These are caramel pumpkin cheesecake bars. They are a baked super creamy cheesecake bar that is loaded with pumpkin, spices, and caramel. It is also topped with a caramel sauce.
These caramel pumpkin cheesecake bars combine all of the best parts of the fall season. They have pumpkin filling and a homemade salted caramel sauce baked into them. The caramel drizzle on top completes this perfect fall dessert.
Why This Recipe Works
- Salted caramel- Salted caramel is an amazing flavor. This homemade caramel is delicious and makes for a perfect dessert.
- No water bath- The best part is these easy pumpkin cheesecake bars are small enough that they do not need a hot water bath like a regular baked cheesecake. Any cracks that develop should be small and the caramel on top should cover them!
- Creamy texture- This is a rich and creamy cheesecake with a smooth caramel on top. This dessert just melts in your mouth!
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Graham Crackers- If you live in a country without graham crackers you can substitute digestive biscuits.
- Unsalted butter- Take this out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Cream cheese- Take this out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Heavy cream- Take this out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Eggs- Take this out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Salted caramel- For more detailed instructions on how to make the homemade salted caramel see this salted caramel recipe.
- Electric mixer- This recipe does require an electric mixer. A hand mixer or a stand mixer with paddle attachment will work.
Step By Step Instructions - Salted Caramel and Graham Cracker Crust
Here is how to make and bake the salted caramel and graham cracker crust for the caramel pumpkin bars.
Note: For steps 1-3 see this salted caramel recipe for more detailed instructions.
STEP 1: Melt sugar. Pour the sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat it over medium heat until it starts melting. Then, use a metal whisk to stir occasionally until it is mostly melted. Then, stir continuously until it is completely melted.
STEP 2: Cook sugar and butter. Let the sugar sit in the heat until it turns amber in color. This will happen over a few seconds so watch it carefully. Then, take it off the heat and add half of the cubed butter. Mix it until it is melted, then add the remaining butter and mix it until melted and bubbly.
STEP 3: Finish caramel. Add half the heavy cream and mix it until combined. Then, add the rest of the cream and mix it in. Mix in the vanilla extract and salt. Pour the caramel into a small bowl to cool completely.
STEP 4: Prep. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Meanwhile, spray a 9X9 baking pan with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan parchment paper with 2 sides coming up enough to use as handles later. Finally, spray it again.
STEP 5: Blend crust. Use a food processor to blend the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Use a small bowl and fork to mix together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter.
STEP 6: Pour crust. Pour the graham cracker mixture into the prepared pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to compact the crust on the bottom of the pan. Don't push the crust up the sides of the pan.
STEP 7: Bake crust. Bake the crust for 11 minutes.
Step By Step Instructions - Pumpkin Cheesecake
Here is how to make and bake the caramel pumpkin cheesecake layer.
STEP 1: Blot pumpkin puree. Pour the pumpkin puree on a plate. Use paper towels to absorb any excess liquid. Get a dry paper towel and repeat this a second time.
STEP 2: Beat cream cheese and sugar. Use a mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar on high speed for 2 minutes. Make sure to use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl.
STEP 3: Combine. Add the sour cream and pumpkin puree to the cream cheese mixture and mix it on medium speed until smooth. Then, add the vanilla extract, salted caramel, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix again until smooth. Finally, add the eggs and mix on low speed until just combined.
STEP 4: Bake. Pour the cheesecake batter in an even layer on top of the crust. Bake it for 40-45 minutes. It is done when the edges are set, but the middle has a slight jiggle.
STEP 5: Cool. Turn the oven off and crack the door open. Let the cheesecake cool like that for 25 minutes. Then, transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
STEP 6: Chill. Cover the pan with foil and place it in the fridge to chill overnight or at least 6 hours.
STEP 7: Pull out cheesecake. Once the cheesecake is chilled, take it out of the pan. If it is not coming smoothly use a butter knife around the edges. You should be able to use the parchment paper coming up the sides as handles to help.
STEP 8: Top with caramel. Pour the caramel topping over top of the cheesecake. If it is too thick heat it for 15 second intervals in the microwave until it is pourable.
