This delicious pumpkin swirl cheesecake will quickly become a household favorite and yearly Thanksgiving dessert tradition! It's rich and creamy, with delicious pumpkin pie flavors and a buttery graham cracker crust. Top it with whipped cream.
This recipe was first published on November 4, 2020.
This pumpkin swirl cheesecake is a family favorite, a must have on the Thanksgiving dessert table lineup and always the first thing to get devoured. It's creamy and rich, with yummy pumpkin flavors.
It's the best!!!!
When it comes to Thanksgiving my two absolute favorite things are my homemade stuffing and this cheesecake.
I've been making this recipe for over 10 years, only in the last few years have I been making it a whole cheesecake. In the past years it's always been mini cheesecakes, which you could totally do with this recipe.
My father in law was notorious for sneaking in to the fridge after half the family went to bed, eating the pumpkin cheesecake. Thanksgiving eve might I add. It's an irresistible dessert.
It's half cheesecake, half pumpkin pie. All swirled together. Topped with homemade whipped cream.
Contrary to belief, making a pumpkin cheesecake is beyond easy. Make sure to watch the how to video, I always find it so helpful to visually see something being made.
With some helpful tips and tricks you can make a beautiful pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving that your family will rave about. And if you love cranberries, I have an easy cranberry cheesecake bar recipe.
How To Make Pumpkin Cheesecake
It starts with having the right pan. You'll need a springform pan.
A springform pan has a lever on the side of it that closes and opens the edges of the pan, so you can easily remove the cheesecake.
There's a few steps in the process. You need to get the cheesecake mixture together, the pumpkin mixture together and the crust together. Each are in a separate bowl.
Cheesecake batter. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat together room temperature cream cheese, vanilla extract, salt, corn starch, white sugar and sour cream for 3 minutes.
Then add in the eggs and beat until totally combined. It will be silky smooth when you are done.
Pumpkin pie batter. Beat together the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, salt and brown sugar for 3 minutes. This should also be smooth.
Take 1 ¼ cups of the cheesecake batter and it to the pumpkin pie batter. Stir this together until totally combined.
Preparing the crust. The crust is a graham cracker crust. Add the graham crackers, white sugar, pinch of salt and pumpkin pie spice to a food processor. Pulse until it turns to fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until its mixed together.
Preparing the springform pan. You will want to add parchment paper to the bottom of the springform pan so it easily comes off the bottom when you go to transfer to a pie plate. Take the bottom round of the springform pan and place it on parchment paper. Trace around the edge and cut out the circle. Place it in the bottom of the springform pan.
Grab some tinfoil and wrap it around the bottom half edges of the pan and bottom of the pan.
Baking the crust. Press the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of the pan and bake at 325 for 5-10 minutes. Remove it from the oven when done.
Adding the batter. Pour in the cheesecake batter in the springform pan (on top of the baked graham cracker crust), tap it on the counter to release air bubbles.
In dollops, add the pumpkin pie batter.
Use a knife to swirl the pumpkin around with the cheesecake. Try not going to deep or you will scrape up the graham cracker crust.
Baking. Place the pumpkin cheesecake on a baking sheet that has a brim and place this in the oven. Pour water in to the baking sheet to create a water bath (half way up the pan).
Bake for 45-60 minutes. Do not open the oven door while baking, this can cause the cheesecake to crack.
Your cheesecake will be done when the edges are set and it's still slightly wiggly in the center.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Tips
Room temperature ingredients. Using softened, room temperature, cream cheese is one of the most important tips. Soft cream cheese will give you the smoothest, silkiest cheesecake.
Using cold cream cheese will give you a lumpy batter.
Chilling. Chilling the cheesecake for an entire 24 hours will give you the best taste. That's enough time for it to fully chill throughout and all the flavors to merry together.
At the very least, you'll need 4 hours in the fridge for it to be chilled.
Once you're ready to serve top it with whipped cream.
Water bath. The water bath in the instructions seems like a tedious extra step. But, this is the best pumpkin cheesecake for good reason.
The water bath helps your cheesecake bake evenly.
Overbaking. Do not over bake your cheesecake. It only needs to cook long enough for the sides to set and the middle to still have some jiggle. If the middle does not jiggle, it's going to be over baked.
Over baking can cause cracks.
No peeking. Leave that oven door closed. Use your oven light if you must see what's going on in there.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
Planning for Thanksgiving? Whether you are entertaining 10 people or just your family. Here are a few other dessert recipes to try.
- How To Make a Spatchcock Turkey
- Buttery Herb Dinner Rolls (super easy!)
- Olive Oil Baked Honey Carrots
- Best Homemade Stuffing
- Maple Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
- Apple Crisp with Oats Topping
- Pumpkin Roll with Silky Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- ¾ c cane sugar
- ¼ c sour cream
- Whipped Cream (see notes for recipe link)
Pumpkin Pie Mixture
- 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
graham cracker crust
- 1 sleeve graham crackers (9 sheets)
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 tbsp cane sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat the oven to 325.
- In a bowl use a hand mixer to beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, salt, corn starch, sugar and sour cream. Beat for 3 minutes on medium then add the eggs and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl beat together the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, salt and brown sugar until smooth. Scoop out 1 ¼ cups of batter from the cheesecake mixture and stir it in to the pumpkin mixture, stir until combined.
- To make the crust add the graham crackers, sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice to a food processor. Process until it's a fine crumb consistency. Add the melted butter and pulse until it comes together.
- Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper. Wrap tin foil around the bottom of the pan, coming up the sides an inch or two. Press the graham cracker crumb mixture in the bottom of the pan. Use the back of a measuring cup to get a flat surface.
- Bake this in the oven for 5-10 minutes then remove. Add the plain cheesecake mixture to the pan (see notes).
- In dollops, add the pumpkin mixture to the top. Use a knife to swirl it around but not totally combine it (see notes).
- Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and put the whole thing in the oven. Fill the baking sheet up halfway with water to create a water bath.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes.
- Time can vary greatly with ovens. Try not to open the oven door while it bakes. The cheesecake is done when the sides have set but the middle is still a little jiggly.
- Remove it from the oven, let it cool, cover and transfer to the fridge to chill before serving. This pumpkin cheesecake is best served after chilling overnight.
Air Bubbles: Rap the springform pan on the counter after adding the plain cheesecake mixture, it helps to release air bubbles.
Swirls: When swirling the pumpkin through the cheesecake, don't push the knife too far down - you might hit the crust and pull it up.
Center Jiggle: Don't wait for the cheesecake to be completely set in the oven. It should still jiggle in the center because it will continue to bake even after pulling it from the oven.
Whipped Cream: You can serve this with a can of whipped cream but I highly suggest making your own homemade whipped cream with my recipe.
Room Temperature: It's best to use room temperature ingredients for a silky smooth cheesecake.
Chilling: Let the cheesecake chill at least 24 hours for the best flavor.
Water Bath: The water bath helps the cheesecake bake evenly and helps to avoid cracking by keeping the oven moist with steam. You need to wrap your pan in tin foil so water does not leak into the pan.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 288mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 5g
This information comes from online calculators. Although moderncrumb.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.