The Best Pumpkin Cream Cheese-Filled Brownies

Rich, fudgy brownies with a layer of pumpkin cream cheese and topped with decadent chocolate ganache.

They’re worth the cardio, I promise.

The Best Pumpkin Cream Cheese-Filled Brownies - A layer of pumpkin cheesecake inside fudgy brownies! Best pumpkin brownies ever!!

A few months ago I made The Best Turtle Brownies and they were some of the best brownies I’ve ever had.

They’re fudgy, not at all cakey, ridiculously rich, boldly chocolaty, and I had to use that base and incorporate pumpkin. I love chocolate and pumpkin together.

The Best Pumpkin Cream Cheese-Filled Brownies - A layer of pumpkin cheesecake inside fudgy brownies! Best pumpkin brownies ever!!

The pumpkin cream cheese layer reminds me of a pumpkin-flavored version of Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread. It’s always a win to have a layer of cheesecake inside your brownies, especially when it’s pumpkin cheesecake.

The ganache takes the brownies into unadulterated chocolate overload territory and I loved it. The last time I posted a blog recipe with ganache was back in the summer of 2012 The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and I was overdue.

The Best Pumpkin Cream Cheese-Filled Brownies - A layer of pumpkin cheesecake inside fudgy brownies! Best pumpkin brownies ever!!

I love the texture of the ganache because it barely sets and it’s so fudgy and indulgent when you bite down. And it’s as easy as turning on the microwave. Why bother with a much more labor-intensive buttercream if you don’t have to.

The hardest part of the recipe is waiting for the brownies to cool completely before slicing. There’s too much fudginess, soft pumpkin cheesecake filling, and drippy ganache to slice into until they’ve cooled completely. Slicing too early will result in a hot, gooey mess.

The Best Pumpkin Cream Cheese-Filled Brownies - A layer of pumpkin cheesecake inside fudgy brownies! Best pumpkin brownies ever!!

I prefer brownies this rich to be served slightly chilled anyway. You can make them far in advance of an event because they’ll keep for a couple weeks in the fridge.

And it’ll be so tempting every time you walk past the fridge not to straighten out the rows.

The Best Pumpkin Cream Cheese-Filled Brownies - A layer of pumpkin cheesecake inside fudgy brownies! Best pumpkin brownies ever!!

Print Recipe

The Best Pumpkin Cream Cheese-Filled Brownies

The brownies are fudgy, not at all cakey, ridiculously rich, boldly chocolaty, and it's a win to get a layer of pumpkin cheesecake inside your brownies. The ganache takes the brownies into unadulterated chocolate overload territory and it’s so fudgy and indulgent when you bite down. The hardest part of the recipe is waiting for the brownies to cool completely before slicing. There’s too much fudginess, soft pumpkin cheesecake filling, and drippy ganache to slice into until they’ve cooled completely. I prefer brownies this rich to be served slightly chilled anyway. You can make them far in advance of an event because they’ll keep for a couple weeksn the fridge

Yield: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 squares

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: about 40 minutes, divided

Total Time: 5+ hours, or overnight, for cooling

Ingredients:

Brownies
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe's 72% Pound Plus Bar)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brewed coffee (leftover or cold coffee is okay), optional but recommended
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional but recommended
pinch salt, optional and to taste
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling
1 large egg
4 ounces brick-style cream cheese (lite is okay), well-softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Chocolate Ganache
1 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup half-and-half or cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  2. Brownies - In a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter, chocolate, and heat on high power to melt, about 2 minutes total. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has melted and mixture can be stirred smooth. Allow mixture to cool momentarily before adding the eggs so they don't scramble.
  3. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, optional coffee, optional espresso granules (neither make brownies taste like coffee and both enhance and round out the chocolate flavor), optional salt, and whisk vigorously to combine.
  4. Add the flour and stir until smooth and combined.
  5. Turn half the batter out into prepared pan (I draw an imaginary line down the center of the batter with my spatula while it's in the mixing bowl and eyeballing it, I pour half into pan); reserve remainder.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until top has just set in the center; don't overbake because pan is going back into oven. While brownies bake, prepare the filling.
  7. Filling - In a medium bowl, add the egg, cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and whisk to combine or beat with a hand mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes on medium-high power.
  8. Add the flour and stir until smooth and combined.
  9. After brownies have baked for about 15 minutes, remove pan from oven and using a spatula carefully, gently, and evenly spread the filling mixture over the brownies.
  10. Evenly top with reserved brownie batter, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. It's normal for it to have thickened up some. I find it easiest to add golf ball-sized dollops of batter around the pan and then smooth them together with a spatula, taking care to do so gently as to not disturb the pumpkin layer. A little messy is okay because it'll be covered with ganache.
  11. Bake for about 24 to 25 minutes, or until center has just set and is no longer glossy. The toothpick test is unreliable because you're going to hit gooey pumpkin so it's better to just eyeball it. Place pan on a wire rack to cook while you make the ganache.
  12. Ganache - In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips, cream, and heat on high power to melt, about 2 minutes total. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has mostly melted and mixture can be whisked smooth.
  13. Pour ganache over brownies (it's okay they haven't cooled completely), smoothing the top lightly with a spatula and pushing ganache into the corners. Allow brownies to cool uncovered at room temp for about one hour. Cover with a sheet of foil to prevent fridge smells, and place pan in fridge for about 3 hours (overnight is best), or until sufficiently chilled for slicing. Lift brownies out using foil overhang, slice, and serve. At room temp the ganache doesn't set up much, but in the fridge it turns thicker without becoming rock solid. I prefer these brownies slightly chilled and store them in the fridge. Brownies will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Brownie base adapted from The Best Turtle Brownies, filling adapted from Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread, Ganache adapted from The Best Chocolate Cake

