Chili Basil Ricotta Brownies

chili basil ricotta brownies

These chili basil ricotta brownies might seem like a strange mixture of flavors, but spicy and sweet, chili and chocolate, and basil and ricotta are all perfect pairs. When you take your first bite of these brownies you will quickly realize that they have just the right balance of flavors for an after dinner treat! The spice level is not very high, it’s just enough to tickle your taste buds and wake you up from the after dinner food coma!

The inspiration for this recipe

In embracing the holiday spirit, I wanted to make a batch of red and green brownies while avoiding the typical red and green additives like peppermint or food coloring. For green, I decided instead to go with basil. I swapped out the more common cream cheese topping for ricotta which complements the basil well. From there it was easy to find the perfect red. I went with chili peppers to add a nice kick to the brownies and balance the vibrant basil and creamy ricotta.

Prepping the main ingredients

Mince up the veggie and herb very small because no one wants to be crunching on vegetables in their brownies. I mention this in the recipe below – I used fresno chilis for a mild heat. If you want to crank this up a notch, you can use thai chilis instead.

chopping the chili and basil

Like most good brownies, this recipe starts with butter and chocolate in a bowl!

chocolate and butter in a bowl

Make the brownies

Sugar, brown sugar, and eggs go into the brownie mixture, along with a little flour and vanilla.

mixing up the brownie batter

Spike the ricotta mixture with chili and basil

The ricotta mixture has an egg, sugar, a little flour, and vanilla. Then mix in the basil and chile pepper. very festive so far!

the ricotta chili basil mixture

Baking the chili basil ricotta brownies

I feel like I am usually not great at the marbling part of making brownies. I actually did pretty well this time. Basically spread the ricotta mixture on top and then just use a knife to create a marbling effect with the topping and the brownie itself.

swirl and bake!

Pop the chili basil ricotta brownies into the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes. I like to just barely cook my brownies. The more fudgy and gooey the better.

chili basil ricotta brownies

These brownies came out great! I had 4 within a few minutes then I immediately packed them up and gave them away so I wouldn’t eat anymore.

chili basil ricotta brownies

The chili is a nice subtle heat but the flavor of it goes really well with the basil and ricotta in these brownies. Using ricotta instead of cream cheese adds a level of class to the brownies.

chili basil ricotta brownies

Twists on chili basil ricotta brownies

You could use a dried chili for these to give them more of a traditional mexican chocolate flavor. I was actually going to do that at first! In the end I wanted the bright red color of the fresno peppers to pop in the final dish. I mentioned using fresnos for a mild heat, but you could also use thai chilis to make it hotter! Or just omit the chilis all together if you want that basil ricotta flavor on it’s own. You could also do a cream cheese topping instead of ricotta if you prefer.

I don’t cook many sweets on here, but if you want more unique twists on holiday desserts, check out my amaro shortbread cookies, or sweet potato pie chai brownies!

Chili Basil Ricotta Brownies

Basil and chili peppers make a perfect red and green in these festive ricotta brownies.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Spicy, Sweets
Servings: 12 large brownies
Calories: 233kcal


Brownie base

  • 1 stick butter
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Creamy topping

  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup minced red chili peppers use fresno chilis for medium or thai for spicy
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • pinch salt


  • Preheat oven to 350, line 8×8 baking dish with butter and parchment paper.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave. Add all the other brownie ingredients and whisk well. Pour into the baking dish.
  • Meanwhile, mix all the topping ingredients together well. Pour the topping ingredients onto the brownies. Use a spatchula to swirl the topping into the brownies creating a spiral pattern.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and pull from the oven when the top is JUST BARELY set. You want it to have the slightest jiggle. This will assure that the brownies are super fudgy and
  • Allow to cool before cutting and serving.


Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 201IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 1mg

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