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!
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 1/2 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 1/2 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.
Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.