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Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies

Want a big-time chocolate experience? You’ve got to try these Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies. They’re amazingly fudgy, dense, and rich!

dark cocoa powder brownies piled on a white plate

Easy Cocoa Powder Brownies

I’ve made countless batches of homemade brownies over the years, which is evidenced by the sheer size of the brownies section of my Recipe Index. I rarely meet a brownie I don’t like, and my tastes for them are all over the place. Whether they’re cakey or fudgy, plain or with nuts, or anything in between, I’m likely to devour it with pleasure.

These Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies are at the far end of a few brownie-related spectrums. Fudgy? Most definitely. Dense? Yep. Rich? Oh, yeah. If that sounds like brownie perfection to you, then get ready to get baking.

Using cocoa powder in brownies adds plenty of chocolate flavor while keeping the brownies dense and fudgy. Plus, you don’t have to melt chocolate, so you can get these mixed and in the oven quicker and easier.

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three cocoa powder brownies stacked on a plate

What You’ll Need

See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions. Here are some notes about the ingredients you’ll need to make these cocoa powder brownies.

  • All-purpose flour – Measure by weight or use the spoon and sweep method for best results. (See my tips section below for more info.)
  • Dark cocoa powder – See my note below about cocoa powder.
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – After melting the butter for these brownies, let it cool for a few minutes so it’s still warm but not hot.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs – Set these out to come to room temperature for easier mixing.
  • Vanilla extract

What is Dark Cocoa Powder?

Dark cocoa powder is made by treating cocoa beans with an alkalizing agent, which neutralizes the natural acidity of the cocoa. This process results in a darker color and a milder, less bitter flavor compared to natural cocoa powder.

If you take that treatment a step further, you get black cocoa powder. It has a very dark, almost black color and a strong, deep flavor.

I like to use dark cocoa powder for richness and color in these brownies. As you can see in these photos, that dark cocoa makes these brownies super dark. It also adds a deeper chocolate flavor that’s sure to hit the spot for you dark chocolate fans. If you like, you can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder for a lighter color and less intense flavor. Either natural or Dutch process cocoa will work for this recipe.

overhead view of cocoa powder brownies piled on a white plate

How to Make Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies

With a short list of ingredients and an easy prep, you’ll have these brownies mixed and baking in short order! Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan, or line the pan with parchment paper and grease the paper and any exposed parts of the inside of the pan.

Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

Mix the wet ingredients. Stir together the melted butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Finish mixing. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three portions, mixing just until combined.

Bake. Spread the brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool. Place the pan on a wire rack, and allow the brownies to cool at least 15 minutes before cutting into bars. The warmer they are, the more likely they are to crumble when cut.

several cocoa powder brownies on a white plate

Tips for Success

I’ve revisited this recipe over the years and found a few things to keep in mind to ensure brownie success!

  • Measure accurately. If you have a kitchen scale, use it. Otherwise, lightly spoon the flour and cocoa powder into a measuring cup and level. Dipping a measuring cup down into a container will inevitably compact the ingredient, giving you more than you need for the recipe. If you need a refresher on measuring accurately, see my tips for How to Measure Flour.
  • Use a high quality dark cocoa. I prefer King Arthur’s dark cocoa powder, linked below the recipe.
  • Don’t over-mix. You’ll lose some of that dense, fudgy texture.
  • Use a light, non-shiny metal pan. A dark pan will bake the brownies faster and you’ll end up with hard, tough brownies, especially around the edges.
  • Don’t over-bake. A pick inserted into the center should have a few moist crumbs attached. If baked too long, the brownies will become tough and dry.
  • Remember that these are dense, fudgy brownies. Don’t expect a light, crumbly brownie like many traditional versions.

Ideas for Variations

For a nutty twist, add about a cup of chopped pecans, walnuts, or other nuts to the batter. You could add the same amount of chocolate chips instead if you like. They’re great in any form, although I really like them just as they are for a full-on chocolate experience.

three cocoa powder brownies stacked on a wooden surface

Serving Suggestions

If you can bear to wait, these Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies are even better the next day after baking. They somehow get even richer and fudgier. I love that they are such an all-out chocolate experience. Smaller than usual brownies may be a good idea here, as these pack a lot of rich flavor. Simply eat them out of hand or top with a little ice cream for an even more decadent dessert!

How to Store

Store the cooled brownies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

For longer storage, you can freeze these brownies. Place them in a freezer-safe container or storage bag. If you like, wrap each brownie in plastic wrap first to make it easy to grab one or two at a time. Properly stored, they should keep in the freezer up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies

Yield 16 2-inch brownies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Satisfy your biggest chocolate cravings with these fudgy, dense, rich Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies.

dark cocoa powder brownies piled on a white plate


  • 1 cup (120g) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (64g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Place the melted butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a spoon, mix until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and stir until well mixed.
  4. Add the flour mixture in three portions, mixing just until the batter is combined.
  5. Transfer the brownie batter to the prepared pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan.
  6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs.
  7. Cool the brownies for at least 15 minutes before cutting into bars.


