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I'll be blunt. Like pumpkin and cheesecake? Run--don't walk.

Even if you hate pumpkin, even if you hate cream cheese. If you have a texture issue with cheesecake (slime, cow-yness, too much wobble--"is this pudding?"), this one will turn over your new leaf.

My sister has all of the above concerns with cheesecake and deftly said, "This is the best cheesecake I have ever eaten, I'm serious, and I'm not too fond of cheesecake or pumpkin; it might be the best dessert I've ever eaten!" (Even if you don't know her, let it persuade you because she is almost anti-cheesecake.)

Still not convinced? Check out my classic CHEESECAKE BARS. They aren't pumpkins, but they are still damn good.

If you can't find golden Oreo's, any vanilla sandwich cookie will do!

Notes: Cream cheese is Philadelphia. Pumpkin spice is by The Spice Lab; find it here.


Ingredients: 3 8-ounce bricks of cream cheese at room temperature, 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin, 2 tsp. pumpkin spice, two large eggs at room temperature, 2 tbsp. flour. For the crust: 18 golden Oreos, 5 tbsp. melted butter, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. pumpkin spice, a pinch of salt. For the whipped cream topping: 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 tbsp. powdered sugar, ground cinnamon.

Serves 8-10.

1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Spritz an 8-inch springform pan lightly with cooking spray.

2. Make the crust: Blitz Oreos, melted butter, sugar, pumpkin spice, and salt together in a food processor until you have wet sand. Press into the bottom of the pan, leaving a 1-inch lip around the perimeter. A pint glass works so well for this. Bake for 7 minutes, cool.

3. If your cream cheese feels cool to the touch, your cheesecake will be lumpy. Microwave it gently at half power until lukewarm, about 45 seconds. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and whipping cream until very smooth. Add in the sugars, beating on medium speed and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

4. Add vanilla, pumpkin, and pumpkin spice. Beat well until fully combined and smooth; you can't really overmix here, get it s m o o t h. Mix in the eggs on medium until just combined, followed by the flour.

5. Pour batter into the crust. Place the pan on top of a baking sheet, then wrap it with wet dish towels--see below*. Bake for 60 minutes. The center should have a slight wobble; the top will have light color. Turn off the oven, crack the door and let it cool 1 hour.

7. Remove to counter to cool 1 more hour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

8. Make the whipped cream: Beat whipping cream with powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Keep chilled until serving. Dollop over cheesecake, sprinkle with cinnamon.

*Wet Towel Method: (I like this method because it does not involve a water bath yet still provides enough steam and all-over heat for the cheesecake to cook perfectly.) Wet down two dish towels or thinner hand towels. Wring them out only a little, so they are still very wet but not overly drippy. Wrap the towels around the springform pan, overlapping each other if necessary. Bake as directed. Use towels you do not care about; they will color a little in the heat.

Other Tips:

Once you pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, tap it a bit on the counter to dispel any air bubbles. If any rise to the surface, pop them gently with a knife before baking.

Do NOT open the oven for any reason until the time is up.

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