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The Ultimate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars [VIDEO]

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are luxuriously creamy and rich, with lots of pumpkin flavor. A creamy pumpkin cheesecake layer on top of vanilla cheesecake and buttery graham crust. Topped with a hefty amount of homemade cinnamon whipped cream this is the perfect Thanksgiving dessert.

Pumpkin recipes are a must-make during the holiday season and we have the best delicious desserts to share with you. Make our fool-proof Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake, or try our outstanding Pumpkin Pecan Pie Cheesecake recipe.

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars Recipe

Best Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are my latest favorite fall dessert and they will quickly become one of your favorite pumpkin desserts. They are irresistible, and made of two layers: one is a classic vanilla cheesecake, and the second, is a very flavorful pumpkin layer cheesecake.

This creamy cheesecake basically combines the best of two worlds, and the vanilla cheesecake balances the pumpkin flavor in the most perfect way. They are the perfect fall treat with luscious creamy pumpkin filling and a crunchy graham cracker crumbs crust.

This absolutely delicious dessert is perfect for fall, winter, or any time of year you get that craving for pumpkin spice. If you have a can of pumpkin puree, you will probably already have all the other basic ingredients for these pumpkin cheesecake bars.

The cheesecake bars are topped with homemade cinnamon whipped cream, which is lighter in texture and works well with the fall flavors in this dessert. These perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are a nice change from the classic Pumpkin Pie if you are looking for something more special to try on Thanksgiving Day.

You can also make this recipe in a large springform pan. You can skip the vanilla layer and mix the pumpkin puree into the entire cheesecake batter, for a classic pumpkin dessert.

Ingredients Needed:

Crust:

  • Graham crackers: To make graham cracker crust.
  • Brown sugar: Light or dark will both work.
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Melted butter: Unsalted butter is best.

Cheesecake batter:

  • Cream cheese: At room temperature.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Corn starch
  • Large eggs: At room temperature.
  • Heavy whipping cream: At room temperature.
  • Sour cream: At room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract

Pumpkin layer:

  • Pumpkin puree: Not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Pumpkin pie spice: Optional.

Cinnamon whipped cream:

  1. Heavy whipping cream: Cold.
  2. Granulated sugar
  3. Vanilla extract
  4. Ground cinnamon

How do you make pumpkin cheesecake bars recipe?

Cheesecake crust:

  1. Preheat oven: First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and set the top rack in the middle of the oven. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch pan with baking spray and set it aside.
  2. Mix the buttery graham cracker crust: Next, add all of the crust ingredients to a medium bowl and stir until they are well combined.
  3. Form the crust: Then, press the crushed graham cracker mixture into the prepared pan. Use a rounded cup or your fingers to get the crust about halfway up the middle of the sides of the pan.
  4. Chill or freeze: Freeze for at least 20 minutes.

Cheesecake batter:

  1. Check the temperature: To begin, check to make sure your ingredients are all at room temperature.
  2. Mix the batter: Using a large bowl and an electric mixer or the mixing bowl in a stand mixer, beat sugar and cream cheese on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Complete the batter: Then, add the rest of the cheesecake batter list and continue beating until well combined and creamy, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Pour the crust: Pour half of the plain cheesecake filling into the cooled crust and put it back in the freezer for one hour. Set the rest of the batter aside for the next step.

Pumpkin layer:

  1. Combine the pumpkin layer: Now, put all the ingredients for the pumpkin layer into the rest of the batter and whisk until fully combined. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom with a spatula.
  2. Add the next cheesecake layer: Then, take out the cheesecake from the freezer and pour the pumpkin cream cheese layer on top of the plain cheesecake layer, leveling with an offset spatula.

Bake:

  1. Bake: First, bake your easy pumpkin cheesecake bars in the preheated oven for about one hour.
  2. Checking: It is best not to open the door to the oven while it is baking. Wait at least until 45 minutes have gone by before checking it. The middle should be a little jiggly and the outsides would be puffy and light brown.
  3. Cool in the oven: Finally, turn the oven off and leave the oven door open with the cake inside to cool for one hour.

Chill:

  1. Cool: After an hour, take the dessert out and put it on a cooling rack for two hours, until it is cool enough to move.
  2. Completely chill: Last, put the cheesecake in the fridge for six to 24 hours.

Cinnamon whipped cream:

  1. Making whipped cream: To make cinnamon whipped cream, mix the cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and cream in a large bowl.
  2. Whip it: Then, use a stand mixer or your hand mixer with a whisk attachment to whip on medium-slow speed until soft peaks form and hold their shape.
  3. Decorate and serve: Lastly, put the whipped cream in a pastry bag with a star tip and decorate the top of the cheesecake bars before serving.

How to make pumpkin cheesecake bars in a water bath?

