Brownies for a Crowd

These brownies for a crowd, made with semisweet chocolate aplenty and eggs, butter, flour, and sugar, are cake-y and rich. The recipe makes plenty. A crowd-pleaser for parties, tailgating, bake sales, and more.

A tray of brownies for a crowd with one brownie missing.

These brownies for a crowd do the near impossible. They tend to satisfy both kinds of brownie people, whether fudgy or cakey. Don’t believe us? Folks are saying these crowd-pleasing brownies are “cakey and chocolatey and everything a brownie should be.” And “a nice balance between a cakey and a fudgy brownie.” Should you fear that creating such a big batch of chocolate sumptuousness to have on hand would lead you straight into temptation and yet you still want to experience brownie bliss for yourself, simply cut the recipe in half following our instructions in the smaller batch variation beneath the recipe. Or, what we prefer, make the big batch and freeze what you dare not keep on the counter for a later brownie craving.–Renee Schettler


To make brownies for a smaller crowd, all you have to do is halve the ingredients and use a smaller pan—9-by-13 inches is perfect. The baking time will remain the same. (But shhhh, don’t tell author Ina Pinkney. We’re fairly certain she never, ever resorted to small-batch baking thanks to her eponymous restaurant that was a Chicago institution for more than two decades where she’s accustomed to making everything large scale. Perhaps it’s time you start thinking of her as the other Ina in your life.) As well, and this is the option we prefer, but you can take any leftover brownies, wrap well in a resealable plastic bag, and hide’em in the freezer. Let them thaw at room temperature and have at it.

Brownies For A Crowd

A tray of brownies for a crowd with one brownie missing.
These brownies for a crowd, made with semisweet chocolate aplenty and eggs, butter, flour, and sugar, are cake-y and rich. The recipe makes plenty. A crowd-pleaser for parties, tailgating, bake sales, and more.
Ina Pinkney

Prep 20 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 1 hr
36 brownies
270 kcal
5 / 2 votes
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  • A 12-by-18-inch (30-by-45-cm) baking pan or two 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pans


  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter plus more for the pan
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 18 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 12-by-18-inch baking pan or a couple 9-by-13-inch baking pans with aluminum foil or parchment paper cut to fit. Lightly butter the foil or parchment. [Editor's Note: We found that if you're short on baking pans, it also works to divvy the batter between a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and a 9-inch-square baking pan.]
  • In a small saucepan, bring the water, butter, and sugar to a simmer and stir until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
  • Dump the chopped chocolate, salt, vanilla, and baking soda in a bowl and pour the hot liquid over it. Let the mixture sit for a minute or so and then gently stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the eggs to the batter, 1 at time, mixing with a whisk just until incorporated after each addition. Add the flour and whisk just until incorporated. Add the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and stir just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake until a tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan and cut the brownies into the desired size. 
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1brownieCalories: 270kcal (14%)Carbohydrates: 30g (10%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 15g (23%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 50mg (17%)Sodium: 88mg (4%)Potassium: 157mg (4%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 21g (23%)Vitamin A: 220IU (4%)Calcium: 23mg (2%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

I was VERY skeptical of this brownies for a crowd recipe when I first read it. The technique seemed a bit cumbersome and strange for brownies. In my experience, great brownies are not rocket science, and the step of boiling water seemed strange…but they came out fantastic!

The chocolate flavor was rich and intense but not overwhelming. Although they weren't as dense as brownies that are labeled fudgy, these weren't exactly cake-like. Mine came out at about 1 1/2 inches thick, and I think of a cakey brownie being more like 2 or 3 inches high. The texture was great—nice and moist, not dry at all, and the top had a nice crackle to it like a bakery brownie, which I really liked.

These are pretty sweet, though—not for the faint of heart. They'd be great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, although they stand up on their own just fine.

When I poured the boiling water, sugar, and butter mixture over the chopped chocolate, it didn't melt all the way on its own. I had to put it into the microwave for about 45 seconds on high (2 rounds of about 20 seconds each) to melt all the chocolate. I baked my brownies for 40 to 45 minutes, which was a bit longer than indicated in the recipe. I checked it at 30 minutes (the center was obviously still unbaked), at 36 minutes (the toothpick came out with batter clinging to it), and then again at 42 minutes (the toothpick came out clean but not everywhere, as the chocolate chips left some chocolate on the toothpick). The top was a light brown with a few cracks in it. This was the best indication I could find that the brownies were done.

I'm in both brownie camps. I'd even go as far as calling myself brownie-versatile. I love brownies and even their albino brothers, blondies. There aren't too many brownies I'd take a pass on, and with this recipe, I have another brownie that I just love. While they were cakey and each bite felt like I was eating a brownie, they also had a nice chewiness and rich fudgy chocolatiness. So satisfying.

These took less than an hour to make, not including the cooling time at the end. I went with 35 minutes total baking time, rotating my pan 90 degrees after 15 minutes to avoid any hot spots (my oven is horrible). When I inserted a toothpick at the 35-minute mark, the center was domed slightly, and the edges were firm and slightly crackly. My toothpick came out perfectly clean. I baked the brownies in a 12-by-18-inch cake pan, and I was worried that with my shallow sheet pan, the batter would bake right over the edge and cause a huge mess inside my oven. Not even close. The brownie batter was tame and set perfectly in the pan.

I think the addition of the chocolate chips before baking is overkill. They don't melt into the brownie but rather firm up when cooled. So when you bite into a chip, it's pretty hard. Next time, I'll omit the chocolate chips. As I sit here writing, I'm trying my best not to get any of these moist delicious brownies for a crowd onto my keyboard. Now on my shirt, that's a different story.

Originally published April 11, 2015


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  1. Pls could u advise if I use the 9 X 12-inch pan how thick they come out? Wondering if should double looking for a 2-inch brownie. thank u.

  2. I made these brownies for a luncheon at work earlier this week. We easily had around 40 people and I also made a cake and cookies. The brownies were the highlight for sure. I made them in (2) 9×13 pans and added some white chocolate chips for extra dimension at the end (half white and half semi sweet). Admittedly it was a lot of work chopping up over a pound of chocolate to be melted into the batter, but the recipe was seamless and they baked so nicely. I took them out of the oven after 35 minutes and let them cool before freezing the uncut slabs for a couple days until they were consumed. They thawed easily and cut cleanly. I had a mounded platter of brownies that looked so welcoming dusted with a little powdered sugar. They were thick, very fudgy, and definitely not very cakey. I’d definitely make again even to only make half the amount.

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