This small batch brownie recipe is made from scratch and perfect for small groups! Stir a quick batter together, then bake in a metal loaf pan for crispy edges and chewy centers. Makes 8 bite-sized brownies.
Craving a brownie but don't want to make a giant, full-sized pan of them? This small batch recipe is the answer. Bake these homemade brownies in a metal bread tin for light, crispy edges and the perfect fudgy texture!
For a full list of ingredients and exact measurements, scroll down to the recipe card.
These fudgy brownies are pretty straightforward, but we want to highlight a few things before you jump in:
- Dutch Process Cocoa takes these brownies from good to great. Use a dark, high quality unsweetened cocoa powder with lots of depth. (We love King Arthur's Double Dark Cocoa Powder or Black Cocoa Powder.) Lighter cocoa powders (like Hershey's or Nestle) work too; the brownies just won't be quite as rich.
- An egg lends structure to these brownies, and helps achieve this chewy, fudgy texture. It's also our sole leavening agent (there's no baking powder or baking soda here), which helps the brownies rise oh-so-slightly while they bake.
- Sugar is the backbone of this recipe! We're using a mix of white granulated sugar and brown sugar. The brown sugar lends a bit of depth and gives these brownies a slightly fudgier texture than white sugar alone. We know there's a lot of sugar in this recipe, but it's essential to achieve the right texture!
- Vanilla Extract and a pinch of kosher salt help balance out the flavors in this recipe: don't skip them!
- Chocolate chips lend some texture and amp up the chocolate flavor. We like bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips here: Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips are by far our favorite baking chips.
Riffs and Substitutions
There isn't a ton of wiggle room in this recipe: If you make big changes (like reducing the sugar or using gluten-free flour) it will affect the texture significantly. That said, there are a few fun swaps you can make if you want to customize this recipe a bit:
- Add mix-ins! Stir chopped walnuts, pistachios, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, M&Ms, or your other favorite mix-ins into the batter before baking!
- Add toppings! Drizzle melted chocolate or white chocolate over these brownies after baking. Top the baked, cooled brownies with a layer of chocolate fudge frosting! You can also sprinkle some flakey sea salt across the tops of these brownies right when they come out of the oven.
- Swirl some peanut butter or chocolate hazelnut spread into the brownie batter just before baking for a marbled look.
The Best Pan for Small Batch Brownies
We recommend baking these small batch brownies in a metal bread pan (also called a loaf pan) for best results. Our preferred pan is about 9x5 inches (this recipe also works with a 4.5" x 8.5" metal loaf pan). It's the perfect size for a few small brownies.
Before you mix the batter, line your loaf pan with a bit of parchment paper (this makes it easy to lift the brownies in and out of the pan, and helps with cleanup!)
What if I don't have a metal loaf pan?
We've tested these brownies in a cast iron skillet and a ceramic casserole dish: both work well! The dishes in the photo below are each about 7 inches wide:
Keep in mind that if you use a different type of pan, you may need to adjust the bake time: Glass pans, in particular, generally need some extra time in the oven.
In our cast iron skillet tests, we also noticed the crispy edges also tend to extend farther into the center of the brownies than they do with a bread pan.
Note: Every pan - and every oven! - will behave a little bit differently. It might take a few tries to figure out which of your pans works best for this recipe!
Please Use a Kitchen Scale!
Measuring ingredients like flour by volume (with a measuring cup) is notoriously unreliable. Because each person measures a cup of all purpose flour (or sugar, or cocoa) a little bit differently, it's easy to accidentally use too much of something and end up with dry, dense brownies.
When you use a kitchen scale to measure by weight (in grams), you get a perfect measurement every time. For best results, please follow the weight measurements (written in grams) in the recipe below!
(No kitchen scale? Measure your flour with the scoop and level method for best results!)
Whisk the white sugar, brown sugar, and melted butter together in a large bowl (Image 1, above). Add the egg (2) and stir until you have a smooth mixture (3).
Add flour, cocoa, and salt to the bowl (Image 4, above), then stir until everything is just combined (Image 5, below).
