These homemade cocoa powder brownies are the stuff of childhood dreams!

Remember on special days at school, the lunch lady had one square of warm-from-the-oven cocoa powder brownies for each student? I know I’ll never forget! These homemade brownies are the ones that I made with my mom as a little girl.

Cocoa Powder Brownies with a bite taken out of one


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For this recipe, we threw out the box mix and made an old fashioned easy recipe that is from scratch.  We love one-bowl recipes, and these chewy fudgy home made brownies (with brownie frosting) are the best brownies ever! 

Killer Brownies

Cocoa powder gives these homemade brownies that deliciously, delectable chocolate flavor in every gooey bite with just the right amount of sweetness. A higher than average ratio of the sugar, eggs, and butter-to-flour ratio ensures that the brownies stay moist. We think these are the best brownies we’ve ever had! Who needs birthday cake when you can make Cocoa Powder Brownies a la mode with sprinkles for a special celebration?

stacked Cocoa Powder Brownies

Brownie Ingredients


Most brownie mixes call for chocolate chips or baking squares, but we think cocoa powder brands like Hershey’s or Fry’s cocoa gives that tasty, ultra-chocolate flavor and chewy texture that can’t be beat. I love that they are not too sweet!


And the brownie frosting recipe is literally the icing on the brownie cake! It’s simple to make for a double chocolate threat! We know you’ll agree these are the best ever brownies, hands down!


  • My personal favorite addition is walnuts or pecans. Fold in 1 cup chopped nuts for some extra flavor, and add whole nuts to the top of the brownie frosting. Works for decoration, and everyone knows they are full of nuts!
  • Take your home made brownie game to the next level and mix in a swirl of peanut butter or Nutella before baking. Simply spread it over the top and then use a butter knife to swirl it through the batter before baking. Looks and tastes amazing!
  • Or mix in mini M&M’s, walnuts, white chocolate chips, fudge bits, or caramel chips.

Cocoa Powder Brownies on a white plate

How to Make Brownies from Scratch

It’s so easy to whip up a quick batch of one-bowl brownies (well, and a pot too)! 

  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Melt butter, add cocoa and remove from heat. Stir until the mixture is mixed through.
  3. Stir in eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture and nuts or any other mix-ins (if desired).
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake up to 30 minutes.

PRO TIP: Whisking or sifting lumpy cocoa will make mixing a bit easier.

PRO TIP: Brownies are done when a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. They will stay chewy if they are not over-baked.

Cocoa Powder Brownies with a jar of cocao beside it

How to Make the Frosting

  1. Mix the melted butter and cocoa, cool slightly.
  2. Add milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  3. Spread frosting across cooled brownies. Set walnut halves in the chocolate frosting equally across to delineate serving sizes.

PRO TIP: Whisk or sift lumply cocoa to make mixing a bit easier.

PRO TIP: An electric mixer will yield fluffier results, but the frosting can be mixed by hand.

How to Cut Brownies

There is a trick to cutting brownies that keeps them nice and straight. Make sure brownies are completely cooled, or better yet, place them in the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cutting. Spray pan release on each side of a sharp knife and insert blade at one end of the pan and slide it completely to the other side, avoiding a sawing motion. Turn the pan around and repeat the process. Use a small spatula to remove brownies from the pan.

Another option is to line the pan with parchment paper, and pull the entire baked brownie out, and cut as above. A clean pan this way too!

To make cutting even easier, and to get more brownie edges, try a special brownie pan! These pans, which come in various shapes, have more crispy chewy brownie edges, with simple (or no) cuts to divide up the brownies. Brownie pans are perfect for the family who fight over the yummy, chewy edge pieces! Review the recommended baking time when using theese pans, as it may differ from pan to pan.

pile of Cocoa Powder Brownies with baked brownie in the background

How to Store Brownies

Keep brownies in a sealed container at room temperature and they should last about 3 days.

Can You Freeze Brownies?

Brownies can definitely be frozen! Unfrosted brownies can be frozen by placing an entire pan or individual pieces in plastic wrap and then wrap them in foil. Label the date on the outside and they should last about a month in the freezer.

For frosted brownies, individual pieces work best for freezing. Gently wrap in plastic wrap (so the frosting doesn’t stick), and once frozen, wrap in foil or add to a zip top bag.

Pop them in a lunch bag or leave on the counter in the morning, and they’ll be defrosted by lunch! Or microwave unfrosted brownies for about 30 seconds. If they’re not quite defrosted, check every 10 seconds after that! Microwaving makes them soft and gooey, and oh so delish!

Cocoa Powder Brownies with a bite taken out of one
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These Cocoa Powder Brownies are moist, decadent, and oh-so-flavorful!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 20 servings
Author Candace



Fudgy Cocoa Frosting


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x13 baking pan and set aside.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a large pot, melt butter. Remove from heat and add cocoa. Stir until smooth, removing most lumps by stirring against the side of the pot.
  • Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the pot and stir in. Fold in flour mixture and nuts (if using).
  • Pour into prepared baking pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes. Cool.
  • Meanwhile, prepare frosting. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter and cocoa. Add milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar, and blend until smooth.
  • Spread frosting on cooled brownies. Slice and serve!
5 from 5 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 269 | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 167mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 342IU | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American

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Cocoa Powder Brownies stacked on top of eachother with writing
Cocoa Powder Brownies before and after cutting into pieces with writing
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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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