Why go to Starbucks for your brownie fix when you can make these gooey, chocolatey espresso brownies from the comfort of your own kitchen in no time? Ready in under an hour, these easy espresso brownies combine dark chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and two types of sugar to create a decadent chocolate dessert with a rich coffee flavor that tastes amazing and smells incredible!
📖 What is espresso powder?
Espresso powder is an intense, flavorful, dark-roasted powder made from ground, brewed espresso beans that have been dried, then ground again. It is much more concentrated than instant coffee powder and is a common ingredient in baked chocolate recipes and savory dishes. While the appearance of espresso powder is similar to finely ground coffee beans, it has a much finer, softer texture and easily dissolves in liquid.
📖 What does espresso powder do to brownies?
When added to brownie batter in smaller amounts, espresso powder enhances the chocolate flavor without adding a mocha coffee taste. Because it is highly concentrated, only a tiny amount is needed to make a big difference.
When added in a bigger amount, like in this recipe, it turns the brownies into the most amazing chocolate brownies with delicate coffee flavor!
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- It is the most delicious - This espresso brownies recipe uses the highest quality ingredients to give a deep, natural, rich chocolate flavor. I eliminate the baking powder to create the perfect fudgy texture. You may just love them more than the espresso chocolate brownies at Starbucks!
- It is easy to make - This recipe is easy to follow, quick to make, and uses equipment and ingredients that are likely already in your kitchen.
- It has the best technique - When you follow this recipe as written, you'll end up with mouthwatering brownies crinkly on the top and soft and gooey in the center.
- It is 100% homemade - Everything in this espresso brownie recipe is made from scratch using high-quality ingredients. You won't find boxed brownie mix here!
- It is super versatile - You can easily customize these espresso fudge brownies to fit your tastes and dietary needs.
📝 Ingredient notes
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips - High-quality dark or semi-sweet chocolate (e.g. Callebaut) is necessary for the best taste.
- Unsalted butter - Always use unsalted butter when baking to control the amount of salt in the recipe. Butter with a high-fat content gives the best taste and texture (I recommend 82%). Since you will melt the butter in the recipe, bringing it to room temperature is unnecessary.
- Eggs - The eggs need to be at room temperature before use.
- Sugar - This recipe uses a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar to add sweetness and enhance the overall taste profile.
- Cocoa powder - I recommend Dutch-processed, unsweetened cocoa powder, which is lower in acidity and has a beautiful dark color.
- Espresso powder - Use a powder that has a fine, powder-like texture.
- All-purpose flour - I prefer to use plain, white AP flour. Refer to my flour guide for more information on the different types of flour and how to use them when baking.
- Salt - Salt is a critical ingredient as it helps to balance the sweetness. Do not skip it!
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. Step-by-step process of making espresso brownies
- Preheat the oven to 175 C / 347 F. Do not use a fan.
- Brush the inside of a 7-inch/18 cm square brownie pan with a tiny bit of oil, then line the bottom and side with parchment paper. Set the pan aside.
- Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water heated over low-medium heat.
- Add the room-temperature eggs and white and brown sugar to a second bowl. Use an electric hand mixer to whip the ingredients together until pale, approximately 5-7 minutes.
- Combine the melted butter and chocolate mixture with the egg-sugar mixture and use a rubber spatula to mix the two. Do not use an electric mixer.
- Sift in the flour, salt, espresso powder, and cocoa powder, then fold the mix together with the spatula until well-blended. Do not overmix, as it will increase the air in the brownie batter and result in a cake-like texture.
💡 Top Tip: Use the correct utensils as called for in the recipe to prevent overmixing the batter. For example, do not use an electric hand mixer if the recipe calls for a rubber spatula.
2. How to bake
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared brownie pan, and use an offset spatula to smooth the top.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until the edges become baked and the center looks soft. Do not overbake!
- Keep the brownies in the pan and let them cool completely. Once completely cooled, carefully cut the brownies as desired.
- Store the brownies at room temperature or in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
💡 Top Tip: For soft, gooey brownies, remove the pan from the oven when the edges are baked, and the center is still slightly gooey (not raw). The brownies will set further as it cools down.
✨ Flavor variations
These dark chocolate espresso brownies will already have your mouth watering as-is. However, you can kick this recipe up a notch with the following variations:
More chocolate: Add chocolate chunks or semi-sweet chocolate chips (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate) for even more chocolate flavor, like in my triple chocolate brownies recipe. Butterscotch chips are another delicious addition!
Nuts: Throw almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, or pistachios into the batter for extra crunch. My pecan brownie recipe is a real crowd-pleaser!
Spices: Add a little heat to your brownies with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Or, enhance the flavor with a dash of cinnamon or cardamom.
Fruits: Chopped strawberries, preserved cherries, and raspberries complement chocolate brownies extremely well. See my raspberry brownies recipe for more details. Blueberries and mashed bananas are also delicious fruity additions!
Add toppings and garnishes: Add cream cheese frosting to the top as I do in my brownies with cream cheese frosting recipe. You can also drizzle on homemade caramel or coffee glaze as I do in my cardamom cake. The chocolate glaze from my baked chocolate donuts recipe is the perfect topping to make double chocolate espresso brownies.
Veggie version: Why not try these Zucchini Brownies from Laura?
