This pumpkin cheesecake is the perfect fall dessert! It's a rich and creamy cheesecake made with pureed pumpkins and pumpkin spice mix. Serve with caramel sauce and whipped cream for the best homemade pumpkin cheesecake!
Pumpkin cheesecake is a delicious fall dessert that tastes like a cross between pumpkin pie and cheesecake. It's smooth, creamy, and rich from the cream cheese and has tons of pumpkin flavor from the pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice mix.
It makes a fantastic dessert for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Halloween and is great for the holidays because it can be made ahead up to 2 days in advance. Serve with caramel sauce, whipped cream, and a dusting of cinnamon to celebrate the fall season!
Step by Step Photos
- Add the graham crackers or ginger snap cookies to a food processor to get even crumbs. Alternatively, place the crackers in a resealable bag and use a kitchen mallet or rolling pin to make crumbs. Mix with sugar, melted butter, salt, and pumpkin spice mix. It should resemble wet sand and hold its shape.
- Use a flat-bottomed cup or measuring cup to press the crumb mixture into a springform pan wrapped in a double layer of foil.
- Beat together the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice mix, eggs, sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt until it's smooth and creamy. To remove air bubbles, beat on the lowest speed for 2 minutes.
- Pour the pumpkin cheesecake batter into the springform pan and place it into a larger roasting pan. Pour hot water halfway up the side to create a water bath. This will help prevent any cracks and help with consistent cooking.
- Bake the cheesecake for 75 minutes and then turn off the oven, while leaving the cheesecake inside for one hour. Insert a wooden spoon into the oven door to crack it open slightly. This will slowly reduce the temperature and prevent the cheesecake from cracking or collapsing.
- Allow the pumpkin cheesecake to come to room temperature and then loosely cover it to prevent condensation. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours to overnight.
If all goes right, you should end up with a rich and creamy pumpkin cheesecake with no cracks! The key is to make sure to pop any air bubbles before baking and avoid opening the oven door during the baking and resting time.
But if you do see cracks, no worries! It will taste just as delicious and there are plenty of toppings you can use to cover it up.
This recipe will yield a 7-inch cheesecake which is about 8 to 10 servings. If you're serving a large crowd for Thanksgiving, I recommend doubling the recipe and using two cheesecake pans.
You can serve this pumpkin cheesecake as is or decorate it with whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin spice mix.
If you're serving this for a special occasion like Thanksgiving dessert, I suggest topping it with caramel sauce and flakey salt, chocolate ganache, praline, or spiced nuts. It's sure to impress your friends and family!
I hope you enjoy this pumpkin cheesecake! It's the perfect Thanksgiving dessert that your guests will love!
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs - See Note 1
- 2½ Tablespoons butter - melted
- 1 ½ Tablespoons sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon pumpkin spice powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- whipped cream - See Note 4
- caramel sauce
- Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter, sugar, pumpkin spice powder, and salt. It should resemble wet sand and hold its shape when pressed. Add the crumbs to the pan and firmly pat down to get an even layer on the bottom and sides. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 2½ Tablespoons butter, 1 ½ Tablespoons sugar, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pumpkin spice powder
- Make the batter: Reduce the oven to 325°F. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese, eggs plus extra yolk, pumpkin puree, sugar, flour, pumpkin spice powder, vanilla, and salt until smooth and creamy on medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom halfway through. Lastly, remove large air bubbles by reducing the speed to the lowest setting for 1 to 2 minutes.2 8oz packages cream cheese, 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1 cup pumpkin puree, ⅔ cup sugar, 1 ½ Tablespoons all-purpose flour, ½ Tablespoon pumpkin spice powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Water bath: Pour the batter into the springform pan and remove any air bubbles by banging the pan onto the kitchen counter lined with a kitchen towel. Put the springform pan into a larger roasting pan and add hot water halfway up the side to create a water bath.
- Bake: Bake at 325°F for 75 minutes. Turn off the oven and use a wooden spoon to crack open the oven door. Let the cheesecake slowly reduce in temperature for one hour then remove it from the oven.
- Chill: Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and remove the foil. Once it reaches room temperature, loosely cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours to overnight.
- Carefully remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. Cut slices using a thin knife that's been dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each slice. Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and a dusting of the pumpkin spice mix. Enjoy!
✎ Recipe Notes
- Graham cracker crust - Reduce the amount by half if you only want a bottom crust with no sides. Ginger snaps make a great substitute.
- Cream cheese - Use full-fat cream cheese for best results. To soften, leave at room temperature or microwave for 20 seconds at a time until soft (my preferred method).
- Pumpkin puree - Make sure you use 100% pure pumpkin puree. Not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling, which already contains sugar and spices.
- Whipped cream - Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy.
- Crust: Use a flat-bottomed measuring cup with straight sides to easily press down the graham cracker crumbs.
- Crack-free cheesecake: Cracks can form in cheesecakes due to air bubbles, over-mixing, and improper temperature. Once the batter is smooth and creamy, mix the batter on the lowest speed for 2 minutes to push out any large air bubbles. Bang the pan on the kitchen counter several times. Avoid opening the oven during baking to keep the temperature consistent. This prevents the cheesecake from collapsing and cracking.
- Once the cheesecake comes to room temperature, cover it loosely to prevent any condensation from dripping onto the cheesecake.
- Chill overnight for best results.
- Make ahead for the holidays - Pumpkin cheesecake can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.
Store leftover pumpkin cheesecake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. I recommend pre-slicing the cheesecake before freezing. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
Yes! Pumpkin cheesecake can be made 2 days ahead for the holidays. It also freezes beautifully for up to one month. Thaw it in the fridge overnight and decorate with whipped cream right before serving.