made with steps for how to make box brownies better and a Ghriradelli box brownie recipe. The brownies have been topped with flaky sea salt atop a crumpled piece of parchment paper.

I can’t wait for you to try these Lazy Girl Brownies! They are decadent, SO chocolatey, & totally bakery-worthy. I know you’ll love them as much as we do! If you do give them a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!

Want more easy, sweet, & shareable treats? Check out my Gooey S’mores Crumble Bars, Tahini Scotcheroos, or OMG Bars next! Happy baking! ♡

Print
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An overhead shot of multiple brownies cut into squares & arranged in a grid pattern on a piece of white crumpled parchment paper & topped with flaky sea salt. The top corner brownie has been slightly turned so as not to fit into the grid pattern perfectly. The brownies were made using a box brownie recipe and steps for how to make box brownies better.

Lazy Girl Brownies (How to Make Box Brownies Better!)

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 912 brownies 1x
  • Category: Bars & Brownies, Dessert Recipes
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Lazy Girl Brownies are my secret for turning store-bought boxed brownies into the most decadent, fudgy, & moist brownies – without the hassle of making them from scratch! By adding just a few simple pantry ingredients you can make box brownies taste like they are homemade & straight from the bakery every single time.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 (metal) pan with parchment paper for easy clean up. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.Lazy Girl Brownie ingredients arranged on a white surface - Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix, unsalted butter, coffee, one large egg, pure vanilla extract, instant espresso powder, & Maldon flaky sea salt.
  2. Mix the brownie batter: Add the melted butter, coffee, egg, instant espresso (if using), & vanilla extract to a medium mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir until fully combined. Add in the brownie mix. Stir until just combined. Transfer the brownie batter to the prepared baking pan, spreading into a uniform layer.

    An overhead shot of lazy girl brownie batter made with boxed brownie mix prepped in a clear glass mixing bowl. A white spatula with a wooden handle is stuck inside the brownie batter. The mixing bowls sits atop a white surface.

  3. Bake the brownies for 40 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out relatively free of crumbs. Do not overbake – per our friends at Ghirardelli: fresh-baked brownies appear underbaked but cool to doneness. (If using another box mix, a good rule of thumb is to check the brownies for doneness 3-5 minutes ahead of the bake time indicated in the box directions.)Lazy Girl Brownies made from box brownies baked in a parchment-lined baking pan. The brownies have been cut yielding 9 brownie squares. The pan sits atop a white surface.
  4. Serve: Allow to cool in the pan completely before cutting into 9 or 12 squares. Finish with a generous sprinkling of flaky Maldon sea salt, as desired. Enjoy!An overhead shot of multiple brownies cut into squares & arranged in a grid pattern on a piece of white crumpled parchment paper & topped with flaky sea salt. The top corner brownie has been slightly turned so as not to fit into the grid pattern perfectly.


Notes

  • Storage: Store cooled brownies covered at room temperature for up to 5 days (…as if they’ll last that long – HA!).
  • Different brownie mixes: This brownie recipe was developed using Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix specifically. Feel free to use whatever boxed brownie mix you love most for this recipe. Measurements will vary based on the box mix you use. Simply swap the amount of water & oil called for on the box 1:1 with coffee & melted butter respectively (i.e. if the box calls for 1/4 cup oil & 1/3 cup water, you’d use 1/4 cup melted butter & 1/3 cup coffee for your Lazy Girl Brownies).

Keywords: lazy girl box brownie recipe, how to make box brownies better, box brownie hacks, Ghirardelli, chocolate, easy dessert recipe, easy brownie recipe

Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, Facebook, & Pinterest for more easy, modern recipes & fun!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 11.19.21
    David said:

    When you say add 1/4 cup of instant coffee, does that mean “the beverage” or the instant grounds from the jar?

    • 11.23.21

      Hey David – The recipe calls for 1/4 cup coffee (brewed beverage, not grounds) to replace the 1/4 water typically required by box directions. If you’d like, you can also add in 2 teaspoons of instant espresso or coffee granules to help intensify the flavor of the chocolate further – this is optional, but this is the line item in the Ingredients List that would be granules. Let me know if that helps.

  2. 10.28.21

    I would love to have the recipe to the lazy girls brownies please thank you

    • 10.31.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Gary! The recipe can be found in the recipe card above – try refreshing your page or the jump to recipe button – thanks!

  3. 9.28.21
    Leanna said:

    I like to add an extra spoonful of unsweetened baking cocoa to boxed brownie mixes.

    • 10.31.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Leanna! There’s so many small additions you can make to personalize box brownies, it’s so fun to hear what others add to theirs – thanks for sharing!

  4. 9.27.21
    Kylie said:

    I made these for my husbands birthday. So good!! I used the Ghiradelli Chocolate Supreme mix. That mix has chocolate syrup in it! I also added pb chips and choc chips. The coffee is such a great swap!!

  5. 9.23.21
    Stephanie said:

    Swapping coffee for water is geniussss!! Can’t wait to try these this weekend!

    • 9.23.21

      🤓 I like to think so! Be sure to let me know if you try them, Stephanie! I can’t wait to hear what you think!!!

    • 9.24.21
      Kay U said:

      I made these for breakfast this morning! I skipped the espresso but followed the rest of the recipe. I’m not a coffee drinker but added it and can’t taste it. Mine were a perfect thickness using an 8×8 metal pan lined with parchment-I don’t even have to wash the pan, now that’s a lazy girl! Thank you.

      • 11.23.21
        Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

        That’s our kind of breakfast!😉 SO glad you enjoyed & yes the coffee really works to enhance the chocolate flavor without making the brownies taste like coffee – thank you for sharing!