*Either natural or Dutch process cocoa powder will work. Just be sure to use a good quality cocoa powder. There are several brands of dark cocoa powder available. For these brownies, I used King Arthur Flour's Double Dutch Dark Cocoa.

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    32 Comments on “Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies”

  1. WOW these look luscious!

    • Whattt. How come everyone else’s is dry? Mine was too moist and fudgy. Like I get that’s the point, but last time I made brownies using this recipe, the fudginess and the driness were balanced enough that I was happy. What did I do differently?? 😭

      • Hi, Cade. I made some adjustments to the recipe earlier this year (see the notes above the recipe). If you made them successfully before then, you might try decreasing the sugar by about 1/4 cup.

  2. Can I make these vegan?

    • Hi, June. I don’t have much experience with vegan baking, so I couldn’t say how to do that with any certainty.

    • I’m at high altitude (6000 ft) and I made a huge batch (×3) for a family get together. I noticed when stirring the batter was too dry. I slowly incorporated a half cup of water and an extra tsp of vanilla. It worked out great! Recipes can be finicky if the conditions and ingredients aren’t exactly the same as the Baker who created them. Thank you for posting your recipe! I saved it for the future as my family LOVED it!

  3. Yikes! I did something wrong! 
    They were extremely dry , I tried not to overmix them. Did I over bake them?? The recipe did not call for any liquid . I want to try them again because they sounded so good!! Any suggestions?

    • I’m sorry you had troubles, Amy! Be sure you’re not using too much flour. It’s easy to do if you’re scooping down into the flour container. If you want a quick reminder of how best to measure flour, see my post How to Measure Flour.

    • Mine also came out a bit drier than I expected, but I just took it as an excuse to pour some coffee in the batter. Coffee makes everything better. 😁 (I suppose you could also use water or milk.)

  4. When I saw these I knew I had to make them. I read the comment about them being too dry so I used just half a cup of flour. They were not moist; I should have underbaked  a little. There was not enough chocolate flavor. I used Hershey ‘s special dark cocoa. Maybe another brand would have a stronger flavor. They are extremely easy to make.

  5. Just made these and this time I was smart and doubled the recipe! These brownies are amazing!! Moist and delicious!! Your recipes never disappoint!!

  6. The BEST BROWNIES!!! I didn’t have an 8×8 so I doubled the recipe and put them in a 9×13 and OMG they came out so fudgy and dense and DELICIOUS!!! This is my first time buying dark cocoa powder and I definitely will again!!!

  7. Delicious! The batter was very thick so I added one egg. The next time I’ll add dark chocolate chips to the batter before baking, yum.

  8. All I can say is outstanding!

  9. Wow! This brownies were really easy to make and they came out really well except the fact that they stuck to the pan but they still came out delicious and just like the picture.

  10. can I use vegetable oil instead of butter?

  11. Wow, they were wonderful. I just cut them, and of course had to make sure they were ok. The corner pieces are my favorite, and they were crunchy and chewy. My new favorite brownie recipe. Maybe I will whip up some homemade whip cream to top them off for desert tonight.

  12. Hello…do you think that I could swirl in some marshmallow fluff or mini marshmallows?

    I really enjoy your recipes!

    • I’ve not tried that with this recipe, so I can’t say for sure how well it would work. You could likely swirl a small amount of marshmallow fluff or try to stir a handful of mini marshmallows into the batter.

  13. Excellent recipe! Super fudgy moist brownies! I followed the recipe as written and I wouldn’t change a thing. So east to whip up any day of the week.

  14. Came back to read some of the comments after baking mine. I tried to double the recipe but ended up with a super dense “brownie”, then I saw the comment about not adding too much flour. Will definitely try again with less flour. Would baking powder or baking soda help prevent the brownie becoming too dense?

    • Hi, Winnie! Brownies generally don’t need baking powder or baking soda, as they add air and volume which take away from the desired texture. I suggest taking care measuring your ingredients (using a scale if you have one) and be sure not to over-bake. The type of cocoa powder you’re using can have an effect, too. If you feel as though you’re measuring correctly and want to use the same cocoa powder, you might try adding just a bit more butter or a splash of water or milk. Also, keep in mind that doubling a recipe isn’t always as simple as doubling the ingredients. I’ve not tried doubling this recipe, so I don’t know for sure that it would need some tweaking but it is possible.

  15. I use cup for cup gluten-free flour. Also I subbed the butter for plant butter and they look amazing. I’m waiting for them to cool so I can taste it. Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum.

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