Pumpkin Cheesecake

You can make your own pumpkin purée by cutting a sugar pumpkin in half, scooping out the seeds, placing the pumpkin halves cut-side down in a roasting pan with a 1/4 inch of water in it, and cooking it in a 350°F oven for an hour, until soft. Scoop out the flesh and purée it in a blender or food processor. Strain out excess water.

  • Yield: Makes 16 servings


For the crust:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (approximately 4 graham crackers)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling:

  • 2 15-ounce cans pumpkin puree (see Recipe Note)
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or other whiskey
  • 5 large eggs
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups (1 pound) brown sugar

Special equipment:


1 Make graham cracker pecan crust: Pulse pecans, flour, brown sugar, and graham cracker crumbs in a food processor. Add butter and egg yolk. Pulse until mixture is homogenous. Press into bottom of 9” springform pan and bake for 10 minutes at 375°F. Remove from oven and let cool.

making graham cracker crust pumpkin cheesecake crust ingredients

2 Drain or strain any liquid from pumpkin purée. Take pumpkin purée and place on several layers of paper towels. Cover with several layers of paper towels and use your hands to gently squeeze out liquid from the purée.

adding pumpkin puree to cheesecake ingredients straining pumpkin puree for cheesecake recipe

Note that you will probably go through a lot of paper towels (can use tea towels too). Two 15-ounce cans of puréed pumpkin should yield a little more than 2 cups of purée, with the excess moisture removed. You want exactly 2 cups of the purée.

3 Mix spices with pumpkin purée, bourbon, eggs: Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, grated nutmeg, and allspice in a medium bowl. With a wooden spoon (no need for a mixer for this step), mix in the salt, pumpkin purée, vanilla, and bourbon. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

4 Mix cream cheese with brown sugar, add pumpkin mixture: In a large bowl, (helps to use a mixer for this step) combine the cream cheese and the brown sugar until fully creamed and smooth (no lumps). Gradually add the pumpkin mixture until fully incorporated. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.

5 Line pan with 3 layers of thick foil: Place crust-baked springform pan in the middle of three layers of large sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil (to help prevent water-bath moisture from leaking into the pan). Fold the aluminum foil up the sides of the pan and trim. (You can also use a turkey roasting bag instead of the foil to keep the water out.)

lining cheesecake pan with foil

6 Pour filling into pan: Place the aluminum wrapped pan in a large roasting pan (large enough so that there is room on all sides). Pour the pumpkin cream cheese mixture into the springform pan.

pumpkin cheesecake filling in springform pan pouring water to roasting pan around pumpkin cheesecake in oven

7 Pour hot water into roasting pan to create water bath: Place the roasting pan containing the springform pan in a 325°F oven on the middle rack. Pour boiling water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the side of the springform pan.

8 Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven heat and prop the oven door open. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven, cooling for another hour. Then remove from oven and let come to room temperature. Once it has cooled down, chill for several hours in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.

9 When ready to serve, gently remove the cake from the springform pan.

baked pumpkin cheesecake on counter removing pumpkin cheesecake from pan

To do this well, I recommend a tip by Dorie Greenspan in her book Baking: From My Home to Yours. To help ensure that the cake doesn't stick to the springform side as you unlock it, first run a blunt knife around the cake and then warm the sides of the pan with a hair dryer. Then carefully unlock the springform and lift off the sides.

Serve cheesecake with caramel sauce, candied pecans, and whipped cream.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • JD

    I made a half recipe for a trial run, and it was fantastic! I used a springform, and made enought crust to do the sides, too. It was an inch below the rim, and worked out fine. The full ricipe definitely feeds an army!

    Everyone loved it with your recipe for candied pecans, and a bourbon caramel sauce!


  • Bev

    A guest brought this to our family Thanksgiving. dinner. Best pumpkin cheese cake ever!
    Served with whipped only, I thought it needed no other garnish.
    Thought: This recipe seems to require the moisture (steam?) of water. Couldn’t one achieve the same result by baking the cheesecake on an upper rack and placing a pan of water on a lower rack?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Bev! It’s less about the steam and more about temperature control. With the pan sitting in water, it helps the cheesecake cook a little more slowly and evenly. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Laura

    I have my cheesecake in the oven right now. I followed all the directions exactly, and it looks/tastes great so far! I have one question though….will I run into any problems if I let it sit in the turned off oven for more than an hour? We are going out to dinner and I didn’t account for the extra hour in my timing. If it sits there for 2-3 hours (with the oven off, and door ajar) do you think it will be ok? Thanks so much.

  • Robin Gilliland

    I have a gas oven. Should I still open the door after baking or leave it closed?

  • Chelsi

    How many days in advance can this be made?

  • [email protected]

    5 stars for flavor BUT 3 stars for how mine turned out…the inside was completely soft and runny and the water got into my pan despite about 4 layers of foil. Can it be baked without the water on a lower temp? Should I bake longer to the the middle set?


