Pumpkin Cheesecake

The best pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust is easy too! How to make extra creamy cheesecake with sour cream and no cracks!

Three weeks ago we shared our most amazing creamy cheesecake recipe. Have you tried it? It’s thick, rich, and extra creamy.

And the next logical step was to take that recipe and tweak it for the holiday season. Matt and I love the Olive Garden pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnaps and caramel, so we had to create a homemade version!

Introducing….the Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake.

A half eaten piece of cheesecake with a slice cut out

You may think cheesecakes are intimidating, but today we’re walking you through step by step to ensure you have success.

Let’s do it!

Tools to Make Cheesecake

There are a few key tools needed to make cheesecake successfully.

  • Springform Pan. Most of our cheesecake recipes use a 9″ springform pan.
  • Water Bath Mold. This isn’t 100% necessary, but it is great to have. You don’t want a soggy cheesecake if you’re baking it in a water bath. This prevents that!

Do you have to bake cheesecake in a springform pan?

If you don’t have a springform pan, use a 9″ round cake pan with deep 3″ sides. Line the cake pan with parchment paper. That way it can come out easily!

Gingersnap Crust for Cheesecake

The first step to preparing this cheesecake is to make the gingersnap crust. Do you have to use gingersnaps? Not necessarily. You could easily use graham crackers. The gingersnaps add such a depth of flavor so we highly recommend using them!

  • In a medium bowl, mix together the gingersnap crumbs, melted butter and sugar.
  • Press the crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan. Note…this makes enough to cover the bottom of the pan. If you want crumbs up the sides (which would make a thicker crust) you’ll have to make a double recipe.
  • Bake the crust for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the crust to cool completely BEFORE you add the cheesecake filling.
gingersnap crumbs in a springform pan

How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake

I’m always surprised at how fast it is to mix up cheesecake. You really only need about 15 minutes to get it ready for the oven!

Here’s how to do it.

  • Place the cream cheese in a large bowl. Use 22 ounces of cream cheese which is 2 8-ounce blocks and then an additional 6 ounces. The cream cheese should be at room temperature.
  • Use a hand mixer on low speed to cream the cream cheese until it is smooth. Don’t beat too much air into the cream cheese. Mix on low speed just until smooth and any lumps are out.
pumpkin cheesecake batter
  • With the mixer on low speed, mix in the sugars, vanilla extract and pumpkin. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Cheesecake batter in a mixing bowl
  • Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  • Mix in the sour cream and mix on low speed just until blended.
  • Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Use a hand whisk to gently whisk the eggs together to break up the yolks. Don’t whisk them too much. You don’t want them frothy.
eggs in a mixing bowl
  • Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture and blend the eggs into the cream cheese mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix just until combined.
pumpkin cheesecake batter in a bowl
  • Pour the batter into the springform pan with the pre-baked crust.
  • Tap the pan on the counter 4-5 times. This will help bring any air bubbles to the top so that they pop. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes. Tap again if any more air bubbles surface. This will help your cheesecake have a nice thick texture.
unbaked pumpkin cheesecake

How to Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

You may often hear about cheesecake baked in a water bath. It’s a strange process, but because cheesecake is most like a custard, it’s the best way to bake it for that perfect texture.

  • Preheat the oven to 325º Fahrenheit.
  • Heat 4 quarts of water on the stove or in the microwave until steaming but not necessarily boiling.
  • Pour about an inch and a half of water in a 10×15″ baking pan.
  • Place the wrapped springform pan into the water bath.
  • The water should come about halfway up the side of the pan. Pour in additional water if needed.
unbaked pumpkin cheesecake in a waterbath
  • Place the cheesecake (in the water bath) in the preheated oven.
  • Allow the cake to bake for 65 minutes. Do not open the oven.
  • After 65 minutes, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven for another 5 hours. Don’t open the oven. Just allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven while the oven cools.
  • After 5 hours, remove the cheesecake from the oven and the pan. Remove the foil wrap.

How to Prevent Cracks in Cheesecake

If you follow our steps exactly, you shouldn’t have any trouble with cracks. Here are the tips we showcase for preventing cracks:

  • Don’t over mix the batter. Overmixing or whipping too much air in to the batter can cause air pockets which create cracks. This is why we say to mix very slowly and tap the pan to pop any air bubbles. You can also allow the batter to sit in the pan for 10-30 minutes to help the batter to settle.
  • Spray the springform pan with cooking spray or grease with butter. This can often prevent any sticking which may cause cracks. If you have a non-stick pan this may not be necessary, but we do it just to be safe.
  • Bake in a water bath. Trust me on this! It’s the best method.
  • Don’t open the oven during baking or cooling. Sudden temperature changes can cause cracks.
baked pumpkin cheesecake

Does cheesecake have to be refrigerated overnight?

Yes! In order for cheesecake to fully set and become firm, you’ll need to refrigerate it overnight. Place the cheesecake in the fridge and put a sheet of wax paper loosely over the top.

The cheesecake will firm up in the fridge.

A piece of pumpkin cheesecake on a plate

How to Decorate a Pumpkin Cheesecake

This cheesecake is delicious enough to eat plain. It has a simple flavor very similar to pumpkin pie. If you want to decorate it, put dollops of whipped cream and sprinkles of gingersnap crumbs. You could also drizzle the top with caramel. So good!

Making Cheesecake in Advance

Cheesecake is a great make-ahead dessert. It will be safe in the fridge up to 4 days before serving.

A piece of cheesecake with whipped cream on a plate

Can you make cheesecake in advance and freeze it?

