Bored with the standard pumpkin pie? Try our show-stopping pumpkin cheesecake recipe for a break from the usual. A graham cracker crust holds a lusciously fluffy filling made with cream cheese and an entire delicious can of pumpkin. Warm fall spices speckle this cheesecake with seasonal flare for an autumnal treat you’ll be thinking about long after the season is over.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Ingredients
- Cream cheese: Our pumpkin cheesecake recipe calls for two packages of cream cheese, so get the good stuff. We recommend using one of the best cream cheese brands according to our Test Kitchen for the ideal results. Also, room-temperature cream cheese ensures a lump-free cheesecake, so learn how to soften cream cheese before starting this recipe.
- Canned pumpkin: You might not believe it, but we actually recommend baking with canned pumpkin instead of homemade pumpkin puree. It’s less time-consuming and yields more consistent results. Our Test Kitchen has tested the best canned pumpkin brands to use this fall.
- Eggs: Just like the cream cheese, the eggs for this recipe should be at room temperature. By using room-temperature eggs, you’re ensuring your batter whips up evenly and smoothly for a perfectly textured cheesecake.
- Spices: Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg cement the taste of fall in our pumpkin cheesecake recipe. You can also replace these three spices with two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice if you have it on hand.
- Sour cream: Our topping is made from sour cream, which adds that rich depth of flavor cheesecakes are known for.
- Pecans: Pecans create a crunchy, slightly sweet and woodsy topping for this cheesecake.
Step 1: Make the crust
Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Pour in the butter, and stir together. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Pop the crust in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
Editor’s Tip: We like to use the bottom of a large measuring cup when pressing down the graham cracker crust to make it as even as possible.
Step 2: Prepare the filling
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and lump-free. Add the eggs all at once, and beat on low speed just until blended. Stir in the pumpkin, spices and salt until just combined.
Editor’s Tip: Try not to over-blend when adding the eggs to the mixture. Over-blending will add air to the mixture, causing the cheesecake to expand and crack while baking, which is one of the most common cheesecake mistakes.
Step 3: Bake the cheesecake
Remove the crust from the fridge, and place it on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the crust, and bake the cheesecake for 50 minutes.
Step 4: Whip up the topping
Meanwhile, prepare the topping by whisking together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Step 5: Add the topping to the cheesecake
Once the initial 50 minutes are up, take the cheesecake out of the oven, and spread the topping over the filling. Return the cheesecake to the oven, and bake for an additional five minutes.
Step 6: Cool the cheesecake
Remove the cheesecake from the oven, and place it on a cooling rack. Let cool for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen the crust and cheesecake from the sides. Cool for one hour longer.
Step 7: Chill the cheesecake overnight
Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight. Carefully remove the ring from the pan. Top cheesecake with the chopped pecans, and enjoy.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Variations
- Add more spices: If you like your pumpkin dessert recipes with a lot of warm spices, sprinkle a touch of clove, allspice or pumpkin pie spice into the filling.
- Decorate with whipped cream: Make a batch of sweetened whipped cream, add it to a piping bag fitted with a star tip, and decorate to your heart’s desire.
Can you freeze pumpkin cheesecake?
Yes, you can freeze pumpkin cheesecake. Cover the cheesecake with aluminum foil. The wrapped cheesecake can be stored in the freezer for up to one month. To eat the cheesecake from frozen, thaw it at room temperature for one hour, or move the cheesecake to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight.
How long does pumpkin cheesecake last?
Pumpkin cheesecake lasts five days in the refrigerator. To prepare it for the fridge, keep the cheesecake in the springform pan with the ring, and wrap it loosely. You can also cut the cheesecake into slices and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Tips
Baking the perfect cheesecake takes practice, which is why we consulted with Maggie Knoebel, one of our Test Kitchen cooks, to answer all cheesecake-related questions and give us a few cheesecake tips.
How can you guarantee a smooth and creamy cheesecake?
As Maggie explains, using room-temperature cream cheese and eggs is absolutely critical for a smooth and creamy cheesecake. Room-temperature ingredients blend up smoothly, so you won’t end up with a lumpy cake. Use a good hand mixer or stand mixer, and you’ll be set for a smooth, creamy cheesecake.
How can you prevent cracking in this pumpkin cheesecake?
Using a water bath for baking cheesecake can help prevent cracking. Water baths help cheesecakes bake gently and evenly. Plus, the steam from the hot water creates a nice, high-humidity environment, which will help prevent the dreaded cracked cheesecake. Also, when mixing your batter, make sure to add the eggs last. Why? The longer you mix the eggs, the more air you incorporate into the batter. The air can expand and then contract during baking and cooling, which can cause cracks.
How do you serve pumpkin cheesecake?
To serve your pumpkin cheesecake, Maggie recommends whipping up a batch of salted caramel sauce as a topping, or dolloping a cheesecake slice with a coffee whipped cream for a pumpkin spice latte flavor.