Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies.

Decadent red velvet brownies swirled with cheesecake.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent!

Today was the first time I’ve ever made a red velvet dessert before. Actually, my first time was on Friday. I’ve made these brownies twice in the past 3 days.

Yes, they’re that good.

Truth be told, the first time I’ve ever really loved a red velvet a dessert was last year at my friend’s wedding. Before then, I’ve never really been too impressed. It’s hard to do red velvet just right and it just never really appealed to me before. Red velvet can be an unappetizing brownish red color, too scary looking with a creepy red color, or just taste sort of bland. I’d rather eat my calories in the form of funfetti!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent!

But at my friend’s wedding last year, I was converted.  I was stuffed to the brim with chocolate chip cannolis, king crab legs, and multiple visits to a sushi bar (!!!), that I hardly had any room for a piece of red velvet wedding cake. But I knew I’d regret not tasting it.

Bite after bite, I fell in love. Deep red cake that wasn’t quite chocolate and not quite vanilla, with each crumb enveloped with a thick layer of sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting… it was pure heaven. 🙂

After months and months deciding what kind of homemade red velvet recipe would be my first, I finally settled on a swirly brownie recipe. I found the recipe on the Food Network. Since I’ve never made a red velvet dessert before, it would have been nearly impossible to develop one myself.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent!

For those unfamiliar with red velvet, let me take you through a quick briefing about what this gorgeous little dessert flavor is like. Traditional red velvet desserts aren’t vanilla flavored or chocolate flavored. They are a combination of the two with a slightly tart tang from the buttermilk used in most recipes. Red velvet cake is sort of like a dense buttery vanilla cake with a mild chocolate flavor. And when it’s done right, it’s darn good.

Today’s brownies are basically a fudgy chocolate brownie with lots of buttery vanilla flavors; I wasn’t up for making a lavish red velvet cake just yet. The brownie batter is red, dyed with red food coloring and a touch of white vinegar to make the red stand out against all the cocoa powder. They are beautifully swirled with sweet cream cheese and are quite dense like a typical brownie.

Chocolate, vanilla, and cream cheese swirls… no wonder I’ve made these twice in 3 days!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent!

These brownies are so easy to make and are the perfect recipe for red velvet beginners.  First, melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave.  Combine it with white sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, red food coloring, white vinegar, and 2 eggs.  Stir everything together by hand.

You will use 1 full Tablespoon of red food coloring in these brownies. The butter and cocoa powder mixed together are quite a dark brown, so it’s imperative to use quite a bit of liquid or gel food coloring to dye the batter the right shade of red.  White vinegar is used to enhance the red color against all the brown. You’ll smell the vinegar as you add it, but you will not taste it at all. In fact, I even lowered the amount called for in the recipe just to be sure.

I am not a fan of brownish red velvet desserts (so unappetizing!), so I was pleased to see just how vibrant red the batter was in this step.  *Be sure to wash your dishes immediately after mixing the batter together to avoid staining.

Mix in 3/4 cup of flour into the brownie batter. Remember, the more flour used in a brownie recipe, the more cake-like the brownie texture will be. I like to use as little flour as possible because I like my brownies quite dense and fudgy.  If I want a cake-like brownie, I will just eat a piece of chocolate cake!  Lots of melted butter, 2 eggs, and very little flour is a recipe for a successful fudgy brownie.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent!

Next up is the cream cheese swirl. Isn’t it just gorgeous against the red brownie?  Red velvet and cream cheese go hand in hand. Typical red velvet cakes are frosted with tangy, sweet cream cheese frosting.  We’re recreating the same idea with these brownies.

The cream cheese swirl is SO simple to make.  Whip out your hand-held electric mixer and beat one 8-oz package of softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg yolk, and vanilla extract.  Beat everything together until completely smooth.

Pour almost all of the red velvet batter into the baking pan, leaving a few Tablespoons behind.  Dollop with the cream cheese mixture, then scoop the last couple of Tablespoons of brownie batter on top.  Note: I topped the cream cheese mounds with more red velvet brownie batter because I was afraid so much cream cheese on top would brown in the oven. The picture below is before I covered with more red velvet batter FYI!

Swirl it all together with a knife.  Now wasn’t that easy?