Yes! You can freeze slices of cheesecake or a whole cheesecake for up to 2 months. When you are ready to serve it, place the wrapped cheesecake in the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Don’t unwrap it until it is thawed. This will help prevent condensation from forming and making the cake “wet”.

cut pumpkin cheesecake

Other Cheesecake Recipes

slice of Pumpkin Cheesecake on a plate
slice of Pumpkin Cheesecake on a plate

Pumpkin Cheesecake

4.29 from 7 votes
Servings 12
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 11 minutes
Resting Time 5 hours

Ingredients
 

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the cheesecake:

  • 22 ounces cream cheese (2 ¾ blocks (room temperature))
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 15 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 10 ounces sour cream (room temperature) (about 1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 large eggs (whisked, room temperature)

Instructions
 

  • **Plan ahead and make sure the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs are at room temperature. This will help the ingredients cream together more smoothly.**
  • Spray a 9″ springform pan with cooking spray.

Make the crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 325º Fahrenheit.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the gingersnap crumbs, melted butter and sugar.
  • Press the crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan.
  • Bake the crust for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the crust to cool completely.
  • Place the pan in the silicone water bath mold. Or you can wrap the outside of the springform pan with two layers of foil. This will help seal the bottom so that water doesn't get in.

Make the cheesecake filling:

  • Place the cream cheese in a large bowl. Use 22 ounces of cream cheese which is 2 8-ounce blocks and then an additional 6 ounces. The cream cheese should be at room temperature.
  • Use a hand mixer on low speed to cream the cream cheese until it is smooth. Don’t beat too much air into the cream cheese. Mix on low speed just until smooth and any lumps are out.
  • With the mixer on low speed, mix in the sugars, vanilla extract and pumpkin. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  • Mix in the sour cream and mix on low speed just until blended.
  • Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Use a hand whisk to gently whisk the eggs together to break up the yolks. Don't whisk them too much. You don't want them frothy.
  • Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture and blend the eggs into the cream cheese mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix just until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the springform pan with the pre-baked crust.
  • Tap the pan on the counter 4-5 times. This will help bring any air bubbles to the top so that they pop. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes. Tap again if any more air bubbles surface. This will help your cheesecake have a nice thick texture.
  • Preheat the oven to 325º Fahrenheit.
  • Heat 4 quarts of water on the stove or in the microwave until steaming but not necessarily boiling.
  • Pour about an inch and a half of water in a 10×15″ baking pan.
  • Place the wrapped springform pan into the water bath.
  • The water should come about halfway up the side of the pan. Pour in additional water if needed.
  • Place the cheesecake (in the water bath) in the preheated oven.
  • Allow the cake to bake for 65 minutes. Do not open the oven.
  • After 65 minutes, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven for another 5 hours. Don't open the oven. Just allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven while the oven cools.
  • After 5 hours, remove the cheesecake from the oven and the pan. Remove the foil wrap.
  • Loosely cover the cheesecake and place it in the refrigerator to firm up overnight.
  • Serve the next day with your favorite toppings.

Notes

The calories shown are based on the cheesecake being cut into 12 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cheesecake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 137mg | Sodium: 332mg | Potassium: 263mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 6612IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 460
Keyword easy cheesecake recipe, easy thanksgiving dessert, how to make cheesecake
The best pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust is easy too! How to make extra creamy cheesecake with sour cream and hints for a waterbath (no cracks!).

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Lilian
2 years ago

It sounds like a very delicious recipe, but, can I use yogurt instead of sour cream?

Lilian
2 years ago

5 stars
Can I look for your recipe on facebook?

Jenny
1 year ago

I made this for my friends birthday party this weekend-she doesn’t like cake, or ice cream, only cheesecake, and loves all things pumpkin spice. It was perfect! The store was out of gingersnaps (so weird!) so I went with the traditional graham cracker crust, but will definitely be watching for the ginger snap restock and make it that way next time. This came out perfectly! So creamy and held it’s shape well with no cracks, and tasted divine. Everyone loved it!!! I spent years perfecting my own cheesecake recipe and only had 1 day notice to do the pumpkin cheesecake… Read more »

Elizabeth
1 year ago

Hi! I made this cheesecake Sunday and was soo excited to try it last night. This tastes amazing and I want to make it again but I need some help… first- the crust… I ended up baking it for almost 15 minutes and it still wasn’t very brown but a lot of butter seeped out of the cheesecake pan- literally had a pool of butter to clean up. I was thinking about cutting down on the amount of butter next time?? My other question- the directions say one place to put in oven 60min (and another place 65min) then turn… Read more »

Maggie
1 year ago

Hi I am thinking to make this for Thanksgiving but I don’t have a springform pan or water bath. The springform pan on Amazon I found has reviews that say it leaks with water baths. Would it work if I just put tinfoil or should I buy a water bath mold?

Linda
1 year ago

I have some 4 inch springform pans and would like to use them for this recipe. Would there be a change to the oven temperature or the baking time? Thanks.

Dorit
1 year ago

3 stars
I made this cake for Thanksgiving dinner and while the taste was good, it wasn’t firm enough and hard to serve nice slices.

Colleen
8 months ago

5 stars
Best recipe! I took a different approach and sous vide them, absolutely outstanding!

Caroline
7 months ago

5 stars
This was my first attempt at making a REAL cheesecake ever! It came out perfect and it tastes sooo yum! 🙂

Kayla
7 months ago

I only have a 10in springform, have you tried the baking time for that size pan yet?

Patricia
7 months ago

3 stars
I was excited to make this cheesecake. I followed the directions. The consistency was great nice and creamy but it lacked flavor. I used fresh pumpkin purée.