I know this is close to blasphemy, but I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie. (Okay, that’s not close to blasphemy at all, but it does seem a bit inappropriate this time of year, doesn’t it?) And like a lot of people who share that opinion, it’s not so much a taste issue for me as it is a texture one. While I don’t care for pumpkin pie, I adore just about anything else pumpkin flavored. I’m slightly obsessed with pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread, pumpkin tarts, pumpkin sauce (just wait for next week!), ooh, pumpkin pie Blizzards, pumpkin candles (not to eat, to smell) you name it. So pumpkin cheesecake is my dessert of choice on Thanksgiving. It’s a good alternative to pie, and it’s great because it needs to be made ahead of time – forcing you to plan ahead!
A note about water baths: Kate talked about water baths a little in her cheesecake post. While cheesecake enthusiasts will tell you it’s essential to always use one, from my experience, some cheesecakes do okay without them (like Kate’s recipe) and others really need them to turn out well. I think it depends on the recipe. This one needs a water bath.The crust is one of my favorite parts; a mix of gingersnap cookies and pecans


On top of that goes the creamy, pumpkin-spiced cheesecake batter with white chocolate
You’ll want to cover the outside of your pan in several layers of heavy duty foil to prevent any water from leaking in.Β  Place your pan in a larger, roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with warm water, up to half or two-thirds the way up the cheesecake.

After cooking, cooling, and chilling, it comes out gorgeous and creamy

and all ready to be dressed up!
Top with whipped cream, caramelized pecans, and a caramel drizzle



  1. 1
    rossandconnierockon! says:

    I am also NOT a pumpkin pie fan but, like you, I love everything pumpkin! I cannot wait to try this recipe. Last Thanksgiving I attempted Tiramisu, without any practice. Needless to say we had Tirami-soup! I will practice with this recipe πŸ™‚

  2. 2
    Emily says:

    Oh. My. Heavenly.

    I really cannot imagine anything better tasting or looking than this!

    I don’t really like pumpkin pie either. And I was elated when you made a similar pumpkin cheesecake in Chicago for Thanksgiving like a century ago. Mmmm Mmmmm – best Thanksgiving in Chicago EVER!

    I love ALL the pictures – beautiful!

  3. 3
    Jae says:

    uh, DEFINITELY making this. Thanks for the idea Sara!!

  4. 4
    Amber says:

    That looks like heaven on a plate, YUM…. I’m going to give this one a try. I’m a little bit afraid of doing a waterbath, but I think i’ll overcome my fear to try this.

  5. 5
    Eric says:

    This is fantastic, by far the best cheesecake I’ve ever had…superior to the factory!

  6. 6
    Leah says:

    Looks yummy!

  7. 7
    Britanie says:

    I love pumpkin pie, actually it’s the only pie that I like. I do love cheesecake though and this looks really good, I’m going to have to try it!

  8. 8
    dlebeau22 says:

    By far the best cheesecake my and my husband have ever had. Sara, you are amazing!

  9. 9
    becca says:

    Oh my goodness- that looks amazing!

  10. 10
    Taylor says:

    oh wow…that looks amazing and delicious! i am so going to make this at thanksgiving! :o)

  11. 11
  12. 12
    Nena says:

    I am SO making this for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday!

  13. 13
    Stacia says:

    Ok, so I've made the cake, and we're eating it tonight (I'm so excited!) buy I'm such a space cadet because I left out the ground cloves! Which I love! How do you think it would taste if I added a pinch to the whipped cream topping, just to give it that clovey taste/smell? Or would it be to strong? I'm so excited to taste it!'

  14. 14
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    Stacia- I think that's a brilliant idea! Just add a pinch to your whipped cream and I bet it would be fantastic!

  15. 15
    Andrea says:

    This was slap your Mama good! I made it for a friend's birthday and took it to our workplace…it was a HUGE hit! I made it just like you suggested, with the sweetened whip cream on top, the carmelized pecans and caramel sauce……AAACCCKKKK!!! So good!
    Thank you SO much for the wonderful recipe! I'm going to make it again for Thanksgiving!

  16. 16
    blakeley says:

    This was a great recipe–thanks for sharing! One question, though–do you not bake your crust for a bit before adding the filling?

  17. 17
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    blakeley- nope, just bake it all at once.

  18. 18
    Steph says:

    I just made it this weekend, and it was so good! I had to cook it almost 15 minutes longer to get it all done in the middle, but it turned out perfect.

    I just toasted some pecans for the top instead of caramelizing them, and they were great.

    I was also super excited that (specifically for this recipe) I used a coupon at Michaels and bought my first-ever springform pan for just

  19. 19
    jessica says:

    This looks amazing! My husband doesn't love white chocolate… do you think this would turn out if I left out that ingredient?

    Thanks for posting such AMAZING recipes!

  20. 20
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    Jessica, trust me your husband won't even have a clue it has white chocolate in it. It's melted so it just adds a richness. If you really want to leave it out, you probably could, but I've never tried it so I can't make any promises on how the final product will turn out!

  21. 21
    jewellmm says:

    I just made this yummy looking cheescake for Turkey day. When I took it out to cool, I took the foil off of the bottom too. Some water leaked in, so I dried off the bottom for it to finish cooling. What can I do to rectify this???? The top looks beautiful, like nothing is wrong. Please help…

  22. 22
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    jewellmm- sorry I didn't see this until this morning. If I were you I'd take off the sides of the springform pan (if you haven't already) so any liquid that may be in there still can drip out. Store it in the fridge. If anything, but bottom might be a little soft, but chance are it will still taste delicious so I wouldn't stress too much about it!

  23. 23
    Keira Rain says:

    Made these for our gingerbread building party this weekend… and ended up hiding a stash before the party because they were so GOOD! I made them in mini cupcake pan and placed over a pan with water to bake and they came out great. A fantastic trick is to use a coffee tamper (smaller side) to push in the crust, it's the perfect size! (works great when you do wontons for shells in the pan too!) Happy holidays!


  24. 24
    Rachel says:

    This was fantastic! My husband's office holds a dessert contest every year and we made this for his entry this year. It won by a landslide! I put whipped cream, caramel and the caramelized pecans on top. Thankfully, he managed to save me a piece.

  25. 25
    Anna says:

    This is the second cheesecake I've ever made (the first was made over five years ago) and I did alright, lol.
    The flavor, taste of the crust, filling, and whipped cream are wonderful! My problem is that I think I under-baked it. I took it out at 60 minutes, center was still jiggly and thought it was fine. The crust isn't very crust-y, more gooey and the center of the pie isn't quite done. Not raw at all but the texture isn't *quite* right. Is this due to under-baking or water getting in the pan? I'm going to give it another go once this one has been consumed and I want to get it right. πŸ™‚

  26. 26
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Anna–It does sounds like some water got into your springform pan. Next time, try wrapping the pan in a large turkey roasting bag rather than aluminum foil. Also, you might need to bake it just a little longer–think firm Jello. Hope that helps!! πŸ™‚

  27. 27
    Elisa says:

    I don't like pumpkin pie either! But I LOVE pumpkin cheesecake!

  28. 28
    Michelle says:

    My sister and I made this for Halloween. It was the most amazing cheesecake ever! Our mom actually said that it rivaled the ever delish Dulce De Leche at The Cheesecake Factory. Great Recipe!!!! I will definitely be making this again for Thanksgiving.

  29. 29
    Melissa says:

    This recipe is called White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake in the recipe index. Is that a typo or am I missing the white chocolate part? I would love to know how to incorporate white chocolate with this!!

  30. 30
    Kim @ Party Frosting! says:

    @ Melissa, white chocolate is in the filling – you'll see it in the recipe – and OMG you will LOVE this, I made it last year and I am going to do it again this year!

    hugs! Kim @ Frost Me!/Party Frosting!
    party inspiration

  31. 31
    Bell Family says:

    so i don't know if my chocolate chips were disfunctional or something but they would not melt, i checked them after every 30 seconds and it just stayed clumpy and gritty and then they burnt on the inside! grrr πŸ™

  32. 32
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Bell Family–Yeah, that's not normal. They may have been sitting on the shelf at the grocery store for awhile or an off brand.

  33. 33
    Melissa says:

    Kim-Thanks! I guess I am just really observant!

  34. 34
    Bell Family says:

    So i am pleased to report that even with my dysfunctional chocolate chips this was to die for and have now been assigned to make two of them for thanksgiving! yum!!!!!!

    What chocolate chip brand would you recommend for good melting?

  35. 35
    Marya says:

    Looks great and want to try it! I also hate pumpkin pie, and it's a nice change from my pumpkin ice-cream pie — pumpkin ice cream pie in a graham cracker pie crust, which is also pretty tasty!

