About Me: I have more than 20 years of cooking experience & share my favorite recipes on this blog.
Have a question? Please post a comment, I’m happy to help. 🙂
These Pumpkin cheesecake bars have decadent swirls of creamy cheesecake and the coziest fall spices, all baked in a buttery graham cracker crust. They’re easy to make and perfect for fall baking.
Why You’ll Love These Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Easier than a regular cheesecake. Making cheesecake bars from scratch is less of a commitment than baking a full cheesecake. There’s no water baths or springform pans needed. It’s a great way to streamline your fall baking!
- Creamy pumpkin flavor. The combination of spices and pumpkin brings delicious fall flavor to these creamy cheesecake bars. All it takes is divvying up your cheesecake batter and adding real pumpkin to create the mouthwatering pumpkin swirls.
- Perfect for fall holidays. Pumpkin cheesecake bars are make-ahead friendly and perfect for a crowd. Make them a day in advance to serve for Thanksgiving dessert, or take them along to potlucks and get-togethers.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need to make this pumpkin cheesecake bars recipe. Remember to scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full amounts and recipe details.
For the Crust
- Graham Crackers – You can buy ready-made graham cracker crumbs, or use whole graham crackers and grind them up to make a simple graham cracker crust.
- Butter and Sugar – Melted butter and sugar help to bind the ingredients together and caramelize the crust.
- Cinnamon – For an extra punch of fall spice.
- Cream Cheese – Full-fat cream cheese (the kind that comes in bricks) yields the creamiest cheesecake filling. Let the cream cheese soften to room temperature before you start.
- Sugar – We’ll use regular white sugar.
- Eggs – Three whole eggs give the cheesecake richness and structure.
- Sour Cream – Like the cream cheese, I recommend full-fat sour cream for the best filling texture.
- Pumpkin Puree – Make sure to use pure canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.
- Spices – These bars get their delicious fall flavor from a combination of pumpkin pie spice and an extra teaspoon of cinnamon. Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and sometimes ginger and allspice that you’ll find pre-mixed in the spice aisle, or you can make your own at home. See the tips section below for details.
- Cornstarch – Thickens the cheesecake filling and makes the bars easier to set and slice.
Canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling are not the same, and they aren’t interchangeable in baking. Canned pumpkin is 100% pumpkin that’s been cooked and pureed. Meanwhile, pumpkin pie filling is sweetened pumpkin puree that comes with additives like thickeners and spices. Using pie filling will impact the texture and result in overly sweet cheesecake bars.
If you don’t have graham crackers, you can make the crust for your cheesecake bars from another type of cookie. Gingersnaps, Maria cookies, speculoos cookies, or shortbread cookies are good options that compliment the flavors in this recipe. An Oreo crust would also be great for Halloween (orange and black!).
How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
It takes minutes to prepare your pumpkin cheesecake bars for the oven, right down to the sweet and buttery homemade graham cracker crust. Here’s a quick look at how to make them. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions.
- Prepare the graham cracker crust. Combine all the ingredients in your food processor, then press into a pan and bake.
- Make the cheesecake filling. While your crust cools, make the creamy cheesecake filling. Scoop out about 1 cup of the filling add the ingredients for the pumpkin layer.
- Assemble the bars. Alternate layering scoops of each cheesecake batter over the prepared crust. Afterward, use the tip of a knife or a skewer to swirl the batters together.
- Bake. Bake the cheesecake bars until they are set. They should still have a slight wiggle in the center.
- Chill. Let the bars cool completely, then cover and place them into the fridge to chill overnight.
Tips for the Best Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Note the type of pan. These pumpkin cheesecake bars will bake slightly faster in a metal pan. If you’re using a glass or ceramic pan, you’ll need to leave the bars in the oven for longer. Check them at the 45-minute mark and go from there.
- Use room temperature ingredients. I recommend taking your cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs out of the fridge 30 minutes before you start so that they can come to room temperature. Room-temperature ingredients combine more smoothly into the batter.
- Make your own pumpkin spice. You’ll find pumpkin pie spice blends in most grocery stores, or you can make your own. Combine ¼ teaspoon cinnamon with ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.
- Cool the bars gradually. Give the bars time to cool to room temperature before transferring them to the fridge. Sudden temperature changes can cause the top of the cheesecake to crack.
- To get clean cheesecake slices. When slicing your pumpkin cheesecake bars, run your knife under warm water first, and wipe the blade clean in between slices.
How to Store Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Fridge. Keep your pumpkin cheesecake bars refrigerated and enjoy them within 4-5 days. If you’re stacking the bars, layer them with parchment paper in between so that they don’t stick.
- Freezer. After the bars have chilled in the fridge, store them in an airtight, freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag and keep them frozen for up to 4 months. Thaw the bars in the fridge overnight before serving.
More Pumpkin Recipes
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
For the Crust
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 16 ounces full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Prep. Preheat oven to 325ºF (160ºC) and line a 9×9" metal baking pan with parchment paper. You can also use aluminum foil if you lightly spray it with PAM.
- Make the crust. In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the crust and press evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- Blind bake the crust. Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes until it is just beginning to turn golden brown and fragrant. Place the crust on a wire rack to cool slightly while you make the filling.
- Make the cheesecake filling. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar until creamy and lump-free. Beat in eggs one at a time, then sour cream, and vanilla.
- Add the pumpkin. Measure out 1 cup of the cream cheese mixture to a separate bowl and add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spices, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Mix to combine.
- Assemble the layers. Alternate dollops of the two batters over the prepared crust then swirl with a knife.
- Bake. Transfer to a 325ºF (160ºC) oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.* The cheesecake is done when mostly set but when the center is still a bit jiggly.
- Chill. Allow to cool to room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight before cutting and serving.