Katharine Hepburn’s #1 Trick for the Best Brownies Is Totally Brilliant

If you dig fudgy brownies, you have to try her foolproof recipe.

<p>Dotdash Meredith / Janet Maples</p>

Dotdash Meredith / Janet Maples

Countless Allrecipes community members—and the whole of our staff—are a little (okay, a lot) obsessed with brownies.

On a constant quest to take them to the next level, we have tested and perfected Mmm-Mmm Better Brownies. We’ve got the Best Brownies. And if this recipe could talk, it would say “Not so fast, I’m, Absolutely the Best Brownies.” We can’t forget Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies and The Ultimate Brownies, either.

The competition for the ultimate, absolute best brownie of all time is stiff, so we’ll leave that up to you to decide which earns your trophy. But before you make your final call, we have another contender to add to the mix after scouring the archives of the PBS project, The History Kitchen: Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies.

We’ll be dishing up the recipe below, but before we do, we have to take a moment to highlight the silver screen icon’s remarkably simple secret that makes her brownies—and honestly, any brownie recipe—better.

Katharine Hepburn's Trick for Better Brownies

In the 1980s, Hepburn was in a car accident. Her neighbor had heard about this and brought her a batch of brownies to sweeten her day as she recovered. According to The History Kitchen, as well as a story in The New York Times, she “was opinionated and brutally honest,” telling her neighbor that his brownies were not quite up to par. “Too much flour! And don't overbake them! They should be moist, not cakey,” she advised.

"Don't put too much flour in your brownies."

A Life Lesson From Katharine Hepburn

The biggest key of all, and one that lives on in the memory of the daughter of the neighbor (who was also close with Hepburn and wrote the story): “Don't put too much flour in your brownies.” Her other life advice? Never quit and be yourself.

Dialing in the just right amount of flour is key to yielding that beautifully rich, gooey, and fudgy texture. Add too much flour, and your brownies dry, crumbly, and might taste slightly stale.

Since it can be tough to measure flour correctly in cups, we’ve included a gram estimate in Hepburn’s brownie recipe below so you can employ a kitchen scale if you have one handy.

P.S. Prefer your brownies with no flour at all? Don’t miss our ultra-easy two-ingredient brownie recipe.

How to Make Katharine Hepburn’s Famous Brownie Recipe

<p>Sara Haas</p>

Sara Haas

In addition to her pro tips about the flour and not overbaking the brownies, Hepburn shared her own signature brownie recipe with her neighbor. After Hepburn passed away in 2003, the neighbor’s daughter later sent this tale, along with the recipe, to The Times as a letter to the editor in the actor’s memory.


  • 1/2 cup cocoa or 2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened baker's chocolate

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) flour

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts or pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Butter an 8x8-inch baking pan, then set it aside.

  2. In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter with the cocoa or chocolate, whisking constantly until blended.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the sugar.

  4. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, followed by the flour, salt, and nuts. Mix well.

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  7. After the brownies are completely cool, use a knife to cut them into squares (employing a spatula to help loosen them from the pan, if necessary).

Enjoy while watching your favorite Katharine Hepburn movie.

Adapted from PBS.

Read the original article on All Recipes.