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Rich and creamy, this easy Pumpkin Cheesecake is the BEST and even better than Cheesecake Factory. It's one of our favorite Fall desserts and perfect for Thanksgiving, especially for people who aren't pie-lovers!
I think I may have mentioned on here that I'm not the biggest fan of traditional pumpkin pie. I mean, it's good and I get why others love it, but I would take a slice of pumpkin cheesecake over the pie version any day!
It's got that deliciously sweet cookie crust and decadent texture that is perfect topped with some sweetened whipped cream. Everybody loves it! To really take it over the top, serve it with caramel sauce for drizzling over the individual slices!
Why We Love This Recipe
- Cheesecake is a fantastic make-ahead dessert that even freezes well. You can make it a month in advance, freeze, then let it thaw overnight in the fridge before serving!
- You can easily change up your crust based on what you have on hand or your own personal preference. I used biscoff cookies this time, but Oreos, gingersnap cookies, and of course classic graham crackers all work well to make a crust that is perfect with this pumpkin pie cheesecake.
- You can make it with or without a water bath, so there's no need to be intimidated if you haven't had success with water baths and cheesecake in the past.
- Cream cheese: You can make this pumpkin cheesecake with the reduced fat neufchatel, but for be results I really recommend going for full fat cream cheese. Be sure to only use blocks of cream cheese rather than a tub of cream cheese spread.
- Pumpkin puree: Be sure to buy the plain pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. Or make your own homemade pumpkin puree and use that instead!
- Brown sugar: For a deeper, richer flavor, we use brown sugar in our pumpkin cheesecake filling.
- Sour cream: This is a common ingredient in cheesecakes and adds richness and tang. Greek yogurt makes an excellent substitute though!
How to Make This Recipe
Start by pulsing biscoff cookies (or graham crackers, Oreos, or gingersnaps - whatever you want for your crust!) in a food processor until they are just fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and brown sugar, then pulse again to evenly moisten and disperse everything so that the crumbs will hold together when squeezed or pressed into a pan.
Use the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to press the crust mixture into a 9- or 10-inch springform pan. Both work, you will just have a taller pumpkin cheesecake if you use the smaller pan. You can just do the bottom or go partway up the sides, which is my favorite approach.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until creamy and smooth. It's much easier to do this with room temperature cream cheese that has sat out of the fridge for at least 1 hour first.
Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, spices, and sour cream. Beat again until smooth and totally combined. Be sure to stop and scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl so everything gets mixed in evenly.
Now add the eggs. This is the part where you don't want to go crazy with your mixer. Up until this point it's not a huge deal if you really beat the filling, but once you add the eggs you want to mix on low just until they are incorporated, otherwise you increase the likelihood that you will end up with cracks in your pumpkin cheesecake.
Pour the pumpkin cheesecake filling into your prepared crust and bake for 60 minutes, regardless of whether you are using a water bath or not. Then turn off the oven and crack the door slightly so the cheesecake can cool slowly for 1 hour.
After the cheesecake has rested in the oven for an hour (don't forget to make sure the oven gets turned off!), pull it out, remove it from the water bath (if you used one), and let it cool completely at room temperature before transferring to the fridge to chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
Water Bath Approach:
For a smooth, flat top, I recommend using a water bath. Just be sure to protect your cheesecake from leaks by wrapping the bottom of the pan with two layers of aluminum foil and/or a Reynold's slow cooker bags (not sponsored, it's just what I have found to work best!. Set it into a large pan and fill with an inch or so of very hot water and bake for 60 minutes until the top is set around the edges but still a bit wobbly in the middle.
No Water Bath Approach:
This way is definitely easier and less fraught with the peril of a soggy crust. And your cheesecake will still taste INCREDIBLE with excellent texture. However, you will likely notice that it sinks in the middle once it cools rather than having a perfectly flat top. And there is an increased chance that you might end up with a crack in the middle of your cheesecake.
Pro Tip: For extra bling, garnish the top of your cheesecake with some sugared cranberries for decoration!
Great question! The trick is to hold the pumpkin and spices in reserve while you make a plain cheesecake filling using granulated sugar instead of brown sugar. Then remove 2 cups of the plain batter and add only half of the pumpkin and spices called for in the recipe to that batter, leaving the remaining batter plain. To layer, add the plain cheesecake filling to the prepared crust, then carefully spoon the pumpkin filling on top. To swirl, alternate adding the two kinds of batter into the crust, then gently swirl with a knife.
If you are concerned about water leaking with a water bath but still want to create a moist environment for baking your cheesecake, try filling a separate pan with hot water and placing it on the rack below the rack where you bake your cheesecake.
- Storage: Store the pumpkin cheesecake in the fridge and serve chilled or at room temperature. I actually think it tastes best when the slices have set out of the fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Freezing: You can freeze the whole cheesecake and slice later, or freeze individual slices if you have leftovers. In this case, I recommend transferring the slices to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freezing them individually for 2-3 hours, then wrapping them each in plastic wrap, then foil to protect them. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
- Use room temperature cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs to make the filling. Room temperature ingredients mix together much better than if they are cold, which will give you more consistent results and a cheesecake with a nice flat top.
- Don't overmix the filling when adding the eggs. Keep your mixer on low speed and only mix until the eggs are incorporated into the pumpkin cheesecake filling.
More Cheesecake Recipes
- Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake
- Peppermint Bark Cheesecake
- Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
- 1 ¾ cups finely crushed Biscoff cookie crumbs, or gingersnaps, graham crackers, or Oreos
- ½ cup salted butter, melted
- 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 (8-ounce) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoons ground cloves
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine biscoff crumbs with the melted butter and brown sugar and mix until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.
- Bake for 8 minutes to set the crust, then set aside to cool while preparing the filling.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 3-4 minutes on medium speed.
- Add pumpkin puree, sour cream, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix well, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure everything is evenly combined.
- Add the eggs and mix again on low speed just until combined.
- Pour filling into the prepared crust. If using the water bath approach, wrap the bottom of the springform pan in a slow cooker liner and/or heavy duty aluminum foil. Set the springform pan in a larger roasting pan and carefully fill around the springform pan with at least an inch of hot water.
- Transfer the cheesecake to the oven and bake for 60 minutes until the outside of the cheesecake is set but the center is still wobbly. Turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake inside with the oven door closed while it cools slowly for 45 minutes.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven (and from the water bath, if you opted to use one) and cool on the counter until room temperature. Transfer the cooled cheesecake to the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight before slicing and serving with freshly whipped cream swirls piped on top.
- In a large bowl, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip and pipe swirls on top of the finished cheesecake before serving.
- Storage: The cheesecake will be good in the fridge for about 5 days.
- Freezing: The cheesecake can be frozen whole or as slices. To freeze slices, I would recommend slicing and placing the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to freeze for 2-3 hours. Then wrap the slices in plastic wrap, followed by foil to protect them. Thaw on the counter for a few hours or in the fridge overnight before serving.
- Water bath alternative: If you are concerned about water leaking with a water bath but still want to create a moist environment for baking your cheesecake, my friend April from Fresh April Flours recommends filling a separate pan with hot water and placing it on the rack below the rack where you bake your cheesecake.