Related Recipes

If you haven’t already pre-ordered it, Cooking With Pumpkin: Recipes That Go Beyond the Pie is my second cookbook and the official release date is October 6.

There’s over 50 pumpkin recipes including sweets, savory, drinks, and a photo for nearly every recipe. I’d be super grateful if you headed over to Amazon.

Cooking With Pumpkin: Recipes That Go Beyond the Pie by Averie Sunshine

Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars –  Super soft and are like biting into a piece of rich pumpkin fudge! Loaded with chocolate and crazy good!!

Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars - Super soft and are like biting into a piece of rich pumpkin fudge! Loaded with chocolate and crazy good!!

The Best Turtle Brownies –  Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache  – The best chocolate cake I’ve ever had, and the easiest to make! Nothing fussy or complicated & delivers amazing results every time!

The Best Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache - The best chocolate cake I've ever had, and the easiest to make! Nothing fussy or complicated & delivers amazing results every time!

Salted Caramel Pretzel-Topped Fudgy Brownies – Super fudgy scratch brownies as easy as a mix!

Salted Caramel Pretzel-Topped Fudgy Brownies - Super fudgy scratch brownies as easy as a mix. Easy, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread – Pumpkin bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!

Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread - Pumpkin bread that's like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!

Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread – Banana bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!

Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread - Banana bread that's like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies –  If you’ve never had a Cosmic Brownie, change that asap! If you have, then you know how dangerously good it is to be able to make them at home!

Homemade Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies - If you've never had a Cosmic Brownie, change that asap! If you have, then you know how dangerously good it is to be able to make them at home!

57 comments

  1. OK, I am so guilty of “straightening out the rows” of pretty much everything…I thought it was my little secret…busted…these look so fudgy I was just contemplating making your pumpkin bundt cake but now i have these looking at me….decisions, decisions…!!!!

    • Oh you cannot go wrong with either! If you want more perfect dense rich pumpkin cake, go with that. If you want more decadent brownies with serious fudge factor, go with these. Both are favorites!!

  2. These look insane. Seriously! Definitely worth the cardio. :)

  3. Totally amazing! And I’ve been known to finish off a whole pan in the name of “straightening out the row” :0)

  4. Averie, that second picture is just insane; the ganache just glistens! I’m not a huge chocolate fan, I know my husband would appreciate the two layers of chocolate:) And maybe I could steal a bite or two… Thank you for sharing another amazing recipe!

  5. These brownies could not be more perfect! Absolutely gorgeous! I admire your patience to make the perfect slice. Pinned!

  6. Oh my goodness these look delicious!!! Your website is dangerous!

  7. Lucky for me, I already did my cardio for the day, so I’m all set to make and eat some of these amazing looking brownies!! And seriously, there’s no way these would ever last a couple weeks in my fridge…

  8. Can I just eat the brownies and the ganache? I’d even settle for just the ganache….

  9. I love how thick that ganache is! I love a good ganache, especially when it’s just as thick as the brownies it tops.

  10. These look so decadent, Averie! Pumpkin and chocolate in a brownie with cream cheese sounds amazing, especially with a creamy chocolate ganache – pinned! :D x

  11. These look insane! I bet they are amazingly delicious!

  12. Oh my gosh! Those layers.. and that texture! Phenomenal!

    M.

