If you’ve never made Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake, let this be the year. This cake/pie/taste of heaven is the best of all worlds: fall spices, sweet pumpkin, creamy cheesecake, and buttery graham crackers. It bakes up smooth and freezes beautifully.
Serve this Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Stable Whipped Cream and a dash of cinnamon for a sweet treat that can’t be beat. It makes a beautiful contrast next to Slab Apple Pie and Raspberry Pretzel Salad.
I’m so glad I pushed back. This has become one of our favorite fall dessert recipes.
Why Make This
There’s enough cheesecake in this dessert to justify its cheesecake status. Likewise, there’s enough pumpkin spice to make it pumpkiny. As my tween would say, “It’s like a pumpkin pie and a cheesecake got married. This is their baby.” Or something like that.
Regardless, it is delicious. Great for dessert, even better for breakfast the next day. Or lunch. Ask me how I know.
Even better, you can make this spiced pumpkin cheesecake recipe ahead of an event and store it in the freezer. Likewise, leftovers (if there are any!) can be frozen for another time. Maybe after the kids are in bed?
Here’s what you’ll need to make Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake:
graham cracker crumbs – You need about one to one and a half sleeves of graham crackers. You can crush these up manually in a bag with a mallet or rolling pin or whiz them in your food processor. Commercial graham cracker crumbs are often available seasonally, but do the math to see what’s the better price. The convenience may come in handy. If you’ve got leftover graham crackers be sure to make Smores!
butter – I use dairy butter to make the graham cracker crust, but you can use whatever butter or margarine you typically use. You can melt it in a pan on the stove or in the microwave at reduced power.
cream cheese – Make sure it’s softened before trying to mix into the rest of your cheesecake ingredients. That will help you have a very smooth filling. You can use neufchâtel cheese instead of full-fat cream cheese, but it won’t be as rich and creamy, and the general texture will be a bit softer.
granulated sugar – I use regular sugar for this to help sweeten the cheesecake.
pumpkin puree – Make sure to get canned pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling which has added ingredients. You can also cook and puree your own pumpkin. In a pinch, you can use Butternut Squash Puree.
eggs – You’ll need three eggs for this Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake.
vanilla extract – I love vanilla to add some extra flavor! The cheapest vanilla extract is the one you make yourself.
orange zest – Orange might not be a typical addition to pumpkin cheesecake, but this little bit of citrus helps to brighten things up a bit and plays well with the spices. Use the orange itself in this Spinach Salad with Oranges & Cranberries.
spices – I love the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger when I’m making pumpkin anything. If you prefer you can use pumpkin pie spice mix instead of measuring out the different spices.
Pro Tip: Use ROOM TEMPERATURE ingredients. This will ensure that everything mixes evenly and you don’t have to overmix your cheesecake filling. This results in a smooth filling, as opposed to a chunky cheesecake. Nobody wants that!
Cheesecakes do require a few items in special equipment. You’ll need
- a springform, aka cheesecake pan – This has removable sides to make serving easier. You’ll want it to make this Easy Cherry Cheesecake Recipe next!
- a roasting pan – I have baked my cheesecakes straight on the rack, but I’ve found that you’ll get better texture if you elevate it over a roasting pan with water. This is called a water bath or bain marie. The steam helps the cake achieve a deliciously creamy texture.
- a roasting rack or a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil – You’ll place the pan on the rack in the roasting pan of water. If you don’t have one, you can create a makeshift one out of heavy-duty aluminum foil. This is different than other methods and will save you from having to wrap the pan in foil.
Here’s how to make a Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake:
Preheat the oven to 325F. Line the springform pan with a round of parchment.
Make and bake your crust. In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter. Stir well to combine. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a rack.
Make your cheesecake filling. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
Beat in the pureed pumpkin. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Mix in the vanilla extract, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
Bake the cheesecake. Place the roasting rack in the bottom of the roasting pan, or create a large coil out of foil for the pan to rest on. Transfer the pan with the baked crust to the coil. Pour the filling into the crust. Place the roasting pan in the oven and add hot water, up to about two inches, not so high as to touch the pan.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until set in the center and the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F.
Turn off the oven and allow the cake to cool in the turned off oven for 1 hour.
Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and allow it to cool for another hour.
Carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake. Remove the sides of the pan and allow the cake to cool to room temperature on the rack. Chill the cake for several hours in the refrigerator.
To freeze: Wrap the chilled cake well with plastic wrap and then with a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Label. Store in the freezer for up to six weeks.
You can always serve a slice as is. Nothing wrong with that! But if you really want to impress your guests, make some whipped cream or even sweetened sour cream.
At Good Cheap Eats, we believe in substitutions when needed. This cake is delicious with just ginger to season it. If you have pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1 teaspoon instead of the three spices.
Absolutely! In fact, I highly recommend making it up to 3 days before serving. A cheesecake always needs several hours to chill in the refrigerator anyway so it’s best to make it the day before. You can also freeze this cheesecake for up to 6 weeks. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
More Dessert Recommendations
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
- roasting pan
- roasting rack
- 1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs about one to one and a half packets of crackers
- ⅓ cup butter melted
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling
- 3 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 orange zested
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment.
- In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter. Stir well to combine.
- Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
- Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a rack.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating another couple minutes until smooth.
- Beat in the pureed pumpkin. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Mix in the vanilla extract, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
- Place the roasting rack in the bottom of the roasting pan, or create a large coil out of foil for the springform pan to rest on. Transfer the pan with the baked crust to the coil.
- Pour the filling into the crust. Place the roasting pan in the oven and add hot water, up to about two inches, not so high as to touch the pan.
- Bake the cheesecake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until set in the center. The internal temperature of the cheesecake will reach 150°F.
- Turn off the oven and allow the cake to cool in the turned off oven for 1 hour. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and allow it to cool for another hour.
- Carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake. Remove the sides of the pan and allow the cake to cool to room temperature on the rack. Chill the cake for several hours in the refrigerator.
This post was originally published on November 14, 2013. It has been updated for content and clarity.