15 ways to Jazz Up Boxed Brownies

Brownies. I love them. But, I mostly LOVE brownies from a box. In fact, I’ve never tried making brownies from scratch because I’ve never had better brownies than the brownies I’ve made, or the one’s I’ve had that came from a box.

15 ways brownies

But sometimes I want  to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to my box brownies. So after trying a few things out here are some of my favorites and some other ideas I found online that sound equally delicious…

1. Add chunks of your favorite chocolate candy bar to the mix. Chop up 1 candy bar into 1 centimeter sized pieces and add them to your brownie mix. (My favorites are peanut butter cups for a chocolate peanut butter fix and milky-way for something caramely)

milkyway brownies

2. Top your brownies with white, chocolate or peanut butter chips. As soon as the brownies come out of the oven sprinkle chips on liberally, allow them to melt a little and then spread.

3. Add chocolate chips to the brownie mix before baking. Instead of making a chocolate chip frosting, try mixing the chips in with the brownies. Try adding 1 cup of dark, semi sweet, milk, white chocolate, cinnamon, mint or peanut butter chips.

chocolate chip brownies

4. Add marshmallows to the brownie mix. Stir in 1/2 of a bag of small marshmallows into the prepared brownie batter. You could also wait to add the marshmallow till the brownies are almost done baking. Sprinkle the same amount on top and return the brownies to the oven to finish cooking and allow marshmallows to melt. To make “rocky road” brownies try mixing in the marshmallows and some chopped nuts, almonds, walnuts or pecans.

5. Add chopped nuts to your brownie mix. Chop up some nuts with a knife or a food processor and add them to your mix before baking. Try adding peanut, walnuts, pecans, cashews or almonds. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped nuts.

6. Add 1 TBS of vanilla extract to the brownie mix. Add the vanilla when you are mixing all the ingredients together.

7. Top your brownies with frosting. After your brownies are done baking, and have cooled a little, add your favorite frosting to the top. Homemade or from a can, either way is a winner. (My favorites are plain chocolate or coconut pecan)


8. Add crushed peppermints. Crush peppermint candy canes in a bag with a rolling pin or with a food processor. Add about 1 cup of the crushed candy pieces to the brownie mixture. Try adding 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract for an even stronger mint flavor.

9. Add cookie pieces. Break or chop your favorite cookie into small pieces and add 1 cup of them into the mixture before baking. Oreos, Nutterbutters or Chocolate Chip Cookies are suggested. Try adding whole cookies to your brownies as well. Pour half of the batter, put a layer of cookies and then top with the rest of the batter.


10. Add  cream cheese into the batter. Soften 1 package of cream cheese in your microwave for maybe 30 seconds  and mix it with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla. Pour it on top of your brownie mix. Marbelize the cream cheese throughout the brownie mix with a knife.

Cheesecake Swirl Brownies (1)

11. Add caramel syrup to the brownies. After pouring the brownie batter into the pan, pour caramel syrup over the batter. Swirl caramel throughout the batter with a knife. To make “turtle” brownies also add some pecans before baking.

caramel brownies

12. Add 1 can of fruit to the brownie mix. Take your brownie mix, 1 egg and 1 can of fruit with juice (raspberry, cherry, etc) and mix carefully to keep the fruit pieces intact. This eliminates using oil in your brownies and makes them a little lower in fat. You could also try this with a boxed cake mix.

13. Make individual brownies. Do this by pouring the batter into a sprayed muffin pan instead of an 8×8 or 9×13 inch pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, checking them closely with a toothpick so they don’t turn out hard. (Try adding a piece of small candy or a cookie to the middle of the mix in each pan, rolos, kisses, oreos, etc.) Try bite sized brownies in a mini muffin pan.

14. Make brownie cookies. Get your brownie mix and add 4 oz cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/4 cup butter and 2 TBS flour and  Mix together to make a soft cookie like dough. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop mixture onto prepared cookie sheet by the teaspoonful. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. You could still add 1 cup of your favorite favorite mix-in, chocolate chips, m&ms, nuts, etc.

brownie cookies

15. Try combining more than one of the suggestions to improve your mix brownies even more. Mix in candy chunks and add frosting. Try adding nuts and chocolate chips. Add cream cheese and fresh fruit.

Ps. Click on pictures for their sources.

What do you do to improve boxed brownies?



If you like these 15 ideas for jazzing up boxed brownies, then you’ll love these too!


15 More Ways To Jazz Up Boxed Brownies

15 more ways to jazz up boxed brownies!

