If you're looking for chocolatey addition to your dessert table, you have to try these melt-in-your-mouth brownies with cream cheese frosting! Ready in less than an hour, these moist, gooey brownies are baked to perfection and then topped with a creamy, yet not overly sweet, cream cheese frosting. Serve them alongside a bowl of vanilla ice cream for the perfect after-dinner dessert!
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- It is easy to make - This brownie with cream cheese frosting recipe doesn't require fancy equipment or ingredients. Most, if not all, ingredients are likely already in your pantry.
- It is the most delicious - Unlike other recipes that use a cream cheese topping for brownies, my frosting isn't overly sweet and is the perfect complement to the existing sweetness of the brownies.
- It is super customizable - There are many variations to this recipe to help it cater to your exact taste and dietary preferences.
- It is 100% homemade - You won't find any boxed brownie mix or frosting containers in this recipe. Everything is made from scratch using the highest quality ingredients for the best-tasting brownies with cream cheese frosting ever.
📝 Ingredient notes
For the brownies
- Dark Chocolate - For rich, flavorful dark chocolate brownies with cream cheese frosting, use high-quality chocolate, such as Callebaut.
- Unsalted butter - I recommend using high-quality unsalted butter with at least 82% fat content for the moistest, fudgy brownies. However, if you prefer brownies with a more cake-like texture, use butter with a lower fat content. The temperature of the butter is not critical as you will melt it in the process.
- Eggs - The eggs add moisture and help bind the recipe's other ingredients. The eggs should be at room temperature to help them better blend into the mix.
- Granulated sugar - The sugar will add sweetness to the brownies and help lock in the moisture.
- Brown sugar - For a richer flavor, we will use a combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar.
- Cocoa powder - Cocoa powder intensifies the chocolate flavor. I recommend using unsweetened, Dutch-processed cocoa powder to prevent the brownies from being too sweet,
- All-purpose flour - Plain, white flour is ideal for baked goods and is especially important when making thick, chocolatey brownies. Check out my flour guide to learn more about the different types of flour and how to use them in baking.
- Salt - Salt is an essential ingredient in sweet recipes, as it helps to balance out the overall sweetness and give it a deliciously decadent taste.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
For the cream cheese frosting
- Cream cheese - A high-fat cream cheese (at least 33%) is necessary for the best results. You can use it at any temperature; it does not need to be at room temperature.
- Mascarpone - Since the cream cheese frosting does not contain butter (which helps to avoid a runny consistency), a high-fat mascarpone is necessary. I recommend using a mascarpone of 41%. Another alternative is to use heavy cream, which must have a minimum of 36% fat and be very cold. Check my mascarpone substitute article for other options if mascarpone is not available.
- Powdered sugar - To avoid a grainy texture, use high-quality powdered sugar and sift it before mixing it into the recipe.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the prin
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. Step-by-step process of making homemade fudge brownies
- Preheat the oven to 175 C / 347 F. Do not use a fan.
- Brush the inside of a 7-inch/18 cm square brownie pan with a tiny bit of oil. Then, line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper and set the pan aside.
- Bring some water to simmer over low-medium heat. Place a bowl with the butter and the chocolate over the simmering water until both melt entirely.
- In a second bowl, use an electric hand mixer to whip together the room-temperature eggs and sugar. Whip the mixture for approximately 5-7 minutes until it becomes pale.
- Pour the melted butter and chocolate mixture into the bowl with the egg and sugar mixture and use a rubber spatula to combine them. Do not use the electric mixer for this step.
- Sift in the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and cocoa powder) and slowly fold the mixture together with the rubber spatula, taking care not to overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared brownie pan.
- Using an offset spatula, smooth the top of the batter. Next, place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. It is ready once the edge is baked, and the middle is slightly gooey (not raw). The brownie as it will set further as it cools, so it is critical not to overbake it!
- Let the brownie cool completely before adding the frosting.
💡 Top Tip: Certain tools make the mixing process easy, but it is imperative to use the correct utensils to prevent overmixing the batter. For example, you don't want to use an electric mixer for the steps that call for a rubber spatula.
2. How to make cream cheese frosting for brownies
This is a super easy cream cheese frosting for brownies that I also use on my cakes and cupcakes. The detailed recipe with more information is available in my cream cheese frosting without butter recipe.
- Using an electric hand mixer, whip the three ingredients (cream cheese, mascarpone, powdered sugar) to make the frosting. When the frosting becomes fluffy enough to apply, stop mixing.
- Apply the frosting to the completely cooled brownies using a spatula or piping bag. Decorate with chocolate shavings if you wish!
- Store your cream cheese brownies in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
💡 Top Tip: Stop whipping the cream cheese frosting as soon as the frosting reaches a fluffy consistency appropriate for piping. Otherwise, the frosting will separate and become runny.
✨ Flavor variations
These decadent brownies with frosting are all-time crowd-pleasers. However, consider enhancing your brownie recipe with these delicious variations:
More chocolate: Throw in some chocolate chips for additional texture and chocolate flavor, like in my triple chocolate brownie recipe. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate are all delicious additions. You can even add butterscotch, which goes perfectly with chocolate!
Nuts: Add nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios for extra crunch and protein. My pecan brownies are a must-try!
Spices: Spice up your brownie mix by adding a dash of cinnamon, cardamom, or even a pinch of cayenne pepper for a spicy treat.
