This classic Pumpkin Cheesecake is hard to beat! With a spiced graham cracker crust and a creamy pumpkin filling, all you need is a dollop of whipped cream to finish off this perfect Thanksgiving dessert.
I’m pretty certain that our Thanksgiving is going to look different than it has in recent years. And if I’m being honest, I was pretty upset about it at first because holiday traditions are so important to our little family.
But the more I thought about it, the more at ease I have become because I’ve decided that things don’t really have to change that much.
I’m still going to cooking our usual Thanksgiving dinner with an overflowing pumpkin dessert sections including pumpkin roll, pumpkin crunch cake and this pumpkin cheesecake only this year, it might served to-go style.
Just because we all won’t be sitting around the same table this year doesn’t mean we don’t have so much to be thankful for.
PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE INGREDIENTS
I know that cheesecake recipes seem intimidating to a lot of people. I mean, making a super creamy, delicious cheesecake must take a lot of ingredients…right?
You might be surprised to learn that the ingredient list is not as long as you’d think!
If you take a peek at the recipe for a classic vanilla cheesecake, you’ll see that the filling only requires 5 ingredients. This Pumpkin Cheesecake requires a couple extra ingredients, but I promise that it’s nothing too crazy.
To make Pumpkin Cheesecake filling, you will need:
- Cream cheese
- Sugar: Granulated and light brown sugar
- Pumpkin puree
- Heavy cream
- Pumpkin pie spice
The main changes from a vanilla cheesecake filling are the addition of pumpkin (obviously), brown sugar and the pumpkin pie spice. I like to use just a little bit of brown sugar in my filling to add a little extra depth with that bit of molasses flavor.
The brown sugar and the pumpkin pie spice both play off the pumpkin puree to make this cheesecake as rich and flavorful as it is creamy and dreamy. Truly a cheesecake version of your favorite pumpkin pie!
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE
If we’re going to make Pumpkin Cheesecake, we’ve gotta start with a crust!
Sure, you could buy a premade graham cracker crust in a pinch, but if you make it yourself, you can add in my secret ingredient.
That’s right, I like to use my favorite graham cracker crust recipe and add a bit of pumpkin pie spice to it.
I know that some people like to use a gingersnap crust for their pumpkin desserts. I’ve used a gingersnap crust when making Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake and Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie, but for this particular recipe, I like to go a little more classic.
In my opinion, the pumpkin pie spice makes the flavor of the crust just perfect!
Once the crust is ready, beat together the cream cheese with the sugars until light and fluffy. This will take about 3 minutes – don’t rush it!
Then add in the eggs, pumpkin, and heavy cream, followed by the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.
Pour the filling into your prepared crust and bake the cheesecake in a water bath for about an hour.
Once the cheesecake is done baking, crack the oven door, turn the oven off, and let the cheesecake hang out in the cooling oven for 1 hour before placing it on a cooling rack to cool completely.
After a rest in the refrigerator to completely set, your cheesecake is ready to serve for Thanksgiving dessert!
DO I HAVE TO USE A WATER BATH?
I know what you’re wondering. Do you have to use a water bath when baking this cheesecake??
Look, I know water baths freak people out. You should give it a try, though! I put together a helpful post on how to bake cheesecake in a water bath. It’ll walk you through it step by step.
But if you are still really not hot on using a water bath…that’s ok. Just know that your cheesecake might crack on top.
But then again, that’s nothing a little whipped cream can’t fix, right?
CAN PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE BE FROZEN?
Cheesecake actually freezes quite well. If you want to make your Pumpkin Cheesecake more than a day or so ahead of time, I’d recommend freezing it.
If you’re freezing the cheesecake whole, place the cooled cheesecake on a cardboard round and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
Alternatively, you can freeze individual slices of cheesecake – slice and wrap each piece with plastic wrap.
Next, wrap the cheesecake or individual slices with foil.
Because I am extra cautious, I will often place the double-wrapped cheesecake in a freezer-safe zip-top bag, although that’s not strictly necessary.
Freeze the Pumpkin Cheesecake for up to 1 month for best flavor. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
HOW TO SERVE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE
I am happy sneaking bites of this cheesecake straight from the refrigerator, but I suppose most people would want to fancy it up for Thanksgiving.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving dinner, or you’re just freakishly obsessed with pumpkin, this fantastic Pumpkin Cheesecake is sure to please.