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.
A drizzle of salted caramel sauce is always appropriate, as is a dollop of homemade whipped cream. Maybe even a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
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.
Saturday 11th of March 2023
Hey, could I use a 8 inch pan instead of a 9 inch?
Wednesday 15th of March 2023
Hi Richard – I haven't tried using an 8-inch pan on this recipe, but it should work, especially if you have a tall springform. Just keep in mind that you may not want to use all of the crust mixture (or else it will be very thick), and that the filling will be a bit taller. I am not sure how long it would need to bake for since the filling will be thicker, so you'd probably need to start around 50 minutes (to be safe) and add time from there. If you give it a try, I'd love to hear how it turns out for you. Happy baking! Jamie
Sunday 22nd of January 2023
I asked my dad what he wanted for a dessert on his birthday and this is what his answer was! It was a bit shocking! So i got up the computer and googled a recipe for it and this came up. We tried it and it was awesome. We all loved it and literally fought for the last piece. Nice job with the recipe!
Tuesday 24th of January 2023
I'm so glad you all enjoyed it, Makaylah! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your feedback. Happy baking! Jamie
Monday 14th of November 2022
Hi, I was planning to use two 6" springform pans for this recipe instead of a single 9", any tips on adjusting the cook time?
Wednesday 16th of November 2022
Hi Josh – I haven't attempted this recipe with that change, so I can't speak to the results. If you give it a try, I'd love to know how it turns out. Happy baking! Jamie
Friday 11th of November 2022
I would like to use two smaller size spring form pans. What would be the baking time. I believe they are about 4 to 5 inches.
Wednesday 16th of November 2022
Hi Joey – I haven’t attempted this recipe with that change, so I can’t speak to the results. If you give it a try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Happy baking! Jamie
Sunday 6th of November 2022
My first attempt at a cheesecake for the fall, turned out yummy. I only used half a can of pumpkin purée, for fear of too much pumpkin. It never fully hardened like a traditional cheesecake, so I may need to up the time for cooking. And the crust didn’t ended up sticking to the batter well enough, so it was quite hard to cut a perfect slice. But I’d have to say, not bad for my first time with cheesecake!
Wednesday 9th of November 2022
Hi Lauren – Glad you gave this recipe a shot as your first cheesecake attempt! Next time, be sure to follow the recipe exactly – all of the ingredients are listed in the amounts needed for it to have the right texture, etc, since recipes like this are a pretty exact science. Hope this helps for next time! Happy baking – Jamie