40+ Mouthwatering Desserts That Start With Cream Cheese
Velvety, buttery, and delicious, with just a hint of tang, cream cheese is a key ingredient in many most-loved desserts. From cheesecakes and frostings to tarts and roulades, cream cheese is incredibly versatile and is a must-have in any baker's fridge. Browse this collection of our best cream cheese dessert recipes for new ways to wow family and friends alike.
No-Bake Margarita Cheesecake Bars
They’re cool, they’re creamy, they’re spiked with tequila—honestly, what more could you ask for? It’s everyone’s favorite summer cocktail, in decadent cheesecake form. And on top of being delicious, these No-Bake Margarita Cheesecake Bars don’t require a springform pan, a water bath, or heating up your kitchen; they’re virtually fuss-free. For more tips on making flawless no-bake cheesecakes, check out our guide to making them perfect every time.
Oreo Churros With Oreo Cream Dip
Street food, meet the supermarket. Two of the greatest desserts collide for a treat nobody can resist: Oreo Churros. Crispy churros get an upgrade coated in the classic chocolatey Oreo crumb, but the creamy dip is the real winner here. It's sweet but slightly tangy from the cream cheese, and tastes a lot like the filling you'd find in an Oreo cookie. You can use any flavor Oreo you like here, which makes your flavor possibilities endless.
Carrot Cake "Brownies"
These Carrot Cake "Brownies" are inspired by the classic springtime confection. Beyond being approachable for bakers of any skill level, these blondies (i.e. brownies without chocolate) are infinitely adaptable. For example, we call for rice flour here—because rice flour does an exceptionally good job of absorbing excess moisture that comes with incorporating fresh carrot into the batter—however, if you would prefer to use all-purpose flour, go for it. Your blondies will simply have a slightly softer consistency. If you’d rather use butter over coconut oil, that’s absolutely OK. Have a bag of almonds in your freezer but no walnuts? No problem, use what you have!
Our Rhubarb Cheesecake is a crowd-pleaser for a reason: The filling is super creamy and maintains the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, while the crust is crunchy and keeps its structure. When baking the cheesecake in a water bath, make sure the water remains at least halfway up the springform pan to prevent cracks and sinking. Jules Destrooper cookies can be hard to find, so you can substitute with 2 ¼ cups of Graham cracker crumbs or another crunchy cookie. If you can’t find fresh rhubarb for the compote, using frozen rhubarb is fine.
Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies
Fudgy brownies and Andes mints are already delicious, but swirl some cheesecake into that mixture and you’ve got a triple-threat dessert. If you like grasshopper pie, or just enjoy incorporating mint into sweeter dishes, you’ll love these Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies. All the ingredients are easy to find, and the chopped Andes mints add a nice crunch to balance out the decadent swirled brownies. We used food coloring, but these brownies are just as delicious without it.
No-Bake Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes
These decadent little cheesecakes are basically edible eggnog with Biscoff cookie crusts, giving them nice mix of creamy sweetness and a buttery, Speculoos-like flavor. Use your favorite brand of store-bought eggnog for the cream cheese filling. The mini cheesecakes will work if they sit for four hours, but for best results, let them rest overnight. Top with whipped cream and nutmeg just before serving.
Are you ready for the only holiday pie recipe you’ll ever need for the rest of your life? Because this is it. Bursting with gingerbread flavor, this pie isn’t for the faint of heart. Gingerbread always packs a seasoning punch, but pair it with a luscious, creamy filling and a crunchy crust for an unforgettable pie. You’d think a pie this delicious was labor intensive, but it’s actually quite simple. The secret? Using cookie butter as a base for the filling. You can make this pie up to three days in advance, and then just grab it and go when you’re heading out. Top with additional gingersnaps for an even more gingery experience.
Chocolate Sugar Cookie Bars
Bake this classic cookie dough in an 8-inch pan for perfectly sliceable bar cookies. Top with a generous amount of our homemade cream cheese frosting and dust with colorful, seasonal sprinkles.
