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Elevate your Thanksgiving meal this holiday season by combining pumpkin pie and the silky texture of cheesecake to get this creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe! Smooth, tangy, and creamy, it’s one of the best desserts you can make this Fall.
Say hello to Fall with this Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe! This dessert easily elevates your Thanksgiving spread by marrying pumpkin pie and cheesecake together. But just because it looks a little fancier doesn’t mean it’s harder to make. Topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce, this Pumpkin Cheesecake is irresistible. So whether you are making it for Thanksgiving or just because you are in the mood for pumpkin, you’re going to love it.
Main Ingredients Needed
- Graham Crackers, Melted Butter + Granulated Sugar – for a simple graham cracker crust, you’ll need these three ingredients. You can also use crisp gingersnap cookies instead of graham crackers for a different flavor combo.
- Cream Cheese – make sure to use room temperature cream cheese for the best results!
- Brown Sugar + Granulated Sugar – the combination of the two work so well in this recipe to add color and sweetness.
- Eggs – stirred in as the last ingredient when making the cheesecake filling.
- Pumpkin Puree – obviously, you need some pumpkin for a pumpkin cheesecake!
- Flour – only two tablespoons are needed to set the cheesecake.
- Vanilla – to help balance and compliment the spices and pumpkin flavor.
- Ground Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg + Ground Cloves – these are the staple spices that go so well with pumpkin and will make your cheesecake to die for. Of course, you can substitute Pumpkin Pie Spice for all of these spices.
If you aren’t a pumpkin person but are totally on the cheesecake express, here are some other cheesecakes that will make you swoon: Halloween Oreo Pumpkin Cheesecakes, Chocolate Cheesecake, Blackberry Cheesecake, and Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake.
How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake
Cheesecake is a labor of love! While the ingredients list is filled with really common things you probably already have on hand, 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. Preheat Oven + Prep
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Preparing Your Pans for a Water Bath
While I don’t love water baths, I can see how there is a time and a place for them. The purpose of a water bath is to gently cook the cheesecake and help prevent it from cracking. The idea is if you slowly bring it up to temperature to cook and then slowly bring it down in temperature to cool, it won’t crack. That’s not to say it will never crack (all cheesecakes can and do crack from time to time), but it definitely helps move the odds in your favor.
If you don’t already have a leak-proof springform pan, I’d start there! I love USA pans and this springform pan is great! If you have a regular springform pan that isn’t leakproof, be sure to wrap the exterior really well in foil to make it leakproof. It might take some tight wrapping and a few layers, but it can be done!
2. Make Graham Cracker Crust
In a medium bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and sugar until moist. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
3. Make the Cheesecake Batter
In a large bowl, stir cream cheese with sugar and brown sugar until completely smooth and well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir again to ensure a well-mixed batter. Add in eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in pumpkin, flour, vanilla, and spices. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again to ensure a uniform, lump-free batter. (Be careful not to incorporate too much air into the mixture, this can cause the cheesecake to crack while baking.)
4. Bake + Cool
Pour cheesecake filling into graham cracker crust, smooth the top and bake 70 minutes. Turn oven off, crack the oven door and cool cheesecake 1-2 hours before removing, bringing to room temperature, covering and refrigerating. (This is the best way I have made cheesecake without any cracks!)
To serve, remove springform pan edges, cut cheesecake into slices and serve with whipped cream and caramel sauce.
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.
What Should I Top Pumpkin Cheesecake With?
Speaking of cracks, here are some delicious garnish options 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. But if you are feeling adventurous, here are some other ideas:
- Chopped Pecans – 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!
The best part of this recipe is being able to make it ahead and having it taste just as good day three as it did fresh out of the oven. If you are wanting to make this for Thanksgiving or Christmas ahead of time, I’d recommend making it 3-4 days before you want to serve it. Make the Pumpkin Cheesecake according to the recipe card below, then cover and store in the fridge. Keep it in the springform pan the entire time to keep those edges fresh.
To serve, unlatch and remove collar, decorate as desired and serve. For clean slices, dip your knife into hot water, wipe off excess water and then slice.
Freezing Pumpkin Cheesecake
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 Cheesecake Recipes to Try!
- Halloween Oreo Pumpkin Cheesecakes
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Crepes
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese 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!
Amazing Pumpkin Cheesecake
For the Crust
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the exterior of a 9-inch springform pan well in heavy duty foil to prepare it for a water bath. (It may take two or three layers to ensure it is sealed well.)
- In a medium bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and sugar until moist. Press into the bottom and up the sides of springform pan. Bake 8 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl, stir cream cheese with sugar and brown sugar until completely smooth and well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir again to ensure a well mixed batter. Stir in pumpkin, flour, vanilla and spices. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again to ensure a uniform, lump-free batter. In a separate bowl, crack eggs and beat together. All at once, pour eggs in and stir until just combined.
- Pour cheesecake filling into graham cracker crust and smooth the top. Place into the center of a roasting pan and pour in hot water to roasting pan until water is half way up the cheesecake pan, about 1 1/2-2 inches of water. Bake 70 minutes. Turn oven off, crack oven door and cool cheesecake 1-2 hours before removing, bringing to room temperature, covering and refrigerating.
- To serve, remove springform pan edges, cut cheesecake into slices and serve with whipped cream and caramel sauce.