These small batch brownies are magnificently fudgy, chewy, and chocolatey and are among the best we’ve tried. Which makes them beyond tempting. Because they’re baked in a loaf pan, they make half the servings of a regular recipe. Just enough to share with those you love, with none left over to tempt you the rest of the week.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

It was impossible for our testers not to rave about these brownies. They loved the chewy, fudgy centers and “nice crisp top.” They were also delighted that they were easy to make and could be served with or without the luscious chocolate frosting.

Monica M. had this to say about these fudgy brownies: “Really, they rank number one among the brownie recipes I’ve tried—and I’ve tried my fair amount of homemade brownies.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Unsalted butter–If you need to substitute salted butter, omit the 1/4 teaspoon of salt called for in the recipe.
  • Cocoa powder–You can use any type of cocoa powder for these brownies, but choose a quality brand, as it adds all of the chocolate flavors to these brownies.
  • Frosting–The author says the frosting is optional…but is it really? If you use it (and please do), be sure to completely cool the brownies before frosting them.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Microwave the butter, cocoa, and sugar until the butter is melted. Stir in the remaining ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.
  3. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake until the surface appears dry. Cool completely before frosting or serving.
  4. Make the frosting (optional). Mix the frosting ingredients together until smooth, adding just enough milk or cream to make it spreadable. Frost the brownies.

Common Questions

What makes brownies fudgy?

The best way to ensure that the brownies you’re making will be fudgy is to look at the fat-to-flour ratio. You want the weight of each to be at least even (1:1). The more fat, the fudgier your brownies.

Baking the brownies for the minimum amount of time is essential. Although the recipe says to leave them in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, I usually start checking mine after 25 minutes.  Overbaking is the enemy of fudginess.

How can I make these without a microwave?

If you don’t have a microwave, combine the butter, cocoa, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, and stir until the butter is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, and proceed with the recipe.

Helpful Tips

  • Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • If you use an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan instead of a 9-by-5-inch pan, the cooking time will increase by a few minutes.
  • Cool your brownies completely before frosting or cutting.

More Great Brownie Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Thank you for posting this recipe. I love a quick one bowl treat. There are just two of us so l like a small batch bake. They are really fast to put together and are wonderfully fudgy.

A parchment lined loaf pan filled with partially frosted small batch brownies and a wire whisk on the side.

Small Batch Brownies

5 / 4 votes
These small batch brownies are made from scratch and baked in a loaf pan, which means they make just enough for two so you don’t have an entire baking pan of brownies sitting around all week tempting you. You’re welcome.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories651 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours


For the small batch brownies

  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the frosting (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons milk or cream


Make the small batch brownies

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C) and line a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, cocoa powder, and sugar and microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Stir and return the bowl to the microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir again. If the butter isn’t mostly melted, microwave it for another 15 to 30 seconds. Let the mixture cool for 1 minute.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: You can instead melt the butter, cocoa powder, and sugar mixture, in a medium saucepan over low heat and remove it from the heat to cool slightly.

  • Stir in the vanilla and salt. Then stir in the egg. Add the flour and stir vigorously for about 1 minute, or 50 strokes, until the batter is very thick and smooth and more like a paste than a typical batter.
  • Scrape the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The surface should appear dry and be starting to crack. Don’t overbake the brownies or the inside won’t be fudgy.
  • Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before frosting, if desired, about 45 minutes.

Frost the brownies (optional)

  • In a bowl with a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, cocoa powder, and confectioners’ sugar until thick and creamy, adding as much milk or cream as needed to make the frosting spreadable.


  1. Storage–Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
  2. Pan size–If you use an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan instead of a 9-by-5-inch pan, the cooking time will increase by a few minutes.
  3. Cool completely–Cool your brownies completely before frosting or cutting.
Sweet & Simple Cookbook

Adapted From

Sweet & Simple

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 651 kcalCarbohydrates: 88 gProtein: 6 gFat: 35 gSaturated Fat: 21 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 130 mgSodium: 173 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 68 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 Christina Lane. Photo © 2017 Christina Lane. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I enjoyed the ease of whipping up this rich and quick small-batch brownie recipe in a loaf pan. I’d say this recipe is definitely more chewy than fudgy. I could take or leave the frosting—this is a sweet enough dessert without it, but certainly no one is going to complain about chocolate frosting!

I think 30 minutes of baking time would give that perfect balance of a slight crust on top and a moist chewiness on the bottom. I was almost there—the very edges of the brownies might have gotten a little more done than I would prefer, but even having baked it for 32 minutes, there was still a lot of chewiness there.

I might like more of a pourable frosting or ganache that’s bittersweet just because of how sweet the brownies already are. I think using a nicer cocoa powder in the batter here really makes a difference.