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies by

Bake time!  The brownies take about 30 minutes in the oven at 350F.

The hardest part about today’s recipe? Waiting for the brownies to cool before digging in!  Smelling them as they bake and then waiting to eat one is pure torture, I tell ya.

The whole recipe is so easy to throw together, taking about 10 minutes for the entire process before putting them into the oven.  I was actually shocked how little time they took to make and wondered if I did something wrong.  No worries, they are supposed to be easy!  I also love that they make a small batch – only 16 brownies in an 8×8 baking pan.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent!

Having made these brownies twice in 3 days, one would think I would be all red-velveted out, but that’s certainly not the case. I am now in love with red velvet and can’t wait to make more homemade recipes with this distinctive color and flavor.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make! 

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies

Print Recipe

Chewy, moist, decadent red velvet brownies swirled with cheesecake.


Red Velvet Brownies

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid or gel red food coloring
  • 3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)

Cheesecake Swirl

  • 8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Make the brownie layer first. In a small bowl, beat the 2 eggs together. Set aside. Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until melted. Stir in 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar. Mix each of those ingredients into the batter in that order. Whisk in the eggs, then fold in the flour until completely incorporated. Do not overmix. Pour the brownie batter into prepared baking pan, leaving about 3-4 Tablespoons for the top.

Make the cheesecake swirl. With a hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat the softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl until completely smooth - about 1 minute. Dollop spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture on top of the prepared brownie batter. Cover with the last few Tablespoons of brownie batter. Glide a knife through the layers, creating a swirl pattern.

Bake the brownies for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares. Cover brownies and store at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. Brownies will freeze well, up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Additional Notes:

*To double the recipe for a large batch, simply double all the ingredients and bake in a 9x13 pan for around 45 minutes - give or take. Same oven temperature.

Adapted from Food Network, with a few changes.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.



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Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

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See more brownie & bar recipes.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies recipe at





355 Responses to “Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies.”

  1. #
    Jessiekaposted February 9, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Hi! I made this tonight. I noticed that the brownie batter I made was a bit runny. I’m not sure if i did something wrong while mixing it. Are u supposed to add in one ingredient at a time, and then mix them in between additions? Is it maybe because the eggs that I used were too large? It’s baking in the oven right now, smelling really delicious. I hope it still turns out okay.


  2. #
    Rebecca Hurleyposted February 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm


    I’m going to try out the red velvet cheesecake brownie receive this weekend.
    As I’m messaging you from the Uk, I’m not really sure what “all purpose flour” is?
    Is this plain flour or self raising flour?

    Look forward to hearing from you



    • Sallyreplied on February 9th, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      plain flour


  3. #
    Jennposted February 11, 2015 at 8:09 am

    I’m going to try and bake these in silicone heart shape molds that I have. About how thick would you say each layer is in the pan before you bake it? I want to try and get the same height that you have and not have it bake too high and overflow.


    • Sallyreplied on February 11th, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      I’m unsure– I’ve never measured the brownie layers before. I know the baked brownies are about 1.5 – 2 inches.


  4. #
    Valerieposted February 12, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    I made these tonight to take to a work party tomorrow. They are fabulous! I know someone had commented before about baking them in a 13×18 jelly roll pan, and that is what I did. I tripled the mixture and baked for about 45-50 minutes. They turned out amazingly fudgy and chewy. After I trimmed the edges off, I cut them into 2×2 squares to get 36 total brownies. Thank you so much for the recipe!


  5. #
    Asrinaposted February 14, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I made these this morning -absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to share these with my cow-workers too!


  6. #
    Caliposted February 16, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Sally!
    Someone else asked about freezing but did not get a response. Does anyone have experience with freezing these? I want to make them on Monday, my day off, but not eat them until the weekend! Thanks guys.


    • Sallyreplied on February 16th, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Yep– see the recipe instructions. 🙂 Brownies will freeze well, up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.


  7. #
    Taraposted February 16, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I made these for Valentine’s Day and they turned out great! Thank you for all the awesome recipes!


  8. #
    Tabithaposted February 24, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    love your recipes have made so many of them and have always had great success ! your website is my go to place !
    wondering if i can use vegetable oil instead of butter ?
    if so what’s the equivalent ?

    you’re such an inspiration for my baking addiction!


