When Should You Cut Brownies After Baking?

Nothing beats the chocolate goodness of brownies fresh out of the oven. Whether you prefer the crispy edges or the ooey-gooey middle pieces, brownies are a beloved dessert. However, when it comes to cutting and serving those brownies, problems can arise. Everything sticks to the knife, or crumbles are left behind, leaving a big mess. Is there a secret to cutting the perfect brownie? Our team has the answer for you.

Do not attempt to cut your brownies before they are cooled in the pan. Brownies should cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Cooling them completely will ensure a cleaner cut, which can take up to 4 hours. You can also place them in the fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling process. 

While diving right into the pan and devouring the brownies straight out of the oven is tempting, patience is the key to slicing the perfect brownie. Keep reading to review the step-by-step process for cutting the perfect brownie. Next time you make this irresistible, mouthwatering dessert, use these tips to make and serve a brownie nobody can resist.

Homemade chocolate brownies shot from above, When Should You Cut Brownies After Baking?

What Happens When You Cut Brownies Too Soon?

The aroma of freshly baked brownies pulled straight from the oven is beyond inviting. That delicious pan of luscious chocolate seems to be calling your name. However, if you cut your brownies too early, you will not be able to make a clean, precise cut, and your pan of brownies will look more like a fudgy mess.

Additionally, letting the brownies cool in the pan will further enhance the flavor of the brownie. As the brownie cools, the flavor becomes richer as the chocolate has time to set.

If you desire a warm brownie, waiting at least 30 minutes will give you enough time to get a somewhat clean-cut but still have that warm gooey brownie and cooling the brownie completely, which could take as long as 4 hours, will give you the perfect texture to make straight cuts.

Close-up of brownie chocolate cake in square slices macro with textured surface

How to Cut the Perfect Brownie without Crumbling or Destroying Them?

Cutting the perfect brownie is more than just grabbing any old knife and slicing away. Doing that can cause a sticky, unappealing mess! Follow the steps below to cut the perfect brownie to serve at bake sales, school parties, or even fancy dinners.

One freshly baked chocolate brownie on a plate.

1. Line Your Pan

This simple step is the first essential step in cutting the perfect brownie. Why should lining the pan matter? There are several reasons to line your brownie pan before cooking.

First, lining your brownie pan eases your prep time. No need to get out the butter, flour, or oil to grease your pan. Line your pan with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper, and rest easy, knowing your brownies will effortless be removed from the pan.

Make sure you leave enough foil or parchment paper over the sides of the pan so you can use the excess as handles to lift the brownies straight out of the pan.

The photo above shows how the extra foil and parchment hang over the edge to help remove the brownies later.

Second, using the foil or parchment to lift the brownies from the pan makes the process much easier. Pulling the brownies out of the pan gives you an open area for cutting. The walls of the pan won't restrict you. More precise even cuts can be made with the brownies removed from the pan.

Last, lining the pan makes cleaning up a breeze! The parchment or foil will slip right out of the pan, leaving no sticky mess behind. Toss the paper into the trash and wipe the pan clean. No scrubbing or scraping the pan will be necessary if you line your pan before baking your delicious brownies.

2. Let your Brownies Cool Before Cutting

Baking Thanksgiving Day. Homemade chocolate brownie cake dessert with pumpkin puree and spices on a rustic wooden background. Top view flat lay background.

As tempting as it is to cut into that pan of warm, delectable brownies, don't do it! Resist the urge with everything you have! Your brownies will not cut evenly or smoothly if you cut them while they are still warm.

They must be cooled completely, which will take at least 30 minutes, if not more. The hot brownie will stick to your knife, and sliding a hot knife through the brownies will do nothing but make a sticky, crumbly pile.

Should You Put Brownies in the Fridge After Baking?

One way to speed up the process of cooling your brownies is by placing them in the fridge or the freezer. Cold or even frozen brownies will cut with ease, and no crumbles will be left behind.

After they are cut, thaw the brownies back to room temperature, and don't worry! Your brownies won't lose the soft gooey texture they are known for. The flavor and texture will return to normal.

3. Measure Your Slices

This step is optional based on how precise you want your cuts to be. If you want every brownie to be precisely the same size, use a ruler to measure out your cuts. You may have to do a little bit of math to make sure the size you choose to cut your brownies works out.

If you choose to do 2-inch squares, measure 2 inches, and make a little slit on both sides to know where to slice. It is wise to start in the middle and measure out, so if your math isn't perfect, you can slice off the ends. Use this process to cut both columns and rows.

4. Time to Cut

Finally, it's time to slice into that glorious pan of goodness. You can use several different options to cut into your brownies to make them look as beautiful as possible. Here are some methods to try:

Plastic Knife Method

No fancy knife is necessary when it comes to cutting the perfect brownie. Chef Julie Harrington claims a disposable plastic knife is one of the best tools to use when cutting brownies. Plastic knives are naturally non-stick, so the sticky, fudgy brownie won't stick to the knife. Cut into the brownie and slide the knife through in one, smooth motion. Don't use a back and forth sawing motion.

Knife and Hot Water Method

A large chef's knife or long metal knife are the best choices if using a metal knife for slicing the brownies.  Use very hot water to clean and heat the knife between each cut. A clean, hot blade will ensure perfect, neat slices. Do not use a serrated knife for cutting. The jagged edges of the knife will make a messy cut. Again, use one slicing motion when cutting the brownie.

Knife and Cooking Spray Method

This method is similar to the above method. Rather than cleaning and heating the knife between cutting, use cooking spray instead. Coating the knife in cooking spray before cutting will reduce crumbling and stickiness. Wipe the knife clean and spray again in between each slice.

Cookie-Cutter Method

For something unexpected, use a cookie cutter to cut your brownies into fun shapes for any occasion. Brownies don't always have to be square! Just like the knife method, wipe your cookie-cutter clean in between uses, and either heat or spray with cooking spray.

How Long Should Brownies Cool Before Frosting?

Wait until the brownies are completely cooled before frosting. If you try frosting brownies when they are warm, the top of the brownie will pull off and mix in with the frosting. The frosting will also run down the sides of the brownie if they are frosted while hot.

Allowing the brownies to cool completely before frosting ensures the frosting sits in an even layer on top of the brownie. Also, a cooled surface will make the process much easier and neater.

How To Store Cut Brownies

Top view of some homemade chocolate brownie slices on a wooden cutting board and some on a black plate surrounded by brownie crumbs, walnuts, a fork and a baking sheet with a baked brownie on the inside.

Martha Stewart suggests storing cut brownies in an airtight container and keeping them at room temperature. Because they are already cut, they tend to dry out faster. They are best when eaten within 1 to 2 days.

In Closing

While cutting the perfect brownie proves to be pretty easy, dodging the temptation of digging into those hot brownies is a different story.

Remember, patiently waiting for the brownies to cool will not only amplify their flavor but will also make cutting them much easier and neater. Just line, cool, measure, and slice to achieve the most exquisite brownie nobody will be able to resist!

If you are interested in reading more articles about baking, click on the following links:

Can You Bake A Cake Or Brownies In A Lasagna Pan?

How Long Should A Bundt Cake Cool In Pan Before Icing Or Cutting?

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