This pumpkin swirl cheesecake features a delicious pumpkin spice swirl, rich and creamy cheesecake filling, a deliciously spiced and crunchy gingersnap cookie crust, and is topped with fresh whipped cream and salted caramel sauce.
Fall has arrived and we’re all in a mad dash to bake all the fall things like jalapeño cheddar bread and apple cider donuts. My latest creation is pumpkin swirl cheesecake, a delicious alternative to pumpkin pie and pumpkin cake. Judging by this reader-favorite cheesecake recipe, I know most of you are CRAZY for cheesecake too.
How to Make Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
If you look at my classic cheesecake recipe, you’ll notice that today’s pumpkin cheesecake uses mostly all of the same ingredients. Besides the amounts of each, the difference is that we’ll divide the batter in half and add pumpkin puree + spices to create a hypnotizing pumpkin swirl. The result is pockets of luscious cheesecake paired with rich, creamy, perfectly spiced pumpkin cheesecake.
You can absolutely use homemade pumpkin pie spice here!
All this cheesecake sits on top of a crunchy gingersnap cookie crust. Add extra flavor to the crust with a bit of cinnamon and ginger. Here’s my tip: Not all store-bought gingersnap cookies are the same, so make sure you read my notes below about which cookies are best for a cookie crust.
How to swirl: My trick is to drop spoonfuls of alternating batter—plain and pumpkin—until the pan is filled, then use a toothpick or knife to swirl. It doesn’t need to be perfect and it certainly doesn’t need to be neat.
How to Make a Cheesecake Water Bath
A cheesecake water bath is nothing complicated. All you’re doing is placing the springform pan in a roasting pan, filling it with hot water, and baking. What’s the point of a water bath? I actually wrote an entire post about a cheesecake water bath years ago. Cheesecakes are egg-heavy desserts. Eggs need a moist and humid environment in the oven to (1) properly rise and (2) avoid drying out and burning. The steam from the hot water will lift the cheesecake up slowly and evenly, reducing the risk of cracks on the surface. Additionally, this slow and even baking method helps prevent the cheesecake from sinking back down as it cools. Taking a few extra minutes to prepare a water bath for your cheesecake is well worth it. I can’t say enough how valuable it is! Springform pans can leak if you’re baking the cheesecake in a water bath, but this particular pan is reliable. I haven’t had any leaking issues.
Want to skip all the water bath drama? Try my no-bake pumpkin cheesecake. It tastes like pumpkin mousse and is definitely one of my fall favorites.
Tips for the Perfect Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
- Make sure you’re using blocks of cream cheese, not cream cheese spread.
- All of the cheesecake batter ingredients must be at room temperature so the batter remains smooth and combines quickly, so as to not over-beat the eggs.
- Do not over-mix the cheesecake batter
- Bake cheesecake in a water bath or alternate discussed in the recipe notes below
- Leave cheesecake in the cooling oven for 1 hour
- Cool completely at room temperature before chilling
I did have a small crack in the upper right edge of my pumpkin cheesecake, but that’s nothing a thick layer of fresh whipped cream can’t hide! Add a little salted caramel and I’m pretty sure this pumpkin cheesecake is the definition of pumpkin dessert heaven. How lovely would this look on a dessert table with your Thanksgiving pies?
How to Freeze Cheesecake
- Cool the cheesecake on the counter before freezing. No need to chill it in the refrigerator
- Freeze on springform pan: Remove the outer rim from the springform pan. Wrap the cheesecake with the bottom of the pan with a few layers of plastic wrap, then a final layer of aluminum foil.
- Or freeze without springform pan: After the cheesecake has completely cooled, run a sharp knife underneath the crust to release it from the bottom of the pan. Carefully slide it onto a parchment paper lined piece of cardboard or use a plate. Wrap it all in a few layers of plastic wrap, then a final layer of aluminum foil.
- Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Do not freeze cheesecake with any toppings. Prepare toppings like homemade whipped cream and salted caramel for serving cheesecake.
