Why Do Brownies Get Hard? (7 Tips to Fix & Prevent a Hard Brownie)

Did you just finish making a brownie recipe? But… you’re not sure why the brownies are so hard?

Maybe you were hoping for a softer, gooey brownie, rather than a hard, dense, rock-like brownie?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Many people deal with brownies that are too soft or too hard. Too gooey or too crunchy. Too flat or too cakey. There are dozens of ways to make a brownie. But… if your  brownies are coming out too hard (especially around the edges), then you’ll need to fix them up.

Keep reading to find out how to fix your hard brownies to make them softer. And… learn how to prevent a hard brownie to begin with!

Let’s dive in.

Here’s Why Brownies Get Hard: 

The most common reason your brownies are too hard is that they’ve simply been overbaked. After brownies are done baking, their texture changes drastically from the time you pull them from the oven and the time you dig in a few hours later. Many people make the mistake of waiting till they’re harder to pull them. However, it’s best to pull them while they’re soft since they will set and harden quite a bit after cooling.

4 Quick Fixes for a Hard Brownie

Almost nothing can compare to a fudgy, delicious brownie. They’re the perfect combination of rich and chocolatey. Soft and chewy. Or… at least, that’s how they’re supposed to be.

But, sometimes you’ll bake a batch of brownies that just turn out too hard rather than moist and soft. Don’t worry. Follow these tips to turn your hard brownies soft!

1. Place Them Back in the Oven

Now, this may seem counterintuitive, since one of the main reasons brownies are too hard is because they’ve been overbaked. But hear me out. There’s a specific way to do this. 

If your brownies are hard, you can soften them by heating them in the oven again. The key here is to warm them up—not bake them! So, you’ll want to turn your oven to 350 F, heat it up, and place your brownies in for only a few minutes.

The heat from the oven will soften your brownie up. But… you have to eat them quickly. If you leave the brownies to cool for too long afterward, you’ll be back in the same place (or with an even harder brownie). 

2. Microwave Them

Just like tip number one, another method you can do is to microwave your brownies. However, just like tip number one, there’s a specific way to do this. If you don’t follow this tip correctly, you could end up with even harder or crustier brownies.

The trick here is to get your hard brownie, place it on a plate in the microwave, and fill a small glass cup with water and place it in the microwave beside your brownie plate. You’ll need to make sure both the brownie plate and the cup are small so they both fit.

Then, turn on the microwave for 20-45 seconds. The water from the cup will moisten up your brownie while the heat will soften it. Remember to eat the brownie relatively quickly as it may end up hard again if you leave it to cool for too long.

3. Do the “Sliced Bread” Trick

Now, this one’s going to sound strange to you… but it works!

What you’re going to do with your hard brownies is slice them up and place them in an airtight container. But… before you close the container grab a few slices of bread and place them on top of your brownies. Then, close your container (Tupperware or plastic zip bag works).

Then, leave them to sit overnight. The madness behind this method is that the brownies will absorb the moisture from the bread, making them softer, and chewier.

4. Use the “Wax Paper” Method to Soften Hard Edges

If your brownies are specifically too hard around the edges, then there’s one method that works quite well in this scenario. It’s the “Wax Paper” method. 

First, place wax paper inside an airtight container. Then, cut your brownies up into individual slices and place one layer of brownies on top of the wax paper. Make sure there’s room in between the brownies so they’re not touching.

Then, place a second sheet of wax paper on top of your brownies, and seal your container so it’s airtight and let them sit overnight. This technique will help to soften up hardened brownie edges that have been overbaked.

3 Ways to Prevent a Hard Brownie

If you’re willing to give a brownie recipe another shot, but you want to ensure they don’t come out hard like last time, then remember to follow these 4 tips!

1. Don’t Overbake The Brownies

This may seem simple, but the most common reason brownies end up too hard is that they were left in the oven for too long.

In fact, this is the number one way to mess up brownies. They’re one of the more challenging baked goods when it comes to determining doneness.

Remember to follow your recipe to a T and always double-check:

  • The baking time
  • The oven temperature
  • The amount of each ingredient

One way to prevent an overbaked brownie is to use a toothpick to check the center at the recommended baking time. There shouldn’t be super wet brownie batter on your toothpick, but most of the time you should see some brownie residue (since brownies are supposed to be fudgier than cake).

Just remember, your brownies will be much harder in a few hours than when you first pull them from the oven. So it’s best to pull them when you think it might be a bit early rather than too late. Use your best judgment.

2. Store Them Properly

Sometimes you end up with hard brownies… not because you followed the recipe incorrectly but because you simply didn’t store them properly.

The number one rule of brownie storage is to ensure you keep them in an airtight container. 

This will be true whether you store them on the counter at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer.

Brownies are typically best eaten after a few hours (or even the next day) after leaving them in an airtight container on the counter. This will give them enough time to cool, set, and create a perfect fudgy texture. By eating them after one day, they’ll have the right texture, but they won’t have sat out for too long that they’ll be dry or hard.

Just remember, if you store them in the fridge or freezer, they will be harder than if you leave them on the counter. And… the longer they’re stored (in any area), the harder and  drier they typically get. So, the sooner you eat them (once they’re fully cooled), the softer they’ll typically be.

3. Use the Right Brownie Recipe

The final tip for preventing a hard batch of brownies is to use the right brownie recipe.

Sometimes, you can follow everything correctly and still end up with a hard brownie. If you follow a recipe exactly and store the brownies perfectly, it won’t matter if your recipe isn’t right.

Brownies can be made a dozen different ways. Some people make them cakier, some make them fudgier. Some make them drier, some make them moist. Some people prefer harder brownies and some prefer softer brownies.

It’s crucial you check to see if a brownie recipe specifies what type of brownie it is.

If you’re looking for a nice, soft and fudgy brownie recipe, I have three you can follow that have minor variations (depending on your preference):

All three of these vegan brownie recipes are plant-based, and taste just as good as “regular” dairy brownies. They’re super tasty, and fudgy, and they won’t be too hard or crusty if you follow the recipe right. They’re softer, chewier brownies. 🙂

And, for more tips on how to make the perfect brownies, remember to check out our other posts: 





2 thoughts on “Why Do Brownies Get Hard? (7 Tips to Fix & Prevent a Hard Brownie)”

    • Hi phyll4j!

      My pleasure! Glad the post helped you out! And yes, there are so many ways to make brownies including dozens of substitutes for ingredients. 🙂


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