Pumpkin Cheesecake! Ultra creamy and lightly spiced cheesecake with a distinctive pumpkin flavor. A buttery pecan-graham cracker crust complements the velvety cheesecake layer.
Table of contents
What sets this Pumpkin Cheesecake apart from all the others?
The pumpkin cheesecake filling is baked on a substantial pecan-graham cracker crust. The pecans add a lovely nutty note that is a perfect flavor partner with pumpkin.
A full cup of sour cream enhances the flavor of the cream cheese base and it adds richness and a subtle tang to the cheesecake filling.
Unlike some recipes that can be heavy on “pumpkin spice”, this one has a moderate and well-rounded spice level, allowing the pumpkin flavor to shine.
Whether you’re an experienced baker or a beginner, this easy-to-follow recipe creates a flavorful pumpkin cheesecake with perfectly balanced texture and taste.
- Pumpkin Puree – Canned pumpkin puree has the most consistent flavor and moisture level. Do not use pumpkin pie filling. If you use homemade pumpkin puree, blot the puree with paper towels to ensure it doesn’t have too much water.
- Cream Cheese – Use only full-fat cream cheese for this recipe.
- Sour Cream – Adds a tangy note and richness to the cheesecake.
- Spices – If you have pumpkin pie spice mix you can use it in place the of the spices listed in the recipe. Use the same total amount.
How to make Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Whip the whites to full peak. Whisk in the yolks and vanilla.
- Sift the over the batter and gently fold it in.
- Fold just until all the flour is incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Pipe the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet into 4″ long x 2″ wide “fingers”.
- Lightly sprinkle the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar.
- Bake until light brown and spongy about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.
- Cook the custard over medium/low heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour the custard into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
- Sandwich the ladyfingers with the preserves.
- Cut a ladyfinger sandwich in half, lengthwise.
- Stand the ladyfingers on end, with the cut side to the outside of a glass trifle bowl. Continue cutting and arranging the ladyfingers until the entire perimeter of the bowl is lined with a “striped” pattern.
- Use half of the remaining uncut cookies to the line bottom of the bowl. You can break them up to fit pieces into any gaps between the cookies.
- Sprinkle a ½ cup of the sherry over the cookies on the bottom and sides of the bowl. Pour half of the custard into the bowl. Arrange the remaining cookies over the custard and sprinkle with the remaining sherry.
- Pour the other half the custard into the bowl.
- Top the trifle with whipped cream and refrigerate at least 6 hours (preferably overnight) before serving.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs (or whole crackers), pecans, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse to grind the nuts.
- Add the melted butter and process until it comes together.
- Pour the crumbs into a parchment lined cake pan or springform pan.
- Press the crumbs to an even layer and bake until golden brown.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar. Scrape the bowl and beater to eliminate any lumps of cheese.
- Add the spices and sour cream.
- Add the pumpkin puree.
- Add the eggs. Scrape the bowl to eliminate any lumps.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan with the crust.
- Set the pan into a larger pan and pour water to come halfway up the side of the cake pan. If you’re using a springform pan be sure to wrap the pan in foil to avoid leaks.
- Bake the cake until it softly jiggles as a mass. Cool completely then refrigerate until very cold before unmolding from the pan.
- Run the tip of a paring knife around the sides of the cake. If you used a springform pan, release the side of the pan to unmold the cake.
- If you used a regular cake pan, place a cardboard circle covered with plastic wrap over the cake. Either dip the pan into a bowl of very hot water, or flip the pan and use a blowtorch to warm the pan.
- Flip the cake out onto the plastic covered cardboard round. Remove the parchment from the crust then flip the cake onto a serving plate or a cardboard cake circle.
How to work ahead
- You can make the crumbs for the crust ahead of time and refrigerate them in a covered container for 3-4 days or freeze them for up to a month.
- The cheesecake batter can be made ahead and refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for up to a month.
