Black and White Cheesecake Brownies
If you’re craving brownies AND cheesecake, these black and white cheesecake brownies are the answer. Decadent, amazingly delicious and easy!
If you are fan of cheesecake AND brownies, these black and white cheesecake brownies are going to be the ticket to ultimate happiness.
I have tried a lot of cream cheese brownie combos in my day, but these black and white squares are the top of the top.
Best of the best. Tried-and-true.
However, you want to say it – they are my favorite cheesecake brownies!
I have a more traditional cheesecake brownie recipe here. It’s fantastic! And equally deserving of all the praise.
But what sets these black and white cheesecake brownies apart is the next-level decadence. The brownie batter is a bit darker. A bit richer. A bit less gooey than traditional brownies.
So the end result is a super fudgy brownie base with a light and creamy cheesecake filling and a top dotted with spoonfuls of leftover brownie.
They’re so, so good.
The brownie batter is a simple one-bowl recipe that comes together quickly. It is thicker than a classic brownie recipe. The consistency is more like a cookie dough than brownie batter.
You can use either natural, unsweetened cocoa powder in the recipe OR dutch-processed cocoa powder. Dutch-processed will give a darker, richer vibe to the brownies.
I’ve made it both ways. Delicious no matter what kind of cocoa powder you use.
This is important
Before pressing the brownie batter into the pan, reserve 1 cup to use on top of the brownies.
Press the rest of the brownie batter into an even layer on the bottom a 9X13-inch pan and bake until just barely set.
Spread the simple cheesecake batter over the baked brownie layer and then dot the top with the reserved brownie batter.
It’s not as gooey and soft as a traditional brownie batter, so you can break the pieces off and scatter them on top.
Bake the black and white cheesecake brownies until the cheesecake layer is set and the top mounds of brownie batter are puffed.
the key to a good cream cheese brownie
Although it’s tempting with any brownie recipe to dig right in, it is crucial, in my opinion, to let the bars cool completely and then refrigerate.
There is nothing quite as delicious as a chilled cheesecake brownie.
Chilled and cut into small (or not small!) squares, these black and white cheesecake brownies are phenomenal.
They are one of top favorite desserts, and they are always a hit when I make them and take them places (or include them as part of a take-in meal to someone).
The ratio of chocolatey brownie to light cheesecake is perfection. And I love how the bottom layer of brownie is sturdy and fudgy but still so moist and decadent.
In the land of Desserts That Should Never Be Forgotten, these black and white cheesecake brownies reign supreme.
Black and White Cheesecake Brownies
- 1 ¼ cups (284 g) butter, (2 1/2 sticks), softened (I use salted)
- 2 cups (424 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (284 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (64 g) natural unsweetened or Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 8 ounces (227 g) cream cheese, softened
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (57 g) powdered sugar
- Line a 9X13-inch metal baking pan with parchment, letting the parchment extend a couple inches on each long side (to make it easier to remove the bars after baking). Lightly grease the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray.
- For the brownie batter: in a large bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt, and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. Add the flour and cocoa powder and mix until evenly combined.
- Reserve 1 cup of the brownie batter; refrigerate. Press remaining brownie batter into the bottom of prepared pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or freeze for 15 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Bake the brownies set and edges are puffed, 22-25 minutes. The brownies should still be very soft (they’ll bake more in the next step). Let cool completely.
- For the cheesecake batter: mix the cream cheese, egg, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth and well-combined. Spread the mixture over the brownie base.
- Crumble reserved dough in tablespoon size pieces over the top. Bake until the cheesecake filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely and then refrigerate until chilled. Cut into squares and serve chilled or at room temperature.
Recipe Source: adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Recipe published April 2009; updated April 2020 with new photos and commentary and recipe tips
71 Comments on “Black and White Cheesecake Brownies”
WOW…these are special. They took me forever but were so worth it! I doubled the recipe and probably needed to bake a little longer as these were pretty underdone (totally my fault) but phenomenal anyway. I put the leftovers in the freezer and that was perfect. I think next time I would actually use a tiny bit less butter. Yum yum yum!!
Yum. Will be making them again. Like you said… the hardest part was waiting for them to cool.