Expert Baking Tips
- Make sure you get your dairy ingredients to room temperature before using them so that you will have a creamy and smooth cheesecake. Cold ingredients can can affect the texture.
- Be sure to chill the bars for at least 6 hours to set the cheesecake.
- If you want clean and pretty cuts, wash a sharp knife between each cut.
- When blotting the pumpkin puree you need to press gently into it to absorb the excess moisture. It should still have moisture after, but not be as wet.
- When cooking the sugar for caramel it will change color very quickly. Do not walk away from the pot when the sugar is almost ready or it can quickly burn.
Yes you can. This crust can be swapped with any other cheesecake crust. I think that a graham cracker crust pairs best with this cheesecake, but you can substitute in another if you different crust, such as my Oreo crust as seen in my chocolate cheesecake bars.
Your cheesecake may crack since it does not use a water bath. However, these cheesecake bars are not very thick and have caramel on top, so they should not be affected once topped.
Yes you can. It will just make thick bars. They will require more bake time than a big pan due to being thicker.
Storing and Freezing
Store these caramel pumpkin cheesecake bars in an airtight container. Store in the fridge up to 5 days.
You can freeze the caramel pumpkin cheesecake bars in individual slices. Store in an airtight container and freeze up to 30 days. Thaw for 1-2 hours before eating.
Other Cheesecake Recipes To Try
Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- 1 cup White granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoon Unsalted butter room temperature cubed
- ½ cup Heavy cream room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon Salt
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 ½ cups Graham cracker crumbs 2 sleeves of crackers
- ¼ cup Brown sugar packed light or dark
- 10 tablespoon Unsalted butter melted
- 24 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- ¾ cup White granulated sugar
- 15 oz Pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- ½ cup Sour cream room temperature or greek yogurt
- ¼ cup Salted caramel
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice
- 1 ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Ground nutmeg
- 4 Large eggs room temperature
- In a medium saucepan, pour the sugar. Heat over medium heat. Let the sugar sit until it starts to melt. Then, use a metal whisk to mix the sugar. It will be clumpy. Stir occasionally until it is mostly melted. Then, stir until all is melted.1 cup White granulated sugar
- Let the sugar sit until it turns amber in color. This takes a few seconds. Take off the heat. Add half of the cubed butter and whisk until melted. Add the rest of the butter and mix. It will be very bubbly.4 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- Add in half of the heavy cream and mix until combined. Add the rest of the cream and mix. Add in the salt and vanilla. Pour the caramel into a small bowl to cool completely.½ cup Heavy cream, 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon Salt
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat to 325℉. Spray a 9X9-inch square pan with baking nonstick spray. Line the bottom and 2 sides of the pan with parchment paper and spray again.
- Using a food processor, blend the graham crackers into a fine crumb. Pour the crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter into a small bowl. Use a fork to mix together.2 ½ cups Graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup Brown sugar, 10 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- Pour the crumbs into the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to compact the crust on the bottom of the pan. Don't go up the sides of the pan.
- Bake for 11 minutes.
- Pour the pumpkin puree on to the plate. Use paper towels to soak up some of the liquid. Do this twice.15 oz Pumpkin puree
- Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on high speed for 2 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl.24 oz Cream cheese, ¾ cup White granulated sugar
- Add in the sour cream and pumpkin puree. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Add in the vanilla, salted caramel, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix until smooth.½ cup Sour cream, ¼ cup Salted caramel, 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, 2 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice, 1 ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon Ground nutmeg
- Add in the eggs and mix on low speed until just combined.4 Large eggs
- Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Bake until the edges are set but the middle has a slight jiggle.
- Turn off the oven, crack open the door, and let it sit for 25 minutes. Then, take out of the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Make sure the cheesecake stays in the pan.
- Cover with foil and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Once chilled, take the cheesecake out of the pan. If it is having trouble, use a butter knife around the edges.
- Pour the caramel on top. If it is too thick from being cold, heat for 15 seconds intervals until pourable.