Mint Brownie Cookies

mint brownie cookies2

 Buckeye Brownie Cookies

peanut butter brownie cookies4



  1. We fold frozen raspberries in just before they go into the pan and increase the baking time by 5-8 minutes. Yummy.

    1. Mmm raspberries are my favorite. I have to try this!

  2. Wilfred Windsor · · Reply

    Hello. When you’re making the cream cheese brownies, do you add the ingredients listed with the box recipe or do you skip the box directions all-together?
    Also, how does the brownies taste with cookies added? I have family likes Oreo cookies so maybe that would be a nice idea.
    Thank you for taking time to put this together to help people, very creative and nice ideas. Love love.

    1. Hi Wilfred! You’ll prepare the brownie mix according to the directions, then make the cream cheese swirl and mix it in to the brownie batter in the pan before its baked! I love the brownies with Oreos added, just a simple little extra chocolatey bite! Let me know if you try them :)

  3. I just wanted to thank you for the cream cheese mix-in suggestion. I tried a recipe years ago with cupcakes and cream cheese, which was GREAT, but never thought of adding it to brownies. Fantastic idea.

    1. No problem Donna! Its one of my favorites!

      1. Pam Neumann · ·

        How much cream cheese? 8 oz or a little 3 oz package?

      2. I’ve never seen the 3oz packages, that would be great for some things. I use 8oz!

  4. Alexis · · Reply

    I’m a fan of gooey, chocolatey brownies so I always add these to the mix: about 1/2 tbs vanilla, 1-2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 tsp espresso powder.
    Depending on what I have in the house I might add more things. Sometimes a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon or a splash of milk helps too.

    I’ve also heard that if you like airy, cake-like brownies, adding an extra egg or 1-2 tbs of mayonnaise helps make that texture.

    My parents love nutty brownies so sometimes I’ll add about a 1/2 cup or more of chopped walnuts or pecans into the batter. To increase the nutty flavor even more I’d add about 1-2 tbs of creamy peanut butter or almond butter.

  5. I am getting ready to make these with little chopped up Reese’s cups! Thanks for the idea :D

    1. Reeses are one of my favorite things to add!

  6. I put shredded zucchini in the batter as well as replacing the oil with unsweetened applesauce. I also make mine from scratch using Hershey dark cocoa powder instead of regular cocoa powder. I would love to try these other add ins when I make low-fat brownies for one of my classes.

    1. Great idea to make them a little healthier!

  7. Dee Nally · · Reply

    Has anyone added coconut? Would I have to adjust the amount of water?

    1. I have not added plain coconut, but I have added mini Mounds coconut candy bars. I put half the brownie batter in the pan, chop the candy bars and arrange them in the pan so you get some in every bite. (I may have baked for two more minutes than I usually do.) Dee-licious!

      1. Adding different candy bars is my favorite thing to do for brownies. Mounds sound delicious!

  8. Box brownie mix is my all time comfort food. I love all these creative recipe ideas- gilding the lily, but hey, why not. I can’t wait to try out some of these tips-crushed Oreos, mini marshmallows and Symphony candy bars, oh my!

  9. Christine Weems · · Reply

    Brownie mix with dollops of Nutella swirled in before baking makes a delicious brownie. Another option is to swirl in dollops of raspberry jam before baking. Enjoy!

    1. That sounds amazing Christine. I think I’m going to try some with nutella AND raspberries!

      1. That’s what I was thinking of doing! Did you try it? If so, how did it turn out? Any change of directions?

    2. Emily, I have tried it with raspberry and nutella and it was delicious! It’ll be a full recipe in my cook book, but I made a quick raspberry preserve with fresh raspberries and heated the nutella a little to make it easier to swirl. Delicious!

  10. Aimee – I love the crispy edges on brownies too – what is your favorite box mix?

  11. I discovered that liberally sprinkling Heath Toffee Chips on top of the brownie batter in the pan and then baking makes for one really tasty batch o’ brownies! The toffee chips don’t just melt away in to the batter, they retain their individual tasty “toffee-ness!”

    1. Thank you Tim! I can’t wait to try my next batch that way. YUM!

  12. My family laughs at me because I claim to make the best brownies out of the box ;-)

    Thanks for giving me some ideas to “bling my brownies”!

