If you’re looking for the best Pumpkin Cheesecake, all recipes are not created equal. This beautiful pumpkin cheesecake with a graham cracker crust is rich, smooth, and made from scratch using a few indispensable tips I’ve learned along the way. For a pumpkin pie cheesecake lover, Thanksgiving can’t come too quickly!

A piece of pumpkin cheesecake on a gray plate.

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Do I have to roast my own pumpkin to make Pumpkin Cheesecake?

Absolutely not. Canned pumpkin (but not pumpkin pie filling!) is preferred, as long as you wick some of the moisture out of the pumpkin first, to keep the cheesecake from getting waterlogged.

Removing moisture also makes the pumpkin flavor more concentrated, which is a great thing. There are several ways to do this:

Pumpkin pureé being roasted between sheets of parchment paper.

  • Stovetop: Transfer the puree into a saucepan or large skillet and cook for about five minutes on medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching and sticking. You’re not looking to cook or reduce the pumpkin too much, just to release its flavor a little bit. Once it’s steamy and fragrant, you’re done. Let the pumpkin cool to room temperature before proceeding with your recipe.
  • Dry roasting: Spread out the pumpkin purée on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, and roast in an oven heated to 400 degrees for several minutes. Keep a close eye on it — you don’t want the pumpkin to burn or even to “set,” just to release a fragrance. Let the pumpkin cool to room temperature before proceeding with your recipe.
  • Paper towels:  Put a triple layer of paper towels onto a baking sheet — one that has sides, to catch the eventual runoff. The pumpkin goes from the can right onto the towels, where it’s smeared around. Put more towels on top, and fold the whole thing in half, then fold again. As you do this, pat the bundle, squeezing water and moisture out. Then flip it over, and carefully peel back the top layer of paper. Gently scrape pumpkin off of towels and proceed with the recipe.

Pumpkin cheesecake on a cooling rack.

Other kinds of Pumpkin Cheesecake Crusts:

I get it! A pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap, chocolate, or nut crust sound amazing! Make your favorite crust and let me know how it turns out.

Someone pushing down pie crust into a pan.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust:

  • 7-½ ounces gingersnaps (or 1-½ cups finely ground gingersnap crumbs)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  1. Pulse the crackers (or crumbs) and sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until finely ground.
  2. Add the butter and pulse a few times to combine.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust:

Oreo cookies are the secret to this deeply chocolatey crust.

  • 24 whole Oreo cookies
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  1. In a large zip-top bag or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, crush or blend Oreos until fine crumbs form.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and pour in melted butter.
  3. Stir until crumbs are completely coated and moist.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Crust:

  • 1 1⁄2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • ¾ cup ground pecans
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  1. Combine all crust ingredients in medium bowl.
  2. Stir until moist clumps form and you can pinch it together with your fingertips and it holds together.

How do you make Pumpkin Cheesecake bars?

If you haven’t already tried my Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting, I recommend it. But if you’re curious about making pumpkin cheesecake bars, you can use this recipe, but ideally the crust needs to be a little sturdier, and you probably won’t need the water bath. Use the adjustment below for the crust.

Crust for Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars:

  • 16 graham crackers
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat butter, melted
  1. In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter.
  2. Press onto the bottom of a 13”x 9” baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Follow recipe for filling, then pour cheesecake filling over crust.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until center is almost set.
  5. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  6. Cut cheesecake into 20 bars.

Do you have to bake a cheesecake in a water bath?

While it’s not always absolutely mandatory to use a water bath when making cheesecake, without one, a cheesecake will brown around the edges, be a little drier, fall in the center while cooling, and could crack. From one cheesecake lover to another, it’s worth the extra step to get the picture perfect masterpiece.

If you decide to use a water bath for cheesecake, line a roasting pan with a clean dish towel for the pan to rest on while the cake bakes.

A towel in a pan.

How do you keep a cheesecake water bath from leaking?

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is worse than a soggy cheesecake, after all your hard work and expensive ingredients go into making dessert. Unfortunately every springform pan is different, and many of them leak to some degree.

A water bath for a cheesecake with foil wrapped around it.

To prevent water from leaking in during the critical baking period, there are a few ways to ensure a fail-proof water bath for your cheesecake, everytime.

A cheesecake being cooked in a water bath.

  • Make sure you have a tight-fitting springform pan.
  • Double wrap your cheesecake pan with heavy duty foil.
  • Before you wrap in foil, you could use a heat-safe, (and totally genius) plastic slow cooker liner to safeguard against water seeping inside the cheesecake.  Place the cheesecake inside the liner, then twist the extra plastic and knot it up tightly just under the top rim of the springform pan. You’re good to go!

Slices of pumpkin cheesecake on a cooling rack.

