How to Make Brownies in a Mug (Using Hot Cocoa)

Need a chocolate fix that doesn’t involve spending two hours in the kitchen? This brownie-in-a-mug hack is a saving grace for your sweet tooth.

Need a chocolate fix that doesn’t involve spending two hours in the kitchen? This brownie-in-a-mug hack is a saving grace for your sweet tooth.

My editor just emailed me with news about National Cocoa Day in December — as if I need an excuse to raid the pantry for my trusty stash of Swiss Miss? But as I gleefully emptied a packet of processed cocoa-and-powdered-milk into my mug, a thought occurred to me: this cocoa has potential. Destined for a short life of watered-down chocolate, it is not. This cocoa, in fact, will be more than just cocoa.

It will be a brownie.

Now, I’ve read all the brownie-in-a-mug recipes (hello, Pinterest), and most of those require real brownie mix. Listen, if I had real mix in my possession, I’d just go the full monty and bake bonafide brownies. I might have a sugar problem, but I’m not a noob. C’mon.

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No — what I need is a fast and easy recipe for a single-serving brownie that doesn’t require the proper ingredients or a trip to the store. (Besides, the cocoa stuff is already in my mug. Let’s not be wasteful here.) Brownie mix, hot cocoa mix: it’s pretty much the same thing, right?

There’s only one way to find out, of course: SCIENCE.

A quick search on the Interwebs produced this handy recipe from It calls for chocolate chips, which I don’t have, but the rest of the ingredient list is basic enough: hot cocoa mix, flour, canola oil (or butter), water, and vanilla. Check, check, check, check, and check. We got this.

Editor’s note: I’m using Swiss Miss “Simply Cocoa” mix (pictured). The recipe requires six tablespoons of mix, which equates to two packets of instant hot cocoa.

brownie in a mug

Brownie in a Mug


  • 6 Tbsp hot cocoa mix (about two 24-gram packets)
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil or melted butter (I opted for butter)
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • chocolate chips* (optional)


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  1. Combine cocoa mix and flour in a coffee mug.
  2. Add butter, water, and vanilla extract; stir until dry ingredients are wet. Consistency should be the same as brownie batter.
  3. Top with chocolate chips (if you have them).
  4. Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds (I went for 90 for a more cakey texture).
  5. Contents will be hot; let cool before removing from microwave. Enjoy!


I was promised a cuppa gooey deliciousness, and I sure got it. Depending on how long you keep your mug in the microwave, your brownie should be rich and fudgy with some cakey bits. If your brownie crumbles and looks or smells like dirt, you likely nuked it a little too much.

Is this something you’d ever make as a late-night treat? If you’ve tried it before, what did you do differently? Let me know in the comments below. Happy National Cocoa Day, Hudson Valley!

No chocolate chips? I discovered that marshmallows and granola crackers (leftovers from a S’mores spree last week) worked just as well. I’d also highly recommend topping it with ice cream; Allison suggests peanut butter caramel sauce. The possibilities are endless, really.

Related: Make the Yummiest Thumbprint Cookies With This Recipe

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