This is my favorite pumpkin spice cheesecake recipe that I love serving during the holidays. I was never a fan of pumpkin pie, but pumpkin cheesecake is a whole other story! My family asks for this every Thanksgiving!
I didn’t enjoy pumpkin pie as a child. I have no idea why. When my mother-in-law made this streusel-topped pumpkin pie, I fell in love. I didn’t think anything else could take its place.
The kids were a little skeptical when I said that I was making a pumpkin cheesecake. They love pumpkin pie, and they love cheesecake. They figured that the parts were better than the sum of the parts.
But, now they are believers.
There’s enough cheesecake in this dessert to justify its cheesecake status. Likewise, there’s enough pumpkin and 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.
Ingredients for this pumpkin cheesecake
- Graham cracker crumbs – You need about one package of graham crackers. You can crush these up in a bag with a mallet or rolling pin. Or in your food processor.
- Butter – You will need to melt the butter first to add to your crumbs.
- Cream cheese – Make sure this is softened before trying to mix into the rest of your cheesecake ingredients.
- Granulated sugar – I use regular sugar for this to help sweeten the cheesecake.
- Pumpkin puree – Make sure to get puree, and not pumpkin pie filling which has added ingredients.
- Egg – To help thicken. Make sure this also at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract – I love vanilla to add some extra flavor!
- Orange zest – Might not be typical, but this little bit of citrus helps to brighten things up a bit and plays well with the spices.
- Spices – I love the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger when I’m making pumpkin anything.
Pro Tip: Use ROOM TEMPERATURE ingredients. This will ensure that everything mixes evenly and you don’t have to overmix your cheesecake filling. And results in a smooth filling, as opposed to a chunky cheesecake. Nobody wants that!
How to make this pumpkin spice cheesecake
What can I top this pumpkin cheesecake with?
You can always serve a slice as is. Nothing wrong with that! But if you really want to impress your guests, make some Homemade Whipped Cream or maybe even some crazy good Maple Whipped Cream?! Oh yes, a little dollop on top will send this cheesecake into orbit for sure.
Do I need to bake this cheesecake in a water bath?
I did not bake my cheesecake in a water bath and it still came out great! But if you would like then yes you can go ahead and bake your cheesecake in a water bath. A water bath is used to help prevent cracks in your cheesecake on top, so you can bake them in a water bath if you would like!
Can I make this cheesecake ahead of time?
Absolutely! In fact, I highly recommend making it the day before. 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 2 to 3 months as well. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
HOW TO MAKE THIS GOOD AND CHEAP:
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When you see a good price on butter, sugar, and canned pumpkin, buy a few extra to stash for later. You know you’ll use them. Stocking up can save you money.
- Shop at Costco. When I did my big grocery store showdown, I learned that Costco has the best price for a lot of the things I buy, plus they sell all the ingredients needed for this recipe. I love their cheapest-price-in-town for butter.
- Stock up on groceries during post-holiday clearance sales. The clearance aisle is a great place to snatch up baking ingredients, especially canned pumpkin.
- Use homemade pumpkin. Making your own puree can be a great way to save money, especially if you get the pumpkins or squash for free or cheap.
HOW I MAKE THIS RECIPE EASILY:
This cupcakes recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:
- stainless steel mixing bowl – I’m not sure you have too many of these.
- hand mixer – My Hamilton Beach version is going on a decade and still kicking.
- stand mixer – You can also use a stand mixer if you prefer.
- silicone spatula/spoon – I have two or three of these – so convenient!
- springform pan – This allows you to easily remove the cheesecake from the pan and keep the crust intact.
- wire whisk – be sure to get one with a sealed barrel so that dish water won’t get stuck in the crevises.
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
- 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs about one packet of crackers
- 1/3 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 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 orange zested
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- 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.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
- 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.
- Pour the batter into the prepared crust.
- Bake the cheesecake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until set in the center.
- Cool the cheesecake for 15 minutes on a rack. 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.
- Use ROOM TEMPERATURE ingredients. This will ensure that everything mixes evenly and you don't have to overmix your cheesecake filling. And results in a smooth filling, as opposed to a chunky cheesecake. Nobody wants that!
- Make Ahead: I highly recommend making it the day before. 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 2 to 3 months as well. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.