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 unsalted butter cut into 12 pieces (170g)
- 4 oz semisweet or dark chocolate baking bar¹ coarsely chopped (113g)
- ½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (50g)
- ½ teaspoon instant coffee optional, see note
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- ½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed (100g)
- 2 large eggs room temperature preferred
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (125g)
- ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips (150g), optional
- 16 oz cream cheese softened, use brick-style full-fat cream cheese only (453g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- ¼ cup full-fat sour cream (65g)
- 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 unsalted butter, 4 oz semisweet or dark chocolate baking bar¹
- Immediately add cocoa powder and instant coffee (if using) and stir until combined.½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon instant coffee
- Add sugars and stir well.1 cup granulated sugar, ½ cup 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 all-purpose flour, ¾ cup 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 cream cheese, ½ cup granulated sugar
- Stir in sour cream.¼ cup 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!
The recipe was simple and everyone at work loved it. Thanx for the great recipe
I’m so glad to hear it! Thank you, Kim!
Granulated sugar or powdered sugar?
I am thinking about making these foe Thanksgiving. Would I be able to make these 2 days in advance?
Yes that shouldn’t be a problem! Just keep them refrigerated in an airtight container.
These cheesecake bars sound great. I’m making this to bring to a party and I’m doing a trial run this weekend. Wouldn’t the brownie be hard since it has butter in it and it’s refrigerated? I had a bad experience many years ago with a butter cake that I refrigerated and it was rock hard since butter get hard when refrigerated. I was mortified since it was the first time I met my boyfriend’s parents and I fed them hard cake. Maybe these should be left out for a few hours after they are fully chilled?
The brownie layer is firm, but fudgey, no one I’ve served them to has had a problem biting into them. I’m not sure that I’d recommend letting them sit out for quite that long because it’s best to keep the cheesecake portion chilled. I do hope you enjoy them and would love to hear what you think of them!
I’m really excited about trying this recipe! They look delicious! I really like the mini chocolate chip idea over the top…but…. I was wondering if you could use fudge topping to drizzle over the top?
Hi Catherine, sorry I am just seeing this now! Yes, I think a fudge drizzle would be great, though I may suggest waiting until just before serving before topping with the fudge. Enjoy!!
Hi if I use the box brownie mix and follow the recipe for the cheesecake topping. Can I leave it in the far if it’s 65 degrees out. I want to bring this to a, home after a, funeral service thx reply ASAP
How long will you be leaving the cheesecake in the car? If it is 65-70 degrees inside the car it should be fine to sit for about an hour or so, though I would recommend getting it back into a refrigerator as soon as possible.
Does it have to refrigerated for 6 hours? I am making it for a Sunday dinner and I think I can only do it for 2 hours or so. And then I used a box brownies mix, will that make the brownies hard if I didn’t use your recipe? Because I baked the brownies for 20 minutes.
Sorry I’m just now seeing this, Tara! They do need the full 6 hours (at least 4, bare minimum) to completely set, but if you need to dig in earlier they’ll still be edible, they just won’t have the cheesecake texture. I haven’t tried with a box mix brownie so I’m not sure how that would work.
these look delicious, going to try them out today!
one question though, how should these be stored?
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Enjoy!
Wonderful recipe!!! This was a big hit with my family! I was going to make them again & realized I only used 16 oz cream cheese (2 packages) last time! Did I just get lucky????? Thanks for the recipe!!
I’m so glad to hear that everyone enjoyed!! I’ve only made them with the 32 oz (4 packages) and that’s definitely how I would recommend it (plus you’ll have a thicker cheesecake layer), I’d worry that it would be too… eggy with just two packages but if it worked for you then that is fine. I’m glad that they were such a hit!! 🙂
This calls for the brownies sans coffee. I was just wondering why? I have a new found love of putting coffee in my chocolate cake/brownies and was hoping it wouldn’t screw with the flavor if I kept the coffee in.
Hi Corrin! When I wrote the recipe I was worried that the coffee flavor might be a bit “too much” with the cheesecake, but I’m not so sure I still believe that. I don’t think it would screw up the flavor, and if you try it out I would LOVE to know how it turns out for you!
Thanks for the recipe – looks wonderful. It must be me – but I’m not sure…..you say to bake the brownie part for 20 minutes and then make the cream cheese part. Then you say to spread the cream cheese over the brownie part once it is finished. So – bake 20 minutes and spread the cream cheese or bake until done and then spread the cream cheese on top of the brownie. I’m worried that when you then bake the cream cheese the brownie part will over bake and even get too dry. Please help. And thank you.
Hi Ellen! Yes, if you use the brownie recipe that I link to then you should only bake it for 20 minutes. It will still be quite under-baked at that point, which is good for this recipe (if I recall correctly that brownie recipe needs over 40 minutes to cook fully).
Then you will (gently) pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie as soon as it comes out of the oven and return it to the oven. With the cheesecake on top, the brownie definitely should not get dry at all and actually should be very very fudgy when finished.
I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any other questions that I might be able to help with. You can also join my Facebook baking group where I’m encouraging people to share their baking questions with one another so that hopefully we can give each other immediate assistance: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sugarspunrunbakers/
Thank you for clarifying that you don’t completely bake the brownies before adding the cheesecake layer. I have been reading reviews on other recipes for brownie bottomed cheesecakes and most reviews say that either the brownies are rock hard by the time the cheesecake is done baking or that the brownies are raw and inedible. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe for my daughter’s birthday “cake” tomorrow.
I hope everyone enjoyed, Sharon!!
I’m making the cheesecake brownies today, can’t wait to try them!! What is the chocolate on top of the cheesecake? Hershey’s syrup?
I hope you love them! It’s actually just melted chocolate — I just updated the recipe to elaborate on that, I hope it helps!!
Can’t wait to make these . . . always looking for a new recipe!! I’ll be back to check out more of your blog and recipes!! Thanks!!
I hope you love them, Mary!! 🙂
These look soooo yummy! I will have to try these out!!! 🙂 Thank you so much for the lovely recipe!!!
Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I made it for my coworkers birthday and it was a hit! My son who doesn’t really love cheesecake couldn’t get enough of this either.
The only thing I did different was sprinkle the top with mini chocolate chips after I took it out of the oven.
Thanks again! 😋
Yay! I’m so glad that these were a hit! Love the idea of topping them with mini chocolate chips. Thank you for commenting how they turned out!! 🙂
I need to make this in a 12x18x2″ pan for banquet. How much ingredients will I need?
I would guess that doubling it would be approximately right, but I’m really not sure that it would cook evenly. Honestly I think I would recommend just making two batches in 13×9 pans, if possible. Best of luck however you proceed!
This sounds very special, and I am a great fan of cheesecake brownies. Tempting!
Thank you, Puja! I bet you would love these 🙂