Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars combine seasonal flavors to make the best pumpkin dessert. A gorgeous, smooth pumpkin cheesecake layer bakes on top of a dense, rich brownie base. Speckled with chocolate chips, these decadent cheesecake brownies are the perfect autumnal dessert. Makes 12 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!
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 the temperatures begin to dip?
Why I love this recipe:
So. Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies…
These beauties started out as a seasonal take on my wonderfully delicious and addictive Ooey Gooey Bars.
Then they turned into something entirely different as they baked, forming a gorgeously smooth pumpkin cheesecake on top of a dense, rich dark chocolate brownie.
The chocolate is intense in the brownie bar, and the pumpkin cheesecake has an awesome, creamy texture with robust pumpkin flavor.
The end result is a decadent, rich Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar that’s perfect for this time of year.
Oh, and it can be eaten warm or cold.
I recommend letting them cool completely before slicing into them, so if you want to try them warm, take your slice, put it on a plate and heat in the microwave for 15-30 seconds to warm it up.
No matter how you serve these bars or when, you’re in for a total treat.
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 this recipe:
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Let’s talk ingredients!
In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.
Here’s what you need:
- Bittersweet baking chocolate bars—these serve as the base for the brownies, and we want the chocolate to be rich and intense
- Milk or semisweet chocolate chips—to balance out that bittersweet chocolate without making our brownie base too sweet
- Unsalted butter—you’ll need a full stick of this between the brownie base and the cheesecake topping.
- Eggs—these give structure to our brownies (and give them that awesome brownie texture we all know and love), as well as structure to the cheesecake. There is no substitute.
- Granulated sugar—also known as white sugar, this is the sweetener we use for the brownie base. There is no substitute.
- Vanilla extract—if you’ve got the pure kind, use that! It adds depth of flavor to the brownie.
- All-purpose flour—I prefer unbleached flour, but you can use regular AP if you’ve got that!
- Kosher salt—I use a medium-grain salt, so if you’ve got a finer grain salt (whether it’s kosher, sea salt or table salt), you need to add a little less, so your bars don’t get too salty.
- Cream cheese—while I’m sure you could use the reduced fat version, I highly recommend using the classic for the ultimate cheesecake creaminess and flavor.
- Pumpkin puree—not the pre-seasoned, sweetened pumpkin pie filling
- Powdered sugar—this is the sweetener we use in the cheesecake topping, and I love it because it’s light and fluffy, so it blends in easily.
- Ground cinnamon—we just need a little bit to make the pumpkin sing! Alternately, you could use the same amount of pumpkin pie spice if you love it.
- Dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips—for another touch of chocolate on top of the bars!
Unlike a lot of cheesecake bars, this recipe doesn’t call for graham crackers (because brownie is our base, not a graham cracker crust), sour cream or whipped cream.
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
Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium-sized bowl. Measure out the chocolates and butter. Heat in the microwave in 10-15 second increments. Stir after each turn.
Did you know…
It’s important to heat the chocolate and butter in short bursts of time. 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 terrible.
Mix the “wet” ingredients. Crack the eggs in another large bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla. Use a hand mixer to beat these ingredients until creamy and light.
It’ll take 2-3 minutes, depending on how fast you’re running your hand mixer.
Temper the egg mixture if the chocolate is still hot.
How to temper
Add a little bit of the chocolate to the egg mixture. Stir it quickly to warm up the eggs slightly without cooking them. Then pour the rest of the chocolate into the egg mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until combined.
Add the dry ingredients. Measure in the flour and salt, and use the mixers to beat until combined.
Pour the brownie base into the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula to spread it out into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
The brownie batter will be thick, but not so thick that you can’t spread it in the pan.
Make the Cheesecake Filling
Mix the base. In another bowl, mix the cream cheese and pumpkin using the hand mixer. You’ll mix until it’s fluffy and a beautiful orange color. It needs to be well-combined.
Add eggs to the pumpkin mixture. Mix until combined. Then drizzle in the melted butter, and mix until smooth.
Sweeten the mixture. Measure in the cinnamon and powdered sugar. Use the hand mixer on the lowest setting to ensure the powdered sugar doesn’t fly out all over the place, and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the brownie base. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top of the cheesecake layer, and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake the Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set. This means it’s no longer liquidy. It will have a slight jiggle, but it should hold together as you move the pan.
Once the brownie bars are baked through, let them cool and then slice into individual bars.
If you wait for the cheesecake to cool, the slicing and sharing process will be easier because the bars won’t fall apart.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
No. Pumpkin pie filling is already spiced and sweetened. This recipe calls for pumpkin PUREE.
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 the best pumpkin dessert. A gorgeous, smooth pumpkin cheesecake layer bakes on top of a dense, rich brownie base. Speckled with chocolate chips, these decadent cheesecake brownies are the perfect autumnal dessert.
- 4 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate (70% cocoa)
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13" baking dish with parchment paper, and spritz with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
Make the Brownie Base
- Measure the baking chocolate, chocolate chips and butter 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 dense.
- Pour the brownie base mixture into the prepared 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, blend the cream cheese and pumpkin together using the hand mixer. 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 well-mixed.
- Pour this cheesecake layer on top of the brownie mixture in the pan.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of cheesecake layer. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
- 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: 496Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 171mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 4gSugar: 35gProtein: 9g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.