Easy Swirled Cheesecake Brownies
Cheesecake brownies take the best of two popular desserts, cheesecake and brownies, and combines them into one amazing dessert. Cheesecake filling is swirled on top of a rich chocolate base layer with chocolate chips in this decadent treat.
If you are a fellow brownie lover, you will also love some of my other favorite recipes like these chocolate walnut brownies, this double chocolate salted caramel brownie, or this chocolate walnut fudge.
What is it about homemade brownies that are just so good? Imagine, if you can, biting into a freshly made moist brownie with a fudgy texture. Can you taste it? Honestly, just looking at the photo above makes me feel hungry—I almost want to lick the screen!
Instead, I’ll try to contain myself and share this recipe for homemade brownies with you. As you can see, these are a little different than your standard brownie recipe. The base layer is made up of flour, cocoa, butter, sugar, and some really good chocolate. Then, these thick and gooey homemade brownies are topped with a layer of cheesecake, which makes it pretty hard to practice any self-control.
Bonus tip: if you need a way to draw your kids (or husband) out of their rooms, just whip up a batch of these homemade brownies — they’ll come running! 🙂
Cream Cheese Brownies
At first glance, cream cheese brownies may not sound like it would work well together. Having made this recipe at least a half dozen times, however, I can assure you this combination works beautifully!
Cream cheese brownies are mostly comprised of chocolate—the thick fudgy layer is filled with chocolate chips for even more flavor. What makes them different is the thin layer of cheesecake that’s swirled on top of the brownie before it bakes. This layer is made of soft cream cheese along with sour cream and sugar.
The cream cheese brownie turns out perfectly balanced. Rich chocolate counterbalances the sweet-tart combination of the cheesecake layer. It’s this contrast that makes them so deliciously unexpected!
Tips for Making This Cheesecake Brownie Recipe
- Buy the best quality chocolate you can afford. Both the cocoa and the chocolate chips should be high-quality chocolate. This is one of those times where you can taste the difference.
- Purchase full-fat sour cream. I know there are a lot of light or fat-free versions available, but this cheesecake brownie recipe needs the fat from the sour cream for best results.
- Soften the cream cheese. This can easily be done by setting out your cream cheese on the counter for 30 minutes or so, or by microwaving the unwrapped block for 15 seconds.
- Save on time—and dishes. You can use the same bowl and mixing the attachment to mix the brownies up after you’ve made the cheesecake layer. Just scrape out the cheesecake and then start the brownies.
- Swirl the layers. The easiest way I’ve found to swirl together this cheesecake brownie recipe is to pour the brownie layer into a baking pan, then make five long grooves in the batter with a knife. Spoon the cheesecake layer into the divots, then drag a butter knife parallel to the cheesecake ‘stripes’, alternating directions to make the swirls. You’ll see a helpful visual below. By the way, this makes a great task for a young child to help with!
- Chill until ready to serve. Because it has cream cheese, these brownies shouldn’t be left out on the counter. Chill them and then pull them out about 5 minutes before serving.
How to Make Cheesecake Brownies
For detailed recipe instructions see the recipe card bottom of the post.
Note: I first found these yummy cheesecake brownies from Yammie’s Noshery, and slightly adapted them to make it my own.
- Make the cheesecake layer by combining cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla extract in a bowl of a mixer and beat together until smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and beat until smooth again. Transfer to a different container and set aside.
- In the same bowl as you used for making the cream cheese mixture, add sugar, melted and cooled butter, and eggs. Beat to combine. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt and beat to combine once more. Add chocolate chips and fold together with a spatula.
- Transfer brownie batter to a baking dish and make it as even as possible. Make 5 long grooves within the batter with the long end of the spoon for the cheesecake mixture.
Spoon the cheesecake mixture into the grooves. With a butter knife, drag the cheesecake mix parallel to the stripes alternating directions to make the swirls.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes. Set your timer for 20 minutes and check for doneness. Make sure to pull out the pan as soon as the mixture in the middle starts to puff up.
- Allow the cheesecake brownies to cool completely before serving. Refrigerate until ready to serve. When you are ready to cut and serve, run a knife under hot water, wipe it dry, then cut.
Easy Swirled Cheesecake Brownies
These simple cheesecake brownies are thick, warm, and full of flavor. A thick fudge brownie is swirled with cheesecake topping - you'll want to make this yummy recipe again and again!
For the Brownies:
For the Cheesecake:
- 8 oz. softened cream cheese
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 egg
Make the Cheesecake portion
Combine 8 oz cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup sour cream, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract in a bowl of a mixer and beat together until smooth, scraping downsides of the bowl as needed. Add 1 egg and beat until smooth again. Transfer to a tall glass.
Turn oven to 350°F and place a baking rack in the middle. Spray 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
Make the Brownie
In the same bowl as you used for making the cream cheese mixture, add 1 3/4 cups sugar, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 2 sticks melted and slightly cooled butter and 4 eggs. Beat to combine. Add 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt and again beat to combine. Add 2 cups chocolate chips and fold together with a spatula.
- Transfer batter to baking dish evening it out. Make 5 long grooves within the batter with the long end of the spoon for the cheesecake mixture.
- Spoon the cheesecake mixture into the grooves. With a butter knife, run parallel to the cheesecake ‘stripes’ alternating directions to make the swirls. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Set your time for 20 minutes and check. Pull out the pan as soon as the mixture in the middle of the pan is starting to puff up.
- Allow cooling completely before serving. To cut and serve, run a knife under hot water, wipe, then cut. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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