German Chocolate Brownies

Brownies typically fall within a range of cake-like to fudgy and everyone has their preferences. These German Chocolate Brownies are my personal favorite — they’re incredibly moist and fudgy with all of the pecan and coconut frosting goodness.

squares of german chocolate brownies with gooey topping


 

Let it be known, though, that there is nothing related to German heritage that inspired these brownies (or their popular cousin, the OG chocolate cake that bears the same name). In fact, the cake itself — the inspiration for these brownies — was created in Texas in the 1950’s.

So why are chocolatey desserts like cakes and brownies, slathered with creamy coconut and pecan frosting, labeled German? 

stack of chocolate caramel brownies with nuts and coconut caramel topping

What is German Chocolate?

The real reason that German chocolate brownies and cakes are called that is thanks to Samuel German. In 1852, he invented the specific sweet style of baking chocolate for now-well-known Baker’s chocolate company.

The company honored his sweet baking chocolate concoction by making it eponymous. Then, the Texan baker of the German chocolate cake made it famous, using that chocolate to make her cake.

While German chocolate is akin to semisweet chocolate, it has a higher sugar content. It may be somewhat lighter on the chocolate flavor, but in recipes like this one it works well with the thick frosting to make an amazingly decadent dessert.

Why You’ll Love Them

Fudgy brownies with a german chocolate frosting that takes them to the next level- what’s not to love! 

  • Decadent – This is an ooey, gooey brownie with all of the goodness of a coconut frosting that brings sweetness and texture to the table. 
  • Convenient – Outside of the German chocolate, most bakers will have these ingredients already handy.
  • Simple – While there are a few steps to the process, everything is easy and quick. You can even prep the frosting while the brownies are baking. 
  • Versatile – You can take these sweet treats to a baby shower, cookout, or bake sale. I’d even press a candle in one for a birthday!
bite taken out of a german chocolate brownie

German Chocolate Brownies Ingredients

Although these are homemade brownies and don’t use a boxed mix, you probably already have a lot of the ingredients on hand.

  • Salted butter – Cut the butter into tablespoons to make it easier to mix. Having it softened will also help the mixing process.
  • German chocolate baking bar – Make sure to make this an authentic recipe by using Baker’s German chocolate. If you can’t find it in your store, you can get it online.
  • Sugar – Use regular white sugar. However, if you’re in a pinch you can experiment with brown sugar.
  • Eggs – Use large eggs. Adding extra yolks can make a brownie fudgier, but this recipe is already fudgy enough.
  • Vanilla extract – You likely have this in your cabinet already, but you can also substitute other flavors.
  • Sea salt – Finely ground salt dissolves quickly when baking.
  • All-purpose flour – Sift the all purpose flour so that it combines well. 
  • Evaporated milk – This will lend a smooth creaminess to the icing.
  • Salted butter – Slice this into tablespoons so it incorporates more easily. Typically for baking unsalted butter is better, but salted works best in this recipe for both the batter and the topping.
  • Egg yolks – Separate the yolk from the white. Use the whites for another recipe.
  • Toasted coconut – Just grab this from the grocery store. If you can’t find it toasted, just use another variety that you prefer.
  • Toasted pecans – Chop the pecans somewhat finely so that it’s easier to slice up the brownies — plus, they’ll combine more evenly. If you don’t care for them toasted, just use what you like instead.
  • Vanilla extract – It’s best to use vanilla in this part of the recipe, but you can use other extracts as well.
  • Melted chocolate – Use plain milk chocolate wafers for garnish or melt those or dark chocolate wafers to drizzle over top, if you choose.
ingredients needed to make a german chocolate brownie

How To Make German Chocolate Brownies

Grab a large bowl and get to mixing, the best german chocolate brownies are only a few steps away!

  1. Melt butter. Cut the butter and place it into a large saucepan or dutch oven. Melt butter over medium-low heat, stirring slowly to avoid browning it.
  2. Add chocolate to melted butter. Add chunks of the chocolate bar to the pot, stirring occasionally. Completely combine butter with the melting chocolate until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Whisk in sugar. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the sugar until smooth. 
  4. Eggs. Add the eggs one at a time. Whisk each fully into the chocolate and butter before adding the next egg.
  5. Vanilla and salt. Add the vanilla and salt and whisk again until completely combined.
  6. Flour. Slowly pour in the flour. Stir the flour into the mixture until it is fully combined with no dry patches, but be careful to avoid overmixing.
  7. Add batter to pan and bake. Pour the brownie batter into the baking dish prepared with parchment paper. 
  8. Remove from pan. Lift the brownies from the pan using the edges of the parchment paper. Place them on a wire rack to fully cool.
  9. Make frosting. Place the sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and egg yolks together into a medium-sized saucepot that allows plenty of room to stir.
  10. Heat. Place over medium-low or medium heat and stir together consistently, ensuring that the unsalted butter melts and all ingredients are combined.
  11. Remove from heat. Once the mixture hits a simmer and thickens slightly remove it from the heat.
  12. Add coconut, pecans and vanilla. Next, add the coconut, pecans, and vanilla and stir it in to combine all ingredients evenly. 
  13. Stir until thick. Continue to stir the mixture until it becomes thick. It should have a spreadable consistency.
  14. Spread luscious coconut pecan frosting. Pour the delicious coconut pecan frosting on top of the german chocolate brownies and, using a spatula, smooth it so that it is evenly spread. 
  15. Cool and cut. Allow the brownies to cool completely. Cut the brownies into bars. Then, drizzle melted chocolate over top if you choose.
process images of how to make german chocolate brownies

Variations

There are plenty of ways for you to make these delicious german chocolate brownies your own.