Stir in the chocolate chips (Image 6, above) until they're evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Scoop the batter into a metal bread pan lined with parchment (Image 7, below), then carefully press it into the corners of the pan (8) until you have an even layer (9).
Scatter a few additional chocolate chips across the surface of the brownies (Image 10, above) and you're ready to bake!
Bake brownies in a 325° F oven for about 40 minutes, until the top is shiny and crinkly.
Let the brownies cool for at least 30 minutes before you lift them out of the pan, and let them cool completely before you slice them (they'll slice more cleanly this way). Serve brownies on their own or with a scoop of ice cream!
Storing and Freezing Brownies
Let brownies cool completely, then store them in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days. (These brownies are excellent the day after they're baked - maybe even better than when they're fresh from the oven?? - but after a few days on the counter, they'll start to dry out a bit).
You can also freeze these brownies! Pop cooled, sliced brownies into an airtight container (we love using a Stasher Bag for this) and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost frozen brownies on the counter, or pop them in a warm oven for a few minutes to heat through.
Small Batch Brownie Recipe FAQs
No. The sugar in this recipe is essential to achieving the rich, fudgy texture of these brownies. We tested this recipe with varying amounts of sugar, and the recipe below produced the best texture! If you reduce the sugar, the brownies won't be as fudgy and chewy (they'll be more puffy and cakey).
Yes - this recipe scales fairly well. We love making this recipe as written for two people, but you can use the 2x button in the recipe card below to double the recipe. If you double the recipe, bake it in an 8-inch metal pan for best results.
We've tested this small batch fudge brownies recipe in several different pans. A 9 by 5-inch loaf pan is our top choice; our favorite alternatives were a 7-inch square ceramic baking dish and a 6-7" cast iron skillet. If you use a different pan, you will likely need to adjust the cook time of this recipe, so keep an eye on the brownies as they bake! Glass pans, in particular, often require an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven. Different types of pans will also conduct heat differently: A cast iron skillet, for example, yields brownies with much thicker, crispier edges than a metal bread pan.
We prefer dark, unsweetened, Dutch process cocoa powders for a small brownie batch. We love this recipe with King Arthur's Double Dark Cocoa Powder or Black Cocoa Powder. You can use a lighter cocoa powder (like Hershey's, Nestle, or ALDI brands), but the brownies won't be as rich and complex, and they'll be a bit lighter in color (they'll still taste great, though!)
Brownies are notoriously finicky when it comes to judging done-ness, but there are a few key signs to look for! When brownies are ready, the edges will be slightly puffed up and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, and the top will be somewhat shiny and crinkly, with a few thin cracks running across the surface (similar to gingersnaps or brown sugar cookies).
You can also test for doneness by inserting a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the brownies: If it comes back mostly clean (a few crumbs are ok; you just don't want any big globs or streaks of batter!), the brownies are done. Just keep in mind that if a toothpick hits a chocolate chip, it will come back covered in chocolate - so you may need to poke a few different areas of the brownie to get a good read.
These brownies are meant to be quite fudgy, so even when they're fully cooked, they will still be fairly soft and moist in the center! These brownies will also set up as they cool - after a few hours at room temperature, the centers will be much firmer than they are when they're fresh out of the oven.
Yes! Use a high quality olive oil or some melted coconut oil in place of the melted butter (similar to our coconut oil chocolate cupcakes!) Some dairy free butters are also good baking substitutes for regular unsalted butter. Omit the chocolate chips entirely, or use your favorite dairy-free chocolate chips or chopped walnuts in their place.
Generally, yes: We recommend letting eggs for sweets like brownies or cakes/cupcakes come to room temperature for an hour or two before mixing them into the batter.
A room temperature egg will "shock" the batter less and incorporate more evenly, keeping the temperature more consistent and resulting in a taller, more even rise (see this in action in our post on making the best homemade cupcakes!)
