These cheesecake brownies are a rich and fudgy chocolate brownie topped with a layer of sweetened cream cheese. A show stopping dessert that’s easy to make and always gets rave reviews!
You can never go wrong with a good chocolate dessert, some of my favorite include chocolate coconut cake, chocolate peanut butter pie, homemade blondies and these amazing cream cheese brownies.
Brownies and cheesecake are both great desserts on their own, but when you combine the two, you get these fabulous cheesecake brownies that are worthy of any special occasion!
How do you make cheesecake brownies?
The first step is to make the batter, which is full of melted chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder and flour. A generous amount of chocolate chips are also added to the mix. Part of the brownie batter goes into a pan, then a layer of cheesecake is poured over the top. The final step is to add dollops of the remaining brownie batter and swirl it with the cream cheese mixture. Bake your brownies, then cool and enjoy.
Tips for cheesecake brownies
- This recipe uses semisweet chocolate chips as the primary flavoring agent. The chocolate is both melted into the batter and stirred in as chips. Do not use Nestle Toll House chocolate chips for this recipe. Nestle chocolate chips do not melt smoothly and will not work in these brownies. I recommend using Guittard or Ghirardelli chocolate chips.
- I use a long wooden skewer to swirl the batters together; a butter knife will also work.
- These brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- I recommend cutting these brownies into small pieces as they’re quite rich!
Cheesecake brownie variations
I typically make these brownies as written, but you can add other flavors to the recipe to change up the flavor.
- Raspberry: Stir 1/2 cup mashed raspberries into the cheesecake layer.
- Mint: Add 1/2 teaspoon mint extract to the brownie layer and a few drops of green food coloring to the cheesecake layer.
- Oreo: Sprinkle 3/4 cup of crushed oreos over the top of the brownies before they go into the oven.
- Peanut Butter: Add 1/2 cup peanut butter to the cream cheese layer.
WHAT MAKES BROWNIES FUDGY?
These brownies are of the fudgy variety, which I prefer over the more cake-like brownies. Fudgy brownies have a higher fat to flour ratio, which means they contain more chocolate and butter than the cake style variety. Cake-like brownies also tend to contain more eggs than fudgy brownies.
CAN YOU FREEZE BROWNIES?
Cream cheese brownies are a great candidate for the freezer. Simply wrap the bars individually with plastic wrap, then place them in a resealable bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. You can thaw your brownies at room temperature when you’re ready to eat them.
These cream cheese brownies have become one of my go-to desserts. They’re portable, delicious and look so very impressive! You’ll be sure to get rave reviews when you serve up this treat.
More decadent desserts
For the brownie layer
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips divided use, do not use Nestle
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- cooking spray
For the cheesecake layer
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 or 9 inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang of parchment on both sides. Coat the parchment lined pan with cooking spray.
- For the brownies: Place the butter and 1 1/3 cups of chocolate chips into a large bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until just melted. Stir until smooth.
- Let the chocolate mixture cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, then whisk in the eggs, one by one. Finally, whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt to the bowl. Stir gently until just combined.
- Reserve 1/4 of of the brownie batter in a separate bowl.
- Fold the remaining chocolate chips into the larger amount of the brownie batter.
- Spread the larger amount of batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- For the cheesecake filling: Place the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl. Beat with a mixer for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, then beat until smooth.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture over the brownie batter in the pan.
- Add 1 tablespoon of very hot water to the reserved brownie batter. Stir until smooth.
- Dollop the brownie batter over the cheesecake. Use a skewer or knife to swirl the two batters together.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
- Cool the brownies completely.
- Use the parchment overhang to lift the brownies out of the pan. Cut into squares, then serve.
Do these need to be kept refrigerated if not serving right away?
I’d refrigerate if you’re not serving them within 24 hours.
Could these be served warm?
I’d recommend chilling them, then warming before serving otherwise I’d be concerned that the cheesecake wouldn’t set properly.
I’ve used this recipe so many times and so many people love it! I do have a few friends who are GF and DF. Any recommendations for substitutions that closely resembles the original?
I’m Celiace and my wife is allergic to cow dairy. You could likely do it, but it would take some work. I’ve tried many, many dairy free cheesecake recipes and found few that are really any good. About the best way would be to buy a fake cream cheese (NOT Trader Joe’s, too runny!). Tofuti makes the best for baking because it’s thick. If you replaced the chips with a DF brand like Enjoy Life, replaced the cream cheese with Tofuti Cream Cheese, and also replace the butter with a DF Margarine (Earth Balance sticks work the best) and the flour with King Arthur (or Pillsbury) GF flour, I think it would work. Might have to add a TBS or so of Tapioca Starch or Arrowroot starch into the Cheesecake part to ensure it thickens properly. Sometimes that fake stuff breaks down.
I have a really big bag of Nestles chocolate chips. Can you tell us why you don’t recommend using them in this recipe
In my recipe testing over the past few years I have found that Nestle’s often changes their formulations and sometimes the chocolate chips melt and sometimes they don’t. I even did a test of a recipe once with 4 different brands and the Nestle chips held their shape and didn’t melt properly while all the other brands did. I try to make sure my recipes are set up for people to be successful, which is why I tell people to avoid Nestle’s in recipes where the chocolate melting properly is critical.
I did use nestle and it worked perfectly!! Maybe it’s because I used a stove top and a small pot to do it, but it worked just fine for me! Like my teachers would say: a recipe is just a guide!
I made these in a glass 8×8 pan and bake time ended up being 40 minutes. Delicious! Will definitely put these in the dessert rotation!!
Perfect combo and I topped it with chocolate chips. So wonderful!
Hi there! Can I double the recipe and bake it in a 9×13 pan?
That should be fine!
I converted the recipe to make in a half-sheet pan and will be making today. Can you confirm the recipe does. It require baking soda or baking powder?
It does not require baking soda or baking powder.
Which brand (s) of chocolate chips work if you do not recommend Nestle? Will Ghiradelli work?
Yes that will work!
My cream cheese did not solidify enough. Should I have baked longer?
Are they still hot? The cheese layer should firm up as it cools, you can place them in the fridge to speed up the process.