Move over pumpkin pie there is a new king of the holiday desserts and that is pumpkin cheesecake! I love pumpkin and I love cheesecake, put the two together for this easy pumpkin cheesecake recipe. How can you go wrong with pumpkin, eggs, sugar, and cream cheese? The short answer you can’t!
I will admit growing up cheesecake wasn’t necessarily my favorite kind of dessert. But now it is one of my favorite things to eat. It is so decadent, and every bite is so rich and full of flavor. There are so many different flavors of cheesecake and this pumpkin one is incredible. It is very easy to make, if I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get baking!
Step 1: Gather the ingredients and tools for the pumpkin cheesecake
First, get together all of the tools and the ingredients. You will need the following:
- Graham crackers – You can also use oreo cookies, ginger snaps, and a variety of other cookies for the crust.
- White granulated sugar – This will add a hint more sweetness to the crust, but can easily be left out if desired.
- Butter – I generally use unsalted butter. The butter will act as the binding agent.
- Cream cheese – One of the two stars of this recipe. Make sure to leave the cream cheese out before hand so it can soften. If you forget, you can always put it in the microwave on defrost mode for a few seconds to soften it up.
- Brown sugar – The main sweet element in the filling.
- Canned pumpkin – The other star of this dish. You can use either pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie mix.
- Eggs – Use large eggs. The eggs will add richness as well as add leavening to the recipe. They will also thicken the dish as they cook.
- Sour cream – This optional ingredient will add a hint of zing.
- Flour – All-purpose (plain) flour will help to thicken up the dish.
- Pumpkin spice – for added flavor.
- Salt – The salt will balance the flavors and bring out the flavor in the other ingredients.
- Vanilla extract – The great flavor enhancer.
- Food processor or bag
- 9″ springform pan
- hand mixer
- roasting pan or 13×9 inch pan
Step 2: How to make this easy pumpkin cheesecake recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C). Then start by adding your graham crackers or other cookies to a food processor. Or optionally you can place them in a large ziplock bag and smash them with a rolling pin. Crumble up the cookies until you are left with a nice fine crumb. Pour the crumbs into a large bowl. Next, melt the butter either on the stovetop or in the microwave, then pour that into the bowl with the crumbs. Add the sugar and then with a wooden spoon or fork mix the ingredients together until it resembles damp sand. This will be the crust.
Step 3: Prebake the crust
Spray the inside of your 9″ springform pan then place the crumbs in it and use the back of a spoon to press the crumbs down. Press the cookie crumbs so they go up the sides of the pan a little bit as well. Next, bake it in the oven on the middle rack for 8 to 10 minutes. After that, take the crust out of the oven and let it cool at room temperature, while you make the filling.
Step 4: Make the pumpkin cheesecake filling
Now while the crust is cooling it is time to make that yummy filling. In a large bowl cream together the softened cream cheese and the brown sugar. This would also make an excellent frosting as is.
Next, in a separate bowl add the canned pumpkin. Then add in the eggs, vanilla extract, flour, sour cream, salt, and pumpkin spice. Mix everything together with a whisk. I don’t use a hand mixer here, because it is important to not overmix the cheesecake filling. If you do, it is possible you will get cracks. Although cracks aren’t the end of the world, they can be covered up with whipped cream, and they don’t affect the taste at all.
Time to combine the cream cheese and brown sugar mixture with the pumpkin mixture. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer and mix them together until just combined.
Step 5: Add filling to crust
Next, pour the filling into the springform pan with the crust. Smooth out the top with a spatula. The pumpkin cheesecake is ready.
Step 6: Bake, Bath, and Beyond
There are a few ways that you can bake a cheesecake. Dry, meaning just place it in the oven and bake it and hope it doesn’t crack.
A proper water bath. This is where you cover the bottom of the springform pan with a few layers of foil and place the whole pan inside a large roasting pan filled with about an inch of water and bake it like that. The idea is that the steam from the water and the water itself will evenly bake the cheesecake and help prevent it from cracking.
The third way is sort of a combination of the two. Instead of resting the cheesecake pan inside the water, place the pan of water on a lower rack in the oven, so just the steam is involved in the cooking. This is what I typically do and it works great.
Turn to oven down to 325 F (162 C.) Bake the pumpkin cheesecake for 45 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 300 F (148 C), and bake it for another 30 to 45 minutes until there is only a slight jiggle in the center. After you have the slight jiggle, turn off the heat and crack open the oven door with a wooden spoon and allow the cheesecake to cool slowly. This is another method for preventing cracks. Or just pull it out of the oven all at once and hope for the best.
Once the pumpkin cheesecake has cooled completely cover it with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.
Step 7: Serve up a slice of that yummy pumpkin cheesecake
When you are ready to serve it, take a knife and run it along the inside edge of the springform pan. This will help loosen the cake. Then open the latch and remove the top. Take a knife and dip it in hot water, then clean off the water and slice into the cheesecake. Dip the knife again in the water and slice again. This ensures a nice clean cut. Top it off with some whipped cream and shake on some cinnamon. Enjoy!
Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Food processor or bag
- 9″ springform pan
- Hand mixer
- roasting pan or 13×9 inch pan
- Wooden spoon
- 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs about 12 whole graham crackers (125 g)
- 1 Tbsp. of white granulated sugar
- 6 Tbsp. of unsalted butter melted (90g)
- 3 8oz packages of softened room temp cream cheese (678g)
- 1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 285g
- 15 oz can of pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie mix 425g
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup sour cream 57.5g
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour 16g
- 2 tsp. of pumpkin spice 3.5g
- 1/4 tsp. of salt 1g
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract 15ml
- Whipped cream for topping
- First, make the crust. Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C.) Crush up the graham crackers in a food processor or use a bag and rolling pin. In a bowl combine the crumbs with the granulated sugar. Melt the butter and add that to the bowl as well. Mix until the crumbs resemble damp sand.
- Place the cookie crumb mixture in a 9" springform pan which has been sprayed with kitchen spray. Use the back of a spoon to smash down the crumbs and level them out. They will go up the sides a little bit. Once the crumbs are firmly packed, bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes. Then allow it to cool while you make the filling.
- Time to make the filling. In a large bowl add the softened room temp cream cheese and the brown sugar. Cream them together with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
- In a separate large bowl mix together with a whisk the canned pumpkin, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, sour cream, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Don't use a hand mixer for this, it is too easy to over mix it, which may cause cracks, those cursed cracks, later on.
- Now mix both of those mixtures. At this point, you can use a hand mixer or stand mixer until just combined. That pumpkin cheesecake filling is ready to go. Pour the filling over the crust and level it off with a spatula.
- Turn the heat on your oven down to 325 F (162 C). In a baking pan add about an inch of water. Place the baking pan with water on a lower rack and the cheesecake on the middle rack. The water will create steam which helps evenly bake the cheesecake. You can also cover the bottom of the pan with a few layers of foil and set the springform pan inside the baking pan of water for a traditional water bath. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn the heat down to 300 F (148 C) and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes until there is a slight jiggle in the middle.
- Once the time is up, turn the heat off and prop open the oven down with a wooden spoon which will allow the cheesecake to cool down very slowly, which will help to prevent cracks. After it has cooled, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.
- Use a knife to go around the inside of the pan to loosen the cheesecake, then cut a slice and serve! Add whipped cream and cinnamon on top if you like as well. Enjoy!
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