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

  • 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 350°F (177°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. 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 

    1. 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.

  2. 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?


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

      1. 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.

    2. Hi Dan, mine started off really runny but i whisked it for 90-120s and it really thickened up. I used 5050 icing/granulated sugar in mine too.

  3. 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. 🙂

  4. 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!

    1. 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.

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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. 

    1. 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.

  7. 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!! 🙂 

  8. 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.

  9. Hi! I have never made a red velvet cake that works out well and your brownies look so darn good! Do you have a red velvet cake recipe? I want to make a cake for my bf bday and it will have a game of thrones decoration on top and I need it to be a cake.. Also, and even if you don’t have the recipe, what do u reccomend? To put a cream cheese filling or to use your recipe of egg yolk cream cheese and sugar and put it all in the oven? I think it’s better like you did it but then again idk if it’ll work on a cake 🙁 please help! 

  10. Loved your recipe! If I’d to make the cheesecake batter ahead of time by keeping it in the refregerator, can I use it straight for baking while it was still cold? Do I need to ensure the cheesecake batter is at room temperature before use?

  11. My top layer shrink from the edges after it was completely cooled. Does it mean is underbaked? It rise nicely when is out from oven but after cooled, the edges was not at the same length with the bottom half (example top layer width was 5cm each corner but base was 6cm width)

    Also, if I noticed the bottom of the baking paper has noticeable red color after removing the brownies, does it mean is underbaked too?

  12. Shouldn’t I use powdered sugar instead of granulated in the cheesecake part? In all my years of baking it has always had to be like that or the mixture will fail…

    1. The granulated sugar dissolves easily in the cream cheese egg yolk mixtue and works great. Powdered sugar ( not confectioners) would work too I imagine!

  13. Made these yesterday and wow, they were brilliant. We didn’t add as much red food colouring as we should have so they were a very more maroon than red but the recipe was so deliciously moist and perfectly flavoured, not too sweet, not too plain and the cream cheese swirl! I need to try this with every brownie recipe 10/10 for sure. 🙂

  14. Hi! I`ve made this recipe a few times, and I love it! I was wondering if I could bake it in a heart-shaped mold, Do you know how do the baking time would be?

  15. Sally I was wondering, how can you refrain from the brownies being mushy. I need a cakish shape that stays but with a good texture.

  16. Hi Sally,

    Do you think these would ship well if I made them and sent them 2 day post to my sweetheart? Our anniversary is looming and he’s a red velvet lover and these look perfect. 


  17. I’ve been following you for a while…everything is ALWAYS delicious! Instructions are always perfect. Anyhow thought I’d leave a kind note. Tried the red velvet cheesecake brownies last night. They didn’t last long!! Mmmmmmm….so good!!! Thank you for all your yummy recipes! 🙂

  18. These were good and the texture was perfect. I read your measuring guidelines and was surprised to find out how many things I’ve been measuring wrong! My first batch, I accidentally did 3/4 cups of vinegar!! (I totally blame pregnancy brain!) I was thinking, that seemed like a lot of vinegar. I even went back and read the original post and still misread. Since I messed up that batch, I was out of red food coloring, so I used blue. My husband loved it and called them TARDIS brownies, haha. I cheaped out on the cocoa powder because that’s what I had on hand, but I think if I use something good next time, these have the potential to be my favorite dessert.

  19. Hi Sally! I’ve been reading all your red velvet entry. I really want to try this!! May I know if you used gel or liquid for the coloring? Most people here say that theirs turned a bit mushy. I’m guessing it’s because of the liquid coloring. I remember you said in another posts that you prefer Americolor gel.
    thank you so much in advance!! 🙂

  20. I made these last year for my husband’s birthday and he loooooooooved them (and didn’t share…which is okay, they were his!). Making these again this year. Thanks for sharing this, it’s definitely a hit!

  21. Made these tonight for a church Christmas party for our teens and they were AMAZING! Cakey and fudgey at the same time (is that even possible???). So “m word” (moist) as my friend says and great flavor. THANK YOU!!

  22. Thanks a bunch for this recipe Sally . I am on my way to make it . I feel ‘clicked’ reading every single word above, like so suprised finding out a recipe i have been looking for this lately.

  23. If I’m planning to double the recipe for a 9×13 tray, for the cheesecake swirl part, can I use 1 whole egg or does it have to be 2 egg yolks? Thanks!

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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