Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

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.

slice of pumpkin swirl cheesecake on a dessert server with salted caramel

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.

pumpkin cheesecake with whipped cream on a wood slice cake stand

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.

All this 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.

2 images of cheesecake batter in a glass bowl and pumpkin batter in a glass bowl

Gingersnap cookie crust in a springform pan and pumpkin swirl cheesecake filling in a springform pan before baking

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.

pumpkin swirl cheesecake after baking in a springform pan

Tips for the Perfect Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

  1. Make sure you’re using blocks of cream cheese, not cream cheese spread.
  2. 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.
  3. Do not over-mix the cheesecake batter
  4. Bake cheesecake in a water bath or alternate discussed in the recipe notes below
  5. Leave cheesecake in the cooling oven for 1 hour
  6. 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.

side view of pumpkin swirl cheesecake on a wood slice cake stand

slice of pumpkin swirl cheesecake on a white plate

How to Freeze Cheesecake

  1. Cool the cheesecake on the counter before freezing. No need to chill it in the refrigerator
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  5. Do not freeze cheesecake with any toppings. Prepare toppings 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.

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slice of pumpkin swirl cheesecake on a dessert server with salted caramel

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

  • Author: Sally
  • 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 pumpkin pie spice*
  • topping suggestions: salted caramel and whipped cream


  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Prepare the simple water bath (see note): If you need a visual, watch me prepare a water bath right here. 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.)
  6. (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.
  7. 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.
  8. Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Springform Pan | Wood Cake Stand
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Pumpkin Pie Spice: Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.

slice of pumpkin swirl cheesecake on a white plate


  1. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    What an incredible fall cheesecake, this looks heavenly!

    1. Thank you so much Laura! 🙂

  2. I SO need to try them this weekend. Perfect for fall! 🙂

    1. I hope you love this cheesecake recipe, Julie!

  3. Sally, I recently tried making a cheesecake in my Instant Pot, and it turned out great. I would love to see a recipe from you using this method… You are a true baking genius! This recipe looks amazing, too!

    1. Thanks Alison! I have not attempted cheesecake in an Instant Pot yet but I’m thrilled that you’ve had great success with it 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says:

    Mouth watering Sally! Drool all over my keypad. And big sigh! I have had so much trouble with spring foam pans, maybe it’s time to invest in higher quality pans! My do leak for sure!

    1. A new springform pan might make all of the difference! Good luck- I hope you love this recipe!

    2. I have wrapped my less than awesome springform pans in heavy duty aluminum foil before putting into the water bath.. . .

  5. For the last at least 2 years, I have made your pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving ( game changer !!) I now will be making this. Your pumpkin pie recipe has phenomenal flavor and I bet this will rival that! Going to make this soon for a trial!!!! Can’t wait!!

    1. Oh how exciting! This will be perfect for Thanksgiving- let me know what you think after your trial run 🙂

  6. Alexa [fooduzzi.com] says:

    Girl, I don’t even like cheesecake, but these PICTURES. Wow. Seriously so beautiful, Sally!

    1. Thank you Alexa!

  7. Would chocolate chips added be good?

    1. Yes, definitely! I recommend about 1 cup.

  8. Goodness Sally that looks AMAZING!!

    1. Thank you Mackenzie!

  9. Your photography is amazing!

    1. So sweet, thank you Denae!!

  10. I am adapting this recipe to make pumpkin cheesecake brownies for my beloved and chocolate-crazed mother! I love pumpkin, she loves chocolate; here, we are both happy! Thanks for the amazing recipe, Sally! I will try it AS INTENDED very soon!

    1. Let me know how it goes – pumpkin swirl brownies sound amazing 🙂 Enjoy!

  11. Do you think you could make this into mini cheesecakes?

    1. Yes, for sure! You can follow the baking instructions in my mini pumpkin cheesecakes post.

  12. Can you make this without the crust?

    1. You could, yes, but I fear the bottom would taste a little wet and/or stick to the pan. Let me know what you try!

  13. Love it, Sally! It looks FANTASTIC. High on my fall baking list.

    1. Thank you Mae! Hope you love it!

  14. Krithika Parthan says:

    Sally, do you have suggestions on adding chocolate to this somehow? Melted chocolate to the non-pumpkin part?