    • Sallyreplied on February 25th, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Hi Tabitha, as far as taste goes I don’t suggest using oil. Butter is best.


  9. #
    Ketsiaposted March 16, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I baked these and followed the recipe exactly but the brownies turned out as cake and the cream cheese baked into a curdle-like texture. I am sad; these were supposed to be for my birthday.


  10. #
    Erikaposted March 21, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Hey, I just got mine out of the oven, it’s amaaazing <3 <3 It's not as sweet as I imagined it, which is great! It's different from the brownies that we're used to here in Brazil, which is also great! Loved it, thank you so much!


  11. #
    Elkeposted March 24, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Hey Sally,

    I just baked these and they were delicious. However, the color was not red at all, I added a full table spoon of red food colouring but it remained brown-ish. Would you suggest just simply adding more until it is the desired colour? Or adding more vinegar? And what brand food colouring did you use?



    • Sallyreplied on March 24th, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      Hi Elke, I use McCormick brand. I would add enough until you are pleased with the color of the dough.


  12. #
    Cristinaposted March 26, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Sally, I have to say these were phenomenal! I followed the recipe and they were just like heaven in my mouth! My boyfriend loved them as well. I packaged two little pieces for him to eat at work and he texted me and said they were unbelievably delicious! I am making the caramel apple upside down cake for him this Saturday and I can’t wait! Love your recipes and your page is just precious!


  13. #
    Kiraposted May 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Hi, Sally! I just tried making these brownies, and while they’re undeniably delicious, they’re very cakey instead of dense and/or fudgey. Any idea where I might have gone wrong, or what I can do in future to avoid it?


    • Sallyreplied on May 6th, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Did you change anything about the recipe, like the ingredients? Make sure you are using melted butter, large eggs (not XL or jumbo), and are appropriately measuring the flour. Too much egg or flour can sometimes produce a cakier tasting bar.


  14. #
    Janiceposted May 20, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I also made these. Made a double batch in the 9×13 pan, baked for 45 min and were done. Made single batch and were not done in 30 minutes. Had to bake an extra about 10 minutes for them to be done. I know my oven temperature is correct because I have baked about 14 dozen cookies just before these brownies and had no problems.


  15. #
    Keshiaposted June 24, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I made these by following the recipe exactly. They turned out fantastic! 


  16. #
    Carmenposted June 27, 2015 at 6:41 am

    I am not a fan of red velvet cake! But this recipe is the best!
    Thank you for sharing ! My first attempt tonight! 


  17. #
    shinaposted June 27, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Hi! Just wondering, can I make the cheesecake ahead of time? Say, if i want to bake the red velvet brownies in the morning, i prepare the cheesecake n store it in fridge at night?


    • Sallyreplied on June 28th, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      Yep! You can make the cheesecake batter ahead of time– prepare it and keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to use in the morning.


  18. #
    Natyposted July 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I love your recipes! I live in Czech Republic and it is quite difficult sometimes to be sure I have the right ingredients (because I speak absolutely no Czech). I made these twice and they were very tasty but also too sweet. I bought different cocoa each time, both were likely sweetened. Can you recommend how I could reduce the amount of sugar when using sweetened cocoa? Thank you!


    • Sallyreplied on July 7th, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      I’m unsure just how sweet your cocoa is, but how about reducing to 1/2 cup sugar.


  19. #
    Patriciaposted July 24, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    These brownies definitely did not meet my expectations. I followed the recipe exactly as stated and found that the finished brownies had an overwhelming. almost too rich, chocolate taste. Yes, I did use natural unsweetened cocoa powder. I honestly could barely finish one. 


  20. #
    sashaposted September 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I have a wee question.
    Say if I were to make these at night *no baking* like just the raw batter and pop it into the fridge overnight , then bake it later on the next day would it ruin the taste or harm the batter?.

    Thank you so much xoxo


  21. #
    Samanthaposted November 20, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I loved these oh my god! my only issue was that they came out pretty mushy and not really like the photo. still edible, and great, but it fell apart very liquidy in my guests hands. (they still loved it though) I think it might be because of the flour. I put the exact measurements but I dont think it was enough. any way to make it better?


