This pumpkin cheesecake is a graham cracker crust topped with a rich and creamy pumpkin cream cheese filling, all baked to golden brown perfection. The perfect make-ahead dessert for Thanksgiving!
When it comes to a holiday meal, there always needs to be a pumpkin dessert on the menu. Some of my favorites include pumpkin meringue pie, pumpkin gooey butter cake, and this super easy pumpkin cheesecake.
You know what’s even better than pumpkin pie? Pumpkin cheesecake. This cheesecake is full of pumpkin flavor and can be made up to 3 days before you plan to serve it. This is a must-make for your Thanksgiving dinner.
How do you make pumpkin cheesecake?
This recipe starts with a graham cracker crust, which is made with graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. The crust gets pressed into a springform pan then baked until lightly browned. A mixture of cream cheese, pumpkin puree, brown sugar and spices get mixed together then poured into the crust. The final step is to bake the cake until the filling is set and browned on top. Chill your cheesecake, slice and enjoy.
How long do you bake pumpkin cheesecake?
A cheesecake in a 9 inch pan will bake for approximately 50 minutes. You can tell when your cheesecake is done because the edges will be lightly browned and the center just set. This recipe also calls for turning the oven off, then letting the cheesecake sit in the oven for another hour so that it fully sets.
Tips for pumpkin cheesecake
- Be sure to use pumpkin puree, and not canned pumpkin pie filling. The pie filling will not work in this recipe.
- Your cream cheese should be very soft to keep your batter from getting lumpy. You can microwave your cream cheese for 30 second increments to soften it quickly.
- You can serve your pumpkin cheesecake as-is, or add some freshly whipped cream and sprinkles for decoration. I whip up some lightly sweetened cream, then use a large star tip to pipe a decoration along the outside rim of the cake. I love the look of these fall sprinkles, it really dresses up the cake.
- If you can’t find similar sprinkles, try a sprinkling of chopped pecans or a drizzle of caramel sauce. If you decide to use sprinkles, add them at the last minute because the colors might run into the white whipped cream if it sits for too long.
- You can swap out the graham cracker crust for a gingersnap crust for an additional hit of spice flavor.
How do you keep cheesecake from cracking?
There’s nothing worse than pulling your pumpkin cheesecake out of the oven and finding a giant crack in the middle. Sometimes cracking does happen with cheesecakes, but there are measures you can take to avoid cracks.
- Mix your cheesecake as little as possible once the eggs are added to avoid incorporating extra air into the batter.
- Do not open the oven door while your cheesecake is baking. Large temperature fluctuations can cause cracking.
- Do not overbake your cheesecake. The cheesecake is done once the edges are lightly browned and puffy and the center is just set. It’s ok if the center is a bit jiggly, it will firm up as it cools.
How do you fix a cracked cheesecake?
If your cheesecake does crack despite your best efforts, don’t worry! You can still repair it using warm water and an offset spatula. I use this method for fixing cheesecake cracks and it does a pretty good job! You can also simply hide your cracks by piping whipped cream over the affected areas.
This pumpkin cheesecake is a real show stopper that’s perfect for any fall occasion! I serve it every year for Thanksgiving and it’s always a big hit.
More pumpkin desserts
- Pumpkin Dump Cake
- No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Bars
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Spice Cake
Pumpkin Cheesecake Video
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 7 tablespoons butter melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- cooking spray
- whipped cream and sprinkles optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9" springform pan with cooking spray.
- Place the graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar and butter in a bowl; stir to combine.
- Firmly press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
- Place the crust in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Place the cream cheese and brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Beat until completely smooth, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Add the pumpkin puree, flour, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until just combined.
- Pour the pumpkin mixture into the baked crust and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for another 60 minutes.
- Run a thin spatula around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen the sides, then place the cheesecake in the fridge. Chill for at least 6 hours or up to 3 days.
- Decorate the cheesecake with whipped cream and sprinkles if desired, then cut into slices and serve.
This recipe was originally published on October 14, 2018 and was updated on September 5, 2019 with new content.