After a scoreless first 80 minutes, Nahki Wells looked to have set Huddersfield on their way to a first win at Preston since 1969 when he prodded home.
But Joel Lynch’s own goal on 83 minutes and Browne’s injury-time effort ensured it was the hosts who emerged with all three points.
The visitors started brightly and carved Preston open in the seventh minute when Wells slipped Harry Bunn through on goal but Anders Lindegaard came off his line to save with his legs.
Terriers captain Lynch then came within inches of giving his side the lead on the half hour as he stepped forward and crashed a 30-yard strike off the top of the bar.
That seemed to spark Preston into life as Jordan Hugill broke through on goal but Jed Steer saved his poke from 12 yards before Adam Reach dragged the rebound wide.
The game had opened up and Joe Garner fired just wide from 20 yards after 32 minutes before Joe Lolley threatened down the other end, cutting in from the right and curling over from 25 yards.
Huddersfield were looking dangerous on the break and Phillip Billing strode forward after 37 minutes, before crossing to Wells whose shot from 12 yards was straight at Lindegaard.
Wells produced a great piece of skill to get himself clean through on goal in the first minute of the second half, but Lindegaard saved with his feet once again.
And the visitors continued to threaten when a terrific passing move opened up a chance for Tommy Smith but his drive from the right edge of the area was inches wide.
On the hour mark Paul Gallagher’s dangerous cross was wasted by Garner and Browne, who got in each other’s way six yards out.
Huddersfield came close again on the counter after 64 minutes, when Lolley’s goalbound strike was brilliantly blocked by Tom Clarke, before Lindegaard saved the rebound from Paterson.
Huddersfield have scored more goals in the last 15 minutes than any other Championship side and they finally broke the deadlock in the 80th minute.
Paterson played through Wells who slid the ball under the onrushing Lindegaard to notch his 11th league goal of the season.
But their lead lasted just three minutes as Gallagher’s strike deflected off the unfortunate Lynch and into the back of the Huddersfield net.
Wells came close to a winner in the 86th minute but his left-footed strike from 20 yards was inches wide and it was Preston who snatched it in injury time as Browne rose highest to nod Calum Woods’ cross home from six yards.
Huddersfield boss David Wagner insists watching his troops undeservedly leave with nothing is one of his lowest moments since taking over in November.
“There is frustration and disappointment. This is one of the harder days since we started our journey here in Huddersfield three months ago,” said Wagner.
“It is so hard and frustrating because the gap between our performance and our result is unbelievably big. In my opinion the lads did a very good performance and played great football.
“We created good chances and great opportunities but we only scored once and then we conceded a goal from a set-piece and a goal after easy mistake so this is what we have to accept.
“What we have to work on is that we have to make the next step on our way and that next step is to keep this performance and to get points for this.
“I’m sure that when we play like we did today we will get results for sure, maybe next week.”