Ever since I published plain no-bake cheesecake, I’ve had requests for this flavor! This no-bake pumpkin cheesecake is smooth and creamy with extra spiced flavor. It sits in a crunchy gingersnap cookie crust that provides the best textural contrast to the fluffy mousse-like filling. There’s absolutely no oven required– the dessert sets up in the refrigerator, making it a convenient make-ahead option this fall season.
There aren’t many seasonal desserts that top pumpkin pie. A dessert tradition this time of year, pumpkin pie features a smooth spiced filling sitting in a wonderfully flaky pie crust. It’s hard to compete with this kind of perfection.
But I found something that comes shockingly close. Let me introduce you to no-bake pumpkin cheesecake. A recipe that skips the oven, says goodbye to pie crust, and waves toodaloo to any sort of cheesecake water bath. (See ya!) It tastes like cheesecake mousse with the deeply spiced flavor of pumpkin pie. Sitting in a flavorful gingersnap cookie crust, this ultra creamy dessert is unforgettable. If you don’t fall in love, I’ll happily take your leftovers.
Why You’ll Love No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake:
- Texture– crunchy crust, light & creamy filling
- Flavor– cinnamon gingersnap crust and pumpkin spiced filling
- Ease– no water bath, no baking, no cheesecake cracks on top, no worries
- Convenience– save precious oven space for other dishes
- Make-ahead– filling sets and flavor tastes better
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Video Tutorial
Gingersnap Cookie Crust
With more flavor and crunch than a graham cracker crust, a gingersnap cookie crust isn’t just there in the background. Instead, it’s a whole other layer to savor. You need gingersnap cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. To make this crust a cut above the rest, I suggest adding cinnamon and ginger too. This is exactly how I prepare the crust for my (baked) pumpkin swirl cheesecake, though you need a little more of each ingredient for this recipe.
3 Success Tips:
- Type of cookie: The type of gingersnap cookie you use will make or break the recipe. (Literally.) I’ve never had luck using homemade gingersnaps. Pick up a box/bag of store-bought gingersnaps, such as Stauffer’s brand. You can find them in the cookie aisle of most grocery stores. You want extra crunchy, hard, and somewhat dry cookies. If they’re too moist, your crust won’t set up.
- Pack it in: The tighter you pack in this crust, the less likely it will fall apart when cutting the cheesecake. I recommend using the bottom of a measuring cup to pack it into the bottom and up the sides of your springform pan.
- Briefly freeze to set the crust: After you pack in the crust, place it in the freezer while you prepare the cheesecake filling. Remember, we aren’t baking this crust– the freezer gives the crust a chance to set before you add the filling on top.
Don’t want to use gingersnap cookies? Use the graham cracker crust from my plain no-bake cheesecake.
Overview: How to Make No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- Whip heavy cream: In the 1st bowl, beat heavy cream/heavy whipping cream into stiff peaks. This is the most important step in this entire recipe and *the secret* to a thick no-bake cheesecake filling.
- Mix the other filling ingredients together: In a 2nd bowl, you need cream cheese, canned pumpkin, confectioners’ sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt. In my recipe testing, I used my plain no-bake cheesecake as the starting point. Pumpkin thins the mixture out, so I had to play with the amount of cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar. Thrilled with the developed recipe below– spiced, thickened, and perfectly pumpkin-y.
- Fold in the whipped cream: Remember our whipped cream? Gently fold it into the pumpkin cream cheese mixture. Avoid over-mixing because we don’t want to deflate anything.
- Spread into crust: Smooth the filling into the crust. I like using a large or small offset spatula to make the job easier.
- Refrigerate: Instead of the oven, use the refrigerator to set this cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate the prepared cheesecake for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.
Pictured on the left below: the whipped cream. On the right below: the pumpkin cream cheese mixture.
Pictured on the left below: the whipped cream and pumpkin cream cheese mixture combined. On the right below: spread into our gingersnap cookie crust.
With No Baking, How Does This Cheesecake Hold Its Shape?
- Make sure you pack the crust in tightly.
- As I mention above, the most important ingredient is the whipped heavy cream. Fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin cheesecake filling gently so you don’t deflate all the air. The air creates a deliciously fluffy mousse-like consistency and, more importantly, helps the filling set in the refrigerator.
- For a clean and sturdy slices, refrigerate it for at least 8 hours, but 12+ hours is ideal. Not only does the time in the refrigerator solidify the filling, it also gives the flavors a chance to mix and mingle. Flavor is incredible the next day.
Skip these 3 steps and you’ll be eating pumpkin soup for dessert. Avoid that mess!
Smaller Serving Alternatives
- For 24 cupcake size no-bake pumpkin cheesecakes, use the crust and filling ingredients below and the instructions for my mini no-bake cheesecakes. Feel free to halve the recipe if you don’t need quite as many.
