Best-Ever Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

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Ditch the pie this Thanksgiving & make the Best-Ever Pumpkin Cheesecake instead! Rich & creamy cheesecake with the perfect light & fluffy texture, laced with warm pumpkin spices, & served on a super gingery gingersnap crust. This pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust is the ultimate pumpkin dessert for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving celebrations! Make-ahead friendly, easily gluten-free.

Side angle of pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust. The cheesecake is on a small white ceramic plate, topped with drizzly caramel & freshly whipped cream.

Pin this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust recipe for later!

Seriously, the best Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

If there’s one recipe you can count on me making every year for Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving, it’s this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust.

My friends & family are so obsessed that they won’t accept anything other than this perfect pumpkin cheesecake for dessert at our holiday gatherings! (I’m not kidding…Chris’ best friend will even text me randomly throughout the year to tell me he’s dreaming about my pumpkin cheesecake!!!)

I can’t blame them. It’s insanely good.

Pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust, displayed on a white cake stand next to a beige linen napkin & a gold cake server.

There are 2 things that take this pumpkin cheesecake recipe completely over the top

  • Creamy, dreamy texture. This pumpkin cheesecake has the most incredible texture. While it’s definitely a rich & indulgent dessert, it couldn’t be further from dense or heavy. The pumpkin filling is light, fluffy, & ultra-creamy. Each bite sort of melts away in your mouth – just how cheesecake should!
  • Gingersnap crust, which offers the kind of spice & zing that cuts right through the creaminess of the cheesecake, making every single bite perfectly balanced. It’s the kind of thing that’ll have you going back in for more bite after bite after bite after bite!

If you’ve been reading PWWB for a while, you might recognize this epic pumpkin cheesecake recipe – it’s one of the first recipes ever published on PWWB (way back in 2016!). I revisit it every year, just to make sure it’s as good as I remember, & it never lets me down. If you haven’t tried it just yet, make this year your year…you are in for a major, major treat.

It’s so seriously good that even I, a lifelong pumpkin-hater (eek – controversial, I know!), can’t resist a slice…or 2.

A bite taken out of a slice of pumpkin cheesecake.

Seriously perfect, every single time. ♡ Read on to learn more about this Best-Ever Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe, or jump straight to the recipe & get baking!

Key Ingredients:

Among the reasons I absolutely adore this pumpkin cheesecake recipe is the fact that it doesn’t call for any strange ingredients. It’s made entirely of ingredients you expect to see in a cheesecake!

Pumpkin cheesecake ingredients: gingersnap cookies, sugar, pumpkin spices, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree, eggs, cream cheese & sour cream.

Note: full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

You will need…

  • Cream cheese + sour cream – A combination that creates a rich cheesecake filling with a slightly tangy flavor. If sour cream isn’t your jam, you can use crème fraîche or full-fat plain Greek yogurt in its place for a similar effect.
  • Pure pumpkin purée You can DIY it & make homemade roasted pumpkin purée, or just use the canned stuff (which is exactly what I do!). Whatever you do, be sure to use pumpkin purée, not canned pumpkin pie filling!
  • Pumpkin pie spice – Use your favorite store-bought spice blend (mine is Penzey’s!), or whip up a batch of homemade. I use this trusted recipe, typically adding a smidge more ginger.
  • A few baking staples – like butter, eggs, & pure vanilla extract
  • Gingersnaps – For the perfect spiced gingersnap crust!

Pretty straight-forward, right?

The best gingersnaps for this recipe:

A key factor in what makes this pumpkin cheesecake recipe the best pumpkin cheesecake is its gingersnap cookie crust. It should come as no surprise that choosing the right gingersnaps is super important: they need to be very crispy & they need to have really spicy & zingy ginger flavor.

