Pudding brownies are incredibly chewy, dense, and melt-in-your-mouth brownies. The brownie recipe is made with chocolate pudding mix and brown sugar for extra flavor and tenderness. The best part? You only need 8 basic ingredients plus 15 minutes prep to enjoy scrumptious pudding mix brownies.
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Brownies with chocolate pudding
Where traditional brownie recipes call for either cocoa powder or melted chocolate, pudding brownies use a box of pudding mix instead. As a result, folks call these brownies pudding brownies, chocolate pudding brownies, or pudding mix brownies.
My grandma made brownies with pudding mix for my mother as a child, and my mom still has her recipe card. After doing a little research, I found that the recipe was originally printed on the back of Jell-O chocolate pudding boxes and was introduced in 1968.
Pudding brownies are also a convenient recipe to have when you crave brownies but have run out of cocoa powder and chocolate. But pudding brownies are a delicious chocolate cake in their own right.
What are pudding brownies?
Pudding brownies are brownies made with chocolate pudding mix instead of cocoa powder or semisweet chocolate. Pudding mix recipes became popular during the 1950s and 60s and were loved for their convenience.
“Now, pudding is brownies.” I found fun Jell-O ads from the sixties that show the brownie recipe and other tasty dessert recipes with pudding mix.
Why you’ll love brownies with pudding mix
I know what you’re thinking. Can a vintage brownie recipe without cocoa or chocolate be any good? The answer is: yes, it absolutely can! Let’s talk about all the reasons why you should make chocolate pudding brownies:
- Quick + easy: The recipe comes together in less than 15 minutes and is super simple to prepare. It’s also a wonderful project to involve kids and teach them about baking.
- Taste + texture: I assumed that brownies without chocolate and cocoa would be cakey, but that’s not the case. Granted, there are fudgier brownies out there, but pudding brownies have a surprisingly rich chocolate flavor and dense, chewy texture. So good!
- Pantry staples: You’ll only need 7 ingredients that you most likely already have in your pantry. The 8th ingredient, walnuts, is optional.
- Nostalgic: It’s so much fun to stroll down memory lane and try a recipe that our (great-)grandparents loved.
Pudding brownie ingredients
Here’s the shopping list for this chocolate pudding brownie recipe:
- Chocolate pudding mix: Regular chocolate pudding mix works great in these brownies. If you want a more decadent chocolate aroma, sub in chocolate fudge pudding mix instead. You’ll need one 4-oz package.
- Flour: We only need a small amount of all-purpose flour to ensure the brownies turn out chewy and dense rather than cakey.
- Baking powder isn’t an ingredient you often find in brownie recipes. However, baking powder is listed in the original Jell-O pudding brownies recipe, and we need it to give the brownie batter a slight rise.
- Sugar: My pudding brownie recipe uses brown sugar for the brownie batter. You can use light and dark brown sugar interchangeably. Of course, if granulated (white) sugar is all you have on hand, go ahead and use that.
- Butter gives richness and flavor to the brownies. I used salted butter, but you may also add unsalted butter + 1/2 teaspoon salt to the brownies. Otherwise, no additional salt is needed for this brownie recipe.
- Eggs: Room temperature eggs bind the batter together and keep the brownies nice and moist.
- Vanilla extract compliments and boosts the chocolate flavor.
- Walnuts are optional, and the brownies will be delicious even without them. But chopped walnuts add such a delicious crunch and flavor that I always include them (unless I’m making these for somebody with a nut allergy).
Regular or instant pudding mix for brownies?
The original brownie pudding recipe was made with regular cook and serve pudding mix. Jell-O suggested their chocolate fudge (my favorite!) or chocolate pudding and pie filling.
Both regular and instant pudding mixes come in powder form in boxes and are made with pre-gelatinized starch. You can find more info about the differences between instant and cooked pudding on Near Of.
I usually make these with regular pudding mix because it’s easily available and makes delicious brownies. But instant pudding mix might work as well. If you try it, leave a comment, and let me know how it went.
How to make pudding brownies
Now that we know the ingredients, it’s time to whip up a batch of delicious chocolate pudding brownies. Here are the basic steps for how to make pudding brownies from scratch:
Step 1: Melt the butter
- Put the butter into a small saucepan. Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted.
- Set aside to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
Step 2: Prep
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4.
- Next, lightly grease an 8 in x 8 in / 20 cm x 20 cm baking pan and line with parchment (baking) paper, leaving an overhang on each side. Lining the baking tin allows you to easily lift the baked brownie out of the pan, so I highly recommend it.
