This Viral Brownie Mix Hack Uses One Ingredient You Most Likely Already Have at Home

published Feb 14, 2023
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Overhead photo of Handle the Heat's chewy brownies on a marble surface
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

There are few things in this world as comforting as chocolate brownies. In my opinion, a brownie can do it all — satisfy that late night craving, cater to a school bake sale, offer comfort in hard times … there’s really not much that it can’t do. And here at Kitchn, we love to explore new ways to bring brownies into our lives. From dupe recipes for nostalgic cosmic brownies to a brownie cup that can be made in the air fryer for Valentine’s Day, we’re here for all the tips

So of course we were excited when we saw this viral brownie mix hack on TikTok that only adds one extra ingredient. And get this — it’s likely something you already have at home. TikTok user @katedavidsun unveiled this hack on her account and it quickly took off. “My one piece of advice for everybody in 2023 is to replace the water in your boxed brownie recipe with coffee…or espresso,” she said at the start of the video.


replace the water with coffee please

♬ original sound – kate

Davidsun follows the instructions on the back of the box as normal, adding an egg, oil, and then finally coffee instead of the 1/4 cup of water that’s listed. According to her, adding coffee doesn’t necessarily make coffee-flavored brownies but instead brings out the rich chocolatey notes and adds more flavor overall. While she waits for the brownies to bake, she hangs with her adorable labrador — who gets a little ice treat — before choosing a mint chocolate chip ice cream to pair with her dessert.

While some people were excited to try the hack at home, other viewers shared their own tips to upgrade boxed brownies. One viewer suggests adding a tablespoon of Greek yogurt to make your brownies extra moist while another user recommends adding a hint of vanilla extract. 

This hack not enough to convince you to make brownies tonight? Maybe the fact that Ina Garten has been using a similar hack for her own outrageous brownie recipe that incorporates instant coffee will be. Although the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe is far from a boxed mix, I think it would be a great option for any special occasion. This boxed version, however, could definitely be my go-to for a simple weeknight edition because as the queen says herself, store-bought is fine.