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Chocolate Buttermilk Brownies Recipe

Decadent and delicious, these chocolate buttermilk brownies taste precisely how you want a homemade dessert to taste. Rich chocolate buttermilk icing adds the perfect finish.

Sideview of six pieces of Chocolate brownie buttermilk with chocolate icing - Hostess At Heart
Chocolate Buttermilk Brownies with Chocolate Buttermilk Icing

This classic recipe is not as dense as a traditional brownie but is denser than cake. The result is a lovely crumb with a tender spring. If you’re like me, you can’t have enough brownie recipes. Just like my Fudgy Brownies and Oreo brownies, they’ve got a special place in my recipe box.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe for Buttermilk Brownies

  • Nostalgic and comforting. Buttermilk brownies first appeared in the Southern United States, and various recipes for this variety of brownies have been around for a very long time. You will love how perfectly the buttermilk’s tanginess balances out the chocolate batter’s sweetness. This classic recipe is part of childhood memories.
  • Quick and Easy to make. Who needs a box mix when this homemade buttermilk brownie recipe comes together in minutes and tastes so much better?
  • Feeds a crowd. This recipe for buttermilk brownies makes a full 9×13 pan. I cut the pan into 24 brownies. 
Angled view of a baking pan filled with cut pieces of chocolate brownies topped with chocolate frosting.

Equipment Needed

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  • 9×13 Baking Dish – I’ve got this one and love it. It comes with a lid that makes taking and refrigerating my treats a lot easier.
  • 1-Quart Saucepan – This little pan is a workhorse in my kitchen. I’ve used it over and over and it still looks brand new.
  • Wooden spoon – These utensils are beautiful and will not scratch your pans.

Ingredients you’ll need for this recipe

Top down view of chocolate buttermilk brownies and icing ingredients including butter, water, cocoa, powdered sugar, vanilla, water, sugar, flour, eggs, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk - Hostess At Heart
  • All-Purpose Flour. You can make this cake with an all-purpose one-for-one gluten-free flour if desired. It will change the texture slightly.
  • Granulated Sugar. Just plain white sugar. You could use turbinado sugar if that is what you have.
  • Baking Soda.
  • Salt.
  • Water.
  • Butter. Or use any butter substitute.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. A high-quality cocoa powder is worth the extra expense.
  • Eggs. Grade A large eggs.
  • Buttermilk. Use the full-fat version for a springy texture.
  • Vanilla Extract. Pure vanilla is best, but imitation vanilla will work.

Buttermilk Icing Ingredients

  • Unsalted Butter. You can use salted butter in this recipe.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.
  • Buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own! You’ll find the instructions under the tips for this recipe.
  • Powdered Sugar. Also known as confectioners sugar.
  • Vanilla Extract.

How To Make Buttermilk Brownies

Please note, that the printable recipe card has ingredient quantities, complete instructions, and nutritional information. The following is a quick overview of the recipe.

Step One. Get everything ready for the Buttermilk Brownies Recipe.

Preheat the oven. Spray your baking dish with cooking spray. You can also grease it with butter or shortening.

Step Two. Mix the dry ingredients.

Mixing bowl filled with flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. - Hostess At Heart

Combine and stir the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar using a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Step Three. Cook the cocoa powder.

Saucepan filled with butter, cocoa, and water - Hostess At Heart

Mix the cocoa powder, water, and butter in a small saucepan, and bring to a low boil over medium heat.

Step Four. Combine the chocolate mixture with dry ingredients.

Mixing bowl filled with powdered sugar with a chocolate mixture added to the center - Hostess At Heart

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, add the melted butter/ cocoa mixture, and combine.

Step Five. Add the remaining ingredients.

Mixing bowl with chocolate batter, eggs, cocoa, and buttermilk. Hostess At Heart

Add the eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk and continue beating for another 2 minutes.

Step Six. Bake your Buttermilk Brownies.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.

Step Seven. Make the Buttermilk Icing.

A mixing bowl filled with cocoa, buttermilk, and butter. Hostess At Heart

While the brownies are baking, make your icing. In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil the butter, buttermilk, and cocoa. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat on high until smooth.

Step Eight. Frost your Buttermilk Brownies.

Spread the icing out while it is still warm, and the cake is warm. Cool and enjoy.

Top down view of a baking dish filled with chocolate buttermilk brownies topped in a smooth chocolate buttermilk icing - Hostess At Heart

Frequently Asked Questions

What does buttermilk do to brownies?

This ingredient helps the brownies to rise while keeping them moist. It also improves the chocolate flavor and adds a slight tanginess.

What is the best way to prepare a baking pan for buttermilk brownies?

The easiest way is to use a non-stick cooking spray. A great alternative is to use a stick of butter to smear the pan with butter or use a paper towel to spread shortening on the pan in a light layer.

Can I make buttermilk brownies in a muffin pan?

