Filed Under: Cheesecake | Dessert | Fall | Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
November 11th, 2021
5 from 2 votes
5 from 2 votes

Creamy, smooth, rich, and indulgent Pumpkin Cheesecake made with a Biscoff cookie crust and topped with homemade whipped cream. Fall perfection and perfect for any Thanksgiving dessert table! No water bath required.

Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook: 2 hours 15 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The pumpkin cheesecake filling is ultra creamy and rich, slightly tangy, and loaded with warm fall spices. Balances out perfectly with the Biscoff cookie crust and homemade whipped topping.
Texture: The crunchy Biscoff cookie crust paired with the smooth, creamy filling and fluffy whipped topping is absolute texture heaven.
Ease: Don’t be intimidated at all, this recipe is easier than you might think. No water bath required!
Appearance: Add some extra crushed Biscoff cookies on top of the whipped topping for an extra impressive looking cheesecake.
Pros: About a million times more delicious than most pumpkin pies!
Cons: It won’t last long on your Thanksgiving dessert table. 😉

If you’re the type of person who’s not fully convinced that pumpkin pie should be on your Thanksgiving dessert table, this is the recipe for you.

Pumpkin cheesecake > pumpkin pie EVERY time. The best part about this recipe? You don’t even need a water bath, and you can make it in advance!

It’s so rich, creamy, and luscious. Plus no dealing with the challenges of making pie dough. In fact, this Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe features an ultra flavorful and perfectly buttery yet crispy Biscoff cookie crust that’s out of this world.

Top with whipped cream and you’re good to go!

How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake

Which cream cheese to use for cheesecake:

First, buy the right kind. Full fat bricks of cream cheese for baking (not for spreading on bagels) must be used in this recipe.

Be sure to buy a high quality brand. Some generic grocery store brands are watery and rubbery. I like Philadelphia cream cheese.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing is to ensure your cream cheese is completely and totally softened to room temperature. If it’s too cold, you’ll end up with a lumpy cheesecake batter.

Although the Biscoff (also called Speculoos) cookie crust is out of this world delicious, if you can’t find Biscoff cookies, here’s how to swap them out.

I’ve included both the volume measurement of the Biscoff cookies and the weight measurement so you can swap in any other crushed crispy cracker, cookie, or biscuit. Some ideas:

  • Vanilla wafers
  • Digestive biscuits
  • Graham crackers
  • Amaretti cookies
  • Gingersnaps

What’s the best pan for cheesecake?

This recipe requires a 10 cup, 9-inch diameter springform pan like this one.

Not all springform pans are made equally. You want one that’s both heavy duty and sturdy. Avoid putting your pan in the dishwasher as hand washing will extend the life of a springform pan.

Just because your pan is 9-inches in diameter doesn’t necessarily mean it has a 10 cup batter volume capacity. Every brand may vary slightly. So be careful not to overfill your pan if yours has a smaller capacity!

How to get SMOOTH cheesecake filling:

In addition to making sure the cream cheese is completely softened to room temperature, it’s also key to fully beat the cream cheese, and then the cream cheese and sugar, until fully smooth. This may take several minutes. Be sure to scrape down all the nooks and crannies of your mixer bowl and paddle attachment when mixing the filling at each major step.

Do I have to use a water bath? No, this recipe bakes low and slow!

Though I typically recommend baking a cheesecake with a water bath, I’ve found an alternative that still produces the best texture in cheesecake, though you may still end up with a crack in your cheesecake depending on your oven. Luckily since this one is getting covered in a generous cloud of whipped cream, it won’t matter too much.

The cheesecake on the left is my Ultimate Classic Cheesecake, baked with a water bath. On the right is this Pumpkin Cheesecake baked without a water bath with the Low & Slow method: bake at 275°F for nearly two hours then cool in the oven with the heat off and the door cracked:

pumpkin cheesecake baked without a water bath

Every time I posted my original Cheesecake Water Bath vs. No Water Bath photo on Instagram it would always go nearly viral. And I’d always get comments from people espousing the benefits of the Low & Slow method.

However, when I first tried that method years ago in a previous home with an old oven, I found that it just wouldn’t maintain the low temperature accurately and consistently. I decided to give it another try. What I found was that while I still got a crack with my current oven (it’s less than 5 years old), it was a small one.

Then, when we baked this exact same cheesecake recipe at my photographer’s house in her older oven, it developed the larger crack photographed below:

Which is why I’ll likely still use the water bath method when I want to ensure no cracks. This is especially the case for cheesecakes that I won’t cover with whipped cream, ganache, or something that disguises a crack. OR, when I want that ultra rich custard-y texture that only a water bath baked cheesecake provides.

