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How to Make Box Brownies Better

Boxed brownies just got an upgrade! Here’s how to make box brownies better with tasty additions, toppings, and simple hacks.

From traditional toppings to terrific transformations, these tried and true secrets will make your boxed brownies taste delightfully homemade.


As a baker, I LOVE shortcuts and I’m not ashamed to whip out a box of brownie mix. But why not make grannie proud by adding a few twists and toppings of your own.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, I’ve got 18 marvelous ways to make your box brownies better. Feel free to combine these ideas, too, for an even more fudgy, chewy, chocolatey, rich and decadent dessert!

18 Simple Ways to Make Box Brownies Better

Vanilla Extract

1. Vanilla Extract

It’s the first step to making box brownies taste homemade! Just add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to your brownie batter and Voila, you’ve just enhanced the chocolatiness of your brownies. Yum.

But it doesn’t end there! You can also experiment with other extracts to flavor your brownies. Peppermint extract will add a cool twist to your brownie.

Or why not spike your brownies with bourbon? The bourbon will add extra dimensions of flavor to your dessert, such as vanilla, oak, and caramel. Mmm. 

Whatever extract you use, just keep in mind that each of them vary in potency. If you’re using a strong extract, don’t add too much! 

Espresso Powder

2. Espresso Powder

It’s another simple addition that will enhance your brownies’ flavor significantly. Just two teaspoons of instant espresso powder is more than enough to give your brownies a rich and decadent flavor.

Don’t worry about them tasting like coffee, because they won’t!  It will only add a deeper chocolate flavor to the brownies. 

If you want your brownies to have a strong mocha flavor, though, substitute coffee for some of the water in the batter. 

Cashew Nuts

3. Nuts

Brownies are super moist and tender, so it yearns the companionship of a crunchy ingredient. So feel free to go nuts on the nuts! They will add that necessary crunch to the brownies, plus the nutty pair perfectly with this dessert. 

And with brownies, there’s really no one nut that’s better than the other. It’s just a matter of preference!

You can opt for simple chopped peanuts and cashews, but fancier nuts such as pecans and almonds work too. Just be sure to toast the nuts first for maximum flavor. 

Whether you stir the nuts into the batter, sprinkle them on top, or both, these nuts will surely transform your brownies from meh to magnificent.

Colorful Mini Marshmallows

4. Marshmallows

Brownies and marshmallows have similar textures, which is perhaps why they taste better together. Adding marshmallows into your brownie mix will make it ooey gooey like never before.  And not to mention those pretty colors!

Just mix in half a bag of mini marshmallows into the batter and bake. You can also top the brownies with marshmallows a few minutes before they finish baking. This will give you a colorful, melt-in-your-mouth brownie topping that will surely tickle your taste buds. 

You can also add chopped nuts into the mix for some crunchy and chewy rocky road brownies!

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of marshmallows, how about some brownie s’mores?! Guys, I’m telling you: this fusion of two comfort foods is to die for.

To make pour your brownie batter onto a graham cracker crust. Pop it in the oven and top with marshmallows a minute before they’re done baking. 

Chocolate Frosted Brownie

5. Frosting

There’s nothing like a sweet and indulgent frosting to make your brownie taste even more fantastic. Whether you use homemade or canned frosting, it will still taste fantastic. And you can use whatever flavor you want, too!

The most obvious one is chocolate frosting, but peanut butter, coconut pecan, and buttercream are just as heavenly.

Chocolate Chips Brownie

6. Chocolate Chips

Whether it’s dark, semi-sweet, milk, white, what have you – chocolate chips are a fool-proof way to elevate your brownies. It’s a no-brainer!

Here’s how to use them: sprinkle the chips all over the brownies right after baking. The heat from the brownies will melt the chocolate, giving you a nice frosting.

Once it’s cooled to room temperature, sprinkle more chocolate chips for a pretty and crunchy topping. Yum!

But, while you can stick with the classic chocolate chips, why not experiment on other flavors? Peanut butter chips will add that wonderful salty and nutty flavor to your brownies. Mint chocolate chips will give your brownies that refreshing twist.

My favorite of them all, though, is butterscotch chips. Oh, how I love those caramel-y, buttery, sweet and salty flavors! 

Brownies with Candy Toppings

7. Candy

I’m talking Reese’s, Malteasers, Hershey’s, Twix, M&M’s, Snickers, Kitkat, Crunch bars – you name it. Just pick one or a combination of your favorite candy bars, crush them into chunks, and top them on your brownie.

Aside from flavor, the candy bars also give your brownies a wonderful textural contrast. Simple, sinful, and splendid. 