- The baked cheesecake can be refrigerated for several days or wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and frozen for up to a month. Defrost in the plastic wrap.
Serving and Storage
- You can pipe a border of lightly sweetened whipped cream on the top of the cake or serve a slice of the cake with a dollop of whipped cream.
- The cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for a week or can be frozen for up to a month. Before freezing, double wrap the cake in plastic wrap to avoid picking up freezer odors.
- Individual slices of left-over cake can be wrapped and frozen for up to a month.
Pastry Chef tips for making the creamiest cheesecake
- To avoid lumps of cream cheese in the batter, make sure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature before mixing. Thoroughly scrape the bowl after mixing the cheese and sugar, and after each addition of eggs to the batter.
- Do not over mix the batter or mix on high speed, especially after the eggs are added. Over mixing aerates the batter, causing it to puff up and crack as it bakes.
- Always bake the cake in a water bath.
- Cheesecake can be baked in a springform pan or regular cake pan. Review the process photos for how to unmold a cheesecake from a regular cake pan.
- Chill the cake completely in the refrigerator before unmolding.
More Cheesecake Recipes
- New York Cheesecake
- San Sebastian Cheesecake
- Butterscotch Cheesecake
- Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Tart
- Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
- Lime Layered Cheesecake
- White Chocolate Cheesecake
- Peach Cheesecake
- Banana Cheesecake
More Pumpkin Recipes
- Pumpkin Scones
- Pumpkin Coffee Cake
- Ginger Pumpkin Cookies
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- Sourdough Pumpkin Bread
- Honey Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Donuts
- Pumpkin Soft Pretzels
- Pumpkin Mousse Pie
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
Graham Cracker-Pecan Crust
- 5 oz graham cracker crumbs (1 cup)
- 2 oz pecans (½ cup)
- 2 oz granulated sugar (¼ cup)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 oz butter (melted)
- 16 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
- 6 oz granulated sugar (¾ cup)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 8 oz sour cream (1 cup)
- 8 oz canned pumpkin puree (1 cup (see note))
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs (whisked together)
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line the bottom of an 8"x3" or 9"x3" cake pan or springform pan with a parchment paper round. (see note) If you're using a spring form pan wrap the outside of the pan with a piece of aluminum foil to cover the bottom and sides.
To make the Crust
- Combine 5 oz graham cracker crumbs, 2 oz pecans, 2 oz granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon in food processor. Pulse to grind the pecans and combine the ingredients. With the processor running, pour 3 oz butter (melted) over the crumbs and process until combine. Dump the crumbs into the cake pan and press to an even layer. Bake the crust for 10 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 °F.
Make the cheesecake batter
- Combine the softened 16 oz cream cheese and 6 oz granulated sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed to combine the ingredients, scraping the bowl and beaters often to avoid lumps.
- Once the mix is smooth, add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg and mix to combine.
- With the mixer running on low speed add 8 oz sour cream, 8 oz canned pumpkin puree and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Scrape the bowl. Whisk together 3 large eggs and add them in two stages, scraping well after each addition. Mix just until the eggs are combined, do not over mix.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan. Set the pan into a sheet pan or roasting pan. Set the pan into the middle rack of the oven and pour water to come at least ½ way up the side of the cake pan.
- Bake until the cake softly jiggles as a mass when the pan is shaken, about 45-50 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin sharp knife that has been moistened with warm water around the sides of the cake to release it from the pan (this will prevent the cake from cracking while it cools). Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
- If you used a springform pan run a knife around the sides of the cake and release the sides of the pan. If you used a regular cake pan, set the cold cake pan into a bowl of very hot water for 20-30 seconds to release the sides. Run a warm knife around the sides of the cake. Place a plate or cardboard cake circle covered with plastic wrap on top of the cake pan. Immediately flip the cake over and remove the pan and the parchment circle. You can also use a blow torch to warm the outside of the pan instead of a bowl of hot water. Flip the cake over onto a serving plate.
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