    1. Delicious! I haven’t tested anything, but I would start with a few ounces of melted chocolate to the regular cheesecake batter. Or even chocolate chips.

  15. Hi Sally!

    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!

    1. 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!

  16. I’m totally making this for my Book Club next weekend! YUM.

    1. Hope it’s a hit! Happy baking Christi!

  17. My family cannot eat a whole cheesecake. I was wondering if i could make this as mini cheesecakes instead? Also, how long would I need to bake them for and how many would this recipe make? This looks so good!!

    1. Hi Katie! I’m unsure how many mini cheesecakes this amount of cheesecake batter will make, however my guess would be well over 30. You can, however, try my mini pumpkin cheesecakes recipe instead which yields 16.

  18. Could try baking filling in ramekins instead of spring-form pans, just a thought for those who don’t want a crust! Like you make custard! Or pumpkin pudding!

    1. Oh yes! How delicious! Please let me know how they turn out. Thanks Carol!

  19. Yummm this looks amazing! If you’re using a graham cracker crust, would you still add the ginger and cinnamon?

    1. If you’re looking for a little extra spice and flavor, definitely add it. Would be delicious with graham cracker crumbs!

  20. This was a hit with the family! I debated whether to do a traditional crust over the gingersnaps crust as I’m not a big fan. Went with the latter and it was delicious! The sugar tones down the bite in the ginger cookie. I, personally, don’t care for pumpkin pie and sometimes cheesecake can be rather rich but the combination of cheesecake with pumpkin flavor is amazing, a great combo! This was my first attempt at a cheesecake and your directions were very easy to follow. Also made your salted caramel, wow, so easy to make and so good! It paired surprisingly well with the pumpkin flavor. So glad I found this recipe, thanks!

    1. 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!!

  21. Hi Sally! I’ve been a huge fan of your recipes for years. Do you think I could make these with a brownie base? I have a boxed brownie mix and am planning to bake it into the springform pan, let cool, then top with the cheescake mix and bake again. Do you think the brownie will be too overbaked? Any suggestions? I’m planning to bake this on Mon/Tues so suggestions would be great!

    1. 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!

  22. Hi Sally!
    I’m wondering if I should blot or drain the pumpkin before I use it? I made your pumpkin scones (delicious!) and you suggested doing that in that recipe.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jonna! No need to blot the pumpkin for this pumpkin cheesecake recipe.

  23. Do you have another spring form pan that you recommend? The one listed says it doesn’t ship for 1-3 months. = ( Thanks!

    1. Oh no! I actually just purchased a new one, so funny you ask. I love it so far: https://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-Nonstick-Bakeware-Spring-9-inch/

  24. Hey Sally,
    I just made this, and I’ve got a question about springform pans for you. After having one that leaked (oil/cooking spray) before, I took your recommendation for one and purchased the springform pan you use. However, it also leaked. I did spray the pan with cooking spray, and I am realizing your directions don’t call for this. Is it a general rule that I shouldn’t be spraying my springform pan with spray when I use it? This would solve the oil leak problem, but I’m worried about stuff sticking to it. Let me know what you think.
    Thanks! I’m sure the cheesecake is going to taste great. I’m especially pumped about the gingersnap crust.

    1. 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.

  25. Mine turned out delish! But the pumpkin part is a weird light brown color, not the bright orange I see in the photos. Why do you thin this happened?


    1. 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!

  26. 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?

    1. Yes yes yes! Same instructions, but add the swirl. 🙂 This recipe would yield at least 4 dozen mini pumpkin cheesecakes.

  27. 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?

    1. 2 days in advance is just fine! Keep covered and refrigerated.

  28. 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!

    1. 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.

  29. Silly question – while letting the cheesecake cool in the oven, do you leave it in the roasting pan/water bath? Looking forward to trying this recipe – thank you!

    1. Hi Shannon! Not a silly question at all. 🙂 I always let cheesecake cool inside the water bath in the cooling oven.

  30. I was a little nervous, as I do a lot of baking, however, I never baked any kind of cheese cake. Your instructions were spot on and so easy to follow. Let me tell you, that this cheese cake was the highlight of desserts for Thanksgiving. I received so many complements. The cheese cake was so creamy and light. The ginger snap crust was perfect. The caramel topping just took it over the top The whole experience was a delight. Thank you for a most delicious cheese cake. I will be making this over again for years.

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