    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Hannah! A reader on another cheesecake recipe just left us the best tip — bake the cheesecake in a cheap foil roasting pan that you mold around the cheesecake pan. It works much better than foil and won’t tear! When it’s done baking, the edges of the cheesecake should look puffed and set, but the center should still jiggle just a little bit. If it’s really loose in the middle, keep baking. Hope that helps!

  • Adrian

    Omitted the whiskey, but otherwise followed recipe to the letter. Came out perfectly. Flavor is amazing and great texture. Will make this instead of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving! My husband and I just moaned from delight through the whole slice. The crust is amazing.


  • Ashley

    How much more graham cracker would I use if someone’s allergic to pecans?

  • Wendy Stellakis

    Can this cheese cake be frozen!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Wendy, I haven’t tried freezing it, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be frozen.

  • Sahar

    HI Elise – I love your site and this cheesecake looks fantastic. I’m going to make it for Thanksgiving this year. I have two questions:
    1. I’m overseas and can’t find graham crackers. I’m planning on using Digestives instead, but I’m wondering if I should add sugar, cinnamon or honey to the mixture to get the flavor closer to graham crackers?
    2. My oven is too small to fit my springform pan in a water bath. I’m sure my top will crack, so I need a topping I can put on top to cover it. I had pumpkin cheesecake with pomegranate sauce years ago that was phenomenal. Any suggestions on making a pomegranate topping? Would I need to change anything in the cheesecake recipe itself for a pomegranate topping to go well with it?


    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Sahar! Emma here, managing editor for Simply Recipes! For the crust, yes, I’d add maybe 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. That should do it! For the topping, I like the idea of a pomegranate sauce. Maybe something like this recipe from Serious Eats? I could also see topping it with a caramel nut sauce — this recipe (Step 4 only, skip the crust and the baking) would work well. We also have a cake recipe going up this week with a topping just like this, so keep your eye out for that! Let us know what you end up doing!

  • Beverly

    How far ahead can I make this before serving…two days?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Beverly! Emma, managing editor for Simply Recipes, here! I’d say you could definitely make this at least two days in advance — just leave it in the fridge and unmold before serving. I find that cheesecake is pretty darn good made even several days ahead. Enjoy!

  • Cheryll

    I made this , IT WAS AMAZING . I also made the crust gluten free. Instead of gharam crackers i used 1/2 cup of coconut flour. I made a double batch of the carmal sauce and added 1 Tablespoon of Bourbon, Made homemade whip cream.. WOW what a great desert. Thank you


    • Angela Schneider

      Did you add flour to the filling? I want to make this gluten free and wanted to know if I eliminate the flour if it will ruin the filling?

      • Emma Christensen

        Hi, Angela! Emma, managing editor for Simply Recipes, here! Because it’s such a small amount of flour in the filling, I think that you could safely sub in a gluten-free flour or flour blend of your choice. Good luck!

        • Angela Schneider

          Thank you Emma!

  • Josh

    I’ve made this cheesecake five times now, and I have perfected a method that eliminates the need to strain or absorb liquid from the pumpkin and saves a lot of work.

    Instead of dabbing and squeezing the pumpkin puree with paper towels, I simply spread the pumpkin out on a large sheet and bake it at 220F for 2 hours. Then I take the dried pumpkin off the sheet with a spatula or scraper and combine it with the vanilla and bourbon in a blender to smooth out the texture. You can add a tablespoon of water or milk if you overcooked the pumpkin and it is too thick to blend properly.

    Follow the rest of the recipe as originally written, and you’ll have a perfect outcome.

  • Darryl M. Shekas

    This is the most complete instructions for cheesecake that I have ever seen and I thank you. I get a little fearful of the water bath for obvious reasons and you have solved it for me.

    Your recipe ingredients are similar to what my wife used to make and she was the ‘Cheesecake Princess’. Helen would make traditional cheesecake, maple pumpkin cheesecake, and chocolate cheese cake and hers were the best!.

    With me being diabetic, I would use fructose instead of regular sugar with no ill affects, as fructose is supposed to metabolize differently.

    Thanks again for he best water bath instructions!


  • Dayna Lazarowitz

    I did not have the option of doing a water bath and so i had a 1 inch deep pan full of water in the bottom of the oven and the cheesecake came out with no gash! A few things that I think contributed, I knocked all the air bubbles out before putting the cake in the oven, i wrapped it in tin foil because I intended on the water bath (last minute water bath fail), I let it cool for 4 hours in the oven- with the oven door half open, and the water in the bottom of the oven, but I repeat I did not have it sit in a water bath! Can’t wait to taste it

    • Susan

      Hi … help! The recipe calls for mixing the flour with the pecans brown sugar and graham cracker crumbs in pressing into the bottom of the pan. When we get to step three combining flour, spices, pumpkin, etc. It says to combine “flour”. However, I already use the flour for the crust and there is no indication of any more flour to the pumpkin and cheesecake next year. Help!

