These swirled cream cheese brownies taste like two desserts in one – chocolate brownies and cheesecake. Rich fudgy brownies with thick swirls of sweet and tangy cream cheese.
Cream cheese brownies! Because sometimes I want cheesecake AND brownies but I don’t want to make two separate desserts. I’m satisfying both cravings with this one decadent treat. Join me!
Brownie layer: I use a variation of my Homemade Brownies as the base for this recipe. They bake up moist and fudgy with melty bits of chocolate chips all throughout.
Cream cheese layer: A mixture of softened cream cheese, sugar, egg white, flour, and vanilla extract.
Assembly: Scoop about two thirds of the brownie batter into a prepared 8×8 pan and smooth into an even layer. Alternate dropping spoonful’s of the cream cheese mixture and remaining brownie mixture all over the top. Use the tip of a sharp knife to swirl the two batters together.
Bake: Bake the brownies for 30-35 minutes, until mostly set, but still fudgy.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Flavor: Lots of rich chocolate flavor combined with thick swirls of sweetened cream cheese.
Texture: Chewy edges and fudgy centers with pockets of smooth cream cheese all throughout.
Two-for-one: The flavors of cheesecake and brownies all in one dessert.
Freezer friendly: Leftovers can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Perfectly sized: This recipe makes an 8×8 pan of brownies. You can serve anywhere from 9-12 depending on how large you cut them.
- Line the pan with foil or parchment for easy removal. Once the brownies have cooled, you can lift the whole batch right out of the pan using the foil.
- Adding chocolate chips into the brownie batter guarantees a fudgy texture.
- Cream cheese should be softened to cool room temperature so that it combines easily.
- When swirling the cream cheese into the brownie batter, less is more. Thicker, more noticeable swirls come from less swirling. Drag a sharp knife through in a figure-8 or s-shaped motion.
- Do not overbake. I can’t stress this enough! If you insert a toothpick into the center it should have moist fudgy crumbs on it, but no thin raw batter.
Serving and storage
Serving: You can serve these brownies slightly warm, room temperature, or chilled. They are best served within 2 days of being made.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Cream Cheese Brownies
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted, still warm/hot
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 scant cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Cream cheese mixture:
- 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 large egg white
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Line an 8×8* pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving a couple inches of overhang on two sides (this will allow you to lift the whole tray of brownies out of the pan for easy removal). Grease the foil/parchment.
- Combine granulated sugar and hot butter in a large bowl. Stir it briefly then allow it to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. The heat from the butter will begin to dissolve the sugar (this helps make a shiny/crackly crust), the sugar will not fully dissolve. After 5 minutes, whisk the butter and sugar vigorously for 30 seconds. Add eggs, water, and vanilla extract, whisking again for about 30 seconds. Tap all the excess batter off the whisk and remove the whisk from the bowl.
- Sprinkle cocoa powder, flour, chocolate chips, and salt over the wet ingredients. Use a rubber/silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir the mixture until it is glossy and well combined.
- Pour about two-thirds of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Set aside the remaining batter while you prepare the cream cheese mixture.
Cream cheese mixture:
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar, followed by flour, egg white, and vanilla. Beat until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Be careful not to overbeat.
- Using two tablespoons, alternate dropping portions of cream cheese and portions of the reserved brownie batter all of the top of the batter that is in the pan. Use the tip of a sharp knife to swirl the batter together. Don’t swirl too deep; you are mostly just making visible swirls in the top layer of brownie and cream cheese. There will be some chocolate chips in the brownie batter, so if you get stuck swirling just lift your knife and drag it through another spot.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until it is mostly set but there is still a slight jiggle in the cheesecake areas. You can check doneness with a toothpick; moist fudgy crumbs and melted chocolate are OK, just no thin raw brownie batter. Be careful not to over bake. If you notice your cheesecake swirls darkening you can loosely cover the baking dish with foil for the last 5 minutes or so (I did not find this necessary). Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely (this will take several hours).