Cream Cheese Brownies


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These Cream Cheese Brownies are rich, chocolatey fudgy brownies with a cheesecake ripple!

This recipe is made with a simple and fudgy one-bowl brownie batter, then swirled with a foolproof 4-ingredient cheesecake batter!

A propped-up square of fudgy cream cheese swirled brownies

Nothing beats a classic, fudgy chocolate brownie… except maybe one that’s swirled with cheesecake!  These cream cheese brownies are the ultimate sweet treat, made with ripples of cheesecake and whorls of rich chocolate.  They’re also incredibly easy to make, with a one-bowl brownie recipe and a simple 4-ingredient cheesecake swirl.

The brownie portion of these cheesecake swirled brownies is adapted from my favorite brownie recipe (which you may also recognize from these Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies!). While I always prefer to make my desserts from scratch (especially if they’re as easy to make as this one), I have also made these using Ghirardelli’s Classic chocolate brownies with great success!  If you’ve been asking yourself what desserts can you make with brownie mix, Cream Cheese Brownies are a fantastic option!

These brownies work best in a 7×11 pan, but you could also make a 9×9 pan work, I’ve found that a 9×13 pan makes the brownies much thinner than I like them to be.

Cream cheese brownie square with chocolate chips

How to Make Cream Cheese Brownies:

To make cheesecake swirled brownies, you’ll need a fudgy brownie batter and then, of course, a small batch of cheesecake!

To make the cheesecake swirl, you’ll need to combine cream cheese, sugar, an egg, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth.  For best results, you’ll want to start with room-temperature cream cheese, and I also recommend using an electric mixer to beat your ingredients together so that the cheesecake is completely lump-free.  Then you’ll drizzle this over the chocolate brownie batter and swirl with a knife before baking.

Raw Cream cheese brownies being swirled with a knife

Can you add chocolate chips to brownie mix?

Yes, stir them into the batter last, just before spreading into the baking pan.  The average batch of brownie batter can handle having about 1 cup of chocolate chips added.

How do you cut brownies cleanly?

Allow the brownies to cool completely before attempting to cut.  For a very clean cut, refrigerate the brownies for several hours, use a warm knife (the best way to warm a knife is to run it under hot water and then dry it off just before cutting), and wipe the knife clean between cuts.

I recommend lining your baking pan with parchment paper so that once the cream cheese brownies have cooled completely you can simply lift them out of the pan and place them on a cutting board to cut them that way — much easier and neater than trying to cut directly in the pan!

Cream cheese brownies with a bite taken out

What do you serve with brownies?

These cream cheese brownies taste great on their own, or they also are wonderful when served warm with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or chocolate syrup!  Walnuts, pecans, and sprinkles are some other great options!

*NOTE: I originally suggested that you could use your favorite box mix as a substitute for the from-scratch brownie batter, but after a few people had difficulty with the recipes I no longer recommend using a box mix. I have had success using Ghirardelli’s Classic Chocolate brownie mix, but outside of that I can’t vouch for the success of this recipe using a box mix!

A propped-up square of fudgy cream cheese swirled brownies
4.87 from 101 votes
Review Recipe

Cream Cheese Brownies

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 20 brownies
Author Samantha
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
These Cream Cheese Brownies are rich, chocolatey fudgy brownies with a cheesecake ripple! 

Ingredients

Brownies*
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup natural cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar light or dark, packed
  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
Cheesecake Swirl
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 7×11 pan with baking spray.
  • Combine butter and chocolate chips in a large, microwave-safe bowl.
  • Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well and microwave again for another 15 seconds and then stir well again. Repeat in 15 second intervals until chocolate and butter are completely melted and well-combined.
  • Add cocoa powder and stir well.
  • Add sugars, stir until completely combined.
  • Add eggs and then egg yolk, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  • Add vanilla extract and salt and stir to combine.
  • Add flour and stir until completely combined.
  • Reserve ¼ cup of the batter and spread the rest of the batter evenly into prepared pan. Prepare your cheesecake topping.
Cheesecake
  • Combine cream cheese and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat until creamy.
  • Stir in egg and vanilla extract. Stir until well-combined.
  • Pour cheesecake over prepared brownie batter. Take your reserved ¼ cup brownie batter (if it has become stiff just stir it with a spoon) and drop/drizzle over cheesecake.
  • Use a knife to swirl brownie batter and cheesecake together.
  • Bake on 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few fudgy crumbs.
  • Allow to cool COMPLETELY before cutting and serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 232, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 107mg, Potassium: 99mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 400IU, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 1.1mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword Cream cheese brownies

