Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars combine seasonal flavors to make a decadent dessert. A gorgeous, smooth pumpkin cheesecake layer bakes on top of a dense, rich dark chocolate brownie. Speckled with chocolate chips, these cheesecake brownies are the perfect autumnal desert. Makes 12 brownie bars.
Love fall desserts? Don’t miss out on Spiced Apple Upside Down Cake with Bourbon Caramel Glaze, Spiced Pumpkin Sugar Cookies and Orange Cranberry Bars!
This Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars recipe was originally made for a collaboration called Comfort in 1, where a friend and I made recipes based off of one ingredient every month. And obviously, this cheesecake brownie recipe was made in celebration of pumpkin season!
After all, October is the perfect time for all kinds of pumpkin sweets (like Praline Pumpkin Upside Down Cake), pumpkin breakfasts (like Easy Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Nutella Swirl) and pumpkin desserts (like Pumpkin Drop Cookies with Browned Butter Icing!)
And who doesn’t love a fresh take on a pumpkin dish this time of year, especially as Halloween draws near and the temperatures begin to dip?
Why I love this recipe:
So. Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies…
These beauties started out as a seasonal take on my insanely delicious and addictive Ooey Gooey Bars and turned into something entirely different as they baked, forming a gorgeously smooth pumpkin cheesecake on top of a dense, rich dark chocolate brownie.
They’re decadent, that’s for sure, but they’re kind of perfect for this time of year… and they’re definitely perfect for Comfort in 1.
These Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are a comforting dessert, which can be eaten warm or cold. I, personally, prefer them warm, though my husband has been taking slices of these bars out of the fridge and eating them cooled without an issue.
Serve the bars up at the temperature you like along with a huge glass of milk, and you’re good to go.
Other bar recipes we adore: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | Cream Cheese Brownies | Cranberry Crumb Bars | Pumpkin Blondies with a Caramel Cream Cheese Swirl | Bourbon Pecan Brownies
Looking for a fall recipe, but need some inspiration? My Fall Recipe Index has a lot of ideas for you!
What you’ll need to make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
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In addition to these tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients, too! Since we all stock our pantries and fridges differently, I’m going to list out what you need here, as well as in the recipe card below.
- Unsweetened baking chocolate squares
- 60% cocoa dark chocolate chips
- Unsalted butter
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour—I prefer unbleached flour, but you can use regular AP if you’ve got that!
- Kosher salt
- A block of cream cheese
- Pumpkin puree—not the pre-seasoned, sweetened pumpkin pie filling
- Powdered sugar
- Ground cinnamon
How to make these Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars
First and foremost, preheat your oven.
Line your 9×13″ baking dish with parchment paper, and spritz it with a nonstick cooking spray. This part is important because we want to ensure the cheesecake brownies don’t stick to the pan and make it impossible for them to be freed.
Make the Brownie Base
In a medium-sized bowl, measure in the baking chocolate, chocolate chips, butter and applesauce. Heat in the microwave. Do this in 10-15 second increments to melt the chocolate, stirring after each turn. It’s important to do this in short bursts of time because if you microwave this mixture for a long period of time, you run the risk of burning your chocolate, which is heartbreaking… and it also smells icky.
In another large bowl, crack in the eggs. Add the sugar and vanilla. Use a hand mixer to beat these wet ingredients until creamy and light. It’ll take 2-3 minutes, depending on how fast you’re running your hand mixer.
If the chocolate mixture is still hot, you’re going to have to temper the egg mixture we just mixed. This means you’re going to add a little bit of the chocolate to the egg mixture and stir it quickly to warm up the eggs slightly without cooking them.
Pour the rest of the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, and mix with a rubber spatula until combined.
Measure in the flour and salt. Use the mixers to beat until combined. The mixture will be very thick.
Pour the brownie base into the prepared baking dish. Use a rubber spatula and your hands to spread it out into an even layer on the bottom of the pan, then set aside.
Make the Cheesecake Topping
In another bowl, mix the cream cheese and pumpkin together using the hand mixer. Beat until the mixture has lightened and is fluffy.
Add in the eggs, and mix until combined. Then drizzle in the melted butter, and mix.
When the mixture is smooth, measure in the cinnamon and powdered sugar. Use the hand mixer on the lowest setting here to ensure the powdered sugar doesn’t fly out all over the place, and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the cheesecake layer on top of the brownie base.
Bake the Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top of the cheesecake layer, and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set. This means it’s no longer liquidy when you move the pan.
Once the brownie bars are baked through, let them cool for 30 minutes before slicing into individual bars.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different type of chocolate chip in these Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars?
Yes. While I prefer dark chocolate in my desserts, I know that’s not everyone’s favorite. You can use bittersweet or even semisweet chocolate chips in the place of the dark chocolate chips called for in this recipe.
How do I store these cheesecake brownies?
Since these Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars have a lot of dairy in them, we must refrigerate them! When they’re completely cool, layer them in a food-safe storage container, and stash them in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Quick tips and tricks for Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature! This will make the process faster and also smoother. (Also, cream cheese doesn’t blend nearly as easily if it’s cold.)
- Go with your gut on the chocolate! If you’re more of a semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chip person, please feel free to use those in place of the dark chocolate chips, as these brownie bars might come across as more bitter to you if you like sweeter chocolate.
- Store ’em in the fridge. Just make sure they’re completely cooled before slicing and packaging them up!
- Share ’em with a crowd! This is a fabulous fall gathering dessert because they can and should be made in advance.
Here’s how you can make these beauts:
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars combine seasonal flavors to make a decadent dessert. A gorgeous, smooth pumpkin cheesecake layer bakes on top of a dense, rich dark chocolate brownie. Speckled with chocolate chips, these bars are the perfect autumnal desert.
- 4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate (four 1 oz. squares)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips (60% cocoa)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 3 eggs
- ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips (60% cocoa)
- A sprinkle of ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13" baking dish with parchment paper, and grease well.
Make the Brownie Base
- Measure the baking chocolate, chocolate chips, butter and applesauce into a medium-sized glass bowl. Heat in the microwave for 10-15 second increments to melt, stirring after each round of heating, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside.
- In another (large) bowl, add the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, beat until the mixture is creamy and light.
- If the chocolate mixture is still hot, add a drizzle of it to the egg mixture to temper the eggs, and stir vigorously. Once tempered, pour the rest of the chocolate into the egg mixture, mixing until combined.
- Measure in the flour and salt, and using the hand mixer, mix until combined. It will be very dense.
- Pour the brownie base mixture into the greased baking dish and spread with a rubber spatula until an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Make the Pumpkin Cheesecake
- In another bowl, stir the cream cheese and pumpkin together using the hand mixer. (Please note that you should wash the paddles on your hand mixer before starting this step.) Mix until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, mixing until combined. Drizzle in the slightly cooled, melted butter, and stir until incorporated.
- When the mixture is smooth, measure in the cinnamon and powdered sugar, mixing on the lowest setting until the ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour this cheesecake layer on top of the brownie mixture in the pan.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of cheesecake layer. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set.
- Let cool for 30 minutes, then slice into individual bars and enjoy warm or cold!
Please note that my oven is OLD, and your cooking time might be a little different than mine because of this. When your cheesecake bars hit the 35-minute mark, turn on your oven light and look in on them to make sure you don't overcook the cheesecake.
A note on chocolate: You can easily use bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips in this recipe if dark chocolate chips aren't your jam.
To store these cheesecake bars, place the completely cooled bars in a covered food storage container and store in the fridge for a few days.
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Serving Size:1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 421Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 183mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 7gSugar: 19gProtein: 10g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.