Some good old-fashioned sprinkles will do, too! These crunchy toppings not only add a nice crunch to the brownies, but they also make them look even more appetizing. 


8. Cereals

Top your brownies with your favorite breakfast cereal and see how it transforms the dessert from boring to breathtaking! Whether it’s Corn Flakes, Cheerios, or Froot Loops, any cereal will add a nice crunch and flavor to your brownies.

Cream Cheese

9. Cream Cheese

Think cheesecake brownie here. Just picture swirls of creamy cheesecake batter swimming in your brownie mix. It is absolute perfection!

For the cheesecake batter, just beat 4 oz of cream cheese, an egg yolk, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and vanilla. Stir the batter in the brownie batter and bake for an hour. Serve as is or topped with your favorite cream cheese topping. Delightful.

Peppermint Brownie

10. Peppermint

Got some peppermint candy canes? Crush those pretty things with a rolling pin and pour them into your brownie mix. Christmas came early with this terrific topping!

Spiced Brownies

11. Spices

If you’re into spiced brownies, here’s an idea: add some cardamom and ginger to your batter for a chai-infused dessert. Infusing these simple spices is enough to make your brownies taste oh so magnificent.

Aside from chai, pumpkin spice works well too! It will give your brownies that wonderful autumn vibe.

Homemade Brownie With Salted Caramel and Pecan Nuts

12. Sauces

Whether it’s chocolate or caramel, any of these thick toppings will surely make your brownie taste even more spectacular.

Just drizzle any of these sauces on top of your baked brownies and taste the difference. 

Want to make “turtle” brownies? Just swirl some caramel sauce into the brownie batter and sprinkle it with chopped pecans.

For a salted caramel sauce, just add a pinch of salt to the caramel. It’s a simple modification, but the salt gives the caramel a deeper, tastier flavor.

Brownie With Strawberry Topping

13. Fruits

Whether fresh, dried, or preserved, fruits make a brilliant addition to brownies. You’ll never run out of options!

Want a black forest brownie? Just add some cherry pie filling and dark chocolate chips to the batter and you’re all set. Or how about some tropical brownies? Just top your squares with coconut flakes!

In the mood for apple pie? Top the brownies with apple pie filling and streusel crumbs. 

Cookie Brownies

14. Cookies

Can’t decide whether to eat brownies or cookies? Eat both! Just crush your favorite cookies and add them to your brownie mixture. Or add them whole!

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Nutter Butters, and Oreos all work well here. 

15. Deep-Fried Brownie Fritters

Now, if you’re feeling a little indulgent, here’s another way to amp up your brownie: coat them in batter and deep fry them to perfection.

This may not be the healthiest dessert, but I’m sure you can imagine just how glorious this is! You can eat them as is, but you can also take it one step higher by serving it with ice cream or whipped cream.

And don’t forget to drizzle some chocolate or caramel syrup too! While you’re at it, go ahead and add some chopped nuts on top. It can’t get any better than that. 

16. The Elvis Brownie

The Elvis Sandwich is perhaps just as popular as the iconic artist, and for good reason. Who can say no to the combination of peanut butter and bananas in a bacon grease-fried bread?

If you’re thinking about the same flavors in brownie form – you’re onto something, my friend. So, for an Elvis-approved brownie, mix peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter. Spread that topping onto your brownies, and top with bananas and bacon. Rock-and-roll!

Brownies with Powdered Sugar Patterns

17. Powdered Sugar Patterns

Now, if you want your brownies to look dainty, sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Use your favorite stencils to make pretty patterns. How elegant!

Brownies with Sea Salt

18. Salt

Now, let’s end this list with a simple addition that makes a lot of difference. This one is for those who don’t want too many crazy things going on in their brownie. Sometimes, all you really need is a pinch of salt to make everything better.

Finish your brownies off with a sprinkle of sea salt – this is more than enough to give them a deeper, chocolatier flavor. Yum.

How to Make Box Brownies Better

Make your brownie mix taste homemade with these tried and true toppings and add-ins!


  • Vanilla Extract

  • Espresso Powder

  • Nuts

  • Marshmallows

  • Frosting

  • Chocolate Chips

  • Candy

  • Cereals

  • Cream Cheese

  • Peppermint

  • Spices

  • Sauces

  • Fruits

  • Cookies

  • Deep-Fried Brownie Fritters

  • The Elvis Brownie

  • Powdered Sugar Patterns

  • Salt


  • Combine these toppings and simple hacks to make your brownie mix taste delightfully homemade.
How To Make Box Brownies Better

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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