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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.

Slice of pumpkin cheesecake next to a fork on a plate

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.

Cake server lifting up a slice of pumpkin cheesecake


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.

Ingredients for pumpkin cheesecake filling on a countertop

To make Pumpkin Cheesecake filling, you will need:

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!

If your brown sugar has hardened in the pantry, don’t panic. I have some tips on how to soften brown sugar. You can also save yourself a trip to the store by making a simple brown sugar substitute.

Spatula folding pumpkin cheesecake filling in a metal mixing bowl


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. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake about to be baked in a water bath

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, 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! 

Baked and cooled pumpkin cheesecake garnished with whipped cream

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! 

Overhead view of a sliced pumpkin cheesecake topped with whipped cream

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?

Fork about to take a bite of pumpkin cheesecake


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.

Caramel sauce being drizzled over a slice of 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.


Are there other crust options for this cheesecake?

I like to add a bit of pumpkin pie spice to my classic graham cracker crust for this recipe, but there are plenty of other crust options you can use.

For a more heavily spiced crust, you can use the gingersnap crust from my marshmallow pumpkin pie. Or you could swap the gingersnaps for Biscoff cookies!

You could also use the sugar cookie crust from my sugar cookie cheesecake, or even the chocolate crust from my chocolate cheesecake. The options are endless!

What’s the best way to prepare my springform pan?

If you’re using a water bath, I wrap a piece of foil around the bottom outside of the pan to help prevent leaks. Then lightly spray the inside of the pan with nonstick spray.

If you want to take an extra step to prevent leaks, nestle the pan into a roasting bag when you set it into the roasting pan for the water bath.

I also have one more work-around – if you have a regular 10-inch cake pan, place the springform pan into the 10-inch pan and place the whole thing into your roasting pan. This will still allow the water bath to do its job, but will avoid any possible leaks!

I accidentally bought pumpkin pie filling instead of pumpkin puree. Will that work in this recipe??

Unfortunately, no. Canned pumpkin pie filling has extra ingredients, such as eggs and sugar, added it it that will mess up the ratio of the other ingredients in this recipe. You definitely need to make sure you use pumpkin puree instead of pie filling in this cheesecake.

Can I make this pumpkin cheesecake with fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned?

Of course! Keep in mind that homemade pumpkin puree is lighter in color than the canned stuff. Canned pumpkin usually includes a mix of squashes that are in the pumpkin family, so the color is a deeper orange.

The pumpkin cheesecake will still be delicious, it just might not have as vibrant of an orange color if using fresh pumpkin puree.

I don’t have pumpkin pie spice. What can I use instead?

If you don’t have any pumpkin pie spice or the ingredients to make it on hand, you can substitute an equal amount of ground cinnamon instead.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

By: Jamie
4.47 from 1363 ratings
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Chill Time: 6 hours
Total: 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
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.


For the Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For the Cheesecake

  • 32 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 can pure pumpkin puree 15 ounces
  • cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap the outside of the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with foil. Spray the inside lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, granulated sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes.
  • Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fluffy; about 3 minutes. Add in eggs, pumpkin and heavy cream, mix until fully incorporated; scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Finally, add in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and mix until well combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared crust. Place pan into a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.
  • Bake 60 minutes, the edges will appear to be set, but the center will still have some jiggle to it. At this point, crack the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. After one hour has passed, carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cake is completely cooled, place it into the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.



-If you don’t want to mess with the whole water bath situation, no worries. You can bake the cheesecake without it. If you end up with a crack, just cover it with whipped cream!
-A tightly covered cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. The cheesecake can be stored for approximately 1-2 months in the freezer. To defrost, allow cake to defrost in the refrigerator overnight.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 515kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 37g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 140mg, Sodium: 350mg, Potassium: 160mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 1349IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 105mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. MJ says:

    5 stars
    More far the best cheesecake recipe I have ever made! It came out perfect and so delicious!

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy you enjoyed the cheesecake, MJ!

  2. Maria says:

    When do you take it out of the spring form cake pan? After 4 hours in the fridge?
    I’m worried it might not be baked in the middle. Seems a bit soft.

  3. Mel B. says:

    5 stars
    Best cheesecake I’ve ever made.

    1. Jamie says:

      So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback.

  4. Stacey C says:

    5 stars
    This is my go-to thanksgiving dish and everyone loves it!! Ty so much for this amazing recipe!

    1. Jamie says:

      I am so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback!
      Happy Baking!

  5. Debbie says:

    5 stars
    You’ve done it again! I love your recipes.The creamiest cheesecake that I’ve ever made. My family loved it.
    Thank you for another great recipe.

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving y our feedback. Have a great day and happy baking!

  6. Cristina says:

    3 stars
    I made the cheesecake for a Thanksgiving gathering and it was much appreciated. But…
    1) it takes a lot longer than 60 minutes to bring it to a decent jiggling shape. I baked mine about 90 min.
    2) the cake does not cut the way you show in your photos
    3) it is too creamy and looses shape if kept on the table longer. Next time I will try either an extra egg or 2 Tbsp of flour. Or both?

  7. Ashley says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe.

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving y our feedback. Have a great day and happy baking!

  8. Barbara says:

    5 stars
    Amazing. 1st time doing a water bath and made a big difference. I used fresh pumpkin puree, because…well I grew my own pumpkins. I strained it in cheesecloth to remove excess water. Thank you!

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving y our feedback. Have a great day and happy baking!

  9. Yazzy says:

    5 stars
    Made this for thanksgiving and OMG is super delicious! The only thing that I modified a little is I added a little more pumpkin spice, but that’s because I love pumpkin spice. I used a water bath but put the spring foam pan in another baking pan so water didn’t get in. I waited PATIENTLY for everything to cool and it turned out PERFECT! All in all, so yummy and definitely created a new family tradition!

    1. Jamie says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving y our feedback. Have a great day and happy baking!