    1. Haha your welcome Tara! They are my favorite too so its fun to add new things to spice em up!

  13. I ❤️ maple syrup how much and how would I add it? Thanks

    1. Anne, I’m not sure how it would work to add maple syrup to the brownie batter so I would make a maple butter cream to put on top of the brownies, http://thissillygirlslife.com/2014/09/maple-buttercream-frosting/

  14. We add cinnamon to our brownies over here, and/or do a mocha-type frosting by mixing plain vanilla frosting with those instant coffee powders. We also add cinnamon to our chocolate chip cookies, so we clearly have a love affair with cinnamon and chocolate. ;)

    1. Oooh I love the idea of adding cinnamon. Definitely have to try that. In my cookies too!

  15. I absolutely love these little tips and tricks to make brownies amazing I used some marshmallow with my brownie batter then I put some butter scotch chunks in OMG absolutely the best brownies I have ever eaten. I used a dehydrated brownie mix from http://www.dehydratedfoodstorage.com I couldn’t believe how delectably soft and chewy they turned out.

  16. I use 2 boxes of brownie mix and a 9×13 pan. Bake at the longest time listed on the box – usually about 54 minutes. To the mix I add 1 finely chopped good dark chocolate bar, a teaspoon or 2 of vanilla, chopped pecans. I replace the water with coffee and bake. I also always line my glass pan with foil. You can pull the entire pan of brownies and cut perfectly. I promise, these are the moisten brownies ever.

  17. Hard to explain so here’s the recipe for Macadamia nut/P Paul Mound/sweet coconut brownies. Heat oven to 325..
    Line a 9 by 9 square baking pan with foil leaving enought on each side to make handles. Spray or lightly grease.
    No.1- Melt 4oz unsweetened choc. Set aside to cool then
    melt 1 cup unsalted butter. Set aside to cool

    No 2- In small bowl mix 1&1/4 cup cake flour with 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1/4 tsp baking powder, & 1/4 tsp salt
    Set this aside.

    No.3- Quarter 12 fun size P.P.Mounds. Mix in bag with 2 tsp cake flour. Set aside.

    Now whisk 4 lg eggs in lg bowl. Add 2 cups sugar and No.1.
    with 2 tsp vanilla.
    Add No. 2 dry ingred’s until just combined. Add No.3, 1/3 cup sweet coconut, and 1/2 cup coursely chopped macadamia nuts and stir all tog well.
    Pour into lined pan. Bake 35 to 40 min. Center will be soft & top
    will have slightly mottled surface. Cool on rack then refri until firm.
    This is a very rich brownie.

  18. My family’s favorite is Macadamia nut/Peter Paul Mound brownies. I make them from scratch. They take a little time but well worth it.Also freeze well.

    1. What are Peter Paul Mound brownies?

  19. D Higgins · · Reply

    S’mores brownies are the best! After baking the brownies, add choc chips, mini marshmallows, and broken up Graham crackers. Broil till the marshmallows are toasted. So yummy!

  20. I like to make brownies in a mini-muffin pan, then drop them inside a chocolate cake mix in a giant muffin pan, and bake as normal for cupcakes, and top with either chocolate frosting or a homemade peanut butter cookie dough frosting. I did it one time with cookie cups baked on the back side of the mini muffin pan, so it was a brownie in a cookie in a cupcake with cookie-dough frosting. I called it “Dessertception,” but my friends just referred to it as “Diabeetus.”

  21. We love box brownies at our house! One of my favorite things to add to brownies: butterscotch chips!! So yummy! Of course I take turns with my husband’s favorite, mint chips :) I’m excited to try some of your ideas! They sound fabulous!

  22. Donna · · Reply

    I had to offer my suggestion.It is a Proven way to get out of school bake sales forever! Just send in a batch of BURNT brownies and you will NEVER be asked to bake anything again. !!l

  23. Christina Carrick · · Reply

    our favorite is emptying a big box of junior mints on top right after they come out of the oven. cover with tin foil and wait 5-10 mins then spread the melty thin mints. let them harden as the brownies cool- serve and enjoy mint brownies!

    1. Mmm that sounds delicious Christina! I need to try this!

  24. I just want to say that the carmel syrup doesnt work…it somehow ends up under the brownies…I’ve tried this a couple different ways with no success

    1. I have tried this as well and I haven’t had any problems with it. I haven’t tried it in a while, so I’ll try it again soon and let you know what I do to make it work.

    2. gidget Jordan · · Reply

      I buy the microwavable bottle of caramel and heart it up first. It seems to work better already hot

  25. http://josdelights.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/sluttiest-brownies/

    I love brownies too, but I can’t eat another boring brownie since I created this.

