These small batch brownies are moist, fudgy, and super decadent! Baked in a loaf pan, they have shiny crinkled tops, crisp and chewy edges, and gooey centers loaded with chocolate chunks. This recipe makes 8 brownies, ensuring that none of them will go to waste!
If you couldn't tell, I'm a brownie lover. The way to my heart is with a fudgy brownie with an ooey-gooey, chocolatey center. However, sometimes I can't finish a whole pan and my leftover brownies tragically go to waste. If you have the same problem, let me introduce you to small batch brownies.
This recipe is a variation on my olive oil brownies, ganache brownies, and almond brownies but without the olive oil or almonds, made as a small batch in a loaf pan! The batch size of 8 is perfect for someone living alone, with their partner, or with a couple of roommates.
These brownies are made with melted chocolate and cocoa powder, which makes them ultra rich and fudgy. The fat in both the oil and melted chocolate helps them stay soft for days!
If you want to make more small batch recipes, try my small batch oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, small batch banana muffins, small batch vanilla cupcakes, small batch blueberry muffins, or mini flourless chocolate cake next.
Here are some notes about the ingredients used. For quantities and full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Chocolate- Use high quality bittersweet or dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa solids. If you use chocolate with a lower percentage of cocoa solids, the brownies will have too much sugar and won't set up properly. You can use a chopped chocolate bar from brands like Guittard or Ghirardelli; avoid chocolate chips since they don't melt very well.
- Oil- Making brownies with oil instead of butter makes them ultra fudgy and moist. Any mild tasting oil works, like grapeseed, avocado, canola, or vegetable oil.
- Granulated sugar- Granulated white sugar adds sweetness while letting the chocolate flavor shine. Caster sugar and cane sugar work as substitutes.
- Brown sugar- A little brown sugar adds moisture and a deep flavor. Use light or dark brown sugar depending on your preference; dark brown sugar will have a pronounced molasses flavor. Make sure it's moist and fresh, not dry.
- Eggs- Two eggs bind the ingredients together and add a bit of lift since brownies are made without leaveners (like baking powder or baking soda). They should be at room temperature so they mix into the batter evenly. Take them out of the refrigerator about an hour before you start baking.
- Vanilla extract- This rounds out the flavor profile. Any type of pure vanilla extract is what I prefer, but imitation vanilla can be used too.
- All purpose flour- This kind of flour gives the brownies the best fudgy yet hearty texture. Make sure to measure it correctly with a kitchen scale to prevent dryness.
- Cocoa powder- Use dutch-processed cocoa powder. Dutch processed cocoa is treated with an alkalizing agent, which makes the cocoa less acidic. This gives it a deeper color and flavor than natural cocoa powder.
- Sea salt- Salt is needed in baked goods to balance sweetness and add a bit more oomph.
- Chocolate chips- These are folded into the batter for an extra chocolatey boost! You can use extra chopped chocolate instead if needed. Semi-sweet, bittersweet, or dark chocolate chips all work.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla bean paste can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio.
- All purpose flour: Gluten free all purpose flour can be substituted if you need! My favorite is Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.
- Sea salt: Fine Kosher salt or pink Himalayan salt can be substituted. Add an additional ¼ teaspoon if your salt isn't finely ground.
Helpful Equipment and Tools
- 9x5" aluminum loaf pan. I always recommend metal pans instead of glass because metal conducts heat better, making the food inside cook more evenly. Do not use a silicone pan because the brownies will burn.
- Parchment paper
- 2 microwave safe mixing bowls.
- Electric hand mixer. You can use a whisk but your wrist might get a little tired from all the mixing!
Step by Step Instructions
Here's how to make a small batch of brownies! Before you start baking, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and line a 1-pound, 9x5" loaf pan with parchment paper.
STEP 1: First, melt the chopped chocolate in the microwave in a heatproof bowl. Mix with a spoon or fork every 15 seconds or so so it doesn't burn. When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, mix in the oil and set aside to cool slightly.
STEP 2: In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer. Do this on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is thick and pale in color.
STEP 3: While mixing the whipped eggs and sugar, stream the chocolate-oil mixture into the bowl. Continue whisking until the batter is homogenous.
