Cheesecake brownies are made of 2 decadent layers – a rich, fudgy brownie layer and a classic cheesecake layer. Our family loves these brownie bottom cheesecake bars – the brownie layer is so chocolatey and complements the cheesecake layer!
I adore my homemade brownie recipe. I spent a whole week just baking and testing brownies to create my classic brownie recipe. It’s fudgy, slightly chewy and so rich with chocolate flavor that it demands a glass of milk.
I knew I needed to pair the brownies with cheesecake, thanks to the growing baby inside of me who loves sweets and especially cheesecake!
I already have a recipe on my site for cream cheese swirl brownies, but I wanted this recipe to be a true cheesecake brownie that had a distinct brownie layer and distinct cheesecake layer.
Think of it almost like cheesecake bars with a brownie crust.
How To Make Cheesecake Brownies
Cheesecake brownies are a 2 step process.
- homemade brownie batter
- cheesecake batter
It’s critical to bake the brownies just until a crust forms, then add the cheesecake batter. If you don’t bake the brownies until a crust forms, the cheesecake batter will sink into the brownies, rather than staying on top of the brownie layer.
Prepare the brownie batter first and get that baking in the oven. For a glass 8×8 inch pan I baked my brownies for 23-25 minutes, until a crust formed.
When looking for the crust to form, look for a color change in the brownies, the top will be a little lighter in color and might appear shiny. You can also carefully touch the brownies with a finger to determine if the crust formed. You shouldn’t have any brownie batter stick to your finger.
See the difference in the photo below. Left photo: brownie batter before going into the oven. Right photo: brownies that have formed a crust.
Once the crust forms, remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes.
Next, carefully pour the cheesecake batter over the brownies. I noticed that evenly pouring the batter over the brownies is key, instead of dumping it all in one place.
Return the brownies to the oven and bake for 22-27 minutes. At this time check on the cheesecake to see how jiggly it is. If it’s still jiggly in the center, tent the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 4-5 additional minutes.
Should I Bake Cheesecake Brownies in a Glass or Metal Pan?
I used a glass 8×8 inch baking pan because that’s what I have in my kitchen! You can use a metal pan, I would recommend decreasing the baking time by 5 minutes. Metal pans heat up faster and can produce chewier brownies.
How To Freeze Cheesecake Brownies
These cheesecake brownies have been one of my go-to desserts that I’ve been grabbing out of the freezer during my pregnancy.
Allow the bars to cool completely to room temperature. Then cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 2+ hours. Chilled bars are easier to cut!
Cut the bars into your desired size. Next, wrap a row at a time in plastic wrap then in aluminum foil. Place everything inside a ziplock bag and freeze.
To thaw: remove the number of bars you want and place them on the counter until thawed.
Tips for Cheesecake Layer
- Allow the cream cheese and eggs to come to room temperature before beating it. Room temperature cream cheese is easier to whip.
- The eggs are the last ingredient that get mixed into the cheesecake batter. Be sure to mix them in, just until the yolk breaks. Over beating the eggs is the number one cause of air bubbles and cracking.
- The cheesecake is done when the center wobbles a little when you jiggle the pan, but it should not look wet or liquidy. The edges of the cheesecake should look firmer than the center.
More Bar Desserts
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 & 1/2 packages cream cheese, 8 oz packages for a total of 12 oz, room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Remove the cream cheese and eggs from the fridge for the cheesecake layer to come to room temperature. Line a 8x8 or 9x9 inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the properly measured flour, salt and cocoa powder. Stir together with a spoon until mixed. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chopped unsweetened chocolate and cubed butter. Stir occasionally until it’s fully melted, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a larger mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs plus additional egg yolk with an electric mixer for 1 minute, until the mixture is pale yellow and doubled in volume.
- Once the chocolate is melted, pour it into the egg mixture. Then add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Stir with a spatula to combine.
- Spoon the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing with a spatula just until combined. Do not continue to mix the batter once you can no longer see flour.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake for 23-25 minutes, just until a crust forms on the top of the brownies. When looking for the crust to form, look for a color change in the brownies, the top will be a little lighter in color and might appear shiny. You can also carefully touch the brownies with a finger to determine if the crust formed. You shouldn’t have any brownie batter stick to your finger.
- Once a crust has formed, remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cheesecake layer.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat 1 & 1/2 packages of cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth, about 60-90 seconds. Add in the egg and egg yolk, beating for about 30-60 seconds.
- Carefully pour the cheesecake batter over the brownies. I noticed that evenly pouring the batter over the brownies is key, instead of dumping it all in one place. Use a spatula to spread the cheesecake batter to the edges of the pan. Return the brownies to the oven and bake for 22-27 minutes. At this time check on the cheesecake to see how jiggly it is. If it’s still jiggly in the center, tent the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 4-5 additional minutes. The aluminum foil will prevent the cheesecake from browning.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 2+ hours.
- Cut into bars and serve. For clean cuts, fully wipe the knife clean between slices.
GLUTEN FREE Cheesecake Brownies
I’ve made this recipe with both regular and gluten free flour with awesome results on multiple occasions. I recommend King Arthur’s Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour. Use it as a one for one substitute for regular flour.
I used a glass 8×8 inch baking pan. You can use a metal pan, I would recommend decreasing the baking time by 5 minutes - so check the brownies for a crust around 18-22 minutes. Metal pans heat up faster.