  13. I love that there’s a pumpkin cream cheese filling AND a layer of ganache. So decadent and delicious!

  14. Oh my goodness. These are fabulous. That pumpkin layer. That frosting!! Pinned, obvi.

  15. I wish I could make these in a skillet–I’m in Michigan now and only have a little 2 burner stove in my kitchenette. These look amazing Averie ( and I’m still drooling over your cookbook)! The colors are so autumn appropriate too. I did pull off the pumpkin beer bread before I left so at least I have some of that here with me. It’s excellent and so was the roasted veg and peanut soup–the pumpkin is a great addition!

    • So glad you were able to get the pumpkin beer bread AND the soup made…wow, you’re a speedy chef! And glad that they hit the spot! Enjoy the rest of your conference! Thanks for already trying TWO cookbook recipes!!

  16. Wow these look so RICH! Your beautiful photos have my mouth watering.

  17. So I’m sitting here eating these Praline Pecans that I picked up at a sweets shop in downtown Charleston. I’m raving over them and saying how amazing they are and that they are better than any chocolate I’ve ever eaten. Then I see these brownies. Now I think there could be an epic battle between pralines and brownies. It could be tough to choose a winner. These look AMAZING, Averie! Wish I had one right now! :)

    • And my next post is a very praline pecan-ish post…what a fun twist! Your pralines sounds amazing. Those local sweet shops are the BEST! I used to live in Myrtle Beach and probably even was at the shop once upon a time you’re talking about in Charleston!

  18. Oh, WOW!!!! I love how thick that layer of ganache is. These brownies look super decadent.

  19. Wowzers! Pumpkin cream cheese and brownies! Yes!

  20. All of these are beyond amazing Averie!!! Pinning everywhere :)

  21. As always , beyond my wildest dreams!
    Averie, what kind of knife so you use to cut your brownies? They always look so perfectly square!

  22. Holy fudgy deliciousness! I want a bite right now!

  23. HOLY SMOKES!!!!!!!!! These look out of this world. You photos are amazing, there is no doubt by looking at these pictures that those are some fudgy intense brownies!

  24. Looks like Pumpkin Brownie FUDGE!!! Pinned. I am making this, but first I am making your Pumpkin Bundt with chocolate glaze…

  25. These are both brilliant and beautiful. Pinning is definitely happening!

  26. How in the world do you come up with a new recipe new photos and have a little one that needs attenion each day as well. I am sure you will not answer my question or post your answer and if you don’t then I will assume you are a fake. This is totally impossible for most people. You would have to be baking 24-7 not less having to creat a recipe each day. If you can explain this please do.

    • I AM BAKING 24/7! Trust me, I am. I am working at a break-neck pace. I am saving for a house and hopefully one day will get it and so right now I am working as hard as I possibly can.

      The part about you assuming I was a fake if I didn’t answer is a little much. Please don’t assume things about bloggers or anyone you don’t know for that matter! Have a great week.

  27. God, I don’t think I would be able to stay away from a treat like these!

  28. Seriously! All your recipes look amazing. I’m in love with your photography as well. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to photograph gooey brownies. I should probably just embrace the messiness!

  29. these look ridiculous! I need these in my life now!

  30. Averie I have never ever eaten a pumpkin brownie!! I know it sounds crazy! But looking at these pics, ask I want to make is these brownies!

  31. I love how it’s a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to pumpkin – that’s the way to do it! I always like adding in coffee to brownie recipes – makes such a big difference.

  32. You could fill a shoe with cream cheese and I’d be down. These. Look. Awesome.

  33. Made these a few days ago..they were fantastic! Thanks for the recipe. So insanely rich and decadent. The pumpkin flavour intensified after a day or two..mmm. Cheers!

  34. Do you reckon I could substitute the dark chocolate for white chocolate, both on the bottom and on top?

  35. Hi, I’m going to make the pumpkin chocolate brownies and would like to double the recipe. Would you suggest I use two 8 x 8 pans or maybe a 9 x 13? Also, do you think they will come out ok if I use a glass baking dish?

    Thank you!

    • I’ve only baked them in metal and in an 8×8. I haven’t ever tried to double the recipe. I really can’t speak to the results you’ll have. In most situations, doubling is no big deal in a 9×13 but because these are so thick, I’d lean toward two 8x8s, just a hunch.

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