Today, we’re sharing our best protein brownie recipe that’s rich, fudgy, cream-cheesy, and super easy to make. Plus, these brownies are packed with ingredients that you can feel good about. And who doesn’t need a little more protein in their lives?
The Best Protein Brownie Recipe Quick Facts
3 Reasons Why You’ll Love This Recipe
I don’t know about you, but I’m always a bit skeptical about making the “healthy” version of treats. Sometimes it’s worth it and other times I’m better off just going for the “real” thing. In the case of these protein brownies with cream cheese, I think you’ll find them worth it, here’s why:
1. The recipe is super simple to make
No fancy steps or confusing directions here. It’s almost as simple as using a boxed mix.
2. No fancy, hard-to-find ingredients are required
In fact, I had most of the ingredients on hand and placed a quick grocery order to fill in the gaps.
3. They have 10g of protein per serving!
What Ingredients Are Needed?
This protein brownie recipe with cream cheese doesn’t require much! You’ll need ingredients for both the brownies and the cream cheese layer.
For the protein brownies:
- Butter - I went with the regular, full-fat version for this recipe as it adds a lot of flavors.
- Low-fat 1% milk - you can also choose to use unsweetened almond milk if you prefer.
- Pumpkin puree - don’t worry, your brownies won’t taste like pumpkin!
- Chocolate protein powder - I used Clean Simple Eats as it’s my favorite low-calorie, high-protein protein powder but you can use anything you have on hand. (my code TAMI will save you at Clean Simple Eats!)
- All-purpose flour - again, I didn’t go fancy or try for a substitute here, just some good, old fashioned flour.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder - this adds more chocolatey goodness and helps to mute the pumpkin puree.
- Zero-calorie granulated sweetener - Swerve or Truvia are both great options here.
- Baking soda - a staple for baked goods.
For the cream cheese swirl:
- ⅓ less-fat cream cheese - the less-fat version allows us to keep the fat content low and it tastes very similar.
- Zero-calorie granulated sweetener - you can use more of the same from the brownie portion of the recipe.
- Egg - adds a little protein and a little healthy fat.
- Vanilla extract - adds some natural flavor
How to Make Cream Cheese Protein Brownies
Making protein brownies is very similar to making regular brownies, so don’t worry - you got this!
Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F and spray an 8x8 baking dish with some non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
Then, grab a large mixing bowl and mix together your melted butter and pumpkin puree. Next, add in your protein powder, flour, cocoa powder, sweetener, and baking soda and stir until well combined. Set aside about ¼ of your brownie batter, spreading the remaining batter into an even layer in your baking pan.
In a separate bowl, cream together your cream cheese, vanilla extract, egg, and sweetener until smooth and creamy. Then, smooth your cream cheese mixture on top of your brownie batter. Taking the remaining brownie batter that you set aside, spoon dollops of it on top of the cream cheese layer and use a knife to swirl it into the brownie batter.
Place your protein brownies into your pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the center is set and an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean. Allow your brownies to cool fully, then cut them into even pieces and serve.
Below are some common questions that pop up when making this recipe.
Can you bake with protein powder?
Absolutely! Protein powder is a great substitute for additional flour in many recipes. Adding protein powder to baked goods is an excellent way to add more protein to your diet and to make hitting your daily protein goal more enjoyable.
Are protein brownies healthy?
Yes, these protein brownies are more healthy than your average boxed brownie mix because they contain over 10 grams of protein in each serving and are made with minimal ingredients. Some people take issue with artificial sweeteners, however, we believe a small amount is perfectly healthy so long as your diet consists mostly of whole, nutrient-dense foods.
Why are my protein brownies dry?
If you make this recipe or have made a protein brownie recipe in the past and found the result to be dry, consider that it might have to do with the protein powder you’re using. We have a list of the best protein powders for baking and we recommend our top options. Some protein powders are simply too dense, soak up all the liquid, and don’t bake well, leaving your brownies dry. You might need to play around with different powders to get the best results. If you notice that your brownie batter looks a bit dry, add a splash of more milk to prevent your brownies from being too dry and crusty.
Are this kid-friendly?
Yes! Kiddos and adults alike will enjoy these fudgy, creamy brownies. I have found that even children who don’t typically like cream cheese enjoy these.
Healthy Protein Brownie Recipe With Cream Cheese
These protein brownies with cream cheese swirls are rich, fudgy, and perfectly sweet thanks to the cream cheese swirl. They contain over 10g of protein per serving and make a delicious treat for everyone in the family.
- Brownie Batter:
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons low-fat 1% milk
- 1 cup pure pumpkin purée
- 75 grams of chocolate protein powder
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup erythritol sweetener, or other zero-calorie granulated sweetener
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Cream Cheese Swirl:
- 1 (8 ounces) pkg. 1/3-less fat cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup erythritol sweetener
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter, milk, and pumpkin purée.
- Add protein powder, flour, cocoa powder, sweetener, and baking soda then mix until combined. Reserve 1⁄4 cup of batter and spread the rest in an even layer in the prepared pan.
- In a new bowl, cream together all cream cheese swirl ingredients until smooth and creamy then spread over brownie batter.
- Spoon dollops of the reserved brownie batter over the cream cheese swirl and use a knife to swirl into the brownie batter.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center is set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool then cut into pieces, serve, and enjoy!!
Baking with protein powder is such a fun way to add more protein to your diet while still enjoying the treats that you know and love. Plus, when you use a recipe like this, you won’t be sacrificing taste!
I love baking with protein powder as it allows me to boost my protein and enjoy treats in moderation. And my whole family enjoys these protein brownies!
If you try this recipe, be sure to let us know! We’d love to hear your feedback!