I would LOVE to know if you try the pumpkin cheesecake! If you want something smaller, I also have a recipe for mini pumpkin cheesecakes and pumpkin pie bars. You may also enjoy my pumpkin cream cheese Bundt cake, too!Print
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 9 hours, 45 minutes
- Yield: serves at least 12
- Category: Cheesecake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
This pumpkin cheesecake features a delicious pumpkin spice swirl, rich and creamy cheesecake filling, a deliciously spiced and crunchy gingersnap cookie crust, and is topped with fresh whipped cream and salted caramel sauce.
Gingersnap Cookie Crust
- 1 and 1/2 cups (150g) gingersnap cookie crumbs*
- 1/4 teaspoon each: ground ginger and ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- four 8-ounce blocks (904g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (80g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup (227g) pumpkin puree*
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice*
- topping suggestions: salted caramel and whipped cream
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Make the crust: Using a food processor, pulse the gingersnap cookies into crumbs. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in ginger, cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter until combined. (You can also pulse it all together in the food processor.) Mixture will be sandy. Press firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan. No need to grease the pan first. I use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crust down tightly. Pre-bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the hot pan on a large piece of aluminum foil. The foil will wrap around the pan for the water bath in step 4. Allow crust to slightly cool as you prepare the filling.
- Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract, then beat until fully combined. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing. To help prevent the cheesecake from deflating and cracking as it cools, avoid over-mixing the batter as best you can.
- Scoop out 2 cups of batter and place in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the pumpkin, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice until combined. Begin adding spoonfuls of each batter, the plain and the pumpkin, on top of the crust. Alternate until all the batter is used and pan is filled. Using a toothpick or knife, swirl the batters together by dragging the toothpick top to bottom, then left to right.
- Prepare the simple water bath (see note): If you need a visual, watch me prepare a water bath using my cheesecake recipe. Boil a pot of water. You need 1 inch of water in your roasting pan for the water bath, so make sure you boil enough. I use an entire kettle of hot water. As the water is heating up, wrap the aluminum foil around the springform pan. Place the pan inside of a large roasting pan. Carefully pour the hot water inside of the pan and place in the oven. (Or you can place the roasting pan in the oven first, then pour the hot water in. Whichever is easier for you.)
- (Note: if you notice the cheesecake browning too quickly on top, tent it with aluminum foil halfway through baking.) Bake cheesecake for 55-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. When it’s done, the center of the cheesecake will slightly wobble if you gently shake the pan. Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour as it cools down. Remove cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Add toppings, if desired. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean and dip into warm water between each slice.
- Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: This cheesecake can be made the day before. It has to chill for quite some time before serving. See step 5. Another way to make this cheesecake ahead of time is to freeze it. Cheesecake can be frozen up to 2 or 3 months. I find this tutorial for freezing cheesecakes helpful. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Springform Pan
- 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. Alternatively, you can use a graham cracker crust instead. Feel free to add or reduce the amount of cinnamon and ginger based on your taste preference.
- Pumpkin: I recommend canned pumpkin, not fresh pumpkin puree in this recipe. I like to use Libby’s brand. Fresh will work in a pinch, but the cheesecake is tastier and more firm with canned. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can find pumpkin pie spice in the baking aisle of most grocery stores or make your own homemade pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t have either and want to use individual spices, use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves. This is in addition to the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon—you will still add that.
- Why is Everything at Room Temperature? Bring all cold ingredients to room temperature before beginning. Room temperature ingredients combine quickly and evenly, so you won’t risk over-mixing. Also, beating cold ingredients together will result in a chunky cheesecake batter, hardly the way you want to begin!
- Water Bath: Some readers have baked cheesecakes with a large pan of hot water on the rack beneath the baking cheesecake. In this manner, the cheesecake does not bake directly in a roasting pan of water. I have never tried this method, but many report back with great reviews! This is a wonderful alternative if you do not own a large roasting pan or are nervous about your springform pan leaking. Simply place a large baking pan filled with 1 inch of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Keywords: Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
Reader Comments & Reviews
Am i able to make this without the crust? I need it to be gluten free and we don’t love the flavor of store bought gf cookies. Thanks!!
