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These vegan cheesecake brownies start with a rich, fudgy brownie layer and are topped with a layer of creamy, tangy cheesecake. Nut-free!
When two of the best desserts on earth get married, vegan cheesecake brownies are born. They are sweet and decadent, creamy and fudgy, and so incredibly delicious.
This is the perfect dessert to bring to family get togethers, potlucks, and holiday dinners. Seriously, no one can tell they are vegan!
For these cheesecake brownies, we will start with a base of my famous fudgy vegan brownies (ever since I published it, it has been consistently one of my top-rated recipes!) Then, of course, the creamy and tangy cheesecake layer. Finally, a chocolate swirl of brownie batter is marbled on top.
The full, printable recipe can be found in the recipe card below.
- Vegan cream cheese: I prefer store-bought cream cheese for this recipe (the texture is smoother), but you can use homemade vegan cream cheese if needed. My favorite brand of cream cheese is GoVeggie - it's so smooth and creamy (and also nut-free!) More good options are Kite Hill and the Trader Joe's brand. Miyoko's is not my favorite for cheesecake, it's too dense and tart.
- Sugar: It's dessert, of course we need sugar! It goes in both layers.
- Cornstarch: This is a great egg replacement for cheesecake. You can also use arrowroot powder.
- Lemon juice: For tanginess in the cheesecake layer!
- Vanilla extract: Flavor for both layers! You can change this up if you want different flavored cheesecake. Peppermint would be amazing!
- Salt: Brings out the flavors in both the cheesecake and brownie layers.
- Vegan butter: We're going to melt this so it gets hot and subsequently helps melt the sugar. No grainy brownies here. I usually use Earth Balance buttery sticks for baking.
- Non-dairy milk: I always use oat milk, but any vegan milk will work fine.
- Flour: This recipe calls for all-purpose flour. I have not tested it with gluten-free flour.
- Cocoa powder: Chocolate! Make sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder for baking.
- Baking powder: A leavening agent necessary for the brownies to bake correctly! Don't mistake for baking soda.
The full, printable recipe can be found in the recipe card below.
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper. I also spray with cooking oil to make sure it's extra non-stick.
- Cheesecake layer: Mix the cheesecake ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Simply whisk together the ingredients.
- Brownie layer: Whisk ix together the melted hot butter and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the non-dairy milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the brownie batter (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt.) Stir the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter and sugar.
- Reserve ¼ of brownie batter in a small bowl and mix with about 1 tablespoon of water (we need this for the swirl!)
- Spread the rest of the brownie batter into the baking dish evenly.
- Next, spread the cheesecake layer evenly on top of the brownie layer.
- Dollop on the reserved brownie batter and make swirls with a toothpick or the tip of sharp knife.
- Bake for about 30-35 minutes. The brownies are done when a toothpick inserted comes out relatively clean (some crumbs or cheesecake residue is fine - raw brownie batter isn't.)
- Let cool completely before cutting.
Tips and Tricks
- Lining the baking pan: I recommend cutting two strips of parchment paper to fit the width of your baking pan. Leave some excess on the edges to use as handles for pulling the brownies out of the pan before cutting. Grease the pan a little before adding in the parchment paper - this prevents the paper from slipping around when you are spreading the brownie batter. Lay each parchment paper strip into the pan, in different directions. Grease the paper (don't forget the sides!) Then, spread in the brownie batter.
- Different flavors: You can substitute the vanilla extract with another extract to change up the flavor! Peppermint and raspberry both pair well with chocolate. Amounts may vary, so taste test.
- What type of pan to use: I always use a metal baking pan for making brownies and that is what I recommend. If you only have a glass pan, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and check the brownies at about 25 minutes. (Glass heats up hotter than metal in the oven.)
Did you enjoy this recipe? Please leave a comment and a ⭐ star review below!
Vegan Cheesecake Brownies
- 16 ounces vegan cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup melted vegan butter hot
- 1¼ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup non-dairy milk plain, unsweetened
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper and/or spray with cooking oil (I do both to stay on the safe side.)
- Mix all cheesecake ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the hot butter and sugar. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter until well combined.
- Reserve ¼ cup of the brownie batter and set aside for now.
- Spread the brownie batter evenly into the baking pan, then spread the cheesecake layer overtop.
- Mix the reserved brownie batter with 1-2 tablespoons of water. Dollop and drizzle on top of the cheesecake layer. Using a toothpick or tip of a knife, create swirls with the batter.
- Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out "clean" when inserted in the middle (some crumbs and cheesecake batter are fine - we don't want to see raw brownie batter.)
- Let cool completely before cutting. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
These cheesecake brownies were luscious and indulgent! I can only assume the bad reviews did not let the bars cool completely before cutting into them, as the recipe advises. I let the brownies cool in their tin and on a cooling rack for TWO FULL HOURS before cutting into them, and boy was it worth it!! I used Kite Hill cream cheese and baked them for 32 minutes at the specified temperature.
Similar to watch other people have said. Cheesecake part is very runny and will not cook.
Doesn’t look anything like your photos
Not sure what I was thinking
It smells good but the cream cheese just melted away
I put it in the fridge to see if it’ll firm up a bit
Might be pudding
I used violife cream cheese
Never cooked. I wish I read all the comments before wasting 2 hours making this. Followed everything exactly as written but the cheesecake part ended up just melting and the middle of the brownie never cooked. So disappointing
Hi, Stef! I'm sorry to hear that. Can you tell me what brand of vegan cream cheese you used?
This was delicious. I did leave it in the oven a bit longer. My group said I could make it again!
I followed the recipe exactly and the cheesecake layer did not come out like a cheesecake consistency, it was more of a marshmallow cream? I used the trader joe’s brand cream cheese. It’s been in the oven for 40 min and it won’t come out like the recipe states it will. I’m so disappointed! Wanted to make this for thanksgiving 🙁
I used Trader Joe's cream cheese and it just got runny and didn't bake, even when Ieft it in longer??
If I'd rather use eggs than cornstarch, how will that work? We need dairy-free rather than full vegan.
Not sure, I haven't tested using eggs.
Betty. This is a vegan website.
Currently, my cheesecake brownies have been in the over for almost an hour. Cheesecake is still a runny mess.
I'd love to help you troubleshoot. What did you use for cream cheese?
This recipe is awesome! I use it to make brownie bottom cheesecake and it works perfect every time! One question, will this freeze well?
Did anyone else's cream cheese just totally end up in a melting mess? What brand of cream cheese do you use?
Hey, Nicole! I recommend a few brands in the post: GoVeggie, Trader Joe's, and Kite Hill are good for this recipe.
Ameesha tiwari says
i am a vegetarian and not a vegan, can i use butter or margarine in place of vegan butter and also milk instead of dairy free milk, i tried tastys vegan brownie recipe but the butter was dripping, also can i half the recipe will it affect the brownies
I'm not sure about the butter because I haven't tested it that way. However, halving the brownies will work if you are using a smaller pan such as a loaf pan so the brownies aren't thinned out. Baking time may vary.
These were awesome! Made them for my husband's birthday and he loved them. Will definitely make again.
These look amazing! I am going to make them for my family and not tell them they are vegan!!