 

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About the author

Samantha

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Samantha is the creator behind the dessert blog “Sugar Spun Run”, a website she began as an excuse to appease her insatiable sweet tooth. Here she shares original, from-scratch desserts, usually of the chocolate variety. If she’s not in her kitchen (more likely than not coated in a fine dusting of powdered sugar), you’ll probably find her hanging out with her husband and their two dogs, Penny and (Princess) Leia.

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Comments

  1. I accidentally added a whole cup of cocoa powder and was wondering why the batter was so thick. The brownies still turned out great though, even with all the extra cocoa. I did have to bake for about 33 minutes to have a toothpick come mostly clean.

  2. I’m a baker and I prepared these last night – they taste great! My question is this – should they have a fudgy texture? They are not crumbly at all. Not mushy either…just very soft.

  3. Made these last night and they turned out great. I used an 8×8 glass pan and had to cook them more like 45 minutes because they were so thick. I will definitely make these again.5 stars

  4. These were amazing and so easy to make! The brownies were not too sweet, but had that rich cocoa flavour. We have organic cacao powder, but opted to go with Hershey’s cocoa and weren’t disappointed. We also used our 9×13 brownie pan and baked for 20 minutes and they turned out perfect. Our new go-to brownie recipe – thank you!!

    Now after reading some of the comments, I will say that yes, the brownie mix set aside to swirl into the cheesecake mix was soooo thick by the time we were ready to use it that yes, the commenter who said they softened it in the microwave before swirling is something we will do next time because we did have a hard time with the swirl.

    The brownie mix is super thick, but spread nicely in the pan and came up super fudgy and not at all cake-like. I was also expecting the cheesecake batter to be much thicker, but admit we did use the leftover egg white on top of the 1 egg, and so our cheesecake batter was a bit runny but it turned out great. Baked at 350 for 20mins was perfect for our 9×13 pan!5 stars

    1. We have only tried this as written but that being said, I do think it would work ok in an 9×9 pan. You’ll want to bake until the top is set, I would check it around 16-18 minutes.

  5. I only have an 8×8 tin, but thought I could bake it in two batches. How much time would you recommend baking it for using an 8×8 tin? Or maybe a standard cupcake tin?

    1. We have only tried this as written but that being said, I do think it would work ok in an 8×8 pan. You’ll want to bake until the top is set, I would check it around 20 minutes.

  6. These are hands down the best cream cheese brownies EVER!! and I’m not a brownie fan. I questioned the brown sugar but that is absolutely what made them. Thanks so much for sharing. Fantastic!5 stars

  7. I reduced the sugar for my brownie batter. It tasted just as heavenly and rich. however, my cheesecake batter has a “tofu” texture. I am not sure if it was due to the fact that i accidentally exceeded the baking time (totally forgot timer!!!). Nevertheless a very delicious dessert.

  8. I used a box mix and added mini ghiradli chocolate morsels….we tooped with cherry pie filling. It turned out amazing! I think with the box mix, the key is to pick out a fudgy brownie mix!

    1. Hi Dylan, if it is a deeper 8×8 pan, it should work. If not, it does have a slightly smaller volume so I would worry the brownies would overflow while baking. It would probably work better in a 9×9 pan if you have one?

  9. Made this the other day. Recipe was so easy to follow and it turned out fantastic. Note, I needed a little more cooktime than the recipe stated. Brownie layer is nice and fudgy as it should be. Paired with vanilla ice cream, this one is a winner!5 stars

  10. So Sad! These brownies looked so beautiful when I pulled the pan out of the oven, but they were completely runny in the middle. Followed the recipe exactly! I baked for a total of one hour after putting them back in oven. They were basically still raw after cooling completely. Such a waste of ingredients.

