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These moist and tender Buttermilk Brownies are a simple treat everyone will love! They’re a nostalgic cake-like brownie with the best fudgy icing on top!

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Stack of buttermilk brownies with a sheet of parchment paper between each.

The way I see it, there are two types of brownies. There’s the fudgy brownie that’s chewy and super full of chocolate flavor. And then there’s the frosted, cake-like brownies that have a mild chocolate flavor and the smooth fudgy icing on top.

Though I love both options, there’s something about a pan of frosted buttermilk brownies that’s nostalgic and unassuming. They’re not super rich brownies, but more light and tender, making them hard to resist! If you’ve ever had Texas Sheet Cake, you’ll find this easy buttermilk brownie recipe to be very similar in the taste and texture.

This recipe has been in our family for many, many years, but I hope sharing it will create a new family favorite for you! As always, if you give it a try, I’d love to hear what you think!! Tag Dance Around the Kitchen on social media and leave a comment/rating below! 🙂

Buttermilk brownie on a wooden board with a bite out of it.

Ingredients Needed

  • Butter – Margarine can be used in place of the butter
  • Water
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Buttermilk – See below for a simple substitution
  • Eggs
  • Baking Soda
  • Vanilla
  • Powdered Sugar – If your powdered sugar looks clumpy, I do recommend sifting it into a small bowl first so your frosting is nice and smooth!
Ingredients needed to make buttermilk brownies on a white background.

How to make Buttermilk Brownies

First, you’ll mix and bake the brownies.

For this recipe, you need a jelly roll pan. Grease the pan and get the oven turned on so it’s nice and hot once your brownie batter is ready to bake. In a large bowl, you’ll combine the dry ingredients. Then in a medium saucepan, you’ll combine the butter, water and cocoa powder and place it over medium or medium-high heat.

Saucepan with a cocoa and butter mixture in it.

Once you’ve brought it to a boil, you’ll pour it over the flour mixture. Once that’s mixed, you’ll add the eggs and vanilla extract until combined (using a wooden spoon, an electric mixer or a stand mixer).

Wooden spoon stirring brownie batter.

Next you will pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is done in the center. You can use a toothpick to check the center of the cake. If it’s gooey, you’ll need to add more time. However, if there are just moist crumbs (or it’s completely clean), you can remove it from the oven.

A jelly roll pan with brownie batter in it.

Make the spread the frosting.

For me, it’s the frosting that really makes this the best buttermilk brownies recipe! You’ll add the powdered sugar to a medium bowl and set that aside.

A whisk mixing the brownie frosting.

Then, combine the butter, buttermilk and cocoa powder to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Whisk and let boil for two minutes, then pour over the powdered sugar. Whisk in the chocolate mixture and the vanilla then pour over the warm brownies.

What does buttermilk do to brownies?

There are two reasons for buttermilk in these brownies. First, it has to do with the texture of the brownies. When baking soda (an alkaline) combines with an acidic ingredient such as buttermilk, it releases carbon dioxide gas.

Therefore, it helps create the light and airy texture for these brownies. The tanginess from the buttermilk also helps balance out the sweetness from the cake and the frosting!

Close up of a buttermilk brownie with frosting on top and a bite out of it with a fork.

How to Make Buttermilk (Buttermilk Substitute)

Making buttermilk is really simple. Here’s how I do it: Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole milk will work) to make 1 cup buttermilk. You will use 1/2 cup of the buttermilk mixture for the cake and almost (but not quite!) the rest for the frosting.

Other Great Recipes for Brownie Lovers

Cheesecake Brownies – This recipe stars with box brownies and brings it to the next level with a smooth and creamy cheesecake layer!

Toffee Brownies – These fudgy brownies have a deliciously crunchy topping, thanks to a good amount of toffee bits!

Rocky Road Brownies – If you love rocky road ice cream, this brownie recipe is one you’ll need to have!!!

Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies – Brownies, but in cookie form? Yes please! Then add some soft caramel and a drizzle of chocolate and we’re talking about brownie perfection!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake – You can never go wrong with a Texas sheet cake….especially when you add peanut butter!!

Stack of buttermilk brownies with a glass of milk in the background.
Buttermilk Brownies

Buttermilk Brownies

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
These moist and tender Buttermilk Brownies are a simple treat everyone will love! They're a nostalgic cake-like brownie with the best fudgy icing on top!


  • 1 jelly roll pan



  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash of salt



  • Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a jelly roll pan.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl; set aside.
  • Add the butter, water and cocoa powder to a saucepan.
  • Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • Pour over the dry ingredients and mix.
  • Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla; stir until well-combined.
  • Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the center of the cake is done. While the brownies are in the oven, make the frosting.


  • Place the powdered sugar in a large bowl; set aside.
  • Combine the butter, buttermilk and cocoa powder in a small saucepan.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, and let boil for 2 minutes.
  • Pour over the powdered sugar, add the vanilla and salt and whisk together until smooth.
  • Spread over the warm brownies.


Serving: 1bar | Calories: 263.85kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.56g | Protein: 2.09g | Fat: 11.93g | Saturated Fat: 7.26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.55g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.45g | Cholesterol: 43.96mg | Sodium: 110.36mg | Potassium: 54.34mg | Fiber: 0.55g | Sugar: 29.84g | Vitamin A: 375.33IU | Calcium: 18.03mg | Iron: 0.35mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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