A slice of pumpkin cheesecake on a white plate with a silver fork.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

If you’re looking for the best Pumpkin Cheesecake, all recipes are not created equal. This beautiful pumpkin cheesecake with a graham cracker crust is rich, smooth, and made from scratch using a few indispensable tips I’ve learned along the way. For a pumpkin pie cheesecake lover, Thanksgiving can’t come too quickly!
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 55 mins
cooling 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings 14
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 409

Ingredients 

For the crust:

  • 9 graham crackers
  • 5 tablespoons butter melted, plus more for brushing the pan
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

For the filling:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin purée (see note 1)
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese cut into chunks and softened
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions 

To make the crust:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, finely crush graham crackers.
  • In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan, using the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crumbs evenly on the bottom.
  • Bake until starting to brown and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. 
  • Once cool, wrap the outside of the pan with 2 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil and set in a large roasting pan lined with a dish towel. Bring a kettle of water to boil.

To make the filling:

  • Pat the pumpkin puree dry with several layers of paper towel. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. 
  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric mixer by hand, beat cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth, about 1 to 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl and beaters as necessary.
  • Add the sugar mixture in two batches, beating after each addition until incorporated, about 1 to 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, lemon juice, and vanilla and mix until combined. 
  • Add in eggs one at a time until incorporated, about 1 to 3 minutes. Beat in heavy cream until incorporated, 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Brush the inside of the springform pan with melted butter (being careful not to disturb the graham cracker crust). Carefully pour the filling into the pan. Set the roasting pan, with the cheesecake, on an oven rack and pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the pan.
  • Bake until the cheesecake reaches 150 degrees at the center when tested with an internal thermometer, about 1 ½ hours. Remove from oven.
  • Let cheesecake cool in the roasting pan for 45 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool until barely warm, about 2 ½ to 3 hours longer. Run a knife around the inside edge of the springform pan about once per hour to loosen the cake.
  • Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours. 
  • To unmold the cheesecake, wrap a kitchen towel wet with hot water around the cake pan for 1 minute. Remove the sides of the pan and carefully slide the cake onto a cake platter. Let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Pumpkin purée: Canned pumpkin pureé (not pumpkin pie filling) is convenient for this recipe. If you want to make your own pureé, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut your pumpkin in half and remove all seeds and fibrous strings. Cut each half into 2 or 3 pieces, then roast until tender, 60 to 90 minutes. Cool completely, then scoop out the pumpkin flesh from the skin. Blend in a food processor blender until smooth. Finally, drain over cheesecloth or paper towels to remove excess water.
  2. Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 409kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 6gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 366mgPotassium: 129mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 1136IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

    1. Hi Jenn, it is up to you. I’ve made the crust both ways and they turn out the same. I prefer salted. :) – Meggan

  1. Hi. I’m making my FIRST ever cheesecake and using this delicious recipe 🥰🥰 I would like to know if the cheesecake needs to be fully COOLED down after baking, before it can go into the fridge

    1. Fantastic! You would want it to be rather cool so it doesn’t drop the temperature in the refrigerator. Allow it to cool in the roasting pan for about 45 minutes, remove it from the pan and allow it to cool for another 2 and a half hours or so. Make sure it definitely is in the fridge by the 4-hour mark. I hope you love it! – Meggan

  2. Hey, Meggan,
    I have found a good sour-cream topping and a good stabilized whip cream to make this recipe even better. And, as you can tell, I sure wanted that some months ago. Here are the items that (maybe) you can add to a future recipe. And, I’m giving you our work to give back and say thanks for all the recipes that you share with us …
    Stabilized whip cream (for the border/s) … add a tbl of vanilla extract in it to give it more flavor …
    https://www.food.com/recipe/wilton-stabilized-whipped-cream-79506

    Then, the sour cream topping is … 16 oz sour cream, 1/3 cup sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Then whip on low speeds until smooth and creamy. And, after adding the sour cream topping to the baked cheesecake, you will need to continue baking for 5 more minutes at 350 degrees. Then refrigerate.

    Okay, that gives me a recipe that is close enough to Costco that I don’t have to rant year-around to have it, when Costco is not producing it. They only do it during Holiday Seaons, but this will hold me over during other parts of the year.

    Again, thank you, Meggan, for all you do and share with us. My family appreciates it greatly.

    1. Okay, let me rephrase above. Do sour cream topping first & bake. Then, refrigerate. Then, add stabilized whip cream. Sorry, I had order wrong because I am typing up the Notes after our good results today. We have been waiting for Costco to get their pumpkin cheesecase cooking again, but it’s not here yet. So, until then, here is a good enough clone / copycat that most people will be pleased.

  3. This came out so moist and creamy!! It was delicious! I doubled the crust recipe and I’m glad I did. If you like a thicker crust, I recommend doubling the crust recipe. I’m very pleased with this recipe!!!!!5 stars

  4. For those who are afraid of the water bath – while the oven is heating up – on the lower rack place an alum or metal cake pan about 1/2 full with water. Don’t open the oven until you are ready to put the cheesecake in – CAREFUL when opening the oven door a gust of hot humid air will rush out.. place the cheesecake pan on the rack right above the pan. If needed – add boiling water to pan to keep the level up. I have been making cheesecakes for well over 30 years and this method has never let me down !

