Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust

This always surprises people, but I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie.  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 including pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread, pumpkin tarts, pumpkin sauce , 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!  This Pumpkin cheesecake has all the right spices, a pecan-gingersnap crust, and a caramel topping.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with gingersnap crust

Ingredients and Equipment Notes

  • A note about water baths – While cheesecake enthusiasts will tell you it’s essential to always use one, from my experience, some cheesecakes do okay without them (like this Creamy Cheesecake) and others really need them to turn out well. I think it depends on the recipe. This one needs a water bath.
  • Roasting PanYou will need a roasting pan to create a successful a water bath.
  • Springform Cheesecake Pan – I love my springform cheesecake pan, so grab one of those as well if you don’t have one already. This recipe is designed for a 9″ pan.
  • Heavy Duty Foil – Nobody wants a soggy cheesecake! Heavy duty foil wrapped around the bottom of your springform pan will prevent the water bath from working it’s way in.
  • Heat Proof Pitcher or Glass Measuring Cup – You’ll need some hot water for the water bath. Before you get started, make sure you have a good way to transfer the hot water to the roasting pan- a large glass measuring cup, electric kettle, or even a ladle, if necessary.
  • Cream Cheese – Regular or low fat is fine. Avoid fat free.
  • Gingersnaps – The crust of this cheesecake is made from gingersnap cookies. Get these on the cookie aisle or look for them in seasonal displays, just be sure you are getting the crunchy kind, not soft ginger cookies from the bakery.
  • Whipping Cream – Regular or heavy will both work. Heavy whipping cream will hold it’s shape a little better over time.

Instructions

  1. Start some water boiling for your water bath. You’ll need enough to fill your roasting pan 1 1/2 to 2 inches.
  2. The crust is one of my favorite parts: a mix of gingersnap cookies and pecans. First, crush the gingersnaps and then pecans in a food processor. We’ll mix those with some butter and brown sugar and press evenly into a 9″ springform pan, extending up the sides about 1 inch.
  3. Next, melt some white chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until smooth. While that’s cooling, we’ll mix up some softened cream cheese, sugar and eggs. Then add pumpkin puree, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Lastly, mix in that white chocolate and pour the filling mixture onto the prepared crust.
  4. Next comes the water bath. Wrap the bottom of your springform pan in several layers of heavy duty foil to keep water out of your springform pan. Place your cheesecake in a roasting pan and place in preheated oven. Carefully fill the roasting pan with hot water, about half way up the sides of your cheesecake pan.
  5. Close the oven door and bake. Start with 60 minutes and take a peek. Continue baking, if needed, up to about 75 minutes. The center should be just a tad bit jiggly still. It will finish cooking while cooling. When it’s done, remove from oven and water bath and place on a rack until completely cool. Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours. This is a very soft cheesecake so sufficient chilling is a must!
  6. When ready to serve spread sweetened whipped cream on top, drizzle caramel sauce over it, and sprinkle with pecans, if desired.

Similar Flavors

Looking for more desserts like this? Check out these Our Best Bites Favorites:

Orange-Cranberry Cheesecake

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Layered Pumpkin Pie Toffee Cheesecake

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

pumpkin cheesecake recipe

FAQs

  • What happens if I don’t use a water bath? The purpose of a water bath is to ensure the entire cheesecake comes to temperature and cooks evenly. Without it, the outside of the cheesecake will likely be overdone while you are waiting for the middle to set up. It is also more likely to crack without a water bath.
  • I see this cheesecake needs a long time in the fridge. How far ahead of time can I make it? Make the cheesecake up to 48 hours in advance. Leave it in the springform pan after cooling. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and add the toppings right before serving.

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, and then come back and give this recipe a rating!

pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan-Gingersnap Crust

5 from 3 votes
A long-time reader favorite! This creamy pumpkin cheesecake, topped with whipped cream, caramel, and pecans (optional)  is a great alternative to pumpkin pie.
Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • CRUST
  • 1 3/4 cups gingersnap crumbs about 30 small cookies
  • 6 tablespoons real butter melted
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup ground pecans
  • FILLING
  • 3 8- ounce blocks cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 6 ounces melted white chocolate that's about 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • TOPPING
  • 1 cup whipping cream beat with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 4 tablespoons powdered sugar until medium peaks form
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped pecans either toasted or caramelized
  • 2 tablespoons jarred caramel sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Start water boiling, enough to fill your roasting pas 1 1/2 to 2 inches.
  • For the crust, Use a food processor to crush gingersnaps. Then do pecans. Combine gingersnaps, pecans, brown sugar, and butter and stir well to combine. Press into a 9" spring form pan. Evenly spread across the bottom of pan and up the sides about 1 inch.
  • To melt chocolate, place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. Set aside. With an electric mixer beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Add pumpkin, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. With the mixer running, slowly add in white chocolate in a steady stream (or steady blobs). Pour mixture on top of the crust.
  • For the water bath, place cheesecake pan inside your roasting pan. The larger pan should be at least 2-3 inches in depth. Place in pre-heated oven. With a kettle or pitcher filled with hot water, pour water into the larger pan about halfway up, or approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches.
  • Bake for 60-75 minutes or until set. The center should be just a tad bit jiggly still. It will finish cooking while cooling.
  • When it's done, remove from oven and place on a rack until completely cool. Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours. This is a very soft cheesecake so sufficient chilling is a must!
  • When ready to serve spread sweetened whipped cream on top, drizzle caramel sauce over it, and sprinkle with pecans.
Author: Our Best Bites
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. @ 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

  2. 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!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!! 🙂

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

    http://frostmeblog.blogspot.com/

  8. 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!

  9. 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…

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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
    $7!

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

  14. 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!

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

  16. 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!'

  17. I’ve seen quite a few seasonal pies, but this one is definitely one of the best! I think it combines all of my favorite holiday flavors, it’s delicious. I’d like to include your recipe on our blog. Please let me know if you’re interested :). Thanks!

    Sophie, Key Ingredient Chief Blogger
    [email protected]

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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 🙂