But for this recipe, with the chaos of the Thanksgiving season, I decided Low & Slow would be the easiest way.

How to tell if cheesecake is done baking:

Let me say this as clearly as possible… don’t over bake your cheesecake!! The residual heat of the oven will continue to cook the cheesecake even after the heat has been turned off. That means you want your cheesecake to look dry at the edges but slightly wobbly or jiggly like Jello in the center when the baking time has ended. The internal temperature should be 140°F-150°F.

How to serve cheesecake:

The cheesecake will ONLY finish setting up after it has cooled completely then been chilled in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight. Only then should you remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and slice it.

You can also sprinkle some additional Biscoff cookies on top for an extra impressive looking cheesecake.

How to store cheesecake:

Avoid putting your whipped cream topping on until ready to serve. Cheesecake lasts for 3 days in the fridge. Any longer and the crust will become mushy.

How to freeze cheesecake:

Cheesecake freezes very well. Place a whole cheesecake or individual slices on a baking sheet inside the freezer until firm. Wrap the cheesecake or each individual slice in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.

To serve, defrost a whole cheesecake in the fridge overnight. You can also defrost individual slices in the fridge overnight, or at room temperature for 30 minutes.

More Cheesecake Recipes You’ll Love:

More Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas:

5 from 2 votes

How to make
Pumpkin Cheesecake

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Chilling Time 6 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 40 minutes
Creamy, smooth, rich, and indulgent Pumpkin Cheesecake made with a Biscoff cookie crust and topped with homemade whipped cream. Fall perfection and perfect for any Thanksgiving dessert table! No water bath required.

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 (8.8 ounce or 250 gram) package Biscoff / Speculoos cookies
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 24 ounces (680 grams) cream cheese, completely softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar
  • 15 ounces (425 grams) pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) sour cream or plain full-fat yogurt, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the crust:

  1. Place the cookies in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened.
  2. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place pan on a rimmed baking tray to catch any butter. Bake for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 275°F.

Make the cheesecake:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth and free of clumps, scraping down the bowl and attachment as needed. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat until well combined. Scrape down the bowl, then add in the pumpkin puree and sour cream and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, then the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, flour, and vanilla and beat until just combined.

  2. Pour over baked crust and spread evenly. Tap the pan against the counter a few times to release any bubbles. Tap a spatula against the top of the batter to pop those bubbles. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until set and dry at the edges but slightly jiggly and wobbly like Jello in the center with an internal temperature of 140°F-150°F. Turn off the oven, crack open the oven door, and allow to cool inside the oven for 30 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely to room temperature.

  4. Refrigerate in springform pan for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight but up to 3 days to allow the texture to firm and the pumpkin spice flavor to develop. Store the cheesecake uncovered to avoid creating condensation, which will create a mushy texture.

Make the topping:

  1. Whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer for a few minutes until medium peaks form.
  2. Release the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake stand or serving plate and top with whipped cream. Slice using a big sharp knife, wiping it off under running hot water in between cuts. Serve.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

This post was originally published in 2009 (!) and updated in 2021 with a recipe improvement overhaul, more baking tips, and new photos. Photos by Joanie Simon | The Bite Shot

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Lauren Zeimet — November 24, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Hi! It doesn’t say in the instructions but I’m assuming we add the ginger in at the same time with all the other spices, correct?

    • #
      Emily — November 24, 2021 at 3:22 pm

      Sorry about that! Just updated the recipe, yes, you are correct!

  2. #
    Jaimie — November 23, 2021 at 8:56 am

    Made this as a test for Thanksgiving and the flavors were delicious! One question – when I cut out a piece, it didn’t hold its form very well. The tip of the piece didn’t come out with the slice and when I forked into the slice, it just kind of all collapsed. Does this mean I likely took it out too soon?

    • #
      Emily — November 23, 2021 at 11:37 am

      Hi Jaimie! That does sound like your cheesecake didn’t fully set. While you definitely don’t want to overbake your cheesecake, the edges shouldn’t move at all when slightly shaking your pan in the oven to check for doneness, but the very center should be the consistency of Jello, just slightly wiggly. You can also check the internal temperature if you’ve got a thermometer, and it should be between 140°F-150°F. How long was your cheesecake in the fridge for?

      • #
        Jaimie — November 23, 2021 at 11:56 am

        Hey Emily! Thanks for the response! I left it in the fridge overnight. It was *pretty* jiggly when I pulled I pulled it from the oven…I was so concerned about over baking that I did the opposite!

