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Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Elevate your Thanksgiving meal this holiday season by combining Pumpkin Pie and the silky texture of a classic New York Cheesecake to get this creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe! Smooth, tangy, and creamy, it’s one of the best desserts you can make this Fall.

piece of pumpkin cheesecake with a caramel drizzle and whipped cream all on a white plate

A Crack-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake With No Water Bath!

While I used to have a Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe that called for using a water bath, I have since updated and created a fail-proof method for making and baking perfect cheesecakes without any water bath whatsoever. (I know that is the traditional way to make one, but I abhor water baths.) While my Original Cheesecake Post covers this topic pretty in depth, I’ll just cover the basics:

Use Room Temperature Ingredients For a Lump Free Batter

lumps in your cheesecake batter is one of the main reasons cheesecakes can crack. Using room temperature cream cheese, eggs and pumpkin is key. Also, don’t forget to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl frequently.

Add In The Eggs Last

If you are familiar with baking, you’ll know that eggs can hold and trap air bubbles. It’s great for making light and airy cakes but not so much for dense cheesecake. Air bubbles are another big reason cheesecakes can crack. So, to combat any extra air, scramble your eggs, pour them in all at once as the last ingredient and then stop stirring as soon as they are incorporated.

Tap Out Any Air Bubbles

Removing extra air bubbles out of the batter before you pour it into your graham cracker crust is probably my biggest secret to getting that perfectly smooth, crack-free pumpkin cheesecake. Tap the bowl on the counter 45 seconds or so, then pour into the crust and smooth the top.

Bake and Cool Slowly and Gently

The point of a water bath is to hold the cheesecake at a steady and gentle temperature until its completely baked. While they work great, they are unnecessary because you can get the same results by baking low and slow and then cooling it down really gently. See my temperature changes and cooling directions in the recipe card below.

How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake

Any Cheesecake is a labor of love! While the ingredients list is filled with really common things that are readily available, it takes some time to make! But, of course, you make this well in advance of Thanksgiving and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Storage directions are listed below.

1. Make the Graham Cracker Crust

In a medium-sized bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs together with sugar and melted butter until well incorporated and the mixture looks like damp sand. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press crust into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 7 minutes at 350 degrees F.

2. Make the Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix cream cheese for 30 seconds until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then add in granulated sugar. Stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again to ensure the cheesecake batter is getting evenly mixed.

Eggs Go In LAST

Crack eggs into a liquid measuring cup and using a fork, beat until well mixed. With the mixer on low, slowly pour the eggs into the cream cheese mixture and stop stirring once the egg has been incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape the sides and bottom again, ensuring the entire mixture is smooth. If there are a few small lumps, try to fold in using the rubber scraper.

3. Tap Air Bubbles Out–Don’t Skip This Step!!

Once the batter is completely smooth and ready, tap the bowl on the counter for 30-45 seconds to remove as many air bubbles as possible. You should see them popping on the surface as you tap the bowl. Pour filling into the center of the graham cracker crust and gently smooth the top. Will be very full!

4. Bake, Cool & Chill

Bake for 40 minutes at 325 degrees. Reduce temperature to 250 degrees and continue cooking for 45 minutes more. Once this time has elapsed, turn the oven off and keep cheesecake inside for another 30 minutes for some carryover cooking without opening the oven door.

Crack oven door to let cheesecake cool slowly for one hour before removing. At this point, cheesecake should be slightly warm.

Bring cheesecake to room temperature on the counter (3-4 hours) before covering with plastic wrap and transferring to the fridge.

Refrigerate until chilled completely (6 hours to overnight). 

My Cheesecake Cracked! What Do I Do?

Even if you did follow the directions super closely, there’s still a chance that your cheesecake can crack. It really is a science sometimes. You can read my newer cheesecake post here where I talk all about the reasons why cheesecakes can crack, but the main thing to remember is DON’T STRESS about the crack. Your cheesecake will taste just the same!

The solution to this cosmetic problem is either to not let it bother you or covering the crack! Whipped cream will cover a multitude of sins as will chocolate ganache. 

My favorite thing to do is cutting up individual slices (cutting around or avoiding the crack) and garnishing each separate piece. Add some whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce, some chopped nuts, etc. Pretty those pieces up and no one will know. 

