Pumpkin Cheesecake

November 13, 2020

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Pumpkin Cheesecake – such an impressive autumn dessert recipe! It’s boasting of tempting pumpkin and spice flavor, it’s luxuriously rich, silky smooth and the flavor is exceptionally delicious! It’s sure to be the crowning finish of any meal.

Close up image of slice of pumpkin cheesecake that is topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream.

Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

So what makes this dessert so special? It tastes like a classic cheesecake meets a warmly spiced pumpkin pie both blended into one irresistible and ultra decadent dessert.

In other words move over pumpkin pie, there’s a new competitor at the holiday table that’s sure to get rave reviews!

And after many years of making this dessert I’ve perfected it!

Plus it’s actually easier to make than you’d think. Just follow this simple guide and the step-by-step photos while keeping to the tips, such as drying the pumpkin, using a water bath and softening the cream cheese well for a lump-free cheesecake.

Then the hardest part is waiting for it to set in the fridge, patience pays off once you’re savoring every last bite.

Serve well chilled and top it to your hearts content.Overhead image of six slices of pumpkin cheesecake on a white serving platter.

Image of ingredients needed to make pumpkin cheesecake. Includes graham crackers, sugar, butter, cream cheese, eggs, pumpkin, spices, sour cream and vanilla.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Ingredients and Substitutes

  • Graham cracker crumbs: I’ve listed two methods to achieve fine crumbs below. Another option here would be to make a gingersnap crust using crushed gingersnap cookies (in this case you’d need 12 oz, reduce sugar to 1 1/2 Tbsp in crust).
  • Granulated sugar: Half brown sugar can be substituted in the filling. Just crumble up any lumps before adding. If you want cheesecake sweeter, use 1 1/2 cups sugar.
  • Butter: You can use unsalted or salted butter depending on the flavor profile you are looking for.
  • Cream cheese: Use best quality cream cheese when making cheesecake, it really does make a difference.
  • Salt: This ingredient just highlights the flavors, just a little will help keep it from tasting a little flat.
  • Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves: In a pinch you could substitute pumpkin pie spice for those listed here. You can also adjust amount of spices to taste.
  • Eggs: These help bind the ingredients and add structure to the cheesecake, don’t omit them.
  • Canned pumpkin puree: You can use homemade pumpkin puree here (don’t skip the drying step though). Just avoid canned pumpkin pie mix as it has added sugar and spices and would throw the recipe off.
  • Vanilla extract: This really compliments the flavors of the pumpkin, don’t skip it.
  • Sour cream: The little bit of this just adds another light tang and helps improve overall texture.

Scroll down for ingredient amounts and directions in a recipe box below.
Collage of six images showing steps to preparing a graham cracker crust for cheesecake.

How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl stir together graham crackers with 3 Tbsp granulated sugar. Pour in butter and stir until evenly moistened.
  3. Press graham cracker mixture into an even layer along the bottom and about halfway up the sides of springform pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven 9 minutes, remove and let cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  5. Bring plenty of water to a boil in a large pot, this will be used later for the water bath to bake the cheesecake.

Collage of six images showing steps to preparing pumpkin cheesecake batter in a mixing bowl.

How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling and Bake

  1. In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer set on medium-low speed, blend together cream cheese, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves until well blended and smooth.
  2. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending until combined after each addition.
  3. Spread pumpkin out on 4 layers of paper towels. Top with another 4 layers of paper towels then press to remove excess moisture. You should now have about 10 – 11 oz of pumpkin or 1 1/4 cups.
  4. Roll paper towels, then dump pumpkin into bowl with cream cheese mixture. Blend with mixer until combined.
  5. Add sour cream and vanilla and blend until combined. Tap bowl against countertop to remove any large air bubbles.
  6. Wrap exterior of springform pan with two layers of heavy duty foil large enough to cover sides entirely (this is to prevent water from seeping in so careful not to tear).
  7. Pour pumpkin cheesecake filling into prepared graham cracker crust. Spread filling even or wiggle pan to level.
  8. Transfer cheesecake to a roasting pan, fill enough boiling water around the sides of the pan for level of water to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  9. Bake in preheated oven until cheesecake edges are nearly set and center just wiggles slightly, about 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes. Turn oven off, prop oven door ajar with a wooden spoon or oven mitt and let cheesecake rest in there 1 hour.
  10. Remove cheesecake from water bath and let cool on a wire rack at room temperature 2 hours.
  11. Transfer to fridge and let rest 8 hours. Remove springform ring then cut into slices and serve with desired toppings.

