These creamy, swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are the most delicious fall dessert and perfect for feeding a crowd. They are easy enough for beginning bakers and the best part is that there is no water bath required!
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We love cheesecake in all its forms, whether that's a full-scale pumpkin cheesecake, mini cheesecakes, or these delectable cheesecake bars that are probably the easiest of them all. They are perfectly spiced, creamy and smooth, and the marbled effect of the swirled plain and pumpkin cheesecake bases never fails to impress.
I like to cut these bars into smaller squares to take to holiday gatherings or school events for the kids and they are always a huge hit. As long as the bars are chilled really well and served right away, the buttery graham cracker base is sturdy enough for these to even be eaten without a fork!
Why You'll Love These Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Customizable. Want to swap out the graham cracker crust for Oreos or gingersnaps? Go for it!
- Balanced flavors. The creaminess of the plain cream cheese swirl plays off the perfectly spiced pumpkin so well.
- Easy. Anyone can make this pumpkin cheesecake bar recipe and look like a pro without messing around with a water bath or other fussy techniques.
- Freezer friendly. Make a batch of these bars and pop them in the freezer for those occasions during the busy holiday season when you need to bring something but don't have time to whip something up. They freeze great!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Graham cracker crumbs - You could also use gingersnaps, Biscoff cookies, or Oreos instead.
- Cream cheese - Be sure to use softened, full-fat cream cheese for best results.
- Eggs - These are important for the best texture so your cheesecake isn't crumbly.
- Sugar - A combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar give just the right amount of sweetness to these bars.
- Pumpkin puree - You will use one whole can of pumpkin puree (the plain kind, not pumpkin pie filling) for this recipe or just under 2 cups if you made your own homemade pumpkin puree.
- Salted butter - For binding the graham cracker crust and adding a delicious buttery flavor.
- Sour cream - Adds richness and tang to the cheesecake.
- Pumpkin pie spices - If you have pumpkin pie spice in your spice cupboard, you could use that, but I prefer to just uses the spices I have on hand so I can control the flavor of my pumpkin spice. It's the perfect combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice.
- Vanilla extract - This ingredient adds complexity and depth of flavor to most baking recipes.
How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Make graham cracker crust. Pulse your graham crackers in a large food processor until broken up into fine crumbs. You can also do this with a rolling pin and ziploc bag, but you'll just want to be sure they are broken up into very small crumbs. Add sugar and melted butter, pulsing until the graham cracker crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Press crust into pan. Use a measuring cup or glass with a flat bottom to press the moistened graham cracker crumbs into a 9x13-inch baking dish lined with a parchment paper sling. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 325°F oven to set the crust, then remove it from the oven to cool slightly before adding the cheesecake filling.
- Beat cream cheese and sugars. Use a hand mixer to mix the cream cheese together with both types of sugar until creamy and smooth. Stop to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure everything gets evenly blended.
- Add sour cream, vanilla, and eggs one at a time. Mix on low speed after adding each egg just until everything is combined.
- Divide and add pumpkin puree and spices. Once the plain cheesecake mixture is blended and smooth, separate 1 ½ cups (about ⅓ of the cheesecake batter) into another bowl. Add the pumpkin puree and spices to the batter and mix just until blended.
- Swirl. I like to use two cookie scoops to dollop the two different batters onto the graham cracker crust, alternating between the two. Swirl gently with a knife, being careful not to scrape up the crust underneath.
- Bake. Place the bars into a preheated oven and bake at 325°F for 35 to 45 minutes. Note that if you are using a glass or ceramic pan, these are probably going to take longer to bake - more like 45-55 minutes. Either way, they should be set around the edges and only every so slightly jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and let them cool at room temperature.
- Chill. Transfer the cooled pumpkin cheesecake bars to the fridge and chill for 6 hours or overnight until completely cold.
- Slice. Carefully remove the slab of cheesecake bars from the pan with the parchment paper sling. Cut into 24 squares using a sharp knife.
