Get Your Spice on with Homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

I’ve always liked pumpkin.

Vertical image of a stack of dessert squares and white text with an orange background.

I like the way it tastes. I like the way it looks. And most of all, I like the season that it’s associated with: fall.

The world just looks better at this time of year, you know? The colors, the weather, the way you can see your breath in the morning but still take your sweater off in the afternoon.

This October, I’ve seen the leaves change color and fall in Washington, Ohio, and Illinois. I’ve sipped hot apple cider and walked on piles of crunchy leaves; I’ve felt the crisp air and slept with the windows open. It’s been beautiful.

Even though the days are darker as we edge closer to winter, I have to tell you: I love fall.

Vertical image of scattered dessert squares on a towel surrounded by pumpkins of assorted sizes.

All that autumnal affection has to get channeled somewhere, and I’m happy to tell you I’ve found the place. That’s where a ton of pumpkin recipes come in.

Because, listen: pumpkin is to recipes what fall is to the calendar. When I make something with pumpkin, it’s like I’m eating pure fall, and I like that.

And these pumpkin cheesecake bars are like autumn on the tongue.

Velvety and creamy, these bars start with a thick graham cracker crust and finish with a pumpkin filling that’s as rich as your typical New York style cheesecake.

Vertical close-up image of a stack of cheesecake bars with a pumpkin.

You’re supposed to let them chill before slicing, but just between us, I had a piece right out of the oven when it was still warm and golden, and it was quite nice.

The next day, I ate another piece, chilled, for breakfast — because it’s October after all, and I might as well eat get the most out of it.

Vertical image of three pumpkin bars stacked on top of each other.

If you find yourself indoors on one of these beautiful evenings, away from the colors and the leaves and the chill in the air, I sincerely hope it’s because you’re making this recipe, or something else like it that features pumpkin, the best flavor of the harvest time, enjoyed in the season that I wish wouldn’t end.

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Horizontal image of cheesecake squares scattered on a white towel.

Homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours, 5 minutes
  • Yield: 9 bars
  • Category: Cheesecake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Description

Looking for a simple seasonal dessert? Dive face first into a pan full of the best spiced pumpkin cheesecake bars.


Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 7 graham crackers (about 1/3 pound in weight)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

  • 1 package cream cheese, softened (8 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup canned or homemade pureed pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter a 9-inch square pan.

To Make the Crust:

  1. Break the crackers into a food processor. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon, and process into a fine meal.
  2. Add the melted butter and process again. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the buttered pan and slightly up the sides to form a crust.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 325˚F.

To Make the Filling:

  1. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugars, egg, and egg yolk with an electric mixer. Add vanilla and stir.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 45 minutes. The edges should be golden brown and the filling should be slightly jiggly, but not wet in the center.
  3. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving.

Keywords: pumpkin puree, cheesecake, fall recipes, cinnamon, graham crackers

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Melt Butter, Soften Cream Cheese, and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Horizontal image of assorted ingredients in a metal bowl.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave in 15-second increments.

Remove the cream cheese from its packaging and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 15-20 seconds to soften.

Measure all of the other ingredients and set out in the order listed.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.

Step 2 – Make Crust

Horizontal image of a crumbled graham cracker mixture in a food processor.

Break up the crackers into chunks and add them to the bowl of a food processor. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Process to create a fine meal.

Pour in the melted butter and process again until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press into the prepared baking pan evenly on the bottom and slightly up the sides.

Step 3 – Bake Crust

Horizontal image of a graham cracker crust pressed in a square pan.

Bake for 10 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and fragrant.

Remove from the oven to cool. After a few minutes, I like to set a trivet or hot pad in the freezer and place the pan on it to chill while I make the filling.

Reduce oven temperature to 325˚F.

Step 4 – Make Filling

Horizontal image of a loose orange batter in a metal bowl.

Add the softened cream cheese, sugars, egg, and egg yolk to a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine.

Stir in the vanilla until combined.

Add the remaining filling ingredients and stir together until smooth.

Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling into the crust. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula if you need to.

Step 5 – Bake Filling

Horizontal image of a lightly colored dessert baked in a square pan.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the filling is set. The center will still be slightly jiggly.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Step 6 – Chill and Slice

Horizontal image of cheesecake squares scattered on a white towel.

Once cooled, chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before slicing into 9 bars.

You can also choose to slice these bars into smaller sizes if you prefer, for snacking.

Need More Pumpkin Inspiration?

If you just can’t get enough pumpkin and you still want more (and who could blame you?), we have plenty of delicious recipes right here on Foodal.

Horizontal image of a stack of pumpkin squares on a white towel with more of the desserts in the background.

For some of my personal favorites that are a little more on the savory side, check out the following:

  • For an appetizer, hummus is a fantastic dip to indulge in. It’s a great snack to satisfy your hunger, and the crunch of pumpkin seeds on top is a delightful variation from the norm.
  • I recently made a big batch of curried soup featuring this ingredient, and it is silky, smooth deliciousness with every spoonful. It’s rich in flavor while also being light enough that you don’t feel guilty (or stuffed) after eating a bowlful.
  • If you want something more hearty, Asian-style curry is a simple one-pot weeknight dinner that you will love with this squash. Spoon it on top of rice, and you have a fall dinner that’s hearty, rich, and big on flavor.

