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Why This Recipe Stands Out
Making anything and everything pumpkin-flavored in the fall is a challenge we faithfully accept every year. And this is so easy to do with cheesecake, because it pairs amazingly with pumpkin. Here are some things you’ll love about this recipe:
- Impress Your Guests: This is a sure-to-impress dessert perfect for serving to friends and family on special occasions. People will ooh and ahh.
- Whole Can of Pumpkin: This recipe uses a whole 15oz can of pure pumpkin puree. There is no waste, and plenty of pumpkin flavor.
- Gingersnap Crust: Not only is the filling packed with our favorite fall spices, but the crust is also made with gingersnap cookies which adds even more spiced autumn goodness.
- No Crack: This recipe uses a number of strategies to ensure a cheesecake that doesn’t crack.
- Better than Cheesecake Factory: We aren’t exaggerating when we say this cheesecake is better than Cheesecake Factory. It’s smooth, creamy, and made with fresh ingredients.
- New York Style: It’s a New York Style Cheesecake recipe meaning that it is thick, rich, super creamy, and the most velvety cheesecake imaginable.
- Gingersnap Cookies – We use store-bought, round, crispy gingersnap cookies for the crust, because the spices and molasses in them pair wonderfully with the pumpkin flavors.
- Cream Cheese – Make sure to use whole-fat, plain cream cheese for this recipe to ensure a super creamy cheesecake filling.
- Pure Pumpkin Puree – This recipe calls for pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. So, make sure the only ingredient on the can’s label is 100% pumpkin.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – Heavy whipping cream makes the cheesecake satiny and luscious. Make sure not to reach for a lower fat percentage for this one.
- Fall Spices – Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg pair perfectly with the pumpkin and add that warm burst of spiced flavor that we love.
Substitutions And Variations
Cheesecake is a super versatile dessert that can be tweaked in a number of ways as long as the base and technique stay the same. Take a look at these variations for The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake:
- Gluten Free: This recipe can easily be made gluten free by simply using gluten free gingersnap cookies for the crust.
- Crust: If you aren’t a fan of gingersnap cookies, feel free to switch up the kind of crust. Try using a classic graham-cracker crust like the one in this Perfect New York Style Cheesecake or try a chocolate crust like in this White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake recipe.
- Toppings: We highly recommend decorating this pumpkin cheesecake with Stabilized Whipped Cream for a fluffy topping that will have you going back for seconds. You could also try drizzling this 4-Ingredient Salted Caramel Sauce on top. Try throwing some chopped pecans or walnuts on top with a bit of pumpkin pie spice for added crunch and flavor.
- In a food processor, mix gingersnap cookies until they become fine crumbs. Then transfer to a bowl and combine with melted butter.
- Grease the bottom of 10-inch springform pan and press crust mixture into the bottom of pan. Bake for 9 minutes at 350F. Then place large pan of very hot water on lowest rack in oven, and drop oven temp to 225F.
- Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, mix softened cream cheese on medium until it is smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Then beat in eggs on low, 1 at a time, just until incorporated.
- Add pumpkin and remaining ingredients to cream cheese mixture and beat until just smooth. Pour mixture into greased pan with crust.
- Place cheesecake pan on a large baking sheet and bake at 225F on center rack, about 4 to 4 1/2 hours, or until filling is softly set and golden brown. Turn oven off. Then crack it open a bit, using a wooden spatula to prop open. Let cheesecake cool at least 2 hours in the oven.
- Cover and let it completely chill in the fridge overnight or 24 hours. Remove from the springform pan and garnish as desired!
For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.
How To Prep Ahead
We know cheesecake is definitely a special-occasion kind of dessert that takes more effort than most. Take a look at these tips and tricks to make this recipe as easy as can be:
- Room Temperature: Make sure to take the cream cheese and eggs out of the fridge before baking to give them enough time to warm to room temperature. This will help ensure a smooth (not over-mixed) cheesecake.
- Make Ahead: The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake can actually be fully made ahead and chilled in the fridge 2 days in advance. So, feel free to whip this up a couple days before you need it.