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Susan, there is flour listed in the ingredients for both the crust and the filling.

  • Denise Adamo

    Hello, I know it’s a little late but I’m making this tonight! Can I use canned Libby’s pumpkin instead of purée & if so is there a difference in the amount to use?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Denise, you mean Libby’s canned pumpkin pie filling? Or Libby’s canned pumpkin? If pumpkin pie filling I have no idea what to tell you. If you mean canned pumpkin, it is already puréed so yes, that is what you would use.

      • Denise A

        Hi Elise, Thank you for your quick response. I bought the Libby’s pumpkin, not the pie filling. It does not say purée on the can so I wasn’t sure. I winged it & my cheesecake came out fabulous. I cut the flour in half though.

  • Jordan

    Just a quick note on draining the pumpkin. I was able to plan ahead a little – and used my yogurt strainer. Dumped the purée in the basket, snapped on the lid, put it in the fridge. I poured off the liquid twice in 24 hours. Worked like a charm

  • Rebecca

    Hello, I was hoping that you would be able to help me with adjusting the recipe for a 10 inch springform pan.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Rebecca, I think all you have to do is cook it slightly less longer. Not sure on the timing though.

  • Heather

    I am about to make this again! It has become one of our “traditional” thanksgiving desserts! I have never had a problem with it cracking and it is so delicious! Last time I made it I made the caramel to go with it and it was fabulous! Happy Thanksgiving!


  • Rhea

    Elise…you are a goddess in the kitchen, aren’t you? I made this last Thanksgiving and people are always talking about how decadent, rich, creamy, and delicious this cheesecake was. Will I be making it again this year? Oh yeah.


  • Dan

    This recipe is legendary. I had never ever made a cheesecake from scratch, but I figured it would be worth a shot. It couldn’t have come out better if it was made by a world-class pastry chef. This is an excellent recipe. To be honest, I think I only used 1 can of pumpkin though. You need to have a lot of friends if you want to make this because it feeds a ton of people. It’s so rich you can only eat a small piece. Absolutely a crowd pleaser!


  • Lia

    What a hit at this years Thanksgiving dinner. Great texture and awsome flavor! Looks like this will be a new family favorite. Carmel sauce and candied pecans were not needed but added that additional wow.


  • Linda

    I made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving. It was delicious, and the hit of the dessert table. No cracks. I let the cake completely cool in the oven with the door open. This cheesecake has a firm creamy texture. Very easy to cut perfect slices. I made two changes to the recipe. I decided to use gingersnaps instead of graham crackers for the crust, and I used a cheesecake pan instead of a springform pan. I took a cheesecake class about 8 years ago, and learned about chessecake pans. I purchased every size and went striaght home and pitched every springform pan I owned into the mission box. I have never had a soggy bottom using a cheesecake pan. I always had that problem using springform. You still need to double foil and wrap the pan before adding the cheesecake batter into the pan and then into the water bath.


  • Katie

    I make my father-in-law a cheesecake every year for Christmas. He freezes the cheesecake and eats it slowly for the rest of the year. I’ve found that it’s easier for him to do that if I bake the cheesecake in a 9×13 inch pan rather than a spring-form pan. The result looks like cheesecake squares, and it’s easier for him to cut into small pieces. I imagine this would work well for a crowd as well.

  • Darcey

    This is so similar to the recipe I got from an older issue of Gourmet magazine and made last night – though it has only 15oz of pumpkin and not 30oz. I also made more crust so it went half-way up the sides of the pan and added crystallized ginger (in the food processor), then topped it with a sour cream mixture and whole pecans for decoration. DEEEEELISH!

  • Katie

    I have no experience with cheesecakes. How do you prevent it from cracking in the middle? That cheesecake looks perfect!

    The waterbath should help prevent cracking. ~Elise

  • Rachel

    Does anyone know if there is a way to check that the cheesecake is done before taking it out of the oven? I’ve never made cheesecake before this one. Will a knife still come out clean when it is done or does the goey nature of the cheesecake prevent that method from working? I ask because I made this yesterday and then today I go to cut the cheesecake and it is not cooked all the way in the middle! I guess I will try to put in back in the oven today to try an save it. Any tips for future cheesecakes?

    • judy

      cheesecake needs time to set and chill once taken from the oven. if the cake looks set almost everywhere, and does not jiggle too much it should be done, open oven door and turn off heat allow to stand in oven for half an hour and then remove; allow to cool at room temp for several hours before you refrigerate. another tip: leave in oven long enough for a crack or two to appear. this may not be as pretty as you like, but the cake will be done: remove immediately from oven and cool before refrigerating; decorate top to cover cracks. i never bake my cheesecake in a water bath, i place the cake on a cookie sheet and just bake in the oven. never have had a problem.

  • Kate

    Great instructions! Especially for a somewhat clumsy baker like myself. It turned out beautifully and I can’t wait to try it on Thursday!!

