These red velvet cheesecake brownies are a showstopper. The brownies are fudgy, the cheesecake is creamy, and the combination is incredibly delicious!

Red velvet is often hit or miss for me (or maybe I’m just usually kind of expecting more and end up being underwhelmed)?

But such is not the case with these amazing swirly red velvet brownies. They’re divine!

Two red velvet cheesecake brownies stacked with bite taken out of the top brownie.

Red Velvet Brownie Batter

The brownie batter is fairly straightforward:

  • butter and chocolate
  • granulated and brown sugars
  • eggs + vanilla + red food coloring
  • a bit of cocoa, flour and salt

Once the red food coloring is added, the dark brownie batter instantly takes on a red hue. And the red color deepens even more once the brownies are baked.

Making brownie batter with sugar, eggs, red food coloring, cocoa powder and flour.

Red Food Coloring

There is definitely no mistaking these for regular brownies. They are red velvet through and through.

A few notes about the red food coloring:

  1. I use liquid food coloring for this recipe; I have not tried substituting gel food coloring. If you do, I’m guessing you can use half as much gel food coloring since it’s more potent.
  2. I do not have a natural alternative for the red food coloring (as in, didn’t test the recipe with beets and the world is better for it). You could skip the food coloring completely and just go for an amazing swirled cheesecake brownie.

The red food coloring doesn’t affect the taste of the brownies – it’s simply there for the gorgeous, show stopping looks!

Spatula stirring red velvet brownie batter.

The Perfect Swirl

For this recipe, *most* of the brownie batter is spread in the bottom of the pan. One cup is reserved for the dollop-and-swirl procedure.

This remaining batter is spooned on top of the cheesecake layer and swirled in with a wooden skewer or other thin implement.

I personally use a clean knitting needle for the swirling action. That might sound weird until you learn that I have tried and failed 6 1/2 times to learn how to knit so I repurposed the knitting needle for ebelskivers and brownie swirling, and I have not looked back.

Layering red velvet brownie batter, cheesecake batter, dollops of brownie batter, swirling together and baking.

I mean, LOOK AT THAT SWIRL.

Marbled top of cheesecake brownies.

Red Velvet + Brownies + Cheesecake

These red velvet cheesecake brownies are astonishingly delicious.

The brownie to cheesecake ratio is perfect. And the red velvet only enhances the appeal of these brownies.

I highly encourage you to try them chilled. You may never go back to room temperature brownies again. (But don’t even think about serving them warm…that’s all fine and good for a decadent batch of normal brownies, but it’s just plain shivery for cheesecake swirled brownies.)

While they may look like they should only be served for a festive occasion, let me assure you that these lovely brownies are perfect any time for any reason.

Red velvet cheesecake brownie on wood cutting board.

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two red velvet brownies stacked on each other

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

4.94 stars (15 ratings)

Ingredients

Brownie Batter:

  • 1 cup (227 g) butter (I use salted)
  • 2 cups (340 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped (or good quality chocolate chips – see note)
  • 1 ½ cups (318 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (212 g) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 6 large (300 g) eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups (249 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (21 g) natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Batter:

  • 16 ounces (454 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (212 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (36 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 large (100 g) eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lin a 9X13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil (I suggest using a metal baking pan for even baking) and lightly grease with cooking spray.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate and cook for 1-minute intervals at 50-60% power, stirring in between, and continuing to cook until melted (don't over heat).
  • Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and whisk until fully combined.
  • Add the vanilla and food coloring and whisk until well combined.
  • Add the flour, cocoa (if the cocoa is really lumpy, sift it into the batter), and salt, and stir until just combined and no dry streaks remain.
  • Scoop out 1 cup batter and reserve for later. Spread the remaining batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  • For the cheesecake batter, in a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and granulated sugar until well combined. Add the flour and mix until well combined.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Spread the cheesecake batter evenly over the brownie batter.
  • Dollop the reserved brownie batter by tablespoonfuls over the cream cheese layer. Using a wooden skewer or other thin tool (I use a clean knitting needle!), swirl the layers back and forth. Swirl quickly or the brownie batter will stiffen and it will be harder to swirl.
  • Bake the brownies until the edges are set and the top is shiny, about 45 minutes. Add additional time, if needed, as each oven and pan type may vary. The center of the brownies should be slightly jiggly; that's ok. An instant read thermometer inserted into the center should register 165 degrees F.
  • Let the brownie cool completely in the pan. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours (or overnight) until well chilled. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Notes

Chocolate: my favorite chocolate chips for melting in brownie recipes are Guittard or Ghirardelli. 
Food Coloring: I haven’t made this recipe with gel food coloring, so I don’t know what the equivalent would be for the red food coloring called for in the recipe. 
Serving: 1 bar, Calories: 398kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 104mg, Sodium: 229mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 36g
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Recipe Source: adapted a little from a recipe in the Bake magazine Nov/Dec 2021