  36. 36
    Michelle says:

    WOW, I made this for a party and it was amazing. I highly recommend this dessert for any special occasion.

    I used a cheap springform pan with the turkey bag trick (I wasn't sure that my cheap foil was going to do the job.) I also used a deep roasting pan for the water bath as you suggested (I've always used a shallow jelly roll pan and end up spilling water when I remove from oven). My cheesecake came out flawless, no cracks and perfectly done. I baked it for 70 minutes.

    Guittard white chocolate chips melted wonderfully.

    I also substituted 1 package of neufchatel (reduced fat) cream cheese. I may try 2 next time.

    Thank you! I'm going to make this again for Thanksgiving.

  37. 37
    jamck says:

    I just finished eating the first cheesecake I ever made! Everyone who got a slice loved it and everyone who didn't still wants the recipe due to the reactions of those who did.

  38. 38
    LaKenda says:

    Question: Would this work if I used a ready made graham cracker crust? and would I still need to do the water bath?

  39. 39
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    LaKenda- I'd stick with the homemade crust and springform pan for this one. I'm not sure if it would fit in a ready-made crust either. But if you do try it, skip the water bath, the ready made crust is too short and you'll probably get it waterlogged!

  40. 40
    Elaine says:

    I have also made this delicious cheesecake for the past few years always to rave reviews. I was wondering if it was possible to make into mini-cupcake size portions instead of the large cheesecake?

  41. 41
    Kathleen says:

    Uh oh! Crying 5 month old and I accidentally put 1 cup of pumpkin instead of 3/4 cup. It is still in the oven, but is it probably ruined??? I am one of only two desserts for our big family meal!

  42. 42
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    No worries Kathleen! It should be just fine. It may take a tad bit longer to bake, but other than that you're good! Enjoy it!

  43. 43
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    Elaine, you probably could make mini-sized, but I'm not sure on the baking time because I've never tried it. They'd be cute though!

  44. 44
    Cassi Penrod says:

    I once made this in a ready-made graham cracker crust because I had one in my pantry that I needed to use. Let me warn you that this cheesecake is MUCH better if you make the gingersnap crust! But if you have to, just use 2/3 of the recipe. Everything converts nicely but the vanilla, nutmeg, and cloves (unless there is such a thing as a 1/3 tsp). Just use 2 packages cream cheese, 1/2 c pumpkin, 2/3 c white chocolate chips, 2/3 c sugar, 2 eggs, 1 1/3 tsp vanilla, less than 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon, and less than 1/8 tsp of cloves. I hope that helps (and I hope I did my math right :))!

  45. 45
    Heninger family says:

    My almost-16-year-old and I have drooled over the pictures since we saw this at Thanksgiving time! She wants this for her birthday next week, but her best friend is allergic to nuts (brothers, too, but her big concern is her friend:) Any reason substituting extra gingersnap crumbs wouldn't work in the crust? Thanks for all the great recipes!

  46. 46
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    Nope- extra gingersnaps should work just fine- enjoy!

  47. 47
    Emily says:

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was incredible! It is as good as it looks and sounds!

  48. 48
    Eloise says:

    helllllo, ladies! i was wandering how you transfered the cheesecake, onto that nice serving plate???

    • 48.1
      sara says:

      I run a big knife across the bottom of the cheesecake to make sure nothing is sticking and then I use a giant spatula and sort of slide it over!

  49. 49

    Do you have any recipes for pumpkin butter? I got some from a festival in a small town that was made by some very awesome older country church ladies and I only bought one because I had never tried it before. HUGE MISTAKE!!!! They canned it themselves along with a couple dozen other things like pumpkin syrup, damsen plum preserves (still finishing that jar lol), and other fab concoctions you can imagine. I would love to try to make some pumpkin butter – and syrup – because I found and bought some at the grocery store recently and it was a let down compared to the high standard these ladies set! I crave this stuff every time I make biscuits (frozen bc I have not been able to make good biscuits yet!) and french toast as well as the syrup for my home-made waffles. PLEASE find a good recipe PLEASE!

    Many blessings and may the fat never stick to you! Deborah

  50. 50
    Alicia Hale says:

    I have a probably stupid question….Do you leave the cheesecake in the pan while it’s in the fridge?

  51. 51
    Krystal says:

    Is it ok to make the whipped topping ahead of time? I am making it to take to a family reunion and I don’t have 12 hours at home to chill it..