Yes. Fill the muffin tin 1/3 full to make individual brownies. Baking time will vary significantly from what is listed in the recipe. The brownies are ready when a toothpick comes out clean.

Check out our Baking Pan Conversion article to learn more about substituting baking pans when baking your favorite dessert and getting your free printable chart. 

Tableview of a piece of brownie topped with buttermilk frosting. Hostess At Heart

How To Store Buttermilk Brownies

Best way to store brownies with buttermilk.

Keep leftover brownies in an airtight container on the counter for up to five days. No need to refrigerate.

Can I freeze buttermilk brownies?

Yes. You can freeze baked and iced brownies in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature.

Three brownies topped with chocolate frosting stacked on each other - Hostess At Heart

Tips for the Perfect Buttermilk Brownie

  • The icing will eventually harden enough to cut cleanly. Wait until it sets before cutting the brownies.
  • Don’t have buttermilk? Make your own by combining one tablespoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice with one cup of milk. Use whole-fat milk for the best results. Let it sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to thicken.
  • Brownies can be mixed by hand versus an electric mixer. Don’t over-mix. A wooden spoon works well to stir the ingredients together.
  • Spruce up your brownies with chocolate chips or chocolate chunks added to the batter.
  • Chocolate sprinkles or chocolate mini chips can be sprinkled on top of the brownies before the buttermilk frosting sets.
  • Add two teaspoons of espresso powder to the brownie batter and the frosting. Espresso powder intensifies the richness of the chocolate.
Top down view of cut pieces of buttermilk brownies topped with chocolate buttercream - Hostess At Heart

If you enjoyed this recipe, check these out!

Oreo Brownies are every kid’s dream dessert (and a few of us adults too).

Peanut Butter Brownies are a delicious mix of chocolate chips and peanut butter.

Almond Bark Fudge is a simple but elegant microwave fudge recipe.

Rocky Road Brownies – Triple chocolate goodness with marshmallows!

Pecan Pie Brownies – My two favorite desserts combined!

Peanut Butter Brownies – If you love peanut butter cups, this brownie is for you!

If you tried this delicious recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave me a comment telling me what you think. I love hearing from you!

Top down view of cut pieces of cake-like brownies topped with buttermilk icing - Hostess At Heart

Buttermilk Brownies

Author: Julie Menghini
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword: Brownie recipe, Chocolate, Chocolate Brownie
Servings: 24



  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray or grease the bottom and sides of the dish with butter.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, mix together the cocoa powder, water, and butter. Bring to boiling over medium heat.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the melted butter/ cocoa mixture to it. Beat with a mixer on high until combined.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and continue beating for another 2 minutes. The batter is thinner than traditional brownie batters.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean. While the brownies are baking, make the icing so that is ready to put on immediately after the cake comes out of the oven.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil the butter, buttermilk and cocoa. It may be separated a little bit, that’s okay, it’s normal. Once boiled, remove from heat.
  • Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat on high until smooth.
  • Immediately, while the icing is still warm, frost the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. The icing will melt, that is what you want.
  • Allow to cool for at least one hour before serving. Enjoy!


Buttermilk brownies are not as dense as traditional brownies. These are fluffier than usual but denser than a chocolate cake.
• The icing will eventually harden enough to cut cleanly.
• Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days.
• You can freeze baked and iced brownies in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Thaw on the counter to room temperature.


Calories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 2gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 145mgPotassium: 57mgFiber: 1gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 327IUCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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Image for Pinterest of cut pieces of chocolate brownies made from scratch and topped with chocolate icing. Hostess At Heart
Recipe Rating

Julie P

Friday 22nd of September 2023

We loved these brownies. The buttermilk adds so much flavor. They are so easy to make! Definite hit here!

Julie Menghini

Saturday 23rd of September 2023

Thank you, Julie!


Thursday 10th of August 2023

These came out soft, moist with a gooey center, and that chocolate icing on top was in fact, an icing on top! So good!!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 10th of August 2023

Thank you, Mina! We're chocolate fans and this is one of our favorite way to get our fix lol.


Tuesday 8th of August 2023

These glazed buttermilk brownies are our new favorite brownie recipe! LOVE the texture, and the chocolate icing takes them over the top!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 10th of August 2023

I'll tell you, we've been noshing on a pan of these too and I always forget how wonderful they are. I'm so glad you enjoyed them too.


Tuesday 8th of August 2023

We had some chewy, cakey brownies at a friend's the other day, she told me her recipe and it was yours! I've got them cooling now! Cannot wait!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 10th of August 2023

I love when that happens, Kate! Thank you for sharing.


Monday 7th of August 2023

These are nice cakey brownies and that icing is the bees knees!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 10th of August 2023

Ha, Thank you, Debi! I just love making brownies and these are so good. Especially if you like a cakey brownie.

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