21 Bars And Brownies That Taste Better Than Grandma’s.

Brownies and bars are quintessential American treats that are embedded in our culture and special occasions. Most people would be hard-pressed to find an event without some type of brownie or bar present at the dessert table. Whether it’s a birthday celebration or a winter holiday, brownies fit every occasion Americans can possibly celebrate.

Everyone has their preference. Some enjoy fudgy brownies, while others enjoy cakey brownies the most. But no matter what type you like best, this collection of twenty-one brownie and bar recipes is a treasure trove of delicious recipes you can refer back to again and again to help celebrate, comfort, or just sweeten your day.

1. Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

An overhead view of of some cut Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies laying on a wood cutting board.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you’re a peanut butter lover, these Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies are the perfect treat for a special occasion or simply for a mid-day snack. The fudgy brownie base is rich and chocolatey, while the creamy peanut butter swirl adds a delicious nutty flavor and creamy texture. These are wonderful with a glass of milk, and you can easily freeze leftovers if you can’t eat them all.

2. Pumpkin Blondies

A single pumpkin blondie with a bite remove, laying on a white piece of parchment paper.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Everyone loves sweet, gooey pumpkin blondies. These homemade pumpkin blondies are loaded with pumpkin puree and autumn spices, but they are fantastic any time of year. Summer picnics and barbecues are great ways to feature this delicious finger-food-style dessert. Set them on a tray and top each blondie with a dollop of whipped cream to serve a crowd, or pour a glass of milk and settle in for a solo movie night at home.

3. Classic Brownies

Cut brownies on a wood cutting board.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Classic Brownies are great for every occasion. This recipe does not include extras, so you won’t be adding anything that guests may not like. These are good, all-purpose brownies that everyone will love. You can serve them with various toppings in separate dishes that people can add themselves if you like. But this is a classic that most people will enjoy with or without any toppings at all.

4. Oat Flour Brownies

Three oat flour brownies stacked up on a white platter.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Oat Flour Brownies are perfect for those who are gluten-free. Make sure to purchase gluten-free oat flour, and the rest is easy. Filled with walnuts and chocolaty goodness, these won’t disappoint. Gluten-free foods often taste bland and have a texture like cardboard, but this isn’t an issue with these delicious brownies. Quite the opposite. They are a bit cakey, a bit fudgy, and a lot of delicious.

5. Strawberry Crumb Bars

A hand reaches for a strawberry crumble bar from a wood surface where several bars are spread out.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Strawberry Crumb Bars are a delicious treat that everyone will want seconds of. Strawberry season is about to come into full swing again, and these bars are a fantastic way to enjoy them. The crumb topping is a delicious accompaniment to the strawberry layer that clings to the bottom crust with deliciously sticky tenacity. As the name promises, these are a bit crumbly, so serve these with plates and napkins.

6. Homemade Crunch Bars

Four Homemade Crunch Bars laying on a white surface.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Homemade Crunch Bars are a fabulous treat the whole family will love. They are chocolaty, decadent, and, of course, crunchy. Kids especially will love how fun these are to eat. Their silky, crunchy, and chewy texture satisfies a sweet tooth like no other. These thick bars make a full dessert. But if you want to add even more, you can serve them topped with whipped cream and some sprinkles.

7. Black Bean Brownies

Black Bean Brownies in a stack from overhead.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

No, black bean brownies do not taste like black beans. They are healthier than most brownies, but nobody will ever know the difference simply because of how decadent these are. Each bite is a delicious celebration of chocolate, nuts, and fudgy goodness. Enjoy a nice little boost in your fiber intake while you enjoy a decadent and indulgent dessert.

8. German Chocolate Brownies

An up close shot of three squares of german chocolate brownies.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

The creamy topping on these German Chocolate Brownies is what truly makes the whole recipe worth making. They are soft and a bit chewy, sweet, and just downright delicious. There isn’t an overabundance of coconut, either. It’s a great balance of nuts, coconut, and chocolate, all wrapped up in one delicious brownie.

9. Lemon Bars

An overhead view of cut lemon bar squares on a black surface.
Photo Credit: Madele/Shutterstock.

These Lemon Bars are sweetened with honey and have the most amazing flavor because of it. Similar to lemon curd, the filling has a perfect balance of sweet and tangy, just the way a lemon bar should be. These are not those overly sweet lemon bars that make your teeth ache from the massive amounts of sugar added. Instead, you’ll find a lovely level of sweetness that pairs perfectly with tea or coffee.

10. Freedom Brownies

A metal cake pan lined with parchment and filled with baked and cut brownies.
Photo Credit: Atsushi Hirao/Shutterstock.

Freedom Brownies are free of grains and free of processed sugars. But don’t let that fool you. These brownies are also, quite possibly, the perfect brownie. They are a nice blend of fudgy and cakey and will definitely leave behind a few crumbs. They are great to enjoy with a glass of milk or coffee, and you can add anything you want to this food-sensitivity-friendly brownie recipe.

