Mmmm, brownies. It’s hard to turn down a thick, rich, fudgy brownie. While classic brownies are amazing just the way they are (hi, Bruno Mars), they also provide lots of opportunities for zhuzhing them up a bit. An obvious build for brownies, in my mind, is to add cheesecake to them. So today, let’s make some Cheesecake Brownies.
Cheesecake. Brownies. Yep, we’re going there.
These are pretty much the best of both worlds. I made a few tweaks to my Perfect Fudgy Brownies recipe, and added a layer of cheesecake on top. You get the rich, thick, chocolatey goodness from the brownies, paired with the tangy, smooth, creamy cheesecake. They’re not too sweet, but are incredibly indulgent and the perfect treat after a long day. Or any day.
You can leave the cheesecake topping plain, or add a flavor swirl to it. It’s up to you and your tastes! For this batch, I swirled in some raspberry jam for a little tartness. Next time, I’ll try peanut butter or Nutella. Or both. That’d be pretty delicious.
For years, I’ve been baking my brownies (and many other baked goods) in a 9-inch square pan. It worked fine, but almost every other recipe I looked at—for brownies, cakes, bars, anything—called for an 8-inch pan. Well, I finally got myself an 8-inch square pan, so I’ve caught up with the rest of the baking world.
That also means that these Cheesecake Brownies will be much thicker than my previous recipes, thanks to the slightly smaller pan. Since they are thicker, it’s a bit more difficult to judge when they’re done baking. The skewer test doesn’t work super well for these, because of the cheesecake topping. If you baked them until a skewer came clean, they’d be waaayyyyyy overdone.
Instead, pay attention to how the cheesecake layer bakes. Like a traditional cheesecake, the middle should jiggle just a little, but the edges should be set and firm, lightly browned, and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. The lower, slower bake time on these Cheesecake Brownies also helps the brownie layer stay fudgy.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think brownies taste better after they’ve been refrigerated for at least a couple hours. These brownies are no exception. In fact, I recommend chilling them once they’ve cooled, just like you would a cheesecake. It gives the flavors more time to combine and mesh together, and it’s like biting into a block of fudge. Give it a try if you haven’t before, and you’ll see what I mean.
How to make Cheesecake Brownies
First and foremost, make sure your ingredients are room temperature—especially the eggs and cream cheese. It’ll make everything easier!
Preheat the oven and prep the pan. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. The brownies will start baking at 350, and then you’ll reduce it to 325 for the majority of the bake time. Line your baking pan with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray.
Melt the butter and chocolate (separately). This can be done in the microwave or on the stovetop. Be sure to let them cool a little before mixing them into your batter!
Combine the melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk the sugar and butter, and then add each egg, whisking after each addition. Then add the vanilla.
Add the melted chocolate. Whisk this into the sugar-egg-butter mixture. The batter will start to thicken.
Add dry ingredients. Sift the flour, cocoa, and salt into the wet ingredients, and mix. Add in a generous cup of chocolate chips here, if you so desire. Batter will get really thick here.
Spoon the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Spread it into the corners so you get a nice, full pan.
Mix the cream cheese, remaining egg and 1/4 cup sugar. This will be your cheesecake layer.
Add the cheesecake mixture to the pan, on top of the brownie batter. Spread it so it covers the entire surface of the brownie batter evenly. At this point, you can add spoonfuls of jam or nut butter and swirl them in.
Bake your brownies. Start them for 10-12 minutes at 350, then reduce the temp to 325 and bake for 40-45 minutes. See above notes on how to check for doneness!
Let brownies cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Remove and slice while still warm, or chill for a couple hours before slicing.
There y’all have it: Cheesecake Brownies, the best of both worlds. I hope y’all love these as much as I do. I anticipate they’ll be made many more times this year! If you enjoy this recipe, follow me on Instagram and Pinterest for more. And if you make a batch yourself, let me know how they turn out!
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted, melted
- 1 1/4 cup sugar (divided)
- 3 eggs (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate, melted
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup jam or nut butter for swirling (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Add melted butter and 1 cup sugar to a large mixing bowl, and whisk to combine. Add two of the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add vanilla and whisk.
Slowly add the melted chocolate to the butter-sugar-eggs mixture, and whisk until smooth and combined.
Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt, and mix until combined. Fold in the optional chocolate chips.
Pour brownie batter into the prepared baking pan.
In a separate bowl, whisk the softened cream cheese, remaining egg, and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth and combined.
Spread the cheesecake mixture over the brownie batter in the baking pan.
Drop spoonfuls of jam or nut butter into the cheesecake mixture. Use a knife, skewer, or toothpick to swirl.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Then lower temperature to 325 and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the edges are set but center is still a bit jiggly.
Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then remove brownies from the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate if desired.