✨ Dietary substitutes
For a delicious lactose and butter-free dessert option, try my dairy-free brownies. Try one of the many suggestions for egg-free brownies in my egg substitution guide. For gluten-free flour options, see my flour guide.
Whether adding other ingredients to the batter or using a substitute, be mindful of the required quantities, as some ingredients may require adjustments to achieve the desired result.
🎓 Expert tips
- Use a digital scale when measuring the ingredients for the best accuracy and consistency.
- Always preheat your oven for the best results. Use a digital oven thermometer to check the temperature, as oven temperatures can vary by a couple of degrees.
- Espresso powder really does the trick and turns these chocolate brownies into a wonderful coffee flavor. However, if you do not have access to espresso powder, you might be able to use ground coffee or instant coffee but you will want to experiment with the exact amount. Do not use coffee in liquid form as that would mess up the texture of this brownies recipe.
- To prevent the chocolate from burning during the melting process, melt it over a double boiler or microwave. Check my how to melt chocolate chips article for more information.
- For a soft, melt-in-your-mouth brownie texture, consider slightly underbaking the brownies. The brownies will continue to set as they cool.
- Let the brownies cool completely before cutting for the best results. Likewise, wait until they cool completely before applying any frosting. Otherwise, the frosting will melt.
- For more information on the different flour storage solutions and equipment, read my how to store flour guide.
🥣 Equipment Notes
A digital oven thermometer is essential to achieving the right temperature, as some ovens can vary by a few degrees. A digital scale is critical to ensure accurate and consistent ingredient quantities.
You will need an electric hand mixer to mix the eggs and sugar and a rubber spatula to combine the egg-sugar mixture with the melted butter and chocolate. The rubber spatula is also necessary to mix in the dry ingredients.
If you own an air fryer, you could also give these Air Fryer Brownies a try from Erin.
Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for 2-3 days. For more tips on keeping your brownies fresh, refer to my guide on how to store brownies.
To freeze, wrap the brownies tightly in parchment paper and aluminum foil. Place them in a zippered plastic freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to three months. For more information on freezing brownies, read my guide on how to store brownies.
You can use instant coffee (without sugar or milk powder) as an instant espresso powder to make instant espresso brownies. However, because instant coffee is much less concentrated, you may need to adjust the quantity to achieve a similar taste.
You should not use liquid coffee in place of espresso powder. Since it is a liquid and not a solid, the texture will drastically differ from brownies with espresso powder.
You can add coffee grounds to brownies for an extra kick of chocolate espresso flavor. However, you will want to test the exact amount to achieve a pleasant flavor without affecting the soft and chewy texture.
Yes, espresso brownies contain a very small amount of caffeine from the espresso powder. I am only using 2 tablespoons (10g) so each slice has about 1g of espresso powder which is close to nothing.
🍫 More Brownie recipes
- 150 g (¾ cups) Dark Chocolate use high quality chocolate eg. Callebaut
- 150 g (⅔ cups) Unsalted butter
- 3 Eggs room temperature
- 150 g (¾ cups) Granulated sugar
- 150 g (¾ cups) Brown sugar
- 25 g (⅓ cups) Cocoa powder unsweetened Dutch processed
- 10 g (2 tablespoons) Espresso powder
- 70 g (½ cups) All purpose
- ½ teaspoon Salt
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Pre-heat oven to 175 C / 347 F ( no fan)
- Using a 7-inch /18 cm square brownie pan, brush the inside of the cake pan with a tiny bit of oil then use parchment paper on the bottom and side Set it aside.
- Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water over low-medium heat.
- In another bowl, whip together the eggs with sugar with the help of an electric hand mixer until pale, for about 5-7 minutes.
- Pour the melted butter and chocolate mixture into the egg-sugar mixture, and combine with a rubber spatula. Do not use a mixer at this point.
- Sift in flour, salt, espresso powder, and cocoa powder, and fold the mixture together. Do not overmix.
- Pour brownie batter into the prepared 7-inch /18 cm square brownie pan.
- Smooth the top with an offset spatula and bake for 25-30 minutes. The brownie is ready when the edge looks baked and the middle looks slightly gooey but not raw. Do not over-bake! The brownie will set further as it cools.
- Let the brownie cool in the 7-inch /18 cm square brownie pan then carefully cut.
- Store at room temperature or in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Always use unsalted butter in dessert recipes. Make sure you add the salt stated in the recipe as it will balance the sweetness.
- The egg should be used at room temperature.
- Baking powder is intentionally omitted from the recipe, so your Espresso Brownies turn out wonderfully fudge and gooey.
- The quality of the chocolate chips along with the quality of the cocoa powder will define the taste of your brownies, so try to use high-quality ingredients eg. semi sweet chocolate from Lindt or Callebaut and dutched processed cocoa powder.
- Use espresso powder with a fine, powder-like texture. Alternatively, use instant coffee (without sugar or milk powder); however, you might need to adjust the quantity to your taste. Do not use liquid coffee, as that would mess up the texture of the brownies.
- A digital scale is required for a consistent, happy baking experience:)
- Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave so it doesn't burn.
- Always preheat your oven and consider using a digital oven thermometer for the best results.
- Each oven is different, so you might need to adjust the baking time slightly.
- For the best fudge brownie experience, consider slightly underbaking your dessert.
- Do not attempt to cut the brownie bar while it is still hot, as it further sets as it cools.