These easy-to-make Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies get their striking graphic look from Dutch Processed cocoa powder in the recipe!
Jump to Recipe | Jump to Recipe Notes
Every time I think of pumpkin and pumpkin recipes like my pumpkin chocolate bread, pumpkin chess pie, pumpkin pie cheesecake bars, and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I think of my old two-story house in the suburbs of St. Louis. I was in the third grade when my dad yelled at me for leaving the jack-o-lantern out on the front porch for too long. I believe it was my responsibility for cleaning it up, but instead of throwing it out, I just let it sit there, way past Halloween into mid-December, rotting away.
Finally, my dad, in a fit of disgust, took our rusted dirt shovel, scooped up the barely intact shell of a gourd, and tossed it beside our house into the strip of lawn between our house and our neighbor’s house. He figured it would compost down into the ground and by the time the snow thawed, no one would ever know. To all our surprise, the following September we had a pumpkin vine growing next to our house that grew pumpkins…until my dad finally dug it up and threw the vine away with an air of finality. We bought our pumpkin from the stores, not grew them next to our suburban house. I still think of that pumpkin vine when I use pumpkin in my kitchen, like when I made these Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies.
As the air starts to get more brisk and the great outside seems to come into focus with just a little bit more clarity than the hazy summer, the world seems to become obsessed with pumpkin. I’m sure this happens every year around now, but with social media and the ubiquitous internet it all seems ALL. PUMPKIN. ALL. THE. TIME. Friends with their children are at a pumpkin farm, sitting on gourds larger than doghouses. People are instagramming their carved pumpkins that look adorable but I keep on wondering if those pumpkins will last until Halloween. And commenters seem REALLY upset when a friend of mine shared her recipe for homemade pumpkin spice latte on Huffington Post (apparently some people love to go and buy them, not make them at home!).
But none of that deters me when it comes to baking with pumpkin. The combination of pumpkin and chocolate seems a bit odd at first, though I certainly skirted around it a bit last year when I made my white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake bars and my white mocha pumpkin frappuccino. But, as everyone knows, white chocolate isn’t REAL chocolate. Besides, using dark chocolate gives the brownies a nice Halloween feel to the bars, which I have to admit is pretty fun all the way around.
These brownie pumpkin cheesecake bars are surprisingly easy to make and if you don’t want to do a “spider web” pattern on top, it’s even easier. I’m just a little Halloween obsessed right now so I decided to embrace it. I may not have a homegrown pumpkin vine in my yard, but that’s OK. I have these brownies and there’s no way I’m going to leave these to sit around until December. I’m eating them right now.
Do I need to refrigerate Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
Though you can store pumpkin cheesecake brownies at room temperature overnight (there’s enough sugar in them to prohibit bacterial growth) I recommend storing the homemade pumpkin cheesecake brownies in an air tight container in the fridge. Just layer them between pieces of parchment paper or wax paper to prevent them from sticking. Store them in the refrigerator extends their life for up to 5 days.
Can you freeze homemade pumpkin cheesecake brownies?
You can totally freeze these pumpkin brownies. Place them on a baking sheet in the freezer for 2 hours, until they are frozen solid. Then move them to an air tight container or a resealable ziploc bag. Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between layers to ensure they don’t stick as they thaw out.
To thaw, just leave them at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours (depending on how warm your kitchen is). Or thaw them overnight in the refrigerator.
If you like these pumpkin cheesecake brownies, checkout these other brownie recipes:
- Rye Brownies with Caramel and Sea Salt
- White Chocolate Green Tea Brownies
- Brookies (Brownie Cookie) Caramel Bars
- Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake Brownies
- Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Peppermint Texas Sheet Cake (<– sort of like a cross between a brownie and a cake!)
Updated October 25, 2019: I have updated this recipe formatting and cleaned up a bit of this blog post, but the recipe is the same from the original October 14, 2013 publication.
PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE BROWNIES
- 15 oz pumpkin puree not pumpkin filling, 425 g or about 2 cups
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 12 oz cream cheese 340 g or 1 1/2 bricks
- 1 cup granulated white sugar 200 g
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter 175 g or 1 1/2 sticks
- 1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar 300 g
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 165 g
- 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa like Hershey’s Special Dark, 100 g
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 140 g
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips 65 g
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking oil. Line the bottom and long sides with a piece of parchment paper, leaving an overhang of about 2 inches of paper over the long sides, to help removing the cheesecake brownies.
- Make the cheesecake batter by first placing the pumpkin puree in a large skillet and cooking it on medium high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. The puree will darken and reduce down to about 1 cup. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy, about a minute on high. There might be some lumps in it because the cream cheese is cold but that’s OK. Add the just cooked spiced filled pumpkin puree to the cream cheese and beat to blend, about a minute. If you skip cooking the pumpkin puree or if it’s cooled off, you might want to bring the cream cheese up to room temperature before beating it. Add the sugar and beat to incorporate. Add the flour and vanilla extract and beat to incorporate. Add the eggs, one at a time, to incorporate. Set aside.
- Make the brownie batter by placing the butter and both sugars in a medium sized pot. Turn the heat to medium and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is a uniform butterscotch color and aroma. Remove from heat and add the cocoa, salt, baking powder and vanilla, stirring to incorporate. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon, to incorporate. Add the flour and beat to incorporate. Spoon out 1/3 cup (95 g) of brownie batter and reserve it. Add the dark chocolate chips to the remaining batter and fold to incorporate. The batter will be thick.
- Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a butter knife or offset palette knife. Spoon the cheesecake batter on top of the brownie batter and gently spread it out over the brownie batter evenly.
- Place the reserve 1/3 cup of brownie batter in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of milk. Stir to incorporate. The resulting batter will be thin. Pour into a ziplock sandwich bag and seal. Clip a TINY corner of the bag off with a scissors. Carefully squeeze a line of the thinned brownie batter diagonally across one corner of the baking pan, over the cream cheese batter. Continue to do this all the way across the pan. Using a toothpick, drag a line from the initial corner to all the other three corners, creating a “web” pattern on the cheesecake batter.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the cheesecake batter has puffed up and looks set. Cool in the pan on a wire rack and move to the refrigerator to cool overnight before serving.
Ruthy @ Omeletta says
I don’t think I ever considered pumpkin and dark chocolate but dang- these look incredible. I’m usually a little wary of all the pumpkin-loving going on this time of year, but these look definitely top of the heap.
I’m pretty wary too, as is AJ but we’ve both found ourselves going back to the fridge for these…time and again! Much to the chagrin of my waistline…
Anna @ Bashful Bao says
These look fabulous! I love the pattern on top!!
I am definitely making these for my Halloween Crafternoon on Saturday…
My favorite “how is it possibly this easy” pumpkin/chocolate combo? One can pumpkin + 1 box chocolate cake mix (any brand will do). Mix and bake according to the box. Optional: sprinkle chocolate chips over the top halfway through baking. I cut them up into brownie-sized chunks…so fudgey and delicious. You can also use yellow cake for more orange-colored bites (I’ve done mini cupcakes like this before to much happiness).
Holy crap that sounds so easy and fun! I don’t really do box cake but I kind of love the ease of that…
Oh my god.
I’m going to cheat on my dairy hiatus just to make these.
Aimee @ Simple Bites says
Oh yeah, oh yeah. I have such a weakness for cheesecake in brownie form. Add pumpkin to the mix and I’m sold.
Katrina @ WVS says
Pumpkin and chocolate is such a fun flavour. This sounds lovely!
Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies says
Yowza, these look amazing. Love the spider web swirl on top too! I think pumpkin was made to be eaten with chocolate. Love it!
Theresa @ Delicacious says
These look sinfully delicious!
