You can skip the pie this Thanksgiving! This cheesecake is packed with flavor; my recipe is the perfect alternative to any pumpkin pie. With its cinnamon-graham cracker crust and cinnamon-whipped cream topping it off, you won't want to put your fork down.
Learn how to make the perfect pumpkin cheesecake one of your family's new traditions this holiday season.
Let's go make sure we have everything we need. Below is a list of equipment I recommend to help make the process go as smoothly as possible.
- Large mixing bowl
- Metal mixing bowl
- 10” springform pan (prepared with non-stick cooking spray and bottom lined with parchment paper)
- Measuring cups (wet & dry)/spoons or food scale
- Hand-mixer or stand-mixer w/paddle attachment
- Food processor
- Parchment paper
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Heavy duty aluminum foil
- Large roasting pan
- Kettle of hot water
- Cooking timer
- Oven Thermometer
If it's the holiday season, you probably have ingredients all over the place, let's go make sure you have the right ones for this recipe.
- graham crackers
- light brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- unsalted butter
- fine kosher salt
- cream cheese
- pumpkin puree
- sour cream
- large eggs
- pure vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- ground cloves
- ground allspice
Before we start making the house smell like fall harvest, let’s get that oven preheated to 🌡️325 F (162 C). Place your oven thermometer near the front of the rack or hang it from the rack if it comes with a hook. We don't want to go through all this just to have to wait around on the oven to heat up.
Graham Cracker Crust
I usually like to experiment with different crust and cake bases, but when it comes to pumpkin cheesecake, sometimes a classic graham cracker crust is the perfect fit. A dash of pumpkin spice blended into the graham cracker crumb makes an amazing flavor combination that pairs wonderfully with pumpkin.
In a food processor, graham crackers, light brown sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, and salt, pulse until combined.
Transfer mixture to prepared 10” springform pan. Use the base of the measuring cup (or flat-bottom cup) to press the crust into the bottom and sidewall of the pan.
Bake the crust for 10 mins, remove it from the oven, and set it aside on a wire rack to cool.
Once cooled, use 2-3 large pieces of aluminum foil, add one layer at a time to wrap the outside of the pan, press tight against the pan (used to prevent water from leaking into the pan), and then set aside.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
Turn oven temperature down to 🌡️300 F (148 C)
In a large mixing bowl, on low speed, mix cream cheese, pumpkin puree, and sour cream until combined, and then scrape down the sides.
Next, add the sugar, and cornstarch, mix until combined and smooth. Always make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after adding ingredients, we want to make sure no one gets left behind or turns up as clumps later on in our mixture.
Then add the large eggs and yolk, one at a time, on low-speed mix to combine and scrape down the sides after each addition.
Finally, add the vanilla extract, cinnamon nutmeg, cloves, and salt, mix until just combined.
Pour cheesecake filling into the prepared springform pan, lightly rotate the pan clockwise and counter-clockwise on a flat horizontal surface, such as the kitchen countertop, to release any air bubbles.
Place the filled springform pan inside a large roasting pan, slowly fill the roasting pan with hot water until just under halfway up the side of the springform pan, creating a water bath.
Carefully place the roasting pan in the oven on the bottom or lower-middle rack. (Be sure not to allow water to splash in the batter).
Set your timer and bake for 1 hour 20 mins. Once the timer is done, turn the oven off, open the door for 1 min to release the majority of the hot air.
With the cheesecake still in the oven, shut the door and leave it for an additional hour to allow it to set.
Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and oven.
Place on a wire rack. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.
Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight if time permits.
When ready to serve, take the cheesecake out of the refrigerator and remove foil from around the pan if still on.
Unlatch pan, remove pan ring and parchment paper and transfer to a cake board. Decorate with the pumpkin spice whipped cream or serve on the side.
While the cheesecake is still cold, using a long thin (non-serrated) heated knife, slice the cheesecake (be sure to clean the blade with a lint-free cloth or paper towel after each cut).
If you happen to have leftovers and plan on finishing them in the next few days, then you can store them in the refrigerator.
Cover the cheesecake using plastic or cling wrap to keep the cake from drying out. This will store well in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
If you decide to freeze your cheesecake, place it on a baking sheet and freeze until just firm.
Then remove the cheesecake from the freezer and wrap with plastic or cling wrap, then double wrap with heavy-duty aluminum foil or place in a freezer bag. I don't recommend freezing for longer than 2 months.