  26. Love all the fun ideas! I tried topping the brownies with Nestle Toll House premier white morsels as soon as they came out of the oven. Those darn things never really melted much at all, certainly not anywhere enough to spread. Then I put a few in a mug & heated in microwave a few seconds at a time to see if I could get them to melt. I have made almond bark this way b4 but with the semi sweet morsels. The white morsels never melted. I just scraped them off the top, chopped them up to use mixed in to my next batch & covered with canned frosting. Any ideas on why they did not melt.

    1. White chocolate is a lot harder to melt than regular chocolate because it has a lower melting point causing it to cease up. But I have had a hard time with just different brands of regular chocolate compared to other brands. I’ve found the cheaper stuff usually melts better for me in the microwave than other brands. Next time I would recommend trying to melt it in a double boiler, but I haven’t dealt with the hersheys white morsels, so they might not work well ever.

  27. On my way to make some brownie cookies now.

    1. Let me know how they turn out!

      1. They were delicious! I topped half of them with hershey kisses. When my dad came home and tried them, he asked me when my mom bought them. He couldn’t believe they were just brownie mix! I’m definitely going start making them more often. Next time I’ll try modifying my home-made brownie recipe to make them!

  28. And by the way good website for better brownies

  29. I think the cookie one is awesome

  30. I use dark chocolate brownie mix (whatever is on sale). Immediately upon removing from oven Poke holes with end of small wooden spoon. Let cool 20 minutes and drizzle good quality caramel topping or melted caramels over top. I make my own ganache or chocolate buttercream frosting to top it.

    1. Mmm, that sounds delicious!

  31. Tia Ingram · · Reply

    I was planning to seperate my brownie batter 3 ways and make cream cheese, marshmallow, and white chocolate chips brownies because everyone wants something different. Is this possible? Please reply soon.

    1. What kind of pan are you planning on cooking them in? You’ll need to use really small pans if you are just doing 1 box of brownies and you’ll need to adjust your cook time to be shorter based on the smaller pans!

  32. I love boxed brownie mix (especially DH Chewy Fudge)! Haven’t tasted a “from scratch” recipe as good as this. I am toying with the idea of cutting up a prepared cheesecake & folding the chunks into the brownie batter (for a 13″x9″ pan). Do you think this would be a success? Thank you! Love this site!

    1. Debbie, I think that would taste delicious! I don’t know what the texture of the cheesecake will be like when it is baked, perhaps for a second time, but I think it will be good and will add little delicious bites of cheesecake! Let me know how it goes, if you try it!

    2. Debbie S. · · Reply

      Aimee, thank you for your response. I definitely am going to try the cheesecake idea. I have already done Pecan Pie Brownies – absolutely awesome!!! You take a thawed 2 lb. prepared pecan pie, cut it into about 1″ chunks. Fold the chunks into the prepared box brownie mix (for a greased 13″x9″ pan) & bake @ 350 for 45-50 min. Let cool completely. Cut & enjoy!! I found this on Pinterest. I cannot take credit for this, unfortunately. ;-))

  33. I luv the brownies cookies they are really good an cheesy

  34. I swirled dulce de leche on top of mine before putting in the oven.

    1. Mmm, that sounds delicious! How do you make your dulce de leche?

  35. We love brownies from the box too but my brownies never seem to get baked all the way and the edges are always hard. Do you have any advice on how to make them complete and soft throughout? placement in the oven, adjust temp., adjust the ingredients. . .???

    1. Erica, I actually like the crispy edges of the brownies but of course you don’t want them burnt. Its possible your oven cooks high and the edges are finishing before the center, so you could try lowering the temp a little. Also, do you use a dark pan? That would cause the edges to cook hotter and faster than a light or glass pan

  36. I chop up a bunch of mint from my herb garden…Mint Brownies. At LEAST 1/4 cup chopped to get the flavor.

    1. Oh I love mint brownies, that sounds yummy. I will have to try that next year when we have our garden again!

  37. Kelly Murphy · · Reply

    I love mixing in vanilla and chocolate chips (always!) but when they come out, I frost em, crush up some graham crackers, and after sprinkling plenty of it on, I put on marshmallows and broil it for 15 seconds, Awesome smores brownies!

  38. Just tried the brownie cookies with chocolate chips! SO GOOD.

    1. Brynn, I’m so glad they turned out for you. Yum! Thanks for letting me know!

  39. I pour 1/2 the brownie mix into prepared pan then crush 1-2 of the large Symphony candy bars with almonds & toffee pieces. (I have also used Heath & Skor bars but I prefer the Symphony bars.)
    Add the pieces then top with remaining brownie mixture. Bake using directions on the box. Sift powdered sugar over the top to make them even more decidant. Enjoy them while they last because that won’t be very long.