How to Decorate Pumpkin Cheesecake

Speaking of cracks, here are some delicious garnish options that are specifically chosen for a pumpkin cheesecake! When I made this recipe I topped it with fresh whipped cream and a good quality caramel sauce plus a sprinkling of cinnamon. I kept it pretty simple. But if you’re wanting to jazz it up for Thanksgiving, here are some other ideas:

  • Chopped Pecans or Walnuts – this adds a delicious nutty crunch.
  • Graham Cracker – save some crumbs from your crust and sprinkle on top to tie the whole dish together.
  • Gingersnaps – crush some of these cookies and sprinkle on top for a different type of flavor combo.
  • Rum Whipped Cream – just sub out the vanilla extract for rum extract. The result is rum flavor without the alcohol.
  • Cinnamon Whipped Cream – add some cinnamon to your whipped cream! This is also super good on apple pies.
  • Chocolate Ganache– melt equal parts of chocolate chips with heavy cream and drizzle over the top. Milk chocolate chips are my favorite, but dark chocolate would also be delicious!

How to Get Perfect Slices

Dip a sharp knife into hot water, wipe off any excess water, and slice. I like to dip my knife in water between each slice to get really clean-looking pieces. Also, if there is some cheesecake residue stuck to the knife, scrape off, then dip in water and then wipe.

Making Pumpkin Cheesecake Ahead for Thanksgiving

The best part of this recipe is being able to make it ahead and have it taste just as good on day three as it did fresh out of the oven. If you are wanting to make this for the Holidays, you can make and bake it up to a week ahead of time. Make the Pumpkin Cheesecake according to the recipe card below, then cover and store in the fridge, keeping it in the springform pan the entire time to keep those edges fresh.

To serve, unlatch and remove the collar, decorate as desired, and serve. For clean slices, dip your knife into hot water, wipe off excess water and then slice. 

Freezing Directions

If you want to make Pumpkin Cheesecake well in advance and freeze, simply make this recipe according to the recipe card below, remove the collar, wrap well in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 3 months

To freeze slices of cheesecake, once the cheesecake is made, fold long pieces of parchment paper in half. Slide the parchment paper onto a knife and cut, leaving the parchment paper in between each slice of cheesecake. Wrap in several layers of plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 3 months.

piece of pumpkin cheesecake on a white plate with a caramel drizzle and whipped cream

More Pumpkin Recipes to Try!

Enjoy this delicious addition to your dessert table this holiday season! This recipe is something you’re not going to want to lose, so be sure to pin/bookmark/save/print it. Have a great day, friends!

Pumpkin Cheesecake (no water bath)

Elevate your Thanksgiving meal by combining pumpkin pie and the silky texture of cheesecake to get this creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe.
servings 12 servings
Prep Time 9 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 10 hrs 45 mins

Ingredients

For the Graham Cracker Crust:

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • 32 ounces cream cheese at room temperature (4-8 oz. packages); Philadelphia brand preferred
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin Libby's brand preferred
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • any desired cheesecake toppings

Equipment

  • 9" Springform Pan

Instructions

  • Place oven racks in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium sized bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs together with sugar and melted butter until well incorporated and mixture looks like damp sand. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press crust into the bottom and half way up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
    graham cracker crust in a springform pan
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix cream cheese 30 seconds until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and add in granulated sugar. Stir until smooth.
    cream cheese mixed with sugar and brown sugar in a metal bowl and on the mixing attachment
  • Stir in vanilla, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl and mix again to ensure the cheesecake batter is getting evenly mixed.
    adding pumpkin, flour, vanilla and spices to cream cheese mixture all in a metal bowl
  • Crack eggs into a liquid measuring cup and using a fork, beat until well scrambled. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the eggs into the cream cheese mixture and stop stirring once egg has been incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape the sides and bottom again, ensuring the entire mixture is smooth. If there are a few small lumps, try to fold in using the rubber scraper.
    four eggs mixed in a measuring cup
  • Once the batter is completely smooth and ready, tap the bowl on the counter for 30-45 seconds to remove as many air bubbles as possible. You should see them popping on the surface as you tap the bowl. Pour filling into the center of the graham cracker crust and gently smooth the top. Will be very full!
    pumpkin cheesecake batter in a graham cracker crust all in a springform pan
  • Bake for 40 minutes at 325 degrees. Reduce temperature to 250 degrees and continue cooking for 45 minutes more. Once this time has elapsed, turn oven off and keep cheesecake inside for another 30 minutes for some carryover cooking without opening the oven door. Crack oven door to let cheesecake cool slowly for one hour before removing. At this point, cheesecake should be slightly warm. Bring cheesecake to room temperature on the counter (3-4 hours) before covering with plastic wrap and transferring to the fridge.
  • Refrigerate until chilled completely (6 hours to overnight). To serve, open springform pan and remove collar. Decorate as desired. 
    Dip a sharp knife into hot water, wipe off any excess water and slice. I like to dip my knife in water between each slice to get really clean-looking pieces.
    pumpkin cheesecake with a slice missing

