Need a fall dessert that is smooth, creamy, rich, and sure to please a crowd? Try this homemade pumpkin cheesecake with its sweet, cream cheese and pumpkin filling, graham cracker crust, and whipped cream topping.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I had never tried pumpkin cheesecake until I made the very one pictured in this post. Cheesecake is delicious, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around pumpkin cheesecake. Apparently, I’ve been missing out. Now it’s one of my favorite seasonal desserts.
Not only is it my first time trying pumpkin cheesecake, but it was also the first time I made a cheesecake that didn’t look like an earthquake hit. Usually, my cheesecakes are crisscrossed with deep cracks, and their appearance is not the best. While making the pumpkin cheesecake, I kept one crucial thing in mind. Patience! Patience is key when making this dessert.
Prep and Preheat:
Line the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil. Fold the foil over the top edge of the pan, so it’s secure. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make the Graham Cracker Crust:
In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar until well combined. Place the mixture into the springform pan, and use the bottom of a heavy cup or ramekin to press into an even layer. Push the cracker mixture up the sides slightly, about a ½ an inch.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The crust will become fragrant and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling.
Make the Cheesecake Filling:
Before you start the filling, bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the spring form pan (still wrapped in foil) in the center of a baking dish or roasting pan. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Use a hand or stand mixer and beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and mix an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the sour cream, and mix until just combined. Next, incorporate the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour the filling over the cooled crust. Carefully pour the boiling water into the baking dish or roasting pan around the springform pan making sure not to splash any on the cheesecake. You’re making a water bath to help with the cooking process.
Place the baking dish or roasting pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes. The time may vary slightly depending on the oven. The sides of the cheesecake will set, but the center will jiggle some.
At this point, turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside for an additional hour. Try not to open the door because it’s still cooking and the heat will escape.
After the hour is over, remove the springform pan from the water bath and place the pan on a cooling rack. Allow the cheesecake to cool for another hour then transfer to the refrigerator.
If you thought you had patience through the cooking process, here’s where the real test comes in. The cheesecake needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Remove the cooled pumpkin cheesecake from the fridge, and unlock the spring form pan. Carefully remove the outer ring. The bottom of the pan stays in place. Top the cheesecake with whipped topping and nuts to serve. Any leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
Used for this recipe:
- 12 Graham Crackers
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons melted butter
- 28 ounces cream cheese 3 ½ blocks
- 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree 1 can
- 6 large eggs
- 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line the outside of a 9-inch spring form pan with foil.
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs form. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Stir to combine.
Pour the cracker mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. Use the bottom of a heavy glass or ramekin to press into an even layer and up the sides about ½ an inch.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely.
Reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees.
Boil a pot of water and place the spring form pan in a large baking dish or roasting pan.
Use a hand or stand mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
Add the sour cream and mix until combined.
Next, incorporate the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour the mixture over the cooled crust.
Place the springform pan into the baking dish or roasting pan and carefully pour the boiling water around it.
Put the pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes until the sides are set and the center jiggles.
Turn the oven off and leave the pumpkin cheesecake in the oven for an additional hour.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Take the springform pan out of the baking dish or roasting pan and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for another hour.
Transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator to finish cooling for at least 8 hours or overnight.
After the dessert cools completely, unlock the springform pan and carefully remove the outer ring.
Top with whipped cream and nuts to serve.