  • Becky

    I just finished squeezing out my 2 cans of pumpkin and I only have one cup of puree left. I must have squeezed alot of water. I’m not really sure what to do now.

    Wow. Each can has almost 2 cups of pumpkin in it, so you squeezed out almost 3 cups of water? Hmm. Maybe you can add some back in? Or maybe you’ll need another can of pumpkin. ~Elise

  • Antonette

    This cheesecake was delicious! I made it for Thanksgiving so therefore ran out of time and energy to make the sauce. No one seemed to miss it. I was a little intimidated with the whole “bath” thing, but that was a breeze! The cake turned out perfectly—this is a keeper. Now I would like to find a recipe without the pumpkin to make during the year any suggestions?

  • Noris

    This picture looked so good that I made this cheesecake this Thanksgiving. I followed the directions to a tee and while it came out well – everyone loved it, here are the problems I had. There was a crack but very small and really not a problem. However, the ‘crust’ was so soggy that when I served it the crust would not release from the bottom of the pan. It was really unyielding and very difficult to cut into slices, especially not the way it looked in the pictures here. After all that hard work it was disappointing. I did make the caramel sauce, which turned out well.

    • Chris S.

      I’m guessing the water got in from the water bath, thus soaking the crust. If you try it again, maybe wrap more securely to try to keep water out — or else take a risk on one of the no-water-bath techniques mentioned in the comments and see whether that doesn’t turn out *much* better for you?

  • Lisa

    Thank you Elise for yet another amazing recipe. While I think this recipe proved I enjoy cooking over baking, the results were amazing and everyone was delighted. My husband and I made this together the day before – which is a good think as it seemed like a lot of time and work was needed. We used a 9″ round 3″ tall pan, not springform per an Alton Brown suggestion and all was fine.

  • Julie

    One more thing…I didn’t do the aluminum foil method. I have two roasting pans – the flat ones that come with the oven – so I filled both with water (so, about 1.5-2″ water). One I left uncovered and put on the rack below the cheesecake. The other I put the grill cover on and set the cheesecake on top of it. I was going full on with the water to avoid cracks!

  • Julie

    Totally a keeper! I made the crust and baked my pumpkin on Tuesday (used a cinderella pumpkin from our garden), drained the pumpkin overnight with a strainer and cheesecloth, and baked the cheesecake on Wednesday. I used two packages of regular cream cheese, 1 1/2 packages of light cream cheese, and 1/2 cup sour cream. I added just a pinch of cloves but not sure I could tell. I baked at 300 for 2 hours and it cracked a bit around the edges but not in the middle (yay!). As it cooled it kind of settled down so the side cracks were barely visible. And of course, it was a big hit…I had to fight my brother, who doesn’t like pumpkin OR cheesecake, to taste it. He had 3 pieces.

  • ken

    I made the recipe halved in a pie tin. Baked it for 1 hour 20 minutes at 300 degrees, and left it in the oven for 1 hour after turning it off. The consistency was very good, I will use the same baking times if I make this again.

  • Sandra L. Garth

    This was an amazing dessert. I used a 30oz can of pumpkin and ended up with 1 1/2 cups. No worries though, I had sweet potatoes so I added 1/2 cup of them to the puree. I followed directions exactly and my cheesecake still cracked. My oven is a bit persnickity so that may have been the cause. Love the taste and will do my best not to overeat it. I’d make it again in a heartbeat.

  • Gordon

    I just made this – my first ever cheesecake :)
    I can testify to the need to get as much water out as possible – the top separated from the rest of the cake – stood up about two inches!! But once I turned off the oven and propped the door open and the cake cooled, it shrank back down – it smells delicious!! I made the ginger snap crust – tomorrow will tell – Oh, I also made the caramel sauce for it :)

  • LeeAnn

    I hope you can help me quickly today! I think I may have squeezed too much liquid from the puree…2 cans only yielded 1 cup. Thoughts?

    Yes, you may have squeezed out too much liquid, especially if you were starting with 2 15-ounce cans. You may want to scale back the recipe unless you have another can of purée. ~Elise

  • gigi

    Just an update – I unmolded and poked my crust in a few places and it still has quite a bit of resistance so I think I’m okay? Thank you Elise – I wanted to let you know that you do an awesome job here. I first found out about your site through my husband’s request for your tuna noodle casserole when you first posted it – I’ve made it dozens of times since. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

    Sounds okay to me! Thank you for kind words. ~Elise

  • Stefanie

    I’ve scanned through everyone’s comments and wonder if anyone has discovered a way to MEND a crack? Thanks in advance!

    • judy

      cracks cannot be mended, but a topping can help cover the blemish and make your entire cake more attractive.

  • Dani


    I used your recipe last month to make my very first cheesecake. It was AWESOME!! My family would like me to do an encore for Thanksgiving but they are more sweet potato folks – not big on pumpkin. Do you think I could use the same recipe and interchange the two?

