What’s the Difference Between Fudgy, Chewy, and Cakey Brownies?

updated Dec 2, 2022
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(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Anytime you bake up a pan of brownies, whether it’s from scratch or you start with a box mix, there’s no question that you’re in for a real treat. These sweet chocolate squares are a timeless hit, but it’s important to remember that not all brownies are created equal. There are three distinct types of brownie recipes — fudgy, chewy, and cakey — and they each bring something a little different to the table. This is what sets them apart, and what you can expect from each type of brownie.

The Difference Between Fudgy, Chewy, and Cakey Brownies

When it comes to choosing between fudgy, chewy, and cakey brownies, I first want to point out that one isn’t better than another. Each variety has its own merits, and it all comes down to personal preference and which one is right for your tastebuds.

What sets these brownie varieties apart is the texture and flavor. The texture can range from dense, gooey, and intensely chocolatey to tall, airy, and balanced. These differences ultimately stem from the ratio of fat to flour in the recipe.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Fudgy Brownies

Serious chocolate-lovers, these are the brownies you need at the top of your list. With a high amount of fat (in the form of butter and chocolate) and less flour than other varieties, these sweet squares do not hold back. You can expect an intensely rich chocolate flavor and a dense, super-moist, often gooey texture that just might remind you of a truffle.

Fudgy brownies typically start with butter and either bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate (or a combo of both), which get melted together, and can also contain cocoa powder. And in addition to whole egg, recipes for fudgy brownies may also call for an extra egg yolk.

Get a Recipe for Fudgy Brownies

How To Make Chewy Brownies(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Chewy Brownies

Chewy brownies are the classics you know and love, and fall somewhere between their fudgy and cakey counterparts. True to their name, these squares have a deep chocolate flavor and are well-structured and chewy around the edge with a tender, moist, and slightly gooey center (although not quite as dense as a fudge brownie).

Recipes for chewy brownies use more flour than those for fudgy brownies, which results in a more structured, chewy bite and less dense texture.

Get a Recipe for Chewy Brownies

Cakey Brownies

As their name implies, cakey brownies just might remind you of a good piece of chocolate cake. Instead of a dense, rich center, cakey brownies are the thickest of the three and have a lighter, airier texture due to a lower amount of fat, more flour, and the addition of baking powder for leavening.

While still moist, you can expect cakey brownies to have a center that’s more fluffy and less soft and gooey than fudgy or chewy brownies. Additionally, the butter and sugar are usually creamed together, rather than starting with melted butter or oil.

What’s your favorite type of brownie? Tell me in the comments below!