Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownies — A layer of pumpkin cheesecake inside fudgy brownies, all topped with a homemade chocolate ganache. Chocolate overload? Yes. Worth it? YES!!!
Rich, fudgy brownies with a layer of pumpkin cream cheese and topped with decadent chocolate ganache.
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. 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.
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.
Ingredients in Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownies
Pumpkin cheesecake brownies are the ultimate fall dessert! If you like pumpkin and chocolate, you’re going to LOVE these.
You’ll need the following easy-to-find ingredients to make this cream cheese-filled pumpkin brownie recipe:
- Unsalted butter
- Dark chocolate
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Brewed coffee
- Instant espresso granules
- All-purpose flour
- Cream cheese
- Pumpkin puree
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Half and half
How to Make Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownies
The pumpkin cream cheese brownies have three layers (brownie, cheesecake, ganache). Despite the multiple layers, it’s an easy recipe that any level of baker can master.
Here’s a look at how the pumpkin brownies with cream cheese are made:
- Make the brownies: Whisk together the brownie batter, then turn half of it into a greased and foil-lined 8×8-inch pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until top has just set in the center.
- Make the pumpkin cream cheese filling: Take the brownies out of the oven and carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over top. Top with reserved brownie batter and return to oven.
- Make the ganache: Pour over top. Then, let the brownies cool on your counter for 1 hour, and then chill in the fridge for an additional 3 hours before slicing.
Can I Omit the Coffee?
Both the instant espresso granules and the brewed coffee may be omitted, but they DO NOT make the brownies taste even remotely like coffee.
The coffee and instant espresso simple enhances the chocolate flavor and make the brownies taste even richer and more decadent. So, can you omit them? Yes. Should you? I’d say no.
Can I Double This Recipe?
I haven’t ever tried to double this pumpkin brownie recipe so I really can’t speak to the results you’ll have.
In most situations, doubling is no big deal in a 9×13-inch baking dish, but because these are so thick I’d lean toward baking in two 8×8-inch pans.
Can This Recipe Be Made in Advance?
Yes! The cheesecake stays moist for a long time, as does the ganache topping. Any brownie edges that are exposed directly to the air (whether in a sealed container or covered in the fridge) will dry out over time but in general the recipe keeps very well and can be made in advance.
I prefer these brownies slightly chilled and store them in the fridge. Brownies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Tips for Making Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Brownies
Note that this recipe calls for pure pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling is pre-sweetened and spiced, which will drastically alter the flavor of the brownies.
When spreading the reserved brownie batter over the pumpkin layer, note that it’s normal for the batter 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.
When you pop the pumpkin cheesecake brownies into the fridge to cool, I recommend covering the pan with a sheet of foil to prevent fridge smells.
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- 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
- 1 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup half-and-half or cream
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the flour and stir until smooth and combined.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the flour and stir until smooth and combined.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 1 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.
Storage: 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 74mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 4gSugar: 31gProtein: 7g
More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes:
Cooking With Pumpkin: Recipes That Go Beyond the Pie is my second cookbook. There’s over 50 pumpkin recipes including sweets, savory, drinks, and a photo for nearly every recipe.
Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars — Super soft and are like biting into a piece of rich pumpkin fudge! Loaded with chocolate and crazy good!!
Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread – Pumpkin bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!
Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — Moist pumpkin cake is topped with a creamy homemade cream cheese frosting. This easy fall dessert is perfect for Thanksgiving, Halloween, and more!
The Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread — This pumpkin chocolate chip bread is truly the best homemade pumpkin bread you’ll ever make. It’s moist, packed with chocolate chips, and tastes like fall!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies — Rich, fudgy brownies topped with pumpkin and chocolate chips!! An EASY, no mixer pumpkin brownie recipe that’s FASTER than using a boxed mix! Bring on pumpkin spice season!!
Fudgy Pumpkin Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze — Dense pumpkin bars so soft they’re like biting into pumpkin fudge!! The glaze is ahh-mazing!!!
Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — A marriage of pumpkin cake and carrot cake into one soft, moist, tender, and amazing cake!! The tangy cream cheese frosting is truly the icing on this easy cake!!