Make your brownies extra special by giving them a layer of cream cheese and adding chocolate chips. These cream cheese filled brownies are over-the-top delicious!
Why you’ll love it: The brownies are extra special but start with a box mix so they aren’t difficult to make.
How long it takes: 50 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: two mixing bowls, electric mixer, 9×13 pan, oven
Servings: 18 brownies
Let me begin with a bit of advice: Make these cream cheese filled brownies when you’re expecting company. They’ll love them, and serving the brownies to company for dessert will prevent you from eating all of them.
These brownies are so good and it’s a huge temptation to eat way too many. Usually I like to send any extra goodies to work with my husband. His coworkers love me. But because these bars really should be refrigerated, they don’t go to work with him. At least that’s my story.
The true story? These layered brownies are good! I don’t really want to share.
Cream cheese filled brownies are only a teensy bit harder than boxed brownies. You can handle it, I have faith in you! And they are totally worth the effort.
About these Cream Cheese Filled Brownies
These brownies are better than cheesecake in my humble opinion. They’re a combination of two delicious desserts, brownies and cheesecake. How can you go wrong with that combination?
I’ll run you through the recipe here to get you started. It’s pretty easy and starts with a purchased brownie mix.
If you’d rather make your own brownies from scratch with cocoa powder, flour, butter, etc. etc., feel free. I like to keep things simple and there are some really great brownie mixes on the market!
As always, you’ll find the printable recipe card near the bottom of this post with complete instructions and nutrition information.
What you’ll need
- Brownie Mix: Buy your favorite brand but make sure it’s the right size brownie mix. You need the family size which is 18.3 ounces and makes a 9 x13 inch pan of brownies. If you use a smaller sized mix, there won’t be enough brownie batter to cover the filling. Don’t be tempted to buy the jazzed up brownie mixes because you’re going to do the jazzing up yourself!
- Eggs, Oil, Water: Use the amounts listed on your brownie mix. There is some variation depending on which brand you buy.
- Espresso Powder: This ingredient is optional. It adds a nice mocha flavor to the batter but feel free to leave it out if you so desire or can’t find it at your market. I usually find it in the coffee aisle by the instant coffee.
- Mini Chocolate Chips: These little babies are added to the brownie batter AND the filling. Lots of chocolate goodness here! Mini chocolate chips work better than the regular sized chips because they disperse more evenly throughout the batter. If you only have regular sized chips, they will work.
- Cream Cheese: I usually choose reduced fat cream cheese. Full fat cream cheese is fine but don’t buy the non-fat. It has a bunch of extra fillers and stuff in it and we don’t want that in our brownies.
- Egg, Butter, Flour, Sugar, Vanilla: These make up the rest of the filling ingredients. Plus the additional mini chocolate chips!
How to make This Recipe
Turn the oven on to get it preheating and gather together everything you’ll need: all the ingredients, a 9 x 13 inch pan, an electric mixer and a couple of mixing bowls. Grease the pan by spraying it lightly with cooking spray.
Okay, let’s get started. In one of the mixing bowls, combine the brownie mix with the eggs, oil, and water according to the package directions. If you’re using the espresso powder, it’s best to add that before you add the liquid ingredients. Make sure it’s blended well into the dry mix.
Don’t overmix the batter. Just stir it until the dry ingredients are blended with the wet. Fold in a cup of the mini chocolate chips
Now spread half the batter into the prepared pan. You don’t have to measure it so it’s exactly half, just take a guess. Don’t worry if it looks a little uneven. Just spread it out as well as you can.
Let’s get started on the filling now. In the other mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, another egg, flour, sugar, and vanilla.
Use an electric mixer to blend it really well.
Fold in another half cup of chocolate chips.
Spread the filling on the layer of batter in the pan. I usually spoon it on in plops and then kind of smooth it out. Again, don’t worry if it’s not exactly even. Try not to blend it into the bottom layer.
Spread the remaining brownie batter over the filling. It will look like it’s hardly enough but that’s okay. Once the brownies bake, they puff up and spread out. The layers aren’t super distinct and that’s just fine.
Bake until a toothpick inserted about two inches from the side comes out fairly clean. Why not test the brownies in the center? We’re looking for a certain amount of gooey-ness to our brownies. No one likes brownies that are dry, hard, and overdone.
Enjoy with a cup of coffee or hot tea. Sometimes I serve the brownies with this homemade ginger spiced hot chocolate. You can make it in the microwave.
Because the sugar helps to stabilize the cream cheese, you can safely let these brownies sit out for several hours. If you want to keep them longer, completely cool them, cover or store in an airtight container, and place them in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for about a week.
The biggest trick is to not overbake brownies. Follow the package or recipe directions and don’t be tempted to bake them longer than directed. A toothpick inserted about 2 inches from the side of the pan should come out fairly clean. The edges of the brownies will look firm and well-baked, the center somewhat softer.
Another trick is to use the right size pan. Spreading the brownies too thinly in the pan will cause them to bake more quickly and dry out.
Cream cheese is a soft fresh cheese. It’s mild tasting and creamy. Philadelphia Cream Cheese is a popular brand.
More Brownie Recipes
Not crazy about cream cheese? I have lots more brownies for you! I’m sure you’re going to find at least a few recipes you love.
- Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies
- Kahlua Brownies with Cinnamon
- Oooey, Gooey, Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies
- Mocha Brownies (easy recipe!)
- Black Bean Brownies – no one will ever know!
- Caramel Kissed Brownies
- Brownie Waffles – Brownies in 3 minutes. Yeah!
- Raspberry & Brownie Mini Trifles
Make Ahead Ideas
If you’d like to get a little jump start on making these cream cheese filled brownies, make the filling up to a day ahead and refrigerate it. Let it come to room temperature so it softens a bit and stir well before using.
Cream cheese brownies can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Cool completely, cut into squares, and put into a storage container in a single layer.
To store longer, freeze the brownies for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container.
- 1 box (18.3 oz.) brownie mix (Buy the kind that makes a 9 x 13 pan)
- 2 large eggs (Follow package directions for the eggs, oil, and water. The measurements are for the brownie mix I purchased.)
- ½ cup oil
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder, optional
Cream Cheese Filling
- 1 package (8 oz.) reduced fat cream cheese (see note)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 9 x 13 inch pan by spraying with nonstick spray.
- Prepare brownie mix as directed on the box, stirring in the espresso powder (if using) with the mix before adding eggs, oil, and water. Follow the package directions for your brownie mix. Fold in 1 cup mini chocolate chips.
- In another bowl, with electric mixer, beat cream cheese, egg, butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla together until smooth. Fold in ½ cup mini chocolate chips.
- To assemble: Pour half of brownie batter into pan. Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the first layer of brownie batter. Spread it out the best that you can so that the cream cheese mixture pretty evenly covers the brownie batter. Spoon on the remaining half of the brownie batter to cover the cream cheese mixture.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Check with toothpick inserted about two inches from the side. There shouldn’t be batter clinging to the toothpick.Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Full-fat cream cheese can be substituted but don’t use nonfat cream cheese.
- If desired, substitute another variety of chocolate chips, such as mint, peanut butter, or milk chocolate.
- Store brownies in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.