  • Switch out extracts – Try using a nutty or coffee-flavored extract instead of vanilla.
  • Get saucy – Make or buy some caramel sauce, warm it up, and spoon it over the top of the German chocolate brownies to transform these into turtle brownies.
  • Change up your nuts – Instead of pecans, try walnuts, pistachios, or any nut you prefer. 
  • Get caffeinated – Add espresso coffee to enhance the flavor and make it your own. 
  • Go with coconut milk – Substitute some of all of the evaporated milk with full fat coconut milk.
  • Get nutty – Melt some peanut butter and either add it to the batter or drizzle it over top.
squares of german chocolate brownies with gooey topping

Storage & Freezing

Storage: For best results, store these German chocolate brownies at room temperature for up to three days or refrigerate them for up to a week.

Freezing: You can also freeze the brownies for up to three months, wrapped individually and stored in an airtight container between layers of wax paper to avoid them sticking together.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is German chocolate different from regular chocolate?

Traditionally, german chocolate is on the sweeter side. Sweeter than the semi-sweet chocolate that we’re used to anyhow.

What does German chocolate have in it?

Being that it’s sweeter, it contains sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and flavorings.

More Bar Recipes

Dessert bars and brownies are so much fun and perfect for parties and potlucks. Here are a few more of our favs.

angled shot of lemon bar slice topped with raspberry

Lemon Bars

4.86 from 7 votes
This homemade Lemon Bars recipe is the perfect way to channel warm-weather flavors. A citrusy filling paired & shortbread crust are perfect!
See The Recipe!
side view of layers on raspberry cheesecake bars

Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

5 from 8 votes
Raspberry Cheesecake Bars are the perfect dessert with the crunchy graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake filling and fresh raspberry swirl!
See The Recipe!
stack of cheesecake bars

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

5 from 6 votes
These Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars are the perfect crowd pleasing dessert with a classic cheesecake crust, decadent middle cheesecake layer and a golden chocolate chip cookie dough top!
See The Recipe!
stack of three german chocolate brownies with text overlay
stack of chocolate caramel brownies with nuts and coconut caramel topping

German Chocolate Brownie Recipe

5 from 7 votes
Reminiscent of your favorite cake, this German Chocolate Brownies recipe is decadent and topped with a delicious and sweet coconut topping!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients

For the Brownies

For the Topping

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray, set aside.
  • Place the cut butter into a large pot or dutch oven, begin to melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  • Break up the chocolate bar into squares and add them to the pot, stirring occasionally, melt the chocolate with the butter until smooth.
  • Take off the heat and whisk in the sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk them in fully before adding the next.
  • Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Add the flour and stir it in until fully combined with no dry patches. Do not overmix.
  • Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35-38 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
  • Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the brownies are cool, make the topping. Place the sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and egg yolks into a medium-sized saucepot.
  • Place over medium-low heat and stir together. Stir occasionally until the butter has melted.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer while still stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom. Once it hits a simmer and thickens slightly take it off the heat, for approximately 12 minutes.
  • Add the coconut, pecans, and vanilla. Stir it in to combine. Continue to stir until it becomes thickened and spreadable, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Pour the frosting on top of the brownies and smooth it out. Let it cool completely.
  • Cut into bars and drizzle with melted chocolate if using.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.

Notes

If you can’t find or don’t have German baking chocolate you can use semi-sweet or unsweetened chocolate baking bars. 

Nutrition

Calories: 376 kcal, Carbohydrates: 45 g, Protein: 4 g, Fat: 21 g, Saturated Fat: 12 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 128 mg, Sodium: 244 mg, Potassium: 83 mg, Fiber: 0.2 g, Sugar: 39 g, Vitamin A: 678 IU, Vitamin C: 0.3 mg, Calcium: 59 mg, Iron: 1 mg
Calories: 376
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, German
Keyword: german chocolate brownies, homemade brownie recipe
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
collage for german chocolate brownie recipes with text overlay for pinterest
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    The rich and fudgy brownie base perfectly complements the sweet and nutty coconut pecan topping. It’s the perfect indulgent treat for any chocolate lover. 10/10 would recommend!

  2. 5 stars
    Love this German Chocolate Brownies recipe, so delicious and fluffy, will be making this with the kiddos. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Whipped up a batch of these for an afternoon treat, and they do not disappoint! Turned out moist, rich and delicious; exactly what I needed for my sweet tooth!

  4. 5 stars
    These brownies look absolutely incredible! I’m not a huge fan of coconut but I’m excited to try these and see how I like them 🙂