STEP 4: Stop your mixer and add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients in with a rubber spatula until no dry streaks of flour remain. After that, fold in the chocolate chips.
STEP 5: Spread the brownie batter into your lined baking pan and top with additional chocolate chunks. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with sticky, moist crumbs, but not wet batter.
STEP 6: Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool for 30-60 minutes in the pan. Slice, add a pinch of flaky salt or a dusting of powdered sugar on top, and enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Mix the eggs and sugar well. Vigorously beating the eggs and sugar creates a shiny, crinkled top and causes the sugar to dissolve in the water within the eggs. This keeps the sugar in syrup form so that it holds and retains moisture, creating a fudgy brownie. The sugar has to dissolve in the eggs, NOT in the melted chocolate or oil because sugar won't dissolve in fat.
- Don't use baking powder or baking soda. Leaveners like baking powder or baking soda release air bubbles that can make brownies seem cakey or dry.
- Measure the flour correctly. Too much flour leads to tough, dry brownies. Make sure to weigh it in grams with a food scale. If you don't have one, use the spoon and sweep method where you fluff up the flour, gently scoop it into your measuring cup, and swipe off the excess with a knife.
- Don't overbake! A toothpick should come out with just a few moist crumbs attached. If it comes out clean, the brownies might be a little dry. If the toothpick comes out with wet batter, they aren't ready yet. If the toothpick has a few sticky crumbs on it, they're perfect! Once the brownies cool they will be deliciously fudgy. Start checking for doneness after 18 minutes.
Additions and Variations
One of the things I love most about brownies is that you can customize them in so many unique ways! Here are some ideas:
- Mix in ¼ cup chopped nuts like pecans, walnuts, or almonds.
- Swirl ⅓ cup of peanut butter or Nutella on top before baking. With peanut butter, they taste kind of like my peanut butter marshmallow squares!
- Fold in leftover candy like M&Ms, chopped Reese's cups, or a chopped Snicker's bar.
- Spread some cream cheese frosting on top.
- Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and drizzle with hot fudge.
- Use as a cheesecake crust like this raspberry brownie cheesecake.
Storage and Freezing
Store leftover brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. I don't recommend refrigerating brownies since they can dry out in a low-humidity environment like the fridge. Reheat them in the microwave for 10 seconds for a freshly baked feel.
Slice the brownies and place sheets of parchment or wax paper between each one so they don't stick together. Place them in an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. When you're ready to enjoy, let them thaw on the counter for 3-4 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
I recommend using a 9x5 inch loaf pan. You can use an 8x4 inch loaf pan but the brownies will be a little thicker and take about 2-3 minutes longer to bake. I don't recommend any other pan shapes for this recipe. Also make sure to use a metal pan. A glass pan won't heat evenly and the brownies will burn if you use a silicone pan.
I don't recommend using regular unsweetened (or natural) cocoa powder, but it works in a pinch. The color and chocolate flavor won't be as deep as with dutch-processed cocoa powder.
Yes! This recipe makes 8 brownies but can easily be doubled to make 16. Make sure to use an 8x8" or 9x9" square baking pan instead of a loaf pan if you double it.
More Brownies and Bars to Try
Small Batch Brownies
- 1 9x5" loaf pan 1-pound capacity
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a 9x5" 1 pound loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave. Mix every 15 seconds so it doesn't burn.½ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
- When the chocolate is melted, whisk in the oil and set aside to cool.¼ cup vegetable oil
- In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer on medium high until thick and pale.2 large eggs, ½ cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Stream the chocolate-oil mixture into whipped egg mixture. Beat until well-combined.
- Gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt until no dry streaks of four remain. Then fold in the chocolate chips.⅝ cup all purpose flour, ¼ cup dutch-processed cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, ½ cup chocolate chips
- Spread the batter into the lined loaf pan and top with additional chocolate if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with sticky, moist crumbs.
- Let the brownies cool for 30-60 minutes in the pan. Slice and enjoy!
- Beat the eggs and sugar well to get fudgy brownies with a crinkly top.
- Don't overbake! A toothpick should come out with just a few moist crumbs attached. If it comes out clean, the brownies might be a little dry. If it comes out with wet batter, they aren't ready yet. If it has a few sticky crumbs on it, they're perfect!