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Delicate and creamy, this pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust is the perfect ending to your holiday dinner. Each bite is filled with sweet fall aromas and the texture is mousse-like! It’s a truly decadent (but simple to make) fall dessert!
A decadent fall dessert
This pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust is one to obsess over. It’s so light and creamy, you’ll want to eat it for breakfast! It’s basically a cheesecake version of my favorite pumpkin pie.
After one slice of this decadent fall treat, I can guarantee you’ll want to go back for seconds. It’s super creamy, almost mousse-like in texture, just like my Nutella cheesecake? SO GOOD!!
My favorite part is that you can make this delicate cheesecake a day ahead of time, so it’s in the fridge ready to wow your guests without any additional work that day. Just add whipped cream and serve. It’s the perfect ending to a holiday meal!
What you’ll need
The homemade gingersnap crust is made with just 3 ingredients while the cheesecake features pumpkin puree and warm spices, next to all the typical cheesecake ingredients.
You can find the full ingredient amounts down below in the recipe card.
- Gingersnap cookie crumbs – You can make your own by placing gingersnap cookies in a ziploc bag and using a rolling pin to crush them into crumbs. If you don’t like gingersnaps, you can use graham crackers instead.
- Butter – You’ll want unsalted butter so that the crust is sweet, not salty.
- Pumpkin puree – Be sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.
- Cream cheese – Use full fat, brick-style cream cheese. Do not substitute low fat versions, as the texture will not be the same.
- Brown sugar – Divided for use in different parts of the recipe.
- Spices – Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg give this pumpkin cheesecake that warm pumpkin pie flavor. Or you can use my homemade pumpkin pie spice.
- Heavy cream – You can use sour cream in place of heavy cream if needed.
- Vanilla extract – Choose a high quality pure vanilla for the best tasting results.
- Eggs – Eggs should be lightly beaten and room temperature.
- Homemade whipped cream – I use this 3 ingredient whipped cream recipe.
- Stand mixer – While a stand mixer with paddle attachment make this recipe easier to put together, you can use a handheld electric mixer. Just be sure to whip the cream cheese well!
- Springform pan – Springform pans are often recommended when making cheesecakes but you can also use a tall cake pan with removeable bottom.
- Easy bath cheesecake wrap – I recently learned of these easy bath cheesecake wraps and they are a game changer! They allow you to bake the cheesecake in a water bath without the worry of water leaking in. I highly recommend them. You need the 10-inch wrap for a 9-inch pan.
How to make pumpkin cheesecake
Making this decadently creamy pumpkin cheesecake is far from difficult, just be sure to pay attention to the details and not rush the cooling time!
- Prepare the pan. Wrap the bottom layer of a springform pan tightly with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 350°F with the oven rack just below center.
- Make the gingersnap crust. Combine all crust ingredients in a bowl. Press into the bottom of the pan and 2-inches up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes and set aside.
- Remove excess moisture from the puree. Fold four connected sheets of paper towels in half and lay across a baking sheet. Spread the pumpkin puree in an even layer and set aside.
- Make the cheesecake filling. Beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add in the sugar and spices, beat until combined then add in the vanilla and heavy cream on low until smooth.
- Add the pumpkin. Gently scrape the pumpkin puree from the paper towel and transfer to the mixing bowl. Gradually add the eggs and mix until just combined. Pour over the crust.
- Make the water bath. Place the springform pan inside of a roasting pan. Add enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides.
- Bake. Bake for an hour, until the edges are set and the center is slightly jiggly. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to slowly cool in the waterbath for an hour.
- Chill. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place it on a wire rack. Leave it to cool completely then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- Serve. Remove the sides of the pan and top with whipped cream before serving.
Tips for success
Cheesecake isn’t nearly as difficult as it can seem to make but for a creamy cheesecake with no cracks, there are a handful of things to keep in mind.
- Use room temperature cream cheese. Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature before beating for the creamiest, smoothest texture.
- Be sure the foil completely covers the pan. The key to the water bath is to ensure that no water gets inside the pan to the crust. Be sure to tightly wrap the bottom with aluminum foil that comes further up the sides than the water will. Use a few layers to prevent any water leaks.
- Remove the moisture from the pumpkin puree. It’s very important to not skip the step of spreading the pumpkin out on paper towels. The moisture in pumpkin puree can cause things to get all funky with cheesecake. Using the paper towels helps prevent this by taking away any excess liquid.
- Do not overbake the cheesecake. The edges should set but the center still jiggly when you turn the oven off. Avoid baking until the center is set as the cheesecake will be overcooked.
- Do not open the oven door while the cheesecake cools. Once you turn the oven off, do not open the door. It’s important to keep all of the heat inside while the cheesecake continues to cook in the waterbath.
Because the cheesecake is so light and creamy, it won’t feel too heavy on a full stomach. Top each slice with whipped cream and cinnamon when you’re ready to serve it.
Can I make this dessert advance?
Yes, you can and I highly recommend you do so. This isn’t a quick recipe. The cheesecake takes an hour to bake, an hour to rest, and needs at least four hours in the refrigerator (overnight is best).
I suggest making it the day before you plan to serve it but the cheesecake will keep for up to 4 days covered tightly in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze cheesecake?
Yep, you certainly can. This recipe, in particular, will keep for up to two months in an airtight container. If you really want to plan ahead for the holidays, make it well in advance then freeze it after it has set in the refrigerator for four hours.
Place the frozen cheesecake in the refrigerator to thaw overnight before serving.
More cheesecake recipes to try
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Can you use fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin puree? if so, would it be the same ratio?
I’ve not tested this recipe with fresh pumpkin so I’m unsure if it would work the same.
What should one do when they forget to bake the crust before putting the batter in?!? Specific fix for this mix up!
Can I use graham crackers instead of ginger snap cookies? Do you think I would have to modify the crust ingredients if I do?
Graham crackers are fine to use without any adjustments to the recipe.
I always do the “bingo arm jiggle” test with cheesecakes. Think 25year old jiggle, not 80 year old jiggle. So excited to try this one!
Hi Jen! I made this cheesecake and it was a big hit, but the texture was runnier, not firm like most cheesecakes I’ve made. I removed the excess moisture from the pumpkin puree and refrigerated it overnight. Any tips on how to ensure a firm cheesecake in the future?
The cheesecake should be creamy but not runny. I’d double check the temperature of your oven with an oven thermometer. And don’t turn the oven off until the edges of the cheesecake are set. They’ll be firm to the touch. But the center should still look wet and jiggly. It will continue to set in the refrigerator.
So i need to line my pan with parchment paper
Line the pan with heavy-duty foil, not parchment paper. Especially if you plan to use the water bath method.