Notes

*If you’d like to substitute gingersnap cookies for graham cracker crumbs, grind up cookies using a food processor or blender to create crumbs. Measure out 2 cups and stir with 6 tablespoons melted butter. (You do not need to add any granulated sugar). Press into springform pan and bake as directed. 

Nutrition

Calories: 494kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 398mg | Potassium: 196mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 4459IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert, Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

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Recipe Rating




40 Responses
  1. barb

    I have made your cheesecake in a 9” springform several times and my grandson
    loves it. do you have instructions/recipe
    for a 6” cheesecake?
    it would be greatly appreciated
    thank you
    barb

  2. Faith

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! This was my first time making a cheesecake and was super nervous about it looking lumpy and cracked. However, this recipe is amazing and it came out PERFECT!

  3. Rita

    I have made your New York cheesecake and comea out perfect every time. I made your pumpkin cheesecake and it has a large crack and seems over baked on the top. Your New York cheesecake bakes at 325 degrees for 30 min and the pumpkin cheesecake bakes at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Wonder if I should bake the pumpkin cheesecake at 325 closer to 30 minutes?? I plan to add caramel sauce and lots of whip crean

  4. Carlee Noble

    I have made your regular cheesecake many times and it is my go to recipe. Perfection! This recipe gave me a thin cake, only an inch or so. Is that normal? Also, when I weiged 1cup of pumpkin it was 234 g, not 116 as stated. Which would be correct? Thanks!!

    1. Lauren

      This should yield a big, thick pumpkin cheesecake. If it does not look like the photos, then it’s wrong. I have a conversion tool that is supposed to automatically convert the increments into grams but I see that they are wrong for some ingredients! So sorry about that. I would just measure out the pumpkin using the 1 cup measure you do have and skip weighing OR use the 234 grams which is what you measured for 1 cup. I’m sorry that its wrong! How much cream cheese were you using? I’m wondering what gave you such a skinny cheesecake.

  5. Tania Guile

    Hello,
    First time commenter long time admirer/fan.
    Im in Australia and I have been trying out many pumpkin recipes. This baked cheesecake is very much on my must bake list. Because Australia doesn’t sell pumpkin in cans I have been baking a butternut pumpkin and scraping out the middle to make all my pumpkin inspired recipes. Do i have to do anything to the pumpkin (blend it to make it smooth) for this recipe to work better?? I hope this makes sense.

  6. Sandy Davis

    Gonna try this cheesecake for Thanksgiving. Would like a recipe that I can make in the instantpot. Not sure if this one would work.

  7. becca

    this looks incredible! i’ve been searching for the perfect “classic” pumpkin cheesecake recipe, and it looks like i’ve found one!

  8. Margaret DiDonato

    This looks so yummy. I can’t wait to make it for Thanksgiving which will be my first with my sister. We found each other with ancestry dna. Happy Thanksgiving and love all your recipes.

  9. Susanne

    Can you use pumpkin pie purée mix instead? I’ve seen a lot of recipes that say no, but then don’t say why. Thanks for your help!

    1. Lauren

      I haven’t tested this recipe with that pumpkin pie mix but you are welcome to try! My only concern would be the extra sugar in the pie mix. But in theory it should bake ok as long as the eggs are in there. Give it a whirl and report back!

  10. Jeanne Schaedler

    5 stars
    My brother would love this. It sounds like it is really rich. Looks like it isn’t that hard to throw together. Might make this one this year. Thanks for the share.

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