Hi Allie, You should be able to make this crustless. Perhaps add a round piece of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan so you can be sure that you will be able to remove it easily. Let me know how it turns out!
Can this recipe be made in individual ramekins (no crust) and then topped with your salted caramel sauce?
I don’t see why not! I’m unsure of the bake time but please let me know if you try it!
Can you make this without swirling and just incorporate pumpkin to entire batch?
I don’t usually do reviews. But I made this for a work pot luck. AMAZING! I did do a gram cracker crust and used fresh pumpkin puree. Turned out sooo good. This will be my go to pumpkin cheesecake recipe for now on.
Hello Sally, We have received rave reviews on your pie crust recipe and your caramel. We are making your cheesecake forThanksgiving. What is a store bought gingersnap that is not Nabisco?
Hi Lisa! I’m so glad to read that. Other gingersnap cookie brands that I’ve seen at stores are Archway and Stauffer’s.
Sally Sally Sally Sally….
This was the. Bomb. Just. Bomb.
It has been officially added to the Thanksgiving menu.
No easy task.
It’s creamy and delicious and not hard to make.
I made one substitution…I used Biscoff cookies for the crust and it worked perfectly.
Six stars Sally!!!!
Can pureed sweet potatoes work instead of pumpkin ?
I can’t see why not!
I’m excited to make this recipe? I’m wondering, can this recipe be made in a different type of pan? Could it be made as bars in a 9×9 or 9×13 pan?
Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes,
Hi Jackie! You can try a 9×13 inch baking pan, but I’m unsure of the exact bake time.
I made this recipe last week and it was so delicious. It’s definitely going on my Thanksgiving menu.
This cheesecake was delightful! Mine did crack on top, but they were barely noticeable once the cheesecake was completely cooled. The cheesecake was gorgeous and had the perfect texture! And the crust was a perfect contrast to the decadent cheesecake as it was sweet and slightly spicy! I was a little bummed that it didn’t have a more pumpkin flavor, so when I make it again (oh yeah it was so good there will TOTALLY be at least a few next times!) I will use more pumpkin.
I would love to make this recipe as pumpkin cheesecake bars instead. Do you have any recommendation for how to adapt it? I was thinking to double the recipe for the crust but keep the batter portion the same and bake it in a 9×13.
Hi Melissa! The crust, as written, will be enough to stretch for a 9×13 inch pan, though you could certainly double it. I’m unsure of the bake time, but it will be much shorter than the thick cheesecake.
Is there any reason to think that Trader Joe’s gluten-free gingersnaps would not work on this recipe? I have a friend who can’t eat gluten. Hoping to make her a special treat.
I can’t see why they’d be an issue!
Just made two of these (used pan of water on lower oven rack and no cracking). So good! Made the salted caramel and skipped the whipped cream. Rave reviews from my friends at dinner party.
I made the cheesecake tonight (it’s currently doing its one hour cool down in the oven) and I plan on making the whipped cream and salted caramel tomorrow. Can I top it with the whipped cream and salted caramel tomorrow (after it’s been in the fridge all day) and expect it to hold? Or should the whipped cream and salted caramel only be added slice by slice?
I usually top the entire cheesecake at once before serving. I hope you love it!
This pumpkin swirl cheesecake is AH-Mazing! I made it for my son, whose favorite desserts are pumpkin pie & cheesecake. I asked him if it was a 5 star recipe, and he said “6!” Between mouth fulls! So easy and really delicious, the perfect combination of both desserts . Love the ginger snap crust, I just used store brand ginger cookies and they did the trick! I know I’ll be making this again!
I just made this the other night and I HAD to leave a review, and thank Sally for such an amazing recipe. We followed it step by step, and since I recently threw away my destroyed roasting pan, I put an inch of hot water in a rimmed cookie tray on the rack directly under the cheesecake and it worked just fine. I believe maybe we left it in a bit long since the top did crack and split, but it was still so moist and didn’t have a film on it. The pumpkin flavor was just right, not too overpowering. I was worried it was going to be too sweet but it was absolutely perfect. We used the Biscoff ginger biscuits (the kind you get as a snack on airline flights) and it was the best cheesecake crust I’ve ever tasted! We will definitely be making this every fall. Thanks so much for the amazing recipe!
