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Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Have I got a special treat for you today – a pumpkin cheesecake recipe!   With fall in the air (even here in New Orleans!), I start to get the craving for all things pumpkin. Additionally, not having many dessert recipes on this blog, I decided it was high time to remedy that. And thus this is how I got to creating a pumpkin cheesecake recipe. Pretty simple.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Full disclosure – this is the first cheesecake I’ve made in about 10 years. I was so pleased with the way it came out.  Best news is that this cheesecake is pretty easy to make.  The only downside is that it has to cool for a total of 6 hours.  I must say though that it is totally worth the wait.  So delicious.

Graham Cracker CrustAfter studying and looking over many recipes for pumpkin cheesecake, I realized that the ingredients list can be very flexible.  Below is what I chose as my proportions and ingredients.  However, what I was not quite as sure about was the proper baking method.  I knew I didn’t want a cheesecake with huge cracks in the top, and I didn’t want to deal with a  water bath, so I turned to one of my most trusted sources – Martha Stewart.   The method I use below is Martha’s method for pumpkin cheesecake – especially where it come to the baking (temperature, timing).

Pumpkin with sugar and spices

This cheesecake is rich, but it’s not dense.  Using the proper method with the mixer ensured that I had a light and fluffy cheesecake.  The key to a light and fluffy cheesecake is to make sure both the cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature before you add them to the mixer.  Yes, this adds more time to the front end of the preparations, but again, taking the extra time to do something right results in a far superior product.

Fluffy cream cheese in the mixer

Another key to this recipe coming out well visually (i.e. – no cracks in the cake) is to not over mix the batter.  You want to keep your mixer on a low speed so as not to over-agitate the ingredients.  Also, be sure to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl regularly to ensure that all ingredients mix as throughly as possible.

Cream cheese with pumpkin mixture in the mixer

Also, as tempted as you might be to check on your cheesecake, do not open the oven at all after you stick the cheesecake in.  When you pop the cheesecake in, close the door, and do not open it for nearly three hours.  The cheesecake will bake for 45 minutes then you’ll turn the oven off, and let the cheesecake cool an additional two hours. Allowing the cheesecake to cool slowly in a well-regulated temperature environment is how to ensure you don’t get cracks in your cheesecake.

Pumpkin cheesecake in the mixer

A final technique caveat.  To me the most torturous part of all this is the 4 hours you have to wait after the cheesecake is removed from the oven.  It’s necessary but gah, torture.  Oh and remember to chill the cheesecake with the springform pan mold on.  It will be messy business if you try to take it off before the cheesecake has set.  You see, cheesecake isn’t complicated at all, but it is very process driven.

Pumpkin cheesecake batter in pan

Now that we’ve discussed proper technique, let’s look at some of our ingredients.  The ingredients for the crust are pretty standard.  I used whole graham crackers and used the food processor to make crumbs.  I like this method better because the crumbs are fresher.  I added a little cinnamon to the mixture to give it some extra flavor.

Pumpkin cheesecake

For the cheesecake batter, I used spices standard to a pumpkin pie.  Feel free to substitute other ingredients that you might like better.  I also added a half cup of sour cream to this recipe for a little extra tanginess.  I did not have the sour cream at room temperature because it is a fairly liquidy ingredient to start with.

Pumpkin cheesecake sliced

Finally, let’s talk equipment.  You will need a springform pan for this.  It’ll be near impossible to remove this from a regular cake pan and keep it in one piece.  Although, if you really don’t care what the finished product looks like, and you don’t have a springform pan, you technically can use a regular cake pan.  Just know you’ll have to cut the cheesecake into slices from inside the pan.

Pumpkin cheesecake slice

Alrighty, now that you’ve been briefed in all things cheesecake, on to the recipe!

Yield: 8 servings

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

This pumpkin cheesecake recipe is rich, velvety and delicious without being too dense. Light and fluffy cheesecakes are best.


  • 1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1-15 ounce can of pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3-8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 ºF.

Prepare the Crust:
  1. Combine the graham-cracker crumbs, cinnamon and brown sugar. Mix well.
  2. Mix in the melted butter until well-moistened.
  3. Press mixture into a 9" springform pan.
Prepare the Filling:
  1. Combine the first seven ingredients in the filling section in a small bowl. Mix well to combine.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar on low speed until smooth.
  3. Add the pumpkin mixture, and mix just until smooth.
  4. Finally, add in the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is well incorporated before adding the next one.
Prepare to Bake:
  1. Place the springform pan with the crust in it on a baking sheet.
  2. Pour the filling into the springform pan and gently smooth the top of the filling.
  3. Place in the oven, and reduce the heat to 300 ºF. Bake for 45 minutes. Do not open the oven again until the cheesecake is cooled.
  4. Turn off oven and let stay in oven for 2 hours (without opening oven).
  5. Remove from oven and cover with foil or plastic wrap.
  6. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold prior to serving.

Cheesecake must wait in the oven for two hours after cooking and then another four hours chilling in the fridge. Do not open the oven once you've put the cheesecake in.

Prep:30 min

Cook:45 min

Total:7 hours 15 min

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  • What a gorgeous pumpkin cheesecake 🙂

    • thanks so much 🙂 I was so thankful it came out right the first time 😉

  • I am in love with this recipe. Unlike you, I’m no fan of pumpkin pie, but I love pumpkin integrated into other desserts. And this looks fantastic. This might just have to make my Thanksgiving desserts list! 🙂

    • Awesome, I’m glad you like it, Callie! 🙂 I love pumpkin just about any way it can be served!

  • This is amazing, love the instructions, thanks!

    • Thanks so much, Stef. Glad you liked it. Let me know if you end up making it. 🙂

  • Marina

    Hi Culicurious! First of all, bravo for this amazing cheesecake!!! I have a question for you: how can I can put a sour cream topping to the cheesecake when I can´t open the oven?, because this topping has to be cooked for several minutes. Hope you help me. Thank you! Hugs from Spain! Marina.

    • Hi Marina, I’m glad you like the recipe. Your question is interesting, but thankfully this recipes doesn’t call for a sour cream topping. If you would like to put one on, you’re best off doing it after you pull the cooled cheesecake from the oven. The sour cream topping shouldn’t need to be cooked at all. It’s not necessary. I hope this helps! thanks. 🙂

      • Marina

        Oh!! Thank you! In fact, I´m asking this because I have the other 1/2 cup of sour cream that the recipe doesn´t call for and I don´t want to throw it away.It´s a huge help! Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Jeff

    What a mess. Followed instructions to a t & ended up with a liquified filling after 2.24hrs in oven.

    • Hi Jeff, Sorry about your experience with the cheesecake. This is the first negative review I’ve gotten for it. It even received a glowing endorsement from a Facebook user just last week. Perhaps your oven temperature wasn’t calibrated correctly? That’s the only thing I can think of that could have been amiss if you followed the recipe otherwise (which I’m presuming you did). I hope you had a good Thanksgiving otherwise.

      • Jeff

        After reading many other recipes calling for more time for a pumpkin cheesecake & a much higher temp I chanced putting it back in oven at a temp in between for another hr & it came out ok.