Brown Butter Skillet Brownie

published Feb 10, 2023
Brown Butter Skillet Brownie Recipe

Add brown butter to the batter, bake in a skillet, and all of a sudden, you've got a swoon-worthy dessert fit for a celebration.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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brown butter skillet brownie with ice cream
Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Styling: Brett Regot

In the world of chocolate desserts, brownies reign supreme. There’s just something about the chewy, fudgy squares that make them practically impossible to dislike. Bring brownies to any gathering and there’s a good chance they’ll be the first dessert to go. 

While traditional brownies are delicious, adding brown butter to the mix is an easy way to elevate them into gourmet territory. The nutty, caramel-like flavor of brown butter brings out the best qualities of the chocolate and adds a subtle complexity that takes them to a whole new level. It’s a simple upgrade that makes them infinitely more exciting. But for even more excitement, bake the brownies in a skillet and suddenly you have a swoon-worthy dessert fit for a celebration.

Why Bake a Brownie in a Skillet?

Brownie batter that’s baked in a skillet produces a slightly different product than brownie batter baked in a traditional baking pan. Skillet brownies are gooey in the center and crisp around the edges and meant to be eaten with a spoon. If you can imagine a classic restaurant-style cookie skillet, this recipe is just like that — only with brownie batter. It’s richer and more decadent than standard brownies, and especially delicious when served hot from the oven with melting ice cream on top. If you’re a fan of center-piece brownies, chances are you’ll love a skillet brownie as well.

And, just as importantly, the brownie batter comes together from start to finish in the skillet. No extra bowls for the batter required!

Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Tips for Making a Perfectly Fudgy Brownie Skillet

Before you head into the kitchen to make this brownie skillet, keep these tips in mind.

  • Don’t burn your butter. It’s very easy for brown butter to go from perfectly nutty to burnt within a matter of seconds, so don’t leave your butter unattended while it’s browning. As soon as your butter smells nutty and is no longer foamy, remove it from the heat and add both sugars to bring down the temperature.
  • Let your butter cool before adding the egg. Adding the egg to the brown butter too quickly will cause it to cook and scramble — something you certainly don’t want in your brownie batter. Make sure to give the brown butter at least 15 minutes to cool down to prevent any unwanted surprises.
  • Err on the side of underbaking. Because cast iron skillets retain heat so well, your brownie will continue to bake even after you remove it from the oven. To make up for this, make sure to remove your brownie skillet a few minutes earlier than you normally would for most brownies. If there are still some moist crumbs stuck to your toothpick when you check it, that’s A-OK.

Brown Butter Skillet Brownie Recipe

Add brown butter to the batter, bake in a skillet, and all of a sudden, you've got a swoon-worthy dessert fit for a celebration.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 6 ounces

    bittersweet or semisweet chocolate bars

  • 1 tablespoon

    water

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1

    large egg

  • 2/3 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup

    natural unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • Ice cream, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, stirring constantly to prevent the milk solids from burning, until the butter is a light amber color, smells nutty, and is no longer foamy, 2 to 4 minutes.

  2. Immediately remove from the heat. Add 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar and stir to combine. Let cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate bars (about 1 generous cup).

  3. Add 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the skillet and stir to break up the sugar. Add 1 large egg and stir until smooth. Add 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and half of the chocolate. Stir until a soft dough forms with no pockets of unincorporated flour. Smooth the dough into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate and lightly press it into the dough so it sticks.

  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it, 18 to 22 minutes. (The brownie will continue to bake after it is removed from the oven, so err on the side of underbaking.) Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve warm with ice cream.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The unbaked brownie dough can be refrigerated in the skillet tightly wrapped in plastic wrap up to 1 day in advance. Uncover and, if baking directly from the refrigerator, add a minute or two more to the bake time.

Storage: Leftover brownie will keep up to 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature, although the texture will be firmer and not as fudgy.