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6 Easy Ways to Make Boxed Brownies Better

Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix, front of package and a variety of mix-in ingredients in bowls
Pantry staple stir-ins and simple substitutions make creating the brownie of your dreams dangerously easy.

Get nutty


Okay, okay, so this concept is nothing new, but we can’t overemphasize the impact a handful of chopped nuts can add to your go-to brownie recipe. Think beyond the basic walnut, and try a handful of salted mixed nuts, smoked almonds, pecans or pistachios.

Add a hint of salt


The delicate balance of sweet chocolate and salt is undeniably addictive, and thankfully, there’s more than one way to work a salty element to your brownies. Minimalists might enjoy sprinkling a teaspoon of crunchy, flaky sea salt (we’re partial to Maldon) on top of just-baked brownies, while those seeking a hit of texture AND salty goodness, might relish a handful of salty pretzels or potato chips mixed into prepared brownie batter.

Experiment with extracts


When you want to maintain the purity of classic fudge brownies, but also want a pop of flavor, a teaspoon or two of extract might be all you need. From nutty (almond, hazelnut) to wild (root beer, banana) to spicy (pumpkin pie, cinnamon) to classic (coffee, vanilla, mint, raspberry), there’s no shortage of inspiration in the extract shelf.

Swap Fats


For a subtle upgrade, swap out the called-for vegetable oil with an equivalent amount of melted butter or coconut oil. The results are so incredibly rich and fudgy, they’ll fool even the most die-hard of brownie snobs into thinking these are scratch-made.

Throw in something decadent


The quickest way to customize a batch of brownies is as easy as raiding your pantry. Stir a handful (or two) of your favorite candy into the bowl of batter, sandwich a layer of cookies and candies in between two layers of batter or work into the topping—there really is no wrong way to load your brownies up.

Add a Swirl


Dollops of decadent fillings can add major visual impact and rich flavor to a regular ol’ pan of brownies. Cheesecake marbling is a natural fit, but peanut butter, cookie butter, caramel and marshmallow swirls are equally delicious.