That said, the impact in this particular recipe is pretty negligible: In our testing, the small batch brownies baked with a room temperature egg rose just slightly more than the brownies baked with a cold egg, and we couldn't tell a difference in a blind taste test.
If you have the time and the inclination, go ahead and let your egg come to room temp on the counter before making this recipe (just like you would in other desserts, like cakes or cupcakes).
But if you don't have time to bring the egg to room temperature here, don't worry about it — the brownies will turn out just fine!
If your brownies turn out cakey, it may be because too much flour was added to the batter. If you measure your ingredients - especially dry ingredients like flour and cocoa - by volume (with measuring cups) instead of by weight (with a kitchen scale), it's easy to over-measure and end up with a too-thick batter. For perfect-every-time brownies, we recommend using a kitchen scale and following our weight measurements!
Cakey brownies can also result if you make any changes to the recipe. If you reduce the sugar, if you use all white sugar (instead of the brown sugar), or if you add extra components that aren't listed in the recipe (like stirring some chocolate syrup or melted chocolate into the batter, or adding cornstarch), this recipe can turn out fluffy and cakey, rather than fudgy.
Video: How to Make Small Batch Brownies
More Small Batch Baking Recipes
We love baking for two (or four! or...*cough* baking-for-two-for-one?) Whether or not you feel like sharing, these small batch recipes have you covered!
Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment and star rating below to let us know how it turned out!Print
These easy small batch brownies are rich and chewy, with thin, crispy edges and added texture from some chocolate chips.
- 70 grams unsalted butter, melted (5 Tablespoons)
- 80 grams sugar (about ⅓ cup)
- 80 grams brown sugar (about ⅓ cup)
- 1 egg (if you have time, let it come to room temperature on the counter for an hour first!)
- 35 grams all purpose flour (about ¼ cup when measured by scooping and leveling)
- 40 grams cocoa powder (about ⅓ cup)
- pinch of kosher salt (about 1 gram or ¼ teaspoon)
- 2 grams vanilla extract (½ teaspoon)
- 85 grams chocolate chips (½ cup), plus extra for topping
- Heat oven to 325° Fahrenheit and line a metal loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, stir melted butter, sugar, and brown sugar together. Add the egg and stir until you have a smooth mixture.
- Add flour, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla extract to batter and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips, then transfer batter to your prepared pan. Top with a few extra chocolate chips.
- Bake at 325° F for 40 minutes, until brownies are glossy and crackly on top. Let brownies cool completely, then slice and enjoy!
Please use a kitchen scale! Measuring ingredients by volume (with cups) is notoriously unreliable; For best results, use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients by weight using the gram measurements provided above. If you don’t have a scale, measure your flour with the scoop-and-level method for best results.
Equipment. This recipe works best with a metal loaf pan (both 4.5" x 8.5" and 5" x 9" pans worked well in our testing). If you don't have a metal loaf pan, you can use a small (6-7" across) cast iron skillet or a ceramic baking dish. Brownies baked in cast iron will have a slightly tougher, more pronounced crispy edge; brownies baked in a ceramic dish will be a bit fudgier throughout. You can a glass baking dish if you need to, though you may need to extend the cook time; in a glass baking dish, the brownies also won't rise quite as much.
Additions and Substitutions. Use white chocolate chips or chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios) in place of some or all of the chocolate chips. Use melted coconut oil in place of the melted butter if you like.
Store extra brownies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
How do you tell when brownies are done? When brownies are cooked through, they'll be slightly puffed up at the edges, and wrinkly and crackly on top, with some small cracks just beginning to form across the surface. You can also use a toothpick or a cake tester to check for doneness: If it comes out almost-clean (with just a few crumbs attached) the brownies are ready to be pulled out of the oven (just keep in mind that you might have to test the brownies in a few different places because of the chocolate chips studded throughout!)
- Serving Size: 1 brownie bite
- Calories: 239
- Sugar: 25.8 g
- Sodium: 61.3 mg
- Fat: 11.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 33.1 g
- Protein: 3.1 g
- Cholesterol: 42.1 mg
Keywords: dessert, sweets, holiday