My favorite gingersnap cookies to use in this recipe are the Triple Ginger Gingersnaps from Trader Joe’s. They’re made with 3 kinds of ginger: fresh, ground dried, & crystallized. They have the best spicy ginger flavor. You can find them in the cookie section, above the freezer coolers; you’ll need one 14-ounce tub for this recipe.

If you don’t live near Trader Joe’s, you can of course use a different gingersnap cookie for the crust. Look for crispy gingersnaps (vs soft-baked), such as Stauffer’s. PWWB readers have also successfully used these gluten-free gingersnaps for a gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake.

If gingersnaps are hard to come by, you can also make a classic graham cracker crust, zhuzhing it up with some cinnamon & ginger – an exact how-to is in the Recipe Card, below.

How to Make the Best Pumpkin Cheesecake – Tips & Tricks

Baking cheesecake is something that can appear super intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be! Yes, a cheesecake with the perfect, fluffy texture is a result of proper technique, but there are a couple of simple things you can do to ensure your pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust bakes up beautifully, without falling or cracking.

Note: full Recipe Directions with step-by-step photos provided in the Recipe Card, below.

#1 – Use Room Temperature Ingredients:

Ensure that the cream cheese, sour cream, & eggs are at room temperature before you start whipping up the cheesecake filling. Being at room temperature helps them come together much more easily, without any lumps or bumps or bumps in the cheesecake batter. It’s also important in helping avoid over-mixing or overworking the batter, as this deflates the perfect fluffiness of the cheesecake. 

Personally, I pull the cream cheese, sour cream, & eggs out of the fridge the night before I bake my pumpkin cheesecake, giving them ample time to come to room temperature. Easy peasy!

#2 – Bake the cheesecake in a water bath!

A water bath is key in baking the perfect cheesecake! The water acts as a medium, absorbing the heat from the oven to help the cheesecake bake more gently & evenly. As a bonus, it also adds moisture to the oven as the cheesecake slowly bakes, which prevents cracking & creates the creamy, dreamy texture we’re after. 

Baking with a water bath is one of those things that sounds super intimidating, but it’s totally not. To create a water bath, simply pop the cheesecake in a roasting pan & surround it with boiling water before you pop it in the oven to bake. I suggest doing this right on the oven-rack as you place the cheesecake into the oven to help avoid spillage.

#3 – Allow for time to let the cheesecake set properly.

Between prepping, baking, & setting, cheesecake is a time-intensive baking project. There’s no way around it. This particular pumpkin cheesecake bakes for almost 2 hours, sets for up to 13 hours (1 hour in the oven after baking, & 8-12 hours in the refrigerator). Allowing for ample time to set ensures that your pumpkin cheesecake will have the perfect light & fluffy texture.

Be sure to take this timeline into consideration as you’re planning your Thanksgiving menu! This pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust is incredibly make-ahead friendly. Be sure to check the Recipe Notes, below, for guidance on storage & freezing.

Serving Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust:

With your pumpkin cheesecake baked, chilled, & set to perfection, all that’s left is the very best part – serving it!

Pulling a slice of pumpkin cheesecake out of the cheesecake with a cake server.

I won’t lie – it’s pretty perfect on its own, but I think there are 3 things that take this spiced pumpkin cheesecake completely over the top:

  • Freshly whipped cream – I make whipped cream with heavy cream, pure vanilla extract, & a little bit of powdered sugar. It takes just a couple of minutes to whip up, & it’s perfect piped or dolloped on top of a slice of cheesecake.
  • Freshly grated nutmeg – Plain & simple! Finish each slice of cheesecake with a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg for an extra aromatic quality that brings out the spices in the cheesecake.
  • Salted caramel – YES, PLEASE! A little drizzling of salted caramel will take your pumpkin cheesecake completely over the top. This is my absolute favorite store-bought salted caramel. It is perfection!

I mean, is there anything more perfect than…

Overhead angle of sliced pumpkin cheesecake, served on a small ceramic plate. The cheesecake is topped with salted caramel, fresh whipped cream, & grated nutmeg. Sitting next to the cheesecake is a large gold fork. A second plate of cheesecake peeks into the top of the frame.

