This Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Pie Topping has a gingersnap crust, pumpkin spice flavored filling, and a gooey topping reminiscent of pecan pie. Plus, there’s no water bath and no fuss!
After we published the recipe for my Double Crust Cheesecake a while back, Ashley added a comment on the blog where she asked about turning the cheesecake base into a pumpkin cheesecake.
Well, Ashley, after some serious testing, I present my version of pumpkin cheesecake… Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Pie Topping. But this isn’t some basic ol’ pumpkin cheesecake with some pumpkin pie spice thrown in. No, ma’am!
Sure, this creamy, decadent pumpkin cheesecake is filled with tons of pumpkin and spice flavors. But wait. There’s more.
I swapped the basic graham cracker crust for one made with gingersnap cookies. Oh, yes I did. And then I topped that cheesecake with a caramel pecan topping reminiscent of the rich, gooey filling in pecan pie. Mercy!
The result is a surprisingly easy cheesecake that has an abundance of great fall flavors!
Let’s talk about a few of the ingredients…
Gingersnap cookies – There are all kinds of gingersnaps out there. From the super thin and crispy, to the thicker, chewier version. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need about 2 cups of crushed cookies. For testing, I used these.
Cream cheese – Go for the full fat. It’s dessert, not health food. And make sure to get it room temp and mix it until smooth before adding any additional ingredients.
Pumpkin puree – You’ll need a 15-ounce can of plain pumpkin puree. Don’t use pumpkin pie filling.
Eggs – 4 large ones. Again, make sure they’re room temperature as they’ll mix in easier.
Corn syrup – This is going to help prevent your caramel from crystallizing and is going to give you more of that pecan pie flavor and texture. Either light or dark corn syrup will work.
Pecans – You’ll need 2 cups of coarsely chopped pecans. I like to use the large pecan pieces from Priester’s Pecans.
Do I need to use a water bath to bake my cheesecake?
Water baths are traditional in cheesecake baking as they slow the baking process down resulting in a slightly different texture and an even top on the cheesecake. Some say the water bath also helps to prevent the cheesecake from cracking.
But here’s the thing… I HATE the fussiness of a water bath. Like literally abhor it. And even when I’ve used a water bath, I’ve still had cheesecakes crack. So I skip waterbaths entirely.
Yes, sometimes cheesecakes crack, but having a delicious topping to use on them covers those cracks right up.
And having a little lip around the edge of the cheesecake is the perfect way to keep all that delicious topping on the cheesecake.
Can you use a water bath with this recipe? Absolutely! Knock yourself out. Just keep in mind that the water bath slows the baking process down so adjustments may need to be made to the cook time.
Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Pie Topping
For the crust:
- 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
- 4 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 (15-ounce) can plain pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
For the topping:
- 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup (light or dark)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch spring-form pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the crushed gingersnap cookies and butter. Stir well. Pour the mixture evenly into the bottom of the spring-form pan and press firmly to create a crust across the bottom and partially up the sides.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a bowl and hand mixer) beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, and brown sugar and mix until well combined. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice and mix to combine.
- Pour the batter onto the crust. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to get out any air bubbles.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are set but the center still has a little jiggle to it. Turn off the heat, crack open the door to the oven, and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely, then remove the outer ring of the springform. Refrigerate overnight to allow the cheesecake to firm up before serving (or at least 3 hours for those impatient folks).
- To make the topping, preheat the oven to 325°F and spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake them for 7 to 10 minutes or until just fragrant. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and heavy cream. Cook until bubbly, then stir in the toasted pecans, salt, and vanilla. Cool to room temperature and thick before pouring over the cooled cheesecake. Store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Allow to come to room temperature for serving.
Sue A. Terhaar
This dessert was the best way to end a Thanksgiving fest.
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it, Sue!
I made this cheesecake for the first time for yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner, and it was a HUGE hit! Our hostess graciously provided to-go boxes so people could help themselves to the leftovers, and my cheesecake all but disappeared. This is definitely a keeper!
It’s always fun to have one of your dishes be the hit of the menu! Glad y’all enjoyed it!
Do you put the topping on and then chill it or is it better to put the topping on just before you serve it? I noticed in the picture the topping is dripping down the side of the slice so it seems like it would need to be room temperature to be that runny
I typically add the topping right before serving. Enjoy!
How do you get it from pan to platter?
Once it’s chilled, I just run an offset spatula between the crust and pan and slide it over onto a serving platter.
I love this option for Thanksgiving and also really don’t like to mess with the water bath. Do you it could be frozen with the topping?
It should work just fine frozen, but I’ve not tested that. If nothing else, you could freeze the cheesecake and make the topping when thawing it.
Can this be made in a regular pie tin?
Unfortunately not. This will be too much to fill a pie tin.
I noticed you did not bake the crust. I bake a lot of cheesecakes and have always baked my crust first. Does this recipe produce a crisp crust or does it remain soft?
Normally when you bake a crust its because there is sugar in the crust mixture and that sugar melts and holds it together when baked. With the gingersnaps for this crust being already sweetened we thought it was another step that wasn’t needed. You can absolutely bake it if you prefer!
Does the crust crisp or come out soft soft?
It’s not soft, soft, but it’s not crisp either – I guess. It has the texture of a standard ol’ graham cracker crust.
That looks and sounds delicious
It really is pretty good!