Vegan brownies from box mix is easy. I’ll show you how to do it, why your past attempts failed, and how to get perfect egg and dairy-free brownies every time.
It seems most attempts I see from folks trying to make vegan brownies from boxed mixes are total fails.
The problem is that most folks think that they can easily sub out the eggs perfectly for a vegan alternative – one to one. That’s not the case when it comes to brownies, but it’s an easy thing to fix!
How your vegan brownies from box mix failed
Double, double toil and trouble,
Edges burn and batter bubble..
If you have tried, and failed to make vegan brownies from a box mix, my guess is that either one of two (or possibly both) things happened:
1. You baked a pretty darn realistic recreation of the La Brea Tar Pits
I have seen hundreds of posts on social media of brownies just like these.
“Please help! My boxed brownies look like molten tar boiling away in my dish. What did I do wrong??”
“What happened to my brownies?? I subbed the eggs and measured perfectly – the batter looked great but now it looks like burnt death!”
Videos of boiling asphalt in people’s ovens make me sad. Yes, they’re a little entertaining. But also sad.
2. You baked a giant, greasy, quadrilateral hockey puck.
These brownies are really good for self defense. Not so good for dessert. And honestly, they’re probably really, really terrible for actual hockey.
Hockey Puck Brownies usually start as Tar Pit Brownies, and once they’re allowed to cool they become harder than stone. You practically need a chisel to get them out of the pan!
There are other ways veganized box mix brownies fail too, of course – but these two classes of spectacular disasters account for 99.9% of the cries for help I witness.
Why your vegan boxed brownies failed
Yes, I know. You measured perfectly.
Maybe you even used a scale and got it down to the very gram. You probably did.
Whether you used applesauce, bananas, a can of soda, a commercial egg replacer, or flax or chia – I believe you. You measured right.
That’s the problem.
Most boxes of brownie mix require two eggs and around 2/3c to a full cup of oil.
Eggs absorb oil. Your vegan replacement doesn’t.
It’s as simple as that, really. You’re using too much oil.
Whether you’re using fruit or veggie puree or a starch slurry or a gloopy flax egg – if you’re not reducing the amount of oil it’s too much.
You are deep frying your brownie batter in the worst, least appetizing, least edible way possible.
What do you need to make the best vegan boxed brownies ever?
So this really depends on what kind of brownies you like.
Either you like gooey, delicious, rich, chocolatey, fudgy brownies..
You’re wrong. #sorrynotsorry
(if you prefer cakey brownies, may I interest you in my chocolate whacky cake recipe that would make a perfect replacement if you baked it in a shallow pan)
I shall teach you to make the best fudgy veganized box brownies you’ve ever seen or tasted.
*These are not a health food. These are not superfoods. These are not enhanced with healthy things for the sake of healthiness. These are decadent, rich, wonderful morsels of blissful joy that are meant to be enjoyed occasionally as a treat.
**I won’t judge you if you eat the whole pan, though.
Choose your box
Honestly, I grab the cheapest one that says ‘fudge brownie’ on the box. It’s usually my store’s budget brand – Hill Country Fare. It’s delicious and it works.
Check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain eggs or milk – most don’t unless they’re labeled as milk chocolate – but still check! EVERY TIME.
I’ve never, ever seen a brownie mix with gelatin or lard or any other animal product besides milk in it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist though.
CHECK. THE. INGREDIENTS. EVERY. TIME.
Check what ingredients you need to add to it.
It should just be two eggs, oil, and either water or milk. If it requires anything fancier than that, find a simpler one.
Choose your egg replacer
I have tried so many. So so so many. The best one you can grab at any grocery store is ground flax seed.
Get it in either the baking aisle or the supplement aisle with the laxatives. Yup. It does that. Yay fiber!
Can’t do flax? Use ground chia seeds instead!
Choose and reduce your oil
Any oil with a high smoking point will work here. These include vegetable oil, soy oil, canola oil, avocado oil, and grape seed oil.
Olive oil and coconut oil can both start to burn, but might not so it’s up to you. I recommend against them in boxed brownies, though.
