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.Β 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. πŸ™‚

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 theΒ 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.

FollowΒ me on InstagramΒ and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make!Β 


Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 16 brownies
  • Category: Brownies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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 pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid red food coloring*
  • 3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

Cheesecake Swirl

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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350Β°F (177Β°C). Spray 8×8 baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


  1. Freezing Instructions: Brownies will freeze well, up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Double Batch: Simply double all the ingredients and bake in a 9×13 pan for around 45 minutes – give or take. Same oven temperature.
  3. If using gel food coloring, reduce to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons.
  4. Adapted from Food Network, with a few changes.

Keywords: red velvet cheesecake brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies recipe at


  1. Sally these are gorgeous!! I am falling in love with red velvet and your brownie look so amazing!!

  2. Wow…the white swirls stand out so beautifully from the intense red! I full-heartedly agree that red velvet and cream cheese just belong together. Don’t think I had any red velvet with another pairing that I liked. What a great idea to in a sense ‘bake the frosting into the dessert’.

    1. Yes, cream cheese/cheesecake and red velvet are a recent favorite flavor pairing of mine. πŸ™‚ I love that – baking the frosting into the dessert. So true with these!

  3. These red velvet swirl brownies are SO festive for Vday and actually you make it sound much easier then i would have imagined and i would totally make them !! thanks !

    1. Michelle, they are SO very easy to throw together. And quick too! Let me know if you have the chance to make them sometime. Thank you!

  4. absolutely, without a doubt, making these on valentines day for my pookie bear. oops. did i call him that out loud? πŸ™‚ these look incredible. thanks sally! oh and i was hoping you could stop by for my virtual dessert party! maybe next time!

  5. Wow, Sally! These are so rich in color! Love the swirls ( that’s the way to go with cheesecake addition to bars )! It’s been a long time since I’ve made red velvet treat. Need to fix this ASAP!

    1. Let me know how they go if you make them Anna! And I love swirling cheesecake into bars and brownies. Well, I prety much love cheesecake in any form. And now, I’m loving red velvet more and more too!

  6. I haven’t made red velvet desserts either. The large amount of red food coloring freaks me out. I love that your recipe only uses 1 TBSP. You got a beautiful red and white swirl going on. Awesome!

    1. Hey Eva! I know what you mean. I’ve seen recipes use wo full bottles of red food coloring before. Ahh! The 1 Tbsp is enough for me.

  7. I’ve never really thought much of red velvet, but hearing it described as a marriage of vanilla and chocolate makes me want to try it again! These would definitely be perfect for valentine’s day πŸ™‚

  8. I am most definitely making these for valentines day! I wanted to make something special for my mom and I think these would hit the spot πŸ™‚ I prefer my brownies to have a more cake-like texture though so do you think it would be okay to add more flour?
    ps, if you’re looking for more red velvet desserts to try out you should look into red velvet cookies. I have this recipe that uses white chocolate chips and they are honestly the perfect cookie.

    1. I must try red velvet cookies! Are they made with red velvet cake mix, Nichole? I’ve seen a RV cookie recipe before using the cake mix. I do not recommend using more than 1 cup of flour in these brownies. So add 1/4 cup if you don’t want them as dense. Thanks Nichole!

      1. No cake mix at all! I have this personal vendetta against pre-made cake mix :p The recipe that I use I found on
        I’ll try adding that little bit more flour thanks!

  9. You weren’t kidding when you told me to stay tuned! These are beautiful. I’ve never made any red velvet recipes before. Here’s my first recipe to follow! I just want one….RIGHT NOW! πŸ˜‰

    1. Quick question… You mention using butter for the 8×8 pan and then also non-stick spray for it… Did I read this correctly? 2 pans?

      1. Hey Meredith! That was a typo. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! Just 1 8×8 pan spraying w/ cooking spray.

  10. Holy cow Sally, these are absolutely GORGEOUS!! I love the idea of the cream cheese swirled into the brownies, and your swirls are like art! I’ve never made red velvet cupcakes, but before I started eating healthy, I did make this cake It was pretty much perfection. I still can’t get the frosting out of my head–you could totally make it into a cupcake!

  11. Red velvet has never been my top choice but after having a divine slice of red velvet cake last year, I’m sold. You’d love these Colleen!

  12. These look so rich, dense and delicious. I too hate the browny red, red velvet cake so I end up putting in food colouring so it doesn’t get made too often. I love swirly cakes, they remind me of latte art.

    1. they are very rich and dense like my favorite fudgy brownies. The color of red velvet is hard to get just right and a brownish red hue is unappetizing to me! Thanks Sally.

  13. My go to brownie recipe is one-third more than your major ingredients. 3 eggs, 1.5 sticks butter, 1 c flour. No leaveners. And I used melted choc rather than cocoa. I can see you’re so loving these fudgy brownies and I can tell I would love them too.

    Red velvet cakes from what I understand are actually red from using dutch-process cocoa powder. And the reactions that take place between the alkali agents that are added to neutralize the natural acidity in the cocoa create this reddish color, a chemical reaction in the presence of buttermilk or an acid. I’ve read quite a bit about it b/c I’ve always wondered how I could achieve it naturally without food coloring but I think it’s almost a must to get the color you got.

    They’re so pretty, Sally! And the cream cheese. YES! Photographically, I know this had to be a hard shoot with the stark contrasts of the red and white. For me it would have been at least πŸ™‚ I want to take a huge bite!!

    1. Thanks Averie- they actually weren’t too hard to shoot at all. I feared the color would be off-putting/unappetizing going from camera to computer, but that wasn’t the case yesterday when I shot them. Very little editing to the color – they are a very vibrant color. I’ve read about beets being added in lieu of the food coloring, but I despise everything about beets.

  14. Ive never really been into red velvet either, it seems dull to me compared to a fudgy chocolate cake, ive never had a really giod red velvey, and tried twi bad recipes. But these look and sound amazing! I need to give it a try, that cheesecake swirl :O

    1. I’ve tried a terrible red velvet recipe before which was so off-putting and had me swear off red velvet for awhile. Thankfully, these turned out BETTER than I ever expected. Love them! Thanks Mariam.

  15. Wow, Sally, these are absolutely beautiful! I’ve never understood all the hype about red velvet…but you’ve convinced me to try it! Honestly, if you said chocolate-covered pickles were great, I’d probably believe you. πŸ˜‰ I think you hit the perfect red color…I’ve certainly seen some unappetizing hues before, both too red and too muddy, but these look just fabulous. LOVE the swirls too. Great job! πŸ˜€

    1. hahaha chocolate covered pickles…. hmm…. πŸ˜‰ Oh and I know what you mean about red velvet colors being a bit “off” – luckily these were so vibrant! Thanks Caley!!

  16. I resisted red velvet for a while too, but finally gave in, and now I love red velvet everything. The dollops of cream cheese in this look like they are to die for! I will definitely be adding this recipe to my rotation!

  17. these look gorgeous. one of my favorites is the combination of red velvet and cream cheese frosting..will definitely have to try these… yum.

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally