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This incredible pumpkin cheesecake deserves the center spot on your Thanksgiving dessert table!

pumpkin cheesecake

Over the last few years, I’ve made this pumpkin cheesecake for our family’s Thanksgiving celebration.  It’s so delicious – I’ve actually started doubling the recipe to make TWO pumpkin cheesecakes since it is the usually first dessert to get eaten!

This cheesecake made with pumpkin is SO good we’re also no longer making the traditional pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving dessert anymore!  And – even a few family members who have always insisted in the past that they didn’t like pumpkin pie are already looking forward to having this dessert again this year.


cheesecake made with pumpkin

This is a highly-rated recipe by Paula Deen which we originally found here, and with three (yes, three!) packages of cream cheese along with the pumpkin puree, sour cream, sugar and spices – this is a truly decadent dessert made in heaven!


Our version of this Pumpkin Cheesecake changes the cooking method from the original recipe.  We found that baking any kind of cheesecake (including today’s pumpkin version) in a water bath (see our How-To’s here) was really the best way to ensure that the top of this creamy cheesecake didn’t crack during the baking process.

We think your family will love this Pumpkin Cheesecake as much as our family does and it is a very worthy addition to your Thanksgiving dessert spread this year – and every year!

This post was originally published on A Family Feast in November 2012.  The photos have been updated plus a few edits made to the post and recipe.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake - A Family Feast

Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings


A delicious and decadent pumpkin cheesecake recipe


For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick of butter, melted

For the filling

  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan for baking in a water bath by wrapping the bottom of the pan in a large single sheet of aluminum foil, making sure that the sides of the pan are fully covered by the foil. This is done to prevent the water bath from leaking into the bottom of the springform pan.
  3. To prepare the crust, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Add melted butter and mix to combine well. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  4. To prepare the filling, with a mixer, beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and spices and stir to combine. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
  5. Pour pumpkin mixture into the prepared springform pan. Spread out evenly.
  6. Place the springform pan in a baking pan large enough to hold the springform pan and also large enough to allow for water to surround the springform pan. Add about an inch of very hot water to the baking pan so it surrounds the pan.
  7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Remove from the oven and the water bath and allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature.  (You can leave the cheesecake in the springform pan the entire time it is cooling and chilling.) Cover with plastic wrap but do not let the plastic wrap touch the top of the cheesecake or it will stick and peel the top layer. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  8. When ready to serve, remove the pumpkin cheesecake from the springform pan and cut into slices for serving.


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This is a must-make dessert for your family's Thanksgiving! A creamy, delicious and decadent pumpkin cheesecake adapted from a recipe by Paula Deen.

Here’s our old photo… 🙂

Pumpkin Cheesecake - A Family Feast



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  • Heather wrote:

    I don’t know what I’m doing wrong here, I’ve made this three times trying to prep for thanksgiving. I don’t care about cracks at this point, I just want it to set in the middle.

    The first time I didn’t use a water bath, and cooked it for an hour. It did not set in the middle after refrigerating over night. This time I removed it from the oven just after bake time, let cool for a few hours, then wrapped before refrigerating. The middle was so gooey we turned it into ice cream. I think I also over mixed it, and it puffed up a ton before deflating while cooling, it had a crack around the edges.

    The second time, I didn’t use a water bath, but I cooked it for 1 hour 17 min, I let it cool in the oven, with the door held open with a wooden spoon (something someone suggested) then wrapped and refrigerated over night. This one had the crack around the edges and a HUGE crack in the middle, it was totally set, the edges may have been a little over done.

    The third time, I used a water bath, yes, hot water as all the steps recommend. I cooked it for 1 hour 30min, let it cool in the oven, wrapped it and let chill over night, and testing it today its maybe even more not set in the middle than the first one. it also cracked around the edges and a little in the middle. What am I doing wrong? I don’t care about the cracks as much as I care about it just being cooked. Everything Ive read says its super important to keep the oven closed till done to maintain the temp, but non of that seems to help.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Heather – I wish I was there with you to help troubleshoot! 🙁 I’m guessing the first time, you didn’t cook it long enough and maybe the second time it was over cooked (and not using the water bath probably caused those cracks), but the third time – cooking for the longest time and still being under-cooked has me stumped too! If you are up for a 4th attempt, I would still do the water bath and bake for as long as it takes to be mostly set up in the middle, but still somewhat jiggly (bot not liquidy) before you turn off the heat. Keep the oven door closed and it will continue to bake to a point where the middle is fully set. After Thanksgiving, you might want to test your oven temperature for accuracy – hang a portable oven thermometer on the rack and set the oven to different temperatures to see if the thermometer matches what the oven is set to. Speaking from experience, we once had a range with an oven that was impossible to bake in – sometimes things came out over done and sometimes things came out under done. A faulty heat sensor was to blame. I hope that helps and I’m sorry you are having issues – especially the day before a major holiday!

  • Sue (Jack’s cousin–Marie’s daughter) wrote:

    Hi Jack and Martha, I can’t wait to try this! When do you remove the springform side? When the cheesecake is cool, or not until serving time? I haven’t used a springform pan in a long time.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Sue! 🙂 Nanny and Aunt Marie talk about you all the time – hope to see you sometime soon! Great question – and I need to update our recipe with that step! We leave the cheesecake in the springform pan until just before serving – it’s much easier to chill with the pan still protecting the outer edges of the cheesecake. We hope you enjoy the cheesecake as much as we do! Martha

  • Pam Collins wrote:

    In South Africa we don’t have canned pumpkin
    How can I use fresh pumpkin?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Pam – You can definitely make pumpkin puree yourself – we have a slow cooker recipe here: – or, if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can cook this on the stovetop with a little bit of water added to help steam the pumpkin. Hope this helps!

  • Kristen wrote:

    Is it necessary to do the water bath part? I already put the crust in and then read that part, so I can’t line it with foil now.

    • Jack wrote:

      Hi Kristen – You’ll wrap the foil around the outside of the pan (to prevent water from seeping in to the springform) so it’s not too late to do the water bath. You don’t have to do a water bath but it will help prevent cracking on the top of your baked cheesecake.

  • Leslie wrote:

    I’m curious about covering with plastic wrap so soon – doesn’t it create condensation?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Leslie – Great question. If it is still very hot when you cover the cheesecake, you could get condensation. I can see that 30 minutes might not be enough time to let it cool. I will update the recipe. Thanks for your question!

  • Medeja wrote:

    Looks perfectly creamy! Yummy!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Medeja! (It certainly is!)

  • mary lindsay wrote:

    I just saw this recipe and I love pumpkin pie and cheesecake so I’m dying to see what they taste like together, I will definitely comment on what I think about how it tastes after I try it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    thank you so much for the wonderful idea and hopefully you come up with many more wonderful ideas……………………

    • Martha wrote:

      I hope you enjoy it as much as we do Mary – we make it every year at Thanksgiving time!

  • Justin Wall wrote:

    I make Pumpkin Cheesecake every year for thanksgiving and I can say I am excited to try your filling because although rich and creamy my filling falls a little flat. As for the crust, I use Pecan Sandies Shortbread Cookies… I’m just not the biggest Graham Cracker person. You should definitely try the pecan Sandies crust and let me know what you think. Love your blog by the way, just discovered it today. That would explain why I am in November’s Recipes in the middle of April.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Justin! I love Pecan Sandies – and never thought to use them as a crust for this recipe, but it sounds like a great idea! We’ll definitely try that the next time we make this cheesecake! Hoping now that I can find a good occasion to make it before next Thanksgiving! Thanks for visiting our site! Martha

    • Tammy wrote:

      Quick question – when you use the pecan sandies would you still use the rest of the crust ingredients as well?

      • Martha wrote:

        Hi Tammy – We haven’t tried the Pecan Sandies crust that our reader Justin suggested yet (I am making two of these for Thanksgiving this year and am planning to try his suggestion!). I may cut back just a little on the sugar in the crust since the Pecan Sandies are sweeter than graham crackers…but otherwise, yes, I plan to follow the same general crust recipe! Hope that helps!

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