Cheesecake Brownie Recipe

cheesecake brownies

If you want to see a normally placid French person go into a crazed frenzy, you don’t need to watch their reaction to me mercilessly butcher their language.

One just needs to utter a single word—cheesecake.

I’ve never met a French person whose face didn’t soften and melt at the mere utterance of the word, and le cheesecake is always spoken of with a reverence normally reserved for the finest cheeses and most exclusive wines.

cut brownies

Although can you find Philadelphia cream cheese here at various outlets in Paris, when you do find it, it’s prohibitively expensive. If you were to make your own cheesecake using four packages of the stuff, it’d run you about €20, which is nearly $30. Holy mother of Bristol Palin!

A couple of French supermarkets do carry their own variations on the Philly-theme, often labeled fromage à tartiner (spreading cheese). But usually the tell-take brick shape gives it away and since it can be kinda pricey, I like to gather the troops and combine it with another French favorite, le brownie. This recipe for Cheesecake Brownies uses just one brick of cream cheese so it’s not such a blow to the portefeuille.

chocolate chips

I baked a batch last week and handed them out to friends who work at my outdoor market. Normally, the French taste tends to run more in the purist direction: one either serves them a cheesecake, or bakes up a batch of brownies. Combining the two surprised everyone, but not a single square was left at the end of the day.

Chalk another one up to good ‘ol American ingenuity.

cheesecake brownies

Cheesecake Brownies
One 9-inch (23cm) or 8-inch (20cm) square pan

Adapted from Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed)

For those of you who like higher brownies, use an 8-inch pan.

  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces (115g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup (130g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (70g) flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (80g) chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces (200g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 5 tablespoons (75g) sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line a 9-inch (23cm) or 8-inch (20cm) square pan with foil, making sure it goes up all four sides. Use two sheets if necessary. Mist with non-stick spray or grease lightly.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180C).

3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup (130g) sugar, then the eggs.

4. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

5. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 tablespoons (75g) of sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

6. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter.

spreading cheesecake mixutre

7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set.

Let cool, then lift out the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares.

Storage: These will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. They also freeze well, too.

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  • Julie
    July 24, 2009 3:41pm

    Just stopping back by this post to let you know, David, that these are my go-to brownies and have many, many, many fans. Thanks again for posting them!

  • Mrs zeeshan
    September 17, 2009 5:02am

    Hello David..I am really excited to try these brownies for the up coming event.
    but i am confused a little as there is no baking powder in the ingrediants..
    why is that so ?

    and secondly if i dont get semi sweet chocolate.. then what should i do..? cut down a lil bit of the amount of sugar in the recipe?

  • david
    September 17, 2009 11:35am

    Mrs. zeeshan: I’ve not made or seen many recipe for brownies that call for baking powder. And am not sure what to suggest if you can’t get chocolate since that’s an imperative component of the recipe.

  • Mrs zeeshan
    September 17, 2009 2:03pm

    oh so it doesnt make any difference ritoo ? without baking powder.
    thnx 4 replyingme… nop i Got the chocolate but its not semi sweet ..i mean its normal Dark chocolate with al the sugar stuff in it.. so i was just asking if i cut down some sugar in the brownie mixture so would that work ? as i am planning to make these after 2 days for the eid occasion

  • sam
    October 4, 2009 3:15am

    Hey david! The ingredients list lists only 1 egg yolk. How many eggs should go into the chocolate mixture? Thanks!:)

  • October 4, 2009 3:52am

    There are 2 large eggs, which are the 4th ingredient listed, which go into the chocolate mixture in Step #3.

  • Helen
    October 7, 2009 10:49pm


    I was looking at this recipe and your devil’s food cake recipe as a possible base for a raspberry blanc-manger. Initially I considered a flourless chocolate cake (for the difference in texture and the crazy decadence), but the problem lies in how the chocolate base will survive out of the fridge and not at room temperature. Can you suggest anything? I’m going a little nuts and I’m running out of time. Thanks!

  • David
    October 8, 2009 1:48am

    Helen: You could certainly try this as a base, although since I haven’t used it myself, I can’t advise for sure. If you do try it, please let us know how it works out.

