Three Ingredients, or 3G Brownies

Three Ingredient Brownies. Simply delicious!

Three Ingredient, or 3G brownies displayed on a lovely blue gift bag.

Do you know the technical definition of 3G?

Neither do I, but I do know that 3G is supposed to mean faster, fuller, and fabulous. That’s what this recipe is all about too.

My friend Elle told me recently that she liked my site, but that I had branched into some complex recipes lately.

“If it’s got more than 5 ingredients, I’m not touching it!”

I know she was exaggerating a little (right, Elle?), but I took her words to heart.

Elle’s one of those super busy women that doesn’t have time for a lot of cooking. But she does take time to read my site! Ah, she’s so sweet.

Elle’s not the kind of person to give critiques without a solution, so she shared with me a fabulous recipe for brownies with only three ingredients.

Well, actually, Elle’s recipe had only two ingredients, but my daughter and I agreed that it needed chocolate chips. What are brownies without chocolate chips!

And then we called them 3G to make it fun. Everyone (including brownies) wants a fun name. It’s a term of endearment and these brownies are definitely very endearing!

Delicious 3G Brownies with chocolate icing

I added frosting to some of these. It seems I can’t help myself from adding ingredients. But just so you know, they’re great either way!

In honor of Elle, here’s a fast recipe for delicious and easy-to-make (and vegan to boot) brownies.

Chocolatey 3G Brownies with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips.

3 Ingredient Brownies

(Adapted from a recipe by my super busy friend, Elle…who read about it somewhere at some distant airport)


  • 1 box chocolate cake mix  (Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Cake is “accidentally” vegan)
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
  • 1 – 2 cups chocolate chips (dairy free)


  1. Heat your oven to 375. Spray a 9X13 cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. Pour the cake mix into a bowl.
  3. Pour the can of pumpkin on top of the cake mix.
  4. Stir until well combined. Add chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the brownies are done. (My oven is older so the 40 minutes worked well for me)

Next eat brownies and repeat steps 1 – 5 as necessary.

Updated by Marly · Permalink

33 Responses to Three Ingredients, or 3G Brownies

  1. Neat trick, Marly & Elle! Plus, it’s kind of perfect for the season. I’ve got two cans of whole foods pumpkin in my pantry. I might even have a Dr. Oetker’s cake mix I’ve been meaning to use (smile)…
    p.s. I love the way you call things ‘accidentally vegan’!

  2. OMG these sound good. I’ve been thinking recently about making some easier recipes to my blog, too. You’ve given me some inspiration!

  3. Adding pumpkin to brownies is delicious! I’ve done it myself, and I can vouch for how much flavor and moistness it adds. And I’m all about ease right now…after those croissants, I need some simplicity. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Talk about simply creative – way to go! You write and photograph such terrific posts.

    (And…oh, yes…it would be funny to show up at a family dinner with a raw, vegan recipe! If you do that, I hope you take photos – of the people!)

    • I will definitely take pics. I know my family will not fail to surprise me with their reactions to a raw dessert if I bring it to Thanksgiving dinner. So everyone knows what we’re talking about – Ms. Adventuress just posted a raw pumpkin pie recipe which I think looks really good and I commented that I might just have to take that to Thanksgiving dinner. I think it will be tasty, but am looking forward to the entertainment value from the reactions of my family! Here’s the link:

  5. What size can of pumpkin? I’m thinking the small size? (14 oz I think)

    • I used the smaller can which is 15 oz. Thanks for catching that – I’ll update the recipe!

  6. I like the pumpkin frosting idea! Thanks for passing by. A bientôt, Giorgia

  7. For us with kids but no time, 3 ingredient recipes are the way to go.

    • This is a perfect recipe for you, Ryan! It’s fast and easy. My friend Elle is certainly happy with me now!

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  9. What a great idea! They look delicious 🙂


  10. You know, I DO except care packages,…..

  11. I have a similar recipe on my site, but with spice cake instead of brownie mix. It’s a Weight Watchers recipe that’s been kicking around for a long time now, probably because it’s so easy and delicious. I love your idea to call them 3G brownies.

  12. Okay…I must report: My local deli made something so similar to these, that I was blown away. I ate two and wish they hadn’t been the last two. But at least I got two!

    (Thanks so much for your vegan post! I responded there, but want you to know here, too:

    And…I have to walk several blocks to see this view , but I know I’m very lucky to get to walk those several blocks. I used an older Canon Rebel XT with its standard 18-55 lens for those shots. :o)

  13. Oh geesh, and I meant for that to be a smiley face! 🙂

  14. I do love brownies!! this is the second time I have seen pumpkin in brownies, its making me want to try them! I bet it does keep them soooo moist! Thanks for sharing a wonderful easy recipe!

  15. I just tried these with a French Vanilla cake mix and butterscotch chips. I also added a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin Blondies! Delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    • Wow! What a great idea. Oooh, I’m going to have to try that. But of course we wouldn’t use the butterscotch chips because we can’t seem to find them without dairy, but still that sounds so very good. Thanks for this great idea.

  16. What a creative name – it certainly embodies our modern life. Always connected to technology and striving to make everything faster! These brownies sound like the ultimate “quick chocolate fix”, great work!

  17. Yummy! Nice use of pumpkin. 😉

  18. oh my gosh, this is the most perfectly simple recipe! Definitely filing this one away.

  19. Yummy!!! I have to try this, perfect treat to have Halloween night when all the little ones stop by for a visit. I bet these went fast. I know they won’t last long over here either.

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  21. thanks for the recipe. I made them and they were good. I felt they needed 2 cups of chips but I only had one. also I had a hard time finding dark chocolate cake mix found instead dark chocolate fudge by duncan hines.
    It did seem hard to mix and I was concerned that the more I mixed the tougher it would make the brownies. I would love to hear your input on the mixing course I did it by hand. also I found that they got done quicker than the time you stated but all ovens are different. mine is electric
    thanks I am like elle give me simple stuff after 5 ingredients or even more than 3-4 steps my eyes glaze over 🙂

    • Hi Debbie – thanks so much for this feedback. I’ll change the recipe on the main page as a result. I have an older oven so sometimes it takes things a little longer to bake there. I love the look of the near-vintage oven, but sometimes baking with it can be such a hassle.

      I mixed it until just well blended. Glad you liked the short list of ingredients. I’ll try to do more of those soon…

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  25. SweetLikeTea

    I love all these uses for cake mixes!


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