…I don’t think so! We can’t wait for you to make this Best-Ever Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe with Gingersnap Crust. Once you taste it, I know you’ll be just as obsessed as my friends & family are!

If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡

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Side angle of pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust. The cheesecake is on a small white ceramic plate, topped with drizzly caramel & freshly whipped cream.

Best-Ever Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 12 hours (includes inactive time)
  • Yield: serves 812 1x
  • Category: Cheesecake, Breads & Cakes, Dessert recipes
  • Method: Baked, Water bath
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

The Best-Ever Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust! Rich & creamy cheesecake with the perfect light & fluffy texture, laced with warm pumpkin spices, & served on a super gingery gingersnap crust. The ultimate pumpkin dessert for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving celebrations!


Scale

Ingredients

for the gingersnap crust:

  • 14 ounces crispy gingersnap cookies (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted

for the pumpkin cheesecake

  • 32 ounces cream cheese (four 8-ounce bricks), at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 6 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • for serving, as desired: freshly whipped cream, freshly grated nutmeg, salted caramel

Instructions

Pumpkin cheesecake ingredients: gingersnap cookies, sugar, pumpkin spices, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree, eggs, cream cheese & sour cream.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan tightly in foil – this is the easiest way to ensure no liquid oozes in or out of the springform pan while the crust and the cheesecake bake. Make sure it’s tightly wrapped so it does not fall off while you’re transferring anything in or out of the oven!
  2. Prep the gingersnap crust: Add the gingersnap cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the cookies are crushed into small crumbs. You will have about 2 ½ cups of gingersnap crumbs. If you do not have a food processor, you can also place the gingersnaps in a resealable bag and use a rolling pin & some elbow grease to crush them. Either way works! Transfer the gingersnap crumbs to a large bowl with the brown sugar. Mix to combine. Pour the melted butter over top and mix to combine, until the entire mixture is moist. Transfer the gingersnap mixture to the prepared springform pan. Press the crumbs into an even layer. I like to press them halfway up the sides of the springform pan and use the bottom of a measuring cup to press it in really well and create some nice edges.Gingersnap crust for pumpkin cheesecake, formed in a large springform pan.
  3. Bake the gingersnap crust for 12-15 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the heat of the oven to 325 degrees F.
  4. Prep the pumpkin cheesecake filling: Meanwhile, as the gingersnap crust bakes, prep the cheesecake filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and granulated sugar. Using your mixer’s paddle attachment, beat the mixture on medium speed for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy, then add in the pumpkin puree. Use a spatula to occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the beaten eggs, vanilla extract and pumpkin spice. Mix until just combined.Creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling shown in a large stainless steel mixing bowl.
  5. Assemble the pumpkin cheesecake: Carefully pour the pumpkin cheesecake filling over the prepared gingersnap crust. The filling will go straight up to the top of the springform pan, & that’s totally fine. It won’t overflow! Carefully tap the pan against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.Pouring pumpkin cheesecake filling from large stainless steel mixing bowl into par-baked gingersnap crust, formed in a springform pan.
  6. Prepare the water bath: Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Set a roasting pan on the middle rack of your oven. Again, the oven should be at 325 degrees at this point! Add the cheesecake to the middle of the roasting pan, then carefully pour the boiling water in the pan, surrounding the cheesecake. The water should come about ½ way up the sides of the springform pan, but make sure the water level stays below the foil that is wrapped around the springform pan.Pumpkin cheesecake, before baking. The cheesecake is assembled in a springform pan, placed in a larger roasting dish for a water batch.
  7. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 45 minutes, until the edges are set. The center of the cheesecake may still be a little loose, and that’s okay! It will continue to set as it sits. Turn off the oven, leaving the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour while the oven cools. The residual heat of the oven will gently bake the cheesecake to completion. Remove the cheesecake from the oven & from the water bath and transfer to the refrigerator to set for 8-12 hours.
  8. Serve: Run a knife around the edges of the springform pan before releasing it. Slice the cheesecake into 8-12 slices. Top with whipped cream, freshly grated nutmeg, & a drizzle of salted caramel as desired. Enjoy! 