    I don’t see why not. If you give it a go, please let us know how it turns out! ~Elise

  • gigi

    Hi Elise – I just made this but when I unwrapped the foil from the pan, I had water coming out :( Does this mean the crust got soaked? The top actually looks pretty good, but I don’t know if it’s ruined…

    Probably the crust got soaked. It will still taste good though. (This has happened to me too!) ~Elise

  • Elizabeth

    Elise, could you freeze this the night before and thaw it the day it’s served? I just ask because, as amazing as it sounds, I have less room in my fridge than freezer. I guess the three turkeys are to blame!! :)

    Hi Elizabeth, I don’t know! Haven’t ever tried freezing then thawing cheesecake. ~Elise

  • lizzie

    This is the best. Made it many times, stuck to the recipe, it’s perfect, don’t mess with it. Bring many friends, it’s huge.

  • Lisa B.

    I’m having trouble with my pumpkin cheesecake. Do I drain the pumpkin if it’s from the can, or just when it’s fresh from a real pumpkin?

    Yes, in both cases. Either from a can or from freshly cooked pumpkin, you will want to strain out the excess moisture. ~Elise

  • Sara

    This recipe sounds amazing and is exactly what I was looking for! Do you have any tips on baking time if I want to make this as little mini cheesecakes in a mini muffin pan? Also, would I still need the water bath? Thanks!

    No idea on that one. But if you try it, please report back what worked for you! ~Elise

    • judy

      smaller cakes should take about 2/3 the baking time or a tad less

  • Georgie Fear

    Oh lord, I wish I could take a bite of that cake right now! Amazing photography of this cheesecake, it’s breathtaking to behold! I agree with the Elise who posted she likes to add cloves with the spices, I’m a clove-lover for fall desserts involving pumpkin or apples.

  • Ron

    Excellent recipe!! I place the pumpkin in my yogurt strainer and leave it overnight, easier (for me) than blotting with napkins.

  • Vicky

    After having made this cheesecake several times, I wanted to pass along an easier way to get the water out of the canned pumpkin. I used my yogurt cheese maker (I got mine on Amazon) and left it in the refrigerator over night to drain all the excess. It was so easy and so much less messy. There was exactly two cups of pumpkin ready to proceed with the recipe. Thanks Elise for the great recipe; I hope this tip helps you and your readers.

  • Dariana

    I tried this cheesecake last night. I cut the recipe in half and made it in a normal pie pan because I didn’t have a small army on hand to help me eat it. This was the best cheesecake I’ve ever made! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Nikki

    Oh this looks delightful! I have been put in charge of deserts for Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws… this will definitely be on the menu! Do you have an idea of how far in advance it can be made? I would like to break up the baking a bit so I don’t fall asleep in my stuffing.

    I think it should be made at least a day ahead of time so that it can chill in the fridge overnight. You could easily make it a couple days ahead of time. ~Elise

  • Jeff

    The one I used the last few years is this (because the flavors are separated):

    1) Mix (medium speed): 2 packs of soften cream cheese with ½ cup of sugar and ½ spoon of vanilla extract.

    2) Gently mix (slow speed) in 2 eggs until it’s completely blended.

    3) Pour 1/2 to 1/3 of the mix into a Ready-Crust.

    4) Then with the remaining mix, add about a cup of canned pumpkin, a spoon or two of cinnamon, a little nutmeg, and mix.

    5) Pour over top. Place in oven for 40 minutes at 325 degrees.(It should be a little soft in the middle, that’s okay).

    6) Turn off oven (I crack the door) and let the pie completely cool, then transfer in the fridge for about 2 hours.


    Don’t remember where it came from, I thought I got it here :)

  • JC

    I make this cheesecake but use a gingersnap crust instead – Awesome !!

  • Hai

    I’m eating the cheesecake right now and it is so good. It came out perfect. Thank you for the recipe.


  • Jenny

    My cheesecake had a horrible gash in it. I had a water bath but it was a shallow pan. Other than that I followed the directions perfect. How do I get a cheesecake with that nice dome and no cracking? Thanks.

    Sounds like you needed a deeper pan. The more water, the better moderated the moisture and heat will be in the oven. ~Elise

  • Jenny

    Hi! I have some raw sugar on hand. I was wondering if I could use that in the cheesecake or the crust. Would the raw sugar be crunchy or would it melt when baked?