I made the frosting in a mixer with the paddle. I cut the butter into 6 pieces and first beat in the cocoa powder starting on medium speed for about 30 seconds so that the cocoa wouldn’t fly around, and then turning it up to medium-high for another 1 1/2 minutes, until the butter was no longer in pieces and the mixture was pretty smooth. Then I added the confectioner’s sugar and milk, beating another 30 to 45 seconds.

I finished the frosting by hand, stirring with my spatula, and added about another 1/2 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar just to smooth it out a bit.

These small-batch brownies were fudgy and delicious! Really, they rank number one among the brownie recipes I’ve tried—and I’ve tried my fair amount of homemade brownies. These were very good and fudgy (not cake-like).

It made nearly the same amount of batter my normal recipe makes but put into a loaf pan instead of a 9-by-9-inch baking pan. An excellent brownie recipe. I think the brownies could have gone without the frosting, though I liked it, for sure.

These small batch brownies were delicious and very easy to make. They reminded me of the iced brownies you can buy in many bakeries in the New York and New Jersey area. They’re chewy and fudgy inside with a nice crisp top. Although the brownies are fine on their own, the frosting turns them into a more luscious treat.

I cut the brownies into eight large squares. They should be kept in the refrigerator, otherwise the frosting will get too soft. And they’re good straight out of the fridge, too!

Next time I would add about 1/4 cup of toasted, chopped walnuts. I think this would add texture and cut the sweetness.

These small batch brownies are good. They’re fudgy and easy to throw together. I would suggest adding them to your arsenal of brownie recipes.

I didn’t think the brownies needed the frosting. My taster disagreed.

Like any other brownies, these would be great with all sorts of toppings and additions. I like to think of a basic brownie as a blank canvas. I love being able to make small batches of sweets, and I would love to see this made even smaller.

The parchment paper kept the brownies from sticking and made for a simple and clean removal from the pan.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Question!! Now, why do some recipes like yours use only cocoa powder, while others use both cocoa powder and chocolate? Though I don’t necessarily want to be a pastry chef, I am interested in learning more about baking, as well as confections (particularly the world of chocolate, have gotten MUCH better with tempering just following some Callebaut/Cacao Barry chefs)… I also am trying to learn the science, so I can be a better baker and better at chocolate making (like bon bons, pralines, truffles, etc).

    Thanks so much!! LOVE your site and ESPECIALLY your Portuguese recipes (I’m Portuguese). I was excited to see your Portuguese spice mix in Portugalia Marketplace when I last visited my father’s cousin in Somerset/Fall River!

    1. Denise, thanks for the kind words!! I hope you try the spice mix. It’s really something!!!

      So, regarding cocoa powder and chocolate:

      Cocoa powder is made by removing the cocoa solids from roasted cocoa beans, and it’s great for lending chocolate flavor to your bakes. It’s also lower in fat and sugar than chocolate, so it’s perfect for when you want a wicked chocolate taste without too much sweetness or fat.

      Chocolate, on the other hand, has both cocoa solids and cocoa butter, as well as sugar, and it can be used to add flavor and texture. Chocolate can make your treats richer and creamier and give them a smoother texture.

      Make sense?

      1. I see and yes, that makes sense! Thank you! I was just curious why some pastry chefs’ recipes used only cocoa powder, while others used the combination of both powder and chocolate. Very helpful.

        As for the spice mix, I will definitely get it on my next venture to Portugalia!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for posting this recipe. I love a quick one bowl treat. There are just two of us so l like a small batch bake. They are really fast to put together and are wonderfully fudgy.

    1. You’re welcome, Terri! Thank you for taking the time to let us know how much you enjoy it.

  3. 5 stars
    There are many reasons to love these brownies. They use pantry staples and whip up in minutes with minimum cleanup. Since I live in a 2-person household, I also appreciate when a recipe doesn’t make a ton of delectably sweet nosh, because this girl has been known to put away more than her share of brownies, cake, tortes, cupcakes, custard, cheesecake, ice cream … I digress. Many thanks for the simple, delicious recipe that won’t slay my waistline!

    1. I understand completely, Kristen. Those sweet offerings just seem to call your name and taunt you every time you walk past.

      1. Just a quick question : I have a loaf pan and I’m not sure how to measure it. is the 9 x 5 the entire length and width of the pan or just the length and width of the bottom. Thanks.

        1. Jenny, to measure your loaf pan, measure from the top, but only from the inside edge to the opposite inside edge.

          1. Perfect. You’ll see some slight variation, but most will be roughly 9-by-5 or 8 1/2-by-4 1/2.

        2. Measure your outstretched hand. Mine is 8 1/half inches but 8 if I relax it slightly. I learned this in culinary school and it has served me well forever, buying furniture etc. and importantly, baking pans.