Shanna@ pineapple and coconut says
I love the story of the pumpkin starting to grow behind your house!! We grew pumpkins at our old house in Oregon – but we never planted them. We had put the seeds of the pumpkins we carved the prior year in our compost and used them in our garden the next summer when my husband built some raised bed garden boxes as well as just using it to fill in some of the dirt areas in the corners of our yard. We noticed some plants start to sprout and thought maybe butternut squash, but we ended up getting these massive pumpkin plants. At first we never saw the pumpkins growing since the leaves were so big and dense, then we started poking around and lifting leaves and HOLY CRAP there were like 7 massive pumpkins. It was awesome. We normally go to a pumpkin patch to pick them out, and we do now living in Vegas ( harder to grow pumpkins here) but your story totally reminded me of the year we grew pumpkins by mistake. Love these brownies too – I am a fan of the dark chocolate pumpkin combo. I will be making these for sure!
It’s amazing how easy pumpkins are to grow! It’s not like you need to water or weed them. They just grow on their own! Like magic! Maybe this year I’ll plant some seeds to see if anything magical happens in our backyard. My landlord probably won’t be happy but I’ll just feign ignorance if it comes up…
I need these in my life!
I’m not a big fan of Halloween (no judgment!), but these brownies could be just the thing to make me a convert. They look great and I love the combo of pumpkin and dark chocolate. Can’t wait to try these. Thanks.
What?!!? I love Halloween! Though I really haven’t celebrated in a few years. But it’s so much fun to get dressed up…
An exceptional recipe! An enticing capture of the season of Halloween and pumpkin all wrapped up in a sultry brownie!
What pulchritude! 🙂
These bars will be a hit on my Halloween buffet. They look gorgeous and so neatly done.
Yay! Let me know how people like them…
These look lovely. I have a pumpkin cheesecake recipe AND a chocolate marbled pumpkin cheese cake recipe. It just depends what I feel like on what holiday. May have to try these though (adapt to gluten free) just because they would be easier to transport and disappear out of the kitchen faster.
I think they would totally be easy to adapt gluten free. Try using mesquite flour if you have it, or teff or buckwheat. Maybe some millet or ultra fine brown rice flour. Dark and rich. Let me know how they turn out if you make them!
Miss Kim @ behgopa says
omg these look awesome! Love the black and orange colors..so Halloween-ish! I totally wana make these. I love pumpkin season.
Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie says
Love that it looks like a spiderweb!
We usually had a veggie garden growing up and my parents grew squash and pumpkins. My mom made from scratch pumpkin pie (never liked it), pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies (mmm). It does seem to me though that when i was younger, no one ate pumpkin as much as they do now. Now, it’s like bacon, kind of fetishized, and growing up, if i told someone i was having anything pumpkin except pie, they looked at me like i was crazy.
Someone just told me about your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook. I will check your blog out. Denise
If the cream cheese is refrigerator cold, how do you keep the batter from getting lumpy?
Oh good point. There might be some lumps to it, but once you add the hot pumpkin puree, the mixture will warm up and become smooth. I have you use cold cream cheese because the pumpkin puree is still hot and the cold cream cheese will cool the batter down. But if you choose not to cook the pumpkin puree, or if the puree has cooled off, then I’d recommend using room temperature cream cheese.
I’ve made a note of this in the recipe above, thanks for pointing it out!
Aimee @ ShugarySweets says
Mmmm, love chocolate and pumpkin. And the web, that’s just awesome!
aida mollenkamp says
So awesome! I’m totally making these for our family’s Halloween Party!
Yay! Let me know how they turn out and what your family thinks of them if you do!
Miss Kim @ behgopa says
Thanks for sharing. I made this the other day. http://instagram.com/p/fmqoueE1Yj/ Yours look way purdier than mine! Although I cooked the pumpkin puree, I wasn’t able to get that nice bright orange color. Maybe it’s because I added a bit more spices than your recipe calls for (since I tend to overdo it at times with the baking spices just for personal preference). And I didn’t add any flour in the cheesecake batter (for personal preference too).
I love dark chocolate. And it’s really yummy with the pumpkin flavor. Kudos!
Hi Irvin, I just found out about your blog after reading your tips on using Google + on the Food Bloggers of Canada website (way back in Aug 2012). Thanks for the useful advice! Also, I’ve never added pumpkin to brownies before, but hmmmm…might have to try this recipe out because it looks awesome. And that “web” design looks perfect!
Spooky and delish! I’m using purple sweet potatoes and am so excited about your web design in those colors!