  • Helen
    October 11, 2009 11:47am

    Hi again,

    This is sort of off topic now because in the end I made Chocolate Idiot’s Cake and a separate blanc-manger. I resisted the urge to layer the two and trotted them both to our friends’ house. Your words about the French being purists re: dessert kept floating through my mind, but baking is my new hobby and I’m Canadian so I compromised ;D. The cake was served at room temperature with a thin sliver of blanc-manger and raspberry sauce on the side.

    Your cake was amazing, super rich but so dreamy that we could still further stuff ourselves after Thanksgiving dinner! Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I can’t wait until “Ready for Dessert” comes out next year. Hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving in November.

  • Petra
    October 28, 2009 3:32pm

    OMG, this is a seriously good recipe… I´m taking couple of pieces tomorrow to my office and I´m more than sure that my colleagues will love it.
    By the way, Philadelphia cheese is quite cheap in my country (Czech republic)… Something like 1 Euro per 125 grams.

  • October 31, 2009 6:47am

    Merci beaucoup pour cette terrific recette !!
    Je l’ai essayée ce matin et c’est un franc (et américain) succès !

  • Sil
    November 6, 2009 2:34pm

    Saw it, made it, love it! Great blog. Tx.

  • Smiling Cougar
    December 14, 2009 11:51am

    Mmmmmm!!! I’m serving these up at the company Christmas party…topped with fresh raspberries.

  • Rachel
    December 23, 2009 12:15pm

    These look yummy! What’s the best way to reheat them if I freeze after baking? Although I think it would be highly unlikely that there would be any left over to freeze :)

  • Mary A
    January 1, 2010 1:14pm

    I’ve made these 3 times so far, and made it part of my Christmas Goodie gifts to neighbors. They are roll your eyes food frenzy good!

  • Litmad
    January 20, 2010 12:58pm

    Have come back on a number of occasions to drool over these brownies and finally decided to make them last weekend. When they came out the oven they were inspected by the family who screwed up their noses, exclaiming “what are those?”. Told them to shut up and eat them. All I can say is when Monday came around there were only crumbs left in the box. Delicious!

  • Rosemarie
    January 21, 2010 9:50am

    I have to vent a serious pet peeve here. After reading the comments on several recipes, I just can’t hold back. I sincerely wish people would not comment on a recipe they have not tried to make themselves. Asking a question about the recipe is fine but why do people post comments stating how good something looks? We all can see how good it looks.

    Thankfully, most of the posts on this recipe in particular are from those of us who have actually made the brownies. Speaking of which, I made these last night. They were good but I have never been a big cheesecake fan. I have to agree with the purists and keep my brownies pure only adding walnuts or pecans.

  • Eva
    February 5, 2010 4:57am

    David and your world wide fans,

    I came across your website by accident browsing for some desert recipes online. Already by cooking once your cheesecake brownies and oatmeal raisin cookies was enough for me to stick to your cooking. Forget and David, your work is amazing!!!! Thank you for the wounderful recipes.

    Regarding the cream cheese brownies. I don’t understand what is the fuss in these comments about cream cheese. People, KRAFT is a world wide company and their Philadelphia is great for this recipe. The only thing I would suggest to the readers is to pay attention to the type of cholocate you add. David in his recipe mentions bitter sweet chocolate. The cooking chocolate I found here in Switzerland said “dark cooking chocolate”, was 46% cacao. The brownies were milk cholocolate color and not as dark as on the picture. I guess that next time I will look for chocolate with min. 70% cacoa.

    Tasty cooking to all!

  • Marlowe
    February 24, 2010 5:06am

    “Mist with non-stick spray” ….

    I’m wondering what this is called in France and where one might find it (“Le Pam”)?

  • February 24, 2010 6:00am

    I’m not sure what it’s called in French, but in Paris, once can buy it at G. Detou. If unavailable, one can grease the foil using a brush.

  • Marlowe
    February 24, 2010 6:56am

    Thank you, sir!

  • Jenn
    March 29, 2010 8:08am

    Lovely and ever-so bittersweet. Made these today on a whim, I do so love my whims, and they came out perfect. Now I just need some cornish vanilla ice cream and we are talking! Thanks for the recipe.

    p.s I so wish that shop G. Detou was online as I would order the stuff for delivery here in the UK.

