Cake Mix Brownies

A shortcut ingredient makes chewy, fudgy brownies.

Southern Living Cake Mix Brownies on plate with a fork

Hannah Zimmerman

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

If you are looking for a simple, decadent brownie recipe, the answer is as simple as using a box of cake mix.

This cake mix brownies recipe quickly transforms a standard chocolate cake mix into a batch of delicious, fudgy brownies in no time. This no-hassle recipe will satisfy those chocolate cravings and is a great recipe when you need a dessert fast.

What Are Cake Mix Brownies? 

Cake mix brownies turn a standard store-bought chocolate cake mix into delectable brownies in about 30 minutes from start to finish. With a few extra ingredients commonly found in most kitchens, this recipe transforms a regular box of chocolate cake mix into a quick decadent dessert.

What is the difference between a cake mix and a brownie mix?

If you look at the back of the box of store-bought cake and brownie mixes, you will see many of the same ingredients. The main differences are that cake mixes tend to have more leaving agents and less sugar, whereas brownie mixes tend to be sweeter and have additional fat added.

Those store-bought mixes aim to make a cake soft and fluffy and brownies denser and chewier. Luckily, adjusting a cake mix into brownies is quick and easy.

The Ingredients for Cake Mix Brownies

The ingredients for cake mix brownies are simple:

  • one box of chocolate cake mix
  • eggs
  • sour cream
  • chocolate chips
  • a small amount of coffee (optional)
ingredients for cake mix brownies - southern living

Hannah Zimmerman

The sour cream adds extra creaminess and richness to the batter without the addition of vegetable oil, and the chocolate chips add a more pronounced chocolate flavor and additional sweetness.

If you decide to use the optional addition of coffee, the coffee flavor will help enhance the rich chocolate flavor without adding any prominent coffee taste.

How To Make Cake Mix Brownies

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine your chocolate cake mix, sour cream, eggs, and coffee (if using) in a large bowl. Stir this mixture with a rubber spatula until the batter comes together. Keep in mind that the batter will be thick. Add chocolate chips to this mix, and fold them into the batter.

Step 2: Spray an 8” x 8“ baking dish (or line with parchment paper), and add the brownie mixture. Use your spatula to spread the mix evenly in the baking dish. 

Because this batter is thick, a helpful trick is to spray your rubber spatula with pan spray before spreading the batter in your baking dish. It will help spread the batter quickly and easily without the thick batter sticking to the spatula.

Step 3: Bake brownies for about 20 to 25 minutes, though the bake time will depend on your preference of brownie texture: If you bake these brownies for less time, you will have more dense, gooey brownies, and the more time you add to the baking will result in a lighter, fluffier texture.  

Substitutions for This Cake Mix Brownies Recipe

This recipe works well with any brand of chocolate cake mix, though this recipe was developed using Pillsbury Moist Supreme Chocolate Cake Mix.

Some other alterations to this recipe could include:

  • substituting Greek yogurt instead of sour cream
  • adding different types of baking chips instead of chocolate, such as butterscotch chips, a blend of white, milk, and/or or dark chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips
  • folding in or topping the brownies with ½ cup or more of your favorite type of nut for additional flavor and texture

The Best Ways To Serve These Brownies

These brownies are served best with a scoop of ice cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, or some fresh seasonal fruit. They are also excellent as is or with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

How To Store Cake Mix Brownies

These brownies can be kept covered at room temperature for about three days, refrigerated for one week, or frozen in an airtight container for up to three months.

Editorial contributions by Nik Pugmire

Southern Living Cake Mix Brownies cut on parchment paper with a glass of milk

Hannah Zimmerman


  • 1 (15.25 oz.) package chocolate cake mix (such as Pillsbury)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 2 Tbsp. brewed coffee (optional)


  1. Prepare the pan:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8-inch square baking pan with pan spray, or line the baking dish with parchment paper.

    Southern Living Cake Mix Brownies preparing the pan

    Hannah Zimmerman

  2. Make batter:

    In a large bowl, stir together the chocolate cake mix, sour cream, eggs, and coffee (if using) until the mixture is well combined. The batter will be thick.

    Southern Living Cake Mix Brownies mixing the batter

    Hannah Zimmerman

  3. Add chocolate chips:

    Stir chocolate chips into the batter until evenly combined.

    Southern Living Cake Mix Brownies stirring the chocolate chips into the batter

    Hannah Zimmerman

  4. Pour batter into pan:

    Add chocolate mixture to your prepared pan, and smoothe into an even layer.

    Southern Living Cake Mix Brownies spreading batter in pan

    Hannah Zimmerman

  5. Bake brownies:

    Bake 20 to 25 minutes. (The less time you bake, the denser and more fudgy the brownie will be; the more time you bake, the fluffier it will be.) Let brownies cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes before cutting and serving. The brownies might seem underdone when they come out of the oven, but they will set up more as they cool.

    Southern Living Cake Mix Brownies baked in pan

    Hannah Zimmerman

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