Mackenzie Grady says
currently studying abroad in spain and am seriously missing fall treats, these made me smile, must make them for my host fam. Also seeing your from STL made me smile more. I live right by forrest park 🙂
Mackenzie Grady says
sorry slowly but surely forgetting how to speak english
Lora @cakeduchess says
LOVE the spider web design. It’s spooky and decadent and awesome. Super cute story about the pumpkin. My MIL told me their picking up pumpkins and I have to admit my slight jealousy. Why would someone be upset over homemade pumpkin latte-I think I would prefer a homemade one:)
Well I made this recipe yesterday and ate some today. For all the special steps , I really expected spectacular taste. I LOVE dark chocolate and I love pumpkin and I love cheesecake!
So it was with much anticipation that I served these to my guests tonight. All I can say is a giant MEH! Nothing to write home about. The pumpkin (even with cooking down) and cheesecake was over-shadowed by the over-whelming dark chocolate. I really do not mind extra steps if the taste is worth it. The bottom line is that I will NOT make this recipe again!
Hi ktribe808. I’m sorry that the recipe wasn’t to your taste! I’ve had a number of other people who liked them, and I certainly did too (which is why I put them on my blog) but I understand your frustration. So sorry about the wasted time and ingredients.
Looks so good… Making this as my first pumpkin dessert ever!!!
It’s in the oven as we speak 🙂
Thank you or the step by step instructions with images :)))
I loved this recipe but stopped following directions exactly many yrs ago post- catholic school. Been experimenting lately with gluten-free & different sugars inspired by our mutual contact “spunky coconut”. Sooo as part of treat for teachers workshop, making sugar skulls for Dia de Los Muertos, I offered your delicious pumpkin brownies using coconut flour, coconut sugar (coming from HI, I’m a bit of a “ka-tonk”) & truvia, oh & a few secret, Mexican ingredients to the chocolate. Was ono, brah! Mahalo for the inspiration,!!
My first time making cheesecake so i followed it exactly and it was pretty runny so I left it in for 5 more minutes, then 10 minutes with the door open…I’m afraid I’m going to over cook the brownie part. Any suggestions for next time?
Hmmm. It’s possible your oven runs low, but there could be a few other variables (if some of your ingredients started out colder or you didn’t preheat the oven enough).
It’s OK if the cheesecake wiggles a little in the center but if it looks really runny than I’d bake it a bit longer. But don’t worry too much about the brownie overcooking. The recipe is developed in such a way that both the brownie and the cheesecake should bake at the same time. So if the cheesecake looks undercooked, the brownie will be undercooked as well. Use your best judgement and take them out when you think they are ready!
Making these for the second time in two weeks because I was so blown away the first time! Such an amazing recipe and not only are they delicious with the intense pumpkin flavor but they are just absolutely gorgeous (I wish I could attach a picture of how perfect they turned out)- my new favorite dessert. There hasn’t been a single person who tried one that didn’t go gaga over this brownie (and I know because I waved them under everybody’s noses until they couldn’t resist). Awesome job, a really solid recipe. Thanks!
Yay! I’m thrilled that you loved them enough to make them again! And I’m also amused and happy that you have forced them onto all your friends. Thanks for stopping by and making them!
BTW, feel free to post a picture of them on my Facebook wall! I’d love to see how they turned out!
I tried out this recipe, followed the recipe & instructions to a “T” …
And it came out terrible!
Pumpkin + chocolate go great together, but this is an awful batter.
Finished product is greasy – greasy cheeseburgers are one thing, a greasy brownie is just nasty.
I’m sorry you didn’t like the end result. I’ve had a number of people like the brownies, and I certainly did (otherwise I would not have put them on my blog) but everyone has different tastes. So sorry the recipe wasn’t to yours!
I have a question. My son got a small pumpkin (he’s only 4) on Oct 9th on a class field trip. Would it be possible to use this pumpkin instead of the puree, and how would I go about using it? I have zero experience cooking with a fresh pumpkin.
Sandy Benner says
I ended up with a goowy mess. Did I not bake long enough?
Karen @ Daily Buzz says
These look fabulous! I love the pattern on top!!