14 Chain Restaurant Brownie Desserts Ranked Worst To Best

Brownies drizzled in chocolate
Brownies drizzled in chocolate - Yelenayemchuk/Getty Images

There's something so comforting about a brownie done right. The combination of dense fudgy goodness wrapped in a cake-like exterior is the perfect chocolaty treat. Top it with some creamy ice cream, caramel drizzle, or crunchy nuts, and you have a next-level indulgence. With that in mind, it's easy to see why so many chain restaurants offer brownie desserts on their menus. However, not all restaurant brownie desserts are created equal.

While some chain restaurants offer brownies that chocolate lovers swoon over, others serve lackluster versions that are just plain disappointing. Some chains use secret ingredients to make the brownies ultra moist and flavorful, or get creative to concoct delectable dishes that are unique and supremely crave-worthy. Then there are the restaurants that serve up sub-par brownie dishes that are nowhere near as good as even the most basic brownie recipe you could make at home.

If you're wondering which brownie desserts from chain restaurants are worth the calorie splurge and which will just make you sad, this list is for you. We researched brownie desserts from popular chains and scoured through hundreds of customer reviews to give you the definitive ranking of the worst to best versions of this chocolatey confection.

Read more: The Most Overrated Chain Restaurants In The US, According To The Mashed Staff

14. Brownie Bite, Applebee's

Brownie Bite at Applebee's
Brownie Bite at Applebee's - Applebee's

With over 1,600 locations across the United States, there's a good chance there's an Applebee's near you. The casual dining chain is known for its comfort food dishes like the Signature Riblets and the Whisky Bacon Burger. The "Neighborhood Bar and Grill" also has a selection of desserts, one of which is the Brownie Bite. Featuring a warm brownie topped with nuts and hot fudge and served with ice cream, it looks like a pretty delish dessert. At just $1.99, it's also pretty affordable. Even so, some customers say it's not worth the price.

According to one Reddit user, "Applebee's used to be a decent place to eat. Now they are just ripping people off with the ... prices of their food and amount of food. Especially the Brownie Bite. I have yet to have a Brownie Bite as advertised." A reviewer on Yelp seconded this, saying, "They also changed their Brownie Bites size to a literal ONE bite brownie, it used to be the size of a sliver of cheesecake, now it's literally one bite, not even worth $2." When it comes to shady things about Applebee's menu, the reviews suggest that the Brownie Bite is one of the shadiest.

13. Big Ol' Brownie, Texas Roadhouse

Big Ol' Brownie at Texas Roadhouse
Big Ol' Brownie at Texas Roadhouse - Texas Roadhouse

Texas Roadhouse is one of the largest steakhouse chains in the U.S. with over 600 locations nationwide. Since 1993, the chain has been winning over diners with its hand-cut steaks, sides made from scratch, and complimentary bread rolls with cinnamon honey butter. The steak dinners are relatively affordable compared to some of the more high-end steakhouse chains, which makes it easier to justify ordering dessert. The Big Ol' Brownie looks like it would be a great choice for a chocolate lover. Unfortunately, some diners say you might be sorely disappointed.

The Big Ol' Brownie is a pretty basic brownie dessert. It includes a chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce for $9.99. Customers say that the brownie is a decent size, which puts it ahead of Applebee's Brownie Bite. However, many also say the texture is unpleasantly hard and dry. "The brownie looked like a brick found on the ground," said one Google Reviews poster. Another unhappy customer wrote, "When I tried to get a spoonful in it, it was as hard as a rock!!" It may be big, but it's definitely not the best brownie out there.

12. Gooey Chocolate Brownie Cake, Red Robin

Gooey Chocolate Brownie Cake at Red Robin
Gooey Chocolate Brownie Cake at Red Robin - redrobinburgers / Instagram

Established in 1969, Red Robin specializes in gourmet burgers and bottomless steak fries. Popular Red Robin menu items include the Bleu Ribbon Burger with steak sauce and blue cheese, the Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich, and the Pretzel Bites. The chain also offers several desserts, including cinnamon sugar rings, cakes, and cookies. If it's chocolate you're after, the Gooey Chocolate Brownie Cake for $8.49 might catch your eye.

Red Robin's brownie dessert consists of a chocolate brownie served on strawberry purée and topped with ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce. According to customers, it's not a terrible dessert, but it's not exactly good either. Many say it doesn't taste fresh — more like it's been frozen and microwaved. One Yelp reviewer said, "The brownie cake seemed stale and dry. Not worth it." Another customer commented, "The brownie was actually kind of hard at the edges (microwaved), but the flavor was good." That being said, a Mashed poll revealed that the brownie cake is the most popular dessert at Red Robin, which makes you wonder about the other desserts on the menu.

