This pumpkin cheesecake combines both regular cheesecake and pumpkin cheesecake. It has a graham cracker crust, layer of regular cheesecake, and pumpkin cheesecake swirled on top. It also has whipped cream on top.
This pumpkin cheesecake is one of the best cheesecakes of all. It has been the classic cheesecake after Thanksgiving dinner at my house for many years. The regular cheesecake and pumpkin cheesecake work to really show off the pumpkin flavor without making it too strong. We love it so much we can't go back to traditional pumpkin pie!
- Why This Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Works
- Ingredient Notes for the Best Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Ingredient Substitutions
- Step By Step Instructions - Graham Cracker Crust
- Step By Step Instructions - Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Step By Step Instructions - Decorating Cheesecake
- Preventing Cheesecake Cracks
- Recipe Variations
- Special Tools
- Storing and Freezing
- 📖 Recipe
Why This Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Works
- Better than pumpkin pie- This cheesecake has all of the pumpkin pie flavor that makes Thanksgiving dessert special, but improves it with amazing cheesecake flavor!
- Double cheesecake flavors- The combination of regular cheesecake and pumpkin cheesecake complement each other perfectly. The regular cheesecake parts make the pumpkin flavors really pop.
- Creamy cheesecake- This cheesecake has a perfect creamy texture you are guaranteed to love.
Ingredient Notes for the Best Pumpkin Cheesecake
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Graham cracker- If you do not have graham crackers where you live you can substitute digestive biscuits.
- Unsalted butter- The butter is melted for the crust. You can melt this in the microwave.
- Brown sugar- I used light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar will work.
- Sour cream- Pull this out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Cream cheese- Use full fat cream cheese. Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Eggs- Pull the large eggs out 2 hours before baking so they are room temperature. I use whole eggs, not egg white for the fatty yolk.
- Baking spray- Make sure you are using a baking spray with flour, not just a cooking spray.
- Pumpkin Puree- Make sure not to use pumpkin pie filling as it has other ingredients included we do not want.
- Dairy free- You can use your favorite dairy free options for this recipe!
- Gluten free- I haven't tested this gluten free. Let me know if you do.
Step By Step Instructions - Graham Cracker Crust
Here is how to make and bake the graham cracker crust for this pumpkin cheesecake.
STEP 1: Prep. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Then, spray a 8 inch springform pan with baking spray. Place a 9 inch circle of parchment paper on the bottom and spray it again.
STEP 2: Mix crust. Use a small bowl and a fork to mix the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter together. Make sure there are not any dry spots.
STEP 3: Form crust. Pour the crumbs into the springform pan and use your hands to press it into an even layer across the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring crust to compact the bottom.
STEP 4: Bake crust. Bake the crust for 13 minutes. Then, allow it to cool before starting the cheesecake.
STEP 5: Prep pumpkin puree. While waiting you can prepare your pumpkin puree. Place it on a large plate. Then, blot it with two paper towels. Do this three times to remove the excess moisture from the pumpkin.
Step By Step Instructions - Pumpkin Cheesecake
Here is how to make and bake the pumpkin cheesecake.
STEP 1: Beat cream cheese and sugar. Use a mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
STEP 2: Mix cheesecake. Add the sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Mix it in on medium speed until smooth. Then, add the eggs and egg yolk. Mix them in on low speed until just combined. Pour half of the cheesecake batter into a separate bowl.
STEP 3: Make pumpkin cheesecake. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice into the half of the cheesecake batter still in the bowl of the mixer. Mix it in on low speed until just combined and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
STEP 4: Pour. Pour the regular cheesecake into the prepared pan with the crust. Smooth it with a spatula, then pour the pumpkin cheesecake batter on top. Use a butter knife to swirl the cheesecake batters into each other.
STEP 5: Water bath. See the water bath section below for the 2 methods of water bath you can use.
STEP 6: Bake cheesecake. Bake the cheesecake for 85-95 minutes. It is done when the edges are set and there is a slight jiggle in the middle.
