My Cheesecake Brownies recipe is made with a quick and easy, fudgy, chocolate-chip-studded brownie layer and is topped off with a thick layer of real, rich cheesecake! Recipe includes a how-to video!
Creamy, Fudgy, Cheesecake Brownies
One of the oldest recipes on the blog gets a makeover today! This cheesecake brownie recipe has been a favorite of mine for decades, and yet I’d almost forgotten about it as it was slowly buried under newer recipes.
But today I’m bringing back this shining example of dessert perfection. It’s the perfect hybrid of my beloved homemade brownies and my award-winning cheesecake, baked together in a single pan and drizzled with chocolate.
While other recipes often have a dry brownie layer topped with a scant swirl of cream cheese, these cheesecake brownies are the real deal. The brownie layer is fudgy, chocolatey, and studded with chocolate chips. It’s easy to make from-scratch, just one bowl and no mixer needed. The cheesecake layer is authentic, tangy, and rich. Let’s get to it.
What You’ll Need For Cheesecake Brownies
All of the ingredients we’re using today should be familiar and easy to find, but let’s talk about a few of them before we begin.
- Chocolate. This makes our brownie layer fudgy and flavorful. I like to use a semi-sweet or dark chocolate baking bar, but in a pinch you can substitute chocolate chips.
- Cocoa Powder. I use unsweetened cocoa powder and have not tested this recipe with Dutch-processed, though I believe it would work fine here.
- Instant coffee. While this is optional, it intensifies the chocolate flavor of the brownies and makes the cheesecake brownies more flavorful overall.
- Eggs. Two go into our brownie layer and two into our topping. While my original brownie recipe also uses an egg yolk, I felt that I was already asking you to use enough eggs with this recipe and after a lot of testing I felt comfortable using just two whole eggs (I don’t recommend leaving it out when just making my brownies, though!).
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. Adding chocolate chips is optional, but I like the added pops of chocolate and the firm texture they add to every bite. You could leave them out entirely, or swap for white chocolate chips.
- Cream Cheese. Use full-fat cream cheese (sold in a block) and not the low-fat or spreadable kind in a tub. Spreadable cream cheese has other ingredients added to it that can keep it from setting up properly and can alter the final taste and texture.
- Sour cream. In my opinion, sour cream is a must for cheesecake, and the top layer of my cheesecake brownies is no exception. It adds a subtle tang and rich flavor that you won’t find in many other recipes (aren’t you glad you ended up here!?).
This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why I chose them. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Cheesecake Brownies
- Prepare your brownie batter first. Fortunately, this can all be made in a single bowl. Melt chocolate and butter, then add in the remaining ingredients. If using chocolate chips, add those as well.
- Prepare a baking pan by lining with parchment paper, so that once the cheesecake brownies have baked and cooled you can simply lift them out of the pan and easily cut into squares.Evenly spread the batter into your prepared baking pan (the parchment can make things a bit tricky since the batter is so stiff, but it’s worth it in the end). These brownies will go in the oven, but they’re only going to bake for 13 minutes or so, enough for the top to be set.
- Make your cheesecake batter by creaming together cream cheese and sugar, then stirring in sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract. This batter should be nice and smooth when finished.
- Right about now your brownies should have finished their first stint in the oven. Carefully spoon the cheesecake mixture overtop and return to the oven to bake completely. This two-step baking process ensures that the brownies are baked all the way through but remain incredibly fudgy rather than crumbly and dry.
These cheesecake brownies are pretty rich, so in “real life” I usually cut them about half the size of the squares in these pictures (and then inevitably go back for seconds, so maybe don’t cut them in half, and save yourself the trip).
Frequently Asked Questions
They should not sit out at room temperature for more than an hour or two. Since the top layer is real cheesecake, it should be kept refrigerated.
These would be perfect topped with whipped cream, strawberry sauce, or salted caramel sauce. I’ve also made them by swirling a bit of dulce de leche into the top layer. Get creative and add whatever topping you think will taste best!
While I don’t think it would be a problem with this recipe, I haven’t tested it and so can’t say for sure. For best flavor and results I recommend making the recipe as written, but if you experiment please leave me a comment and let me know how it turned out for you (including the brand name of the box-mix you tried).
Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
- 12 Tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter cut into 12 pieces
- 4 oz (113 g) semisweet or dark chocolate baking bar¹ coarsely chopped
- ½ cup (50 g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon instant coffee optional, see note
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 large eggs room temperature preferred
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (150 g) semisweet chocolate chips optional
- 16 oz (453 g) cream cheese softened, use brick-style full-fat cream cheese only
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (65 g) full-fat sour cream
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and line a 9×9” (23x23cm) baking pan with parchment paper (use enough so that parchment is hanging over two sides of the pan.
- Combine butter and chopped chocolate in a large, microwave safe bowl. Heat in 25-second intervals, stirring well in between, until both chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth.12 Tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, 4 oz (113 g) semisweet or dark chocolate baking bar¹
- Immediately add cocoa powder and instant coffee (if using) and stir until combined.½ cup (50 g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon instant coffee
- Add sugars and stir well.1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar, firmly packed
- Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir very well.2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sprinkle salt and flour over the batter and stir until completely combined. Add chocolate chips, if using, and stir well.½ teaspoon salt, 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour, ¾ cup (150 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pan (see note if you intend to do a chocolate brownie swirl on top) and transfer to 350F (175C) oven and bake for 13-15 minutes (the surface of the brownies should be beginning to set, but note that the brownies will not be cooked completely during this time!). While brownies are baking, prepare your cheesecake layer:
- Cream together cream cheese and sugar until completely smooth and well combined (scrape sides and bottom of bowl to make sure there are no lumps hiding).16 oz (453 g) cream cheese, ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- Stir in sour cream.¼ cup (65 g) full-fat sour cream
- Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir until combined.2 large eggs, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Once brownie batter is out of the oven, carefully and evenly pour cheesecake layer over the surface.
- Return to 350F (175C) oven and bake another 25-28 minutes or until cheesecake is set (center will still be jiggly if jostled). Edges may be slightly puffed or even slightly golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature until no longer warm. Transfer to refrigerator and chill 3-4 hours before slicing and serving. If desired, drizzle sliced cheesecake brownies with additional melted chocolate chips before serving.
ChocolateYou may substitute chocolate chips for the chocolate baking bar. You will not need to chop them.
Instant CoffeeThis won’t make your brownies taste like coffee so much as it will enhance their rich chocolate flavor.
Chocolate Brownie SwirlI don’t love doing a brownie swirl on the surface of my cheesecake brownies. It rarely works well for me, but many people asked me how to do it so: You will simply reserve ¼ cup of brownie batter, then once you’ve layered your cheesecake over the brownies, stir the brownie batter really well (pop it in the microwave for 5 seconds if it’s stiff and not spreadable) and dollop over the cheesecake batter. Use a knife to swirl through the batter and cheesecake. Baking time will not change. I demonstrate this (and my inability to make it look good!) in the video.
StoringStore in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cheesecake brownies may also be frozen. Wrap well then store in an airtight container in the freezer for several months. The best way to thaw is to allow them to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
This recipe was originally published 01/16/2017. Photos and recipe have been updated and a how-to video has been added!