- Measure out the ingredients.
Step 3: Combine dry ingredients
- Add the pudding mix, flour, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Step 4: Mix wet ingredients
- In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Then add the eggs and whisk until blended.
Step 5: Make the brownie batter.
- Pour the liquid mix over the dry mixture and use a rubber spatula to mix until just combined.
- Fold the chopped walnuts into the batter.
Step 6: Bake
- Transfer the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan (tin) and spread into an even layer. The batter is very thick, so don’t worry if you can’t get it level. The batter will spread out while the brownie bakes.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick/skewer/cake tester inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
Step 7: Cool and cut
- Let the brownie cool completely.
- Using the parchment (baking) paper overhang as handles, lift the brownie out of the baking pan.
- Put onto a cutting board and slice into 9 brownie bars.
Step 8: Serve and store
- Serve the pudding brownies at room temperature with whipped cream, cool whip, or vanilla ice cream on the side.
- Store leftover pudding brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Tips for the best pudding brownies
For the best pudding brownies, follow these recommendations:
- Melt the butter first. If the butter is too hot, it can potentially cook the eggs and cause a lumpy batter. To prevent that, melt the butter first and set it aside to cool slightly while you prepare the other ingredients. The temperature is perfect when the butter is lukewarm (like a warm bath).
- Spoon and level the flour, don’t scoop it in the bag. Using too much flour will make the brownies dry and cakey. We only need a little for fudgy pudding brownies. Instead, put the measuring cup on the counter and scoop the flour into it. Then take a knife or spatula and level it off.
- Don’t overmix the batter, as that will make the brownies tough. Mix the batter just until the flour and pudding powder disappear.
- Keep an eye on the baking time. The brownies take 20 to 25 minutes to bake. The brownie is done when a cake tester or toothpick comes out with crumbs attached. If the cake tester/toothpick is coated in wet batter, you need to bake a little longer.
- Let cool before cutting. The brownies cut beautifully with crisp, clean edges, but you have to let them cool completely. As a bonus, the chocolate flavor develops while the brownies cool.
Pudding brownie FAQ
What pan size do I need?
You can make these in an 8 in × 8 in / 20 cm x 20 cm or 9 in × 9 in / 23 cm x 23 cm pan. The brownies you see in the picture were baked in an 8-inch pan. Using a 9-inch baking dish will get you a different thickness, and you need to reduce the baking time by a few minutes.
Double the recipe if you want to bake the brownies in a 9 in x 13 in / 23 cm x 33 cm pan. Otherwise, the brownie mixture won’t be enough to fill the baking pan.
How many brownies does the recipe make?
The recipe yields 9 brownies. Each pudding brownie is approximately 2.5 in / 6.5 cm, but you can certainly cut the brownie larger or smaller.
Pudding brownie calories
The following nutrition info is for 1 brownie (with walnuts): 278 calories | 16 g fat | 32 g total carbs | 24 g sugar | 3 g protein
Vanilla pudding brownies
Can you make brownies with vanilla pudding mix? Yes, you can make brownies with vanilla pudding mix, too. The instructions and measurements remain the same. You’ll end up with a chewy vanilla blondie rather than a fudgy chocolate brownie, which is still yummy!
How to store chocolate pudding brownies
Store the pudding brownies in a zip-top bag or an airtight food container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Can you freeze pudding brownies?
Yes, baked pudding mix brownies freeze well for up to 3 months.
To freeze, cut the brownie into individual bars. Then individually wrap each pudding brownie bar in 2 layers of plastic wrap/cling film and 1 layer of aluminum (tin) foil. The foil prevents freezer burn and protects the brownies from absorbing any flavors or odors in the freezer.
When you’re ready to eat, allow the pudding mix brownies to defrost in the fridge overnight. You can enjoy the brownies straight from the refrigerator or rewarm them in the microwave.
Tools for pudding mix brownies
Tap the links below to see the tools I used for this pudding brownies recipe:
- Mixing bowl: This set of bowls is super handy for many baking recipes.
- Rubber spatula: A sturdy spatula is a must to mix the thick batter.
- Baking pan: This 8-in / 20-cm pan is perfect for making a batch of scrumptious pudding brownies.
More brownie recipes
If you love brownies, be sure to check out our other brownie recipes:
And if you’re interested in more baked goods with pudding mix, try my bakery-style pistachio muffins.