Be it Betty Crocker, Ghirardelli, or Pillsbury, I only ever have to use (on average) 2-3 eggs, less than a cup of oil, and a bit of water.

Somehow, these people have been able to make it so that these mixes result nearly perfect without so much quantity of "wet" ingredients.

My mind boggles as to how they've achieved this due to the fact that the majority of "from scratch" fudgy brownie recipes I've come across usually call for a lot more with respect to "wet" ingredients.

I've been trying for a while to replicate these fudgy brownies with around the same quantity supplied in the mixes. Since I don't have the exact measurements of each dry ingredient, I had to play around.

My attempts have failed and I don't understand why.

I shouldn't have to use more ingredients for something others have been able to get with less.

Why can they do it?

  • There was an episode on America's Test Kitchen about this. I don't remember which one it is, but it starts with Doc Willoughby doing a taste test against ATK's brownies and boxed mix and people preferring boxed mix. Then, they go into why in the science corner, iirc.
    – Batman
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 2:47
  • See this answer from JoleneAlaska for a summary of that ATK episode.
    – Batman
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 20:21
  • fwiw, i made a 2-year expired box according to directions and they were drier than normal...
    – dandavis
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 0:51
  • @dandavis Why did you bake something that was expired? Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 21:36
  • 1
    @ThatRandomGuy: college.
    – dandavis
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


I've seen an awful lot of from-scratch brownie recipes with 2-3 eggs and a cup or less of butter/oil. I wonder if you're comparing recipes of the same size?

Beyond that, although brownie mixes may look like just dry ingredients, if you look at ingredient labels, they often have oil as an ingredient, so you may not be adding quite all of it yourself. Sometimes they also have emulsifiers that can help out with one of the roles that eggs play. And it's hard to judge from ingredient/nutrition labels, but they often taste very sweet to me, so I wouldn't be surprised if they have a bit higher ratio of sugar and a bit less flour/starch to need to hydrate.

Anyway, if you're trying to replicate, it's probably easier to start from an existing from-scratch recipe and tweak it than it is to copy the wet ingredients and invent the rest yourself. It may be hard to get exactly the same results as you can with a mix that contains a lot of fancy stuff (emulsifiers, different starches, maybe corn syrup...), though.

  • Somehow the quantified end result escaped me during my testing. That's a good point. I'll have to see what I can do. I agree, I'll have to use an existing recipe to modify. I have one in mind. I suppose the ingredients through me off, but as you pointed out, it's probably 'cause the recipe made more than what I had planned.... thanks! Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 16:19
  • I will accept your answer within the following days. I'd like to see if anyone else will have a jab at it. Considering the responses I usually get, I doubt it. However, I'm feeling nice today. Cheers! Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 16:21
  • @ThatRandomGuy I'm all for getting more answers, though I'm not sure that "Considering the responses I usually get, I doubt it." comes across as particularly nice to people considering adding answers.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 16:33
  • Allow me to clarify: I don't normally get many replies. I normally like giving others a shot in case others feel like sharing... but overall, I think the answer you've provided has sorted out my confusion. Have a good one! Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 2:19

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