    1. Sorry these brownies didn’t work out for you, Stephanie, they are usually a hit with our readers!

  11. I just made this today with a Ghirardelli brownie mix. I followed the box directions to make the batter and then followed these directions. I had to bake mine for 45 minutes so the toothpick came out mostly clean. We didn’t let them cool all the way but they still turned out great. The 1/2 cup of batter was pretty thick so I stuck it in the microwave for 15 seconds and it drizzled on top perfectly for me.
    Thank you for the idea!5 stars

  12. Hi, I was wondering if I doubled this recipe could I use a 9×13 pan?
    I need to make brownies for a benefit dinner.

    1. Just made these for the first time. Keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll bake ok.
      The brownie batter was super thick.
      We’ll see:)

  13. Followed the recipe to a tee and ended up with super thick brownie mix. So thick that I couldn’t spread the 1/4 cup on top. Put it in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 and it was still quite raw in the center. Decided to decrease the oven temp to 325 and put it back in for 5 minutes. Seemed to do the trick. The brownies themselves tasted pretty good, but the brownie mix was too thick. I’m wondering if the recipe should call for a larger ratio of wet to dry ingredients.3 stars

    1. Glad you enjoyed the brownies Taylor. But I am sorry they didn’t turn out as expected, I am not sure what went wrong.

    2. The same thing happened to my batter too. I’m not a beginner Baker, but this batter just seemed off. 25 minutes was not even close to enough time and they are pretty gooey after an hour, like raw gooey. The sugar also didn’t mix well so the consistency turned pretty gritty. But, the cheesecake was great, so maybe I’ll just have to experiment with the actual brownie batter3 stars

  14. Oh my! I just made this and it is really me of the best desserts I think I’ve ever eaten. It definitely THE best I’ve ever cooked myself. Turned out amazing and it was a huge hit. I never leave comments on recipe sites and this is my first so that says a lot. Thanks so much for this divine treat.5 stars

  15. I made these for a co-worker’s birthday. They were a big hit! From now on, this will be my go-to recipe for brownies with a little pizzazz!5 stars

  16. I used a 7.5×11 pan with Ghirardelli Brownie mix. They took 40 min to bake. I left them in the pan until ready to serve as I still was not convinced the center was done. They were perfectly moist and chewy and delicious!

  17. I found the brownie mix very thick and hard to put evenly in the baking tray, same for the 1/4 at the end. It says to “drizzle”, there is no way I could drizzle it, very thick. Did I do something wrong? I followed the recipe to a T.

    1. I am sorry that you had a difficult time with this recipe. If it was very thick, is it possible you left a liquid ingredient out?

      1. No it’s not possible she left anything out. I had the same problem and followed the recipe just the way it reads. Also had to bake much longer than just 30 minutes. These brownies are a huge epic fail when using the directions as stated. Needs major tweaking!

  18. I make this recipe cutting the cream cheese in half and adding approx 2 tbsp of my homemade passionfruit curd and it’s a knockout. Last Thanksgiving I had a party to go to on Sunday and was completely burned out on baking so I used the passionfruit curd cheesecake and a box of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie mix and baked it in a bain marie. Amazing!! The dining room looked like an opium den by the time we finished eating dessert.

  19. I made these last night and the brownies did not cook in the middle. I didn’t use a box mix. I put them in the oven 3 times, and thought maybe they just need to cool, so I put them in the fridge overnight. This morning they are still very mushy and sticky. I’m not sure what I did wrong. I’m wondering if I should have partially cooked the brownie layer before adding the cheesecake one?

    1. I wonder if your oven is cooking at the correct temp Sarah. Have you checked it recently?

    2. I had the same issue. I ended up leaving it in there for nearly 50mins before taking it out. Also my cheesecake didn’t stay on top. It sank to the bottom. Is that suppose to happen?

      1. I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you. The cheesecake should not sink to the bottom, I can’t say for sure what went wrong.

  20. These brownies are perfect! Just like the ones I love at my local cafe. I’m going to keep the extras on hand in my freezer for special occasions!

    I used a 9×9 pan, and it worked out great. Thank you for this recipe!5 stars

    1. I’m making this for a second time, but this time a did 1 1/2 the cheese cake recipe. I hope they come out more cheesecake-y.