Fruits: Mix in fresh strawberries, raspberries, or preserved cherries to add fruity notes to the overall flavor. Check out my raspberry brownies recipe for more details.
Different flavored frosting: Enhance the cream cheese frosting by adding other flavoring agents such as vanilla extract, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or unsweetened cocoa powder for chocolate cream cheese frosting. You can also replace the cream cheese with Nutella frosting, super chocolatey Namelaka, or other spreads, as I discuss in my Biscoff Brownies recipe.
Red Velvet: Switch out the melted chocolate for red food coloring for deliciously moist red velvet brownies with cream cheese frosting.
Additional toppings and garnishes: In addition to the cream cheese frosting, sprinkle on some semi-sweet chocolate chips, cinnamon, crushed cookies, crushed candy, or freeze-dried fruits to add extra flavor. Or, drizzle on some homemade caramel, coffee glaze from my Cardamom Cake, or chocolate glaze from my Baked Chocolate Donuts recipe for a beautiful finished result.
Check out some of my other cream cheese desserts as well!
✨ Dietary Substitutes
Try my dairy-free brownies, or opt for butter-free brownies with one of these butter substitutes. You can also make these brownies egg-free by using the suggestions provided in my egg substitution guide and gluten-free with one of the gluten-free flours mentioned in my flour guide!
Remember, whether you're adding another ingredient or substituting one ingredient for another, always be sure to check the required quantities and follow the instructions as written to achieve the best results.
🎓 Expert tips
- Always use high-quality chocolate chips and cocoa powder for the best-tasting brownies.
- To prevent burning the chocolate when melting it, use a double-boiler or place it in the microwave with a microwave-safe bowl to melt it gradually. For more information check my how to melt chocolate chips article.
- Use unsalted butter when making dessert recipes to fully control the salt content. Additionally, never skip the salt called for in the recipe, as it helps to balance out the overall sweetness.
- The baking time may need to be adjusted slightly depending on the oven. The brownies are done when the edges are well-baked and the middle is somewhat gooey.
- For a softer texture, consider slightly underbaking them. They will continue to set further as they cool.
- Wait until the brownies are completely cooled before adding the frosting. Otherwise, the frosting will melt!
🥣 Equipment Notes
Store leftover brownies in an airtight container in the fridge or at room temperature for 2-3 days. Refer to my guide on how to store brownies for more information on how to keep them fresh.
Leftover brownies can be frozen once completely cooled. Once cooled, wrap them tightly in parchment paper, followed by aluminum foil. Next, place them in a zippered plastic freezer bag. They will last for up to three months in the freezer. For more information, read my guide on how to store brownies.
Cream cheese frosting has a much thicker and fluffier consistency. It is best used as a topping or a filling for cakes or frosting brownies. On the other hand, cream cheese icing is shinier and has a thinner consistency, ideal for glazing and decorating.
The most common reason for cakey brownies is overbaking. It is ready once the edge is baked, and the middle is slightly gooey (not raw). The brownie as it will set further as it cools. Also, for fudgy brownies, it is necessary to use butter with a high-fat content (I recommend 82%). Anything less will result in cakey brownies. You could also have overwhipped the batter or added too much flour. Make sure to measure your flour correctly with a scale. A little but too much flour can easily make your brownies cakey as opposed to fudgy.
🍫 More Brownie recipes
Brownies with Cream Cheese frosting
For the brownies
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Make the brownies
- Pre-heat oven to 175 C / 347 F (no fan).
- Take a 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan, brush the inside of the cake pan with a tiny bit of oil then use parchment paper on the bottom as well as on the side. Set it aside.
- Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water over low-medium heat.
- In another bowl whip together the eggs with sugar with the help of an Electric hand mixer until pale, for about 5-7 minutes.
- Pour the melted butter and chocolate mixture into the egg-sugar mixture, and combine with a Rubber spatula. Do not use a mixer at this point.
- Sift in flour, salt, and cocoa powder, and fold the mixture together. Do not overmix.
- Pour brownie batter into the prepared 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan.
- Smooth the top with an offset spatula and bake for 25-30 minutes. The brownie is ready when the edge looks baked and the middle looks slightly gooey but not raw. Do not over-bake! The brownie will further set as it cools.
- Let the brownie cool in the 7 inch /18 cm square brownie pan before frosting.
Cream cheese frosting
- Whip all the ingredients up with an electric hand mixer. When the frosting reaches a fluffy, pipable consistency, stop right there and do not overmix. If you continue beating the frosting, it will separate and gets runny.
- Once brownies cooled, apply frosting on top and decorate with chocolate shaves (optional).
- Store refrigerated for 2-3 days.
- Use always unsalted butter in dessert recipes, but make sure you add the salt stated in the recipe as that will balance the sweetness.
- The egg should be used at room temperature.
- The quality of the chocolate chips along with the quality of cocoa powder will define the taste of your brownies, so try to use high-quality ingredients.
- For the cream cheese frosting, use high-fat content dairy products.
- A digital scale is required for a consistent, happy baking experience:)
- Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave so you won't burn it.
- Always pre-heat your oven and consider using a digital oven thermometer for the best results.
- Each oven is different so you might need to slightly adjust the baking time.
- For the best fudge brownie experience consider to rather slightly under bake your dessert.
- Do not attempt to frost the brownie bar while it is still hot, as it would melt the frosting.