The Heavenly $1.85 ALDI Find I’m Always Stocking in My Pantry

It's the perfect Ghirardelli boxed brownie mix dupe at half the price.

The Heavenly $1.85 ALDI Find I’m Always Stocking in My Pantry
ALDI sign on store
Simply Recipes / Getty Images

Despite my baking and pastry degree and years of culinary training, I have been a devotee of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix. I love them so much that I buy the mix in bulk from Costco, and I have the back-of-the-box directions memorized.

Both my kids also know how to make them with minimal supervision. So when a friend (and fellow food editor) said that ALDI's Specially Selected Double Chocolate Brownie Mix was nearly identical to my long-loved Ghirardelli mix for half the price, I scooted right over to ALDI to grab a few boxes.

ALDI Double Chocolate box over a colorful background
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailer below

How ALDI's Specially Selected Double Chocolate Brownie Mix Compares to My Favorite Boxed Brownie Mix  

Now, I don’t want to start any rumors on the internet, but these two brownie mixes are suspiciously similar, from the instructions on the box to the ingredients. You start by mixing water, vegetable oil, and egg in a medium bowl, then add the chocolate chip studded dry brownie mix. Thoroughly mix the batter until mostly smooth (a few small lumps are OK) and add to a baking pan coated with non-stick spray. The brownies get baked from 39 to 43 minutes depending on your preferred doneness. 

I baked a batch of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix alongside the Specially Selected Double Chocolate Brownie Mix. While the Ghirardelli batter was slightly darker in color, the two batters smelled and tasted the same. Yes, I ate raw brownie batter for testing purposes only! I baked both brownies for the shorter end of cooking time, 40 minutes for each batch.

The Ghirardelli brownies did come out of the oven with a richer chocolatey brown color, while the Specially Selected brownies had more of a reddish brown hue. Both had shiny, tender crisp tops with chewy edges and an interior that walks the line between fudgy and cake-like. In a blind test, I’m not sure I could distinguish between the two brownie mixes. 

The Specially Selected was slightly less chocolatey in flavor and, therefore, a little sweeter. But the texture truly rivals the Ghirardelli mix—a slight chew at the edges and corners and somehow sturdy enough to pick up but with a creamy, tender, cake-like interior.

Of course, if you prefer a fudgier brownie, just bake these a bit less. And for $1.85 a box, this is the kind of baking mix I would keep on hand for impromptu sleepover friends or brownie-based desserts like brownie sundaes or as the base of fluffernutter brownies.