    1. Oh my goodness, Jodie, that sounds divine. I love symphony bars and that sounds like the perfect addition to brownies

    2. I’ve been doing this for years, except I don’t crush the Symphony bars. Just break up the pieces and lay them down. I have a friend who doesn’t even bother breaking them up – just puts the whole giant Symphony bar on top of half the batter!! They are sooooo good.

  40. I’m a diabetic and I am in love with the Sugar Free Brownie mix that Pillsbury puts out…they are perfect for me…not super high in carbs like cakes or pies because of all of the flour. I love them plain or I like to take Pillsbury’s Sugar Free Chocolate frosting and just frost them….OR add a little bit of Polaner All Fruit to the frosting..this adds a little more sugar to them but I love it every once in a while…the frosting reminds me of those Chocolate Raspberry sticks…or I like to just slice up some strawberries and dump a handful on the warm brownies…OR some of the Polar Strawberries packed in light syrup and put a spoonful of that over one. I do miss the Caramel Icing that my grandma used to frost brownies with. I’m keeping my eyes out for a sugar free caramel recipe! Thanks for these other ideas…I will definitely be trying them out! :)

    1. Jennifer, I don’t know how this is but I remembered seeing it the other day when I was looking for something else… Hope it works!


  41. Adrian · · Reply

    This is pretty great, since my dad buys a box of brownie mix almost every week. (I’m the baker in the family) This should help make things a little less monotonous around my place. Thanks for writing this up!

    1. I’m happy to help Adrian! Let me know which of these you end up trying out and how they go for you :)

  42. If I am trying the cream cheese mixture with the sugar and extract, do I add that to the batter or swirl it in after the batter is in the pan? Are those extra ingredients in addition to the ingredients the box call for or do they replace it? Thanks

    1. Ashley, those extra ingredients get added to the cream cheese mixture, and they are extra, so you will still need all the ingredients called for on the box of brownies. If you want the nice swirled look like the picture, you will need to pour the batter into your pan and then add in the cream cheese mixture. Swirl it around with a knife when added. Let me know how it goes and if you have any other questions!

  43. I hate using boxed brownies! Whenever I flip the box over to look at the label, there are WAY too many words I can’t pronounce. I will definitely use these ideas for homemade brownies though… they sound delicious! :)

    1. Thanks sandy. I just can’t help my love for them, they are so chewy and gooey and perfect. But… I made homemade brownies this week and they were REALLY good, so I’ll be posting the recipe soon and those might replace my need for boxed brownies. PS. let me know which mixins you try!

  44. Janet Farias · · Reply

    Just found your site and this post through Pinterest. I just made some brownies (boxed, of course!) and added peanut butter chips and made a frosting with melted chocolate and melted peanut butter. I’ll check back in to let you know how they tasted. :-)

    1. Yum, that sounds so delicious! Chocolate and peanut butter are my favorite combo!

  45. This post is just perfect! Thank you! And to answer your question, one might add a mashed banana to the mix.

    1. I’ve heard of adding bananas instead of oil, but would you add it in addition to everything else? Banana brownies sound delicious!

      1. gidget Jordan · ·

        I’ve added bananas applesauce and a 1/4 cup of coconut milk to the dry mix to make a deliciously moist brownie for a friend who can’t have eggs

  46. I use left over coffee as my water substitute. You can’t taste the coffee but it helps to make the chocolate flavor pop! :)

  47. Great ideas, thanks, pinning it!

  48. Great ideas. My favorite way to add a little something to box brownies is vanilla or almond extract and cinnamon.

    1. Do you add vanilla and cinnamon together? That sounds like a yummy new twist. How much of each do you add?

  49. Yes please! I will have them all :) I can’t get enough of brownies, especially when they are nice and warm and have melting ice cream on them.
    Cute blog!! I didn’t know you were a blogger too. I am a new follower of yours!!

    1. Thanks for following Crissa!! And yes hot and gooey brownies with ice cream are my favorite treat. Yum!

  50. Looks yummy. What a fun blog check out my blog if you get a min and have not already :).

    Have a great day


    1. Thanks! I looked quickly at your blog and I will definitely have to look around more, your recipes look yummy!

  51. I love brownie mix! Thanks for the great ideas!

    1. Isn’t brownie mix the best? It takes like 2 minutes to throw everything together a little bit to bake and then you have the most delicious gooey and yummy brownies. :)

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