  21. I also had problem with the cream cheese brownies not cooking. I checked at 25, 35 and now waiting for 45. I had made 2 boxes of brownies and had split the cream cheese mixture between too pans as I wanted them to cook completely. I used the13x9pan and followed directions completely.
    At 45 minutes in a gas oven, the outside is fine but center is not. I have decided to leave in oven with heat turned off. Maybe the residual heat will finish the center. I used a Kroger brand “family size” brownie mix added 2/3 oil 2 large eggs and 1/2 cup water as package directed.
    Just hoping it will help someone else.
    Thank you 
    I gave 2 stars because it looks pretty.2 stars

    1. These brownies will remain soft in the middle while warm and need to be completely cooled. Much like a cheesecake recipe, until completely cooled, you will not have the right consistency.

  22. I made these today but a gluten free version. I used the Krusteaz gluten free brownie mix and your cheesecake filling exactly. Used a 7×11 baked at 325 for 25min. They came out perfect.  Will definitely be making them again oh and no one knew they were gluten free!4 stars

  23. I followed recipe for 2 packages of Betty Crocker Fudge brownies, to one recipe of your cheesecake recipe.  Cooked until toothpick in center mostly clean.  Puffed up until cooled, then also *D*E*L*I*C*I*O*U*S !!

  24. Fabulously delicious!!! I made this exactly as directed and it came out perfect. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    1. Hi Cindy! I’m so sorry to hear that they didn’t seem to cook in the middle for you. Did you happen to use a box mix or did you use the recipe as written? I just made these again this morning as written to test them and they came out fine, so I’m not sure what went wrong. It sounds like your brownies may have just needed a few more minutes in the oven, even if the cream cheese was browning. I always recommend using the toothpick test to check that they are done. I’m also wondering if it’s possible that your oven temperature is running higher than it says? That could explain it cooking faster on the top but still being raw in the middle.
      Sorry these weren’t a hit for you!

  25. This was a complete fail for me. I followed the recipe verbatim and it was very mushy and the brownie portion didn’t really cook. I have no idea what went wrong :(

    1. Hi Clara! I’m so sorry to hear that it didn’t turn out for you. Did you happen to use a box mix or did you make the brownie recipe as written? I just made these again this morning as written to test them and they came out fine, it sounds like your brownies may have just needed a few more minutes in the oven.

      1. Oh no Connie, how disappointing!

        We have tested this several times to test and have not experienced the same problems. Did you make the brownie recipe as written? Did you allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting? (They’re quite soft until chilled).

  26. The brownie’s center never cooked for me! I even cut it in half, rebaked it and it was still mush. So disappointed -had to run out and buy a dessert for my family Easter dinner instead! Something was wrong with the consistency. 1 star

    1. Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t turn out for you! Was it the brownie portion or the cheesecake swirls that didn’t seem to finish cooking? I’m wondering if it maybe had cooked completely but just needed to cool? These cheesecake ripple is really soft until it cools but it should be set and spring back to the touch. If you were able to cut it in half I’m wondering if maybe that was the issue, because both the brownies and cheesecake would be quite soft until they’ve cooled.

      1. I also had a similar issue but I realized after 30 minutes I forgot to add the flour. Was so focused on the cream cheese part I skipped over step 8 and went right onto the next. I hadn’t questioned the recipe as the mix was already quite thick. Oops on my part. Just throwing it out there. Hope you tried again and it worked.

    2. Hi! I made this recipe using a box of Pilsbury chocolate fudge family size brownie mix. It came out looking perfectly done and smelling amazing after 28 minutes at 350 in a 13×9 glass pan. Now I have to try and wait for them to cool!5 stars

  27. I am craving your cream cheese brownies now! I am otherwise not into sweets and avoid desserts completely, but these look like a real treat worth trying.

  28. Wow two favorites in one bite, cheese and chocolate! Lovely idea perfect dessert for Easter too. Thanks for the inspiration.5 stars

  29. I’m not a huge brownie person— that is until you add cream cheese then I’m in love!! These look amazing!

  30. Just pinned this recipe to try! Cream cheese brownies are one of my faves, but for some reason I haven’t made them at home yet!5 stars