The Best Boxed Brownie Mix Taste Test to find out which brownie mix is the ultimate winner.
There are dozens of chocolate brownie mixes in the grocery store and it is hard to know which one to choose. We went to work, testing all of the most popular and readily available brownie mixes on the market to find out the best brownie mix.
I knew that I needed to bring in the big guns. This couldn't be just a small brownie taste test. I had to bring in some of my foodie friends to be my judges, to determine the brownie mix winner. This was a legit brownie taste test to see which brownie would be declared the winner.
I brought in 20 judges. This way I could ensure that we had a variety of taste testers with different palettes. I had a few rules and one of them was they couldn't communicate with each other while tasting the brownies. I studied a phenomenon called "group think" in college and know people can be swayed by other people's opinions. So it had to be less talking and more eating! They were happy to oblige because I was offering them BROWNIES.
I gave each of them a ranking sheet where they could rank each brownie mix on a scale of 1 - 10 points. I also encouraged them to take notes and describe in detail their takes on the brownies. The brands were left anonymous and each type of brownie mix was given a number so we could track the scores. I gave them a few descriptive words to help while judging such as moist, chewy, fudgy, cakey, dense, too sweet, spongy, oily, weird aftertaste, fake flavor, lacks flavor, weird aftertaste, etc. They also had to circle their favorite chocolate brownie mix. The results may surprise you!
To make this brownie bake-off a success, I also had to offer lots of milk, chocolate milk, and water to help cleanse the palette between brownie bites. There's nothing like brownies + milk.
There was also a ridiculous amount of chocolate offered in case they didn't get their chocolate fill by eating the brownies alone. I promised CHOCOLATE and had to deliver big time.
The Brownie Taste Test was around the corner, so the first thing I needed to do was to purchase the brownie mixes. I went to four stores, ensuring that I was getting a good feel for what was readily available at grocery stores around the country. I didn't want to get specific kinds that some people couldn't find in their local market. I wanted to test the most popular and recognizable brands.
Here are the BEST BROWNIE MIX TASTE TEST Contenders:
- Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix
- Nestle Toll House Brownie Mix
- Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
- Hershey's Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix
- Betty Crocker Triple Chunk Brownie Mix
- Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
- Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix
- Great Value (Wal-Mart Brand) Fudge Brownie Mix
* The least expensive brownie mix was the generic brand found at Wal-Mart -- the Great Value Fudge Brownie Mix. It cost 88 cents.
* The most expensive brownie mix was the Nestle Toll House Brownie Mix. It cost $3.99
* Some brownie mixes came with chocolate chips or chunks inside the mix -- Nestle Toll House, Hershey's, Betty Crocker Triple Chunk, and Ghirardelli. Those were usually the most expensive brownie mixes.
*The least amount of oil called for in brownie mix recipe was Ghirardelli.
*The most amount of oil called for in brownie mix recipe was Pillsbury.
Baking Notes: I cooked every brownie mix for LESS time than listed on the box. I used cake testers to test the middle to make sure the brownies were done. Click HERE for an inexpensive cake tester. None of them reached even the minimum baking time listed on the box. My advice to you is to ALWAYS set the timer for less time than listed on the box. If not, you may end up with hockey pucks for dessert!
Drumroll, please for the Best Brownie Mix Winner...
Here are the results of the BEST BROWNIE MIX TASTE TEST:
(ranked in order from LEAST favorite to MOST favorite)
#8: Hershey's Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix -- the reviewers said over and over that there wasn't much flavor. They wanted more chocolate flavor! They felt it was bland and overly dry. This didn't receive any horrible scores but the lack of memorability and just okay flavor landed it in the bottom spot.
#7: Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix -- the reviewers agreed that this brownie mix created a dry brownie. It was hard and crunchy and even had an oily aftertaste. This calls for the most oil out of all of the brownie mixes and the reviewers could taste way too much oil. Most reviewers thought this was just an average brownie and nothing special.
#6: Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix -- the reviewers thought this was a dense, fudgy brownie. Some thought it was a little too soft and fudgy in the middle. It received good scores for being moist, but some reviewers thought it was too oily.
#5: Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix -- This is your average brownie mix -- it didn't receive any terrible reviews but it also didn't receive any 9 or 10's. The reviewers thought this was super sweet and chewy. They agreed that it was a little bland and needed more chocolate flavor. It ranked high in texture but low in good chocolate flavor.
#4: Nestle Toll House Brownie Mix -- This one ranged high for its chocolate flavor. The addition of chocolate chips was loved by the reviewers. It ranked high in flavor but the texture was just average. Half of the reviewers thought the brownies were too dry.
#3: Great Value (Wal-Mart Generic Brand) Fudge Brownie Mix -- the underdog and least expensive brownie mix killed it in the brownie mix challenge, much to the surprise of the judges. One judge even gave it a perfect score and deemed it the favorite. It consistently received a few solid 8's, a few 9's, and one 10. It also received a 2 and several 4's so it wasn't a favorite across the board. Most reviewers like the soft, chewy texture with flaky top. They enjoyed the fudgy flavor. Some thought it was slightly artificial tasting and wouldn't eat it again. It scored well enough to nab the #3 spot. What a shocker!
#2: Betty Crocker Triple Chunk Brownie Mix -- The top 2 brownie mixes were the winners by a good margin. Reviewers loved this brownie mix and it received an average of 8.2 points. Reviewers loved the added chocolate chunks which gave it great chocolate flavor. They also loved the chewy texture. This was many reviewers pick as their ultimate winner. I personally have bought this brownie mix for years so I am not surprised that it received such positive accolades.
#1: Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix -- It was neck and neck to the very end. I tallied up the very last judge's sheet and this Ghirardelli brownie mix won by 1.5 points. Reviewers said it had a melt-in-your-mouth chewy texture and had phenomenal chocolate flavor. They loved the addition of chocolate chips to give authentic richness. The high-quality Ghirardelli chocolate put this brownie mix over the top.
CONGRATULATIONS to Ghirardelli for winning the award as the BEST BROWNIE MIX on the market!
Now let me introduce you to a few of my chocolate foodie friends who were willing to be judges for this BROWNIE MIX BAKE-OFF CONTEST...
Do you agree with the Best Brownie Mix winner? I would love to hear your favorites. What brownie mix do you stand by? I have to admit that I have always loved Ghirardelli and Betty Crocker Triple Chunk so I wasn't too surprised. The beauty of it is that I had 20 willing judges who didn't confer with each other. There were definitely clear-cut winners.
Now, if you want to ditch the boxed brownie mixes and want to make HOMEMADE BROWNIES, these Better than a Boyfriend Brownies are the way to go.
Happy Baking, my friends!