Brownies that have been overcooked, have a high proportion of dry ingredients, lack the butter, egg or oil they need or are cut with an unoiled knife can fall apart. Let the brownies cool fully on your bench or a cooling rack before you cut them to avoid breaking them.
This article will explore the top reasons why brownies fall apart when you cut them and easy ways you can avoid each problem.
8 Reasons why brownies fall apart when you cut them
Check out the top reasons why brownies fall apart when you cut them and how you can stop this from happening.
1. Cutting brownies before they have cooled
Attempting to cut brownies before they have cooled can cause them to fall apart. When the brownies are too hot they can stick to the knife and crumble apart when cut.
To avoid this let brownies cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes. You can pop the brownie tray directly on a cooling rack to help to speed up the process. After 10-15 minutes you can also take the brownies out to cool directly on the rack.
After the brownies are no longer warm to the touch you can go ahead and cut them on a flat cutting board.
2. Trying to cut brownies on a plate
Trying to cut brownies on an uneven plate can cause them to fall apart. Plates that go up on the edges will cause a hollow underneath the brownies and they can break off when cut.
To cut brownies evenly, place them on a flat chopping board and use a sharp knife.
3. Adding too much flour
Adding too much flour to the brownie mix can cause them to become too crumbly. This will mean they will break apart at the edges as they are cut.
If your brownies are coming out too ‘cakey’ you can reduce the flour added by ¼ of a cup. This will give you a thicker brownie mix that will taste chewier and fudgier and will not crumble or break apart when you cut them.
4. Using small eggs
Most brownie mixes will contain eggs and they often specify the size. If you add small instead of large eggs to a mix it can often come out too dry. Regular eggs can be up to 1/3 smaller than XL eggs.
If your mixture is coming out too dry you can add another small egg or 2-3 tablespoons of extra milk or water. This will help to smooth out the mix, add more moisture and it will be easier to cut without breaking.
5. Not oiling the knife
Trying to cut brownies without oiling the knife can lead to it sticking and the brownies breaking when you cut them. A sneaky trick to get the knife to slide right through and cut cleanly is to oil it first. You can apply spray oil or wipe on some oil with a pastry knife.
This will help the knife to slide right through. You may need to oil the knife again as you cut.
6. Overcooking the brownie mixture
Overcooking the brownie mixture can form a hard crust on the outside which can cause the mixture to break and crumble when cut.
It is important to set the oven temperature to that specified in the recipe. I bake my brownies at 320 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) in my fan forced oven. This cooks a regular brownie tray in between 35-40 minutes without forming a hard crust.
This makes my brownies easy to cut without falling apart.
7. Adding too many dry flavors
Using a plain brownie mix as a base is a great way to start your recipe. Adding too many extra flavors or ingredients however can cause the mix to become dry, crumbly and fall apart when you cut them.
It is delicious to add nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips or coconut to brownies. Look out for recipes with these specifical ingredients or add extra butter or milk to keep the mixture moist.
8. Not greasing the pan thoroughly
Not greasing the brownie pan is a quick way to get them to stick and fall apart when cutting. If you don’t grease the pan the outside of the brownies will stick and be difficult to remove.
The easiest way to stop brownies from sticking to the brownie pan is to line it with parchment paper. You can add additional non-stick protection by greasing the paper with butter and shaking in some cocoa.
This will make it easy to remove the brownies and to cut them on a chopping board.
Why Brownies Fall Apart When Cut | Summary
Brownies that are too dry and overcooked will quickly crumble and fall apart when you try to cut them. Trying to cut hot brownies is also a recipe for breaking them apart or getting them to stick to your knife. Let the brownies cool and cut with a greased knife to make clean cuts and perfect brownies.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.