- You can use this recipe to make 6 8-ounce or 10 6-ounce cheesecake jars. Halve the crust recipe below because we don’t need as much crust for the jar dessert. Use the full recipe for the filling. Follow the instructions for my no-bake cheesecake jars. Top with salted caramel, chocolate ganache, heath bar toffee bits, or more gingersnap cookie crumbs.
This fluffy no-bake pumpkin cheesecake sits in a crunchy gingersnap crust. The most important steps are whipping the heavy cream into stiff peaks before folding into the filling and refrigerating the cheesecake long enough so it can set.
Gingersnap Cookie Crust
- 2 cups (200g) gingersnap cookie crumbs*
- 1/4 teaspoon each: ground ginger and ground cinnamon
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar or brown sugar (packed)
- 1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- two 8-ounce blocks (450g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (227g) pumpkin puree*
- 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Make the crust: Stir the gingersnap crust ingredients together. Pour into a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan and pack in very tightly. The tighter it’s packed, the less likely it will fall apart when cutting the cheesecake. I recommend using the bottom of a measuring cup to pack it into the bottom and up the sides. You can watch me do this in the video above. Freeze for 10-20 minutes as you prepare the filling.
- Make the filling: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cold heavy cream into stiff peaks on medium-high speed, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until perfectly smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the pumpkin, confectioners’ sugar, and brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed to help combine. Add the vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt and beat until combined, creamy, and smooth. Make sure there are no large lumps of cream cheese. If there are lumps, keep beating until smooth.
- Using your mixer on low speed or a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake filling until combined. This takes several turns of your rubber spatula. Combine slowly as you don’t want to deflate all the air in the whipped cream.
- Remove crust from the freezer and spread filling into crust. Use an offset spatula to smooth down the top.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. For best results, at least 12 hours is best. I chill mine overnight. The longer refrigerated, the nicer the no-bake cheesecake will set up. I don’t recommend using the freezer to set this cheesecake filling.
- Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean between each slice.
- Serve cheesecake with optional toppings. I used Ateco 849 piping tip for the whipped cream in the pictured cheesecake. Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: This cheesecake can be made 1-2 days in advance. It can be refrigerated in step 5 for up to 2 days before serving. You can also make the crust 1-2 days ahead of time. Freeze for up to 1 hour in step 1, then cover tightly and refrigerate for 1-2 days before adding the filling. Another way to make this cheesecake ahead of time is to freeze it. After it sets in the refrigerator (step 6), wrap the whole pan (you can remove the sides if desired) in 1 layer of plastic wrap, then 1 layer of aluminum foil. No-bake cheesecake freezes wonderfully for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then slice and serve.
- Pan: To make slicing easy and neat, use a springform pan. If you don’t have one, a 9 inch deep dish pie dish (at least 2 inches deep) works. Chill the cheesecake for at least 12 hours to help guarantee the cheesecake slices neatly.
- Gingersnap Cookies: Store-bought gingersnap cookies are ideal as they are the most dry. The ONLY brand that I’ve had issues with is the Nabisco gingersnap cookies. They’re delicious on their own, but they’re too moist for a gingersnap cookie crust. I love Stauffer’s brand. You need about 30. Alternatively, you can use the graham cracker crust from my regular no bake cheesecake instead. Feel free to add or reduce the amount of cinnamon and ginger based on your taste preference.
- Pumpkin: I strongly recommend canned pumpkin, not fresh (homemade) pumpkin puree in this recipe. I like to use Libby’s brand. Fresh pumpkin puree will prevent the cheesecake from properly setting. Do not use pumpkin pie filling. If you can’t find canned pumpkin, use 1 cup of sweet potato puree. Boil 2 medium sweet potatoes until soft, then peel, slice, and puree/mash them with a blender or mixer until smooth. Measure and use 1 cup. Make sure the puree is room temperature or cold before using.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each of ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves, and ground allspice. (Use the 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, too.)
- Can I Make Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes? Yes, use this crust and filling recipe and follow the instructions in my mini no bake cheesecakes, which are made in a standard muffin pan.
Keywords: no bake, cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake
How to Join the November Sally's Baking Challenge
Make the No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe. You can make the large cheesecake or either smaller variation detailed above the recipe. This recipe kicks off Sally’s Pie Week, an annual tradition where I share multiple pie recipes in a row. Since pumpkin has been hard to find this season (or if you’re not into this recipe), there are several alternate challenge recipes you can make instead:
- Any previous challenge recipe OR
- Any recipe from this year’s Sally’s Pie Week— a new recipe will publish every day tomorrow (Monday) through Friday. Check the Pie Week page or sign up for my daily email list so you’re alerted as soon as a new Sally’s Pie Week recipe publishes.
After you make the cheesecake or alternate recipe, email me your recipe photo. For a bonus entry, leave a review on the recipe below!
By emailing your recipe photo to us, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge for the $250 Amazon gift card prize. We keep track of your photos and randomly select 1 winner at the end of the month. The challenge is open to the whole world. Challenge ends on November 29th 2020 at 5pm ET. The winner will be selected at random and posted in the December Baking Challenge blog post on November 30th 2020.