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These easy cream cheese brownies are about to win your heart. They are made up of chocolate chip-loaded brownie batter and sweetened cream cheese swirled together to make the perfect dream of a dessert.
This cream cheese swirl brownies recipe marries rich, fudgy brownie batter with velvety cream cheese in an irresistibly crave-able dessert. Sweetened cream cheese is layered over decadent chocolate chip brownie batter and topped with dollops of even more brownie batter. The dollops are then swirled into the cream cheese layer creating a delightful marbled effect that not only looks pretty but, once the dessert is baked and cooled into chewy, fudgy, swirled brownie perfection, tastes like heaven.
Of all the brownies I’ve ever tasted, these ones might just be the best. They are chewy, yet cakey, rich but well-balanced, and surprisingly easy to make.
Why You’ll Love These Cream Cheese Brownies
In case the words “cream cheese brownies” weren’t enough to make you bounce over to the kitchen and start baking, here are a few reasons you absolutely have to try this recipe. Like now.
- Perfectly balanced. The intense chocolate of brownies next to the smooth tanginess of cream cheese provides a wonderfully balanced symphony of flavors.
- Texture. The brownie portion of this dessert is magnificently chewy yet cakey at the same time. This perfect brownie texture is interrupted magnificently by creamy cream cheese swirls that just glide over the tongue like a little slice of heaven. It truly is the perfect marriage of textures.
- Visual appeal. The swirls of cream cheese and brownie batter create a fabulous marbled effect that brings an elegance to the dessert that sets it apart from other brownies.
- Surprisingly easy. They may look and taste fancy but these brownies are actually surprisingly easy to make. 15 minutes in the kitchen and you’ll be popping some of the best brownies you’ve ever tasted in the oven.
What You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to make these cream cheese swirl brownies. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for precise measurements.
- All-purpose flour – You could use a 1:1 gluten-free flour instead if you’d like.
- Baking powder
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Instant espresso powder – The espresso powder is optional but it does a great job of enhancing the chocolate flavor.
- Unsalted butter
- Egg yolk
- Vanilla extract
- Semisweet chocolate chips – Feel free to use dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips instead. White chocolate chips would work here as well.
- Cream cheese – Be sure that the cream cheese is softened to room temperature before you attempt to make the cream cheese layer. If it is too cold, it won’t spread and swirl properly.
- Vanilla extract
How To Make Cream Cheese Brownies
Here comes a quick overview of how to make these shockingly easy, elegant brownies. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card below for more thorough instructions.
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and espresso powder.
- Make the brownie batter. Melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in ½ cup sugar. Whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and remaining sugar. Whisk the egg mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the chocolate chips.
- Make the cream cheese layer. Beat the cream cheese until smooth, then beat in the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.
- Assemble. Smooth all but 1/3-1/2 cup of the batter into the prepared baking dish and pour the cream cheese mixture over it. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cheesecake mixture. Use a toothpick to swirl the two batters together.
- Bake. Bake for 38-40 minutes.
- Cool. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan before slicing and serving.
Tips for Success
This cream cheese brownie recipe is quite easy to make but you don’t want to go in blind. Set yourself up for success with these super helpful tips and tricks.
- Get set up. Line the baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhangs on the sides. This will make it easier to lift the brownies out of the pan once they have cooled.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl. When making the brownie batter and the cheesecake layer, I encourage you to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula intermittently as you add and mix in ingredients. This will help ensure that any ingredients stuck to the side of the bowl make it into the batter.
- Don’t over-mix. When mixing the dry ingredients into the batter, be careful not to over-mix. This can cause the gluten in the flour to overdevelop and end you with a tough, unpleasantly chewy brownie.
- Room temperature cream cheese. If the cream cheese is too cold, it won’t mix well with the other ingredients. Additionally, you will have a hard time spreading it over the brownie layer and it will not swirl nicely.
- Swirl gently. When swirling the brownie batter dollops into the cream cheese layer, be gentle. You want to create a marbled effect without fully blending the two layers.
- Let them cool. Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing them. This will give them time to set, allowing for cleaner cuts.
These brownies are amazing as is but they will transport you to a whole other dimension of culinary heaven if you pair them with one (or several) of the following goodies. Let me know which is your favorite.
- À la mode. There’s nothing like a warm brownie topped with a scoop of ice cream. Grab your favorite pint from the store or whip up a batch of my Biscoff Ice Cream or this No Churn Oreo Fudge Ice Cream.
- Whipped cream. Balance the richness of these decadent brownies with a dollop of whipped cream. Store-bought will do just fine but, if you have the time, try the honey cream in this recipe for Boozy Peaches and Honey Cream Shortcakes.
- Make it saucy. I have been loving drizzling a little bit of Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce over the top of these brownies. Not a caramel fan? Try my Instant Pot Dulce de Leche instead. Pure decadence.
- With milk. Wash your brownie down with a glass of cold milk. Trying to avoid dairy? Try my Homemade Cashew Milk.
How To Store Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
- Countertop. Once cooled, cover the brownie pan tightly with plastic wrap or transfer the dessert bars to an airtight container. Store them at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Refrigeration. If you don’t anticipate polishing them off within a couple of days, allow them to cool completely before covering the baking pan tightly with plastic wrap or transferring the brownies to an airtight container. Store them in the freezer for up to 5 days.
- Freezer. Once the brownies have cooled to room temperature, cut them into squares and wrap each individual portion in a double layer of plastic wrap. Seal the wrapped brownies in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw at room temperature before enjoying.
More Brownie Recipes
Want to explore other fun takes on the classic brownie? Here are a few of my absolute favorites. Happy baking!
- Caramel Filled Brownies
- Cake Mix Brownies
- Buckeye Brownies
- Blondie Brownies
- Fudgy Dirty Chai Dark Chocolate Brownies
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
- 1 cup (125 g) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (43 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, optional, but enhances the chocolate flavor
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups (270 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- 8 ounces (227 g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 °F (177 °C) and line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder and espresso powder).
- Add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted. Whisk in ½ cup of the sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract and remaining sugar, then whisk in the butter mixture.
- Stir in the flour mixture until just combined, then fold in the chocolate chips. Set aside ~⅓ – ½ cup of the batter.
- Pour the remaining batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer.
- Add the cream cheese to a mixing bowl and beat until smooth, then beat in the sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cheesecake mixture, then use a toothpick to swirl the two batters together.
- Bake for 38-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the comes out mostly clean (it’s ok if some moist crumbs are attached – you don’t want it to be completely dry). Let cool before slicing.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.