Chewy Cocoa Brownies are those you dream about. Made from scratch, these chewy brownies are generously topped with chocolate buttercream!

Homemade Brownie Recipes are terrific for any occasion, whether for game day, a picnic, or a casual dinner. And these simple frosted brownies were a hit!

Chewy Brownies lined up on a white ceramic tray next to 2 red handle forks

Why You Must Make

  • For years and years, my kids used to like Betty Crocker’s frosted brownies better than mine. They finally changed their minds after trying these!
  • The combination of chewy brownies and rich, creamy chocolate frosting is amazing!
  • I’ve baked a LOT of from-scratch brownie recipes, and these are outstanding. Even my usual strong willpower couldn’t resist! If unfrosted brownies are more your style check out these Fudgy Cocoa Brownies. Plus, you also might enjoy a wedge of the Brownie Pie.
Chewy Cocoa Brownies ingedients on a sheet pan with labels.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Butter – I always use salted butter unless otherwise noted
  • Water – A key to making these brownies chewy
  • Eggs – Large eggs
  • Vanilla – Real vanilla extract, never use imitation
  • Cocoa Powder – Regular cocoa (not Dutch Process)
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt – Table Salt
  • Powdered Sugar – Make sure to sift so your frosting is smooth
  • Milk
2 Cocoa Brownies on a square white plate

  Expert Tips

  • Line your baking pan with non-stick foil. Besides preventing your brownies from sticking to the pan, you can use the foil to lift the brownies out of the pan and onto a cutting board.
  • PRO-Tip: Make sure to sift your dry ingredients. This will help the baking soda disperse evenly. There’s nothing worse than taking a bite of a dessert that has a speck of salty baking soda that wasn’t incorporated into the batter before baking.
  • Don’t use a mixer to make these brownies (unless you use the very lowest speed and finish with a spoon or spatula). A mixer will incorporate air into the batter and over-activate gluten formation making cakier and less tender results.
  • Use a toothpick to check if your brownies are done baking. Start at the 18-minute mark so you don’t overbake. If the toothpick comes out clean (can be slightly sticky), remove the brownies to a cooling rack. If there is any batter on the toothpick, bake for 2 more minutes and recheck. Repeat if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes these Brownies Chewy?

Some recipes use brown sugar for extra moisture, but my secret is adding just 2 tablespoons of water. Also key is not to overbake which will make for dry brownies.

How Do You Make the Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting?

The keys to wonderful chocolate buttercream are to have room-temperature butter and to sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. If the butter is too cold, it will not mix into a smooth frosting. And sifting the dry ingredients prevents any mini lumps in the finished frosting.

Also, add the milk slowly as you may need a little more or less depending on the humidity of your home. Plus, use real vanilla extract, not imitation. Just check your label. Real vanilla tastes a heck of a lot better.

One of my family’s mottos is “there’s no such thing as too much frosting.” So when I made these fabulous Chewy Cocoa Brownies, I made 1 1/2 times the icing!

How Do You Cut Perfect Brownies?

Though these brownies taste best when at room temperature, they will slice better if cold. So chill your brownies in the pan, then remove them (using the foil that lined the baking pan) to a cutting board. Using a hot dry knife, make your first slice from one long end to the other long end. Then clean, dry, and reheat the knife, and continue slicing squares of brownies.

To heat your knife blade, run under very hot water or even carefully run the blade through the flame of your gas burner. Make sure your knife is clean and hot before every additional slice.

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2 cocoa brownies on a square white plate with a red handle fork

Chewy Cocoa Brownies

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 24 brownies

Chewy frosted brownies adapted from Food Network Magazine



  • 1 ⅔ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup butter (1½ sticks), melted
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ⅓ cups flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • ¾ cup butter (1½ sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 4 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9 x 13 pan or line it with nonstick foil.
  2. Combine sugar, butter, and water in a large bowl. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into the egg mixture. Stir until combined. Spread into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 18-23 minutes (mine took 20 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean or slightly sticky.
  5. Cool on a wire rack while making the frosting.
  6. To make the frosting, place butter into a medium bowl. Sift cocoa and powdered sugar into the bowl.
  7. Add milk and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, beat till well combined.
  8. Spread on cooled brownies.


Nonstick foil replaces greasing the pan. It's also used as a sling to lift the cooled brownies out of the pan and onto a cutting board.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 brownie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 206Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 147mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g


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Neighbors at French Link
Baden Springs Hotel, French Lick, Indiana, 2012.
Our yellow lab looking at the camera
Miss Lambeau came to visit me while I was photographing these brownies.