boxed brownies with chocolate drizzle and almonds

Let’s be honest for a moment. Sometimes even the most experienced bakers feel lazy. And sometimes there’s nothing better than whipping up a quick boxed brownie mix.

But, of course, we’re still bakers, and we like putting our individual spin on things. So today’s post is a quick one on how to make boxed brownies better on those days when you want something sweet to snack on but don’t have the time or energy to make something from scratch. 

boxed brownies with bite taken out

How to make boxed brownies better

1. Add espresso powder

The first rule in making your boxed brownies better? Add espresso powder. 2 teaspoons will do. It will dramatically enrich a deeper cocoa flavor into your brownies. But don’t worry, they won’t taste coffee-y. Just more intensely chocolatey! You’ll want to use the instant espresso or coffee powder though, not legit ground espresso beans.

For a more intense mocha flavor, you could play around with substituting some of the water in the batter with coffee. I haven’t tried this out myself, but it sounds like a good idea!

how to make boxed brownies better

2. Make it crunch time

Anything with a little bite will do. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cocoa nibs…adding a little textural crunch elevates your brownies from blah to bomb. Mix your crunchy bits into the batter or sprinkle on top to make your boxed brownies look even prettier. Just make sure you’re using raw nuts and not the pre-salted ones!

boxed brownies with toppings

3. Use an extract

I used vanilla extract in these brownies to keep them simple and chocolatey, but it’s always fun to experiment with different extract flavors in your boxed brownies. Peppermint is a total winner, as is bourbon! If you’ve never baked with other extracts before, make sure you look up how much of each extract is typically used in a recipe. Some extracts are extremely potent, and not all of them blend in well like vanilla does.

boxed brownies with chocolate drizzle

4. Add more chocolate!

I mean… how could you not? A drizzle of dark or white chocolate on top, adding chocolate chips to the batter, or, dare I say, both?! You could even cut up your favorite candy bar and mix that in. Kit-Kats and Crunch bars would add some nice texture, just saying…

sliced boxed brownies

5. Finish with a little salt

IMO, there is nothing better than a little salt on a baked good and brownies are no exception. Go for a finishing salt like Maldon, Falk Salt, or Jacobson. Just a light sprinkling will do!

boxed brownies with glass of milk

6. When in doubt, underbake

The easiest way to ruin a batch of brownies is to overbake them. They can go from fudgy and delicious to cakey and dry in a matter of minutes. So be sure to set that timer for 5-10 minutes less than it says on the box. You know they’re done when a butter knife inserted in the center of the brownies comes out mostly clean (a little bit of brownie on there is OK!). The brownies will continue to cook as they cool, and once they are ready to eat they’ll be the fudgiest, loveliest brownies EVER.

Now that you know how to make boxed brownies better, the world is your oyster. If there’s a specific mix-in or topping you like in your brownies, let me know! I’m always looking for an excuse to make more brownies.


Lazy Girl Boxed Brownies

Lazy Girl Boxed Brownies: aka how to make boxed brownies better when you're feeling lazy but still want a delicious dessert

Lazy Girl Boxed Brownies: aka how to make boxed brownies better when you’re feeling lazy but still want a delicious dessert.

  • Author: Sarah | Broma Bakery
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: american


  • 1 boxed brownie mix, with water, oil, and egg amounts according to package instructions
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • finishing salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Mix brownie batter according to package instructions. In addition to the water, oil, and egg amounts specified on the package, add in instant coffee/espresso powder and vanilla extract.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan, then top with roasted almonds and cocoa nibs.
  4. Bake according to package instructions, making sure to use the knife test to check for done-ness. Allow to cool slightly while you melt your chocolate chips.
  5. To melt the chocolate chips, place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 15 second increments on 50% power. Stir chips in between each addition.
  6. Once fully melted, drizzle over brownies and finish with sea salt.

Keywords: how to make boxed brownies better, better boxed brownies

More brownie recipes from Broma Bakery:

Ultimate S’mores Brownies

Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Brownies

Double Chocolate Bourbon Brownies

Samoas Brownies

Take your boxed brownies up a notch with some extra add ins for the best boxed brownies ever



Do 1-4 or 2-5!! I think espresso and salt together would be a bit to bitter! I love you ideas! Also, when bakers bake we can’t stop ourselves from adding to it or making a substitution to personalize it! Thank you for another yummy post!

Giselle @ The Busy Spatula

Never thought of adding espresso powder and vanilla, but it makes sense and is a genius idea! I’m going to save this for the days when I’m feeling super lazy. Do you have a favorite boxed mix? I prefer ghirardelli but wondering if you have a different preference.


Yummy! Cant wait to try today!

Faraz A.

These look delicious!


Love how you changed things up, especially with the addition of espresso powder!

Matt Robinson

I’m all for taking boxed brownies up to a whole new level, such a great idea!

Jennifer Farley

This is such an amazing upgrade for boxed brownies!

Natasha @ Salt & Lavender

Love these tips! Nothing wrong with using shortcuts once in a while.

Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen

Great idea for a post Sarah!

Leigh Ann

Love jazzing up boxed mixes like this!

Sharon Kleinendorst

Try folding in mini marshmallows (and it’s perfectly okay to use those “not so fresh” leftover marshmallows!). Nummmm!

Sarah | Broma Bakery

What a great idea! YUM


So I replaced the water with coffee from one of those plunger coffee makers and I put two tblsp’s of instant coffee. I also added a tblsp of sour cream and a splash of stout (I was having a Guinness at the time and I said what the heck… a splash cant hurt). The mixture was much much wetter and I was very worred the extra ingredients would make it cakey but it didn’t…. they took an extra 10 maybe 12 mins extra- best to gauge this yourself with knif test. But they were intensly chocolatey and very fudgy (it hadnt risen much and pressed down on the top to condense it a bit and I could feel the firmness ????) I can’t wait to try it with nuts and chocolate and maybe I’ll have a bourbon next time I cook ???? (sorry for the big long message)


I love brownies, thinking of making them for my niece’s birthday. Adding Nutella would be great since she loves Nutella. I want to make it special for her.

Sofi | Broma Bakery

Hi Misty! Us too 🙂 We hope your niece loves these!


Well I tried doing the caramel with the brownies…….what a waste it came out to hard I guess I left it in the oven to long but I will try it again but can I get some mor recipes on brownies thanks in advance

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