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Fudgy brownies can be a real buzzkill when you realize most recipes call for setting up a double broiler and melting down a couple cups of chocolate. Who has time for all that when a craving hits and you already have the latest episode of Moon Knight queued up and ready to go? Consult the internet on how to make box brownies fudgy, and you’ll find all kinds of suggestions: Swap water for milk! Ditch the egg whites! Light an Ina Garten prayer candle and hope for the best!

We’re here to help you cut through the hype (and nonsense), testing three of the most common hacks online. And in true PureWow fashion, we’re getting unnecessarily scientific about it.

how to make box brownies fudgy overhead
CANDACE DAVISON

How We Tested the Box Brownie Hacks:

We used the same Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix for each batch, preparing one as the box intended (our control group), and three using a different online hack, which you’ll see outlined below. Most box brownies call for three extra ingredients—water, oil and egg—so we focused on one hack for each. (All four received half a cup of semisweet chocolate chips added to the batter—one tablespoon on top, the rest mixed into the batter—as a baseline addition. Because who doesn’t love pockets of molten chocolate in their brownies, especially when fudgy is the end goal?)

Once baked, we served all four types of brownies to ten people—without telling them which is which or what the hacks were—and asked them to provide tasting notes as well as their picks for the fudgiest and their overall favorite.

RELATED: The 10 Best Brownie Mixes, According to Our Taste Test

The Top Box Brownie Hacks, Tested:

how to make box brownies fudgy milk
CANDACE DAVISON

1. Using Milk Instead of Water

Why People Recommend It: As Martha Stewart taught us, if you want to make brownies taste fudgier, you’ll need a higher fat-to-flour ratio. You’ll get about 2.8 grams of fat from a third of a cup of milk, versus zero from water, so this is an easy way to boost it.

The Verdict: If you’re not the type to down an entire pan of brownies in one day (those people exist, right?), this is the hack for you. These brownies didn’t dry out as quickly as the others and had an almost creamy, gooey consistency with crispy edges.

how to make box brownies fudgy butter
CANDACE DAVISON

2. Using Melted Butter Instead of Oil

Why People Recommend It: Butter has fewer grams of fat than vegetable oil (184 vs. 224 grams per cup, to be exact), but it does offer a richer flavor. And, when melted, you don’t have to worry about aerating the butter, or creating little pockets of air that make the dessert fluffier (which is good for cakes, not so good when you want fudgy brownies).

The Verdict: These brownies baked the most evenly (seriously, we wanted to put a level on ‘em—no doming or deflating) and were the most brownie batter-like in their final flavor. The butter gave them more of a standout sweet-to-salty ratio, making ‘em reviewers’ favorite batch overall.

how to make box brownies fudgy egg
CANDACE DAVISON

3. Using Two Egg Yolks Instead of a Whole Egg

Why People Recommend It: A whopping 99 percent of an egg’s fat is in the yolk, so if you want a fudgier brownie, it makes sense you’d want to get the most fat possible from an egg.

The Verdict: This technique yielded the densest, chewiest brownies. If you’re looking for a hearty brownie you can really sink your teeth into, try this hack.

The Winner: The melted butter hack was testers’ overall favorite, in terms of how fudgy it tasted and its overall depth of flavor. However, by day three, people preferred how gooey the milk-based brownies were.

Naturally, this posed the question: If you want the absolute fudgiest brownies ever, why not do all three? Or a combination of two? You certainly could, but in the interests of preserving our arteries—particularly after seeing the grease stains the “hacked” brownies left on a sheet of paper, post-tasting—we decided to stick to one. But don’t let us hold you back—live your fudgin’ best life, friends.

RELATED: The Secret Ingredient That Makes Boxed Brownies Taste Made from Scratch

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