So first of all, I absolutely love every single recipe I’ve ever tried from your blog! SO AMAZING! Second, during this quarantine it seems I’ve been making more of them than normal… haha and I’m going through butter so fast! Obviously, I know there’s no substitute for butter that will be quite as good but could I use shortening instead? I feel a little sheepish when my Costco-sized butter package is gone after a week of recipes lol! Thank you!!
Hi Tressa, I’d have to develop a totally different personality to tell you I think you could sub shortening for butter! Haha. I don’t use shortening very often in baking mostly because of the lack of flavor. But hey, right now, anything is worth a try!
I made these yesterday on our “snow” day in Atlanta (no snow, just rain this time!) and they were a hit! My tween boys said the only thing they would change next time is making double-decker brownies! 🙂 Thank you so much, Mel!
This looks delicious, gonna make it tonight. I have a silly question though, what do you mean when you said crumble the reserve dough on top?
Just break it into small pieces and sprinkle it on top of the bars before baking. Does that help?
Stumbled upon this recipe from Pinterest and I am grateful I did. These were reeeeeeeally good! The first bite was heaven. I enjoyed making them as much as eating them! Easy to follow directions. Thank you so much!
Made these for my book club last night, and we all loved them! I know I can always count on your recipes; thanks for doing what you do. 🙂
I made these the other night and they disappeared so fast I couldn’t believe it. I will make these again for sure they were so good. I love your recipes keep them coming thanks so much Mel
I love your recipes, Mel! I have made these brownies twice and they were a big hit, but both times I’ve used strawberry cream cheese (because I’m kind of obsessed with it). Strawberry cream cheese is runnier than regular so it created the problem of the cheesecake swirl not cooking at the same rate as the rest. The first time, the brownie parts were a tad burnt and the second time, the cheesecake part was a tad under-cooked. I had to refrigerate both times for it to really set, and the next day they were even better. Now both times they were still positively DIVINE (seriously strawberry cream cheese and chocolate are made for each other!), and I will keep making them. But any advice on how to get it to cook more evenly? Thanks!
Hi Mel – try stirring in a couple tablespoons flour to the cream cheese mixture to help it firm up a bit. That may help!
I tried these and followed everything to the letter, and everyone LOVED them! However, my husband who isn’t a cheesecake fan finds it too sweet. He loves the brownie layer SO MUCH though. If I were to make and bake only the brownie layer, how long should I bake it and at what temperature? Also, should I still refrigerate it first for 30 minutes prior to baking in order to achieve its chewy texture? Thanks!
I’ve never just made the brownie layer so I’m not entirely sure. You’ll have to experiment – I’d suggest following the recipe as closely as possible just omitting the cheesecake layer. Good luck!
Why are we being told to preheat the oven at the beginning when the pan of dough needs to be refrigerated for 30 minutes?
You can certainly preheat later on in the process.
I made these for my nephew’s graduation party (350 guests), among other desserts, and I made them several days ahead, cut them and froze them (in those rubbermaid disposable containers). They were totally fresh tasting and delicious!
These look great and will be making these for a party in a few days! Just curious – after the brownies completely cool, do they need to be refrigerated or can they sit out like a normal brownie? I wasn’t sure because of the cream cheese. Thanks!
Tiff G – They can sit out for a few hours but beyond that I always refrigerate them.
Just read through ALL the comments and realized I didn’t refrigerate the pan before I baked the brownie layer. I MUST have these for an event tonight. Praying like crazy that I haven’t ruined them as I don’t have time for a redo. **fingers crossed** Perhaps I’ll take a little cooking time off for this part?
Tanya – I hope these worked out. Not refrigerating the brownie layer shouldn’t ruin the entire batch. Good luck!
OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!! Just took my first bight, while they were still warm and gooey and…
Lets just say that I have a new favorite recipe. Never liked cheesecake before this but now i’m what you would call a “cheese cake puritan.”
Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Mel, I’m confused . . . do I refrigerate the dough in the pan for 30 min prior to baking or do I only refrigerate the 1 cup that I set aside?? Made the crispy southwest wraps last night and my husband ate way more than his share . . . so much for leftovers!
Catherine – you want to refrigerate the 1 cup of reserved dough and also refrigerate the pan that has dough pressed into it. Make sense?
Just noticed that my comment doesn’t appear under the particular recipe so the dessert that I made that was the hit of my nephew’s graduation party was the Black and White Cheesecake Squares!
I made these for my nephew’s graduation party (300 attendees) and they were the favorite of all the desserts! I also was able to make them ahead and freeze them! Thanks!
