Cheesecake is a rich and decadent dessert, which makes it the perfect way to end a holiday feast. Most people don't eat cheesecake very often, so the dish can make any occasion more special. At first glance, cheesecake may seem like a complicated dessert to prepare. Thankfully, it isn't as difficult to make as it may look. Your guests will love this delicious cheesecake!

Recipe

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Cheesecake Filling

  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

Directions

Graham Cracker Crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of your springform pan using butter or cooking spray. Wrap the outside of your springform pan in heavy-duty tinfoil. The foil will keep the water from seeping in during the water bath.
  2. Begin preparing your crust. In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Use the crumb mixture to make a crust in the bottom of the springform pan. Press the crumbs firmly onto the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Then set it aside.

Cheesecake Filling

  1. Using a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment) or hand mixer, combine the softened cream cheese, remaining sugar, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Next, add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Beat on medium-low speed and mix the ingredients thoroughly. Take care to avoid overbeating, since that will cause cracking in your cheesecake. Stop mixing as soon as the batter is smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into the springform pan over the prepared crust.
  2. Prepare a water bath. A water bath will produce hot-water steam in the oven, which will support a more even bake as well as prevent cracking on the top of the cheesecake. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Put the two pans into the oven. Once they are both in the oven, carefully pour water into the roasting pan until an inch of water encompasses the springform pan.
  3. Bake for 65 minutes. Avoid opening the oven door during baking, since this will change the temperature and cause cracks and sinking. The cheesecake should be firm around the sides and still somewhat jiggly in the center when it's done baking.
  4. Turn your oven off, but keep your cheesecake in the oven, allowing it to come to room temperature. Prop open the oven door to let the steam escape. Once the cheesecake has cooled down, carefully remove it from the oven and the water bath. Wrap your springform pan in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator until the cheesecake is chilled, allowing the cake to firm up before slicing.
  5. Once the cheesecake is chilled, remove the sides of the springform pan. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Supplies

Graham Cracker Crust

  • springform pan
  • heavy-duty tinfoil
  • medium bowl

Cheesecake Filling

  • stand mixer or hand mixer
  • large roasting pan
  • plastic wrap

Recipe Notes

Drizzle your pumpkin cheesecake with a sweet decadent caramel sauce, or add a simple dollop of whipped cream.

One of the best things about cheesecake is its versatility. There's a cheesecake flavor for just about every special occasion. Pumpkin cheesecake, in particular, is one of the best flavors to serve during Thanksgiving or Christmas, since it's a nice change of pace from traditional holiday desserts. Here are a few ways you can make your pumpkin cheesecake unique.

Topping Options

caramel sauce

Whether you are using them as a simple garnish or adding them as an extra flavor component, toppings are a great way to make your pumpkin cheesecake more extravagant. Toppings allow you to mix additional flavors and textures, which can make this dessert special. If you plan on using toppings for more than just a small garnish, it's important to make sure the flavor of the cheesecake itself pairs well with the topping. Here are a few pumpkin cheesecake topping ideas to get you started:

  • whipped cream
  • caramel sauce
  • chocolate sauce
  • chocolate flakes
  • sour cream
  • pralines
  • streusel
  • maple glaze
  • cranberries

Crust Options

cheesecake with chocolate graham cracker crust

Another area to add some interest to your pumpkin cheesecake is the crust. By using different ingredients to make the crust, you can help balance the pumpkin's presence and create iconic holiday flavors. You can even make a crustless pumpkin cheesecake if you so choose. Here are some great crust variations to try on your pumpkin cheesecake:

  • gingersnap
  • chocolate graham cracker
  • pecan shortbread cookie
  • Oreo
  • vanilla wafer cookie

Marbled Cheesecake

marbled cheesecake

With a bit of planning ahead of time, you can turn your pumpkin cheesecake into a stunning, professional-looking masterpiece. Simply use two different batters in your springform pan to create a cheesecake that is the best of both worlds when it comes to flavor. Try mixing one of these flavors with the pumpkin:

  • plain cheesecake
  • chocolate
  • vanilla bean
  • caramel
  • white chocolate

Diet-Friendly Variations

pumpkin cheesecake

Typically, cheesecake recipes include ingredients such as eggs, cream cheese, graham crackers, sugar, and butter, which are not suitable for all diets. The good thing about cheesecake is that it's accommodating to substitutions.

  • For vegan cheesecake crusts, look for a vegan-friendly graham cracker or cookie and vegan butter. Tofutti cream cheese can be used in place of regular cream cheese. Tofu can be used to replace eggs, and a whipped coconut cream topping would be a nice touch.
  • If you are looking for a gluten-free cheesecake, you can use gluten-free cookies or graham cracker crumbs, or you could make your own crust by processing almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts and then mixing them with butter. Crustless pumpkin cheesecake is also a good alternative.
  • If you are on a keto or low-carb diet, try a mixed-nut crust option or go crustless. Use a no-carb sweetener such as erythritol to replace the sugar. Make sure any canned pumpkin you use is unsweetened, or create your own pumpkin purée using baking pumpkins.

Pumpkin cheesecake makes for a delicious holiday dessert no matter how you create it. Try it this holiday season; it's sure to be a favorite.

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