This German Chocolate Brownies recipe is going to be your new favorite — complete with an ultra chocolaty and fudgy brownie base topped with a nutty, caramel toasted coconut pecan frosting

It goes without saying that I’ve been a bit obsessed with all things German Chocolate Cake. I’ve been testing all sorts of chocolate recipes — I’ve adapted my classic cake recipe for a 6-Inch German Chocolate Cake and turned things even smaller with my German Chocolate Cupcakes recipe! The truth is, I just want to slather the delicious coconut pecan frosting on top of everything! It’s my weakness! I love it so much.

German Chocolate Brownies topped with a coconut pecan frosting, on a white background.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Brownies made with real chocolate. This German Chocolate brownie recipe is Homemade Brownies made with real chocolate (I used a bar of Ghirardelli baking chocolate) – no cocoa powder here! This gives us a deliciously chocolaty flavor! 
  • Topped with homemade coconut pecan frosting. I highly recommend making the German chocolate frosting recipe! It’s a million times better than the store-bought frosting and makes these brownies next level! 

Ingredient Notes

German Chocolate Brownie ingredients: sugar, eggs, butter, flour, vanilla, water, and chocolate bar, on a gray background.
  • Unsalted Butter: You’ll melt the chocolate and butter together to create a nice and smooth consistency. I always use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt in the recipe. 
  • Chocolate: You can use semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate. I love the Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate! I highly recommend using a bar of baking chocolate instead of chocolate chips. 
  • Granulated Sugar: Brownies usually always call for white sugar instead of brown sugar. This will help give it that brownie consistency. 
  • Water: Adding a touch of water will help to loosen up the brownie batter. If you are a coffee drinker (I’m not, so I just used water), then you can use brewed coffee which will enhance the chocolate flavor. 
  • Flour: Use regular all-purpose flour. You’ll notice there isn’t a ton of flour. That’s how we get nice and fudgy brownies! 
  • 1 Batch Coconut Pecan Frosting: Using the German chocolate topping for brownies is the ultimate indulgent dessert! I promise you’ll be glad you made it homemade as well! See my recipe for recipe instructions. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Melt the chocolate. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.Add 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 6 oz chopped chocolate to a microwave safe bowl (medium-sized bowl). Microwave on half power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Let sit for 5 minutes until warm but not hot.
  2. Add remaining wet ingredients. Add 2 large eggs, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 T water (optional to use brewed coffee if you’re a coffee drinker) and the optional 1/4 tsp instant espresso powder to the chocolate mixture. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients. Add 2/3 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir until just combined. Do not over mix. 
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. To an 8×8-inch pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or lined with parchment paper, pour the brownie batter. Using an offset spatula, gently spread the batter to fill the pan in an even layer.
  5. Bake. Bake the brownies for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs but no wet batter. Remove and let cool in the pan completely.
  6. Make the coconut pecan frosting. Follow along in my coconut pecan frosting recipe for directions and details on making the homemade toasted coconut pecan frosting. 
  7. Frost the German chocolate brownies. Once the brownies are cooled completely, frost with the gooey coconut frosting. Slice and serve. Enjoy! 

Recipe Tips

For the chocolate you can use a bar of baking chocolate chopped into small pieces (6 oz worth) or 1 cup of chocolate chips. Hint, 1 cup of chocolate chips equals about 6 oz.

Microwave the chocolate and butter on half power and mix every 30 seconds. This will prevent the chocolate from burning.

I highly suggest you toast the coconut and the pecans for this frosting. It amps up the flavor and texture tremendously. If you need help, I wrote a post about how to toast coconut, so check that out if you have any questions regarding the process.

All ovens are different and altitude and climate can affect baking. Because of this, your brownies make take longer to bake! A few readers have mentioned this! Nothing is wrong, it just means your brownies need a bit longer in the oven. Keep your eye on them! 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

You can make the frosting ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days before using it on the brownies.

Once the brownies have been frosted, you’ll need to store them in the fridge. Store covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. 

To freeze, let cool completely, then flash freeze until the frosting is firm. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Store the pan in the freezer for put to 2 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight. 

You can also freeze the brownie squares individually by wrapping those in plastic wrap and storing in a freezer safe bag. 

Coconut pecan frosting topped German Chocolate Brownies cut into 16 squares.

Recipe FAQs

What is German chocolate?

German chocolate is a type of chocolate invented by Samuel German who worked for the Baker’s chocolate company. 

What chocolate to use for German chocolate recipes?

You can use German chocolate if you want to be spot on! I love using a semi-sweet or dark chocolate bar for my German chocolate recipes. 

Does the frosting harden?

Nope! As you can tell from the pictures, the frosting stays gooey! You’ll be able to pick up the brownie square, but the gooey homemade coconut pecan frosting won’t harden at all. It will still be ultra soft and delicious when you bite into these best German chocolate brownies! 

Can I use a boxed brownie mix for the brownie layer?

Yes, you can. It will taste like a boxed brownie mix, so keep that in mind! Give the homemade German chocolate brownies a go though! They are much easier to make than you’d think when you think of making brownies from scratch. Plus, they are rich brownies with a luscious coconut pecan frosting that boxed mix brownies can’t beat! 

A square of German Chocolate Brownies topped with coconut pecan frosting against a white background.

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German Chocolate Brownies on a white background cut into squares.
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4.86 from 7 votes

German Chocolate Brownies

These German chocolate brownies have a delicous chocolate base that's then topped with an irresistible toasted coconut pecan frosting.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 16 brownies



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 oz semi sweet or dark chocolate - chopped (or 1 cup of chocolate chips)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water - or brewed coffee
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso - optional
  • 2 large eggs

Coconut Pecan Frosting

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans - finely chopped
  • 1 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut - i like to do a heaping cup



  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a microwave safe bowl add the butter and chocolate .  Microwave on half power until butter and chocolate are melted. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes or until slightly warm but no longer piping hot. 
  • Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, water (or coffee), and instant espresso (if using) and whisk to combine. 
  • Stir in the flour and salt, don’t overmix. 
  • Pour the batter into an 8×8 pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or been lined with parchment paper. 
  • Bake at 350°F for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs but no batter. Every oven differs so yours might take a little longer.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. 
  • Once cool top with coconut pecan frosting. 

Coconut Pecan Frosting

  • In sauce pan combine heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks and salt. Cook over medium low until comes to a low boil. Stir constantly. Once it comes to a small boil and has thickened, remove from heat and add the butter, vanilla, pecans and coconut. Stir until butter has melted and everything is combined. 
  • Let sit at room temperature until cooled.


*I’m not a coffee drinker, so I usually use water and forgo the espresso powder. 


Calories: 194kcal (10%)Carbohydrates: 20g (7%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 12g (18%)Saturated Fat: 7g (35%)Cholesterol: 61mg (20%)Sodium: 112mg (5%)Potassium: 21mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 16g (18%)Vitamin A: 412IU (8%)Calcium: 12mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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