    Usually you can’t make substitutions like that, but you can try it if you want to see what happens. Usually in baking recipes you want the sugar to dissolve, which is easier to do when the crystals are quite fine in size. The raw sugar I’ve seen has larger crystals which is fine for sprinkling over the top of a cookie, but I wouldn’t use it in a recipe like this. But that’s just me. Let us know how it turns out for you if you try it. ~Elise

  • Kim

    My 19 year old niece called me a couple days ago and says: Aunt Kim can u teach me how to make a pumpkin pie from scratch, NOT using can pumpkin. And of course I said yes..Well she bought the pumpkins and eggs and over she came..From scratch we roasted the pumpkins and went thru the whole process of preparing the puree. Then we made our crusts and filled them with our pumpkin mixture and started them to cook. Well we had alot of puree left and I needed to use it up so that’s where this recipe came in handy..First, my family owns 4 restaurants, second we have a 40 yr old cheesecake recipe that we serve. I’m the savory cook and don’t do sweets to often so my mother is the baker in the bunch..my mom was out of town and not available I could not remember our family recipe. So we made this one…O.M.G. let me just say that this is a wonderful recipe. The creamy silky texture of the cake is fantastic and the pumpkin flavor is heaven…I made the caramel sauce and the candied pecans, and whipped up some sweet cream, NOT cool whip..I have added this recipe to my cookbook and intend on showing off at the holiday’s with your wonderful recipe…It’s just fabulously delicious..Thanks for sharing..

  • Maria

    Hi Elise!
    I absolutely love the recipes on your site! This is another winner! I made it for New Year’s and got a request from my neighbor to make it for Super Bowl today. It must be Simply Recipes day for us because I also made the zucchini muffins for breakfast. Thanks so much!

  • Scott

    I saw this recipe last month and just now got a chance to try it out. I probably could have used some clarification for the pumpkin-drying step. Either I spent too much time drying the canned pumpkin, or the pumpkin I had was too watery. I started out with two 15-oz cans, but after drying there wasn’t enough to fill two cups. I ended up drying about 5 cups of canned pumpkin to end up with the two cups (plus a lot of orange paper towels)

  • Jennifer

    This recipe is a keeper! It’s very good, better than some others I have. I made it once in the springform and once in ready to fill graham pie crusts (no water bath needed) for time sake. It was devoured both ways!

  • Kelly Archer

    Well, I have made this cheesecake three times in the last 2 weeks, and it is amazing. The first time I just put a pan of water on a rack below the cake, because I didn’t have a roasting pan that would hold my springform. It turned out fine, although it was pretty dark on top and the sides rose a little higher than the middle. The second and third times, I borrowed a roasting pan and did it as directed – still darker than yours, Elise… but still fabulous. Neither time did it crack. I love this recipe! It is soooo tasty and got rave reviews. But I wonder why mine are so much darker on top? Yours is the exact same color as the raw filling! Did you cover the top of it with foil at any point?

    It could be the oven, every oven is different. You can tent with foil if you want, but I wouldn’t worry about it. ~Elise

  • Janice


    I have come to your site time and time again to reference your recipes for various sweets.. your banana nut bread, the pumpkin bread, but this… THIS was a crowning moment for me via your recipe and tips for pumpkin cheesecake. It was, as it appears for many others, my first attempt at a “traditional” cheesecake and I was happy to take my time and really follow through each step like another gentle nudge closer to the finish line. The end result, a truly perfect, creamy, pumpkin cheesecake fantasy! I was proud to place this dessert at my table for Thanksgiving, and pleased to refer anyone who asked for the recipe to your site! I’ve grown up baking with my Granny and her sisters, and as they have most of them passed, it becomes harder to find (new) tried and true recipes that will take their place among my forever recipes. I am so thankful to you for this site.

    I look forward to many more delicious recipes!!

  • Leann

    This is the best pumpkin cheesecake I have ever made. Thank you, it was a big hit on Thanksgiving!

  • John

    Wonderful recipe. Didn’t change a thing with the ingredients, but did add 20 min to the bake time( I used a lot of water for the bath and had a really thick pan for the bath). Turned out great.

  • Rosalie Martinez

    Hi – I just made this pumpkin cheesecake for my husbands birthday today. Followed the instructions exactly. Very easy to make, the oven temp was perfect, no cracking at all. Taste is yet to be determined, however it smells amazing. So I am anticipating an amazing bday cake. Will crumble graham crackers and drizzle caramel for final serving. Thank you Elise and Simply Recipes.

  • Anna

    What a fabulous recipe!! Thank you so much. I was a little nervous because this was the first time I had ever attempted cheesecake, but it turned out beautifully. I even spiked the whipped cream with a little bourbon…mmm!! Also, I didn’t have a springform pan so I used a regular cake pan. I had a bit of extra filling, but other than that it turned out great!

    Elise, I would like to second the other commenter who begged for additional cheesecake recipes on your site. I would love a recipe for a berry cheesecake!

  • Asheats

    Made this for Thanksgiving, started it the evening before, and although it took 5 hours from start to finish, prep – cooling down, this was the best thing I have EVER tasted, and it was totally worth the time (which was mostly hands-off). My whole family was impressed by the fact that it had no cracks on the top!! Made the recipe exactly how it was posted, leaving out only the ground ginger and bourbon (due to the fact I didnt have them) love all your recipes!

