Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies

5 from 8 votes

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What's orange and brown and chocolatey all over?

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman / themom100.com

I usually want to start by talking about how delicious a recipe is, but for this one, I need to pause first to say, wow, aren’t these pumpkin cheesecake brownies so good-looking? Marbled with stripes of creamy orange and dark fudgy chocolate, these promise a swirl of decadent flavors in every bite. Perfect for Thanksgiving, fall potlucks, Halloween parties, tailgate gatherings, or making sure your co-workers love you.

The bottom layer is a fudgy brownie, dense and with a serious hit of chocolate. The top layer is a creamy pumpkin cheesecake scented with those great fall spices. Then, a bit of the brownie mixture (which you will reserve) is dolloped on the top and swirled into the cheesecake mixture for a beautiful brown and pale orange marbled effect.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies piled on a glass serving dish.

These pumpkin cheesecake brownies are beautiful; they are thick, rich, and the kind of dessert where you’re going to end up feeling pretty pleased with yourself. It’s a dessert to impress, with no fancy baking techniques required. And, they take much less time than you might think!

Also check out Soft Pumpkin Cookies and Best Pumpkin Bread.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies: the bottom layer is a fudgy brownie; the top layer is a creamy pumpkin cheesecake with fall spices.

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Ingredients

For the Brownie Batter

  • Unsalted butter – Unsalted butter tastes fresher in baking than salted, plus you can better control the amount of salt when you add it on its own.
  • Unsweetened chocolate – The kind you buy in bars in the baking aisle of the grocery store.
  • Cocoa powder – Make sure to use unsweetened here.
  • Sugar – Here’s where the sweetness comes in!
  • Kosher salt – To lift up the flavors and enhance the chocolatiness.
  • Vanilla extract – I add an ample amount of vanilla to most of my baked goods.
  • Eggs – Provides structure.
  • All-purpose flour – Enough to provide structure but still offer a fudgy texture to the brownies part of the equation.

For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter

  • Cream cheese – Bring to room temperature for easier blending and swirling. I like to use full-fat cream cheese (this is not a moment to be reserved).
  • Sugar
  • Ground cinnamon, cloves, and ginger – The Holy Trinity of fall spices, in my opinion.
  • Eggs – Ditto on the structure.
  • Pureed canned pumpkin – Use plain pureed pumpkin, not preseasoned and presweetened pumpkin pie filling.
  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla extract
Woman serving a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownie.

How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

  1. Prepare to bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter or spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
  2. Make the brownie batter: Melt together the butter and chocolate in a medium-sized pot over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt, then blend in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stirring quickly. Blend in the flour.
  3. Create the bottom layer: Scrape about ¾ of the thick batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Set the pan and the remaining brownie batter (about 1 cup) aside.
  4. Make the pumpkin cheesecake batter: Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves and beat, scraping down the sides, until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the pumpkin, cream, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Add the second layer and swirl: Spread the pumpkin cheesecake batter over the brownie batter in the pan. Use a tablespoon to dollop the remaining brownie batter over the top in spots. Use a dull knife to swirl the mixtures together on top, making sure to leave it very streaky and not blend too much.
  6. Bake: Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out clean.
  7. Cool and serve: Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into 24 squares.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies on a red plate.

Cooking Tips

  • When making the brownies, beat the eggs in one at a time, stirring quickly so they don’t have a chance to cook at all in the warm chocolate mixture before they are blended in
  • The brownie batter is very thick, so make sure to dollop a small amount over the pumpkin cheesecake batter, and use the tip of a knife or a chopstick to slowly drag through the two batters on top of the brownies so that they marble the two colors into swirls without blending them.

Variations

You can make these pumpkin brownies with these fudgy one-pot brownies (my favorite brownies of all time, originally published in my first cookbook, The Mom 100 Cookbook) or the slightly more cakey brownie recipe in Dinner Solved, which is slightly less dense. Either way, you will have some thick, swirly, indulgent brownies that say, “Pumpkin Season Has Arrived.”

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies stacked on a serving plate.

Make Ahead and Storage

You can store these at room temperature in a tightly sealed container for a day or in the fridge for several days. You could also wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, then slip them into a freezer-proof zipper top bag and freeze them for about 3 or 4 months.

Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. These brownies are best served at room temperature.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies stacked on a glass serving dish.

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5 from 8 votes

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies

What’s orange and brown and chocolatey all over?
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 24 Brownies
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Ingredients 

For the Brownie

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

For the Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pureed canned pumpkin
  • cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously butter or spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
  • Make the brownie batter: Melt together the butter and chocolate in a medium-sized pot over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt, then blend in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stirring quickly so they don’t have a chance to cook at all before they are blended in. Blend in the flour.
  • Scrape about ¾ of the thick batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Set the pan and the remaining brownie batter (about 1 cup) aside.
  • Make the pumpkin cheesecake batter: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves and beat, scraping down the sides, until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the pumpkin, cream, and vanilla until smooth. Spread the pumpkin cheesecake batter over the brownie batter in the pan, then use a tablespoon to dollop the remaining brownie batter over the top in spots. Use a dull knife to swirl the mixtures together on top, making sure to leave it very streaky and not blend too much.
  • Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out clean.
  • Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Cut into 24 squares.

Notes

  • You can store these at room temperature in a tightly sealed container for a day or in the fridge for several days. You could also wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, then slip them into a freezer-proof zipper top bag and freeze them, for about 3 or 4 months.
  • Defrost in the fridge overnight. They’re best served at room temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 318kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 175mg, Potassium: 130mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 2177IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 39mg, Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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8 Comments

  1. Nancy Penrod says:

    In order to make the swirl, I simply put the brownies in the oven for 5 minutes then swirled the top batter as it was beginning to melt. Worked like a charm!!

  2. Chris says:

    The absolute best pumpkin brownies ever!! I made them for the nurses at our hospital and they were gone before noon!!

  3. Tish says:

    Excellent taste and texture!

  4. Suzy Thornley says:

    Can I just tell you, this is the BEST BEST BEST brownie base ever!!! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe and even more amazing brownie base! I have used this for the last two year for Christmas and my neighbors rave about them.

  5. Lorraine says:

    absolutely delicious! was to thick to marble nicelt but taste good think will drizzle chocolate for better presentation

    1. Autieee Grandberry says:

      Yes it was thick. Did you just put it on top??

  6. Terra Parsinen says:

    These are in the oven and smell delicious! One question…or comment. In making these, and in particular the pumpkin cheesecake part, the recipe calls for sugar and vanilla, yet those 2 ingredients aren’t in the written directions. I was confused as to if the list of ingredients was correct and I should add these ingredients or if the written directions were right and I should have omitted these. Luckily I tasted the pumpkin cheesecake before I layered it on the top and noticed it wasn’t sweet, so I double checked.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      thank you for catching ! oh gosh – fixed now.