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Stack of two cream cheese brownies on a piece of parchment.
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4.94 from 29 votes

Cream Cheese Brownies

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.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 251kcal


Brownie batter:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted still warm/hot
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 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


Brownie batter:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Line an 8x8* 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). 



*The 8x8 square baking dish should have straight sides. An 8x8 baking dish with angled sides will take longer to bake.


Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 320mg | Potassium: 146mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 308IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 1mg