What is your favorite way to eat pumpkin during the fall season? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe for this delightful dessert once you try it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 21, 2010. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu. Last updated: November 4, 2018 at 9:55 am.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.

Looking for a seasonal dessert? Dive face first into a pan full of the best spiced pumpkin cheesecake bars. The warming spices in the filling taste just like pie with a tangy twist, all on top of a crunchy graham cracker crust. Get the easy recipe now on Foodal. #falldesserts #simpledesserts #pumpkinrecipes #foodal

26 thoughts on “Get Your Spice on with Homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars”

  1. funny you should mention pumpkin and autumn and how beautiful it outside… pumpkin seriously is the personification of autumn: warm orange hue and just pretty much EVERYWHERE during the month of october and november. i can’t say i LOVE me some pumpkin (as it is, i am a lukewarm fan of Fall) but pair it with chocolate and it makes it all bearable for me.

  2. Yay to pumpkin! I’ve already cooked 3 pie pumpkins this year, which made a massive bowl of fresh pumpkin puree, which then made pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, pumpkin butter and… I’m forgetting something. BUT I still have two pie pumpkins waiting for me to saw them open, so looks like I’ll get to make these bars, which sound amazing!! And I LOVE that picture you took from the bottom of the hill of leaves. I have 100+ pictures that I’ve taken of fall. (Can you tell I’m WAY too excited about your love for pumpkins and fall?) I just love fall so much too.

  3. You’re so right that the world just looks better during autumn. There’s no other season in which I pick out “favorite trees” (or favorite anythings) and stop to stare every time I pass by them.

    And yes, the fact that pumpkin is put on a pedestal in fall doesn’t hurt, either. These look revelatory!

  4. I love the autumn, too. I have to try really hard to be in the moment & not dread the winter, though 🙂
    This looks tremendously yummy…I have two pie pumpkins in my kitchen right now that my husband wants to carve into little kid pumpkins. Cute idea, but I hope I can talk him out of it so that I can cook them up & make this recipe & a host of other yummy things!
    Have a great weekend!

  5. I wish the season wouldn’t end, too! We’ve gotten a little rain the past few days, and I’m even happy to see that…is the Farmer’s Almanac Cookbook new? I wasn’t aware they did one–maybe I’m out of the loop on this one. But it looks like fun, as do these bars. Happy Friday, my friend.

  6. I fear I’m one of those strange people who only like the plainest of cheesecakes: tall, sturdy and naked.

    But I do love pumpkins, and exactly as you said – like eating fall. I think my favourite way is stirring it into oatmeal with maple syrup. This breakfast is my sign of soon-to-fall leaves and carries me through to snow.

  7. Jacqui, Ha, thanks!

    Lan, Hmm pumpkin and chocolate? Would you believe I’m not sure if I’ve had that ever?

    Tim, Is it?

    Alicia, WOAH! A girl after my own heart.

    Novelista, Great!

    Jenny, Great point about how easy this could be gluten-free!

    Maddie, Would love to talk about favorite trees sometime. I think I like Nashville’s magnolias and the Midwest’s maples and oaks best. : )

    MaryAnn, Ha, baby carved pumpkins vs. pumpkin pie…. I think I’d take your side, too! Although they would be very cute!

    Megan, You know, I’d never heard of the Farmer’s Almanac until a few weeks ago, so I’m not sure. But the Everyday Recipes edition is really nice, complete with prize-winning entries and stuff.

    Maria, I understand that. In the same way, I don’t especially love cheesecake. At all. However… these bars were to me what the tall, sturdy, plain kind is to you. : )

    Anne, You are so welcome!

    Alicia, Mmmmm!

  8. That last photo sold me — so dense and characteristic of a perfect cheesecake. We love pumpkin in Autumn, too. If were year-round, we’d have it from January to December. This would be dangerous around us, though I’m tempted to try it and replace some of the sugar with maple syrup.

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

  9. Heather, Do it! I’d love to see a version of this with some of the sugar swapped, and maple syrup would complement the flavors so nicely!

  10. … and pumpkin pancakes. But now I have a whole new giant bowl of pumpkin puree, so I’ll stop documenting all my pumpkin baking now. 🙂

  11. Delicious! I made a sweet potato cheesecake earlier this month, but now I’m pretty sure I need to make a pumpkin one, too 🙂

  12. yes, i will be making these this week for bake good friday!! i think that i am going to make the crust a chocolate crust!! i will let you know what everyone thinks!!! thanks for an amazing recipe!!

  13. I made these this weekend. They tasted amazing. I posted a link to your site on my food blog, Chopped Garlic.

    Thanks for yet another delicious recipe!

  14. Just found this via google. The recipe looks fantastic–my mom and I are making it tonight to take to our family Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  15. What an awesome recipie. I doubled it for my boyfriends company potluck, but kept enough for us to have a few as well! Thank you so much for sharing this Thanksgiving delight!

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