Hi! Two questions. If I were to cut this recipe in half, what size pan would you recommend using? Also, if I don’t have parchment/wax paper, can I use foil instead? Or would that make the brownies cook differently? Thanks!
Hi Molly – try using an 8X8 or 9X9-inch pan. And yes, you could definitely use foil to line the pan.
I made this recipe as a treat to bring to work and it turned out amazing! So fudgey and wonderful. However, I was a little ambitious and made a double batch, which burned out the motor on my hand mixer (it was time for that thing to go anyway). I think its because the batter is so thick with not a lot of liquid, unlike traditional box-mix brownies which are very runny – but that’s how this recipe brings about the tasty fudge layer. All in all, I highly recommend this recipe!
Made this for the moms in my daughter’s playgroup and the entire serving tray was rapidly emptied (and this was a large tray and a small group of women!). These were so fantastic that I was forced to freeze the rest so that my hubby and I didn’t devour them all. That plan was a huge failure as my hubby snuck into the freezer and discovered that they are also amazing frozen, like “little ice cream brownies” he said (the cream cheese transforms into an ice cream-like texture). Not surprisingly, I received requests for this recipe so of course I passed along your awesome URL. Thanks!
Grr… how could I test it to find out? lol. Like one ball of xxxx to see if it’s all purpose or self-rising or…. any other different kind to worry about? Thanks! Thinking about trying these tomorrow with company coming (Depends on if hubby has his heart set on cheesecake or not!).
Veronica – yes, using self-rising flour could mess things up. 🙂
You know what? I don’t remember what kind of flour I have in my container. Would it royally screw it up if it were self-rising or anything?
Hi Mel, these look so moist and delicious! I just want to ask, in all your recipes which call for butter, do you use unsalted butter or salted butter? Also, when you say salt, is it rock salt or iodized? Thanks!
Pau – Although most foodies would turn their noses up, I always use salted butter. It’s more widely available where I live and…well..I’ve just always used it. I have a handful of recipes I’ve deliberately used unsalted butter in but I am sure to specify in the recipe if that is the case.
Also, when a recipe calls for salt on my blog it is 99% of the time calling for table salt (iodized or non-iodized is fine).
These brownies are tasty! I follwed all the steps even the brutal waiting! At first I thought I had overcooked the lower brownie layer at 22 minutes, but I continued to bake. Once finished I just cut off the edges where it had got a little dry near the pan – there is enough brownie to go around and no one wants their last bite ruined by being a tad burnt.
I made these a few months ago for a bake sale and barely got to try any, they were gone so fast! Made these today for father’s day and they were AMAZING! The first time I made them I forgot to let the brownie base cool before adding the cheese cake and they were a little overbaked. This time we doubled the cheesecake topping (we love cheesecake) and it’s perfect. The brownie is super chocolatey and the perfect balance for the creamy cheesecake topping. This one’s going in our recipe book! Our family has loved all the recipes we’ve tried from your blog =]
Once again, another amazing recipe. Thanks, Mel! Hope you’re doing well, waiting (or not) for your little lady. 🙂 I posted about this, gave you credit and linked back. http://cookingmisadventures.com/2012/04/20/black-and-white-brownie-cheesecake-squares/ Have a great Friday!!
I love everything about this recipe except the “let cool” part. Could you start adding explanations of what would happen if I didn’t want to “let cool”? ;-)) Seriously, though, you’ve inspired me with your blog. I’ve been following for about a year now. For the roll tutorial, the bread braid, lasagna, slow cooker italian beef, broccoli and rice casserole, smothered pork chops, cheesy cauliflower bake, and OF COURSE the desserts, my family thanks you!
Yes, it is midnight and they are still cooking. So excited. These have been a process but thinking they are going to be totally worth it. I started them at 9:30pm while talking to my sister looking at your blog together (which we do frequently). Realized I didn’t have eggs after starting so headed to Walmart while still on the phone with my sis. She finally hung up at 11pm and I have been on my own ever since. (I didn’t read the part about them having to cool in between cooking) Even with her advising to not make them this late and especially not to eat them this late I am going to! They look delicious and I will have earned it after staying up this late! Thanks so much for all your fabulous recipes. Made your Skillet Chicken Parm tonight and was so yummy! Ahhhhh I love your website. YOU KNOW GOOD FOOD!