    • 51.1

      Well, the cheesecake definitely needs to be refrigerated for 12 hours (or at least 8) so it can set up–otherwise, it will ooze everywhere when you try to cut it. You COULD use whipped topping, or you could just whip up the cream when you get to where you’re going. πŸ™‚

  52. 52
    Shanna says:

    Quick question. Is the cream cheese suppose to be softened first? What is the best way to do that in a time crunch? Thanks!

    • 52.1
      sara says:

      Yes Shanna, for just about everything it works best to soften the cream cheese. If it’s not at room temp already (and let’s be honest- mine never is!) just remove the wrapper and pop it in the microwave. Heat on 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between until it’s soft and stirs easily.

  53. 53
    Rachel says:

    I made this for Thanksgiving last year, and it is probably one of my most favorite cheesecakes ever! And I’ve tried pretty much every kind from the Factory! I made a trial run before the big day and sent some over to my neighbor. She called two minutes later to tell me she would eat this off the foor, it was so good!

  54. 54
    Jen says:

    I made this yesterday and we are enjoying it this morning! Being my first ever cheesecake the directions were very easy to follow! Thanks so much!
    In LOVE with this cheesecake! Yummo!

  55. 55
    julie says:

    What size springform pan do you use? I’m at the store and I don’t know whether to get the 8, 9 or 10 inch pan. Thanks!

  56. 56
    Raelene says:

    Is there a “Print” button like on the toffee pumpkin cheesecake recipe? I want to print this out without the pictures so I can have a paper copy to take into the kitchen.

  57. 57
    Susie says:

    For a fool-proof way to keep water out of your cheesecake use a cooking bag ! You can use it 2 or 3 times without it leaking, just gather it around the top of your pan & use the twisty to snug it up….sooooo much faster.

  58. 58
    Kasey Alder says:

    Do I leave the spring form in the water while it cools?

  59. 59
    Becca Robison says:

    5 stars, amazing! My new favorite!!!

  60. 60
    Julie Miser says:

    I made this for thanksgiving and it was a HUGE hit. This will now go into regular rotation for Thanksgiving from now on! Thanks for the awesome recipe! LOVE IT.

  61. 61
    Carolee says:

    I made this twice this year and it was a hit both times — once for our Thanksgiving dinner at a gathering of expatriate Americans in Lagos, Nigeria, where we are living. I still had 3 remaining boxes of cream cheese in my fridge (brought in my luggage from the US), so I made it for my African book group Christmas luncheon. Just looking at it on the buffet table, women were drooling with excitement, and after tasting it, I was the most popular person there. Several women said it was the best cheesecake they had ever eaten. A bookshop/cafe owner was begging me to make it for her cafe, and everyone was clamoring for the recipe. Canned pumpkin is not available in Nigeria, so I will have to put some extra in my luggage for Nigerian friends who don’t come back to shop in the States. Cream cheese is available there, but so expensive that I bring it there in a cooler. Also, back in the States for the holidays, I brought your Creamy Chicken Taquitos this week to a luncheon with my former tennis team and they also were clamoring for the recipe. It’s so nice to just send fans to your blog and tell them that everything I’ve made from here or your cookbook is a success. I’ve got your Pepperoncini Beef in the crockpot now. Thanks for good eating on two continents!

  62. 62
    Belinda says:

    Made this last night and served it this evening for my son-in-law’s birthday. It was a huge hit! I even made it with Neufchatel cream cheese and it was delicious and smooth. The gingersnap crust was incredible! Thanks for sharing your talents!

  63. 63
    Mary says:

    Can you use pumpkin puree instead of canned? I hear it has more water than canned so I’m worried it won’t turn out. I have made this many times and it is the only dessert my family wants for Thanksgiving. A neighbor gave us a pumpkin that I’m roasting right now. I would appreciate any advice you can give. Love your website, recipes and cookbooks.

    • 63.1
      Heather says:


      You can put your cooked pumpkin in a stainer. Let it sit for a while and the juice will drain out. I’ve also heard of people using cheesecloth and you can squeeze the water out.

  64. 64
    Dawn says:

    Just saw this on FB today. I have to bring a pie for Thanksgiving soooo after seeing this, it’s the one I’ve chosen to make. It’s all I have to bring so an ordinary pumpkin pie just wouldn’t do. I wanted the wow factor and this looks like it will fit the bill. Thanks!