        • #
          Emily — November 23, 2021 at 2:39 pm

          I completely understand, I’ve actually done the opposite and overbaked quite a few cheesecakes myself because I was worried they weren’t done! As long as you leave your cheesecake in just a bit longer or follow the internal temperature listed, your next attempt should go perfectly. Let me know!

  3. #
    Breanna — November 22, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    How long is the whipped cream good once made? Should I wait a few hours before serving or even closer to serving?

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Breanna! Feel free to top the pie with whipped cream the morning of when you plan to eat the cheesecake. After about a day, the whipped cream will start to deflate and weep onto the surface of the cheesecake. Still tasty but maybe not so pretty 🙂 Let us know what you think of this recipe!

  4. #
    Jamie — November 22, 2021 at 9:55 am

    I want to make a gluten-free version of this cheesecake. Will 2 TB of gluten-free flour give me the same results or do you have another suggestion for substituting the AP flour?

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 2:36 pm

      Hi Jamie! We don’t bake gluten free, so I can’t say for sure! Please let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

  5. #
    Andrea Nunley — November 21, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    If made on a Monday night, would it be good on Thursday night? And would you leave it uncovered that whole time in the fridge?

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 12:13 pm

      Hi Andrea! I wouldn’t recommend making this too far in advance as the crust will get mushy the longer it’s in the fridge. 3 days max, but for the best tasting experience, I’d suggest eating within 1-2 days. And you do want to cover your cheesecake as air tightly as possible so not only does it not dry out, but covering it will also block other odors from being absorbed. I hope that helps, please let us know what you think!

  6. #
    Kathleen — November 14, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    I have pumpkin pie spice but not all the spices listed. Can I use that instead and if so, how much?

    • #
      Emily — November 15, 2021 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Kathleen! We haven’t tried that, so I can’t say for sure! Your bet bet is to substitute in an equal amount of pumpkin spice for the individual spices, then add more to taste. Keep in mind that the end result won’t taste quite the same though as pumpkin pie spice is only about half cinnamon. Please let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

  7. #
    Robin — November 12, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    This looks so good. I usually use ginger snap cookies for my crust with pumpkin cheesecake. I can’t wait to try Biscoff cookies for a change. Thank you.

    • #
      Emily — November 15, 2021 at 3:48 pm

      Feel free to use either 🙂 Let us know what you think!

  8. #
    Stephanie — November 12, 2021 at 10:53 am

    This is the BEST cheesecake I’ve ever had!! My springform pan wasn’t big enough so I baked the extra batter in a casserole dish and used it as Graham cracker dip! The instructions for this are so easy to follow and the cake is fabulous!! My son said this is his new favorite and wanted the recipe, My husband said I had to make this again. Everybody loved it!!
    I would give it 10 stars if possible!
    Thank you for the recipe and the tips. Mine didn’t crack!

    • #
      Emily — November 15, 2021 at 3:52 pm

      I’m drooling, what a fantastic idea with the extra batter! So so happy your family loved this recipe and that your cheesecake didn’t crack! Thanks for the rave review 🙂

  9. #
    Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη — December 14, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks! Sorry for the partial anonymity, it was not inteded. I'm Efthimia Despotaki and I'm from Greece. Happy Hollidays!

  10. #
    Tessa — December 11, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Bedroom Talk- Water baths are very easy to work with! You just have to have a pan big enough for one 😉

    I agree about Ikea! We just bought a coffee table and a bookshelf for super cheap so thanks for the suggestions ladies!

    Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη- I believe once stick of butter is 115 grams. Yes you can use creme fresh instead!

  11. #
    Sweet and Savory — December 8, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Cheesecake and pumpkin are naturals together so this had to be gooc.

  12. #
    Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη — November 25, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Questions from over seas:

    1) One stick of butter is 50 grams?
    2)Can I use creme fresh instead of sour cream?

  13. #
    TeaLady — November 21, 2009 at 4:05 am

    This looks delicious. Love cheese cake and pumpkin. together – perfect

  14. #
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — November 13, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Good luck with the move and the decor… I second the idea to look at IKEA for design on a budget. It's one of my favorites! I look forward to seeing/reading all about it!

    Also, your cheesecake looks divine. Yum!

  15. #
    Bedroom Talk — November 11, 2009 at 8:37 am

    This looks amazing but I've never used a waterbath, is hard to work with? I'm kinda nervous.

    As for the decor obviously IKEA is the best if you're on a budget but try places like HomeGoods they have designer styles for home items for gnarly cheap prices! Good Luck with the search! Can't wait for pix 🙂

  16. #
    Anonymous — November 11, 2009 at 8:09 am

    It's the best cheesecake on the planet.
    -boyfriend

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