11. Caramel Fudge Brownie Sundae, Friendly's

Caramel Fudge Brownie Sundae at Friendly's
Caramel Fudge Brownie Sundae at Friendly's - friendlys / Instagram

Born in the heyday of the Great Depression in 1935, Friendly's began as a family-run ice cream shop. As the company grew, the menu also expanded to include savory foods like burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Sweet treats have always been at the heart of the company, though, so it's not surprising that the menu features numerous ice cream options, including cones, cups, sundaes, and floats. The Caramel Fudge Brownie Sundae is one of Friendly's more decadent desserts.

Priced at $8.99, the Caramel Fudge Brownie Sundae consists of two brownies topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, and a cherry. It also comes with caramel and hot fudge sauce. According to some customers, the brownies aren't the main problem. It's just that the dish can be sickly sweet and over the top. One Google Reviews user said that the copious amount of fudge sauce made it unbearable to eat. Another Yelp reviewer wrote, "Finished with a giant ice cream/brownie/whipped cream mess that made me nearly explode in a gluttonous goo." If you can handle the sweetness overload, you might be all right. Otherwise, it may be best to stick to a cone.

10. Brownie Overboard, Red Lobster

Brownie Overboard at Red Lobster
Brownie Overboard at Red Lobster - Red Lobster / Facebook

At one point, Red Lobster was the biggest seafood chain in the world, and one of the most popular in the United States. However, the chain has gone through some financial difficulties over the past few years. In May 2024, the chain filed for bankruptcy, and began shuttering restaurants across the country. For many people, that means it will be harder to fill up on affordable seafood and the chain's beloved Cheddar Bay Biscuits. However, one dish that many won't miss too much is the Brownie Overboard.

According to many customer reviews, the Brownie Overboard is a bit of a letdown. For $10.99 you get a few brownie wedges and a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with fudge sauce, caramel, and whipped cream. Several diners comment that the portion size is pretty laughable. One Yelp reviewer wrote, "My daughter joked, mommy, let's go back and ask them where the rest of our brownie is. That's how small it was." It's a shame because many diners say the Brownie Overboard actually tastes pretty good. It just doesn't live up to its name.

9. Brownie Obsession, TGI Fridays

Brownie Obsession at TGI Fridays
Brownie Obsession at TGI Fridays - tgifridays / Instagram

You may know TGI Fridays as a family-friendly, all-American restaurant where you can grab comfort food dishes. The truth about TGI Fridays is it actually started as a singles bar where owner Alan Stillman could meet women. In the early days, it was all about indulgences like cocktails and casual connections. Today, the chain offers gratification in the form of cheese fries, burgers, and desserts. If chocolate is your guilty pleasure, the Brownie Obsession might pique your interest.

Like most chain restaurants that offer brownie desserts, TGI Fridays serves up a fudge brownie topped with ice cream. Where it steps things up a bit is with the addition of caramel sauce and glazed pecans. It costs $9.19, which is pretty on par with other spots. While the Brownie Obsession doesn't get the scathing reviews that some of the other desserts on this list do, it does have its fair share of complaints. Some diners say it's small or overly sweet. Others say it comes to the table disappointingly cold. Based on the reviews, it probably won't be the worst brownie dessert you've ever had, but you may find it slightly lacking.

8. Heath Brownie Cupfection, Dairy Queen

Heath Brownie Cupfection at Dairy Queen
Heath Brownie Cupfection at Dairy Queen - dairyqueen / Instagram

When you're craving an easy-going ice cream treat, Dairy Queen is a pretty solid bet. A fun fact you might not know about Dairy Queen is that it was founded in 1940 by an ice cream shop owner named Sherb Noble and father-son duo J.F. McCullough and Alex McCullough, who were the inventors of soft-serve ice cream. Over the decades, the chain has created all manner of ice cream treats, from cones to cakes and ice cream sundaes. The Heath Caramel Brownie Cupfection is one of its newer inventions.