STEP 7: Cool cheesecake. When the cheesecake is done turn the oven off and prop the oven door open slightly. Allow the cheesecake to slowly cool like this for 30 minutes. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
STEP 8: Chill. Once cooled, cover the cheesecake and place it in the fridge to chill overnight, or at least 6 hours.
Step By Step Instructions - Decorating Cheesecake
Here is how to decorate the pumpkin cheesecake.
STEP 1: Chill bowl. Place a metal bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes.
STEP 2: Whip cream. Combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in the cold bowl. Beat it on high speed until stiff peaks form.
STEP 3: Pipe whipped cream. Take the cheesecake out of the springform pan and remove the parchment paper. Then, pipe the whipped cream on the top of the cheesecake along the edges.
Water Bath Tips
The water bath provides a moist environment for the cheesecake. This is because of the steam. When it is too dry, it will create cracks in the cheesecake.
Here are two techniques to try. They both use a roasting pan with hot steaming water.
- Place the springform pan inside a 10 inch cake pan. Place the cake pan in the roasting pan. Fill the pan with the hot water (about halfway up the cake pan)
- Wrap the springform pan with foil twice very tightly. Place the springform pan inside the roasting pan. Fill the pan halfway up with hot water.
My favorite method is the first one. This won't let any water at all get into the crust. It makes baking cheesecake so easy!
The second option gives the chance to get water inside and create a soggy crust.
Preventing Cheesecake Cracks
Beat the wet ingredients minus the eggs on high speed. Everything needs to be super creamy and smooth. Chunks of cream cheese can cause cracks.
Add eggs on low speed. The goal is to have as little air as possible when mixing the eggs. Too much air can cause big bubbles in the cheesecake batter. It will make the cheesecake rise and fall too quickly when baking. Which causes cracks.
Use a water bath. This is essential! See below for cheesecake tips.
Cool the cheesecake. Once the cheesecake is done baking, it needs to sit in the hot oven for 30 minutes. This lets it cool slowly.
If you were to put the cheesecake on the counter right after done baking, it will be too quick of a temperature change, which cause cracks.
How To Easily Remove The Cheesecake From The Pan
First, spray the springform pan with baking non stick spray. Next, line the bottom of the pan with 9 inch parchment paper circle. Make sure to spray the pan again.
Then, after the cheesecake has chilled overnight. The springform pan should pop right off. If it doesn't very gently use a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to pop it off.
Then, you should be able to lay the cheesecake on it's side to take off the bottom of pan and the parchment circle.
Divide this recipe into thirds to make 12 mini cheesecake. Bake in a muffin pan for 18-20 minutes. Follow this Mini Oreo Cheesecakes for detailed instructions for mini cheesecakes.
You can halve the recipe to make these into pumpkin cheesecake bars using 8X8 or 9X9 inch baking pan (use 16 oz of cream cheese). You can also use a 8 inch springform pan. If you want to use a 6 inch springform pan, halve the recipe, but use 16 oz of cream cheese. Adjust the baking time as it bakes faster in a larger pan since it is thinner.
First, make sure the cheesecake is very cold. Then, use a sharp knife to cut the slices. Clean the knife after every slice.
- Store-bought crust- If you do not want to make your own crust you can skip that step and use a store-bought one.
- All pumpkin cheesecake- If you do not want to combine the regular cheesecake and pumpkin cheesecake you can just mix the pumpkin puree and seasonings into the whole cheesecake batter.
- Springform pan: I use a good quality 9-inch springform pan. Sometimes I will use an 8-inch springform pan if I want a taller cheesecake.
- Parchment paper circles: I used 8-inch parchment paper circles for the bottom of the pan. I love to use the premade circles, so I don't have to cut it out of regular parchment paper.
- Baking spray: I use the nonstick spray that has flour in it.
- Offset spatula: I use this to easily spread the frosting or fillings.