  1. Preheat oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prep your pan: Then, wrap your springform pan in a double layer of aluminum foil to cover the sides and the bottom of your pan. This will prevent water from leaking in. If you are using a regular baking pan, you do not have to do this.
  3. Add the water: Next, pour the cheesecake batter into the pan and place it in a large roasting pan deep enough to add water halfway up the sides of the pan. Carefully pour hot water in making sure not to get any water in the pan.
  4. Bake: Last, put the roasting pan into the oven and bake for about one hour until the middle is just slightly jiggly like jello and the sides are light brown. If it does not jiggle, it is overcooked and will probably crack. See our notes below to fix this common issue.
  5. Cool the cheesecake bars: Open the oven door but do not remove the pan. Let it cool in the oven for one hour before moving it to a wire rack to cool for another two hours.
  6. Chill and slice: Let your cheesecake bars chill in the fridge overnight for best results but you can cut them in six hours if you are in a hurry.

Recipe Variations:

  • More vanilla extract: Add another tablespoon of vanilla extract for vanilla cheesecake.
  • Pumpkin flavor: Make the pumpkin flavor even more intense by adding a teaspoon of pumpkin extract.
  • Gingersnap crust: Use crushed gingersnap cookies for a sweet gingersnap crust.
  • Extra egg yolk: Add an extra egg yolk for richer creamy cheesecake bars.
  • Fresh pumpkin: Use fresh pure pumpkin instead of canned pumpkin if you have the time.
  • Pumpkin mixture: You could also add extra cinnamon to your pumpkin puree mixture for extra cinnamon flavor.
  • Chopped nuts: Add chopped pecans or some other chopped nuts to the crust for a nuttier flavor.
  • No sour cream: If you do not have sour cream or are trying to cut down on fat, use Greek yogurt instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is pumpkin spice?

Pumpkin pie spice instructions vary depending on the manufacturer. To get this important spice right every time, why not make your own from scratch? All you need are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger.

The amounts you use may vary depending on what kind of recipe you are making. But our favorite is 3 tablespoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons each of nutmeg and ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons each of cloves and allspice.

How can I quickly soften cream cheese?

If you forgot to take the cream cheese out to soften beforehand, don’t worry about it. You can soften it in the microwave or hot water quickly. To microwave, remove it from the wrapper and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds and it should be very soft cream cheese. Or give it a warm water bath in the package for 10 minutes.

How can I keep my graham crackers crust from falling apart?

This common problem happens to the best of us. It could be that you added too much or not enough butter. The melted butter is the glue to hold the crust together so make sure to measure correctly. Also, be sure to grind up your graham cracker crumbs finely. Big chunks will make it fall apart.

How to bake a cheesecake in a water bath:

  1. Wrap the outside of the springform pan in a double layer of foil, covering the bottom and sides of the pan, you need to cover the sides only from the outside. This will prevent the cheesecake from water leaking in. If using a baking pan, there is no need to do this.
  2. Set the prepared pan in a large roasting pan that is deep enough to add water to it. Pour HOT water into the roasting pan, about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  3. Transfer to a pre-heated oven and bake, until the center jiggles slightly like Jell-O, and the sides are puffed and a light golden brown. The residual heat will cook the center of the cheesecake. If the cheesecake doesn’t wobble a bit in the center, it means it has been over-baked, and most likely will crack.
  4. Cool the cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly cracked for one hour.

Preventing cheesecake cracks:

  • Making sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature and well combined after mixing.
  • Adding flour or/and cornstarch to the batter.
  • Avoid opening the oven door while baking the cheesecake.
  • Watch the cheesecake closely to avoid over-baking it. When the sides are puffed and the center of the cheesecake is just slightly wobbly, the cheesecake is done.
  • Cooling the cheesecake in the oven, with the door slightly cracked is also very important, as the sudden change in temperature can cause cracks.
  • Bake the cheesecake in a water bath, it’s one of the most successful techniques to avoid cracks on your cheesecake.

How to fix cheesecake cracks:

  • You will need: 1) a small offset spatula or spoon 2) hot water 3) a kitchen towel.
  • Let the cheesecake completely cool and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or per recipe instructions. The cheesecake needs to be cold to be able to fix the cracks.
  • Use the spatula dipped into hot water (or you can use your fingers or a spoon) to gently push and press down in the area of the crack and spread to fill it in until the top is smooth.
  • Clean the spatula with the towel as needed.
  • Once finished, clean the offset spatula with the kitchen towel again, dip it again into warm water, and smooth the top of the cheesecake.
  • You can add a thin layer of sour cream topping if the cracks are small.
  • You can add a layer of whipped cream topping.

