Ultimate Pumpkin Cheesecake

We’ve been making Pumpkin Puree with a giant crop of pumpkins from our local pumpkin patch and with some amazing spices from Mountain Rose and Herbs (who again have so generously sponsored this post) I’ve used their Pumpkin Pie Spice to take the flavors of the cheesecake to the next level.

Halloween is fast approaching and all things pumpkin are being baked in the kitchen and dropped off at client’s homes.

Some people love no bake pumpkin cheesecakes that use gelatin to set the cheesecake and Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip has also started to grow in popularity. My love for cheesecake comes from the denser, firmer, slightly less sweet NY Cheesecake with added sour cream and a bit of flour for texture.

Ways to make Pumpkin Cheesecake for a crowd:
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: Cook the cheesecake in a 9×13 baking pan (I prefer this kind with straight sides for perfectly uniform pieces) for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees or until set.
  • Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes: Cook the cheesecake in muffin tins with or without liners. I sometimes will add broken gingersnap pieces into the muffin tin batter as well. Bake them for 30-35 minutes.
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins: Use half batter from your favorite muffin then gently spoon in some of the cheesecake batter. Top with the crust crumbles and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. < – this version is amazing!

You can also swap out the pumpkin in this recipe for pureed sweet potatoes and make a sweet potato cheesecake. I love sweet potato cheesecake topped with chopped pecans and a brown sugar crumble before baking so it looks like a pecan sweet potato pie version of cheesecake like this pie version I made last year: Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Pie

Since we’ve got a lot of batter and pumpkin can have a rather bland flavor I make sure my spices are as flavorful as possible. With Mountain Rose Herbs and Spices the spices are so freshly packed the cinnamon knocks your socks off with flavor.

I baked these cheesecakes a number of times and in one batch I tested the recipe against a pre-made pumpkin pie spice and in equal amounts the flavors of the cheesecake with the Mountain Rose Herbs spices were out of this world in comparison.

The thing to remember about ALL spices and herbs is that over time those flavors become more and more muted. So, naturally, as a product sits on a supermarket shelf or in your cupboard it becomes more or less stale. These spices are so fresh it almost isn’t even a fair comparison.

People who helped me test this recipe were blown away by the flavor and immediately used words like “gourmet” and started comparing the flavors to pumpkin spice lattes (which are heavy on pumpkin pie spice).

How to make the PERFECT Cheesecake Crust:
  • Gingersnap Pecan Crust: 1 1/4 cups gingersnap crumbs with 1/4 cup ground pecans, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter baked in the pan for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Gingersnap Crust: 1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter baked in the pan for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Graham Cracker Crust: 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter baked in the pan for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Oreo Crust: 1 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs with 1/3 cup melted butter baked in the pan for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. It’s sweet enough, no added sugar needed.
  • Waffle Cone Crust: 1 1/2 cups ice cream waffle cones crumbs (8 ounce box) and 1/2 cup butter mixed together, pressed into and baked in the pan for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Coconut Macaroon Crust: From my friend Maria at Two Peas and their Pod, this is a fantastic cheesecake crust option!
  • Pretzel Crust: 2 cups finely ground pretzel crumbs, (or 1 1/2 and 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs) with 1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup melted butter mixed together, pressed into and baked in the pan for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Why Cook Cheesecake in a Water Bath?

Cheesecake has a tendency to crack due to the high temperature in the oven and the uneven cooking temperature from the bottom and outside of the springform pan vs. the middle that is gently cooking because it is buffered by the rest of the filling. With the water bath the entire pan is cooking at an even temperature which allows it to cook more gently. Second, the water bath allows for steam to build up in the oven which provides a second layer of protection for the cheesecake.

Even with a water bath sometimes you’ll find a crack in the top of the cheesecake. To keep your cheesecake looking holiday party ready here are some options.

What to do if your Cheesecake top cracks:
  • Sour Cream: Gently add a layer of 1/2 cup sour cream mixed with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons of sugar to the top of your cheesecake while WARM. When cooled it’ll set up nicely.
  • Whipped Cream: The easiest bet, top with whipped cream or Homemade Cool Whip then sprinkle on some cinnamon and no one will even know!
  • Chocolate Ganache: Pouring chocolate over anything is a good way to add flavor and cover up mistakes.
Looking for more Pumpkin desserts?
Looking for more Cheesecakes?

Plus I made this one look fancy with a bit of Homemade Cool Whip and a dash of amazing Cinnamon Cassia Powder.

Yield: 12 servings

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prep:20 minutes

Cook:75 minutes

Total Time:95 minutes

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap crust is a classic holiday dessert that is creamy and rich with fresh pumpkin and homemade pumpkin spice flavors.

Gingersnap Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling:
  • 15-ounces pumpkin puree (I use 16 ounces/2 cups of my fresh Pumpkin Puree)
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Gingersnap Crust:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cover the bottom of the springform pan in foil to prevent water from seeping in.
  3. Mix the ingredients together and press them into the bottom of the springform pan.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes then let cool while you’re preparing the rest of the cheesecake filling
Cheesecake Filling:
  1. Cook the pumpkin puree in a saucepan for 5-7 minutes on low, stirring frequently to reduce the water content.
  2. Add in the cream cheese and whisk well until creamy with no lumps.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk well.
  4. In a baking pan at least two inches wider than your springform pan add a 1 inch of water.
  5. Pour into the springform pan, put it into the water bath and cook for 60 minutes (at the 350 degrees the oven is still at) or until the center is just set and not jiggly.
  6. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and let it stay in the oven until completely cool with the oven door open a few inches.
  7. Refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.

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