You are going to want this strawberry swirl brownie recipe in your brownie repertoire! They’re swirled with strawberry balsamic jam and are so rich and dreamy. This recipe also came in first place in a brownie recipe contest, so it is an Award-Winning Recipe!
Moist and enriched with cream cheese, these gooey strawberry brownies will have you coming back for more!
You may also enjoy my cocoa powder brownies recipe. And for ease of browsing, you can check out all my cookie and bar recipes in one place. Enjoy!
Watch my strawberry swirl brownie recipe web story here.
What Makes These Strawberry Swirl Brownies So Excellent
If you love fruit and chocolate, the chocolate-strawberry combination is a winner. Already popularized in chocolate-dipped strawberries, this recipe pairs rich, gooey brownie batter with strawberry jam.
The addition of balsamic vinegar in both the batter and the jam sounds odd, but it adds a little zing. Plus the strawberry-balsamic combo is delicious. All three flavors work together beautifully.
This recipe makes a 9″x9″ pan of thick brownies or a 9″x13″ pan of less-thin brownies. It’s your choice, and it all depends on how thick you like your brownies.
I have made strawberry swirl brownies in both sizes of brownie pans, and I think I prefer thinner ones. Regardless, I would never turn down either version.
There’s also no need to make your own strawberry jam.
Buy a good-quality jam and stir in some good-quality balsamic, and you are in business.
How to Make Them
Brownies are a winning dessert in part because they are easy to make.
These brownies are no exception.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- cake flour: You can also substitute all-purpose flour for a slightly less gooey brownie
- baking powder: Technically optional, the baking powder provides just a little lift. For something with the texture of a flourless chocolate cake, you can leave out the baking powder. Do not substitute baking soda
- butter: 3 sticks unsalted. For slightly less gooey brownies, cut back to 2 1/2 sticks. If using salted butter, cut the amount of salt by half
- cream cheese: Adds a bit more fat, and while technically optional, I like to go all-in!
- dark chocolate: You can use chopped dark chocolate bars or good-quality dark chocolate chips. Either will work here
- cocoa powder: American cocoa powder, not Dutch process. You can’t sub Dutch-process here because the brownies won’t set up enough to slice
- salt: I use fine sea salt. You can sub table salt in the same amount. If using kosher salt, increase the amount to taste
- sugar: I use regular granulated. For slightly deeper flavor, you can use light or dark brown sugar
- eggs: I use large eggs in all my recipes. You’ll need 4. You can cut back to 3 for a less rich result
- balsamic vinegar: Use a good-quality balsamic vinegar or a balsamic glaze. If you have a flavored balsamic, even better. Try chocolate balsamic or strawberry balsamic
- strawberry jam: Homemade or store-bought. I generally buy Bonne Maman
Here’s how you’ll make these brownies:
- Whisk flour and baking powder together and set aside.
- Place the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl.
- Melt the butter and cream cheese together, either in the microwave on medium power or on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Pour the melted butter/cream cheese over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted.
- Whisk in the cocoa powder and salt
- Then whisk in the sugar and balsamic.
- Last, whisk the eggs in, one at a time.
- Fold in the dry ingredients.
Once you make your batter, make the swirl:
- Stir strawberry jam and balsamic together until thoroughly combined. That’s it. One step!
You’ll pour your batter into a 9″x9″ pan or a 9″x13″ pan that you’ve either pan-sprayed or lined with parchment. Top with blobs of the strawberry jam, and then run a knife back and forth through the batter making a zigzag left-right-left.
Then zigzag again at a 90-degree angle, or from top-bottom-top.
Bake at 325F for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the pan.
You’ll know they’re done when they are well-risen mostly around the edges with a nicely set top crust. Err on the side of under-baking, although dryness most likely won’t be an issue!
You can make a shortcut version of these strawberry balsamic brownies by using your favorite boxed brownie mix.
Substitute melted butter for the oil, and add:
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
Spread in your pan as directed, and top with strawberry jam-balsamic mixture, pulling your knife through to swirl.