Jenn – oh, yeah! I’m so glad you liked this recipe. It is a keeper, don’t you think? Thanks for letting me know! (Hope your fellow church goers enjoy them on Sunday!)
Oh Mel! Those look amazing! Yum!
These look sinfully delicious!
I think you read my mind. I was looking for a cheesecake/brownie recipe!! I will be trying this very soon!
Michelle – I’m glad your family were happy about these. Thanks for letting me know!!
Jan – I agree – these are definitely more decadent than brownies but oh so worth it!
i’m a brownie fanatic, and these look totally awesome
I really have to stop following your blog! WOW! These made my family really really really happy 🙂
dense, fudgy chocolate. tart and tangy cream cheese. melanie, these are simply fantastic and would wreak havoc on my body. 🙂
jennie – thanks for your comment! I haven’t posted many ham recipe recently because I haven’t baked a ham and had leftovers. However, here is one of my favorite leftover ham recipes – it is so simple and fast but very delicious…my kids love it!
Angel Hair Pasta and Ham Bake
8 ounces angel hair pasta
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion (for ½ cup chopped)
½ medium green bell pepper (for ½ cup chopped)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups diced baked ham
1 can (14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (14 ½ ounces) stewed tomatoes
Black pepper to taste
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Bring 2 ½ quarts unsalted water to a boil. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the angel hair pasta and cook until firm-tender, 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in an extra-deep 12-inch nonstick skillet that has a lid over medium-high heat. Peel and finely dice the onion, adding it to the skillet as you dice. While the onion is cooking, seed and chop the bell pepper, adding it as you chop.
Add the garlic and ham and cook until the ham starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. While the ham mixture cooks, drain both cans of tomatoes, adding them to the skillet when the hams has browned. Stir well. Set the skillet off the heat.
When the pasta is done, drain well and stir it into the skillet. Return the skillet to medium heat, and the black pepper, and continue to cook, uncovered for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta mixture and cover the skillet. Cook until the cheese melts. Then uncover the skillet and continue to cook until most of the liquid evaporates, 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and serve at once.
One word…. WOW!
My missionary son recently wrote to me and asked for a recipe to make brownies. Seems that the people of Chile are not familiar with this yummy American treat! This is the perfect recipe to send, because he loves anything cheesecake, second only to chocolate. He will be in heaven!
Thanks so much, and I hope your are feeling well, and had a great Easter with your beautiful family.
These black and white cheesecake sqares are a “must bake”. My husband and I both love them.
They are waaaay, more decadent that brownies.
These look so delicious! My husband loves cream cheese and brownies so this will be perfect for our next dessert!
I feel the same way about the brownies getting lost in the cheesecake but these look delicious. I’ll have to give them a try.
Wow–these look decadant! Wow–the picture makes my mouth water!!
My goodness do these ever look so delicious.. must admit I am in love with your blog.. LOVE!
Krista – loved your comment and even more, I loved that you loved this recipe. Jamen told Brian at work that he ate one for breakfast. That’s my kind of breakfast!
I made these tonight and they are delicious!! Like you, these will become my “go to” recipe for cheesecake brownies (and probably just plain brownies too).
I have to bring treats to church on Sunday, and guess what I’m bringing????
I have thought the very same thing about every cheesecake brownie recipe I’ve ever tried. I can’t wait to make these-they look so darn yummy!
I’ve made your Perfect Lemon Cake twice now . . . all to rave reviews!! Now, it looks like I’ll be doing an encore performance with these black and white cheesecake squares. Mmmmm!
made ’em, loved ’em, gone in about 12 hours! The most delicious brownie I’ve ever tasted!
thank you so much for the pasta ham bake recipe – I’ll make it tonight.
Hi again! My family’s loved everything we’ve tried of yours – thanks for sharing your recipes. I’m wondering if you have any more recipes that use ham – I checked your lables on the side, and would love some more … we have lots of leftover ham from easter dinner. by the way, i’m a French teacher so I was doubly impressed with your croque monsieur recipe. 🙂
Oh my word these look AMAZING!!!!
Oh my gosh, these brownies look so chewy and fudgey! YUM!
These were SO SO good. My dad even liked them and that’s the highest compliment you can receive cuz he claims to not like chocolate or brownies 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!
Melanee – I feel honored your dad would like these! Way to go!