This Pumpkin Cheesecake is the perfect dessert for fall & Thanksgiving. It’s smooth and creamy with a delicious pumpkin spice flavor and cinnamon graham cracker crust. Serve it with salted caramel sauce and whipped cream for an extra decadent dessert or keep it plain and enjoy the delicious pumpkin pie flavor on its own.
Have you ever tried pumpkin cheesecake? It has a deliciously creamy texture and cozy pumpkin pie flavor. The slight tanginess of the cheesecake goes perfectly with the warm cinnamon and pumpkin. And it truly makes for a showstopping dessert on Thanksgiving. It just might be my favorite way to enjoy pumpkin.
I actually originally posted this pumpkin cheesecake recipe a few years ago – but since it’s exactly 1 week until Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving will be here in no time – I figured it was time to do a little remake. I’m including even more tips for the perfect pumpkin cheesecake and tons of prettier photos.
Now, I’ve come to realize that there are 2 types of people in this world: Cheesecake Lovers and Soon-To-Be Cheesecake Lovers. Let’s just say that after eating this pumpkin cheesecake, you’ll be converting everyone from the latter to the former. Because this delicious pumpkin cheesecake is:
- Creamy without feeling like you bit into a block of Philadelphia.
- Dense without being heavy.
- Luxurious in taste, without being overly sweet or too rich.
- And let’s face it – pumpkin, spices & anything with cream cheese is a match made in heaven.
- Then to top it all off, some salted caramel sauce for probably the best combo you could ever imagine.
The delicious pumpkin pie flavor comes from using pumpkin, warm spices, and brown sugar. If you have pumpkin pie spice on hand you can use 2 1/2 teaspoons. Otherwise, we’re using a combo of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves along with pure pumpkin for the perfect pumpkin spice flavor.
Tips for Making Pumpkin Cheesecake
I’m also here to tell you that making cheesecake isn’t difficult. I promise you’ll impress any dinner guests – and to be 100% honest, you’ll impress yourself too.
That being said, there are tricks and tips for making the perfect cheesecake to ensure the super smooth texture and avoid the ever-worrisome cheesecake cracks. I’ve written out quite a few tricks – but I promise that it only looks long because I went into some cheesecake science 🙂
- Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before starting. Remove the cream cheese, sour cream & eggs from the fridge at least 30 minutes before starting. This way, it’s far easier to beat the cream cheese so that the batter is smooth without lumps.
- Use full fat, brick style cream cheese. This is absolutely necessary when making cheesecake.
- Make sure to use 100% pure pumpkin puree – not canned pumpkin pie filling.
- A little sour cream makes for a creamier, smoother texture. (We aren’t counting calories here….)
- Mix in your eggs last. Add each egg one at a time, and beat until just combined – be very careful not to over mix. When you beat the eggs, more and more air gets into the batter. More air means your cheesecake rises as it bakes and then can fall as it cools. This causes your cheesecake to sink and crack.
- Use a water bath. Baking your cheesecake in a water bath makes it extra smooth and acts as insurance against cracks. One of the main reasons that cheesecakes crack is because the cheesecake loses moisture as it bakes. Not only does this make for a less tasty cake, but it also makes your cake shrink in size and the top to crack. To make your water bath, wrap your springform pan tightly in aluminum foil at so that no water can seep in. Then place the springform pan in a roasting pan, and fill the roasting pan with about 1 inch of boiling water. The whole contraption goes in the oven while baking – and your cheesecake comes out perfectly.
- Don’t over bake your cheesecake. This can dry it out and cause your cheesecake to crack. When you’re cheesecakes done, it should still have a slight wobble. The top will look just set, except for the very middle.
- Cool your cheesecake slowly, and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. Cooling slowly minimizes the chance of your cheesecake sinking. Then it’s super important to chill the cheesecake because the flavor and texture actually improve over time.
Ok – now I know that these “tips” might sound overwhelming, but I promise this pumpkin cheesecake is sooooo worth it.
This pumpkin cheesecake with a graham cracker crust is everything you could want in a cheesecake and the absolute best pumpkin dessert around. You can top it off with salted caramel sauce or keep it simple with a dollop of whipped cream. You’ll love the combo of the cinnamon graham cracker crust, smooth and creamy cheesecake texture, and delicious pumpkin flavor.
Seriously – it’s time to get baking!
For more pumpkin desserts, try these other favorites:
- No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Cranberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Filling
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 20 oz brick style cream cheese*
- 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree**
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 4 large eggs
For the Salted Caramel Sauce
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Wrap the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil 3 times so that no edges are showing.
Graham Cracker Crust
- Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugars and cinnamon in a medium sized
- Press the mixture down into the bottom of your prepared springform pan.
- Bake for 8 minutes in the oven.
- Stir together the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & cloves in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the sugar mixture.
- Beat in the sour cream & pumpkin puree. Then mix in the eggs 1 at a time, being careful not to overmix the batter.
- Pour the batter over top of the graham cracker crust.
- Place the cheesecake in the middle of a large roasting pan, then pour about 1 inch of water into the roasting pan. (The aluminum foil should still be wrapped around the springform pan).
- Place the roasting pan with the cheesecake inside in the oven to bake. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the top looks just set except for in the very middle and if you give the pan a gentle nudge the cheesecake still has a slight wobble.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Cool the cheesecake in the roasting pan until the water is lukewarm. Then remove the cheesecake from the water bath, unwrap the foil and continue cooling on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, wrap springform pan with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- Add the sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly as the sugar cooks. It will form lumps, then turn into a smooth amber color.
- Once it's entirely smooth, add in the butter and whisk gently until melted. (Be careful - the mixture will boil up).
- After the butter has melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. Then stir in the vanilla extract & salt.
- When ready to serve, trace a thin knife around the edges of the cheesecake. Unclamp the outer ring of the springform pan.
- Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional), and optionally serve with salted caramel sauce.