Notes

  • Gingersnaps: My favorite gingersnap cookies to use in this recipe are the Triple Ginger Gingersnaps from Trader Joe’s. They’re made with 3 kinds of ginger: fresh, ground dried, & crystallized. They have the best spicy ginger flavor. You can find them in the cookie section, above the freezer coolers. Alternatives:
    • If you don’t live near Trader Joe’s, you can use a different gingersnap cookie for the crust. Look for crispy gingersnaps (vs soft-baked), such as Stauffer’s.
    • For a gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake, try these gluten-free gingersnaps, which a number of other PWWB readers have used with great success.
    • If gingersnaps are hard to come by, you can also make graham cracker crust: crush 3 sleeves of cinnamon graham crackers & stir in 1 tablespoon of ground ginger.
  • Springform pan: A springform pan is essential to sucessfully making cheesecake! This one is made by one of my most trusted baking brands & has amazing reviews (less than $20!). You’ll also want a roasting pan to properly set up a water bath for this pumpkin cheesecake – this is the one I use.
  • Make-ahead, storage & freezing: This Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust will keep for up to 5 days after baking – feel free to make it ahead of time, or store your leftovers to enjoy later. 
    • Storage: Wrap the cheesecake in plastic & store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
    • Freezing: This pumpkin cheesecake is also incredibly freezer-friendly. Set the chilled cheesecake on a baking sheet & freeze solid before tightly wrapping in plastic or foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator before re-serving.

Keywords: pumpkin cheesecake recipe, pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust, dessert recipes, Thanksgiving, fall, winter, best

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Eat Love Eat

Obsessed with all things pumpkin? Us too! Here are a few more creative pumpkin recipes to try this fall!

Side angle of pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust. The cheesecake is on a small white ceramic plate, topped with drizzly caramel & freshly whipped cream.

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Don’t forget to pin this Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe for later!!!

the perfect pumpkin cheesecake recipe! this pumpkin cheesecake has the perfect light & creamy texture, it’s filled with pumpkin & pumpkin spices, & served on a super gingery gingersnap crust. the ultimate pumpkin dessert to serve at thanksgiving or friendsgiving dinner this year! #playswellwithbutter #pumpkincheesecake #pumpkincheesecakerecipe #bestpumpkincheesecake #pumpkincheesecakewithgingersnapcrust #pumpkindesserts #bestpumpkindesserts #thansksgivingdessertrecipes #friendsgivingdessertrecipes

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 11.30.19
    Valerie said:

    AMAZING! I made this pumpkin cheesecake for the first time Thanksgiving, I had some concern regarding the amount of eggs but I decided to trust the receipt and followed it exactly the it was provided. I can not believe how good this cake is, my family and friend were raving about it. It didn’t last long. There was quite a bit of batter left over after filling a 9 3/4″ springform pan but that’s ok, next time I’ll be prepared to use that as well. I made whip cream from scratch which was amazing as well. Thank you Jess for sharing this receipt, I will be making this pumpkin cheesecake again and again!!!

    • 12.20.19
      jess said:

      I’m so, so glad you loved it Valerie! It’s always a hit! Love that you added some homemade whipped cream – the perfect addition.

  2. 11.23.19
    Amy said:

    Going on year 3 of making this and it has never failed me!! Everything about this cheesecake is amazing, and everyone always loves it!

    • 11.25.19
      jess said:

      YAY! So glad you love it – it’s a Thanksgiving staple at our house, too. Enjoy!!!

