Grain-Free Cheesecake Swirl Brownies


Do you love brownies, but need an easy grain-free version? Once again, former pastry chef Megan Keatley of Health-Bent comes through for all of us with a healthier version of an old favorite in this guest post just in time for the holidays. No grains, no refined sweeteners, and no refined vegetable oils.Thanks, Megan!

I’ve taken my favorite fudgey brownie recipe and added a little holiday pizazz with some cheesecake batter swirled in. Adapt this recipe by removing the vanilla from the cheesecake batter and adding your favorite extract, like mint, orange or coffee; or you could mix in a bit of raspberry jam. Very easy to put together, hard to screw up, festive and something the kids can help you make. What more could you ask for?

Grain-Free Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Yield: 12 brownies

The Players
Brownie Ingredients

Cheesecake Ingredients

The How-To

Set your oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brownie ingredients until well combined, and pour into a greased 9×9 oven-safe baking dish.

Add the cream cheese to your mixer bowl and beat until smooth, add the rest of the ingredients and beat until combined.

Dollop the cream cheese batter on top of the brownie batter. Using a knife, or a toothpick, swirl the cheesecake batter into the brownie batter. This would be a great thing for kids to do! Another option would be to remove the vanilla extract and add your favorite extract flavoring to the cheesecake batter; mint, almond, orange, coffee, coconut–would all work well.

Bake for about 35 minutes–until the top has slightly cracked. Serve well chilled, just like cheesecake.

For recipes and practical instructions for eating this way (dairy-free and grain-free), I highly recommend the PaleoGrubs Cookbook.

It’s the simplest way to get started, and it includes every kind of recipe you’ll ever need (more than 470 of them!).

(Click here to check out the PaleoGrubs Cookbook.)



    • KristenM says

      I think you could do that if you reduce the amount of coconut milk. My guess would be to reduce the coconut milk by 1/5th or 1/6th if I was using the date paste instead of coconut or palm sugar. But, no promises!

    • KristenM says

      Cristie — I think you could substitute honey, but you’d have to modify the recipe. Honey is not only significantly sweeter than coconut or palm sugar, but it’s also a liquid. When I substitute honey, I reduce the liquid by 1/3 cup for every cup of honey I use.

  1. says

    These look excellent! I have metabolic syndrome, so I can’t have sugar in any form. I’ll have to see if I can figure out how to sub stevia without loosing the bulking properties of sugar, possibly by increasing the cream cheese and almonds.

  2. says

    These look incredible! I’m intrigued by palm sugar – having followed SCD for a number of years I’m starting to branch out and think about other things. I tend to use small amounts of dates and honey, but if you have any tips on info about palm sugar I’d be very grateful!

    x x x

  3. says

    I made these last night for a friend who is gluten sensitive for Xmas. Loved how easy they are to make.
    Taste test after chilling overnight! WOW, it’s like a cheesecake landed on top of a decadent dark chocolate brownie and you only need a little piece to feel very happy indeed. I used the trader joes bittersweet (no sugar) gallettes, cut them in half and added 1/3 cup to the brownie batter. They are delish when you find one, deep dark and a bit crunchy. YUM. I think adding walnuts or mac nuts to this might make it the best thing ever for satisfying a sweet/fat tooth craving.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  4. RJ_UK says

    This sounds amazing, will be making it this weekend to curb sweet tooth.

    Why use full fat coconut milk?Would the low fat option work ?

    Can I substitute the palm sugar with carob molasses ?

    • Suzanne says

      I would never use low fat coconut milk as it has additives in it. Full fat coconut milk will not harm you.