For clean cuts with cheesecake, I recommend using a large, sharp knife and running it under hot water and wiping the blade clean before every slice. It can be a little tedious, but you'll love the results!
Cheesecakes tend to crack for two main reasons. The first is overbaking them. The second is overmixing the batter. Turn the oven off and open the door right the edges are set and the middle of the bars is still slightly wobbly. And when mixing the batter, don't go full-speed with the electric mixer once you start adding the eggs. Use low speed to incorporate less air into the cheesecake batter.
That said, a few cheesecake cracks aren't the worst thing in the world and it's common to see a couple in a swirled cheesecake along the lines where the two different batter flavors combine. Unless you've baked the living daylights out of your cheesecake, these bars are still going to taste delicious even with a few cracks.
You don't have to bake the crust before adding the filling, but I like to because it gives a little bit of extra crunch and a toastiness to it that I enjoy.
Tips for Success
- Don't overmix the cheesecake batter. Beating too fast or too long, especially after adding the eggs, is one of the most common reasons for cheesecakes to crack. Go ahead and mix the softened cream cheese and sugar really well first, then add the eggs one at a time on low speed just until combined.
- Don't overbake. Baking too long is another common cause of cracks in cheesecake. The bars should be set around the edges but it's okay if they are still slightly jiggly in the center. They will firm up as they cool and once they are chilled in the fridge.
- Serve chilled. These bars tend to soften when left out of the fridge for 30 minutes or more. They won't melt, but you won't be able to eat them easily by hand anymore at that point.
- Change up the crust. We love a classic graham cracker crust, but these pumpkin cheesecake bars would be excellent made with a Biscoff cookie crust or a gingersnap crust. You could even go with an Oreo crust because pumpkin and chocolate go really well together.
What to Serve With Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
These yummy little pumpkin cheesecake squares are perfect all on their own, but you can't go wrong serving them with a swirl of homemade whipped cream piped on top of each square.
They would also be delicious with some caramel sauce or melted Biscoff cookie butter drizzled over the tops.
How to Store Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Once completely cooled, the pumpkin swirl cheesecake bars should be stored in the fridge until just before serving. Either keep them in the pan they were baked in covered tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or transfer to an airtight container in a single layer.
You can also freeze these bars for up to 3 months. Thaw them overnight in the fridge before serving.
More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes
- Baked Pumpkin Donuts
- Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Starbucks Pumpkin Scones
- Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Did you make this recipe?
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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- 2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs (about 1 ½ sleeves or 12-15 graham crackers), or Biscoff, Oreo, or gingersnap cookies
- ½ cup salted butter, melted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 (8-ounce) packages full-fat cream cheese, softened (24-ounces)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with a parchment paper sling for easier removal and cutting.
- Pulse graham crackers in a large food processor until broken up into fine crumbs. Add sugar and melted butter, pulsing until the graham cracker crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Press crust mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes to set the crust, then remove it from the oven to cool slightly before adding the cheesecake filling.
- Beat cream cheese, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Stop to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add sour cream and eggs, one at a time. Mix on low speed after adding each egg, just until everything is evenly combined and the cheesecake batter is smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of the plain cheesecake batter with the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
- Use cookie scoops to dollop large spoonfuls of the different batters onto the graham cracker crust, alternating between the two. Gently swirl the batters together with a knife to create a marble effect, being careful not to scrape up the crust underneath.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until set around the edges and only every so slightly jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and let the bars cool at room temperature.
- Transfer the cooled pumpkin cheesecake bars to the fridge and chill for 6 hours or overnight until completely cold. Once chilled, carefully remove the slab of cheesecake bars from the pan with the parchment paper sling and cut into 24 squares using a sharp knife to serve.
- Storage: Store in the fridge for up to 4 days until just before serving. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or transfer to an airtight container in a single layer.
- Freezing: These bars freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw them overnight in the fridge before serving.
- Pan type: Note that if you are using a glass or ceramic pan, these will take longer to bake - more like 45-55 minutes.
- Clean cuts: For clean cuts with cheesecake, I recommend using a large, sharp knife and running it under hot water and wiping the blade clean before every slice.