  22. #
    Kaitlinposted December 10, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Is it alright if I make the batter/cream cheese, and let it chill in the fridge for a while before baking? I have two events to go to, have to bring food to the second one, and not a lot of time in between them. I’d like to be able to make the batter before event #1, then come home and pop them in the oven.


    • Sallyreplied on December 12th, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Yes, that works! You can make and chill them separately then assemble/layer and bake.


  23. #
    Samanthaposted December 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    This recipe was perfect and they were a hit! It does come out mushy but you have to make sure they cool COMPLETELY and they will harden and take their shape before you start cutting into these beauties. Thanks so much for sharing this Sally!


  24. #
    Maríaposted January 5, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Hi Sally! I’d Like to know how do you cut them so perfectly! I have tried with every kind of knife but the brownie always sticks to the knife and makes a mess 


    • Sallyreplied on January 5th, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Maria, maybe they are a little underbaked still? Despite the cheesecake filling, they should still be a little easy to cut with a super sharp knife.


  25. #
    Danposted January 25, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Sally!

    My brownie mixture was very thick, but the cheesecake mixture wasn’t almost the opposite.  Can you think of anything I can do to get them a bit more even?



    • Sallyreplied on January 26th, 2016 at 6:20 am

      Dan, did you use brick style cream cheese– like the kind you unwrap? That should make the cream cheese mixture super thick.


      • Danreplied on January 26th, 2016 at 6:25 am

        While it wasn’t fashioned into a brick, the cream cheese I used wasn’t the spreadable kind.  Maybe I shouldn’t cheap out and use Philly next time.

  26. #
    Maryposted February 16, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Hi Sally,
    Just wanted to let you know that I made these this weekend as a Valentine’s treat, and they turned out great. The food coloring I bought didn’t come out quite to 1 T but it was enough and they were a great shade of red. The only thing I did was add some semi sweet chocolate chunks to the red velvet batter. Other than that I followed the instructions to a T, and they got rave reviews! Thanks for another great recipe; your blog is becoming my go-to. 🙂


  27. #
    Caitlin Orwinposted February 18, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Sally, thank you for this recipe. I am wondering if you have any tips for perfecting the swirl aspect? I don’t like how much cheesecake was on top of my brownies, they did not come out looking as beautiful as yours.  Would reducing the amount of cheese topping help? Thanks!


    • Sallyreplied on February 19th, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Try saving some red velvet brownie batter and pouring it on top of some of the cheesecake layer. That way, there won’t be as much cheesecake exposed after you swirl.


  28. #
    Kellyposted March 10, 2016 at 10:23 am

    I cut into these a little too soon and while they were still warm and I was disappointed at the cheesecake layer because it was mushy and overall didn’t taste very appetizing…

    But after putting them in the fridge overnight, they taste so much better! I guess I forgot these aren’t your typical gooey chocolate brownies that you can eat fresh out of the oven… The cheesecake component has to be set and cold and taste great when they are! Thanks for sharing Sally. 🙂


  29. #
    cessposted March 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Hi, is it possible to substitute cream cheese to white chocolate? If I do, is it too much sweet? 


  30. #
    Vivianposted March 28, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Hi Sally, my brownies turned out to be really fudgy/paste-like and it wasn’t cake-like at all. I thought it wasn’t done and put it back in the oven a few times, a total of about 25 minutes extra. It was still very soft, more like fudge than brownie(though it tasted really awesome). Is that how the texture is supposed to be? 

    Also, does it matter if you put your baking tin on a tray or a grill rack in the oven? I have been using the tray, but I’m wondering if that means less heat gets to the batter so it can’t bake properly. 


    • Sallyreplied on March 28th, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      I always, always recommend a grill rack. And it sounds like your brownies were underbaked. I know the texture you’re referring too– almost too wet-like, right? They’re underbaked.


  31. #
    Rachelposted March 30, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Hey Sally! I have made this recipe about 5 times and people LOVE it. I am about to make it again tonight but I have a couple questions for you. 1) my cheesecake swirl always ends up a little yellow from the egg yolk and a little browned from the oven, any advice? Thank you!! 🙂 


    • Sallyreplied on March 30th, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Cover the brownies loosely with aluminum foil– will prevent it from browning too much.


  32. #
    Terri S.posted April 2, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I made these for an event at the high school and they were fabulous!  This recipe is a keeper.  I’ll be using it over and over and over.  They came out perfect.


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