  65. 65
    Trisha says:

    Have you ever tried making these in a 9×13 pan? Just wondering if you happen to know how cooking time would vary…

  66. 66
    nita says:

    Hi- I am also interested in knowing the answer to Trish’s question- I hope to make them for a work potluck on Tues and that type of pan would be easier. Thanks!

  67. 67
    Elisa says:

    Do you need to grease the spring form pan before you put the crust in?

  68. 68
    Sara says:

    I don’t like pumpkin pie, either. Ick. Nasty texture. But I’ve made pumpkin cheesecake many times! This year, I decided to deviate from the norm a bit and make a cranberry white chocolate cheesecake using this crust (minus the pecans due to kids with allergies). I posted all about it on my blog: http://kaelirasdigiscraps.blogspot.com/2012/11/cranberry-white-chocolate-cheesecake.html πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to try it!

  69. 69
    Kaylynn says:

    I’m so excited to try this recipe for thanksgiving, but the link about the carmelized pecans doesn’t work. Are they made the same way as the walnuts in the candied walnut salad? My dad loves pecans and so I want to make sure to get them right. Thanks!

  70. 70
    LaKenda says:

    I’ve had this recipe saved for 3 years….and I’m finally doing it the right way πŸ™‚ (I commented in 2010…weird seeing my old comment).

    Anyway, I just put it in the oven so *fingers crossed* because this is my 2nd attempt at making a cheesecake.

    ….btw, I totally didnt realize it had to chill for 12 hrs until a few minutes ago. Dang it! Won’t be able to taste it until tomorrow afternoon.

  71. 71
    Jody G says:

    Making this for a hitch Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow… I will probably not be able to put the whipped cream/toppings on directly before serving– it would be like 3/3.5 hours before…. Would that be too early to still look pretty?!? Trying to think of an alternative if so..

  72. 72
    Tiffany says:

    Sara – I made this and unintentionally left out the vanilla. I did taste the filling before I baked it, and it tasted good, but I felt like something was missing. I didn’t realize it until after I baked it and was putting away my ingredients. I grabbed the vanilla and knew instantly! In bringing this cheesecake to a work luncheon so I can’t sample it. Do you think it will still be ok? Especially with the sweetness of the toppings?

    • 72.1
      Tiffany says:

      To answer my own question, the lack of vanilla had absolutely no impact on how wonderful this turned out. It was amazing and everyone raved over it. I will make again for sure!

  73. 73
    Jana Lewis says:

    Can you substitute anything else for the white chocolate? My husband can’t eat any kind of chocolate but I’d love to try this recipe!

  74. 74
    Lynn says:

    OMG!!! Another winner for our Thanksgiving desserts!!! As I stated in my last post about the other pumpkin cheese cake dessert thread, really hate seeing all the comments about how good this looks and will be making soon from fellow bloggers. But I guess this may help get this blog/site known.

    I made a scaled back version, 1/3 of the recipe with my mini spring form pan, and this is so outstanding!!! My 21 yo son and my 26 yo daughter aren’t fans of pecans, but I shared a couple of small pieces with my son and his girlfriend and they loved it, didn’t even realize that there were pecans in the crust. This was my favorite of the two pumpkin cheese cake recipes, so I am still making another smaller version of this for our Thanksgiving desserts!! Thanks again for another awesome pumpkin dessert for this upcoming holiday!!

  75. 75
    Allie says:

    Made this yesterday for Thanksgiving and iit was a big hit with everyone! Thanks for the Amazing recipe!!

  76. 76
    Megan Parr says:

    Made your Layered Tofee Pumpkin Cheesecake last year, and THIS one this year….and AMAZING!!!!! I am addicted to this cheesecake- huge hit for Thanksgiving. Thank you!

  77. 77
    Cheryl Burrows says:

    Is this cheesecake firm enough to serve as the middle layer of a 3 layer cake? I am making a pumpkin caramel Italian crème cake and think this would be awesome in the middle (crustless, of course).

  78. 78
    Stephanie says:

    So… long story short, I don’t have any cloves (and I can’t get any) but I do have pumpkin pie seasoning. Can I just sub the cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg for an equal amount of pumpkin pie seasoning?

  79. 79
    Anonymous says:

    I’m excited to try this for Thanksgiving. Just wondering if anyone has tried making this ahead of time and freezing it?

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