- Cake turntable: I use this nice Ateco cast iron turntable because it is high quality and it spins seamlessly. Some other turntables are a little jerky when they turn.
- Piping bags: I like these 18- inch piping bags since they hold more.
- Piping tip: I love this Wilton 1M to pipe frosting.
Storing and Freezing
Store this pumpkin cheesecake in the fridge in an airtight container like a cake carrier. Chill up to 5 days.
You can freeze the pumpkin cheesecake in individual slices. Store in an airtight container and freeze up to 30 days. Thaw for 1-2 hours before eating.
You can also freeze the cheesecake before decorating. Wrap the cooled cheesecake (it needs to chill in the fridge overnight first), in plastic wrap and freeze up to 30 days.
Thaw for 1-2 hours before decorating.
Other Fall Dessert Recipes To Try
Try these fall recipes too!
- Reese's Cup Peanut Butter Cookies
- Sticky Buns
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Apple Cider Muffins
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Graham Cracker Pecan Crust
- 2 ½ cups Graham cracker crumbs fine crumb. 2 sleeves of graham crackers.
- ¼ cup Brown sugar light or dark packed
- 10 tablespoon Unsalted butter melted
- 32 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup White granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup Sour cream room temperature
- ¾ cup Heavy cream room temperature
- 4 Large eggs room temperature
- 1 Egg yolk room temperature
- 15 oz Pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 2 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice
- 2 ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 cup Heavy cream cold
- 2 tablespoon Powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 9 inch spring form pan with non-stick baking spray. Place a 9 inch parchment circle on the bottom and spray again.
- In a small bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter together with a fork. All of it should be wet.2 ½ cups Graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup Brown sugar, 10 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- Pour the crumbs into the spring form pan. Use your hands to push it down evenly on the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Use a measuring cup to compact the crust down.
- Bake for 13 minutes. Then, allow to cool before starting the cheesecake.
- Pour the pumpkin puree on a large plate. Use two paper towels to press the pumpkin puree. Do this three times with fresh paper towels to soak up some of the moisture.15 oz Pumpkin puree
- Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.32 oz Cream cheese, 1 cup White granulated sugar
- Add in the sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Add in the eggs and egg yolk. Mix on low speed until just combined. Pour half of the cheesecake batter into a separate bowl.1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, ¾ cup Sour cream, ¾ cup Heavy cream, 4 Large eggs, 1 Egg yolk
- Add in the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice into the half of the cheesecake batter. Mix on low until just combined. Scrape the bowl to make sure it is all mixed in.2 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice, 2 ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
- Pour the regular cheesecake batter into the pan. Smooth with a spatula. Pour the pumpkin cheesecake batter on top. Since the pumpkin batter is thicker it will most likely be in the middle. Use a butter knife to swirl the batter together.
- Water bath- You need a water bath for this cheesecake. You will need a large roasting pan and boiling water. 1. Use a large roasting pan and a 10 inch cake pan. Place the spring form pan into the cake pan and place both in the roasting pan. Fill up the roasting pan half way with hot water. 2. Use a roasting pan and cover the spring form pan twice with aluminum foil and place directly in roasting pan with the hot water. Make sure to start the hot water when you start the cheesecake batter.
- Bake the cheesecake for 85-95 minutes. The cheesecake should have set edges and a slight jiggle in the middle. If it jiggles a lot, then bake for another 10 minutes and check again.
- When cheesecake is done baking, turn off the oven and prop the door open slightly. Allow the cheesecake to slightly cool for 30 minutes. Then, transfer to a cooling rack. Cheesecake should cool completely before covering and chilling in the fridge. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Freeze the metal bowl and whisk attachment for 10 minutes. Then, combine heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla and beat on high until stiff peaks form.1 cup Heavy cream, 2 tablespoon Powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- Take off the spring form pan and remove the parchment circle. Pipe the whipped cream on the sides of the cheesecake.