  5. Does these cheesecake have a sour-cream topping? I like a cheesecake like the one at my local Big Box warehouse. I won’t say the name, but it’s not Sam’s nor Walmart.

    1. Hi Miss Emily, you could add a sour cream topping if you like. If you do, let me know how it goes! Happy baking! – Meggan

    1. Hi Betsy, personally I think it’s better the next day versus frozen. I haven’t tried freezing with this cheesecake, but if you are going to, I would recommend letting it cool completely, wrapping in plastic wrap and foil, and freezing for up to a month. Allow it to thaw 2-3 hours before serving. I hope you enjoy it! – Meggan

  6. I wish that Meggan would “fork” this recipe into something called, “Copycat of Costco’s Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour-Cream Topping”. Because that is something that many, many, many people want every year toward the holidays. And, I’d just buy it from Costco, but PROBLEM IS — they always sell out most days, early in the day, when I get off work late at 7:30, drive to Costco is 30+ minutes, and they close at 8:15-ish. So, I just don’t have time to get it. So, I’ve got to learn to make it with a sour-cream topping, because we go through one or two a week during the Holidays. Anyway, sorry for being so chatty — maybe Meggan (or any other Culilnary Hill Blog reader) will come to the Rescue … [he he he]

    1. That is same question (i.e., similar question) that I asked. I’d like to create a Copycat of Costco’s Pumpkin Cheesecake with the sour-cream topping that is offered every Thanksgiving. My whole family loves it. But, we get pissed when they sell out certain days (like right before the Holiday) or when they take it away for another 9 to 10 months. So, we want to create a copycat of CCP’s recipe? Have you figured it out yet, Suzi. Thanks.

    2. Suzi,
      I have instructions above, now. We figured it out. Hope this helps to make an awesome sour cream covered cheesecake.

  7. I absolutely loved how this came out. Especially the texture because it was dense and creamy. I have been searching for another recipe for different flavors of cheesecake but the ones I’ve made always call for less eggs and they add a little flour so the texture isn’t what I prefer. If I wanted to make a turtle cheesecake would I be successful using the basic ingredients from this recipe and just leaving out the pumpkins and adding different toppings? Thank you!’5 stars

    1. Hi Katie! I’m so glad you liked the recipe! I don’t think you could simply omit the pumpkin to make a cheesecake suitable for turtle toppings. It’s possible, but I haven’t tried and I’d hate to ruin your day and waste your ingredients. Or maybe not, but I don’t know! I will add it to my list to test to see what happens if we leave out the pumpkin and post my findings. Thank you! -Meggan

  8. I’ve made quite a few different pumpkin cheesecake recipes,
    and this is definitely the best one!! I can stop looking for a better one. Thanks5 stars

    1. Dynnise … Do you happen to have one with a sourcream-like topping? Similar to Costco’s?
      Thanks, David

  9. I have a 10 inch spring form pan, will that work
    The first time I tried a cheese cake, it looked perfect at first, however when it was in the refrig, it cracked. I cut it on Thanksgiving and the sides were done but the center was mush :(. But I never used a Water Bath. I will try that now. Thanks

  10. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was perfection! I added a sour-cream topping because I love that on a cheesecake. Thank you for the detailed recipe and great pictures!5 stars

    1. John … What was your sourcream topping mixture? Is it similar to Costco’s? thanks, david

    1. Hi Angelina, 325 degrees, same as the crust. Sorry that wasn’t clear from the way the recipe was written. I’ll fix it! Thanks. -Meggan

  11. For the Pecan Crust, do you bake this also like the graham crust? Also, do you brush the bottom of the springform pan with butter first?

    1. Hi Greta, yes! You bake the pecan crust the same as the graham cracker one – 325 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. You don’t need to brush the bottom of the springform pan with butter. There is butter in the crust. However, you can. More butter is never a bad idea right? At least not that I can think of. I hope this helps! Thank you! -Meggan

    1. Hi Victoria, my apologies, I see how that might be confusing. If you’re referring to, “Add the sugar mixture in two batches, beating after each addition until incorporated, about 1 to 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, lemon juice, and vanilla and mix until combined,” I can explain it differently.

      Step 1 has you create the sugar mixture.
      Step 2 has you beat the cream cheese.
      Step 3 has you put only half of the sugar mixture from step 1 in the mixing bowl that has the cream cheese. Then mix. Once its mixed well, you will add the other half of the sugar mixture from step 1, and mix again. Then go ahead and add the other ingredients listed in step 3.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

    1. Hi Esmeralda, thanks! But it’s not for 2 cakes… it’s just for 1. Unless you used a smaller springform pan than 9 inches. Did you get two cheesecakes out of it? I never have! Sorry for the confusion. Thanks. -Meggan

    1. Hi Rebecca, I emailed this to you! If you don’t receive it, please let me know (or check your spam). Thanks! -Meggan

    1. Hi Brad, a 9-inch springform pan. Please let me know if you need anything else. Thanks! -Meggan