This sweet treat features brownie bites, soft-serve ice cream, Heath chocolate toffee pieces, hot fudge sauce, and caramel in a cup. It came out in 2022, and sells for about $7 (depending on the location). It's a concoction that gets mixed reviews from customers. Some say it's next-level, while others say the Heath flavors are overpowered by the other ingredients. Food reviewer Matt March of "The Southern Snack" said in a YouTube video, "My only downfall on this is there's not enough Heath pieces in it. It's mostly just a brownie sundae with some Heath pieces sprinkled in."

7. Chocolate Dream, Carrabba's Italian Grill

Chocolate Dream at Carrabba's
Chocolate Dream at Carrabba's - Carrabba's

With so many Italian chain restaurants flooding the market, it's hard to stand out. So many claim to be authentic, offering up Italian family recipes that have been passed down through the generations. That's where Carrabba's Italian Grill differs slightly. Founders Johnny Carrabba and his uncle Damian Mandola draw on influences from their Sicilian backgrounds, as well as their Gulf Coast upbringings. The results are interesting dishes that fuse Old World and New World ingredients and flavors. The Sogno Di Cioccolata "Chocolate Dream" is one such dish.

Carrabba's signature chocolate dessert features a fudge brownie with layers of chocolate mousse and whipped cream. It's finished off with a drizzle of house-made chocolate sauce. The "Chocolate Dream" gets many positive reviews, although some people do point out some weak spots. As one Yelp reviewer noted, "It was light and fluffy, but definitely on the sweeter side." Another diner wrote, "The chocolate cake was good but nothing you couldn't get anywhere else." Is it worth the $10.29 (depending on location) price tag? According to diners, that's debatable.

6. Hot Fudge Brownie Pizookie, BJ's Brewhouse

Hot Fudge Brownie Pizookie at BJ's Brewhouse
Hot Fudge Brownie Pizookie at BJ's Brewhouse - BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse / Facebook

If you live on the West Coast, you may be familiar with BJ's Brewhouse. The chain was conceived in California in 1978, and is renowned for its award-winning craft beers and tasty eats like deep-dish pizzas, salads, and burgers. Even if you've never been to a BJ's, you may have heard of the Pizookie. It's the chain's signature dessert, and it's basically a giant cookie made like a pizza in a deep dish pan. The Hot Fudge Brownie Pizookie is the same idea, but features a brownie instead of a cookie.

Ringing in at $8.75, the Hot Fudge Brownie Pizookie features a chocolate brownie served warm and topped with vanilla bean ice cream, toasted pecans, whipped cream, hot fudge sauce, and a cherry. Diners say the portion size is big enough to share between two, and is very rich and dense. One Yelp reviewer said, "It had that crunch on the outside with that soft, gooey chocolatey goodness on the inside." The only reason we don't place it higher on the list is there seem to be a few consistency problems between branches, with some diners saying their brownie was served cold or slightly undercooked in the middle.

5. Chocolate Peanut Butter Drop, Perkins

Chocolate Peanut Butter Drop at Perkins
Chocolate Peanut Butter Drop at Perkins - Perkins Restaurant & Bakery / Facebook

Perkins got its start as a pancake house in 1958. Just over 10 years later, it introduced lunch and dinner dishes like burgers, sandwiches, and steaks. You may know it best, though, for its in-house bakeries that offer sweet treats like pies, cookies, and cakes. Many Perkins bakeries have a standard chocolate walnut brownie on offer. But if you want to take things up a notch, you can try the Chocolate Peanut Butter Drop.

At just $5.49 (depending on location), the Chocolate Peanut Butter Drop is a pretty wallet-friendly dessert, especially considering you get a combo of fudgy brownies, peanut butter mousse, and peanut butter chips. The chain launched the dessert in 2021, and at first, it was only available via online orders. However, the dessert did so well the company decided to make it a permanent menu fixture. There aren't too many reviews about the Chocolate Peanut Butter Drop online, which may be a sign it's not quite "shout-it-to-the-rooftops" amazing. Those who have reviewed it say it's delicious. As one DoorDash customer said, "Omg!! it's heaven."

4. Double Chocolate Chip Brownie, Papa John's

Double Chocolate Chip Brownie at Papa John's
Double Chocolate Chip Brownie at Papa John's - Papa John's

Pizza chains aren't typically known for having great desserts. That's not the case with Papa John's, though. The chain gets numerous accolades for its Double Chocolate Chip Brownies. In fact, so many people love the sweet treat that many recipe developers have created Papa John's brownie copycat recipes. In a YouTube video, one food reviewer described the brownies as, "Super chocolatey, super rich, and super dense ... it's a full-on chocolate explosion."