  3. 11.12.19
    Shannon said:

    So good! Perfect balance of spicy crust, creamy pumpkin in the cold cheesecake layer. A hit with my family!

    • 2.12.20
      jess said:

      I’m glad your family loves this recipe as much as mine does, Shannon! Thanks for leaving a comment!

  4. 10.20.19
    Alison said:

    Oh gosh this sounds so delicious. I was hoping it would be an easily veganized recipe! No such luck! Awww shucks.
    Sad face 🙁
    6 eggs seems like a bit much. Not sure it would come out right using a substitute? Hmmm.

    • 10.20.19
      jess said:

      hey Alison! Wish I could offer more insight, but I’m not much of an expert when it comes to vegan baking. Since this is such a dairy-centric dessert, & since I haven’t personally tested a vegan version, I’m hesitant to offer suggestions that might not work out. If you do play with the recipe & find something that works, please do let me know with a comment! – jess

  5. 11.6.16

    This is so so perfect! I have always wanted to make pumpkin cheesecake! These photos rock!

  6. 11.4.16

    Holy cow your photography is gorgeous (and seriously making my mouth water!) Love this recipe!

  7. 11.4.16

    My friends and I celebrate Friendsgiving too! It’s one of my favorite times in the holiday season. A gingersnap crust though? Girl. I would lick the plate clean.

  8. 11.3.16
    Emily said:

    OOOHHHHH WOW! THis looks amazing, and your description has me SOLD on it. 🙂 I’m bookmarking it; hopefully I can make it Lord willing! 🙂 My mom loves pumpkin and cheesecake, and I like it too!

  9. 11.3.16

    I love pumpkin cheesecake way more than pumpkin pie. This looks so rich and fantastic. Thanks for sharing! Happy Friendsgiving!

  10. 11.3.16

    Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts! I used to get mini ones for everyone at my birthday parties when I was younger haha. I love your addition of pumpkin and the ginger snap crust, genius! Your photos are gorgeous like always too! We are doing a Friendsgiving this year for Thanksgiving since we are half way across the country from our families. Should be fun!

  11. 11.2.16

    Oh my gosh, the crust. And the cheesecake looks so creamy! I love the holiday season, but I have to say, I am still missing summer haha I’m such a warm weather and beach gal. But all the time with friends and family makes it better! Happy friendsgiving sweet friend!

  12. 11.2.16

    This looks SO AMAZING!!!!!! Can I eat the whole thing? Cool. hehe Happy Friendsgiving!

  13. 11.2.16

    Oh my goodness I don’t even know where to start!! This cheesecake looks so creamy and absolutely dreamy!!! I’d deal with tummy upset (dairy) for a slice of that. Paired with the fact that I LOVE gingersnap cookies! I’m right there with you in loving the end of the year holidays!
    Love the idea of a Friendsgiving (aside from BGB) and never really thought about it but we have our very own! Every year the day after Thanksgiving we head to northern MN to my parents for the weekend for a festival and tree lighting. We have friends that go up with us and pack my parents house with 3-4 families and 8-10 kids. It’s so much fun with games, food, fun, and has become a tradition we look forward to every year. It all started shortly after my parents moved up there the year after our first daughter was born as her birthday is always that weekend, she was born the day after Thanksgivng. The best part, or most magical… is watching the fireworks in the snow! This year I might have to whip this up, as everyone would enjoy it and we can have it when we get back for dessert and warm up with a hot cocktail or coffee.

    Happy Friendsgiving!!

  14. 11.2.16

    I am dying to host Friendsgiving! Maybe next year!

    Jess, this looks AMAZING. I am super impressed. Gorgeous photos too!

  15. 11.2.16

    Ohhhh I LOVE the gingersnap crust. And a pumpkin could sounds like a dream. Literally drooling over here #sorrynotsorry

  16. 11.2.16

    Girl. THESE PHOTOS. I’m drooling. This looks absolutely incredible! Happy friendsgiving<3