- Toppings: If using stabilized whipped cream or salted caramel sauce, feel free to make them a few days in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
Commonly Asked Questions
In this recipe, we use a few tricks to make sure the cheesecake doesn’t crack. First, making sure all of your ingredients are room temperature to make mixing easier will help. Second, the pan of hot water in the oven helps retain moisture while the cheesecake is cooking also preventing cracks. Third, greasing the pan well and letting the cheesecake cool in the oven helps to prevent the cheesecake from cracking due to shrinking as it cools.
Yes! It’s so easy to make this gluten free. Just replace the gingersnap cookies with a gluten free alternative and you’re all set.
The trick to getting the perfect cheesecake is being careful with the heat. That’s why we cook this cheesecake at only 225F and let it cool in the warm oven.
Store pumpkin cheesecake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it. We like freezing the slices individually in plastic wrap for easy thawing. Cheesecake will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
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The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake
For the Crust:
- 12 oz gingersnap cookies, crispy, see note
- ½ cup salted butter, melted
For the Cheesecake:
- 32 oz cream cheese, whole/plain, softened to melted
- 1 ¾ cups white sugar
- 3 whole eggs, large, room temperature
- 15 oz pure pumpkin puree
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- Optional chopped pecans for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350F, with rack in center.
- Using a food processor, heavy duty blender, or freezer bag and rolling pin, crush all gingersnaps until they are fine crumbs. In bowl, drizzle melted butter into the cookie crumbs, and mix until it begins to stick together. Should resemble very damp sand.
- Grease the bottom of 10-inch springform pan. Press crust mixture into the bottom of pan and bake for 9 minutes. Let cool on rack. Grease the sides of pan. Place large pan of very hot water on lowest rack in oven, and drop oven temp to 225F.
- Using paddle attachment of stand mixer, mix softened cream cheese on medium until it is smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs on low, 1 at a time, just until incorporated.
- Add pumpkin and remaining ingredients. Beat just until incorporated and smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
- Place cheesecake pan on a large baking sheet and bake at 225F on center rack, about 4 to 4 1/2 hours, or until filling is softly set and golden brown. Center will still jiggle, but edges should be slightly puffed and somewhat set.
- Turn oven off. Crack oven open a bit, using a wooden spatula to prop open just a bit. Let cheesecake cool at least 2 hours in the oven – I let it cool in cracked oven even longer, until it is almost room temp. Place on wire rack and let cheesecake cool to room temp – this gradual baking method prevents cracking/sinking on top.
- Cover and let it completely chill in fridge overnight or 24 hours. Gently run a thin plastic knife around sides of cheesecake to loosen from pan. Release sides of springform, place cheesecake on serving platter, and serve chilled.
- Be sure you’re using round, crunchy gingersnap cookies found at grocery stores. If your butter/cookie crumb mixture seems wetter than very damp sand, add more cookie crumbs until you have the right texture. The mixture should be able to be pressed together into a crust, but not overly wet.
- If you need a faster baking method, you can bake at 350F for about 1 hour, 30 minutes. Still let it cool in the oven with door ajar for at least 1 hour before removing. Let cool on wire rack to room temp. Then cover and completely chill in fridge overnight or 24 hours before serving. Cheesecake may always crack or sink a bit with the higher baking temp.
- Cheesecake may be fully prepared up to 2 days ahead of time. Keep covered and chilled in fridge until ready to eat! You can even pipe stabilized whipped cream prettily on top and keep it covered/chilled without worrying about a whipped cream melt down.
- If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you!
Nutrition (per serving)
More To Bake And Eat
- White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe: This decadent New York style cheesecake recipe is better than restaurants. White chocolate filling comes together with a sweet, vibrant raspberry sauce all on top of a chocolate cookie crust for a cheesecake recipe that you’re sure to devour.
- Perfect New York Cheesecake: Rich, creamy, and smooth, this is the perfect classic New York Cheesecake recipe. Enjoy it just as is or use it as a blank canvas for all your favorite additions!
- Streusel Pumpkin Pie Recipe: This Streusel Pumpkin Pie is crunchy on the top, smooth and velvety in the middle, and surrounded by a flaky, buttery crust. It’s the perfect way to spice up your classic Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.
- Spiced Pumpkin Soufflé with Molasses Bourbon: This light, fluffy, and airy soufflé is bursting with all the season’s best flavors. Pumpkin, autumn spices, and bourbon make a soufflé unlike any other.