Slicing Cheesecake Bars:

  • Run a long, sharp, thin-bladed, slicing knife under hot tap water or dip it into a glass of hot water prior to slicing the cheesecake.
  • Wipe the knife clean and run it under hot water before making another cut.
  • An easy, mess-free way to cut even slices is to use cheese wire or unflavored dental floss. This method can be easily used on cheesecakes baked in a springform pan. Clean the bits that stuck to the wire/floss before every cut.

How to store leftovers:

  • Store: After letting your pumpkin cheesecake bars cool, pack them in an airtight container wrapped in parchment paper or plastic wrap to keep them from sticking together. They will stay fresh for several days in the fridge.
  • Freeze: Alternatively, you could freeze your leftovers for up to four months in a freezer-safe airtight container.
  • Thaw: Remember to thaw your frozen leftovers in the fridge overnight before serving.

How to freeze a cheesecake:

  • You can freeze the cheesecake BEFORE you top it with whipped cream.
  • Make sure it has fully cooled and also was refrigerated for at least 6 hours.
  • Wrap the cheesecake bars tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place them in a heavy-duty freezer bag.
  • Properly stored, it will maintain the best quality for about 2 to 3 months.

More delicious Thanksgiving recipes:

Baking tips:

  • If you do not have a food processor or blender, put your graham crackers into a zipper baggie and smash them with something heavy like a rolling pin or can of vegetables.
  • We use full-fat cream cheese for the best consistency, but you can use low-fat if you are watching your weight.
  • Put your pie on a large baking sheet to catch any spillover.
  • Prevent cracks in your cheesecake bars by making sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before cooking.
  • Also, do not cook it too long or open the oven door too often.
  • Be sure to cool your dessert in the oven with the door open for at least one hour before removing it to a cooling rack.
  • Double the buttery graham cracker crust to make an extra thick crust that you can stretch all the way up the sides.

The Ultimate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are luxuriously creamy and rich, with lots of pumpkin flavor. Topped with a hefty amount of homemade cinnamon whipped cream.

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
  • Prep Time30 MIN
  • Cook Time1H
  • Servings 9 servings

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter melted

Cheesecake Batter:

  • 4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sour cream at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pumpkin Layer:

  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice optional

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream cold
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Adjust the top rack to be positioned in the middle of the oven.

Cheesecake Crust:

  • Lightly coat a 9x13-inch pan with baking spray and set it aside.
  • Add the "Crust" ingredients to a large bowl and stir until well combined.
  • Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Using a measuring cup, press the crust and try to line the sides about to the middle of the pan edges.
  • Refrigerate or best freeze for at least 20 minutes.

Cheesecake Batter:

  • Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before you begin.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand mixer beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy on medium-low speed.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients from the "Cheesecake Batter" list and continue beating until well combined and creamy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
  • Remove the crust from the freezer and pour 1/2 of the cheesecake batter mixture into the prepared pan. Return to the freezer for about 1 hour, the layer needs to freeze enough to be able to pour the pumpkin layer on top of it.
  • Set aside the remaining half of the cheesecake batter. It will be used for the pumpkin layer.

Pumpkin Layer:

  • Add the "Pumpkin Layer" ingredients to the remaining half of the cheesecake batter that you previously set aside, and whisk to fully combine. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the freezer and pour the pumpkin layer on top. Level the top with a spatula.

Bake:

  • Read the post for "water bath" tips if you want to bake the cheesecake using a "water bath".
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about one hour.
  • Try not to open the door to the oven. At the 45-minute mark check on the cheesecake if it's done. A small area in the center should wobble slightly and the edges should be puffed and light golden brown.
  • Turn the oven off and prop open the oven door and leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven for one hour.

Chill:

  • After one hour, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for about 2 hours, until the cheesecake is cool enough to be transferred to the refrigerator.
  • Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 6-24 hours.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:

  • Add cream, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon to a large bowl.
  • Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk on slow-medium speed, gradually increasing to high speed. Mix until soft peaks form and the whipped cream holds its shape.
  • Add the whipped cream to a pastry bag, fitted with a star piping tip, and pipe it onto cheesecake bars right before serving.

Nutrition Facts

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Comments

(174)
Jenna M

Jenna M

These bars have become my go-to Thanksgiving dessert every year. I use about half the pumpkin for a more subtle flavor. They're always a hit!!

Brittani

Brittani

How is this 524 calories with 9 servings? I imported all the ingredients on myfitnesspal and it was way more than that... Like about that many calories with 18 servings. It is delicious though!


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

The calories are calculated per serving based on the application we have. Could be a bit more, but it is usually about correct. Thanks for visiting us!

carol legner

carol legner

My family and friends love this dessert!


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Thank you! Very happy to hear this! :)

Brittney

Brittney

Made this for family Thanksgiving and it has been decided this is “my thing” from now on. EVERYONE LOVED IT!! They all forgot about the (store bought 🙄) pumpkin pie, wasn’t even touched lol.

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