  • Michelle
    May 13, 2010 7:16pm

    Hi David,
    Thank you very much for the recipe. The cheesecake top came out perfect but my brownie was very fudgy, almost like truffles. I used Sharffen Berger’s 99% Unsweetened Chocolate. Could this be the problem? Please advise.

  • flora
    July 1, 2010 8:22am

    I would like to double the recipe. Which size pan should i use?

  • July 2, 2010 4:38am

    I’ve not done that, but would suggest baking it in two pans, following the instructions.

  • Sarah
    July 5, 2010 1:38am

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the recipe! I felt my brownies are a tad dry..not moist. Anything I did wrongly that may caused that? Any tips on what I should do if I want a bit more moist in my brownie?

  • July 5, 2010 2:12am

    If they are dry, they were likely cooked too long. To make them moister, in the future, you can add a few additional egg yolks to the chocolate batter.

  • Annie
    July 20, 2010 12:02pm

    This is such a wonderful recipe. I’ve made it many times now and it always disappears lightning fast…Sometimes before I even have a chance to serve it to guests! Thank you for sharing it!

  • Michelle
    July 26, 2010 2:58am

    Hi David,
    My brownie came out very moist and fudgy. I baked it for as long as the recipe called for. What could I have done wrong?

    The brownies are supposed to be moist & fudgy; that’s what make them so appealing. They’re not intended to be cake-like brownies. -dl

  • Jen
    July 26, 2010 3:46pm

    I have my own personal brownie recipe that I never stray from, however after finding this one I decided to give it a shot, and it is just as good if not better than my usual one! Absolutely delicious! In regards to the last post – I LOVE moist and fudgy brownies over cake-like ones. Thanks so much for the interesting recipe.

  • zaphia
    July 29, 2010 6:41pm

    Pure genius: brownies and cheesecake together! Mine are baking in the oven :)

  • zaphia
    July 29, 2010 7:01pm

    They’re done and fab :) the brownie is very soft and my swirls weren’t as distinct as yours. Delicious. I’m going to take it with me to a dinner I have been invited to tomorrow. Thanks again for sharing your lovely recipes.

  • September 5, 2010 3:56am

    Thanks David! another wonderful recipe, I made the brownies with and without the cheese part and I’m saying goodbye to my 15 year old brownie recipe because this one is so much better, love it!

  • October 8, 2010 2:29pm

    Looks so delicious. Going to bake these this weekend. My husband is on a diet so more for me!

  • christine
    October 31, 2010 10:50pm

    As an American living in Germany, I thought this would be a great way to bring two American classics to my German friends. They all loved it and requested the recipe. It was so simple and I definitely recommend trying it.

    Tomorrow I will bake them again, but without the cream cheese because the birthday boy doesn’t like cheesecake — hope it turns out just as tasty :)

  • Jules
    November 27, 2010 2:44am

    Would neuchatel (think this is the spelling) be an affordable switch for Philly. Neuchatel is low fat too.

  • Chrizza
    December 12, 2010 9:31am

    I just made these and the brownies didn’t come out as dark as the picture above but mine wasn’t that sweet. I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate bar (60%) and Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Is it because of the kind of chocolate I used?

  • December 12, 2010 10:10am
    David Lebovitz

    Jules: I don’t know if neufchatel is much more affordable than regular cream cheese, but if you give it a go, please let me know how it works out.

    Chrizza: I use Valrhona cocoa powder, a Dutch-process cocoa, which is indeed darker than Hershey’s cocoa powder. You can read more at my Cocoa Powder FAQs

  • January 12, 2011 8:22pm


    The brownie portion of this recipe seems to use the same type of method as “Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies” that you write about here:

    However, your recipe does not include the stirring vigorously for 1 minute after incorporating the flour. Does this make a difference? Is it not necessary because of the cheesecake topping? If I did it anyway, would it hurt?

  • Maria
    January 23, 2011 10:05pm

    My batch of these brownies are in the oven. !!!! I used black cocoa powder that I had on hand, and put in orange extract. They smell amazing, and I can’t wait to try them. Thank you for all of your recipes, they’re fantastic!

  • Karin
    February 10, 2011 4:16pm

    I made these for the first time last week and loved them. One question: will there be a marked difference between using original cream cheese and light cream cheese?