Pumpkin-Swirl Cheesecake

A gorgeous, marbled pumpkin-swirl cheesecake will be the star of the show at your next fall gathering.
Spiced Pumpkin-Swirl Cheesecake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Our pumpkin-swirl cheesecake is as gorgeous as it is delicious. Spiced pumpkin is layered with lusciously rich cheesecake batter inside a sugary pecan crust. The best part? It’s a naturally gluten-free dessert! Who doesn’t love a swirl cheesecake — especially a pumpkin one?

This recipe calls for a water bath, which produces steam in the oven to help the cheesecake cook evenly and stay creamy when it’s ready to serve. There’s a lot that goes into making cheesecake, so we’ve put together a guide with more tips for making the perfect cheesecake.

How to Make a Cheesecake Water Bath

To make a water bath, securely wrap a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil around the entire perimeter and bottom of a springform pan. Bake your crust in the prepared springform pan according to this recipe’s instructions. Next, pour your cheesecake filling into the baked crust, and place the foil-wrapped springform pan inside a roasting pan. Pour 1 inch of very hot water into the roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven, and bake the cheesecake according to this recipe’s instructions.

Pumpkin-Swirl Cheesecake Ingredients

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  • Pecans: Pecans lend a toasty, nutty taste to the cheesecake’s crust.
  • Cream cheese: Room-temperature cream cheese is easier to beat into the filling, so learn how to soften cream cheese before starting this recipe.
  • Sour cream: Sour cream gives this cheesecake a tangy flavor and helps avoid an undesirable one-note sweetness.
  • Eggs: Baking with room-temperature eggs is imperative for the success of a cheesecake. Adding cold eggs to a batter with a high fat content can re-harden the dairy and curdle the batter.
  • Canned pumpkin: We love using canned pumpkin for baking and always reach for one of our favorite canned pumpkin brands at the grocery store.
  • Spices: Warm cinnamon, zippy ginger, spicy cloves and aromatic nutmeg drive home the autumnal feeling in this recipe.


Step 1: Prepare the springform pan

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place a greased 9-inch springform pan on a double layer of heavy-duty foil (about an 18-inch square). Wrap the foil securely around the bottom and perimeter of the pan.

Step 2: Create the pecan crust

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Place the pecans and brown sugar in a food processor, and pulse until very fine crumbs form. Add the butter, and pulse to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet, and bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Step 3: Whip up the plain cheesecake batter

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In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of brown sugar using a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla. Beat in the eggs on low speed until they’re just blended.

Step 4: Make the pumpkin batter

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In a separate bowl, beat the pumpkin, spices and remaining brown sugar. Stir in 1-1/2 cups of the cream cheese mixture until just blended.

Step 5: Layer and swirl the cheesecake

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Pour 1-1/2 cups of the plain cheesecake batter over the crust. Gently spread 1-1/3 cups pumpkin batter over the top. Repeat the layers with the remaining plain and pumpkin batters. Cut through the layers with a butter or paring knife to create a swirling effect.

Step 6: Bake using a water bath

Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour very hot water into the roasting pan until a depth of about 1 inch. Bake until the cheesecake’s center is just set and the top appears dull, 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: If you’re unsure how to tell if the cheesecake is done, try the wobble test. Firmly tap a wooden spoon on the side of the springform pan, and see if the cheesecake just slightly wobbles.

Step 7: Chill the cheesecake

Remove the springform pan from the water bath, and place on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Run a small knife or a mini offset spatula around the inside perimeter of the springform pan to loosen the cheesecake. Remove the foil. Let the cheesecake cool for one hour longer. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight. Remove the rim from the springform pan. Serve the cheesecake.

Pumpkin-Swirl Cheesecake Variations

  • Decorate with toppings: Dollop cheesecake slices with sweetened whipped cream and a generous drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
  • Try a different crust: Not a fan of pecans? Go the traditional cheesecake route with a graham cracker crust, or try using Biscoff or Speculoos cookies instead.
  • Cut out mini cheesecakes: After the cheesecake is refrigerated overnight, cut out mini cheesecakes with a round cutter. These are the perfect size for little grab-and-go treats on a dessert table.

How to Store Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

To store this cheesecake after it cools, leave it in the springform pan, and loosely wrap it. Alternatively, you can cut the cooled cheesecake into slices, and store the slices in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to four days.

How to Freeze Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

To freeze this cheesecake after it cools, remove the outer lining of the springform pan, but keep the cheesecake on the base of the pan. Wrap the cheesecake tightly. Store it in the freezer for up to three months. To serve from frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge. Do not freeze your pumpkin swirl cheesecake with any toppings on it.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Tips

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Should you whip cheesecake?

You can whip the cream cheese and sugar together for as long as you need to make it smooth and fluffy. However, do not overmix once the eggs are added. The longer you beat the eggs, the more air you incorporate, which increases the chances of a cracked cheesecake. Instead, only beat the eggs until just combined.

Which cream cheese is best for cheesecake?

According to our test kitchen, one of the best cream cheese brands for cheesecakes is Great Value. It’s smooth and spreadable, and it doesn’t have an overpowering tang. Plus, as the brand name suggests, it’s one of the more affordable options.

Do you grease a springform pan for a cheesecake?

Yes, you should always grease a springform pan for a cheesecake. Greasing prevents the cheesecake from sticking to the sides of the pan and ultimately cracking.

Pumpkin-Swirl Cheesecake

I have to give my husband credit for this cheesecake. He found a recipe like it and asked if I could make it for him. I always make it for his birthday, and my young daughter loves to help. —Monika Walsh, Monterey, California
Spiced Pumpkin-Swirl Cheesecake Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time

Prep: 55 min. Bake: 70 min. + chilling


12 servings


  • 2 cups pecan halves, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Wrap foil securely around pan.
  2. Place pecans and brown sugar in a food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. Add butter; pulse to combine. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake until light brown, 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup brown sugar until smooth. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until blended.
  4. In another bowl, mix pumpkin, spices and remaining brown sugar. Stir in 1-1/2 cups of the cream cheese mixture.
  5. To layer, pour 1-1/2 cups plain cream cheese mixture over crust. Gently spread 1-1/3 cups pumpkin mixture over top. Repeat layers. Cut through layers with a knife to swirl. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of very hot water to larger pan.
  6. Bake until center is just set and top appears dull, 70-80 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan with a knife; remove foil. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove rim from pan.

Nutrition Facts

1 slice: 475 calories, 39g fat (16g saturated fat), 122mg cholesterol, 231mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (24g sugars, 2g fiber), 7g protein.