My personal favorite? Melted butter. Yes, you read that right. I use Country Crock Plant Butter sticks and oh man do they put these brownies over the top! SO GOOD. (no this isn’t a sponsored post, I just really honestly love them)
NOW THE REALLY SUPER IMPORTANT PART: REDUCE YOUR OIL BY HALF THE AMOUNT THE BOX CALLS FOR
My box calls for 2/3c of oil. So how much do I need? 1/3c. Thank you for coming to today’s lesson on fractions.
(For oil free brownies, replace the oil with applesauce or another fruit/veggie puree. They won’t be the most perfect fudgy, crinkly-topped, amazing brownies ever – but they’ll still be yummy)
What kind of liquid do I use?
Really. Coffee. It’s honestly the best choice here, because the coffee brings out the richness of the chocolate.
If you don’t want to use coffee, just use some other unsweetened liquid. Water, tea, and milk are all great choices. Just make sure that they’re room temp when you add them!
What to do with the liquid?
If you try to make your vegan boxed brownies with flax eggs, half the amount of oil, and the perfect amount of liquid – you’re in for a bad time.
The oil we’ve taken out of the equation needs to get replaced with another liquid otherwise your batter will be way too thick.
So easy math here: use the entire amount of liquid the box calls for, PLUS however much oil you left out. For my box, That meant 3/4c of liquid PLUS another 1/3c to make up for the oil I left out. So a total of 3/4c + 1/3c of liquid.
What equipment do I need?
You’re going to need:
medium or large mixing bowl
an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan
parchment paper or baking spray
How do you actually make the brownies?
You’re going to follow the instructions on the box, just using your replacements. 🙂
If you want to be like me though, this is how I do it:
1. Preheat your oven according to your box instructions.
2. Pour out the contents of the box into a medium or large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to stir it around a bit to make sure there’s nothing wrong with it (like weevils or foreign objects or whatever). Just trust me.
3. If your mix looks good, make each “egg” by mixing one tablespoon of ground flax with 2.5 tablespoons of warm water. Leave it to sit while you..
4. Melt your butter. I do it in the microwave on high for 20 seconds and stir.
5. Line your baking pan with parchment paper or give it a spritz with nonstick cooking spray. I prefer parchment because the spray and I have trust issues.
6. Use your whisk to combine all the ingredients just until they’re combined. DO NOT OVERMIX YOUR BATTER.
7. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake according to the box instructions. But, because you have trust issues, check it 15 minutes early with a toothpick.
8. Pull it out once it’s done and let it cool.
LET. IT. COOL.
STEP AWAY FROM THE BROWNIES.
Ok but for real, I won’t judge you if you dig in right away. With a spoon. And a big ole scoop of vegan vanilla bean ice cream on top.
9. Once the brownies are cool, slice and enjoy!!
Wait, hold on. How do I check if my brownies are done with a toothpick?!
Insert a toothpick into the middle of your brownies. If it comes out dyed brown, they’re not done yet. If it comes out with some crumbs on it, they’re perfect.
If it comes out dry.. You’ve overbaked your brownies. I’m so sorry. This is what you want to do if you want “cakey” brownies, though. So take solace in knowing some people prefer them this way.
Can I do this with gluten free box brownie mix?
Yes, you can! I recommend that you make superflax eggs for gluten-free, though. To do that, use aquafaba instead of water in your flax.
How do I store these brownies?
In your belly and the bellies of your loved ones.
Other than that, they will do well in a covered container at room temp for 2-3 days or well-wrapped in the freezer for about three months.
What can I do to spice these brownies up?
Soooo many things!
Sprinkle with course sea salt
Swirl in some melted peanut butter
Add chocolate chips
Stir in your favorite vegan candy
Sprinkle with colorful sprinkles
Mix in chopped nuts, peanuts, or seeds
Swirls of caramel
Swirls of cream cheese
Top with granola
Add cayenne and cinnamon for Mexican hot chocolate flavor
Add Dandies marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs for s’mores brownies
Drizzle royal icing and scatter crushed candy canes on top for holiday brownies
How do I make them if I don’t want to use a box mix?
Check out some of these awesome from-scratch recipes from my friends!
Chocolate Chip Brownies from Sara Kidd
Tahini Hazlenut Brownies also by Sara Kidd
Very Fudgy Chocolate Chip Brownies by Fran Costigan