Papa John's brownies have many things going for them. First, they're fudgy in the middle with a cake-like exterior, and they're topped with chocolate chips for extra texture and cocoa flavor. Second, a tray of nine brownies is only about $8 (depending on location), which is an absolute steal. Customers say they're delicious when they're fresh out of the oven, but can get hard and less appetizing once they've cooled. Overall, if you're craving a classic, fudgy brownie dessert, Papa John's is a pretty sure thing. Just be sure to eat them warm.

3. Tim Tam Brownie Cake, Outback

Tim Tam Brownie Cake at Outback
Tim Tam Brownie Cake at Outback - Outback Steakhouse - National / Facebook

Outback Steakhouse takes the casual steakhouse concept and puts an Australian spin on it. Although many might think the chain originated Down Under, the truth about Outback Steakhouse is it was created in Florida by founders who had never even been to Australia. Most dishes aren't authentically Aussie, although there is one that incorporates a beloved Australian product. The Tim Tam Brownie Cake features a chocolate brownie base, a layer of peanut butter mousse, and another layer of chocolate mousse that's topped with Arnott's Tim Tam cookies.

If you've never had a Tim Tam before, you need to get yourself to an Outback immediately to try these divine chocolate treats. They consist of crunchy cookies with a whipped mousse-like center, all of which are covered in a chocolate coating. They're excellent on their own, and even better on Outback's brownie cake. As one food reviewer said in a YouTube video, "It is creamy, it is peanut buttery, and the caramel drizzle, then the crunch of the Tim Tam ... my new favorite dessert." Customers have mainly good things to say about this delicious dessert, earning it a solid third place on our list.

2. Godiva Chocolate Brownie Sundae, Cheesecake Factory

Godiva Chocolate Brownie Sundae at Cheesecake Factory
Godiva Chocolate Brownie Sundae at Cheesecake Factory - The Cheesecake Factory

For over 50 years, The Cheesecake Factory has been dominating the chain restaurant dessert scene. Like the name suggests, the chain is famous for its cheesecakes that come in a wide range of flavors like salted caramel, white chocolate raspberry, and Oreo. One of the best non-cheesecake desserts at the Cheesecake Factory is the Godiva Chocolate Brownie Sundae. It's $12.95, making it the most expensive brownie dessert on this list, but many customers say it's worth every penny.

"First with the extraordinary, the Godiva brownie sundae," said one Yelp customer. "It's 11/10 incredible." Customers love the combination of rich, fudgy brownies, the cool and creamy vanilla ice cream, and the crunchy toasted almonds. The squares of high-quality Godiva chocolate are the kicker for many. "It was absolutely delicious and certainly large enough for two to share," said one TripAdvisor reviewer. If it wasn't for the higher-than-average price tag, this delish dish would have earned our number one spot.

1. Macadamia Nut Brownie, Bonefish Grill

Macadamia Nut Brownie at Bonefish Grill
Macadamia Nut Brownie at Bonefish Grill - Bonefish Grill / Facebook

Based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews, the Macadamia Nut Brownie at Bonefish Grill takes our top spot. Like the Godiva Chocolate Brownie Sundae, it seems pretty basic on paper, but this is another dessert where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It features a flourless chocolate brownie, tart raspberry sauce, optional buttery macadamia nuts, cool vanilla ice cream, and fluffy whipped cream. Even better, it rings in at a pretty reasonable $8.90.

It's hard to find any bad reviews about Bonefish's brownie. One Google Reviews user commented, "I won't even open the topic of how good the Macadamia Nut Brownie was." Another diner said, "I am in love with the Macadamia Nut Brownie, just melts in your mouth!!" While most people comment on how rich and decadent the brownie is, several also state that they appreciate the fact that it's gluten-free. According to customers, this is one insanely good brownie dessert that you'll definitely want to save room for.


Brownies on a countertop
Brownies on a countertop - Pamela_d_mcadams/Getty Images

To find out which chain restaurants serve the best and worst brownie desserts, we scoured menus to see which chains offered brownies. Then, we did a deep dive into diner reviews to see what customers say about these chocolatey dishes. We read through countless reviews on platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Reviews to get the word on the street. We also watched reviews on YouTube and TikTok, and read opinion pieces to see what food reviewers think. To rank the brownie dishes, we took into consideration how rich and chocolatey the brownies are, whether they taste fresh or frozen, and the quality of the ingredients. We also looked at whether diners thought the brownie desserts were good value for the price.

Read the original article on Mashed.