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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.
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.
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.
More Pumpkin Recipes to Try!
- Halloween Oreo Pumpkin Cheesecakes
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake
- Pumpkin Crepes
- Pumpkin Brownies
- Pumpkin Dip
- No Bake Oreo Pumpkin Tart
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)
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs see note below on using gingersnaps
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter melted
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
- 9" Springform Pan
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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 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!
Trying for the 1st time, just put it in the oven can’t wait!
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
Hi Rita!!! I’m not sure that you got an answer to your question or not. I’m in the same boat as you. I make the New York Style recipe and it comes out perfect every single time! But with this one I also have a large crack in it!! I’m trying again as we speak 🤣.
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!!
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.
Can I put this in a 10 inch spring form pan instead a 9 inch using the same baking times.
Yes, it’ll just be slightly thinner.
Do you have any recommendations to substitute pumpkin pie spice? Can I use other spices combined to get the same flavor?
Since I can’t have flour, what would you substitute it with?
Are you using a 7 inch pan or a 9 inch pan?
9 inch! The 7-inch springform pan was a typo in the recipe that got corrected.
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.
Just make sure to put it in some cheesecloth to drain off any excess liquid so your pureed pumpkin is really thick.
CAN YOU SEND NO BAKE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE
Just put this in the oven. Wondering what I did wrong though.. Not all of the batter fit in my 7 inch springform.
[…] Pumpkin Cheesecake […]
Gonna try this cheesecake for Thanksgiving. Would like a recipe that I can make in the instantpot. Not sure if this one would work.
Just in time for the holidays. I love anything pumpkin.
This is on my “Cant Wait to Make” list for Thanksgiving. What could be better than pumpkin and cheesecake?
This looks absolutely fabulous. I’ll definitely be making this for the holidays.
I Love pumpkin and this looks good.
Who doesn’t love pumpin and cream cheese together?
what size can of pumpkin/ we get in 15 oz or 29 oz.
Wow, this looks amazing!
This looks amazing. Now I know what I am making for Thanksgiving Dessert
I cannot wait to try this!!
This pumpkin cheesecake looks amazing. My son loves pumpkin so we will be adding this to our Thanksgiving desserts!
Adding this to my Thanksgiving menu! Yum!
this looks incredible! i’ve been searching for the perfect “classic” pumpkin cheesecake recipe, and it looks like i’ve found one!
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.
This looks delicious! Definitely have to try this one 🙂
Yum! This looks fantastic! I always enjoy your recipes and cannot wait to try this one!
I have tried so many of your recipes but this has to be my favorite! I’m a pumpkin lover through and through!
I much prefer pumpkin cheesecake to pumpkin pie! It’s a texture thing. I’ll have to try this version next time!
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!
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!
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.
Looks delicious, I love cheesecakes so I will definitely have to try this out!
this looks scrumptious ! I will def have to try this , this year. I love the thought of the two flavors combined.