These decadent, elegant, and easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies will be the star of your holiday dessert spread.
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I spent the better part of middle school fantasizing about my life as a musical (and about a never-ending supply of Brownie Bites).
- An appropriately directed breeze would blow my hair attractively at all times.
- Backup dancers would materialize on command.
- And I’d (obviously) sing duet across from the hunk of the class.
As an adult, my musical fantasies now occur in the kitchen and I’m happy to announce the first act: “We go together like rama lama lama pumpkin cheesecake brownies.”
(For the second act: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies.)
5 Star Review
“Finally got around to making these tonight and promptly devoured half the skillet between the two of us.”— Stacey —
How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
A fudgy brownie batter swirled together with a pumpkin cheesecake batter, then baked to perfection. Every bite boasts rich chocolate flavor (like these Dark Chocolate Cookies), light cheesecake tang, and a touch of warm pumpkin spice.
- Butter. For richness, flavor, and a moist, tender texture.
- Brown Sugar. I love the added depth the brown sugar gives these decadent brownies.
- Cocoa Powder. I recommend using Dutch process cocoa for this recipe.
- Espresso Powder. Optional, but essential if you’re into intensifying the chocolate flavor (see my One Bowl Brownies).
- Vanilla. Amplifies the yum factor.
- Eggs. Keeps the brownies moist and makes them fudgy.
- Flour. You’ll need whole wheat flour for the brownie batter and all purpose for the pumpkin cheesecake batter. However, you may swap entirely for all purpose if you prefer.
- Chocolate Chips. Because there’s no such thing as too much chocolate when we’re talking about a brownies (or Cookie Cake).
- Cream Cheese. While I’m all about healthy, skip the nonfat cream cheese for this recipe and reach for regular or low-fat. It’s essential for texture.
- Pumpkin Puree. Make sure you grab 100% pumpkin puree and save that pumpkin pie filling for Pumpkin Pecan Pie.
- Granulated Sugar. Sweetens the pumpkin cheesecake layer.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice. Adds a healthy dose of everyone’s favorite blend of fall spices.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix together the brownie batter ingredients. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the pumpkin cream cheese batter until smooth.
- To a greased skillet, add the brownie batter and pumpkin cheesecake batter in alternating dollops.
- Swirl together gently with a butter knife.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes mostly clean. Remove, let cool, then serve. ENJOY!
- To Store. Keep cooked and cooled brownies in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Freeze. Pumpkin cheesecake brownies may be kept in the freezer, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 3 months.
- Cast Iron Skillet. I baked these pumpkin brownies in my inexpensive but excellent Lodge cast iron skillet. For a premium, Le Creuset makes fabulous cast iron skillets too.
For the encore: melty vanilla ice cream (or Oat Milk Ice Cream). I’ll sing for second helpings!
Frequently Asked Questions
While I have not personally tried this swap, you should be able to swap the canned pumpkin puree for an equal amount of fresh pumpkin puree without any issues. Let me know your results in the comments if you try this swap.
I have not made these brownies with a gluten free flour alternative. So, if you attempt, it would be an experiment.
No. A skillet is not required. I just love the rustic charm it gives these pumpkin cream cheese brownies. You may instead use a 9-inch round or square baking pan. Just note that the baking time may need to be adjusted so watch your brownies closely so they don’t come out underbaked or overbaked.
Swirled Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownies
For the Brownie Batter:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar, light or dark
- 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional but delicious—will yield a more intense chocolate flavor)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, white whole wheat, or regular. I used regular and didn’t notice it one bit
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter:
- 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese at room temperature (do not use fat free)
- 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree (do not use pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice OR all of the following: 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- Place rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 to 12-inch ovenproof skillet (it does not need to be cast iron, just oven safe up to 350 degrees).
- For the brownie batter: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, then stir to combine. Let heat for about 30-60 additional seconds, until the mixture is beginning to bubble and a bit more of the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, then stir in the cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla. Let cool for a few minutes, until the batter feels warm but not uncomfortably hot when touched with your finger.
- Whisk in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating between each addition and stirring until the mixture is shiny. Add the whole wheat flour, stirring until the batter is smooth once more, then stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
- For the pumpkin cheesecake batter: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin together until smooth and no lumps remain. Beat in the granulated sugar, all purpose flour, and spices until smooth and combined. Beat in the vanilla and egg.
- Spoon half of the brownie batter into the prepared skillet. Smooth the top with a spatula, then dollop 2/3 of the pumpkin cheesecake batter on top. Dollop on the remaining brownie batter to create patches, then the remaining pumpkin cheesecake batter.
- With a butter knife, gently swirl the layers together, being careful not to overmix. Work quickly so that the batters do not set.
- For a 10-inch skillet, bake for 35 to 45 minutes (see notes), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few wet crumbs clinging to it (do not overbake!) and the edges are set. Check the brownies at the 20-minute mark—if you feel the top is brownie too quickly, lightly tent with foil, then continue baking as directed. Let cool, then cut into wedges and enjoy.
- *If you are using a skillet that is smaller or larger than 10 inches, you will need to adjust the baking time. Brownies baked in a larger skillet will cook more quickly, while those baked in a smaller skillet will need a few additional minutes. Keep an eye on your skillet and check a few minutes early to ensure the brownies do not overbake.
- **This recipe can also be baked in a 9-inch square baking pan.
- TO STORE: Keep cooked and cooled brownies in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO FREEZE: Store brownies, wrapped tightly in plastic, in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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