Dulce de Leche-Cheesecake Pecan Pie
This is not your ordinary pecan pie. A layer of rich and creamy dulce de leche cheesecake is really the star of this dessert, but you’ll love the gooey pecan pie filling and toasted nuts on top, and the hint of cinnamon in the pecan crust. Serve this showstopping dessert with a hot cup of bourbon-spiked coffee and prepare for compliments and empty plates.
Keto Pumpkin Pie
Believe it or not, this keto pumpkin pie tastes like the real thing. The sweetness is just right, and unlike other keto desserts, this pie doesn’t have a strong aftertaste from keto-approved sweeteners—so if you’re not a huge fan of sugar to begin with, you may like this even more. The nutty crust pairs excellently with the spicy, creamy filling, and everyone at the table will approve of this twist on pumpkin pie, so there’s no need to make more than one dessert.
Gingerbread Cake Roll with Eggnog Cream
Made with fresh ginger, bourbon, and molasses, this dark, spicy gingerbread cake pairs wonderfully with the light and creamy eggnog filling. This cake does need to chill for at least 8 hours, so make sure you plan ahead. Dust the top of this gingerbread cake roll with powdered sugar for an extra holiday touch.
Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies
If you have a neighborhood cookie swap or church social on your calendar this season, these sandwich cookies are sure to be a hit. Cookies and bars are always crowd-pleasers—and make great handmade gifts for friends and family during the holidays. Choose a gingersnap or linzer from this lineup of Christmas treats if you want to include some of the classic holiday cookies on your dessert tray as well.
Our Cannoli Cheesecake has that classic cannoli flavor you love, but with a creamier, more palatable texture. It’s super smooth, and easier to make than full-on cream cheese-based cheesecake. The secret to the unbeatable texture is adding a dish of water to the oven—the steam helps set the cheesecake without overcooking it. Garnish with whipped cream for a little extra pizzazz, or dust with powdered sugar right before serving to play up the cannoli factor.
Pumpkin-Spice Magic Cake
If you can't get enough pumpkin spice during fall, we have one more recipe you must try out. For our Pumpkin Spice Cake recipe, we combined silky flan with moist pumpkin spice cake and buttery caramel sauce in one incredible confection. We were inspired by a Mexican dessert called “impossible flan”. While it is not at all difficult to make, our Test Kitchen recommends using a light-colored Bundt pan for the best results. A dark-colored pan may get too hot and overbake the cake.
Black-and-Blue Buttermilk Tart
Everyone has a favorite fruit cobbler recipe but, if you need another reason to love fresh summer berries, try this creamy tart for a cool dessert. The sweet -and-salty buttery cracker crust looks beautiful once you slip it out of the tart pan, but you can also use a 9-inch pie plate. The crust will be a bit shallower but will still look and taste great. The tart needs to chill at least 8 hours before serving, making this a nice choice for a make-ahead dessert. If transporting to a party, protect the crust and don’t remove the tart from the pan until you are ready to serve. This recipe is a great way to enjoy blueberries and blackberries, but it is equally delicious with strawberries, peaches, or your favorite fresh fruit. Swap out the herb garnishes and use fresh mint leaves, or garnish with citrus zest for an added pop of flavor.
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
We’ve got a triple-threat here: Rich red velvet, gooey, fudgy brownies, and tangy cheesecake unite to form a dessert bar everyone will love. These red velvet cheesecake brownies are decadent without being too sweet, thanks to the cheesecake swirl, and a delicious twist on plain old brownies. They slice super clean, but remain gooey and soft. If you like your brownies fudgy bake them on the lower 30-minute end. For cakier brownies, bake longer, up to 35 minutes. Lining your pan with parchment keeps these from sticking to the pan, making them much easier to slice.