Hello sally!! I’m looking to make a cheesecake using lotus cookie spread. Will be better to use this recipe and chance pumpkim for lotus or will be better using the one for the sncker cheesecake?? 🙂
I recommend using my peanut butter cheesecake recipe and swapping the peanut butter for the cookie butter 🙂
This cheesecake is currently baking in my oven and it smells heavenly! The directions were easy to follow and I am so excited to share this with my family on thanksgiving! One quick question: while making the batter, I removed two cups and put it in a separate bowl and then added the pumpkin and spices in with the remaining batter, not the two cups I removed. After looking at your photos again I’m realizing that your pumpkin filling isn’t as prevalent as your plain filling and mine is the opposite. With the ratios off, do you foresee any issues with the consistency of the cheesecake? THAnk you!
Hi Lisa! I add the pumpkin/spices to the 2 cups I removed from the batter. You won’t have any issues at all doing it the other way around.
I can’t wait to make this cheesecake! Do you think it’s ok to make 2 days in advance? Or would it be best to do 1 day?
2 days in advance is just fine! Keep covered and refrigerated.
Would I be able to make this recipe but just follow the baking instructions for the mini cheesecakes? I notice that the recipe is slightly different. Im curious about the swirled version! Also, if I did this, do you know how many mini ones would this recipe make?
Yes yes yes! Same instructions, but add the swirl. 🙂 This recipe would yield at least 4 dozen mini pumpkin cheesecakes.
Was just talking about your website last night at a reception. You are one of only four cooking blogs I follow, and I’ve made a ton of your stuff. (Was going to make the pumpkin/oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies for the party but ran out of time–so maybe I’ll do them for the December reception.)
I have a tweak on the process for lining a springform pan with foil to stop leaks from the water bath, as I’ve never had much luck with the wrapping-the-outside-with-foil idea. Lay a piece of foil over the pan’s bottom that’s large enough to extend out several inches around, then attach the side piece, so that the foil is caught inside the seam between the bottom and sides, then smooth the foil up the outsides. That way there’s a continuous layer of foil surrounding the cheesecake. (It’s harder to describe then to do!) This should prevent any possibility of the dreaded soggy bottom!
I completely understand! What an incredible tip. I’ve never tried that before, but will definitely give it a go next time I bake cheesecake. Thank you so much for sharing, Debi. Genius!
If you’re looking for a little extra spice and flavor, definitely add it. Would be delicious with graham cracker crumbs!
Hi Angie! What a wonderful review of the pumpkin cheesecake recipe. I appreciate it so much and I’m so happy you enjoyed it and found the recipe easy to follow. That salted caramel is, hands down, the best stuff on the planet. Liquid gold!!
Hi Iman! I think that sounds like a great idea, though I would only partially bake the brownie base so it doesn’t over-bake. I’m unsure how long because I’ve never tried it before. But let me know how it turns out!
Hi Jonna! No need to blot the pumpkin for this pumpkin cheesecake recipe.
Hi Jenny! There’s no need to spray the springform pan with nonstick spray. There is enough butter in the crust that will prevent it from spreading. 🙂 You can also line the springform pan with aluminum foil, before adding the crust. This adds another layer of insurance to prevent leaking.
This happened to me as well and I think I figured out why. when dividing the batter, I added the pumpkin and spices to the remaining batter, not to the bowl with the 2 cups in it. after looking at the pictures and rereading the instructions, I think Sally adds the pumpkin to the bowl with 2 cups of batter. When adding it to the remaining mix, it has more plain batter to mix with causing it to be lighter in color and have less of the plain batter swirled in. not sure if that’s what you did as well, but I think that’s what my issue was. hope it helps!
Hi Shannon! Not a silly question at all. 🙂 I always let cheesecake cool inside the water bath in the cooling oven.