  • mandy

    Elise, I made this cheesecake last night for today’s Thanksgiving dinner. This was the first year I can remember where the dessert received more compliments than the turkey! Thanks for the wonderful recipe- it was absolutely delicious!

  • Anonymous

    I just made this and it’s so good! It was my first time attempting a cheesecake, and even though I did the water bath, it is a little brown on top and has some big cracks. Neither one of those things seem to affect the taste though, so I don’t really mind! I think that I may have not put enough water into the water bath, so the next time I attempt this, I’ll add more water. Also I read some other sites that say not to overbeat the eggs because that can cause cracks in the cheesecake…I think I may have done that. Thanks for the recipe!

    You can also lower the cooking temp to 300°F and cook it longer (maybe a half hour more) to help prevent browning and cracking. ~Elise

  • Amanda

    How long should I cook it for if I halve the recipe and use a standard tie pin? And what visual reference can you use to tell when it is done?

    Looking forward to trying this!

    Good question. I haven’t tried it in a standard pie tin. Anyone care to weigh in on the timing? ~Elise

  • Shelly

    OK so I made it! The 2 3/4 inch pan worked out just fine. Brought it to a friends house for a mini thanksgiving last night (I made the entree too – used your lasagna recipe!). The cheesecake was a huge hit! It was so delicious, but I think my favorite part was the pecans in the crust. Oh and I couldn’t find whole nutmeg so I just used ground nutmeg. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Alexandra

    I am working on making my cheesecake for tomorrow’s feast, and just realized that I don’t have enough pumpkin. A 3 lb sugar pumpkin yielded exactly 1 cup after squeezing out all the moisture. No worries, I will just half the filling. But for everyone’s reference, you need about two small sugar pumpkins to make this pie.

  • Mary, Michigan

    I just made this cheesecake yesterday for Thanksgiving. OH! WOW! It’s so good it hardly made it to the pan for baking with all the tasting going on. I’d definitely say yes to this recipe – it’s worth the time!

  • Carly

    The pumpkin cheesecake is in the oven with the door propped and I’m so excited to taste it! Man, even with my sous chef husband in the kitchen with me–it was quite a bit of work, or maybe just too many dishes :) I’m going to serve it tomorrow for a little thanksgiving pre-party and wondered if you just used the caramel sauce recipe that you already have on here Elise or something different?
    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!

    I used the caramel sauce recipe that’s on the site, it works! ~Elise

  • Heather Santoro

    Just got finished making this. Looks delicious and did not crack. Tasted wonderful…as I was licking the bowl! Can’t wait to try it the finished cake tomorrow! Was not too difficult to do.

  • Shelly

    Hi Elise,
    I am going to try this tonight – my first attempt at a cheesecake! May I ask where you got your springform pan (or what brand it is)? I just stopped by Bed Bath & Beyond and the tallest they had was 2 3/4 inches. Do you think that 1/4 of an inch will make a big difference? I guess I will just have some leftover filling… maybe I can make extra crust and make some mini cheesecakes in a mini muffin pan or something?

    Hi Shelly, We’ve had our springform pans for so long I haven’t the faintest memory of where we got them. I do not think that that last quarter of an inch will make a difference, so I think you’ll be okay with 2 3/4 of an inch. If the batter comes up to the top, it should still be okay. It doesn’t really rise. ~Elise

  • Kelly

    I am a chef at an early childhood center and I make a version of pumpkin cheesecake: “Gingerbread Pumpkin Swirl” and everyone LOVES it. The kids love pumpkin and, because it’s so healthy, I try to use it a lot! This, of course, is a treat:) I make a gingerbread crust (using store bought crunchy gingerbread cookies in place of the graham cracker) and then I also make a pumpkin filling, similar to this recipe, and a regular vanilla filling. You pour the pumpkin filling first (it’s a little heavier) and then top with the vanilla filling. Next, use a skewer and make swirls in it to make it extra special! I make huge hotel pans full of this and, because I make it in such large quantities, I can’t fit the pan into a water bath, so I just place a pan full of water on the next rack below it and I never have a problem. Yummy– I am so excited for the holidays!

    Great ideas, thank you! ~Elise

  • Amanda

    My boyfriend and I tried this with chevre instead of cream cheese (like I had asked about above) and we also just used store bought graham cracker crust pie pans to save time. The result is the best cheesecake either of us have ever tasted! You really can’t taste the goat flavor at all!

  • Beth

    The picture looks as though some of the caramel sauce was poured on before the pan was removed from the cheesecake, or at lease before it was cut, and then more added later. How should this be done?

    I sliced a piece of cheesecake, put it on a plate, and then dripped freshly made caramel sauce over it. ~Elise

  • jonathan

    @CHris, 3rd comment: I licked the monitor, too. Question, Elise…do you think a bacon garnish would be appropriate here? (Props on the caramel drips and great lighting on the resulting photo. Does it get any better? ;)

    Hi Jonathan, I think for you I can’t imagine not having a bacon garnish! ~Elise

  • Haly

    Any thoughts on what would work in place of the bourbon / whiskey?