Cappuccino Swirl Bars
Red, White, and Blueberry-Filled Cupcakes
Tender and moist cupcakes with a fruity filling and topped with a tangy cream cheese icing — all the best of summer in one little package. This recipe can easily be doubled if you need a dessert for a large gathering. The jammy blueberry filling is a sweet surprise inside each cupcake but, if you prefer strawberry, simply replace the fruit and preserves.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Pretzel Pie
Remember that strawberry-pretzel salad that showed up at every church supper? We’ve turned it into your new favorite pie with a salty-sweet pretzel crust and added zip from rhubarb. We all love our classic desserts, but sometimes it is fun to change them up a bit and create something new. The frozen strawberries used in the traditional recipe are fine if it is the middle of winter but, since plump, fresh berries available at the Farmers’ Market, we thought they would make a delicious change to this pie.
Think the keto diet means you can't have cheesecake? Think again. Our keto-friendly cheesecake gets its sweet notes from erythritol sweetener, which can be found at Whole Foods.
King Cake Eclairs
Fill delicious homemade eclairs with a cream cheese-based filling and top with colored glazes for a Mardi Gras-inspired twist on the pastry case classic.
Chocolate Cookie Butter Cheese Ball
For an easy, no-bake treat that everyone will love, look no further than this decadent and chocolatey dessert cheese ball. Serve with dippers like strawberries, apple slices, and pretzels. It’s like an easy-to-make (and easy-to-share) “deconstructed” take on chocolate cheesecake.
Everything you love about classic Italian tiramisu, layered into an impressive cake. Drizzle basic yellow cake layers with a coffee "soak," then top with a decadent frosting made from mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, coffee liqueur, and homemade whipped cream.
Cranberry Fluff Salad
While it might not be the best-looking dish on the holiday table, it will be incredibly popular. Super sweet and creamy, this dish will work just as well as a side as it will as a dessert. We guarantee there won't be leftovers.
Sweet Potato Dump Cake
This fall-inspired "dump cake" features a sweet potato-and-cream-cheese filling that's both creamy and satisfying.
Instant Pot Salted Caramel-Pecan Cheesecake
Rich, creamy, and smooth, this cheesecake "bakes" surprisingly well right in the Instant Pot. Drizzle your remaining caramel sauce on top after the dessert cools to make this showstopping cake look as amazing as it tastes.
For an easy dessert that’s sure to please, look no further than our decadent Butterfinger Pie. Although it takes only 15 minutes to whip up, this candy bar-inspired treat is the peanut butter pie upgrade you won’t soon forget.
Banana Split Waffle Cake
Talk about a birthday breakfast—inspired by the flavors of a classic ice cream treat, this impressive waffle stack makes for such a fun way to kick off an extra-special day. Using store-bought waffle mix keeps this decadent breakfast-for-dessert recipe easy to execute, while sprinkles, whipped cream, and a cherry on top make it feel like a total party on a plate.
Praline-Cream Cheese King Cake
If you’re looking for a new king cake recipe to celebrate Mardi Gras, you must try this one. Our resident queen of confections, Pam Lolley, puts a new twist on this celebratory dessert. If you’re a little intimated, don’t be. Follow this recipe and don’t forget to put the baby in!
Deviled Cadbury Eggs
This sweet snack utilizes a classic Easter candy to create a fun riff on a classic Easter appetizer. The filling for these “deviled eggs” consists of the Cadbury cream center mixed with cream cheese and freshly whipped cream; pipe the airy mixture back into the hollow chocolate egg halves and dust with fine red “paprika” sprinkles.
Thin Mint Whoopie Pies
Inspired by the favorite Girl Scout Cookie, these mint-chocolate whoopie pies are a Thin Mint lover’s dream. The addition of crushed Thin Mints to the soft and fluffy dessert sandwiches delivers the perfect element of crunch. In other words, here’s yet another fine reason to fully stock your freezer with these iconic Girl Scout Cookies this season.
Pumpkin Spice Fudge
We turned the classic pumpkin pie (and the trendiest of fall spice blends) into a tasty confection. Fudge doesn't require the tempering, rolling, and shaping of other made-from-scratch candies. If you don't have a candy thermometer, do the cold water test: Drop a small amount of the cooked sugar mixture in cold water. If it forms a soft ball, the mixture is ready for pouring into the prepared pan.