Bake according to the package directions.
Swirl in your favorite jam, with or without balsamic vinegar.
Consider swirling in some lovely fruit compote rather than jam. This will yield a brownie with a bit more texture because of the chunks of fruit.
Equipment You May Need
Brownies are really easy to make, and I think that’s part of the reason they’re so popular.
Lots of chocolatey goodness for relatively little effort or equipment!
Pro Tips for Success
When mixing, add everything in the order specified. If you add the eggs to early, the hot butter may start to cook them. Add the eggs after adding the sugar to ensure the mixture is cool enough.
To prevent sticking, bake in non-stick pans, spray your pan with pan spray, or line your pan with parchment paper.
Strawberry Swirl Brownies Q & A
Yes. Substitute a cup of 1:1 gluten-free flour mix for the cake flour. If using the shortcut method, be sure your brownie mix is gluten-free. Try Sandi’s recipe if you’re looking for a good, tried-and-true gluten-free brownie recipe.
Since they’re so gooey, I store mine in the fridge, well covered with foil.
You can keep these refrigerated for up to a week. For longer storage, wrap them individually (or whole) in plastic wrap. Put the wrapped brownies in a freezer-safe bag, press out as much air as you can, and freeze for up to 3 months.
I like them gently warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds. But they’re also good straight from the fridge. The texture will be more fudge-like when cold, and either way works!
There’s not much better dessert than a gooey brownie.
While pretty perfect on their own, I highly recommend making a brownie sundae.
- Cut the brownies fairly large and place them on plates.
- Heat for a few seconds in the microwave until very warm.
- Scoop on your favorite ice cream (try French vanilla ice cream for true nostalgia)
- Top with strawberry sauce (or melted strawberry jam), hot fudge sauce, and some hand-whipped cream.
You can also make a sundae using my soft chocolate cookies as a base.
A Note About Measurements
Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.
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Strawberry Swirl Brownies
For the Brownies
- 1 ¼ cups sifted cake flour (5 oz)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 12 oz 3 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 oz 1/4 block cream cheese, softened
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped fine (or use chocolate chips)
- 9 Tablespoons cocoa powder not Dutch process
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar (if you have a chocolate or strawberry-infused one, by all means use it)
- 4 large eggs
For the Strawberry Swirl
- ¾ cup good quality strawberry jam
- 1 ½ Tablespoons 4 1/2 teaspoons good quality balsamic vinegar (see above)
For the Brownie Batter
- Prepare a 9×13" pan or a 9×9" pan (depending if you want thinner or thicker brownies) by lining the pan with one long strip of parchment paper or non-stick foil cut to fit the width of the pan. Allow either end of the strip to hang out over the edges. Spray the inside of the pan with pan spray, and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 325F and set an oven rack in the center of the oven.
- Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, melt together the butter and cream cheese, whisking well as they melt.
- Pour the butter over the chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.
- Carefully whisk in the cocoa powders and salt.
- Whisk in the sugar and balsamic. The mixture may look broken, but worry not.
- Thoroughly whisk in the eggs, one at a time. See now–the batter is looking lovely!
- Thoroughly fold in the dry ingredients.
For the Strawberry Swirl
- Whisk together the jam and balsamic until thoroughly combined.
- Spread the batter in the pan.
- Top with the strawberry balsamic mixture in "blobs."
- Pull a knife back and forth through the batter, first one way and then the other.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, about 50 minutes to an hour for the 9×9" pan and about 35-45 minutes for the 9×13" pan.
- Cool completely before slicing, or if you want to eat them warm, slice carefully with a serrated knife, dipping the blade in hot water and wiping it off between every slice.
Did You Make Any Changes?
As you can tell from the photos, these guys aren’t cakey at all. There’s a bit of crumb around the edges, but the center is like eating pudding you can slice.
If you don’t like gooey brownies, by all means make these anyway and then give them to me!
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