11. Fudgy Pecan Brownies

An overhead view of fudge pecan brownies cut and lined up in rows on white parchment.
Photo Credit: Spatula Desserts.

Fudgy pecan brownies deliver the fudgy goodness you want from a brownie and pack it with pecans and even more chocolate for an epically delicious treat. These are fantastic holiday brownies with a deep chocolate flavor. The recipe itself is quick and easy to make, and you’ll avoid the use of any special equipment with this one. All you’ll need is your basic baking equipment, like mixing bowls and wooden spoons.

12. Caramel Turtle Brownies

A closeup of cut brownies with a caramel layer sitting on parchment on a cutting board.
Photo Credit: Feels Like Home.

If the idea of a delicious brownie with a caramel layer sounds appealing, don’t miss these caramel turtle brownies. Rich, decadent, and a little bit gooey, these might just be the perfect brownie. The texture is thick and fudgy, and they take less than an hour to make from start to finish.

13. Cream Cheese Brownies

A batch of cut cream cheese brownies on a cutting board. One brownie sits on top of the others.
Photo Credit: XOXO Bella.

Cream cheese and brownies were born to be eaten together and these incredible cream cheese brownies are living proof. They are easy to make and offer something a little different from the usual brownie. The layer of cream cheese makes these soft and easy to enjoy and softens the intensity of the chocolate just a bit with a delicious balance of sweetness and tanginess that only chocolate and cream cheese can provide.

14. Cocoa Powder Brownies

A closeup of a stack of brownies.
Photo Credit: Feels Like Home.

If you have cocoa powder at home, then you can mix up a delicious batch of cocoa powder brownies. This simple recipe only requires one mixing bowl and a brownie pan, so dishes will be kept to a minimum. These have a rich, dense brownie center with a light crinkle top to finish off their perfection.

15. Chickpea Brownies

An overhead closeup of cut brownies sitting on parchment paper.
Photo Credit: Six Hungry Feet.

Many have heard of black bean brownies, but chickpea brownies take that idea to a whole new level. These are a wonderful plant-based brownie that will be enjoyed by vegans and meat eaters alike. A food processor is all you need for the batter, and the frosting is made with a sweet potato base that won’t disappoint.

16. Triple Chocolate Brownies

A closeup of a cut brownies with frosting and colored sprinkles on a white surface.
Photo Credit: Delish Knowledge.

If your feeling festive, this triple chocolate brownies recipe is a great way to help you celebrate. Perfect for birthdays and special occasions, you can’t help but enjoy these delicious brownies with creamy frosting and a colorful layer of sprinkles.

17. Strawberry Brownies

A single strawberry brownie with frosting dripping down the edges on a white plate.
Photo Credit: Food Plus Words.

Yes, strawberry brownies are a thing, and they are delicious. These may look like a cake, but they are white chocolate brownies made with strawberry extract and strawberry cake mix. They are not overly sweet and pair surprisingly well with matcha. But you can never go wrong with a glass of milk, either.

18. Zucchini Brownies

A stack of two brownies on a white background.
Photo Credit: Salt In My Coffee.

Zucchini bread is a well-known dessert or sweet treat, but there is so much more you can do with this humble summer squash. These zucchini brownies are a great example. Sweet, rich, decadent, and a perfect treat for after school or at the end of a long work day. These are allergy-friendly and a treat to share with friends and family.

19. Lemon Brownies

An overhead view of lemon brownies cut on white parchment paper.
Photo Credit: Spatula Desserts.

White chocolate and lots of lemon give these lemon brownies their cake-like appearance, but brownies they are. These are gooey and have a lemony tang that you would expect from a brownie like this. Imagine a combination of fudgy fudge and a tall glass of lemonade to get an accurate idea of what these brownies taste like.

20. Rich & Creamy PB & J Cream Cheese Brownies

A hand holds up a peanut butter and jelly cream cheese brownie.
Photo Credit: FODMAP Everyday.

These FODMAP Rich & Creamy PB & J Cream Cheese Brownies are very rich with a classically American flavor combination that’s tough to beat. These use lactose-free cream cheese for the topping, and make a wonderful treat for those following the FODMAP lifestyle.

21. Coffee Cheesecake Bars (Keto Recipe)

Two keto coffee cheesecake bars on a white background.
Photo Credit: This Mom Is On Fire.

Following a keto eating plan? These Keto Coffee Cheesecake Bars will make a delicious and satisfying dessert. If you are on a keto or low-carb eating plan, you know that sometimes, you really just need to have something sweet. It’s human. But you don’t have to step off the plan to have a dessert you enjoy. Just make this easy dessert instead.

More From The Gracious Pantry

A small white bowl sits filled with strawberry n'ice cream. A used wooden spoon sits in front of the bowl.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Need more sweet treats? These recipes can help you soothe a sweet tooth without feeling guilty about it.

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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