Collage of six images finishing pumpkin cheesecake batter, pouring into springform pan and then baking in a water bath.

Topping Recommendations

I recommend serving this pumpkin cheesecake with:

How to Make as Cupcakes

Looking to make it as individual servings? Try my Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes.

Nearly whole pumpkin cheesecake shown on a platter with a slice cut.

How to Store

  • Wait to add toppings.
  • Store in an airtight container or cover cheesecake pan tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Store in fridge up to 4 days.
  • Freeze up to 3 months (wrap in foil and store in an airtight container).

Helpful Tips

  • Don’t skip drying pumpkin puree or there will be too much moisture in the cheesecake and it will throw the texture off.
  • Soften cream cheese well to avoid lumps. I just use microwave softening.
  • Use a water bath for more even baking, it also reduces the risk of cracks.
  • Let cheesecake cool in warm oven so it doesn’t crack and finishes baking through.
  • Allow plenty of time for the cheesecake to chill through and fully set, otherwise the texture will be off and it will be runny, plus warm cheesecake just wouldn’t taste right.

Three slices of pumpkin cheesecake shown on small white dessert plates set over a teal colored cloth.

More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love

More Cheesecake Favorites to Try

Pumpkin Cheesecake
5 from 4 votes

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Such an impressive autumn dessert! It's boasting of pumpkin and spice flavor, it's luxuriously rich, silky smooth and the flavor is exceptionally delicious! It's sure to be the highlight of any meal.
Servings: 14

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups (240g) graham cracker crumbs* (from about 16 sheets)
  • 3 Tbsp (40g) granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 3 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, well softened**
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon***
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (not pie mix!)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream

Instructions

To make the crust

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a medium mixing bowl mix together graham crackers with 3 Tbsp granulated sugar. Pour in butter and stir until evenly moistened.
  • Press graham cracker mixture into an even layer along the bottom and about halfway up the sides of springform pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven 9 minutes, remove and let cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • Bring plenty of water to a boil in a large pot, this will be used later for the water bath to bake the cheesecake.

For the cheesecake filling

  • In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer set on medium-low speed blend together cream cheese, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves until well blended and smooth.
  • Mix in eggs one at a time, blending until just combined after each addition.
  • Spread pumpkin out over 4 layers of paper towels. Top with another 4 layers of paper towels then press to remove excess moisture. You should now have about 10 - 11 oz of pumpkin or 1 1/4 cups.
  • Roll paper towels then drop pumpkin into bowl with cream cheese mixture. Blend until just combined.
  • Add sour cream and vanilla and blend until combined. Tap bowl against countertop to remove any large air bubbles.
  • Wrap exterior of springform pan with two layers of heavy duty foil large enough to cover sides entirely (this is to prevent water from seeping in so careful not to tear).
  • Pour pumpkin cheesecake filling into prepared graham cracker crust. Spread filling even or wiggle pan to level.
  • Transfer cheesecake to a roasting pan, fill enough boiling water around the sides of the pan for level of water to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven until cheesecake edges are nearly set and center just wiggles slightly, about 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes. Turn oven off, prop oven door ajar with a wooden spoon or oven mitt and let cheesecake rest in there 1 hour.
  • Remove cheesecake from water bath and let cool on a wire rack at room temperature 2 hours.
  • Transfer to fridge and let chill 8 hours. Remove springform ring then cut into slices and serve with desired toppings.

Notes

  • *To crush graham crackers place in a food processor and pulse to very fine crumbs. If you don't have food processor place in a gallon size resealable bag, seal bag and crush with a rolling pin to a fine texture. You can also buy pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs.
  • **I just use the microwave to soften the cream cheese. Remove from packaging first. Soften rotating once to soften on both sides until finger easily presses in to cream cheese.
  • ***Instead of using all the spices listed you can just use 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice.

Topping Recommendations

I recommend serving this with:
Toppings are not included in nutrition estimate.
Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 413 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Cholesterol 124mg41%
Sodium 340mg15%
Potassium 192mg5%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 28g31%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 5662IU113%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 90mg9%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.