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!

stack of black and white cheesecake brownies with bite taken out of top

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! 

pan of baked and cut black and white 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.

cut squares of black and white cheesecake brownies on white platter

brownie batter

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.

mixing up brownie batter for black and white cheesecake squares

This is important

Before pressing the brownie batter into the pan, reserve 1 cup to use on top of the brownies. 

cup of reserved brownie batter

Press the rest of the brownie batter into an even layer on the bottom a 9X13-inch pan and bake until just barely set. 

pressing brownie batter into 9X13-inch pan

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. 

side by side of unbaked and baked pans of black and white cheesecake brownies

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. 

top down view of baked pan of black and white cheesecake brownies

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). 

black and white cheesecake brownies stacked on each other

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 stacked on each other

Black and White Cheesecake Brownies

Yield: 15-24 bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
black and white cheesecake brownies stacked on each other

Ingredients

Brownie Batter:

  • 1 1/4 cups butter (2 1/2 sticks, 10 ounces) butter, softened (I use salted)
  • 2 cups (15 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (2.25 ounces) natural unsweetened or Dutch-process cocoa powder

Cheesecake Batter:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Notes

Pan: I've only ever baked these bars in a metal pan. Sometimes brownies take longer to bake in a glass pan.

Original Recipe: I've updated this recipe with a few minor changes. The original recipe called for 2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour. I've found it works just as well to use a straight 2 cups.

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Recipe Source: adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Recipe published April 2009; updated April 2020 with new photos and commentary and recipe tips