What the fudgeis right.
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Credit: Sara Tane

Have you walked down the baking aisle lately? Between the bags of flour, bottles of extracts, and tubes of icing, there is an unavoidable wall of boxed brownie mixes. Seriously, when did the boxed brownie mix game become so extensive? We trekked to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and our local supermarket to get ahold of some of the major players for a blind, side-by-side taste test. If there’s one takeaway from this fudgy experiment, it’s that not all boxed brownie mixes are created equal, and there’s one obvious winner.

The Contenders

Betty Crocker Supreme Original($2.59/22.25-oz. pkg)

If a gooey and ultra-chewy brownie has your name written all over it, then this is a great option for your chocolatey desires. One staffer described it as “soft and welcoming, like a brown cloud.” Poetic, I know. While it was definitely lacking in the crispy crust department and was too creamy-soft for some, this OG of baking mixes is an all around respectable boxed brownie choice.

Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge ($1.69/18.4-oz. pkg)

As adorable as the little Pillsbury dough boy is, we’re going to have to give this one a thumbs down. When baked according to fudgy package instructions, these brownies came out dry, unexciting, and spongy. Compared to the other richer options, this one barely had a detectable chocolate flavor. There was also a very apparent lack of chocolate chunks dispersed throughout, which made for an altogether lackluster brownie-eating experience. The one pro is that this brand was the cheapest, so if funds are tight and you’re craving an easy and sweet, freshly baked treat or need a brownie mix to use as a component of another recipe, this surely won’t break the bank.

Madhava Deliciously Organic Ooey-Gooey Chocolate ($5.99/18-oz. pkg)

It’s almost unfair that we threw this one into the taste test, but we felt it was important to incorporate a brand sold at Whole Foods that’s boasting organic sweeteners and ancient grains. And let’s just say, it’s way more expensive (by far) because of these qualities. Boy, was the difference in taste apparent. One staffer wrote, “what trickery is this?” It wasn’t nearly fudgy or chocolatey enough, and the chocolate flavor that was present had an off-putting aftertaste; I assume that’s the ancient grains talking. The lesson here is that if you’re going to make a batch of brownies, stick to the classics and make your healthy choices for another day (it will save you money and heartache).

Annie’s Organic Double Chocolate ($4.99/18.3-oz. pkg)

It might be organic, but this brownie was not short on flavor or sweetness at all. In fact, many of us agreed that it might be pushing the limit with how sweet it is (yes, that’s possible). This mom-favorite brand offers a super gooey texture and a deep chocolate flavor, so if maintaining an organic diet is important to you, this is a solid choice.

Trader Joe’s Truffle Brownies ($2.99/16-oz. pkg)

Although the winner of the blind taste test was unanimous, this was a close second. Ultry fluffy, rich, and chocolatey, these brownies had acquired a lot of fans by the end of the test. The texture fell right in the happy medium between obscenely gooey and aggressively cakey, making it a surefire crowd pleaser. TJ’s has yet to let us down, and this easy boxed mix is just further proof.

The Unquestionable Crowd Favorite

Ghirardelli Chocolate Triple Fudge ($2.99/19-oz. pkg)

The hands-down, no-questions-asked winner of our blind taste test goes to these Ghirardelli brownies. Possessing a crispy sheen on top and a irresistible gooey center, these brownies taste like the perfect combination of a rich, chocolate dessert and bake sale nostalgia. The mix includes fudge and chips, which is a real game changer for the overall texture and richness of the final product. These fall right in the middle of the price range, so we can’t think of a reason why you’d buy any other box mix.

By Sara Tane and Sara Tane