    Possibly another extract? Like, a smidgen of almond extract maybe?

    You might try that, or more vanilla. ~Elise

  • Gina Givens

    My son has a nut allergy, and when I have a recipe that calls for nuts in the crust, I use coarsely crushed little pretzel sticks. It has the same basic texture. I just crush the pretzels and mixed them with a little melted butter, then spread then on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 5-6 minutes until they crisp up and get crunchy again. Then use in place of the pecans. (You can do it without the butter and toasting if you want to save time or calories.)

  • Elise (not the Elise who runs this website)

    I love baking with pumpkin! I usually add ground cloves in with all of the spices. It really adds a lot!

  • Charlie

    If you want to make this cheesecake without cracking, lower the oven temperature to 250°F. Baking time will be over 2 hours at this temperature. You will not have to use the roasting pan with water in it if you bake at 250°F. (by lowering the baking temperature you are raising the humidity (moisture) in the oven.) Just watch the top surface of the cheesecake. As the cheesecake bakes the top surface from outside to in will go from shinny to a dull surface. Turn the oven off when the shinny area in the center is about the size of a silver dollar.
    After shutting the oven off keep the oven door closed and let the cheesecake sit inside the oven for another hour. Remove cheesecake after this hour and let cool on a rack.
    I have made many cheesecakes and lowering the baking temperature prevents the cheesecake from cracking.

  • Teresa

    This recipe sounds fantastic.

    One option to consider, instead of using the water bath, simply place a pan of water in the oven. I’ve used several cheesecake recipes that call for this method. With cheesecakes it’s not so much keeping the temperature even as keeping the oven moist that makes them not crack. Then you won’t have to mess with the foil or worry about leaking.

  • KatieZ

    Oh wow that looks so good! I made a pumpkin/regular mixed cheesecake for Halloween by alternating between the two batters and running a skewer from the center on out to make it look like a spider web. I love how much more pumpkin this recipe has compared to the one I had used!
    I’ll definitely be using this one for Thanksgiving. I might try cooking the pumpkin puree a little to get the moisture out before straining it (is this a bad idea?). Thanks for all the great recipes, Elise!

    No need to cook the pumpkin purée, it’s already well cooked. But keep patting it with paper towels until water isn’t visibly coming out anymore. ~Elise

  • Alison

    This looks amazing! I love to make cheesecake for Christmas and just may use this recipe this year. Unfortunately, I have a nut allergy. Can you think of a substitute for nuts in the crust? Thanks.

    I would just skip the pecans and use more graham crackers instead. ~Elise

  • Amanda

    I have cow milk allergies, but goat milk, thankfully, is fine. Do you think it might be worth attempting this with chevre?

    Great question. I have no idea. You might try Googling chevre cheesecake to see if people have had success with doing something like this. ~Elise

  • Megan

    I’ve also made cheesecakes with sour cream subsituting for some of the cream cheese (up to 1/2 cup) that I think makes it a bit lighter and still super delicious. I can’t wait to make this one though! Thanks.

  • Sri

    This is one of my favorites. Wouldn’t adding some chopped cranberries and raisins in the pumpkin cream cheese mixture itself accentuate the taste?

    I think it would interfere with the creamy texture. ~Elise

  • Shayna

    Another way to decrease the chances of having cheesecakes crack in the middle is to not take them out of the oven right away. If you let them cool in the oven for a bit first it helps alot.

    • Laura

      That’s a really good tip! I’m trying it this year. I’m excited to announce ~ that I made this recipe for Thanksgiving last year!!! It was a huge hit. We have a small family, so when I doubled it, we had a lot leftovers and it was exciting that all the guys were asking for a slice to take (for breakfast!!) the next day. I have to work on my presentation, the the caramel to look a little nicer but this was a homerun.

  • Judy

    I’ve made cheesecakes for years and it is what both my daughters and granddaughters prefer for their birthdays. Until recently, while I always used a springform pan, I never baked them in a water bath. When I finally did, I’m not sure if it was any better or not. I thought MAYBE it was creamier but if someone is intimated by the water bath, I sure haven’t found it to be crucial.
    I have a recipe that dates back 35 plus years. I have several cheesecake recipe books and collected literally hundreds from various sources but ALWAYS end up making the one we love. Even made several for one of my granddaughter’s wedding.
    If any recipe will tempt me to be unfaithful to my original recipe….this will be it. I LOVE pumpkin and ADORE caramel. So maybe this Thanksgiving I will give it a try ! Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  • Karina

    Gorgeous. Your photography is dead sexy on this one.

    I used to make a gluten-free version of pumpkin cheesecake (before my milk and egg allergies). If anyone is interested, just substitute the wheat flour in this recipe with a gluten-free baking and pancake mix. Happy Thanksgiving, Elise!

    P. S… and use gluten-free cookies for the crumbs.