  5. RJ_UK says

    for anyone who may be interested in the nutritional value and calories, I found a website that can analyse the recipe…. see below (although I had to change the palm sugar to brown sugar as it did not recognise it)

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size 79 g

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 307Calories from Fat 217
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 24.1g37%
    Saturated Fat 8.9g45%
    Cholesterol 68mg23%
    Sodium 133mg6%
    Total Carbohydrates 19.6g7%
    Dietary Fiber 1.9g7%
    Sugars 12.8g
    Protein 7.0g

    Vitamin A 6% • Vitamin C 1%
    Calcium 10% • Iron 11%

    Nutrition Grade D+
    * Based on a 2000 calorie diet

    1 c almond butter (view)
    2 eggs (view)
    1/3 c cocoa powder (view)
    1/2 c canned coconut milk (view)
    1/2 c brown sugar (view)
    1/4 t salt (view)
    1/3 c chocolate chips (view)
    8 oz cream cheese (view)
    1 egg (view)
    1/3 c brown sugar (view)
    2 t vanilla extract (view)

    Servings 12

  6. Rachel says

    These are so amazing! I have made them twice now :) They are good out of the oven but fantastic after they have been in the fridge overnight :) Thanks!!!!!

  7. Petra Canup via Facebook says

    Sounds and looks great. Nut allergies in our house otherwise I was going to try this. :( Enjoy a bite for me.

  8. Sheree Northcutt via Facebook says

    We have been using Sunbutter in place of nutbutters lately and I have to say we really really love it! Having peanut, treenut, latex, shellfish, and now gluten allergies in our house I was becoming quite discouraged. This looks yummy and I can’t wait to try it.

  9. Andrea says

    What do you think about subbing the almond butter with Sunflower seed butter? I guess I just better try it… :)

    • says

      I think it would also be interesting to try coconut butter, sometimes also called Coconut Manna. I made a cake with it recently that someone had modified, originally calling for almond butter and it turned out fantastic!

  10. Andrea says

    Oh, sorry for my last comment, I just saw the others about sunflower butter. Thanks SO MUCH for this incredibly awesome blog!!!

  11. says

    I made these brownies the other day for my boyfriend and his mom and they were amazing! They loved them. I was a little worried that the almond butter flavor would be to overpowering, but it is just perfect. Also, you can really taste the cheescake part. Delish!

  12. says

    The recipes sound fabulous and I am going to make the Cheesecake Brownies for sure. Do you think you could ask your sponsors to stop with the animated commercials. They really slow my computer down and are irritating to my eyes. It is time they switch to a more user friendly format.

  13. says

    This looks so yummy, but any suggestions for alternative to the almond butter? We have nut allergies in our house, and I prefer to avoid almonds (even though they are “supposedly” on our safe list).

  14. Lisa says

    These look wonderful! I’m going to try making them with honey to make them a GAPS-legal dessert.

    For those with nut allergies, sun butter or coconut manna (sometimes called coconut butter, it’s easy to make your own) is a good substitute.

  15. Charity says

    Ooh! These look absolutely delicious!!! Do you think there is any way to substitute Almond FLOUR for the Almond butter?

  16. Mary Beth Elderton says

    I just made these! OMGoodness…delicious! I think I saw it on FB recently and came over to pin it. Was looking for something chocolate to make,something with ingredients on hand. I was out of almond butter, but I did have a jar of Tropical Traditions’ wonderful Coconut Peanut butter. Thank you!
    BTW–I don’t yet know what it tastes like chilled,utit
    s wonderful warm right out of the pan :)

  17. Mandisa Jean-Pierre via Facebook says

    Omg! These are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. One of my favorite recipes. Thanks for the reminder, I need to make them again.

  18. Melissa Allred Jessop via Facebook says

    I made my own almond butter and made these. First paleo brownies and they turned out pretty good! Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Emily says

    I was just wondering if I could use homemade soaked peanut butter instead of almond butter and raw whole milk instead of coconut milk?

  20. says

    It’s healthy and warming and soothing for the temple we were given to eat some bread every now and then, same with animal flesh. Nuts, vegetables, and fruits on the other hand are great all the time, mostly vegetables and the fat from nuts.

  21. says

    if you eat grains the best way to eat healthy is to have it in flour form for baking lightly and an oil for fat, starches and fat work together well. Just don’t have much, just get some carbs from it, not a lot, as your body doesn’t need much. Grains are best heirloom, or ancient as heirloom actually is, and organic.

  22. Kimber says

    Can these be made with an egg replacement like flax eggs? We are currently in the middle of an elimination diet to identify a potential allergy but I would love to make these next week for a birthday treat! They fit our needs otherwise! Thank you

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