This Pumpkin Cheesecake is a festive spin on classic cheesecake that’s perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert. It’s creamy with the perfect amount of pumpkin on top of a homemade graham cracker crust!
This Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Is Perfect For Fall!
Cheesecake is and will always be my favorite dessert. For so long I was a little scared to make cheesecake at home because 1) I heard they were finicky and 2) I was scared I would eat the whole thing myself.
Turns out neither of those are actually true. So a few years ago when I posted my IN DEPTH look into cheesecake with my step-by-step Easy Cheesecake Recipe the response from you guys was overwhelming! Apparently cheesecake intimidates a lot of you as well!
And since then I have really dove headfirst into cheesecake baking! And today’s we’re talking all about the PERFECT Fall Cheesecake!! Today’s recipe is like a Cheesecake and a Pumpkin Pie had a baby. It’s super creamy, with the exact right combo of the two flavors. AND you can make it ahead, which is a solid win if you’re entertaining.
How To Make Homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake
Ok, I’m going to show you how easy cheesecake can be. Obviously before you get started I always recommend making sure you have all the ingredients so read the recipe in full before starting. Honestly, this is a great trick in any recipe you’re making.
Special Equipment: Do I Have To Use a Springform Pan for Cheesecake?
- I will always say yes to this question. When baking cheesecake, the best option is a springform pan. I use a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe. I know folks who bake cheesecake in a deep dish pie plate and have success, but I prefer the easy release method that a springform pan allows. You release the sides and are able to present and slice your cheesecake perfectly!
- I like to use a large roasting pan for my water bath. It’s roomy and deep enough that you won’t have any water spills!
- I do prefer a stand mixer for this recipe because the paddle attachment works great for cheesecake. It doesn’t whip as much air into the batter as you mix.
- Melted Butter
- Graham Cracker Crumbs
- Granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- Ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Use whichever you like to suit your personal taste!
- Cream cheese at room temperature. Making sure your cream cheese is room temperature is very important when making cheesecake to ensure it mixes smoothly leaving no lumps in the mixture.
- Light brown sugar
- Large Eggs at room temperature
- Pumpkin puree. Make sure you use 100% pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling!
- Sour cream at room temperature
- Vanilla extract
- Pumpkin pie spice
My Tips for Making the Best Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature. This ensures that everything mixes in well (no lumps!) and ensures even baking which means NO CRACKS! Room temp ingredients are super important!
- The cheesecake will be a little loose in the center when it’s done. Don’t worry about this! It sets up and it will be fine!
- Allow the cheesecake to sit with the oven door open slightly when it’s done cooking. This allows the cheesecake to continue cooking slightly, while cooling. It’s a trick my mother in law taught me!
- If you notice for some reason your cheesecake is browning too much on top lightly tent it with foil. This happens sometimes when an oven doesn’t bake evenly. It’s very common.
- Also I like to wrap the bottom of my springform pan with foil as stated in the recipe to prevent water from seeping in and making my crust soggy!
- Drizzling some caramel or salted caramel sauce on top takes this from delicious to over the top! And of course don’t forget the whipped cream.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool completely! Cool it at room temperature for about an hour. THEN cover the pan with foil and it will need to chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.
- I like to bake my cheesecakes on the middle rack in the oven. This allows for the heat to circulate the best.
- Like I said above, I really dive deep into all the ins and outs of making cheesecake in my Perfect Cheesecake Recipe, and think I’ve done a great job in answering any questions that you may have, like. So definitely check out that recipe first if this is your time baking a cheesecake! Here are some of the tips you will find:
- How To Prevents Cracks
- Do You Have To Use a Water Bath?
- How Long Does a Cheesecake Need To Chill?
- Do My Ingredients Need To Be Room Temperature?
How To Add Pumpkin to Cheesecake
Pumpkin is a super easy ingredient to add into cheesecake. I only had to tweak my Perfect Cheesecake Recipe a little bit to make it work perfectly!
You will use a whole 15- ounce can of 100% Pure Pumpkin, like Libby’s and well as Pumpkin Pie Spice!
I decreased the amount of cream cheese, sour cream and egg slightly to accommodate the additional moisture the canned pumpkin adds and still get that great pumpkin flavor!
Can I Use Fresh Pumpkin Instead of Canned Pumpkin?
The answer here is yes, if you would like to go to the trouble of cleaning a pumpkin, baking it, and pureeing, you absolutely can. I’ve tried making pumpkin pie from scratch before, and found the whole process to be…well…not worth it. But of course, feel free to give it a try.
However, if using homemade pumpkin puree follow these tips:
- Make sure you process the pumpkin until it’s completely smooth. You don’t want any chunks in your cheesecake!
- A 4 – 5 pound pumpkin will give you about 4 cups of puree.
- You can boil or bake the pumpkin to cook it, but I recommend baking to prevent any extra water.
- Allow your puree to drain excess liquid by using a cheesecloth to squeeze out extra moisture. I find that fresh pumpkin is more watery than canned, so you will need to remove as much liquid as possible, otherwise the texture of your cheesecake will be wet.
What Kind Of Crust Is Best For Cheesecake?
I always love a graham cracker crust, but this recipe would be a great place to switch it up if you desire! I added 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to my graham cracker crust in this recipe, which pairs wonderfully with the pumpkin, you could also use Cinnamon Graham Crackers which are delicious in pumpkin desserts! PRO TIP: Make sure you pulse your cookies or crackers well in the food processor or blender so the crumbs are uniform in size. Here are a few other fun ideas for crust options:
- Biscoff Cookie Crust
- Gingersnap Crust
- Oatmeal Cookie Crust
- Nilla Wafer Crust
NOTE: You will use the same recipe measurements as written if you sub out a different kind of cookie for graham crackers.
Can Pumpkin Cheesecake Be Frozen?
Yes, absolutely! Cheesecake is a great dessert to make ahead! Store it after cooling and chilling (at least overnight) in the freezer for up to 30 days for best freshness! Just make sure it’s airtight. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying!
Looking Fore More Cheesecake Recipes?
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Pumpkin Cheesecake is the PERFECT Fall dessert idea! Creamy cheesecake with just the right amount of pumpkin.
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 full crackers)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 (8- ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature (24 ounces total)
- 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 (15- ounce) can pumpkin puree, like Libby’s
- 1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl mix the butter, graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon together evenly. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of 9-inch springform pan.
- Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Set aside while you make the cheesecake, cooling until it reaches room temperature.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the cream cheese and sugar together on medium speed for 2 minutes, until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Turn mixer to low and add in the pumpkin, sour cream, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice until combined and smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl often to make sure everything is combined. With mixer still on low, add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each addition just until just combined. Don’t over-mix, but make sure all the ingredients are mixed in evenly and mixture is smooth.
- Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the cooled crust.
- Double wrap the bottom of the springform pan with foil, sealing it tightly to prevent water from getting into the pan.
- Place the springform pan into a larger pan and pour very hot water into the pan, until it’s 3/4- inch deep, careful to make sure the water level doesn’t come up higher than the foil.
- Bake for 60 minutes, or until the center is almost set. It will still jiggle a little bit.
- Turn the oven off and prop the door open slightly. Allow the cheesecake to sit in warm oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen it from the sides and cool for at least an hour until it reaches room temperature.
- Cover the pan and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
- Release the sides of the springform pan when ready to slice and serve.
Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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