Matcha brownies are the coolest trend. Ok, maybe not a trend (yet), but they should be! These have a creamy cream cheese and matcha swirl running through the gooiest gluten-free brownies. I’m drooling writing this!
So, why would you want to put caffeine in chocolate sugary brownies? Because why not! Who doesn’t love a caffeine and sugar overload! Plus, these are just a fun way to level up easy boxed brownies! This makes them super simple to put together but also a show stopper.
In reality, though, these brownies have very minimal caffeine. The entire pan has the equivalent of 4 cups of matcha so this is a great afternoon treat that won’t weigh you down but will still deliver on the richness everyone wants from a brownie.
For ours, we used King Arthur Gluten Free Ultimate Fudge Brownie Mix to keep them celiac friendly. This boxed mix is crazy delicious! Now, I grew up on Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownies and those are the gold standard. But when I tell you these King Arthur gluten-free brownies are good, I mean they are equivalent to Ghiradelli, if not better because they are gluten-free. That’s how good they are!
Ingredients and Substitutions
All substitutions are a 1:1 substitute unless otherwise noted
Cream Cheese: We used full-fat cream cheese but another favorite is Greek-style cream cheese! It has additional protein, the same creamy texture, but slightly lower fat content.
Substitutions: Any cream cheese you like can be used.
Sugar: We used raw cane sugar from Florida Crystals Cane Sugar. The sugar helps to keep the matcha from getting too bitter by countering it with sweetness.
Substitutions: Coconut sugar, white sugar, or a low-calorie granulated sugar substitute can be used.
Matcha Powder: This is the star of the show! We prefer to use ceremonial grade matcha as it is sweeter and less bitter than culinary matcha. Try MatchaBar Ceremonial Grade Matcha!
Substitutions: Sorry, there is no substitute for this. You could use a matcha latte powder, but they typically have added sweeteners which would add sweetness overall. You could leave this out for just cheesecake brownies or use espresso powder or cocoa powder instead for a different take on brownies.
Egg: An egg is what helps the cream cheese become cheesecake and set up while baking. We love to use Vital Farms eggs to ensure our eggs come from free-range chickens.
Substitutions: Sorry, no substitutes for this!
Gluten-Free Brownie Mix: As I mentioned, we used King Arthur Gluten Free Ultimate Fudge Brownie Mix and cannot recommend it enough! We have also heard great things about Simple Mills Almond Flour Brownies! Whatever mix you use, be sure to grab the ingredients the box says you need as these are not included in the ingredient list.
Substitutions: Feel free to use your favorite boxed brownie mix!
Optional - Espresso Powder and Chocolate Chips: I LOVE adding espresso powder or instant coffee to brownie mixes because the coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate for extra goodness. And, if your brownie mix doesn’t already have chocolate chips, I always recommend adding them because why wouldn’t you want more chocolate?
Substitutions: These are both optional, so feel free to add them or not!
How to Make this - Step by Step
Step one: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 pan.
Step two: Add cream cheese, sugar, egg, and matcha to a bowl and mix until fluffy. I like to do this in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer otherwise the cream cheese does not get fully incorporated or aerated.
Step three: In another bowl, make the boxed brownie mix as directed but add espresso powder if desired. If using chocolate chips, add these after the other ingredients have been fully combined.
Step four: Pour all but a fourth of a cup of the chocolate batter into the greased pan and spread out evenly. Then pour the matcha cream cheese batter evenly over the top and carefully spread out evenly over the chocolate.
Step five: Dollop the remaining chocolate batter in 4 mostly even blobs on top of the matcha layer. Use a knife to swirl the matcha and upper chocolate layer. This is key to that gorgeous swirl!
Step six: Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Enjoy!
Watch How to Make This - Step by Step
Want that gorgeous swirl in your baked goods? Save a little bit of the bottom batter to dollop on top of the upper batter. This helps your dessert keep its defined layers while also being able to swirl in perfect swirly circles of beauty!
Facts and Common Questions
Do chocolate and matcha go together?
Does coffee go with breakfast? Yes, matcha and chocolate are a match made in heaven! The sweetness from the chocolate mellows out the earthiness of matcha for the most wonderful union!
How do I cut brownies neatly?
Good question! Run a large chef's knife under hot water for 30 seconds. Then cut the brownies while the knife is still hot. This keeps brownies from sticking to the knife thus creating a neat and clean-cut!
Do I need to refrigerate cream cheese brownies?
Yes and no. These will be fine stored on the counter for up to 5 days but they can keep up to two weeks in the fridge in an airtight container. Just be sure to store then after they have cooled. Check out our tips on storing below!
What is baking matcha? Or is that a thing?
Kind of. Baking matcha would be culinary grade matcha. Culinary grade matcha is slightly lesser quality matcha than ceremonial grade matcha. Culinary grade will be more brownish-green in color while the ceremonial grade will be bright green. As its name suggests, culinary grade is fine for baking and cooking but we prefer to use ceremonial grade because it has a slightly sweet taste and is a bit less bitter than culinary grade.
Can I use matcha tea bags for baking?
Possibly. Green tea bags are typically cheaper than green tea powder and can be used to infuse the flavor of matcha in something that has a liquid component like a cake or pudding where the milk can be infused. You can also remove the leaves from the bags and grind them in a food processor or blender to incorporate. However, it will be hard to blend them finely enough to be incorporated into a baked good that relies on a smooth texture like these brownies.
Want to Save it for Later? Here’s how!
To save these for later, place them in an airtight container once completely cooled. Store on the counter for up to five days or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Want to know why brownies always have that shiny crinkle on top? It's science! Brownies use granulated sugar in the recipe. White sugar has a certain weight that allows it, after being melted from cooking the brownies, to float to the top of the brownie and recrystallizes as it reaches the surfaces. This new form of sugar is what that shiny and slightly crunchy top to great brownies is.
More Joyful Gluten Free Recipes!
Did you try this and love it? Leave us a review, we would love to hear from you!
- 1 box brownie mix
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder optional
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- 1 any required ingredients for boxed brownie mix ours required water, oil, and an egg
Matcha Cheese Cake Swirl
- 1 cup cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1.5 tablespoon matcha powder ceremonial grade
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 pan.
- Use a hand mixer to mix cream cheese, sugar, egg, and matcha in a small bowl until fluffy and creamy.
- Make the brownies in another bowl as directed by the package. Mix in espresso powder and chocolate chips if desired.
- Pour all but ¼ of a cup of the brownie batter into the greased pan and spread evenly.
- Add the cream cheese matcha mixture to the top of the brownie and gently spread in an even layer.
- Dollup the remaining brownie batter in four even blos on top of the matcha layer.
- Swirl the matcha layer and upper chocolate layer together gently using a knife.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.